The weather was what started it. It was a fabulous day, hot, not a cloud in the sky. If it had been our usual wet Bank Holiday I wouldn't have been walking in the park and I wouldn't have met Nicholas. Nicky was a seven-year-old bundle of energy that did everything at full speed. When I first saw him he was flying through the air to land on the dry grass. Immediately he was crying his little eyes out because he'd fallen and dropped his ice-lolly. The ice-cream van was only ten yards away and I couldn't help smiling at him. I picked him up and looked round for a parent or friend. Whilst looking I asked him his name and started talking to him. Not seeing anybody around and also feeling a little guilty for smiling at his misfortune, I took him back to buy another ice-lolly. I'd just put him down when I heard a voice behind me say 'Ah! There you are Nicky. What's taken you so long?'
A pretty young woman, whom I took, correctly as it turned out, to be his mother then noticed me. Seeing a strange man, with his hands still around her son and evidence of tears in his little blue, were enough to sent her crazy.
'Get away from him you dirty pervert. People like you should be locked up.'
She backed up her venomous words with an equally venomous and well-placed rabbit punch.
'Go on. Sod off before I call the police.'
Deciding discretion was called for and also accepting why she had jumped to the wrong conclusion I walked off without a word, just clutching my aching kidney. I rounded a bend in the path and was glad to find a park bench, sheltered nicely from the sun by a large oak. I sat down to nurse my side feeling just a little self-pity.
If I'd hit a woman like that or another man for that matter, then I'd have been done, and rightly so, for assault. Although her attack on me was officially illegal I smiled at the absurd idea of complaining. I could imagine the reaction of the police. I was a good foot taller and probably double the weight of my assailant. Plus I actually agreed with her for protecting her son. My smile grew as I recalled the ferocity with which she'd defended her charge. I laughed out loud as I imagined explaining the situation to my male friends.
At that moment I heard footsteps approaching and looked up to see the woman and Nicky heading towards me. I quickly stood up and began to move off.
'No! Wait.' she shouted, 'I think I owe you an apology.'
I hesitated before turning to face the woman.
'Nicky told me off for hitting you and then the man in the ice-cream van told me what actually happened'
I towered over this young woman and now for the first time I appraised her. She was probably older than I first thought, perhaps pushing thirty. There wasn't much to her at least in stature but what was there was certainly attractive. She had long blonde hair, worn in a ponytail. Nicky's vivid blue eyes were obviously inherited from his mother as they drew me to them. She had small breasts, hidden behind a bright yellow summer dress. The dress also showed off her best attribute, her legs.
I sat back down on the bench accompanied by an involuntary wince as I knocked my bruised kidney against the armrest.
'I really am sorry. I shouldn't have reacted like that,' she continued; now standing in front of me.
'Its ok, I understand, I've got kids of my own. Besides you weren't to know.'
'I still shouldn't have hit you like that but to be honest I was feeling guilty because I'd been enjoying a few minutes of peace and quiet.'
'I can DEFINITELY understand that.' I said remembering my own son at that age.
I decided that she seemed nice enough so I let my sense of humour come into play.
'But you threatened me with the police yet it was you who's guilty of assault.' I complained managing to maintain a straight face.
However, the look of horror distorted her lovely face too much. I couldn't keep my mask of severity and I allowed a genuine smile to replace it.
Sensing that I was joking, she admitted, 'I suppose I deserve that but you had me worried for a moment.'
I burst out laughing and confessed my earlier worries. To emphasise this I stood up by her side. To my surprise, she turned to face the same direction as me and wrapped her arms around my waist.
'Well Nicky isn't your mum a BIG bully?' Even a seven year old could sense the difference in our size and catching his mum's mood he too laughed. He'd been listening with a frown on his little face, not really understanding what we were talking about. Now seeing us laugh brought back his cheeky grin.
His mum then gave me a squeeze but one hand was on the same spot as her blow had landed. It still hurt and despite my efforts to disguise it she noticed when I winced.
'Oh sorry! Did I do that?' she asked a little shocked.
'I'm Afraid so. I don't know whether it was luck or design but you caught me right in the kidneys'
She lifted up the loose teeshirt I was wearing and caressed my skin around the tender area. 'There's no bruising that I can see.'
The touch of her fingers sent shivers up my body. Her actions could no way be considered sexual but I was instantly aroused. As usual I tried humour to hide my real feelings.
'You need to keep that up for at least an hour to avoid any permanent damage.' I laughed.
'You wish' she joked back. She removed her hand but slowly and not before her fingers made a few more circles of my skin.
'Indeed I do.' I continued hoping to keep the conversation flirtatious.
Unfortunately Nicky chose that moment to wander off towards the nearby play area. I nodded my head in his direction saying 'Nicky's off on his travels again.'
