This work is the intellectual property of the author Telephoneman and he claims the copyright. Permission if requested WILL be granted for this story to be posted or archived to any free site. Permission MAY be granted to any commercial or pay site or organisation.
Please Note: This is a reworking of an earlier story now with an option of two different endings
It was mid afternoon on yet another bleak English Saturday and I was trying, and failing, to get some work done, I was a self-employed IT Consultant advising companies on all things computer related. The previous seven days had been hectic and I was already a week late with my report. The incessant rain hitting the window and reverberating across the still room wasn't helping my already wavering concentration one little bit.
I'd just decided to give up, again, and was on my way to make my umpteenth cup of coffee when I heard the doorbell chime to the tune of the Adams Family. It was one of those ideas that sounded great when I initially bought the thing, but it very rapidly lost its appeal. I repeated my promise to replace it with a normal, boring one the next time I was out. Typically, rather than just answer the door I tried to guess who was calling, I was certainly not expecting anyone and so thought it was probably a door-to-door salesman, I also thought that if it was then he deserves a sale for persisting in this weather. The only other possibility was my girlfriend. Juliet, though she too was supposed to be working. I decided that I wanted it to be Juliet, I needed cheering up and Juliet was built to cheer men up; just looking at her was enough for most men. She was 5'10" tall, slim, with large firm breasts and glorious long legs to die for. Add to that long blonde hair and she would not look out of place on Baywatch. I pictured her naked body next to mine and felt an erection coming. I sure hoped it was Juliet.
I opened the door, and immediately felt the chill wind bite through my thin tee shirt and my arousal instantly shrivelled. Standing in front of me was not my girlfriend but a young lad, who looked about twelve years old. He was dressed in a similar style to me, that is, tee shirt and jeans. He was also looking thoroughly miserable and doing a very good impression of a drowned rat.
'Excuse me mister, ' he said trying to smile, 'can I use your phone please?'
I was just about to accede when I noticed another face peering around my gate. I smiled and a young girl, a year or two younger in appearance, made herself visible and shyly walked to the doorway and stood behind the boy. She too was dressed for the better weather the morning had tempted and it was only her long hair, which in its current soaked state hid most of her face, which told me the child was female. Her demeanour too looked pretty miserable, and she appeared to be limping slightly.
I asked the pair to come in, fairly sure that they were genuine, but decided I would not leave them alone in a room or allow them to separate. It is a sad indictment on today's society when you have to doubt children's honesty, but I am not naïve and had heard of many such sneak thieves targeting local homes.
I took them into my living room and pointed to the phone. As he went to the phone, which was still antiquated enough to require a cord, I took the opportunity of studying both of them. Each were dark haired and had the type of perpetual natural tan that only youngsters seem to manage. Both were slim and dressed for the sun, which had greeted the day, rather than the current downpour. I wasn't sure but I guessed they were brother and sister. I decided that my initial guess at their ages was pretty close. It was only then that I realised that the girls face was not normal, but seemed slightly deformed. Her long hair, parted centrally, hid much of her face, probably a deliberate ploy. I tried not to stare at her but could not help but feel pity for the child. I went over to the fireplace and pressed the buttons to ignite the gas fire there; so much easier than a coal fire though I had to concede a real fire, once the hassle of lighting it was over was much more preferable. I asked her if she wanted to stand by the fire to get some warmth into her fragile frame. She ignored me and when I repeated the question her brother looked up and said.
'Sally's deaf and has lost her hearing aid. She can lip read a bit providing she's looking directly at you and you talk clearly.'
He spoke in a manner both protective of the girl but also resigned to her problems. He looked at her and mouthed something, which was an obvious repeat of my request. I was just wondering whether she could talk when I heard a quiet but perfectly understandable 'Thank you.' as she moved gratefully to the heat. Her brother turned his attention back to the phone. I was drawn to the girl and maybe I was naïve after all for my initial concerns about their honesty eased enough that I decided I could leave them whilst I went to make a cup of hot chocolate for each of us. When I returned the boy was still on the phone.
