The day after the literary awards dinner and Doreen’s subsequent prize giving at Guildford railway station I woke up to find I was as stiff as a board and not in a good way.
Now I didn’t know what it was, having thought about it, it could have been travelling on draughty trains in the damp weather, it may have been the gymnastics with Doreen in the disabled loo.
I even wondered if it could have been the fact that I was approaching thirty.
I just didn’t know in fact the only thing I knew for sure was that whatever it was I didn’t like it.
Later that day I found out the answer to my query to my cost as it turned out that I had the flu.
So I returned to my bed and didn’t emerge again until Sunday I had even had to defer my training of the Smithson girl.
As it turned out she was blobby anyway.
When I arose early on Sunday morning I ate a very hearty breakfast before taking a long relaxing bath and having fed and cleansed my body I decided it was time to do the same with my soul and set off towards St Lucy’s.
I had only returned to the church family since I’d moved to the village.
Whatever the reason was I still don’t know for sure but something was reawakened in me and every five or six weeks I find myself standing at the back of St Lucy’s yodelling out “how great thou art” or “The Lord's my Shepherd”.
Since Easter it has increased to once a month and not just because the Vicar was a woman I might add, I had made two visits in August and that particular Sunday was the first visit in September.
I even got sucked in, and not in a good way, by some of the do-gooders of the parish to help out in varying capacities and despite my cynicism it was not easy to say no, so I didn’t.
One of the many activities I was involved with was a Soup kitchen in Kiddingstone feeding the homeless.
I don’t mind admitting I was shocked at how young and vulnerable many of them were and I couldn’t help thinking how easily Maisie could have been among their number.
Hopefully I had nipped that in the bud.
I hadn’t gone more than a few yards from the cottage when Judith Hunt emerged from her front gate.
“Hello Simon” she said brightly
“I haven’t seen you for a few days, have you been away?”
“I’ve been in bed” I replied
“Oh yes” Judith said with a raised eyebrow
“Oh dear” she said, “You poor dear, man flu was it?”
We both laughed
It was the first time I’d seen her on her own since the summer ball when I had to carry her home.
“I never got a chance to thank you,” she said
“You know very well what for” she said seriously
“But bless you for that”
She took me by the arm and we walked down the street
“Laurence has left” Judith said blandly
“I’m sorry,” I said though I was glad
“Don’t be” she said “it’s for the best”
“The boys threw him out you know” Judith announced proudly
“You can do better than him,” I said squeezing her hand “you deserve better than him”
Judith squeezed my hand back
Just then a voice called to us
“Wait for me”
We stopped and looked back to see Victoria Braithwaite hurrying after us
“Hello you two” she said, “are you going to Lucy’s?”
Victoria always refereed to the church as Lucy’s rather than St Lucy’s; she had done it ever since she was a small child.
“Yes” we said in unison
Victoria suddenly noticed Judith’s arm through mine and gave me a look.
“I have a spare arm,” I offered
“Well that’s ok then” and quickly took my arm.
As we cordially strolled, arm in arm towards the church we did elicit the occasional sideways glance
“You do know that you two will be the talk of the village?” I said
They both looked at me a little old fashioned
“You’ll be the two jezebels hanging off the arms of the local lothario”
We all laughed.
We were still laughing as we reached the door of the church
The Reverend Oliver was at the door as we approached doing the meet and greet.
She was a willowy thirty something, nearer to forty than not, with shoulder length brunette hair.
Not an unattractive woman my any measure, with a warm open manner, intelligent green laughing eyes and a broad toothy smile altogether a very pleasant demeanour.
“Aren’t you worried about your reputation?” she called
“No I have broad shoulders Vicar” I replied
“Not you, you are tarnished beyond all hope”, she said smiling
“I was speaking to your companions”
“That’s most unfair Vicar and only goes to show how misunderstood I am,” I said feigning injury
“I have merely made it my mission in life to save fallen women,
And I’m saving these two for later”
The Vicar laughed, Judith punched me on the arm and Victoria blushed and then we went inside.
