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Friday, 17 August 2012

Read my Romantic Thriller, Free: Chapter 31

If you haven’t started reading Breaking Faith, the reviews under the 'My Books' tab may persuade you to give it a try.

To those making the journey, I say, ‘Enjoy the ride.’

I posted Chapter 1 on 13 January. Subsequent chapters have appeared each Friday, and will continue to be posted until all 50 have featured here. You can find those already posted via the archive; just search by chapter number.

If you missed the start, you’ll find it here:

Read, enjoy, invite your friends along.

Chapter 31

Sunday 4th July

‘Just two more questions, please?’
‘I can’t be bothered. Anyway, you know the bloody thing off by heart. Give it a rest, Fay.’
I’d been preparing all week for the driving course by reading the Highway Code and getting everyone to test my knowledge. Netta was right; I did just about know it by heart. But Leigh had impressed on me the importance of passing the driving test and I didn’t want to let him down.
‘Ready?’ Leigh emerged from the studio, where he was trying to complete a rushed job for a small tool catalogue. The photographer they had originally commissioned had failed to produce work of the required quality but the company had already booked the job with the printers. They’d asked Leigh at the last minute and he was desperately trying to complete the shoot by the deadline.
Mum had taken me to Dad’s the day before and returned me to Longhouse that morning so I could pack. But Leigh insisted on taking me to the station himself, in spite of his workload. Mum had returned to Dad, grateful for a chance to be alone with him. I hoped she would remember Eric loved him as well.
‘Have you finished at last?’
‘What now, then?’
‘I’m sorting Faith.’
‘You promised you’d spend the day with me when you’d finished.’ Netta actually stamped her foot. I had to bite my lip to stop myself laughing.
‘I haven’t finished. When I have, I’ll keep my promise…’
‘Well, what’re you doing, then?’
‘Taking Faith to the station, of course.’
‘Let her go by taxi. It takes ages to the station and you promised …’
‘I’m not sending Faith off on her very first train journey, to a strange place for a week by making her get a taxi to the station. In any case, by the time it got here, she’d miss the train.’
‘Why can’t Mum take her?’
‘Matilda’s with David. So, are you coming with us, Netta?’
‘No, I’m not! I’m going for a fucking walk. And don’t expect me to be here when you get back!’
‘You’ll be arrested!’
‘I don’t fucking care!’
But I heard her climb the stairs to get something suitable for her walk.
Leigh picked up my case. ‘Come on, Faith. We’ll be late.’
His concentration on my needs over Netta’s wants gave me the most wonderful feeling and I almost kissed him. Then I felt guilty for being happy about it and worried whether she’d be safe on the fells on her own.
‘She’ll be fine. Heacham’s out of commission and Merv’s not about to follow her again after what I did to him.’
It amazed me that Leigh could read my mind so easily.
‘You shouldn’t be so surprised. I know how you think, Faith.’
‘You do?’
‘Most of the time anyway.’
There was something at the back of my mind that I knew was important. I’d been about to say something just before he’d surprised me with his comment. Now I couldn’t fish it out from the anxiety and excitement of my trip.
I was to stay at the school where they held the course. Leigh was a bit vague about the arrangements and the promised leaflet hadn’t arrived in time. It was going to be an adventure. There were many things I could have worried about but my only real anxiety was whether I would pass my test.
There was no one on the platform of Garsdale station when we arrived. Sunshine baked the concrete as we sought vainly for shade. We sat on the hot wooden slats of a bench together, Leigh burning the backs of his legs exposed by his shorts. I learnt from his mistake and perched on the edge with my mini tucked under my thighs to protect my skin from the fierce heat.
Then it came to me. ‘Leigh! I’m sorry, I’ve just remembered, Heacham isn’t locked up any more. They let him out yesterday. I meant to tell you but in the excitement and the rush, I forgot.’
‘No matter.’
‘But, Netta’s out there on her own...’
‘Shit! I’d better go, though the silly bitch doesn’t deserve my concern. Sorry, Faith, see you when you get back. Phone me with your arrival time; I’ve booked both ways but I can’t remember what time you’re due back. I’d better dash.’ And he kissed me very quickly and was off to his car.
‘Bye, Leigh. Good luck.’
I watched him vanish round the corner at the end of the platform. The station felt so empty as I sat there waiting, alone.
