100 Octane
Chapter 1

Caution: This Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Romantic, Slow,

Desc: Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Helene Ritter has risen to the top in professional motorcycle racing. This is her story, the trials, tribulations and heartbreaks on her way to the top.<br> It is not a sex story, although occasionally passion overflows. It starts off in the form of an interview for a magazine, then her life gradually unfolds.

"Ritter's world renown apple cider, anti-freeze and octane boost," my dad said as he bottled another batch of his fiery liquid. He was intensely proud of his apple cider, no visitor to our house was allowed to leave without a couple of bottles of it.

My dad was a proud man, proud of his wife, three sons and one daughter. As the only girl, and the youngest, I was spoilt rotten by my father. I could get my own way in pretty much anything.

He died of a heart attack in his early fifties, just before I came to Europe to compete in the GP tour. I remember him smiling in intensive care when I told him I'd been offered a ride in the Rotol- Yamaha team. His face was parchment pale, he had tubes out his nose and drips hanging above him, yet he smiled in pleasure and squeezed my hand.

Mum followed him a bare 8 months later. Totally devoted to my father, she just couldn't cope without him. When my brother Wolfie rang me at Suzuka in Japan, I knew instantly that mum had passed away. He said it was 'melancholy' and it was what she wanted, to be with dad in death as in life.

My partner Giancarlo Patricio tried to talk me out of competing in the 24 hour, but I went on and we came third. On the winners rostrum I dedicated the win to my mum and, afterwards at the press conference, the reporters went wild. I guess it was another chapter in the legend of Helene Ritter, at 22 the first female world champion in ANY motorsport.

It was always tough competing in, essentially, a male sport. Like any woman in this environment you not only have to prove yourself, but prove you're better than the men. The only way for anyone to take you seriously is to whip the arse off them.

We were a family that lived for motorbikes. My dad still owned the BMW R65 he lovingly brought out from Germany. It was his day to day transport every day until he had to give up working. He owned 'Motorrad, ' the national dealers in all european motorcycles save Ducati, who had their own franchises.

My dad brought home for me my first bike when I was about 6. It was a Cagiva Minimoto and it was about 2 feet high. It had a little 35cc motor and one gear with an automatic clutch. In one day I was riding it around the backyard as if born on it.

My oldest brother Wolfie was competing in motocross at the local competitions at the time. The whole family would go down to the track to watch and cheer him on. My dad and my two other brothers, Karlie and Ernie acted as pit crew and I'd hang around, smelling the fumes and putting my fingers in my ears as they warmed the motors up.

My dad never learnt to speak English properly. When he got excited his words would come out all jumbled up in German word order.

"You must the smaller sprocket use," I heard him shouting at Wolfie over the noise one day, "more speed you needst, on flat, you beat son of a beach."

They all used to grin at him, but they always did what he told them to do. He'd raced at the senior TT at the Isle of Man for BMW and knew what he was talking about.

He had the photos from that day on the shelf above the fireplace. It showed him in his leathers, 'pudding-basin' helmet on his head and these big goggles. There was a shot of him on his bike, bent over all serious as if he was racing. His BMW had a fairing over the back wheel with his racing number, 3, painted on it. It had these narrow tyres and dropped handlebars with a flyscreen in front. I used to stare at that old photo for ages, dreaming.

At age 10 I told my dad that one day I'll race in the Senior and he just smiled and said,

"Maybe you will, and it'll be the greatest day of your life."

My mum would chide him and tell him not to encourage me. She said that lots of riders had been killed in that race and she wasn't going to see her children off before her. Apart from the odd broken bone and skin grazes, we always appeared for dinner.

Spa in Belgium is a tight circuit and it's known as being particularly hard on bikes and riders. It's also where I gained my first rostrum finish. Giancarlo had a rear wheel lock-up on the fifth lap when his brake disintegrated. A 20 cent rivet failed and the pad stripped from the caliper. It was a tough break for him but a lucky one for me and I was pushed up to third.

The crowd was ecstatic, I was cheered and kissed more times than I can count. The pit crew hoisted me high on their shoulders and paraded me around like I was Joan of Ark. Like a cat lapping cream I enjoyed every last drop of accolade.