It was a good service, short on sermonising and long on rejoicing, as usual the mix of hymns was a balance of the old and traditional with a sprinkling of the modern and happy clappy.
Katie Oliver always kept the sermon short and sweet and never ever over egged the pudding as a result I always left St Lucy’s feeling invigorated and refreshed, that day was no exception.
There was always a coffee and mingle at the end where those who wanted to could chat and catch up with members of the congregation, we all did the rounds and then said our goodbyes, if the truth be told I could have gone around again having been laid up for a few days I was in the mood to socialise.
So as Judith, Victoria and I were leaving I said,
"Do you two need to rush off?"
"I don’t have any plans" Victoria replied
"No nor me" said Judith
"How about lunch then? At the Cross Keys?" I suggested "my treat"
"I’m on" chirped Victoria
"Me too" Judith said brightly
Just then we arrived at the door where the Vicar was seeing the faithful out the door
"What's he up to now?" she said to my companions
"Lunch" said Victoria
"Why don’t you join us?" I added "At the Cross Keys"
she looked blank for a moment as she processed the invitation almost as if she had been asked a question in English but had to translate it into German before she could answer.
"You know what? I would love too,” she said beaming
"I will have to meet you there though"
"No problem" I said and the three of us made our way through the village to the pub.
We had a very pleasant lunch and the Vicar was an absolute delight very down to earth and very witty.
I had obviously met her many times at the church, various local events and things like the soup kitchen but it was the first time we had socialised.
Victoria had earlier pencilled the Vicar in as a sherry drinker and she was shocked to the core when Katie asked for a pint of Guinness and when she noticed the look on Victoria’s face she said
"They don’t do it in half’s"
Victoria nodded understandingly in response, and then the penny dropped and she laughed
At the end of an excellent lunch Katie reluctantly declined a third pint of the black stuff stating that she had to prepare for the evening service.
We walked through the gate in the pleasant afternoon sunshine of a September Sunday when the Vicar paused
"Thank you for the lunch Simon” she said “But thank you so much all of you for the companionship"
Then she added
"No one ever invites me to the pub, and I do like a drink and a chat”
”We will bear that in mind for the future Vicar” I said
Judith and Victoria heartily agreed
When we reached the Vicarage thanks were muttered and immediately dismissed, cheeks were kissed and blessings exchanged.
Promises of doing it again soon were made and would not be broken.
I think she had genuinely enjoyed it I know the rest of us had and I’m sure that Judith and Victoria didn’t envy the Vicar having to spend the rest of the afternoon in preparation of that evening’s service any more than I did.
When the rest of us would soon be dosing off in our respective garden chairs and sleeping off our lunches.
I safely delivered my luncheon companions to their respective front doors, where cheeks were kissed etcetera.
Then I made it to mine where I made myself a coffee, which I took out into the garden, I placed it on the patio table and it wobbled so much that half of it spilt,
That table had never been the same since I had deflowered Georgia on it I thought to myself.
Then I parked my bum on my sun lounger and promptly fell asleep.
When I woke up the sun was setting fast and there was a chill in the air so I repaired inside and poured myself a scotch.
I then switched on my computer and set about catching up with my correspondence.
I had just opened the last unread email when there was a persistent knocking on the front door.
Between my study and the front door I had managed to turn into both my mother and my father as I tutted and muttered all the way.
When I opened the door I found an agitated Judith standing there with her dog Jake.
“Hello” I said surprised “is everything ok”?
“Come quick” she said and headed down the path.
“Hold on then let me get something on my feet” I said and briefly went back inside.
“Right what’s the problem”? I said when I emerged and rushed after Judith who was now almost out the gate
“It’s Maisie Stewart” she said
“Why what’s happened”? I asked
“I found her sobbing in the street” Judith answered, “She’s inconsolable, and…”
“She’s been beaten” Judith said sombrely
“What?” I said incredulously “who?”
“Her alcoholic mother hit her,” she said “hard”
“Where is she?” I demanded
“In the old cart lane” she answered “but she won’t come out”
We hurried off towards the old cart lane that ran up the side of Judith’s cottage.
