I thought it was time to catch my breath, after all the frenetic activity surrounding the assault on Maisie Stewart and the resulting, and as it turned out unnecessary, scheming and intrigue in attaining her new lodgings.
Not to mention a long boozy lunch and the associated gratuitous sex and I have to say I was completely knackered and I was understandably looking forward to a few days of nothing very much at all before a final night of passion with Georgia prior to her return to University.
Well you know what they say about “best laid plans”.
Things began to go wrong at the break of day when a crack of thunder almost blew me out of bed and then the storm rumbled round for hours after that, making sleep nearly impossible, I would just drift off and then CRASH, then things would calm down and then CRASH.
I gave up after the 9th or 10th time and went downstairs for coffee.
Then alas within the first hour of day one of my well-earned respite, my publisher, gay Gordon, started hassling me for the then overdue chapters.
Now before anyone takes umbrage over the gay Gordon remark I should explain that we call him that for two reasons, firstly his name is Gordon, and secondly he’s gay.
There are no homophobic undertones he refers to himself by that name and everyone does the same, so now that’s been straightened out we can move on.
My few days of R&R now had to be spent on the three overdue chapters, but having said that, it wasn’t as bad as I first thought and a lot better than it might otherwise have been.
The first chapter was virtually finished just required some minor editing; the second was completely rafted and just needed tidying up.
The third one was at the time un-started but I was able to race through it as I merely wrote loosely around my recent sexual exchanges with Maisie and Victoria and then the chapter culminated with a big red haired gardener being rogered over her wheelbarrow, wishful thinking on my part there I have to confess.
It still required me to burn the midnight oil somewhat but by the end of the day I had fulfilled my obligation to Gordon and I emailed the finished chapters to the publishers and took to my bed not expecting to emerge from it until lunchtime.
The next morning at 9.30 I was rudely awakened from my slumber, and not in a good way, and not this time by a thunderstorm but by the persistent ringing of my mobile phone.
I reached a hand out from beneath the duvet and grabbed the phone
“Hello” I said sleepily
I was snapped awake by the sound of unrestrained tears coming from a distraught Georgia.
Once I had calmed her down sufficiently that she could speak and having determined no one had died I quickly washed and dressed and went out into the rainy morning and trudged the relatively short distance to her house.
She was still in tears when I arrived; though much calmer.
Her parents were both at work so she had to unload it all on me.
It took me about half an hour of soothing words to get her to the point where she could tell me what was wrong without bursting into tears again.
Georgia was returning to the University at Roehampton at the weekend in time for her final year although her first lecture was still two weeks away.
She had worked her socks off all summer at the golf club in order to earn enough to enable her not to need to get another job in Roehampton.
Georgia already had a little job in the University Library, which although it didn’t pay well it fitted in perfectly with her studies, but she didn’t want to have to take another job as well.
Georgia had calculated that with all the shifts she had done, on top of her future earnings from the library added to the meagre savings she had left from the previous year, she had sufficient to meet her needs and leave her enough to treat herself to a new laptop.
So early that morning she had gone to the golf club to pick up her final pay cheque of the summer, only to find that the odious Miss Snipe had under paid her to the sum of £300.
Furthermore, even though it was Snipes mistake, she refused to make reparation before the next payment run.
Georgia believed she had done it intentionally, I thought she may be right but didn’t say so.
All of this meant though that after all the other out goings she wasn’t going to have enough to fund her new laptop until she was next home.
She really wanted that particular laptop but she said that she would just have to get something cheaper and gave a weak smile.
I managed to persuade her not to settle for less than she really wanted and just soldier on with what she had for a couple more months and as every cloud had a silver lining by the time she was ready to buy it would be at an even better price.
Georgia punched me for my sunny optimism but seemed happier with life.
I then offered to go into town with her and keep her company while she did her last minute shopping.
She gave me a hug and a kiss and said
“No that’s ok, I’m meeting mum for lunch”
When I left her at the door she was altogether happier, I on the other hand was furious and the Snipe would get what was coming to her.
In the meantime I walked briskly, through the now pouring rain, to the station and got the first train into Kiddingstone, I knew I could get there and back before Georgia had even left the village.
The reason for my sojourn was to purchase her new laptop, printer and accessories as a going away present.
Georgia’s parents would have done the same thing if they could have afforded it.
But they couldn’t, They were nice hard working people and had no great wealth but considered themselves rich beyond measure because of what they did have, their girls.
I did not wish to step on their toes and steal their limelight so I planned that we would present it as a joint gift.
We were all going out for a meal that evening to a gastro pub in Tollington and as we were meeting first at the Gregory’s we could present it to her before we left for the restaurant.
I got a taxi back to the village, just to make sure I didn’t bump into Georgie, and I called her dad Geoff from the back of the cab, I span him a line about getting it at a knock down price through a friend who used his staff discount.
I think he wanted to believe me more than actually believing me but he was pleased his daughter was getting her laptop.
He repeatedly insisted on paying something towards it and I repeatedly declined his offer and in the end we compromised.
