Going Forward – Chapter Thirty-Four

…..Previously

“Are you okay with us carrying on from what we were talking about last night” she asked.

I agreed and she recapped, in a well organised summary, what had been discussed.

“You and Helen parted company,” she said, “but it was her who left you. Maybe you weren’t blameless in some way – I’ll probably never know – but it wasn’t you who walked out. My heart went out to you when you told me,” she said, “I’ve been the victim of that form of dumping. I know how it feels. That’s why I felt I had to call you back last night.”

She asked me was I with her so far. I told her that I was now getting a clearer picture. I reached for a biscuit to eat with my coffee.

Continued…….

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

…that ends well

“For weeks now,” she said, “I’ve had the feeling that you were looking at me as if you wanted me as much as I wanted you, but you said nothing. I started to wonder if you were gay or something.”

I raised an eyebrow, “I don’t ride on that bus,” I insisted.

“Okay, Let’s move on to Jenny,” she said, “There’s something you need to know. Jenny knew that I liked you. She didn’t know how things were between us – but she knew how I felt. The problem is that she fancies you too. She even told me, and that, since I’d clearly frightened you off, she was out to get you. I had no idea what she was on about.”

I sat up, “What?” I said, “That’s crazy! I’ve never given Jenny a second’s thought.”

“Think about it,” she said, “She tried to pump you for information about us, and heard you deny any relationship between us. She couldn’t believe her luck, so she asked you again. Then she saw you watching me walking home with Jake and thought that she was safe to bate you by asking if you were jealous. She wanted to check your reaction. She asked you what you were buying me for my birthday and discovered that you didn’t even know the date of my birthday. Bingo! She believed that she was home and dry.”

Susie looked at me and asked if things were falling into place yet. I admitted that I was finding it hard to take it all in.

“I bet Jenny was looking out for you at the Park on Thursday to complete her claim on you,” she said. “When I was out with them on Monday night, I was walking past them in the bar to talk to someone further along and I heard just a snatch of their conversation. Jenny was saying something about you and me and what you’d said. I just saw red and went home, fuming.”

“I could understand that Debby and Jenny might gossip about me – as women friends do, but I was so disappointed in you. I’d hoped better of you. To be honest, after Sunday night, I really believed that there might be something between you and Jenny – both from what I saw and what I heard. That really hurt. I’d really hoped that we could have a future together. Do you understand now where my anger was coming from?”

I looked at her, unbelievingly. “You must be joking!” I said, “Oh my God! If only I’d known how you felt. But me and Jenny? No way, thank you!”

She shook her head, her hair moving slightly against the motion, then laughed again. “I’m sorry. You got the rough edge of my tongue when you phoned on Tuesday – and then again on Friday. Do you forgive me?”

“How could I not forgive you?” I asked.

She then reminded me that she’d wanted to come back to two other things I’d said on Friday afternoon. I remarked on her memory.

“I’m a woman,” she said, “We remember things that matter.”

She picked up on what I’d said about being only recently separated.

“Would it bother you,” she asked, “to start again with me so soon? Would you feel guilty?”

“No,” I replied, “It isn’t that. Listen, Helen’s left me for another man. Why should I feel guilty or wait? But I did expect that you wouldn’t want to risk starting something with someone who might just be on the bounce from a recent and hurtful separation.”

“Right!” she said, “That makes sense. I hadn’t thought of that. Should I have? Are you on the rebound?”

“How can someone on the rebound know?” I asked, “I’ve recovered from Helen leaving me. I have yet to recover from worry about the divorce settlement.  I only know what I feel about you, something I’ve been frightened to admit even to myself because it had seemed pointless. You seemed to be so much out of my class – so unattainably beautiful.”

“Let me be the judge of that,” she said. “It brings me nicely onto my last point though. You mentioned that you were broke and unemployed – but you’re trying to find your way out of that aren’t you?”

“Yes,” I said, “In fact I had a reply from the NHS supplier the other day, offering me the job, so at least I won’t be jobless much longer, but you’ve seen the solicitor’s letter. I might still have to sell the house to pay Helen off. I don’t know where I’ll find the money for legal fees. Why would I have expected you to see me as a worthwhile prospect? Helen made me feel rotten because even manual workers earn more than I do.”

“Do you really think that I’m so shallow? You make me sound like a money-grabber,” she said, “Helen really turned the knife, didn’t she? Anyway, I’ve got a house. You can move in with me”

“Susie,” I said, “I never meant that, but it would have been unreasonable for me to put myself forward as solvent and a sound financial risk wouldn’t it?”

“Phooey!” she said, “Only one thing matters – and that’s what we’ve found out these past two days. We’re nuts about each other even if we’ve been crazy not to do something about it sooner.”

I looked at her in sheer disbelief at what I was hearing. All that time wasted.

“Up,” she said, lifting my hand in hers and pulling it to get me to stand. She put her arms around me and we hugged each other passionately. When she moved her head close to mine, her hair brushing my neck, that scent was more intoxicating than any wine and, when we kissed, the rest of the world, the worries of the past weeks, everything else dissolved and disappeared. We were all that existed – lost in love for each other.

“I think that I know what our problem has been,” she stared into my eyes, “ We haven’t been getting enough sex – either of us. There’s only one cure for that. You’ve not shown me what your bedroom’s like yet. Come on.

I followed, thinking, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained.’

THE END

Tomorrow there will be a new post on a different topic.

If you have been, thanks for reading.

Featured Photo

Today my featured photo is from near Oban in Scotland, overlooking Loch Etive from the garden of an apartment where we stayed.

The Exif data are as follows: Pentax K-50 16 MP full frame camera and 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens @ 26.25 mm and f/13. Shutter speed was 1/125 secs and the ISO 200. The shot was mounted on a tripod and post processed in Lightroom Classic.

Author: writingandphotography0531

I am a retired local government officer. At that time, I was an IT manager and had associated responsibilities for training. I have previously been involved, in various organisations, with aspects of industrial training and management development. My hobby is photography and, until recently, hillwalking in Snowdonia. I have just written my first novel, Persephone and the Photographer, published as a Kindle eBook.

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