There in the gloom sitting on the verge was the quivering figure of Maisie, her knees were drawn up to her chin and she was sobbing uncontrollably.
“You wait here” I said to Judith and started up the lane.
“Hey Maisie” I called
She looked up and as soon as she saw me she was on her feet and bowling towards me at a rate of knots.
She was still crying as she launched her self at me
“Oh Simon” she cried
“It’s alright, I’ve got you now” I said and I just let her sob into my shoulder.
After about five minutes she had calmed down considerably.
“Ok” I said, “let’s have a look at you”
Maisie had a bruise on her forehead and her right eye was badly swollen, she had a fat lip and her nose was bloodied, Mrs Stewart had given her daughter a real pasting.
“Right lets get you home” I said with a smile and her whole body went rigid and panic covered her face and her head was shaking.
“No baby not that home” I reassured her “my home”
I could see the relief cross her face instantly.
I took out my hanky and gently wiped away the blood, snot and tears from her face.
“Come on then and we’ll get you cleaned up”
“Ok” she said managing a week smile
“Do you want me to come too Simon?” Judith asked quietly
“Yes please” I said as I put my arm around Maisie’s shoulder and steered her slowly down the lane, but by the time we had reached the road she was managing to walk under her own steam and she continued to do so for the short distance from there to my front door.
When we reached the front door I opened it and let Maisie in
“I’m sorry” she said
“For being a nuisance” she replied
“Don’t be daft” I said and kissed the top of her head
“Now go through to the kitchen”
I looked over my shoulder to where Judith was fussing around the dog
“I’ll follow you in when I’ve tied Jake up” she said
“Don’t be silly, bring him in” I insisted “he’s no trouble”
Judith nodded and she and Jake followed me into the house.
In the sanctuary of the kitchen as Judith made coffee I got to work cleaning Maisie up and attending to the cuts on her face,
“Does this happen often”?
“No” she answered with a sniffle “she’s normally too drunk to catch me”
“What happened today?” Judith asked
“I fell over and she caught me” and she sniffled again while Judith shook her head
“She’ll be really sorry tomorrow” Maisie said defensively
“So she ought to be” Judith muttered with disgust.
“Why brought it on?” I asked “why did she want to hit you?”
“She wanted my money” she said “for booze”
“And did she get it?” I asked
“No” she said “because I don’t have any”
Her answer puzzled me somewhat because since I had intervened in her life she was always working, either with Frankie the gardener or Shula at the corner shop, odd jobbing for Victoria or mucking out at the Carrington’s stables and countless other odds and ends Maisie Stewart was a regular cottage industry and she never went anywhere to spend her earnings.
“How come?” I asked
“Shula opened a post office account for me, all my money goes in there” then she laughed “I’ve got loads”
“I take it your mum didn’t laugh” Judith said
“No” she said and put her hand to her swollen eye.
“I told her I didn’t have any money so then she wanted me to give her the book”
“But you didn’t” I added
“No” she said, “because I don’t have it”
This time she noticed the puzzlement on my face and added
“I gave it to Miss Braithwaite to look after”
“Clever girl” I said proudly “I assume that didn’t go down well”
“No, she went absolutely berserk and that was when I took my chance and got away”
“Good for you” Judith said and patted her back, which made Maisie wince and Judith immediately apologized.
“I’m sorry luvvie, did I hurt you?”
I pulled her shirt up and I could see the bruises immediately and I resolved at that moment that she would not be living under her mother’s roof for one more night.
Judith and I exchanged a look.
No one deserved to be treated that way but especially not Maisie.
“How about a long hot bath?” I suggested
“Oh yes please” she answered brightly “with bubbles?”
“Yes with bubbles and whatever other lotions and potions your heart desires”
It was amazing to think that a simple thing like a bubble bath could illicit such joy and it was simply heartbreaking that this hard working and good natured girl had been denied such a simple pleasure due to the short comings of her alcoholic mother.
