“There we go, fate again,” said Peter, “But now I’m fated to tell Mum all about this.”
“If you feel you must, then I won’t try to persuade you to do otherwise.”
They walked in silence back towards the car park. Peter said that he wanted to walk home.
He left and Steve looked after his son, sadly.
THREE STEP OUTWARD TURN
Sunday 24th April Steve’s house
Steve had just finished his evening meal when his landline telephone rang.
“Hello,” he said, “Who is this?” He hadn’t recognised the number on his Caller Display.
“Hi again, Steve,” she said, “It’s Cathy. Am I disturbing anything?”
“Oh! Hi Cathy. No, you’re not disturbing anything. Is everything all right?”
“I’m fine, but I was wondering whether you got the same kind of interrogation from Peter that I had from Barbara about our meeting this afternoon.”
“My quizzing was probably worse than yours,” he said, “Peter was furious. He accused me of ‘throwing God out of the window’ because ‘a pretty woman had got her claws that deep into me.’ He’s going to tell his Mum.”
“Ooooh!” she said, “I’m not sure which part was worse: him accusing you of ‘throwing God out of the window’ or that he’ll be telling tales. I like the ‘pretty woman’ bit, but not the ‘claws’.”
He laughed, “What did you get? Disbelief that we’re only good friends and a veiled threat to tell Paul. Peter certainly isn’t buying the ‘good friends’ bit either. He even suspects that we planned the meeting this afternoon. He says we were like teenagers using a secret code because we half-want them to know something, but are half-afraid to tell them,”
“He is certainly a conspiracy theorist, isn’t he?”
“OK,” Steve said, “Cards on the table. Is that all we are Cathy? ‘Good Friends’?”
“Cards on the table,” she said, “I don’t know. That’s what I was wondering before I went to bed last night. But I don’t know how we arrived here. I hardly know you.”
“I was the same last night. I knew that I would like there to be more, but I couldn’t believe that I would ever be so lucky.”
“Flatterer,” she said, “but I was wondering what you could see in me?”
“Nothing much – just a beautiful, intelligent woman with a great personality. Perhaps the kids are more astute than we give them credit for,” he said, “But you’re right. I wouldn’t want you to be ‘buying a pig in a poke.’ Maybe we do need to get to know each other better, but, as far as I’m concerned, that doesn’t mean seeing each other less. We’ll get to know each other better by talking more often, and you can decide how far you want to take whatever kind of relationship we have once you’ve got to see me ‘warts and all’.”
“I’m so relieved you said that,” she said, “I enjoyed the flattery, but I wouldn’t want you feel committed, only to back out once you’ve seen my problem areas.”
He laughed. “Can we agree then that we are more than good friends, but that we’re finding out what that means. What’s that old saying, ‘we might as well be hung for killing a sheep as for a goat.’ May I admit that to Marjorie, if asked, without putting your reputation in jeopardy?”
“There’s not much of a reputation at risk anyway, so go ahead. I’m happy to go public on what we’ve agreed to tell any nosey parkers.”
“I did love dancing with you though,” he said, “I loved feeling you in my arms.”
“I loved it too,” she said, “Perhaps we should leave it there for tonight.”
“Agreed,” he said, “I’ll see you on Tuesday.”
“Goodnight,” she said.
“God bless,” he replied.
I began this post with my previously used photo of “Steve’s house”. Given what the story is about today, it only seems fair to include our photo of “Cathy’s house”.
I took this shot with my Fujifilm X-T4 26 MP cropped sensor mirrorless camera using a Fujinon 10-24 mm f/4 lens handheld.
EXIF data were: 1/15 seconds @ f/6.4 and 11 mm. ISO was 250.