‘Sorry, Faith, nearly forgot. Good luck. I know you can do it.’ He reappeared and I stood because he wanted to hug me. He handed me a small package, kissed me again and then stepped back and looked at me. ‘You look bloody gorgeous. Behave yourself.’ He took me in his arms and kissed my mouth. All the way along the platform, as he returned to the car, he kept turning round to look at me. I remained standing until he was out of sight, certain he wanted to see me that way.
I sat and looked at the gift-wrapped parcel, smiling at his thoughtfulness and the way he’d kissed me goodbye.
Dad had explained a lot of things about men; things I would never have guessed. He wanted to warn me, he said. ‘You’re far too trusting and vulnerable in your naivety.’
So, he told me about men and sex and love and vanity and tricks and pride and risks and rivalries. The more I considered, the more it seemed that Leigh was an unusual man; an unusually good sort of man, in spite of his promiscuous nature and his obsession with women’s bodies.
‘You’ll discover he’s not at all unusual in that respect, simply more honest and open about it than most men. Even I, your sick and aged father, enjoy feminine beauty. And Matilda’s demonstrated I’m not past it when it comes to sex, after all.’ He grinned at my surprise. ‘It’s all right, Faith, children are universally disgusted at the idea of their parents engaging in and enjoying sex.’
‘I’m not disgusted, Dad. I think it’s lovely. I just wonder you have the energy and the opportunity.’
He winked and there was more information in that gesture than I could fathom, but I knew he’d said a great deal and would say no more.
The train pulled into the station, clanking and hissing. Only one passenger disembarked from the dozen or so carriages and I boarded by the nearest door. My seat was booked but I had no idea where I was supposed to be sitting and many of the seats were empty. Leigh, however, had made it clear I must find the right seat. ‘First class, so it’ll either be right at the front or right at the back, not in the middle.’
I made my way to the front of the train as it set off. It was awkward in the corridor with my case and I was getting hotter as I struggled through the airless carriages. At last, I found the right compartment and slid the door open. There was one other person in there, a man a bit older than Leigh. His back to the engine, he was asleep with his head against the window. I checked my ticket against the slip fastened to the back of the opposite seat as Leigh had advised and then tried to put my case onto the luggage rack. It was too heavy and eventually I gave up and plonked it on the seat beside me.
I noticed a paperback book on the floor at the man’s feet and bent to pick it up. It was a copy of a novel I’d heard Netta talk about; something called ‘Fear of Flying’ by Erika Yong. I stood, intending to put the book near the back of the seat beside him. The train was travelling very fast and swaying quite a lot and I had to place my feet apart to keep upright. I leant forward to place the book beside him and, as the train braked fiercely, I was thrown off balance. To my horror, I was pitched across his lap with my knees on the seat, either side of his legs. I had to stretch my arms out in front to stop my head hitting his. The sudden jolt woke him at once, as I was floundering and trying to move away and get back to my seat. He opened his eyes to find me almost astride him with my chest lifting from his face. I suppose it must’ve looked quite funny but I felt terribly embarrassed.
‘Great idea! But you might’ve woken me first.’
‘I’m sorry, the train...’ I tried to pull myself away but he grasped my hips and urged me down onto his lap.
‘No need to apologize, sweetie. Girlies throw themselves at me all the time. Must be my animal magnetism.’
I wrenched myself free and sat down, blushing and flushed with rage. ‘I wasn’t trying to do anything to you! I’m not in the least interested in you. The train jerked and made me overbalance, that’s all. I was trying to put your book back. It’d fallen on the floor, if you must know.’
He studied my body without a word for a while. ‘Read it, have you? Is that what gave you the idea? Shouldn’t start something if you’re not going to finish it, you know.’
‘I haven’t read it and I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.’
He stared into my eyes and I felt it was important for me to stare back until he looked away. At last, he did but his eyes wandered down my body, stopping at my breasts and my pubic area. I folded my arms, crossed my legs and looked out of the window.
‘Suit yourself, sweetie. But you’re missing out on a really good time. I’m always able to find that little button that sends you girlies wild; clit tickling’s a speciality of mine. You won’t be left wanting and we’re quite alone, you know.’
I decided to say nothing.
He leant forward and put his clammy hand on the skin of my knee, clasped it and started to massage it. ‘Come on, sweetie, it’s hot and so are we. Let’s have a little, shall we?’
I kicked his hand away, hard.
‘Sorry.’ He sat back and sulked. ‘My mistake. Don’t look like a lesbian.’