I led Maisie and Judith upstairs to my bedroom and the en suite with the large Maisie length bath.
Not that Maisie needed to be shown the way she had bathed in there before.
I left Judith to take charge while I sorted out some clean clothes for her out of a pile of Cousin Molly’s that had accumulated over a number of visits.
They were both very different shapes but the clothes would do for now and there was something strangely arousing about a girl wearing another girls knickers.
I gave Judith the clean towels and put the clothes on the bed.
Judith took the towels into Maisie and I went downstairs, Judith followed a few moments later.
In the kitchen we sat silent at the table and continued to drink our coffee.
Judith finally broke the silence
“That poor girl’s body is black and blue Simon”
“That woman should be locked up,” she continued
I nodded again
“So what are we going to do about it?” she said angrily “and don’t just nod your head”
I remained silent
“We have to do something”
“And we will” I said
“But what?” she pressed
“Well for one thing she’s not going back to her mothers”
“I agree,” she concurred “but where can she go, she can’t stay here”
“I know” I said “And I have a plan”
“I think you should let Victoria know what’s happened” I suggested, “She thinks a lot of Maisie”
“I know she does, but how will that help...” she began then as she slowly processed the input she continued to answerer her own query
“Yes I see what you’re getting at, that’s very clever, yes that could very well work”
Then she drained her coffee cup and stood up with a look of determination on her face
“Come on Jake” she called “We’re off on a mission”
It was another five minutes before Maisie reappeared looking altogether better.
The unburied sections of her face were pink and fresh; her hair was damp and tousled.
The clothes I sorted out for her fitted well enough though the trousers were a bit baggy around the bum.
I looked forward to telling Molly about how good those trousers looked on a smaller arse.
I imagine I might end up with a black eye if I did, the thought amused me though.
“Feeling a bit better now?” I asked her as i handed her a dressing gown
“Much” she said, “where’s Judith?”
“She’s gone to tell Victoria what happened” I said, “she worries about you, you know”
She went quiet
“Do you mind her knowing?” I asked
“Oh no I like Victoria she’s a really nice lady” she answered
Then she went quiet again
She just shrugged
“Come on, out with it”
“I don’t understand why you’re all so kind to me,” she said
“Isn’t it obvious?” I said, “It’s because we like you”
And I gave her a hug
“Now then” I said, “have you eaten anything?”
“Yes Shula fed me at the shop”
“Good, how about some hot chocolate then”
“Go and sit it the lounge then and I’ll bring it through”
“Put the TV on if you want”
While I was boiling some milk there was a knock at the door,
I took it off the heat and went to answer it.
When I opened it Judith and Victoria were standing there.
“How is the poor girl?” Victoria asked with real concern
“Much better” I answered, “come in”
We went into the kitchen and while I finished making the hot chocolate I chatted to the ladies.
“I was beginning to wonder where you’d got to”
“Well, we would have been quicker but Bruiser Braithwaite here wanted to go and smash Linda Stewarts face in”.
“Seriously?” I asked
Judith nodded and Victoria blushed
“I was a bit miffed” Victoria said
“I persuaded her that it probably wasn’t the best course of action” Judith relayed
“And that Maisie should be our main concern at the moment”
“Quite right” I said pouring the hot milk into the waiting mug.
“Ok lets go and see her, She’s in the lounge, go through” I said and followed on with the hot chocolate.
When we arrived in the lounge we found Maisie fast asleep on the sofa.
I put the mug down briefly while I picked up a flowered throw Judith took it from me and covered the sleeping figure.
I then picked up the hot chocolate and all three of us tiptoed from the room.
In the kitchen Judith said
“Well that solves the problem of where she’s going to sleep”
“For tonight at least” I added
Victoria appeared lost in thought and said nothing.
Judith and I just exchanged a look and smiled.
When the ladies had left I finished the hot chocolate and patted myself on the back for my efforts.
The vicar would have been proud of my labours on Maisie’s behalf she would consider her one of my good works.
It gave me a good feeling to know I was helping her and making a difference.