He would let me pay for the gift if I let him and Laura take Georgia back to Uni at the weekend.
We verbally shook on the deal.
I knew Georgia wouldn’t mind as we had already discussed the possibility.
Her parents struggled at times to reconcile themselves with the changing nature of their relationship,
Geoffrey in particular was feeling more than a little redundant.
It was undoubtedly the way of the world but it was hard for a father to take in.
Georgia and I had no intention of exacerbating the situation.
That evening I walked through the rain carrying the gifts in black sacks to keep them dry, I arrived at the Gregory household at the allotted time and was met by Geoff who was standing by the open garage door.
This allowed us to smuggle Georgia’s gift into the house unseen.
Laura was in the kitchen and indicated the coast was clear so I stepped in and placed the packages onto the counter.
As soon as my hands were free Laura kissed my cheek and hugged my tightly.
“Thank you Simon” she said, filling up
I wasn’t sure what exactly she was thanking me for.
Was it for buying the laptop or letting them take Georgia to Roehampton or for making their daughter happy.
It could have been any or all of the above.
I patted her on the back and she released her grip and turned away to wipe her eyes.
I did the manly thing and shook hands with Geoffrey.
A few minutes later Georgia came into the kitchen, looking as lovely as ever, to find the three of us standing in close order on one side of the room.
“Hello darling” she said as she walked over and kissed me
“I didn’t know you were here, I didn’t hear the door bell”
Then she realised something was amiss
“Why are you all huddled over here?” she said suspiciously and tried to peer behind us.
“Well there is something we want to do before we leave for the restaurant” Geoffrey said falteringly
“Simon? Would you like to do the honours?”
“No Geoffrey you have the floor, the honour is yours” I replied rather pompously.
“Well we know how disappointed you were this morning and also because we think you deserve it” Geoff said proudly
“So we got you this as a going away present”
And with military precision and not unlike the red sea, we parted to reveal the brightly wrapped parcels.
“What’s all this?” she said
“Open them and you’ll find out” I said
So she set about the task and as she ripped off the paper her eyes widened with delight and she smiled broadly
“You shouldn’t have,” she said with a frown that lasted a nano second and then she was smiling again.
Geoffrey and Laura were hugging as they watched their daughter’s joy, no doubt remembering long passed moments from her childhood.
Then Georgia hugged and kissed her parents and when she turned to me I was expecting the same but instead she poked me, hard.
“As for you” she said sternly and poked me again “all that tosh you spouted, “every cloud has a silver lining””
“And all the time”
“You were planning this”
“Pretty much” I confirmed
Then I got my hug and kiss
“I love you,” she said
“Steady” I said you’ll make me blush
“I love you too”
That kind of set the tone for the rest of the evening and we had a lovely time.
Midway through the evening while her mum was in the loo and Geoff had gone in search of the wine waiter I told her that her mum and dad would be taking her back to University and why I thought it was a good idea.
She leant over a kissed me moistly on the lips
“I really do love you Simon Fisher,” she said
“And I really do love you too” I replied
“I hope so” I think she said, She was a little drunk and slurred a bit so I wasn’t sure.
I was going to ask her to say it again but just at that moment her parents returned to the table and the moment was gone and it was such a great evening that I didn’t think of it again.
The next day when I finally arose, I walked downstairs to find Mrs Beamish hard at work with a j-cloth.
I should point out that Mrs. Beamish is my cleaner and not an exotic dancer.
“Morning Beryl” I said
I had forgotten it was cleaning day, I usually made myself scarce when Mrs Beamish was about.
“I think you’ll find it’s nearer the afternoon Mr. Fisher” she corrected me.
She was a surly old biddy but she was a marvellous cleaner and under absolutely no circumstances could she be considered sexually attractive thus negating any temptation.
She had the knack of making me feel like I was in the way and
I found her to be incredibly intimidating so I made myself a coffee and made my way to my study.
To the echoes of “I aint done in there yet”
I closed the door and switched on the computer.
I opened email and set about the oldest unread mail first.
There was one from gay Gordon thanking me for all my hard work and stating how much he enjoyed the overdue chapters.
He couldn’t resist a jibe about my tardiness.
After checking the rest there were no others of interest so I finished my coffee and decided after a quick shower I would escape the house while Beryl Beamish went about her duties.
I walked over to my usual refuge namely the golf club; it was a grey overcast day with a chill wind keeping the rain away albeit temporary, so the terrace was deserted.
I went inside instead and that wasn’t much better, a cluster of serious drinkers by the bar and a smattering of those “dressed to play” though never actually do.
I did catch sight of Miss Snipe who peered at me over her specs and seeing I was not enamoured with her she bolted for the safety of her office.
It appeared I was between a rock and a hard place, a slow boring death at the club or home with Beryl.
So I had just resolved to take myself off for a walk round the village before the rain returned when…
“Simon darling” a voice said in familiar tones
I turned round to see the lovely Pandora dressed up to the nines.
She looked stunning in a peach coloured suit and matching accessories, as usual she was stylishly coordinated from hat to shoes.