I knew he intended it as an insult, but I wasn’t sure enough of what he meant to argue. I continued to stare out of the window and ignore him.
‘Dildo or mutual tongues your thing?’
I had only a vague idea of what he meant but I was sure he was being personal and rude so I just refused to acknowledge his presence.
‘Or maybe the odd root vegetable? A candle? Banana? Or just fingers? I’m only curious. We men don’t get to know what you girlies get up to together.’
I remained silent. And at last, it worked. My refusal to answer or even acknowledge him seemed to make him lose interest.
‘Frigid, then. Shame with those tits and thighs.’
He said no more after that. When the ticket inspector came, he lifted my case onto the luggage rack for me after he clipped my ticket. He looked at the man on the other seat. ‘If this gentleman can’t help you take it down when we get to Kings Cross, you just wait here, my dear, I’ll come along and give you a hand.’
‘Thank you.’
‘Not your case I want to take down, though, is it sweetie?’
The ticket inspector reappeared almost at once and stared hard at the man. He smiled at me. ‘If you need me at all, Miss, I’m just at the end of the carriage, within easy calling distance.’
‘Thank you, that’s very kind of you.’
He gave me a lovely smile, glared at the man, and left. The man just shrugged and turned his stare out of the window.
Leigh had said the food on the train would be expensive and might not be very good. I was hungry, however, so I made my way to the buffet car and bought a cheese sandwich and a can of coke. The drink was cold, the sandwich about as tasty as its wrapper.
When I returned to the compartment, the man had gone. Just as I was about to sit, I noticed something off-white on the seat. Fresh chewing gum was stuck there. I used a tissue to remove it and dropped it into the small bin. It would have ruined my black skirt, if I’d sat on it and I wondered at his carelessness.
The train journey seemed to go on interminably and I fell asleep to the sound of the wheels on the rails. When I woke, he was back and watching me with a look like Mervyn’s. I straightened my skirt and made sure my blouse was buttoned.
Outside, houses, factories and office buildings had replaced hills and fields. Everything looked grimy and the air coming through the window seemed stale and used. Other trains crashed past at speed or crawled along beside ours or over it on raised lines. We entered dark smelly tunnels where the sound of the train hammered back through the open window, deafening and ugly. The sunlight was blinding as the train emerged. And still the man looked at my body. I ignored him.
At last, we approached the station and drew slowly to a halt. There were people waiting on the platform and others going past along the corridor, carrying their cases. I stood to get my case and suddenly he was behind me, his body so close to mine I could feel his hardness pressing against me. He thrust his arms under mine, brushing the sides of my breasts with his palms as I reached up for my case.
‘Such a shame. Lovely tits, great arse. All that way we could’ve done sweet things to each other.’ He lifted my case down and put it on the seat as the train shuddered to a halt.
He rocked and swayed against me. I turned to make him move away but he stayed close and I felt frightened for the first time. I glared at him and he took a step back and held up his hands. ‘Why did you put chewing gum on my seat?’
‘I … stuck up little tart. Bloody tease, you are. Advertising it but not putting out. Shouldn’t display what’s not available.’ And he departed, leaving me confused by his accusation.
I was struggling from the doorway when the ticket inspector arrived to help. ‘Glad he decided to do the gentlemanly thing after all.’ He took my case and carried it onto the platform for me.
‘Thank you for being so kind.’
‘Pretty girl like you; some men don’t know how to treat a woman like a lady. Pleasure to be of service, Miss.’
I remembered the woman in the ladies’ toilet and took some change out of my purse.
‘Wouldn’t dream of it, Miss. Pleasure to help a pretty woman.’ He touched his cap and got back on the train, leaving me flushed with pleasure. I set off in the direction everyone else was moving.
The underground was a blur of noise, confusion and smell. I asked a dozen unhelpful people before an elderly lady put me on the right tracks for Liverpool Street. Once there, the train was easy to find, as was my seat in another first class compartment, empty this time.
A man met me at Colchester station with one of the school’s cars. He was a little older than I. Polite and helpful, he put my case in the boot, opened the car door for me and commented on the heat. ‘Good journey?’
‘My first on a train. I’m not sure whether it was good or bad, to be honest. But I’m here, anyway.’
He seemed a bit surprised and then remembered to introduce himself, again, and shook my hand. ‘Do I call you Miss Heacham or Faith?’
‘Faith, I think, Simon. Heacham’s a rapist so I don’t want to be known by his name.’
