There is no actual sex in this story.
I thank my LadyCibelle and Techsan for their patience, proof reading, editing skills and of course encouragement they always give me. I also thank all of my friends, who write to encourage and help me to continue writing and posting, these demented ravings of mine. Your emails are always greatly appreciated.
How had I got myself into this situation, I was asking myself. Why me? What had I done to deserve this? Well, the answer was — if I was being truthful with myself, that is — that it wasn't what I had done; it was more a question of what I hadn't done. Sound confusing to you? Yeah, me, too, but now it was time for me to do something drastic, and bloody quickly as well, before things reached the point of no return.
Let's go back a little and I'll try to explain what happened. What it had started with was a quick roll in the hay after both Veronica and I had drunk too much at a party one night. We were both eighteen at the time and at the beginning of the party we had both been virgins. The following morning neither of us were virgins anymore and Ronnie had an uninvited guest in her womb.
Of course we didn't know that when we woke up in the same bed the next day. Ronnie and I — when sober at least — had never considered each other either attractive or had thoughts of dating each other. So a few choice words were exchanged between us and I made a hasty strategic withdrawal.
Hey, don't get the idea that neither of us was attractive from what I've just said. But beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder, and Veronica and I had never cast our eyes in each other's direction. You know, it's just how things go; Ronnie was just one of the girls who lived in our town and there were plenty of others who I had my eyes on.
There was a reason for that though. Veronica and her friends were in a little clique who appeared to think that they were god's gift to the world. They walked around totally convinced that their shit didn't stink, and that every other youngster in town held what they said and did in awe.
Me? Well, my friends and I had figured that chasing after the unobtainable was a complete waste of time long before, so Ronnie and her little crowd had never been added into the equation.
Well, after that inexplicable night, it didn't take long for Ronnie to lose that quite shapely figure of hers. Funny how I only really noticed that figure of Veronica's after that unsightly bump appeared in her tummy.
It wasn't very long before pointed questions were being asked. Unfortunately the finger of suspicion was soon pointing in my direction. Well, apparently Veronica - when she told her parents she was in the family way — had informed them that I was the only possible candidate for the newly available position of expectant father.
I'd have loved to have been a fly on the wall during that little exposé; I doubt that Veronica's parents ever figured me as a likely - or welcome - candidate for a son-in-law.
I'm going to tell you now that the first that I actually knew of Ronnie's pregnancy was when I came home from work one evening to find my parents entertaining (if that's the right word) Veronica and her parents in our lounge. Then things really got entertaining (look, I can't help it if I've got a sick sense of humour) with Veronica's father threatening to ensure that if I didn't do right by his daughter, I'd be singing soprano, permanently.
Now my mother was devastated by the news; but my father was of the old school and took it all in his stride. "You reap what you sow!" he used to say, and "You stand by your obligations like a man." The net result was your typical shotgun wedding, with me kind of roped in as an afterthought.
Everything was sorted without any input from me at all: the wedding, the furnished rented cottage that we were going to live in. And the rules of engagement that we were going to live by after the wedding, as spelled out by Veronica. And possibly her mother, the Dragon!
My sole contribution was to stand at the altar and say, "I do" when directed to do so. And then work my fucking fingers to the bone to keep "Veronica" in the style that she was accustomed.
I say my fucking fingers, because that was the only fucking that I got anywhere near doing for a bleeding long time. God, there were only single beds in that bloody cottage.
Whilst she was pregnant, Ronnie was - to put it mildly - one lazy cow. If I wanted to eat when I got home from work, then I cooked for myself. Ronnie would have been around her mother's house most of the day and she normally ate there. I assumed; you know, I never asked.
I appeared to be responsible for keeping the house clean and tidy as well; Ronnie was always complaining that she was too ill or too tired.
Yeah, as you can guess, I didn't figure that the marriage was going to last that long and I doubted that Ronnie did either. I thought that once the child had been born "in wedlock" then divorce wouldn't be long in coming onto the agenda. The sprog wouldn't be a bastard and I believed that's all that everyone was worrying about at the time.
But then just as Veronica was nearing full term, things took an unexpected turn, and it snowed. Yeah, eight bleeding inches of the stuff falling during the night was to change just about everything.
Ronnie's waters broke about five that morning, almost two weeks early; she yelled for me to call the ambulance and to be bloody quick about it.
I picked up the telephone only to find that it was completely dead. The snow had brought the line down somewhere. The next nearest telephone was on the end of the road about half a mile away, so after climbing out of the window - there was a snowdrift up against the front door - I battled my way through the last of the blizzard to the phone box; only to find that telephone out of order as well.
Now that left me with two options. Another almost mile walk through the snow to a neighbour's house, where I suspected their phone would be out as well. Or return to a very frightened Veronica and get out the "Home doctor" book that I'd remembered seeing on the bookshelf somewhere.
I chose the latter option and, with the book in one hand, I became a very nervous apprentice midwife with the other. I might not have felt confident about what I was doing, but I knew I had to act as if I was, for Ronnie and the baby's sake.
Look, guys, I'm sure that most of you have no idea what a breach baby is or how to deal with it. Well, neither did I until I read that bloody book that had the date 1905 printed inside the front cover. All right maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit there, but from what I could make of it the baby's head wasn't engaged and the little bugger didn't appear to me to be lined up properly according to the book. Was I glad that the guy who wrote the damned thing knew his stuff, and went into the fine details.