“Hello Pandy” I said, “where are you off to?”
“My sisters wedding” she said raising her eyebrows “number four”
“Well you look gorgeous as usual,” I said as I gave her an appraising gaze. “Immaculately accessorised”
“Everything matching?” I asked raising an eyebrow
“Everything darling” she replied “as usual”
“So what are you doing here?”
“I do have a rather convoluted tale of the why’s and wherefores, but to tell the truth I came to show off the outfit”
And she smiled in that cute way she has where her nose wrinkles.
“And the place is deserted” she said and shrugged “what about you?”
“I was looking for someone to play with,” I said
“And we all know what kind of game you like to play” she said cheekily
“Well you should know better than most” I retorted and Pandora blushed.
“Do you want to play on Monday?” she asked
“Always” I replied
“I meant golf,” Pandora stated
“So did I” I lied
Anyway after I’d watched Pandora walk away towards the car park it started to rain so I decided to tough it out and go home and face the abominable Mrs Beamish.
But at the very last second I lost my nerve and headed into the village instead where I chanced upon Reverend Oliver.
“Good afternoon Katy” I said
“Hello Simon” she replied “What’s brought you out into the rain”
“I’m avoiding Beryl Beamish,” I said trying to keep a straight face, Katy gave an understanding nod
“The Conway sisters” she replied “its there turn to do the flowers” and she bowed her head with shame.
“I think we need to be fortified,” I said
“Cross Keys?” she suggested
“I thought you were barred from the keys for calling the landlord a godless heathen,” I queried
“A simple misunderstanding” she assured me “I’ve forgiven him”
Due to the inclement weather the pub was even more deserted than the golf club so we sat and unloaded our burdens on each other.
I detailed my constantly thwarted plans for a peaceful few days while she talked about certain sections of the congregation had still not really accepted her.
Take make her feel better I revealed some unsavoury gossip about her protagonists which made her feel better and unearthed a few nuggets that I didn’t know.
Katy then proceeded to reveal more and more about herself and the community with every drink, but the more she drank the more she tended to ramble, she spoke a lot about time and sands running through her fingers and choices and not knowing.
I couldn’t really follow her train of thought but the drink wasn’t helping and as neither of us had eaten since breakfast the beer took its toll very quickly and two hours later we were fortified as newts and I had to steer her through the pouring rain to the vicarage.
Once we reached her front door I had to wedge her against the wall while I opened the door, unfortunately as the door swung open she fell into the hall.
I instinctively reached out and grabbed her in an effort to prevent her from hurting herself.
Unfortunately in trying to avoid grabbing anything intimate I only succeeded in falling to the floor before she did, I landed on my back and she landed on top of me.
“You know Simon if I wasn’t the vicar I’d shag you” she slurred before planting an almost Labrador like kiss on my mouth.
“And if I wasn’t a gentleman” I said after extricating myself from her embrace “I’d let you”
Then I struggled to my feet and helped Katy to do the same before steering her through the hall and into her sitting room.
“But you’re not a gentleman” she said as I plopped her into an armchair “so there’s nothing stopping you”
She grabbed me by the lapels and planted another kiss on my mouth, much more controlled and unhurried.
I wondered as I was starting to reciprocate if she thought that having sex with a philanderer like me was sin free.
Making me like a vegetable in a slimmer’s diet plan.
I broke away from her embrace again.
“But you are the vicar” I replied and kissed her on the forehead and then I left.
I have to admit that as I made the short walk home feeling rather proud of myself, after all she had offered it to me on a plate and I had turned it down, and not because I didn’t fancy her.
Katie Oliver was not an unattractive woman my any measure, with a warm open manner, a willowy thirty something, nearer to forty than not, with shoulder length brunette hair, intelligent green laughing eyes and a broad toothy smile altogether a very pleasant demeanour.
The Reverend ticked a lot of boxes for me it has to be said, maybe I was growing a spine or I at the very least getting a conscience.
I did not kid myself that I possessed any high principles, I did hold certain standards and preferences but they were at best flexible.
I had always, despite my penchant for all things crumpet, tried to avoid fishing in someone else’s pond, no matter how attractive the body of water might be, but I had abandoned that after failing to meet my own exceptionally low standards and repeated my failures on numerous times since.
So if I did possess any scruples I have shown by my behaviour that they can be overcome, as my many peccadilloes can testify to.
I don’t know why I didn’t accept the Vicars invitation to canoodle, it certainly wasn’t as I have already said through a lack of attraction or even what she was wearing, I liked uniforms and outfits, and vestments certainly didn’t put me off.
I don’t even think it was because she was a Vicar although had she been in any other occupation I would probably have jumped her bones in a second.
I think it was probably a combination of the fact that she was a woman of the cloth, of my faith and of my church and was acting under the influence of two much beer on an empty stomach, which was completely out of character.
If offered again in the future I might not be so noble.
The whole prospect of shagging a Vicar, in costume, had left me quite aroused, something for Georgia to benefit from later.
Thankfully when I got home Beamish had left and I slept away the afternoon on my sofa.