'Sorry Mum, honest, it wasn't my fault. I tried to stop her but you know what she's like.' I overheard the boy pleading.
'At a man's house in Hartshill, ' he added. There was then a silence as he listened to his mother's response.
'She's OK, just a grazed knee I think, although she has lost her hearing aid.' He listened for a moment before continuing. 'I don't know. I'll ask, ' he said in reply to an unheard question.
He turned to me and asked. 'What is the address here?'
I told him and heard him repeat it into the phone.
'Mum would like to talk to you, ' the lad said, nervously, then added, 'please don't tell her that I knocked on your door. She is always saying that we should be careful of strangers.' The last sentence was accompanied by a very tentative smile.
I took the phone from his still, wet hand and said 'Hello!' as I waved him over to join Sally by the fire.
I was very surprised to hear laughter at the other end, which explained itself when a very sweet voice replied, 'Hi! Tell Craig, if he doesn't want me to know something then he should at least cover the receiver while he's talking.' This unexpected comment, along with the pleasant way it was said, brought a smile to my face.
Craig's mother's voice then turned more serious when she asked. 'Did he really just knock on your door?' After receiving confirmation she continued, 'I'm sorry about that, he should know better at his age. I don't even know what he was playing at, riding that far from home with Sally, but he should have walked home and not bothered a stranger.'
Whilst I agreed that youngsters needed to be careful about who they talked to, seeing how the young girl was limping and listening to the torrential downpour still going on, I decided to take Craig's side. 'I don't think so, ' I said, 'certainly not in this weather and your daughter limping as she is.'
'What weather?' came a puzzled response, 'It's fine, ' and after a pause, 'or, at least it was fine this morning.
'You're obviously not near a window then.' I stated.
'No. I'm at work, there isn't a window in sight at this place.' The tone in her voice told me that this was obviously something that depressed her, though whether it was the lack of windows or just her place of work I couldn't tell.
'At work?' I asked shocked that she was allowing her children to roam the streets whilst she was at work.
It was her turn to understand my tone of voice, because she replied very defensively, 'Yes at work! We do need to eat you know, and their father should be looking after them, but I should have known better, he's probably in the pub or down the betting shop.'
Realising I had jumped to the wrong conclusion I apologised. She gracefully accepted it and said she would make arrangements to finish work early and come and pick them up, but it would be at least half an hour before she could get here, and would I really mind if they stayed here to wait for her. I looked at my watch, more from habit than needing to know the time, because I'd checked the time a few moments ago, just before I left my computer.
'Look!' I said, 'It's gone three thirty already, what time are you supposed to finish?'
After a brief pause she answered 'Five thirty. Why?'
'Well I've got nothing better to do.' I lied, knowing I still needed to finish the report, but was honest enough to know that I wouldn't get it done today whatever happened. I continued, 'why don't they stay here until you finish work?'
The hesitation, this time, was even longer. 'I don't know, ' she started, 'I don't even know you.'
I laughed before answering, 'I understand your concern, but if I was going to do something bad then I wouldn't have let Craig ring you and give you my address, plus even if I had done I could still do things in the thirty minutes before you get here.'
Again a pause before she conceded, 'Yes! I suppose you're right. Are you sure though, they're no angels, my pair.'
Again I laughed, 'They can't be any worse than my four.' I said.
'You've got four children of your own? That makes me feel a bit better then, knowing that you have kids that is. Are they there now?'
'No! Fortunately they're all grown up and flown the nest.'
'Oh! You don't sound that old.' She said not realising that she was actually paying me a compliment.
'Thank you!' I said smiling, 'shall we say about sixish then?'
This time her response was immediate, 'if you're sure you don't mind.'
'No problem, it'll do me good having some youngsters around the house again.' I finished by telling her exactly how to get to my house and hung up.