A popular assumption among many is that we riders party into the morning after a win like that. In truth there is little time for that. The crew are busy wrapping everything and loading up the transporters, the riders, Giancarlo and me, pile into bed early, body aching and utterly tired.

I'm always asked the question whether Giancarlo and me are lovers. I'm afraid not, I can barely understand him. My Italian is non- existant and his English is basic and heavily accented. We do share a rivalry that has intensified since Spa, but that hasn't led to any sparks between us.

Not that he isn't good looking. He's a year older, 23, passionate and intense, a genius with the bike but otherwise his ego makes him utterly unlikeable in my book. Behind the smiles of concratulations he's an utter chauvinist and resented bitterly my inclusion in the team. There's some talk he's negotiating with some other teams for next season and I can't say I'll miss him.

No, I've no lovers in my life. The only person I could ever call a 'boyfriend' lies buried back home in the same cemetary as my parents.

I can barely think of Robert now, without shedding a tear. He was a rider, of course, as if anyone else could possibly understand me. He was racing back home at what is ironically called the 'cemetary circuit.' It's actually called that because part of the road course goes around a cemetary. Anyway, he came off where the course crosses some railway lines and was hit by a following rider. He was helicoptered to hospital but never regained consciousness. I never did get to see him before he died, a pain I just have to live with.

I wasn't there because I was in Australia, at Phillip Island, preparing for the Asia-Pacific champs. Not the last time did I receive such news before a race. I retired early when the bike ran a crank bearing and blew the motor. I shut myself in the caravan afterwards and flew home the next day.

In truth, Robert and I were very close friends. We'd hung out together ever since we were kids. He was my brother Karlie's friend and they used to go trail biking together on his father's farm. They had lots of bikes there, trail bikes, farm bikes and quads. When I was about 9 I used to beg them to take me along and they'd let me fool around on one of the quads, and later a trail bike.

At first the guys would leave me behind when they did the old trails out in the bush. Eventually, though, I started to catch up, even though they gave me the oldest, slowest piece of shit in the shed.

Karlie and Robert had matching KTM 250's, I had a Yamaha 80 trail that seemed as old as my father. But like the tortoise and the hare, they were always burying the bikes in the gorse bushes in their haste to keep me behind. It was so funny watching Robert trying to extract the KTM from down a bank, swearing at the top of his voice, all scratched up from the thorns.

At 13 Robert was my best friend. He had barely turned 16 himself and was so full of himself. I revolved in his orbit with my brother and that included the race track. He'd saved up and bought an old Yamaha RD250 that my father tuned up for him. He first did amatuer events and club days until he was noticed by GoldWing Honda, the big dealer franchise.

The next thing I knew, he was sitting atop a factory fresh Honda NSR in the local production 250 series. That first year he won it with ease and everyone was talking about him going to Europe or the States in a couple of years.

He was 18 when he got his big chance, but he broke a bone in his foot and it took a long time to get right again. I tried to cheer him up but he was in a foul mood when the factory withdrew their offer.

By then he was watching me race but was never happy sitting in the stands.

We went to the back of the farm one day after dinner. It was a summer evening and not a cloud in the darkening sky. We took the KTM's up to the top of the bluff overlooking the sea and just lay there, watching the night sky. He told me of his dream to compete in Europe, that maybe in a couple of years he'd be good enough to reach the top. I told him of my ambition to do the Senior TT and he told me he'd be there cheering me on. He told me that's where he was going to marry me, in some little church in Douglas, Isle of Man.

We'd never really discussed marriage before, I think it was something we'd both been thinking about but never got around to saying. I said we should ride away from the church on my dad's old BMW, which I inherited, and then we argued about who would ride and who would pillion behind.

I asked him if this meant we were engaged and he said we'd better wait until we both got rides in the GP. I think it was supposed to spur me on, a sort of pot of gold. It didn't enter my head to ride in Europe without Robert.

That summer night was the first time we'd ever kissed, believe it or not. He leaned over, telling me how soft my face looked in the moonlight, then we sort of touched lips. I'll always remember his smiling face looming over me, softly stroking my cheek. I don't think I'll ever love someone as intensely as I did Robert.

