“Not stupid,” he told her, “just marking your territory – and it’s nice that you feel protective. It makes me feel valued.”
The remainder of the meal passed with pleasant conversation about their respective families – exchanging histories and so forth. At the end of the meal, Cathy suggested that they return to her place – it was on the way back to Steve’s anyway.
Steve had brought her in his car, so they travelled back together.
Sunday afternoon 1st May Cathy’s house
Cathy told Steve to make himself at home while she slipped into something more comfortable. He asked her if he should make her a coffee ready for when she came down.
“No, I’m fine thanks, but help yourself to whatever you want,” she told him as she climbed the stairs.
He took his shoes off and went into the kitchen to make himself a cup of tea, then walked into her Dining room while he drank it. Noticing the photographs on one of the walls, he went to look at them. They were framed shots of Cathy and Ken together, of Ken and of them and the children at various ages.
She returned, having changed into blue denim jeans and an oversized woollen sweater. She saw what he was looking at and joined him. He pointed to one of the photographs of her late husband.
“How old was he when he passed?” he asked.
“Just forty-five,” she replied.
“No age at all,” he said, “You wouldn’t have been any age either,” he added, “to be left a widow. The children would only have been teenagers then, wouldn’t they?”
“Seventeen and fifteen,” she said.
“How did they take it?” he asked.
“Pretty badly for a long time. We still usually spend the day together on his anniversary.”
“What about you?” he asked, “Do you still miss him very much?”
“Yes,” she said, “We’d been married for twenty years. You can’t live with someone who you love for that length of time and not miss them. There are always things like family birthdays, family outings and so forth that you want to talk about with them: problems that you wish you could ask them about.”
He put his arm around her. They moved together and hugged each other.
“That’s something else you miss,” she said, “comforting cuddles.”
Together, they went into her conservatory to look at her garden in the afternoon light. She pointed out Chivers in hunting mode, checking out the area around some of her shrubs.
“Barbara phoned while we were out,” she said, “She left a message that she might call round later this afternoon with Emily.”
“Oh,” he asked, “Would you like me to go?”
“Don’t be daft,” she said laughing, “of course not. We’re not a secret anymore and she’s going to have to get used to seeing us together. And you need to get to know her too – and Emily.”
They chatted easily until the doorbell rang. Cathy warned him what to expect, so they went to the door together. Sure enough, Emily was standing, holding hands with her Mum, looking up at the doorbell button. She then looked across, laughing and gurgling, at Cathy and Steve, while pointing to Cathy.
Cathy picked her up into her arms and walked back into the house. Barbara and Steve between them lifted Emily’s stroller into the hallway, then followed Cathy into the conservatory.
After the usual greetings, while Barbara studied Steve, trying to make up her mind about him, they all settled into the cushioned rattan chairs.
“So,” Barbara asked, “How is ‘getting to know you’ getting on?”
Cathy’s chair was next to Steve’s. They looked at each other, smiling, and she took his hand in hers before she asked, “Me first or you?”
Today’s post, where the setting has Cathy, Steve and Barbara talking at Cathy’s house, opens with a photo of the type of garden they might have conversed in. It is, of course, a photograph I’ve use in previous posts for the same purpose. I have no photographs of conversation inside any houses, so I’m using a photo to depict what the Mere, opposite her house, might have looked like. You’ve seen other photos of the lake earlier too.
EXIF data were: EXIF data were: Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor dslr camera with 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. Shutter speed 1/60 secs @ f/10 and 31 mm. ISO was 100.