The first thing I did was hand over the hot drinks. I then went to get some cream and plasters for the young girl's injured knee. Over the next couple of hours I learned, mostly from Craig, amongst other things, that their parents had split about a year ago, and that their father was supposed to be looking after them every other Saturday whilst their mother was at work. Today he'd needed to meet some friends in his local pub and had sent them to visit an uncle without bothering to check whether the uncle was in or not. He wasn't, and it was whilst they were riding back that they were caught in the downpour. They had initially played in the nearby park until the weather had taken a turn for the worse, then they'd tried to wait out the storm in a bus shelter, but when it seemed that it was set in for the day they'd decided to make a dash back to their Dad's house. It had been then that Sally had fallen off her bike, slipping on a wet manhole cover that was thoughtlessly located right on a bend, scraping her hands and the side of her right knee. A bit of antiseptic cream, a cup of chocolate and lots of TLC and Sally and her brother were fine.
I found some old network games on a couple of my PCs that my kids had played years ago and that I hadn't got around to removing, and set them playing each other. This, getting some warmth back into them and letting the fire dry their outer clothes took up the most of the first hour. Then, and I'm still not sure how it started, we were play fighting, with the two of them trying to get me, with me kneeling down tickling each of them whilst trying to protect myself from attack. It was no contest, for although I was now a few years older and not as fit as I was, I was used to playing this game with my four and sometimes their friends too, so playing against two was not too tiring for me.
It seemed just a few minutes later that the doorbell chimed its annoying tune for a second time that day. The kids were oblivious to it, so engrossed in our game, so I was forced to peel them off whilst I went to answer it. I opened the door not certain what to expect. A petite, young woman, with a wonderfully slim figure, greeted me. She was wearing a dark business suit, with her skirt just below her knees, displaying as good a pair of legs as I'd seen in a long time. Her jacket hid her breasts, though they appeared to be on the smallish side. By the time my eyes reached her face, I'd already decided that she was a very attractive woman. Her face, though, was a shock; she seemed quite badly disfigured. I could not keep the surprise from my face, and I was sure she must have noticed it, although she made no comment, nor could I discern any change in her expression. I realised that whatever was wrong with Sally was hereditary, perhaps only affecting the females of the line as Craig seemed fine. I also realised that some time during the past hour or so I had forgotten about Sally's looks. Angry with myself for my reaction, again, I tried hard to understand it. I decided that with Sally I just felt sorry for a child growing up different; whatever the difference was, other children would never let them forget it. With her mother it was different; the pleasant voice from the earlier phone call coupled with my initial look at her slim figure meant that I was already felt some attraction to her, meaning her looks had more of an impact on me than I expected. Shaking these thoughts away, which were all over in a couple of seconds anyway, I invited her in.
She was hardly through the door when first, her son, closely followed by his sister, ran up to her. Both were still red faced and on a high from our exertions. Their mother seemed surprised by their boisterous greeting, and looked at me questioningly.
'We've been fighting David!' Sally shouted out, answering her mother's unasked question, her talking ability had been without doubt for some time.
'David?' she asked looking up at me, the narrow hallway forced her to stand quite close to me making the foot difference in our height seemed huge. I looked down at her and was instantly taken by her eyes. The bottom lid was turned out slightly, showing the inner red flesh. From my vantage point it framed her sparkling hazel eyes to perfection, to my mind the best eyes I'd ever seen on a woman. Her face still appeared misshapen but now I could begin to see the woman behind the unfortunate mask. This close I could also detect a subtle aroma, which I after a second or two realised was her shampoo rather than a perfume. This made me also take note of her hair. It was brown, long and straight and like her daughter's parted in the middle and I, oddly, felt an instant urge to finger comb it, which, of course, I managed to resist.
'Yes, David.' I replied, 'it is my name, I don't feel like a "mister" and don't believe in the honorific title of uncle, so what else am I to be called?'
She had a small mouth and wore little or no lipstick or any other discernible make-up for that matter, but when she smiled it lit up her entire face.