It's not that we even fooled around much at all, it wasn't that kind of relationship. We did have a grope at this party once, when we were a bit drunk, but then this crowd of guys came spilling out the door. Two of them were my brothers and we were embarrassed. They never really stopped thinking of me as one of the guys, you see. It was hard for them to think their sister had sexual feelings.

It was a compliment, I suppose. It meant I was accepted into the little fraternity of bike riders as if I was a boy. In those circumstances for me to make out with one of the guys was almost homosexual. Women sat on the passengers seat, brought the beer and made the snacks. We're not equal in this world, to be accepted you have to become an honorary male, it's just the way it is and I can't change it.

With the death of my parents, my last ties with home disappeared. My brothers had taken over dad's business and we sort of drifted apart. In a way they blamed me for mother's death, they said I should have come home to look after her. When I asked them why it was up to me when she had 3 of her sons within easy distance, they told me it was not the same as mum was always closest to me.

I think they just wanted me home to find a husband, settle down and stop being a damn fool. They're jealous, of course, but they won't tell me, proud, male chauvinist krauts that they are.

Well I don't want to die a suburban death pumping out kids and dreaming of what might have been. I have the Senior TT in my sight and I'm just waiting for a sponsor with a decent machine.

Greta switches off the DAT recorder and coils up the little mike.

"Very good, thank you," she tells me.

"Is that the sort of thing you're after?" I ask her.

"Ja, ja, definitely! One of the publications I write for is 'Motorsport Monthly.' Every issue features a story about one of the current stars. They'll want this, for sure!"

Greta has a quiet voice, as smooth as silk. Her vowels throb to my antipodean ears, much fuller than my own nasally sounds. She's not starstruck either, which I like. My agent said she is a well respected journalist who has a brother in Formula 1 cars. She freelances for various magazines and has had articles published in 'Der Spiegel' and 'Paris Match.'

I like her, not because she's a woman, but because she was utterly professional throughout the interview and didn't try to suck up, like a lot of them do.

I'm staying in this hotel in Liege, Belgium. Rotols, my sponsor, thought it would be out of the way and I could prepare mentally for the British Grand Prix at Donnington Park. I have a CDrom of the circuit with a virtual simulation of the track. I play it all day until I can visualise every line and curb. I'm already sick to death of it, I just want to board the Yamaha and get on with it.

I have a girl, now, who keeps me company, Wendy. She's English and acts as my PA and companion. She fields my phone calls, organises my scheduals and gets me out of bed to catch the flights.

She's the same age as me, 22, and her father is some executive with the company. She tells me she wants to get into 'talent management' and this job is perfect for her CV.

I feel claustrophobic here. Wendy tags along everywhere I go and although she says she's only here to support me, I suspect Rotols has charged her to keep an eye on me.

Of course I'm worth a lot of money to them now, not only as a top racer, but as a bankable star associated with their brand. It's nearing the end of the season also, and my one year contract is due for renewal. I can't help thinking the Mercedes Benz given to me for my birthday from the company was a sweetener.

My agent is one of the few people who can get through on the phone. He tells me he can't get a ride for me in the Senior this year. All the spots are filled unless I want to ride for a privateer at substantially less pay. I decline the suggestion, as he knew I would. It would be unthinkable to ride without factory support on an inferior machine. When I finally ride the Isle of Man, I'll be there to win on the best possible machine with a top team in support.

I have one more race on the calendar before the end of the season. I'm going home for a month and my agent has lined up a couple of local races for me. I'm looking forward to it, Rotol's have allowed me to use my GP bike so it'll be like the local girl made good. Plenty of photo ops I'm sure and babbling radio interviewers falling over their hyperboles.

'So Helene, what does it feel like to be the first woman motorcycle world champion?"

Why they think I'd feel any different because I'm a woman I don't know.

The only problem I had at the the British GP was over the 'brollie dollies.' Since Austria I'd put my foot down over these scantily clad models that hold an umbrella over you at the starting grid. They're supposed to keep the hot sun off as you wait for the start but really they're only there to advertise the major event sponsors. In Austria I complained I should have a couple of guys instead, with tight tank tops and itty bitty shorts, and the next round, what do you know! They hired these male model guys to hold the brollie for me. Everyone loved it until we got to Britain. No, they insisted they needed a couple of big-chested lovelies to sell their motor oil and that was that.