He seemed even more surprised and said nothing as we drove out of Colchester. I wound down the window and let the wind cool me. The air seemed fresher after London and the train. ‘Is it far?’
‘Ten miles or so. You’ll be sharing with one of the other young ladies, will that be okay?’
‘I expect so. It’s not a double bed is it?’
‘Oh, no! Singles. I know it’s the seventies but, well, you know, we do draw the line somewhere.’
‘Good. I’d hate to have a stranger in bed. Imagine all that skin touching as you turned over in the night. Ugh.’
He was silent again and I got the impression I’d shocked him.
The town quickly gave way to soft rolling countryside with a few very low hills and gentle inclines. Lots of trees lined the narrow winding road but I saw few sheep and not many cattle. Most of the fields seemed to be full of wheat and barley, with an occasional acid yellow patch of a crop I hadn’t seen before.
‘What’s that yellow stuff?’
‘Pretty isn’t it? Rape.’ He coughed. ‘Odd name for a plant.’
‘I think it’s horrible. Is that what I can smell?’
‘Pungent, isn’t it? But I do like the brightness.’
‘I prefer meadow flowers and the golden yellow of buttercups.’
‘A poet, eh?’
I assumed he was mocking me. ‘Is the course difficult?’
‘Depends how much practice you’ve had.’
‘Never driven at all?’
‘Never even been inside a car until April this year.’
‘You’re having me on.’
‘I’m not!’
‘Sorry. I didn’t mean to ... you’re serious? You are! Well, good luck, Faith. I hope you’re a quick learner.’
We drove on in silence again for a while.
‘Was there only me to be picked up?’
‘Most of the others are coming on later trains or being driven to the school by friends or relations. You’ve travelled the furthest. You’re our first pupil from Yorkshire, Faith.’ He made me feel as if I was special to them in some way.
We passed through flat green countryside, parched by the hot sun and lack of rain and I found myself homesick already for the fells and open heights, the melancholy warbling of curlews, the gentle moaning of sheep.
Suddenly he turned off the road into a field, along a narrow concrete track. There were no buildings in sight and I wondered where we were heading as the track opened onto a wide concrete strip, which seemed to vanish into the haze both left and right.
‘Up to you, Faith, and I shouldn’t really do this, but if you’ve never been behind the wheel before, now’s your chance for a quick trial.’
‘Am I allowed to drive here?’
‘Got your provisional licence with you?’
I nodded.
‘It’s an old airfield. We use it for the early lessons. Want a go?’
It was a disaster. I crunched the gears, stalled the engine, couldn’t drive in a straight line. I was nearly in tears after that first half hour.
‘Excellent. You’ve the makings of a good driver. Natural ability.’
I stared at him in disbelief.
‘I’m serious. I’d be very surprised if you didn’t do very well indeed on this course. Your co-ordination’s good, your spatial awareness is exceptional for a woman; no sexual sleight intended, only women don’t perceive in the same way as men, you know. Your reactions are spot on. I think we’d be expecting a bit much of you to actually pass your test, of course, but you’ll be ready after a few more lessons when you’ve finished here.’
‘Oh, I have to pass. My boss is paying for me.’
‘I’m not surprised, lucky bugger.’
I let that pass. He got back behind the wheel and drove us off the airfield. ‘Not a word, please, Faith. I really shouldn’t have done that.’
‘Why did you?’
He turned and looked at me quizzically. ‘I…look, I hope you won’t get me wrong, but you’re very pretty and I was just trying to help. Okay?’
‘Thank you. Would you have helped me if I wasn’t pretty?’
‘I… Christ, Faith. What a question.’
‘Well, would you?’
‘Probably not.’
‘I see.’
‘Look, I don’t expect you to …well, you know.’
‘Don’t expect me to what?’
‘Come on; girl like you, you must get men trying it on all the time.’
The phrase was new to me but I suddenly grasped what the conversation was all about. ‘Oh, you mean sex. I see. Well, I won’t be letting you have sex with me, if that’s what you were expecting.’
‘Are you always so… so direct?’
‘Leigh says I’m too honest for my own good. So does Mum.’
‘Leigh’s your boyfriend?’
‘Good Heavens, no. I don’t have a boyfriend.’
‘And I always thought Yorkshiremen were supposed to know a good thing when they saw it.’
‘It’s not that they don’t try. I’m just not interested in anyone but Leigh.’
‘But he’s not interested in you?’