'Heather.' She said, holding her hand out, 'Have they behaved?' she added, nodding to the two still clinging to her sides.
I shook her hand, appreciating the softness and dainty size of it, before answering. 'Not at all, they've been terrible.'
The two children looked up sharply at me in obvious disappointment, their mother only frowned. That was enough, I wanted her smile back, so I gave up the pretence and laughed. 'Only joking, they've been great, more than that, they've brought a bit of joy back into the house that's been missing these last few years.'
The smile returned. 'Okay. I'd better get them out of your hair though. Say thank you to, ' she hesitated for just a moment before continuing, 'David.'
They both smiled and said politely 'Thank you David.' They had picked up their mother's slight reluctance about my name and, of course as children do, stressed their use of it.
Then Sally, whose eyes had been darting between our mouths trying to follow the brief conversation, became the child again, 'but Mum, ' she pleaded, 'we were having so much fun. Do we have to go? Can't we stay just a bit longer? Pleeeeaaasse.' The last word was so drawn out it was impossible not to smile.
'I think David has had enough, don't you?' her mother replied.
'He doesn't mind, do you?' she implored.
'No I don't mind, but if your mother says it's time to go, then it's time to go.' Sally's face went very sullen for a moment but when I added, 'but if it's okay with her you can come again.' It's brightness swiftly returned. I looked at Heather for agreement. She could tell that her kids had obviously enjoyed themselves because Craig, who'd been silent since his mother's arrival, spurted out with childish candour, 'yes please. Can we Mum? It's better than going to Dad's, at least David plays with us.' I wasn't sure before, but it was now confirmed that Heather and the children's father were separated. However, I didn't want to get between the children and their father or cause any unnecessary tension between the two adults.
I started to say, 'hold on... ' when Heather interrupted me.
'Now Craig, I know you don't like spending time at your dad's place, but you can't just expect a complete stranger to look after you whenever you see fit.'
She looked at me for confirmation, but I was once more taken aback by her face. For the last few minutes I'd completely forgotten about her looks, now I was reminded how badly I was handling it, to myself if not to Heather, who still showed no sign of annoyance or even resignation when I kept staring too long at her. ' ... can you?' she finished.
I was not certain exactly what she'd said, as my attention had been elsewhere but rather than bring attention to it I tried to guess what had been said. I looked at Heather and said, 'you mentioned every other Saturday they stay with their father. I don't know what you think but they don't seem to like it, nor does he, otherwise he'd spend more time with them, so I don't mind if they come down then, as long as they realise that I won't be able to make it all the time and... ' I looked at the two children with a mean scowl, ' ... you do exactly what I say.' The meanness in the scowl obviously didn't show through as the both laughed and agreed. I looked at their mother who was trying to act despairingly as she was obviously manoeuvred into acceding to her children's wishes. We exchanged telephone numbers to make the arrangements easier and I said goodbye to the boisterous duo and their mother. I watched her lithe figure walk away and suddenly felt the stirring of desire, yet also for some reason I also felt protective of her.
After she'd gone I sat down, report totally forgotten about, and tried to analyse the way I was thinking about Heather. Even though Juliet was tall and well endowed I knew that Heather's petite body shape was certainly my preferred feminine form and there was no doubting her femininity, so that attraction I had no problem accepting. Being faithfully married for nearly twenty years meant that I had not had many girlfriends, even over the eight years since my divorce, but those that I had had were always beautiful, at least in the accepted definition of the word. Juliet was certainly in that category, now in her late thirties, not that she ever admitted as much, she was still slim and the natural blonde beauty of her youth had blossomed, making her a very attractive woman, something I knew from the many male stares she always pretended to endure. There was no way that Heather fitted that category. I asked myself whether it was pity I felt for her, but quickly dismissed that as a reason, as I knew that it was a more personal feeling than that. I found her eyes fascinating, especially when she had been close and looking up at me. I gave up after a couple of hours when I still could not understand why I was so attracted to her, as I was honest enough with myself to know I wouldn't have agreed to look after her children if there wasn't that strong lure.