Everyone got really hot under the collar and my agent called them a bunch of stuck-up pricks. I guess that's what you get for hiring an Aussie as an agent.

My agent, Ian, is a good sort. He markets all sorts of people, from the odd pop star to an heiress or two. Mostly though, he handles 'sporting personalities.' He told me when I first met him that marketing was '90% bullshit and 10% crap.' I signed him up straight away.

So I had this 'Bobbie and Bebe' pair in bikini tops holding these stupid beach umbrellas and the heavens opened. The rain sleeted down driven by a westerly gale and these babes sprinted for shelter! It was worth a drenching to watch them sheltering under the tent. I think there truely is a God and she has a sense of humour.

The race was as good as won after that. It was chaos at the start with half the pit crews changing to 'wets' and the other half chancing that the rain would pass. As it turned out, it was a brief shower and those that stayed on dry-weather tyres, like me, had the advantage of not having to pit until the schedualled time.

Greta, my journalist, came to see me in London to continue the interview. She told me on the phone that several magazines have already picked up options on the story in diverse countries such as Malaysia, Japan and India, as well as Europe. Well I can understand the first two, they're both motor-racing countries, but India?

"You're becoming something of a role model for young women," she told me.

'Oh no!' I thought, 'not that, anything but THAT!'

'How did I come to ride in MotoGP?"

That is a huge question. Simply put, I came to the attention of the national Yamaha distributors after I completed the domestic season. At 19 they wanted to know if I cared to have a ride next season in Australia on 250 GP bikes. I think they thought I'd be something of a novelty, I was the only girl seriously competing in that part of the world.

On the other hand, you don't get sponsorship coming last and in my first race, at Oran park, I came third. That was the most important race of my career so far and pretty soon I was being offered contracts from about 5 major teams.

I decided to stick with Yamaha, however, because they had the better bike at the time and I was familiar with it. Moto-Yamaha gave me two years, the first on 250's then on the 500's.

The next season the rules were changing. They now called F1 'MotoGP' and going were the lethal 2 stroke 500cc machines and in were coming the new 4 stroke 750's, 900's and 1000's. It all depends on the number of cylinders you have what size of motor you're allowed.

All of a sudden the factories were ploughing big money into the sport because these were bikes they could market to the customers. They even painted up some of their models just like GP bikes so the buyers could have one just like their heros.

I picked up an agent, Ian, in Australia and he began to hawk me around Europe armed with videos of my performances. He's a good talker, Ian and he needed to be. He faced a wall of scepticism because, well, girls don't ride MotoGP. The Moto-Yamaha people backed me up and insisted I COULD do a season there and pretty soon Rotols made an offer, reluctantly.

It was only later I learnt that Rotols was seriously underfunded as they'd lost a major sponsor. Ian talked a worldwide women's magazine to offer a deal in return for an exclusive to my story. Unbelievable as it may seem, they liked the idea of a go-getter type woman competing in a male dominated sport. So here I am competing with 'Friday Woman' plastered over my bike along with the names of oil companies and clutch manufacturers. As I said before, God has a sense of humour.

Its about 1 in the morning when Greta finally packs up her gear and leaves. I'm absolutely shattered and hit the sheets immediately. I'm booked on a flight home later in the morning and I just want a rest from the circus here.

I minimised the difficulties I had getting to the top. My career might seem fairy-tale from the outside but littered along the roadside are many frustrations and disapointments.

Principal among them is the loss of many friends and aquaintances. People I've imagined are good friends suddenly felt distanced by my success. Very few of the friends I'd made in Australia called or wrote. Even when some were in Europe, no-one bothered to look me up.

I think it's the money here. Riders and crew are just not as relaxed and friendly as they are back home. I don't know if it's the gender thing or the rivalry, but no-one mixes socially very much.

Ok sure, there's the official stuff, but it's all a show for the sponsors, the factories and the press. You can't really get a good tank load with the boys at those events or you'll have your photo spread all over the tabloids by morning.