With just the comment 'Kids!' she was off after him. When she reached him she bent over to speak to him giving me the exceptionally pleasant view of her sexy behind covered only by the thin material of her dress. To my dismay, but not surprise, she picked her son up and without a backward glance walked off to the play area.
Caught in two minds between returning home and staying and watching Nicky's mother I decided that even at a distance the latter was the preferable option. I sat back down and watched her as she stood talking to another woman. To my great delight a few minutes later I saw her walking back towards me.
'Sorry about that, but Sally will keep an eye on for ten minutes.' Sally I assumed was the woman she'd been talking to. I then realised that I now knew her friend's name but not hers.
'I'm David by the way.'
'Samantha. Sam to my friends' she held her hand out in introduction.
I took her dainty hand in mine and still holding it asked, 'so what do I call you?'
'Sam. Now can I have my hand back?' she laughed as she sat down to my right.
'Only if you insist,' I replied gallantly, before releasing her hand.
As soon as I'd let her hand go Sam said with a cheeky grin 'but I didn't insist.'
I immediately grabbed her left hand with my right lifting it up to my lips before holding it in my lap. Forever the optimist I also took the opportunity to check for rings. There was a couple but fortunately none of any significance.
'A real charmer I see,' she said looking at her in hand in mine but making no effort to remove it.
'I'm only a charmer when there's someone worth charming.'
It was a good hour before Sally brought Nicky back. Sally I'd discovered was a neighbour and the mother of Nicky's best friend.
We'd learned a lot about each other, I was 43, divorced and run a TV shop. Sam was 31, also divorced and worked as a freelance merchandiser. The main thing I learnt was how much I enjoyed talking to her. To me she was a rarity, an intelligent, witty woman whose gorgeous looks was an additional bonus.
Once Sally had left I took the plunge and asked if I could see Sam again. I was delighted when she instantly agreed and doubly so when, having discovered I had nothing better planned, she asked me back to her house for tea. I rapidly accepted. We'd only gone a few yards when Nicky complained that he was tired. I offered to carry him and he readily came to me.
'He doesn't usually take to men' Sam commented. 'You should feel honoured'
'It's only because I bought him that lolly.' I laughed. The short walk to Sam's house was in near silence. Nicky in my arms and Sam at my side her arm hooked in mine was so pleasant that words were superfluous. As soon as we arrived in Sam's home she started to prepare a meal whilst I kept Nicky amused. Like most young lads he loved a bit of rough and tumble and we were play fighting when Sam brought our meal in; fish fingers and chips for Nicky and fish and chips for Sam and me. It was simple but tasty. Not long after we'd finished eating, the exercise and energy expended by Nicky took their toll and he fell asleep on his mum's knee. She took him to bed and on the down the phone rang. Sam went to the hall to answer it and she came back looking pale.
'That was Mike, my ex, he saw me bringing a man back carrying his son. He's going berserk and threatening to come down with his shotgun.' She said looking grim.
I'm no coward but confronting any jealous man was not high on my list of fun things to do certainly not one with a shotgun.
'Do you want me to go?' I asked nervously. Before she could answer the doorbell rang. Taking a massive breath I pushed Sam into the kitchen and went to open the door. I don't think I've ever been so scared in my life as I was at that moment. To my immense relief it was Sally at the door.
She seemed surprised to see me but quickly recovered and asked 'Has Sam got a bottle of milk spare?' before adding 'She said she had when I rang a few moments ago.'
There followed an enormous howl of laughter behind me as Sam came to the door with the requested milk. She was doubled up in stitches to the total bewilderment of her friend.
'I'll explain later Sal.' she said and closed the door.
The relief of realising that I'd been well and truly had, hit me hard. I enjoy playing practical jokes, one of our park bench topics, and can appreciate a good one, even if I am the recipient.
'You're going to pay for that madam' I eventually managed to say before joining in with Sam's contagious laughter. I tried to grab her but she was too quick for me, ducking under my hands and running into the back room. I gave chase but once again was too slow as she ran out into the garden. I caught up with her near a bed of lavender and when she once again tried to duck under my arm I was ready and brought my leg up to trip her. She fell into the flowerbed and rolled over onto her back.
Quickly I pounced. I placed my knees either side of her small frame and held her wrists above her head and looked down at her. We stayed in that position for what seemed an eternity, just staring at each other. I simply had to kiss her. I leaned forward and gently brushed her lips with mine. Never before or since I have had so many of my senses attacked at once, all fighting for supremacy. The soft touch of her lips on mine, the sweet taste of her mouth, the sight of her brilliant blue eyes staring back at me and the powerful fragrance of the crushed lavender below our bodies.
To this day the slightest whiff of lavender sends me back to that ecstatic moment. The kiss lost its gentleness as our passion took over, forcing our mouths against each other as our tongues clung to each other. At last I overcame the passion and broke the kiss.