I opened a bottle of good French wine and sat down to enjoy the DVD I'd recently bought. It was 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' and seeing the similar instant chemistry between Hugh Grant's and Andie MacDowell's characters just made it harder to forget Heather. After that I phoned Juliet, but even an hour's small talk with her failed to remove Heather from my mind. Wisely though I decided not to mention this to Juliet.
I slept little and fitfully that night and was up at the crack of dawn, which at weekends, was not typical of me at all. It did have the benefit of giving me enough time to work on my report, although I reckon the quality was not up to my usual standards but I just couldn't find the will to do any better. Having finished by midday I met up with Juliet and we spent Sunday lunch down at the local pub, where they serve a reasonable traditional English roast. A pint or two of good ale and after saying goodbye to Juliet, who had to go and collect her son from his father's, a slow walk back to my house, in the resumed sunshine, completed a very pleasant couple of hours. Just as I got back I saw a young lad on a push-bike outside my house, it didn't take long to recognise Craig. He asked if I could show him how to use the computer better as, although his mother had one, he wasn't allowed to use it much. I didn't mind at all, as I knew I would end up taking a nap after my meal otherwise, so teaching the young lad was certainly going to be a bit more stimulating.
I asked Craig if his mother knew that he was here. He smiled sheepishly and shook his head. I was just about to tell him to ring her first, before deciding that I'd rather talk to her myself. I told him to go into the computer room whilst I checked with his mother. I was quite surprised when I felt the mild flutter of butterflies in my stomach as I picked up the phone. 'What on earth are you getting excited about?' I asked myself, 'she's a young woman you've only just met; she's probably young enough to be your daughter. You don't know if she already has a partner and why should she be interested in you anyway? Besides, you have a girlfriend and although its no love match you certainly enjoy being with her.' I told myself these truths and accepted them completely but still felt like a young teenager as I waited for the phone to be answered.
A shot of nerves coursed through my body as she said a simple 'Hello!'
'Hi!' I started trying to talk calmly and in a relaxed manner, 'It's David.'
'David?' the question in her voice was unmistakable, I'd obviously made such a great impression she couldn't even remember me just one day later.
Ego deflated, I carried on, 'The children, my house, yesterday.' I said giving her a list of clues.
'Oh! David. Yes I remember now, sorry. What can I do for you?' her voice was polite but no more.
'Craig has just turned up here asking to use the computer; in fact asking if I'd teach him a bit.' I said.
'Oh! I'm sorry, he should know better. Just send him straight home and I'll make sure he doesn't bother you again.' She said rather sharply.
'No, you've got it wrong. He's not bothering me at all; in fact I think I mentioned yesterday that it would be okay. It's just that I thought you would prefer to know where he is.'
The hesitation that seemed to be a regular part of our few conversations made another appearance. 'Oh!' she started off with again along with a third apology, 'I'm sorry. I thought you were complaining about him. Most people do.' The last said with resignation. 'Are you sure it's alright?'
'Yes no problem. I'll send him back when I've had enough.' I said laughing.
'I'll expect him in five minutes then.' She replied picking up on my effort to lighten the conversation.
'I think I can manage a bit longer than that. What time does he have to be back?' I asked.
'Not 'till six o'clock, but I'm sure you'll tire of him before then.' The laughter was still there but somehow not quite as convincing.
After I'd finished talking to Heather I went into the computer room to tell Craig that it was all right for him to stay. The unreasonable expectation that Heather would be having similar thoughts about me as I was about her were well and truly discounted, so I shook off the disappointment and set about teaching Craig the rudiments of Microsoft's bloated software. The task turned out more interesting than expected, as he was a willing and inquisitive student; so much in fact that it was only when the telephone rang that I looked at my watch to see we were over thirty minutes past Craig's six o'clock deadline. Guessing that it would be his mother I rushed to answer it.