Beneath would be a picture of a drunken Helene in some compromising position. Not the sort of thing Rotols executives would want to read over their corn flakes.

Wendy sees me on the plane late the next morning and says her goodbyes. She's back off to the London School of Economics or something. I'm seated in executive class, my Yamaha F03 GP bike is in cargo. By the time the Airbus leaves the tarmac I'm asleep.

It's a direct flight, 23 hours in the air, with a short stop at Bombay for fuel. When we land it's noon, but Tuesday, not Monday. I've lost a whole day crossing the International Dateline and I'm completely jetlagged.

At the airport, I'm met by my brother Karlie who shakes my hand very formally. I'm so happy to see him I throw my arms around him in a great big sibling hug. I can feel the tension ease audibly and his face breaks out in a smile.

He tells me that business is good. Scooters are back in fashion and they've taken up the Vespa franchise. It maybe good business but I'm glad my dad's no longer around to see it.

Everything looks so vividly familiar, I don't know why, but I thought things would be different somehow. Through jetlagged eyes I take in the cowsheds, the country stores and the little wooden churches that were part of my landscape. I can't think of anything so utterly different from the whirlpool of the MotoGP tour.

On the way home we pass by Robert's parent's farm. The red dots of the quads are still there by the barn behind the house, parked haphazardly like they always were. I get Karlie to stop the car by Robert's dad's utility, he's setting the sprayers in the kale field. I get out of the car and wave to him from the fence.

"Helene!" he shouts as he strides towards me.

He punches my shoulder, grinning from ear to ear. If I wasn't expecting it I'd have been spun around by the blow, Robert's dad is a strong man.

"What are they feeding you, you look half-starved?" he asks.

"I've got my own 'nutritional consultant," I tell him, "I'm on a special diet for maximum performance."

"What a load of crap," he spits, "get settled in and come around for a decent feed. I'll tell Adele to put a roast in the oven."

I promised to take him up on the offer. It's feeling more and more like home.

Our old house has been sold and the proceeds divided up between the children. Karlie takes me past the old place, there's a children's swing out back and a 3 year old stares curiously at Karlie's stopped Ford from the front garden. Obviously a young family live there now, I think mum and dad would have approved.

Karlie lives just out of town in an old farmhouse set on thirty acres. It's a rambling old place and him and his girlfriend Joan are doing the place up. I want to sleep and excuse myself after half an hour.

When I wake it's already evening. I feel disorientated, my body tells me it should be breakfast time. I take a shower and when I emerge a good half an hour later, I can smell the evening meal cooking.

"I didn't think to ask," I tell Joan, abashed, "but I hope you're on town water?"

She nods, thank God. In my ignorance I could have emptied the rain water tank!

"You can stay under there as long as you like," she reassures me, "the reservoir's had plenty of water last winter."

I tuck into the abundant country dinner, with lashings of home-made icecream to follow. It's the best feed I've had in three years. Afterwards I go for a walk into town with Karlie, enjoying the sense of freedom in the balmy summer's night. Karlie wants to talk bikes, he wants all the gossip. I give him a few anecdotes, offer my predictions for next season, and tell him of the latest rumours from Yamaha about their bike for next year.

"Still a Vee 5?" he wants to know.

"Same engine with some internal development. They're talking of 240hp or more?"

"Crazy, isn't it?" he tuts, "more power then Steve Tickner's bus and he hauls around the local footy team."

"Yes but I'd like to see him line that up on the grid." I chuckle.

"The way he drives no-one's going to pass him, that's for sure."

I find the easy 'yarning' relaxing. We pass by the local pub and Karlie suggests we pop in to meet everybody.

The smoke stings my eyes at first. There's the usual pool game in progress, old Mr Karlsen propped up on his usual stool by the corner, a couple of guys are playing darts and a little group of sharemilkers and their farmhands are grouped around a table in animated conversation.

"Karlie, Helene!" comes a shout from across the bar. My brother Ernie is there and with him a guy I don't recognise. We sit down at their table and Ernie introduces me.