‘Not as long as my sister’s giving him all the sex he wants. But, in time, he’ll probably get fed up of her. That’s what Ma says, anyway. And Old Hodge says Leigh doesn’t know what he’s missing and one day he’ll wake up and discover me. I love him, so I can wait.’
‘God, if he’s not interested in you, what’s your sister like?’
‘You really shouldn’t blaspheme, you know. Netta’s very beautiful and she’s had sex with so many men she knows how to please them. That’s what Mum and Leigh say, anyway. She certainly knows what to do to make a penis stand erect, by all accounts. And Leigh says her vagina’s always moist and ready. I think sex is for marriage, though, don’t you?’
He turned to look at me, his eyes wide with wonder and then he suddenly remembered he was driving and had to turn the steering wheel quickly to avoid hitting a tree.
‘Far out.’ He was silent for the rest of the journey but he kept turning to glance at me as if I was some sort of creature he’d never seen before. I spent the time looking at the countryside.
The school was in a large country house with beautiful gardens and an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts and something that turned out to be a croquet lawn.
My roommate, seven years my senior, spread jars and bottles over the surface of the dressing table and was surprised I had no make up with me. ‘Got to look your best for the examiner, you know. Short skirt, bit of cleavage, winning smile, you can’t fail.’
‘You don’t think they test you on your driving, then?’
Shirley’s smile was condescending. ‘Really are from the sticks, dear, aren’t you? No man can resist a sexy woman, unless he’s queer, of course. Pushovers, the lot of them.’
Dress was informal and I was sticky after travelling all day. I showered before changing into a light summery dress. She watched me curiously as I left the bathroom and brushed my hair before I slipped my clothes on.
‘I’d have bet money on you being shy, but you don’t mind wandering about in the nuddy, do you?’
‘You know, without your clothes.’
‘Oh. Should I? Is it wrong? I mean, there are no men to see, are there?’
‘Interesting. Come on then, my belly thinks my throat’s been cut.’
‘Am I all right wearing this?’
‘Up to you, dear. If I had boobs and a bum like yours, I’d wear as little as I could get away with. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, I say.’
There were a dozen of us on the course. Four women and eight men. Most were between twenty and thirty but a couple of the men were older. We sat at a large table with the instructors, again more men than women.
After Ma’s cooking, the food seemed no more than okay to me. It certainly wasn’t as wonderful as Shirley seemed to think. Wine and beer were served in the evenings, but no alcohol was available during the day.
They issued us with the Highway Code and I said nothing about my well-thumbed copy lying in my bag. We were given a programme for the following day and then, full of food and wine, they gave us a quick written quiz to test what we already knew about the rules of driving.
‘The winner, with not a single question wrong, is… Faith! Well done, Faith.’
I had to walk up and collect a prize; a pair of sunglasses for driving. I’d never won anything before, never even entered any sort of contest, and it felt wonderful to collect my prize and gain the praise and respect of the tutors.
‘There’s your challenge, then. See who can beat Faith in the quiz on Thursday night, the night before you’ll all be taking your tests!’
We were told it would be an early and challenging start to the day; early to bed was the recommendation.
‘Do you always do as you’re told, Faith?’ Shirley came up at last, when I was already in bed and falling asleep.
I just nodded, hoping she’d go to bed herself and let me sleep. I was tired and wanted to be fresh for the morning.
‘Mind if I smoke?’
‘If you must.’
‘God! Don’t you have any vices?’ She lit up a pale pink cigarette, opened the window, and puffed out a long stream of slightly perfumed smoke.
‘Apparently, my biggest vice is that I tell the truth.’
‘Dangerous. No, I mean, really?’
I obviously wasn’t going to be allowed to sleep just yet. I sat up in bed and shrugged. She stared at me and then turned away.
‘Sleep starkers, too?’
‘Of course.’
‘You one of that nuddy lot?’
‘I don’t think so. I don’t know what you mean by nuddy lot.’
‘Christ, Faith. Nudists, naturists, I think they are.’
‘Oh. No, I’m not. Why would anyone wear clothes in bed in this heat?’
‘Well, I mean, I …yeah, good question. Why would you, especially, as you say, in hot weather like this? To hell with it. I think I’ll join you.’
For an awful moment, I thought she was actually going to get into bed with me but she just meant she would also sleep naked.
I yawned. ‘I’m very tired.’
‘Sorry, Faith, forgot you’ve been travelling all day. Tell you what, though, you’ve made a killing down there with the boys. They’re drawing lots to decide who gets to teach you.’
