If you’ve come this far, you’re obviously reading Breaking Faith. We’re close to the denouement, moving towards the climax now. So, continue to enjoy the ride.
For those who haven’t been following the free read, 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: http://stuartaken.blogspot.com/2012/01/read-free-my-novel-here.html
Read, enjoy, invite your friends along. As an author, I want people to read my writing, simple as that.
Saturday 11th September
‘Bastards! Fucking, shitty bastards!’
I looked up, squinting in the bright sunshine streaming through the open window, to find Netta, hands on hips, staring down at us. Faith was still sleeping in my arms and I smiled at the pleasant pressure of her body against mine.
‘What’s so fucking funny?’
Naked, of course, her posture of jealousy threw her into a caricature of anger that held more amusement than alarm for me. My smile of pleasure at Faith’s slowly stirring presence, transformed into a smirk of scornful humour at Netta’s unjustified indignation. I struggled to prevent a laugh escaping me.
‘You fucking shit!’ She stomped from the room.
I felt Faith slowly rousing in my arms, stroked the hair off her face and kissed her lovely mouth until she struggled to free herself so she could yawn.
‘Sorry, not very romantic, but I had to do that.’
I smiled at her. From beyond our private world, I heard Netta leave the house in her usual state of dudgeon and sighed my relief. I could make love with Faith confident that Netta wouldn’t disturb us.
I eased away the cover we must have drawn across us in the night. ‘I was just thinking of making love with you again. I’ve never thought of it that way before. It’s always been just sex. With you, it’s definitely love. In a sense, we both lost our virginity last night. You taught me as much as I taught you.’
‘Teach me more. Did I hear Netta?’
‘She’s, er, gone off.’
‘You seem disappointed.’
‘Only that I missed her discovery of us. Is that wicked?’
I laughed. ‘Considering the way she’s treated you, I think it’s generous. She’ll be back when she’s hungry. We’ll help her pack then.’
‘He’ll not touch her after our visit. Netta’s safe. And she’s taken up enough of our time; I want to see what else we can discover about each other. But first, I want to look at you as I’ve never looked at you before.’
She smiled up at me, stretched, raising her arms over her head, and then relaxed with her hands under her head and her legs slightly apart. It was an invitation I couldn’t ignore and one I took to heart. I realized, as I took in her shape and form, I was looking at her in a way entirely different from my normal appraisal of a woman. No longer was I searching for imperfections that might render her unsuitable for modelling. No longer was I viewing a lovely body as a lovely body. This was Faith. I was looking at Faith. I was looking at the woman I loved and I understood comparisons were not only invalid but pointless and stupid. No other woman would ever look as good to me because no other woman was Faith.
Learning that lesson was extraordinarily easy. At that moment, I was interested only in her and the way she looked to me.
‘It’s unfair; the closer I move to you, to kiss your beautiful skin, the less of you I can see. I want all of you all the time. Your look, your touch, your smell, your taste, your feel, your laughter and your love.’
‘You have as much of me as there is, Leigh. You have all of me.’
As I gazed and touched, and tasted her, I was readily aroused. I lay on my back and discovered she needed little instruction, understanding she was in control.
We caught our breath and slowly came down from the mountain. My hands palmed her back from shoulders to thighs, tracing her contours and marvelling at the smoothness of her skin.
‘I begin to understand.’
I waited for expansion but she said no more, only breathed softly in my ear as her face lay on the pillow beside my head. I wanted to remain that way with her forever and it was she who made the move to separate us at last, sighing heavily.
‘Much as I would love to stay with you like this, Leigh, I’ve a long journey. I’ll have to be off straight after breakfast if I’m to be on time.’
‘You’re not going on holiday alone after this?’
She was already standing at the bedside and bent to kiss the tip of my nose. ‘Of course I am, silly. I know now, without any doubt, I love you. I know you think you love me. I still need to understand who and what I am and where I fit into the world. You need to decide whether you’re ready for me, to have me as your only love. Because, Leigh, I won’t share you with any other woman.’
‘But I love you, Faith.’
‘If you do love me, you’ll wait for my return and then we’ll be together for the rest of our lives. If you only think you love me, Netta will return to your bed and keep you company during my absence. When I come back, I’ll move out of Longhouse and leave you to it. I can love you only if you’re mine alone, Leigh. I’m sorry, but that’s how it is. And, once I’ve fulfilled Dad’s wishes, I’ll be as faithful to you as you must be to me.’
She took my face in her hands and looked down at me with such tenderness, I melted. ‘You read his Will. Dad said I should try several but one other will do and then I’m yours forever. I think that’s fair, bearing in mind your extensive sampling, don’t you?’
How could I argue? I’d had hundreds of girls. I had no right to protest at her trying one other man. But how could I let the woman I loved have sex with some stranger? ‘Who have you got in mind?’