"Simon, this is my sister, Helene. Sis, this is Simon Hardy, we took him on as a salesman last year."

I nod towards Simon, appraising the young man. I get nervous meeting new people. They either give you a hard time or stare bog-eyed at you in worship.

"You're the famous sister," the salesman says, "at last I get to meet you."

I like his approach, he acknowledged me without overt fawning.

"When did you arrive home?" he asks.

As I continue the conversation I note he has that easy way of talking that salesmen have. He has a broad smile that he uses judiciously and puts me at ease very quickly.

"So when can we borrow your bike for the window?" he asks, "we can do this real big display... say, have you any trophies we could use?"

I tell him I'd like to help but I'd need clear it through Rotol's. They might have an insurance issue but otherwise, fine. We agree that he can have it for a week after I ride the two races.

Simon can talk a dog out of his bone and I find myself warming to him. Karlie and Ernie talk business and leave us to it. It's only afterwards did I think there was anything strange or calculating in that.

On the way home, Karlie asks me what I thought of Simon.

"Good salesman..." and then I twig. "you knew he was going to be there, didn't you?"

Karlie shrugs, noncommittally. He eventually tells me that he thought Simon and me would, 'get along.'

"Bloody matchmaker!" I tease him.

"He's a nice guy isn't he?" Karlie protests.

"Sure," I tell him, "he's alright."

It's not as if I'm not interested in the opposite sex. I'm just as normal as anyone my age when it comes to that. It's just that I don't have a lot of emotional space in my life at the moment. There was a time, following Robert's death when I sort of went a bit wild.

It was in Australia, where I returned after the funeral. I had another year to go with my contract and I knew that if I reneged I'd never get offered another chance.

The Aussies sure knew how to party. Towards the end of the season, in high summer, team discipline started to go out the window and the boys have a good time. I got dragged along to a few of these booze- ups, I was in a mood to get plastered.

One night, we'd all had a lot to drink and I decided to crash out in a spare bedroom. I was lying there half comatose when I became aware there was this guy in the room. He started to talk all softly and then I recognised him as this other rider who'd been eyeing me up.

Well, you see, in Australia it's really hot so we don't wear much under our racing leathers. I usually wore nothing but my underwear and sometimes there'd be little privacy and I'd have to change in front of the guys. At Bathurst I was so hot I peeled off my gear right in the pit area. I looked up and this guy was staring at me from the next stall, practically salivating! He was young, good looking and well-built. He also had a good Aussie swagger and that charming self-effacement thing they get into. I think he said something like,

"Shit mate, I thought you were a bloke!"

It sounded so funny that I think I replied,

"Don't tell anyone will you?"

"No way mate, I can't stand crowds."

So there was this guy in my room and me half asleep and I thought to my self, 'bugger it, let's get this over with.' I shifted over in the bed and invited him in. There was this little comedy act as he tried to take off his jeans and tripped over. I was laughing by the time he climbed in beside me and fully awake.

Even so I only have a fleeting memory of my first fuck. I kept falling asleep throughout and the guy had trouble keeping himself hard. I was a bit sore down there in the morning so I know he must have done it. I just wish I'd a clearer memory of it. I'm pretty sure he never came and I know I didn't. We were just so shit-faced I think we gave up in the finish and went to sleep.

The second time was a little better, but not by much. It was at another party and with a different guy. I'd just finished taking a leak and I was washing my hands when the door crashed open and this guy barged in.

"Shit, there's sheila in here!" he said.

God! I hate that word and I told him so. He apologised and then recognised me.

"Hey, I'm sorry Helene," he said, "the fucking lock keeps jamming and I didn't think anyone was in here."

I looked at the door and the handle had been completely ripped off.

"Well, it's fucked now," I told him and he laughed.

He fished out his cock while we were talking and pointed it at the bowl.

"Shit, you don't mind do you? I'm bursting," he said.

To be honest I DID fancy him. Ok, my taste in men needed a thorough shake up, I know, but back there in Australia... I wasn't really myself, Y'know?

I continued to talk to him while he was peeing. I thought his dick looked longer than the usual one, not that I was an expert. I found myself flirting brazenly with him and he responded. At one point he said,

"Jeez, Helene, do you come in here often, talking to guys?"