‘Come off it, Faith, we’re girls together. No need to play the coy one with me…Christ! You really don’t know, do you?’ She started to get undressed as she spoke, flicking ash from her cigarette all over the floor and leaving her clothes where they fell.
‘Don’t know what?’
‘You’ll be telling me next you’re a virgin.’
She seemed to feel awkward, naked, so I looked away.
‘I wasn’t actually planning on telling you, Shirley. Does it matter?’
She came to stand beside my bed. ‘Look at me, Faith.’
I turned.
‘What do you see?’
I shrugged. ‘A pretty young woman. What am I supposed to see?’
She smiled at that. ‘Am I pretty?’
‘I think so. Leigh would say you could afford to lose a bit of weight and firm your muscles a bit, but he’s a man, and a photographer at that.’
‘Leigh. Would he, now?’
‘Oh, he likes his women perfect. I take no notice of him, to tell you the truth. His ideals are beyond the realms of normal, natural women. I think my younger sister, Netta, gets about as close as is possible. He certainly takes a lot of photographs of her, anyway.’
‘Screws her, as well, does he?’
‘All the time. It amazes me where they find the energy. But then Leigh likes his women. On his birthday, a few weeks ago, he had sex with Abby, Netta, ZoĆ« and my Mother. I wish he’d just settle down a bit and make up his mind what he wants.’
She looked at me in disbelief. ‘This guy you work for is shagging half the neighbourhood and you work for him but you’re still a virgin? What sort of deal is that?’
I shrugged. ‘I’m ever so tired, Shirley. Do you mind if we go to sleep now?’
‘Sleep. She wants to go to sleep just after she tells me she works for a major stud who has let her stay a virgin. Christ, Faith, if he hasn’t shagged you and you’re that bloody sexy, what are these other women like? They must be bloody amazing.’
‘Well, Leigh obviously likes them and they seem to like him. No one ever complains anyway. But I think it’s something you should save until you’re married, don’t you?’
‘Faith, you’re something else. Just one more question. Is this stud of yours an attractive guy? I mean what does he look like?’
I sighed and yawned and then pictured Leigh so I could describe him, and found myself smiling with affection at the picture. ‘He’s tall, over six foot. Shoulder length dark brown hair that’s slightly wavy. The most amazing dark brown eyes that just look at you as if you’re the only person in the room. He has a full beard, which he keeps short and away from his lips, which he kisses with in a way that makes me tingle all over. He’s got lovely white even teeth and he’s well built without being too muscular, you know? His penis is a bit bigger than average but Mum says it’s not huge and she and Netta both say he knows how to use it. I’ve never seen it erect, of course, but it’s bigger when it’s flaccid than Mervyn’s is when his is erect. Mind you, he’s always playing with his, so I’ve never seen his flaccid. Of course, Mervyn only needs a picture of a woman to make his go stiff but Leigh says it takes more than that to get him excited. He’s with naked women so much, often without his own clothes, I suppose it’s a good job he isn’t that easily aroused. He’s got the most amazing bottom; I just want to put my hands on it and hold him close to me all the time. Oh, I’m sorry. Forget I said that.’
She stared at me in utter disbelief for a few moments. ‘Jesus, Faith! You’re obviously in love with this hunk but you haven’t had sex with him? But you’re clearly not a lesbian.’
‘I don’t think I am. A man on the train said I was. What is it?’
‘You really don’t know, do you?’
I shook my head. It seemed this could be important.
‘Do you fancy other women?’
I thought about it. I knew what she meant by the term but I had no personal experience of the feeling she meant. ‘Am I right in thinking you’re talking about sexual attraction, Shirley?’
‘You can’t be for real. Christ! You are though, aren’t you? Yes, I mean sexual attraction.’
‘No. I only feel that for Leigh.’
‘So. You work for him. You love him. He’s gorgeous. You want to have sex with him. But you never have. Why?’
‘We’re not married.’
She stood there with her mouth open and gaped at me. Then she went to her bed, shaking her head in what seemed like utter confusion. ‘I believe you, Faith. I don’t know why, but I do. By all means, sleep. Don’t worry about me lying here panting as I fantasize about this Leigh guy.’
‘Good night.’ I pulled the cover over me.
‘Jesus! Far out!’
Her shock amused as much as it puzzled me but I was tired and sank slowly into peaceful sleep with the sound of her soft gasping fading into the background.


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