'Hi David.' She said, bringing me a mild pleasure as she remembered my name this time. 'I don't suppose you know where Craig is? He hasn't come home yet.' The resignation in her voice suggested that this was by no means the first time that Craig was late home.
'Yes I do.' I answered sheepishly, 'he's still here. I'm sorry, it's my fault, and we were so engrossed in Excel that I never noticed the time. I'll send him back immediately, unless you want me to bring him over, I can probably get his bike in the back of my car.'
Now that she knew where her son was, her mood lightened a little. 'I don't know whether to thank you for putting up with him or scold you for making him late.'
'I deserve the latter but I'd prefer the thanks, although I've enjoyed having such an eager pupil.'
'Thank you, but you'd better send him home now. Thanks for the offer of a lift but his tea's not quite ready yet and I'd prefer him to ride back, ' at this point I could hear a smile in her voice, 'it might just tire him out a bit, so he leaves me and Sally in peace. Now, ' the smile became laughter, 'if you can teach him THAT miracle you will have my eternal thanks.'
'I'm sure you wouldn't want him to become too placid and boring.' I said, but also noticed my own reaction, which was that I would very much like Heather's eternal thanks. Her sweet voice interrupted that train of thought.
'Umph! Chance would be a fine thing!' she laughed.
'Okay! I'll send him over right away.'
Reluctantly I said goodbye and hung up. A few minutes later Craig was on his way home after extracting, from me, a promise to continue next week.
The rest of the evening was spent trying to concentrate on television, which, with its poor story lines, boring actors and endless mindless commercials, was not doing its best to capture and hold my attention. It was not too surprising, then, that my thoughts often strayed to Heather. For the umpteenth time I tried to work out just why I felt such a strong attraction to her. She had a fabulous sexy body from what I could see but then so did loads of women that I had little or no taste for. The two things that I must find in a woman are intelligence and the ability to hold a conversation. At first sight Heather seemed to fit in with both requirements. By the time I went to bed I was still none the wiser.
The next few days I was away presenting my report to the board of a well-known company. It was a blueprint for their future IT department and seemed to be accepted with only minimal objections. I was therefore in a buoyant mood when I returned home late Tuesday. I opened a bottle of chilled Montrachet and sat at my desk to listen to my answer-phone messages. The third message had me sitting upright as I recognised Heather's voice. 'Hi David! Craig wanted to know if he could come over tonight, but as you're obviously not in he can't. I hate these things, I always seem to talk gibberish into them so I'll just say goodbye.'
I checked my watch to find that it was already past ten thirty. Should I ring back and apologise for not being in or was it too late. I swayed for about five minutes before my desire to talk to her overruled my belief that it was too late in the evening.
The phone rang for what seemed an eternity, beyond when I would have ordinarily hung up, which I was about to when it was answered.
'Hello, ' said a very sleepy voice.
'Oh Shit!' I thought, I've woken her up.
'Hi Heather! It's David. I've just got in and thought to call you back, without realising the time.' I felt only a little guilt at this lie. 'It's only realising I've woken you that made me check my watch.'
'That's all right. You've probably done me a favour, I'd dropped off watching the TV, if you hadn't rang I'd have still been down here a few more hours probably. As I tried to say in the message, Craig wanted to know if he could come over tonight, he had a homework assignment to do and he thought you might have been able to help. Too late now though, he's been in bed over an hour.'
'Well tell him I'll be around tomorrow evening, if that's not too late, and once again I'm sorry for calling so late.'
'No problem, but I am tired so if you don't mind I'm going to bed. I'll tell Craig in the morning. Goodnight David.'
'Goodnight Heather!' I said.
Craig did not come the following day, so I assumed that it was too late for the particular homework he required my help with, however he and Sally appeared on Saturday afternoon. They spent the next few hours playing games on the computer with bouts of fighting me in between. They headed off on their bikes about six o'clock, ending my hopes of meeting their mother again.