I told him I hadn't come yet and he replied that he could change that if I liked. Well damn, I was feeling horny!

"Depends if you've got a joey," I said.

"Never leave home without one," and saying that, fished a condom out of his wallet.

His breath tasted of beer and stale smoke. I didn't care too much because he kissed me so well! I felt this rush of feeling and grabbed for his rising dick. As he lifted up my T-shirt he was amazingly gentle. He hummed in appreciation as he ran his fingertips slowly over my breasts. Just then there was a knock on the door and my guy yells,

"Fuck off!"

I was giggling as he pushed down my track pants. I thought the guy was so funny, but then I was a bit drunk. He took me from behind, over the wash hand basin. He had his knees bent to get the right angle and it must have killed him. He fancied himself as a bit of a Romeo, this guy. He diddled me with his fingers as he thrust away and occasionally he'd hit the right spot. He kept going for ages and when his hands transferred to my hips for leverage I took over my own diddling. That's when I came, not earth shattering to be sure, but an orgasm, nonetheless.

Eventually the guy pulled out and I could see he'd filled the rubber. I thought I'd feel something when he came, but that was it.

Not long after that I came to my senses and stopped having sex with virtual strangers.

One night I dreamed Robert was there, as clear as day. He called softly to me and I woke up shivering. It totally freaked me. I tried to call his name but nothing came out, my throat was so dry. This guy on the crew was part-aboriginal and I knew his people believed in spirits and stuff. I told him about my dream and he said that Robert was trying to tell me that he's here for me. To be honest, I don't know if it's true, but it sure acted as a wake-up call for me.

The funny thing is, I don't remember any of those guy's names now, not one.

The next day I go to visit Robert's parents. Karlie has gone into work so Joan gives me a lift in her little Fiat. As I walk up the long drive, Robert's dad, Charlie, gives me a wave as he's unloading some gear off the tractor.

Adele meets me by the porch and ushers me inside to the kitchen table. Shortly after I hear Charle emptying his boots by the door and comes in and sits down. We talk about the farm and my experiences in Europe. There is a sadness in their eyes.

Robert was their only son and there's nobody in the family willing to take over the farm when they retire. It's hard for them to think they'd worked all their lives building up the farm only for it to be sold off to strangers eventually.

Charlie tells me Robert's stuff is all gone. After his friends took what they wanted they'd given the rest to the Salvation Army. Even the KTM's have gone, my brother Karlie took one, he keeps it in a shed out back of his place, and he'd sold the other to some young guy in town.

"I've still got that little trail bike you used to ride," he told me.

"What? You mean that old Yamaha 80?"

"Yep, wanna take a look?"

"Sure," I tell him, "is it still running?"

"Good as the day Robert bought it."

We go to the barn and there it is, 'my' little white trail bike. Charlie fetches a tin of petrol and tips some in the tank. He then tops up the oil and pronounces it ready for a spin.

"Take it if you like," he tells me, "I've no use for it."

I'm conflicted. There are so many happy memories associated with this little bike. Happy memories of Robert, carefree days riding the hills.

"Go on, go up into the hills," Charlie says, "you know you want to."

Doubtfully, I climb on and after the second kick it buzzes into life. I putt through the fields and out the back, up the fire trail and into the bush. I take it slowly at first, I haven't gone trail riding in years, but it gradually comes back to me and I'm zooming over the rises and crunching into the hollows. I must be heavier now, than when I was 11, I don't remember the suspension bottoming out quite so readily. Maybe it needs a bit of fork oil, I decide. When I get to the bluff I have to stop and rest my sore arse.

This is where Robert and I shared our first kiss. The tussock, the very breeze in my face remind me of him. I feel his presence all around me.

"Robert," I say aloud to the sea breeze, "are you proud of me?"

Lying there in the summer sun I feel a warm feeling suffuse through my body. The sun is in my eyes and I squint with the glare. The sparse tussock bushes clinging to the hillside make a whispering noise as the wind snatches at them.

"Helene," the whispering seems to be saying.

The sunlight splits prism-like as tears fill my eyes.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Romantic / Slow /