‘Oh, I’ve no idea, Leigh. I’m sure I’ll find someone willing enough, in view of all the offers I’ve had before. Anyway, I must shower or I’ll be late.’
And she was gone. I sat for a moment stunned by the whole situation. Usually I was in charge, or at least felt as if I was. Now, this young woman, whose virginity I’d claimed only that night, had taken over and was telling me what was going to happen. I went into the bathroom intent on showing her who was in charge in this new relationship and, much to my embarrassment, found her flushing the toilet.
She raised an eyebrow. ‘I don’t in the least mind you watching me shower, or sharing it with me, Leigh. But I’d prefer to use the toilet alone, if you don’t mind.’
‘Sorry, I just didn’t think. I wanted to … God, but you’re beautiful Faith. Please don’t go.’
She turned and got on with her shower. ‘We’ve been through that, Leigh, and you know I’ve got to go. It’s only two weeks. You’ll see; it’ll fly by. Give you time to catch up on some of that work you’ve let build up during your obsessive coupling with Netta. I know you’ll miss me. I’ll miss you. I’ve found something wonderful with you during the night and I want more. I don’t actually want to leave you, Leigh, but I must, and it must be now. My grieving and healing started last night but it isn’t over and I’d rather do the rest of my weeping in private. You know how hard it is for me to cry with others around, even you. Believe me; I do know what’s best for me on this occasion.’
I watched her wash, enjoying her open, uninhibited display that owed nothing to exhibitionism and everything to trust. It seemed that now we’d made love, all her inhibitions about being naked with me became irrelevant. I felt hugely privileged to be the one on whom she bestowed this trust but I was deeply concerned about her plan to let some other man invade her.
I knew it was irrational and even unfair, but I couldn’t let her share herself with some other man now that I loved her. I’d been indifferent to my women having sexual adventures with other men; had been supportive and encouraging, in fact. Even Netta, who’d been the closest to becoming what I might consider my woman, hadn’t worried me when she had sex with another. I knew my obsession with her was purely physical, my infatuation based solely on the wonderful combination of her physical appearance and her instinctive carnal abilities. Netta was made for sex, but not for love, and I knew I had no love for her. I’d grown fond of her, attached in a way I hadn’t known with any other woman, even Zizi. But there was no comparison with the way I felt about Faith. I wanted Faith, needed her and wanted to be with her, wanted to protect and provide for her, wanted her to have my children.
That thought stopped me in my tracks. I’d always considered children a nuisance to avoid at all costs. In any case, I’d always said I had no wish to bring a child into the world as it was with the perpetual fear of mass oblivion and the violent turmoil of modern society. But now I was considering the idea of a family with Faith. And the idea didn’t seem so bizarre, so awful, so undesirable after all.
‘Pass my towel, Leigh, please.’
I returned to the present and reached for her towel from the rail. She stood there dripping water down her skin and I wanted her again and she smiled at my obvious desire.
‘Me too. But I’m wet. And I do have to set off as soon as possible.’
I passed her the towel and watched her dry herself, loving every movement, every aspect of her. ‘Don’t go.’
She shook her head at me and stepped out of the bath, pulled the curtain across behind her to let it dry and draped her towel over the rail again.
I followed her into her bedroom and took her into my arms and she embraced me and kissed me and stroked my back. But, although she allowed me to put her on the bed and kiss her skin, she playfully smacked my bottom when I persisted. ‘Behave yourself. You know I want to make love again every bit as much as you do. Don’t make it more difficult than it already is. If I spend another hour or two with you in bed, I’ll be late arriving for the ferry and there’s no other way to the island. I’ll never find my cottage.’
So, I had at least learned that she was going to an island. It was something. I let her go and watched her cup her lovely breasts in a redundant softline bra in white. She stepped gracefully into scandalously brief panties, courtesy of Netta, and donned a sleeveless tie-dye tee shirt in greens and yellows before pulling on a light cotton maxi-skirt in a yellow-based paisley print. White ankle socks and flat suede driving shoes covered her feet last of all. She sat briefly before her dressing table mirror and brushed and combed her hair into a loose ponytail.
‘You look lovely in those clothes; get them off.’
She laughed and then looked down and stroked my erection, a soft pity in her eyes. ‘Will it hurt if you don’t use it?’
I could have lied but found I was incapable. ‘It’ll go once I stop thinking about how much I want you.’
‘I’ll make it up when I come back. Promise.’
I knew it was as much as I was going to get from her and I decided to give in and go along with her wishes. ‘I’ll get your breakfast whilst you pack the car. Go on.’
‘You’d better put something on first. It’s difficult enough leaving you as it is; when you’re as ready as that for me, it’s almost impossible.’