Saturday night Juliet stayed. As I undressed her I found myself comparing her to Heather, as I cupped and kissed her generous breasts I wondered how Heather's smaller ones would feel, would her nipples react the same, what would she taste like? I was so hard and eager that even Juliet noticed. I tried to forget Heather as I thrust into my girlfriend's sexy body but as I climaxed it was Heather's disfigured face that filled my mind's eye. I did feel a bit guilty about fantasising about another woman but I had done so before, as I'm sure Juliet had over other men. It did no harm to just fantasise, as long as that was all it was. I felt a lot more guilt though as I lay next to Juliet's naked body when I acknowledged that this time was different. Other fantasies were purely sexual; this I knew was more than that. I fell asleep with that thought.
Sunday was a repeat with the children again spending a few infectious hours with me before going home. They were doing me quite a bit of good, as for the next few days numerous friends commented on my improved state, although a couple of hours at a time seemed about as much as I could currently handle.
I saw the kids at least twice a week over the next few weeks but to my growing dismay, I didn't see Heather for about a month, although we talked regularly. The one plus for me during this time was that our conversations lasted longer each time we spoke and swiftly moved beyond her children as a sole topic. In the meantime I began to look forward to the children's visits and got to know them quite well. Craig was very boisterous, almost hyper, but seemed to know when to behave properly, at least when he was with me. He seemed a typical male, concerned only with things rather than people whereas his little sister seemed the opposite. We spent many hours on the computer both learning and playing games, most of the latter he was soon beating me at. Craig always wanted to be doing something. Sally on the other hand, perhaps because of her hearing problems, preferred physical contact to lectures. She showed little interest in learning any computer stuff and swiftly bored of playing games on it too. She much preferred our regular fights and just loved to cuddle up to me and watch TV. My own children met them and every one fell for little Sally with her subtle need for affection. A couple of times she even went shopping with my eldest daughter. I soon learned the art of dealing with her deafness until it became second nature, even after she'd received her new hearing aid.
It was nearly a month before Juliet got to meet them and it did not go as I expected. With her having a son of her own, separated from his father I thought she would take to them easily, especially Sally, I could not think of anyone knowing her and not loving her to bits. Of course I had talked to Juliet about them and their mother on numerous times. She only seemed interested in Heather and my relationship with her. It did my ego some good to know that Juliet was jealous and obviously did not believe me when I explained the situation. She assumed something was going on between us, why else would I look after her children. I refuted this, knowing of course that I hadn't seen Heather since the first week, but I also kept to myself the appeal I still felt for her. When she did meet Sally the horror on her face was obvious and for the first time I saw Sally react to someone. Sally's normal happy face disappeared immediately and she started studying her feet.
Juliet then said angrily, speaking as if Sally was not there. 'You didn't tell me she looked like that!' Sally ran out the room and after giving Juliet a real dirty look so did Craig.
I knew Juliet was very into 'body beautiful' but her over the top reaction made me very angry indeed. We then had our first major row. We had intended taking the children swimming that day, something we both enjoyed, but Juliet was adamant that she wouldn't take Sally with her in case someone thought she was HER daughter. I'm sure the children must have heard us but wisely they stayed clear. The final straw for me was when Juliet found that their mother looked similar to Sally. She laughed and asked why I hadn't told her before especially when she was acting all jealous. After all, she said, no man would ever want a woman who looked like that, let alone someone who had a 'beautiful' girlfriend like herself. I hit the roof, saying that I'd much rather be with a real woman like Heather than the hollow replica before me, however pretty the exterior. Needless to say this started a bitter row and it wasn't too long before she stormed out of the house and out of my life. At the time, although very angry at her I was not sure whether I really wanted to lose her for good, which I obviously had. The two children on the other hand were delighted to see her go. Sally came and sat on my knee and never moved until it was time to go, even then it was with great reluctance that she left.