The vicar would have a very different view of me and my actions if she ever found out I had deflowered Maisie Stewart, I smiled to myself as I played that particular conversation in my head.
I still had a slightly sinful grin on my face as I put my head round the door of the lounge and found Maisie still sleeping soundly so I took myself off to bed just as the rain began to fall.
It wasn’t long before the thunder rolled in and lighting flashes lit the sky, I was lying on my side with my back to the door and had a great view through the open curtains.
I had been in bed for maybe an hour drifting in and out of sleep when I heard the bedroom door slowly open and then close again.
I didn’t think much of it as I wasn’t one hundred percent sure if I had dreamt it or not.
Then I felt the covers move and I could hear the soft rustle of the sheets and the warmth of another body, the warmth of a naked body, a soft young naked body.
I could feel Maisie’s breath on my neck and her stiff little nipples pressing in my back and the fluff of her freshly laundered bush brushing against my buttocks and I got the oh too familiar stirring in my loins.
This rousing of the beast was not as a result my “doing good works” for the community this was strictly lust brought on by the knowledge that I had a naked girl in my bed.
“Hello Maisie” I said, “what are you doing here?”
“You left me all alone” she said “and the thunder frightened me”
She was pressed so close against me it was like I had a second skin.
“And did the thunder frighten you so much that all your clothes fell off?” I enquired
“No I took those off because I was hot” she lied
“Hmm, I think you’re a fibber and you should go back to your own bed”
“But Simon” she protested as she slid her hand across my skin and grasped my semi aroused cock
“He doesn’t want me to go”
I rolled onto my back as she stroked me to a full hard on.
“I think you’re a cheeky little minx” I retorted, “Who really deserves a spank”
She kissed me on the mouth and l knew I had lost the inner battle with my conscience.
“But as you’re already black and blue I’ll have to let you ravish me instead, I can always spank you another day”
Then she kissed me again this time with true conviction and plenty of tongue while her hand tugged on my shaft.
“I don’t think she’ll wait for foreplay,” I thought to myself
“She’s well and truly ready to go”
My suspicion was she had already started the party long before she crawled into my bed.
It wasn’t long after that, a matter of moments no more, she let go of my shaft and climbed on to it
She let out a long satisfying sigh as her hot creamy cunny encased my cock.
Maisie sat up in the saddle rising and falling on me and was much more confident and self assured than the last time she mounted and she was eliciting pleasurable moans from me to match her own
I took hold of her hips as she slid her syrupy pussy up and down my shaft
Her hands were on my chest and I gripped her piston like hips as she diligently applied herself to the task.
And as she neared her climax her delicious moans grew in intensity and she slumped forward until her head was on my chest
She groaned through gritted teeth as her pelvis thrusted towards the abyss.
I let my hands caress her slender young form as I too approached the point of no return
When we reached the frantic final thrusts Maisie was like a wild beast lost in the moment so I gripped her arse firmly and hung on for dear life before she screamed out in orgasm as I pulsed out my ejaculate inside her hot quim.
She collapsed on top of me and panted like a well-exercised spaniel while I stayed inside as her tight young cunny held my cock captive in the heart of her.
After about five minutes she climbed off me with a sigh and collapsed on the bed next to me.
She lay there with her right hand on my thigh, took hold of it in mine and held it for a minute or two before raising it to my nose so I could sniff her fingers.
As soon as she realised what I was doing she snatched her hand away.
“Don’t” she said
“I thought you’d started without me honey,” I said
“And I was right”
“You’re horrible” she said and turned her back to me.
I think had it not been dark I would have seen her whole body turn scarlet.
“I couldn’t help it” Maisie said,
”I couldn’t stop myself”
“I’m sorry honey” I said, “I didn’t mean to embarrass you”
She shrugged her shoulders
“I think it’s really sexy,” I said truthfully
“Really?” she asked
“Really” I affirmed
“Now turn over so we can have a proper cuddle”
She did so and immediately buried her face in my neck and there we lay for an indeterminate time before making love again.