‘In that case, I’ll stay naked till you drive out of the gate.’
‘You’re a wicked, inconsiderate man, Leighton Longshaw, and I love you.’ She removed the pants I’d watched her don so gracefully and pushed me to the bed where she brought me quickly to a climax with remarkable skill and ease. I was still recovering as she parted from me.
‘Now I’ll have to wander about without knickers until I stop leaking. Wicked man.’
I was struck by the difference between the way she’d pleasured me entirely for myself and the way Netta had mounted me that first time and taken her own pleasure first.
‘Oh! My poor wren. This is what made me cry and what made you come to me in the night. I was fond of it before. Now it means so much more to me.’ She picked up the broken carving and brought it to show me.
‘I’ll get Old Hodge to mend it. It’ll be good as new, don’t worry.’
I made her breakfast as promised. She packed her car and then ate, watching me with mischief in her gorgeous eyes.
At the gate, she poked her head out of her car window and kissed me. ‘Be good and take care of yourself. I expect to return to no backlog and plenty of free time in which to make love with you.’ She handed me the morning’s post, which I could’ve sworn was on my desk when I’d gone down to make the breakfast. I frowned and she gave me a cheeky smile. ‘Might be a summons in there for me, but if I don’t know, I can’t be made to stay, can I? And no one knows where to reach me. See you in a fortnight, Leigh. I love you.’ And she was off down the lane, waving as she drove toward the road.
I watched her out of sight before I closed the gate and returned to the house to find Ma looking at me with an expression of glee.
I turned back to the direction Faith had taken and looked at the empty space. The two weeks till she returned would be long and lonely.
‘I love her, Ma.’
‘Obviously; taken long enough to realize it, haven’t you? Where’s she gone?’
Ma was intrigued. ‘I doubt he expected her to fall so completely for one man at the first attempt, otherwise her dad was wise enough to know comparisons mean nowt. I hope she doesn’t get herself in bother with some kilted highlander, that’s all. If I’d known what she had planned, I’d not have hung on to this.’
From her apron pocket, she produced a brown envelope. It was the dreaded summons and Ma had had it for days. She looked a bit shame faced as she handed it to me. ‘I didn’t want her worried by even more anxiety. I was going to give her it just now but she was out that gate before I crossed the lawn.’
‘She was determined to escape that summons. Looks like she’s succeeded.’
‘I’m so pleased you’ve finally decided you’re made for each other, Leigh. I’ve been wanting you to marry that girl almost since the day you took her on.’
‘Well, you’ll have to wait a couple more weeks at least. God, I’m going to miss her.’
Ma looked suddenly anxious. ‘She’ll not be in trouble if she fails to attend the court will she, Leigh?’
‘Only for contempt, Ma. Just a couple of years inside. Nothing to worry about.’
Ma looked at me and I saw the anxiety grow sharply on her face.
‘Tell the truth, Ma, I’ve no idea what might happen. I doubt she’ll be in any bother when we explain she didn’t receive it. But I think we’d best try to let her know and then, if we can’t find her, let the court know this arrived too late.’
‘You know where she’s gone?’
‘No idea, except it’s a Scottish island. You?’
Ma shook her head. ‘Still, the travel agent’ll know.’
I hadn’t thought of that. ‘I’ll pop in on Monday. Good thinking, Ma.’ And I put that anxiety at the back of my mind. ‘Think I’ll have some breakfast, need something to replace that energy.’
‘Is yon hussy likely to join you?’
‘Unlikely, Ma. She did a runner when she caught Faith and I in flagrante delecto. No doubt, she’ll return later and attempt to show me what I’m missing. But I’m packing her bags after breakfast. She can go back to Matilda’s.’
‘Best of British, Leigh. It’ll not be easy parting company with that one.’
I knew. It was a task I was dreading, but I was determined to carry it through and, after breakfast, I carefully packed everything I could find that belonged to Netta and put the cases in the back of the car in readiness. I assumed she would be decent enough to travel home in whatever she’d slung on to walk the hills.
When she failed to arrive back for teatime, I began to be a little concerned. My anxiety became serious when she failed to show as darkness began to fall. I called Matilda and spent a long time persuading her that there was no need for her to come over.
‘I’ll let you know as soon as she returns. Now I know how a parent feels when a child goes missing. I don’t know whether I’ll spank her backside or hug her so tight she’ll not be able to breathe.’
‘Leave the spanking to me, Leigh. She might enjoy it too much from you.’
Later, I called the police to report her missing, just in case she’d fallen somewhere out there. The storm clouds had regrouped after the beautiful respite of the morning and the afternoon had seen some rain and a little distant thunder. The oppressiveness had returned by evening and the threat of a renewed storm was imminent. I thought of that little lass out on the hills, alone and probably frightened, and decided I’d better try to find her.
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