Just as she was leaving she looked up at me and said in all seriousness. 'She wasn't a very nice person for you to have as a girlfriend anyway. If you want, I'll be your girlfriend from now on.' Her smile melted my heart so I picked her up and looked at her so that she could see my lips and mouthed. 'You've got yourself a deal then kid.'
I spent the next few days alternating between feeling sorry for myself, proud of Sally for her resilience and ability to rise above Juliet's words and angry with Juliet for her actions and words. I came to the conclusion that Sally was right, Juliet wasn't for me and, as I was being truthful, the main reason for Juliet in my life was easy sex and the ego boost I got from having her on my arm when we went out. I suddenly realised that those reasons made me feel as shallow as I'd accused Juliet of being.
When I did see Heather again it was purely coincidental; it was midweek, I'd been to yet another meeting with my current client and was on my home. It was gone seven o'clock and I did not feel like cooking so decided to call in for a Chinese takeaway. As I walked through the door I noticed the rear view of a nice and sexy young woman waiting to be served. It must have taken a few minutes for me to realise it was Heather. I was pleasantly surprised that she seemed genuinely happy to see me and we talked firstly about the children before moving on to why I was here personally; she knew from the children that although I regularly had a takeaway I invariably ordered one to be delivered. When her food was served she stayed behind, still talking, until mine arrived. Seeing her changed my mood and as we left I felt strangely content, happy just being in her company. That changed to absolute delight when she suggested that rather than eat my meal alone at home, I might want to join her and the kids. 'Might!' I thought, I could think of nothing I'd prefer to do. Heather had walked to the takeaway, it being only a few hundred yards from where she lived, so I offered her a lift and we set out for my first visit to her home.
Less than two minutes later I was directed to pull up outside a nice detached house, which looked to be less than a decade old. Other than giving me directions Heather said nothing during our short trip.
As we entered the house I heard Craig shout out. 'About time too, we're starving.'
Before his mother could answer I shouted back in a deliberately stern voice. 'That's no way to talk to your mother young man! If it was left to me you would do without tea altogether.'
I hadn't even finished when Sally came flying into the hall, obviously alerted by her brother to my presence.
'David!' she cried and run straight at me with her arms held wide open. Careful of my meal I still managed to scoop her up into my arms.
'So! How is my new girlfriend then?' I asked smiling down at her.
She decided to ignore my question and ask one of her own. 'What are you doing here?'
Craig's voice suddenly joined in from the doorway, 'Yes, what are you doing here?' emphasising the 'are' where Sally had stressed the 'you'.
'I found him at the Chinese.' Heather chipped in, 'but I can always take him back if you don't want him.'
Happily a negative response echoed from both children. I carried Sally into the kitchen where Heather managed to relieve me of my meal but not her daughter. She dished out the food and we headed back to join Craig, who'd returned to the television. The meal was interspersed with cuddles from Sally; hush noises from Craig to whom the television was a matter of life and death and general conversation with Heather. I enjoyed it immensely. All too soon it was Sally's bedtime and only by allowing me to take her up, with the promise of a story, did her mother finally get her to agree to go to bed at all. It must have been a good half hour before I finally rejoined Heather. The TV was off, the hi-fi playing some soft rock and Craig was nowhere to be seen.
'I thought we'd lost you for the night.' She said, 'Sally certainly seems taken with you.'
'The feelings mutual I can assure you.' I replied. 'Where's Craig?'
'On the computer.' Heather answered.
'I thought he wasn't allowed to use yours. At least that's what he told me.'
'He wasn't, but since he's been going over to you he actually wants to use it as a computer rather than a games console, so I don't mind as much. Anyway! What is this I've heard about a new girlfriend?' Her smile showed the lack of seriousness although the amusement in her voice also gave the game away.
'Well! The old one dumped me so I thought I'd try a younger model.' I replied trying to keep my expression serious. 'This early bedtime doesn't help much though.' This time I was laughing, having given up any pretence.
The seriousness in her reply therefore surprised me. 'Dumped? That's not what I've heard. I was told you told her to leave, after an argument about Sally.'