Anyway after a bit of delicate pushing and shoving and a certain amount of cursing and swearing that I doubted Veronica's mother would have thought that her darling daughter would even know, let alone use, I suddenly found myself covered in stuff that I won't bother to describe here (some readers might have weak stomachs) and holding a darling little baby girl in my arms.
Luckily the umbilical cord was just about long enough for me to place Megan in Ronnie's arms so that I could turn the page of the book, to see what I was supposed to do next. Great, those old medical books; they assume that you are going to have little at hand to complete the operation. Modern books tend to say, "Call in the experts NOW!"
Ah, yeah, Megan! You noticed the name, did you? I thought you would. Not my choice I can assure you. I'd always been fascinated with the name "Otterley" and had wanted my first female child to bear that name. The Dragon, Veronica's mother, was called Megan though, so I'd been outvoted on that before we even knew the sex of the child.
I'd just completed washing the baby and placed her back in her mother's arms when the two policemen climbed through the open front widow and came upstairs to see what the problem was. I'd paced out the word "HELP" in the snow in big letters, before I'd gone back into the cottage to assist Ronnie give birth, and an army helicopter-patrolling overhead had eventually spotted it.
Before I knew what was happening a doctor had arrived in a second helicopter and they made arrangements for Ronnie and Megan to be flown to hospital. I was staying behind because there was no room in the machine for me.
I'd passed Megan to one of the helicopter's crew and they were just about to load Ronnie's stretcher on board as well, when she asked them to stop. Ronnie gestured for me to come close; I actually thought she wanted to whisper something to me. As I bent down to hear what she was going to say, her arms snaked around me; then she pulled me down on top of her and clamped her lips on mine.
The next thing I knew her tongue is halfway down my throat and I was about to pass out from lack of oxygen. God, Ronnie took me by surprise and what air that she hadn't managed to squeeze out of my lungs, she sucked out of them.
You might not think that was an unusual thing for a loving wife to do. I don't think any of the guys who witnessed it thought it strange either. But I bleeding-well did. That was the first kiss I'd got out of Ronnie since she'd given a peck on the lips on our wedding day.
"Thank you," and "I love you," she said as I staggered back from the stretcher. Within a matter of seconds the helicopter door slid closed and the machine was in the air.
I went back into the house to repair the damage to Ronnie's bedroom. Yeah, you got it; I did say Veronica's bedroom.
As usual around our way the snow didn't last very long. The following day, a lot of the snow had melted and I had managed to dig the car out. Getting to work for me was still out of the question though, but I thought I could make it to the hospital to visit my new baby girl. Oh, yeah, and Veronica, my wife; mind you, at that time the baby held more of a fascination for me than Ronnie ever did. The little show of affection she'd put on by the helicopter for the police and army guys, didn't fool me.
When I entered the room the four proud grandparents were already there, fussing over the baby. It was obvious to me that I wasn't going to get a look in edgeways, although I was challenged as to why I hadn't shown my face the previous evening. Oh, and of course, I should have waited until the experts had arrived, and it was my fault that Veronica had ripped her birth canal during the birth; that had required several stitches. The Dragon never missed a chance to attack.
Look, by then all this crap from her was going over my head. I just ignored it, most of the time.
As I got closer to the bed, Ronnie held her hand out towards me. I don't know why I took hold of it; that's the sort of thing people who are in love do, and Ronnie and I weren't in that category.
Ronnie's hand clamped onto mine and she pulled me towards her so forcefully that I almost fell onto the bed with her. Then her other hand was behind my head and she pulled our mouths together, trying to suffocate me again.
I remember the thought, "I could get used to this!" passing through my mind, as Ronnie decided to let me breath again.
"Isn't she beautiful? She has your nose!" Ronnie said, as I staggered to my feet, gasping for air.
"I wouldn't know, Ronnie. I was a little busy yesterday running around like a blue arsed fly; everything is a bit on the hazy side," I replied.
"Mother! Give Otterley to her father please and, dad, get your camera out again. I want some pictures of John holding her and of us together," Veronica ordered.
But my mind didn't really hear the instructions that Ronnie had given her father. Going around in my mind was the question, "Did Veronica just call the baby Otterley?"
The Dragon stuffed the baby into my arms. Yeah, I said stuffed! I don't think I could call it anything else; it was lucky that I never dropped the little tyke. But then again that could have been the bitch's intention, for all I know.
I'm afraid that I really wasn't concentrating on what was going on for a little while, because I found myself inspecting the nametape wrapped around the Baby's little arm.
"Otterley Christine Veronica Hope" had been squeezed on there in very tiny writing, for all the world to see. Otterley, the name I'd always wanted for my daughter, but that Ronnie had said "Over my dead body" to; Christine, my mother's name and by chance Ronnie's grandmothers name (I found out later that it was the Dragon's middle name as well); and of course Veronica after her mother.
I looked over at Veronica and saw that she was sitting there smiling at me. She gestured towards her father who by then was snapping away like David Bailey.
"Sit on the bed with Veronica, John," the old fart ordered, so I did as requested. We were then posed like loving parents normally are in those kinds of shots.
Oh, I didn't say that Veronica's father was a professional photographer, did I? He was nothing special or anything, just portraits, weddings and the like. But he knows what he's doing and how to take a bleeding good picture, so you tend to do as you're told once he gets started.
The little photo-shoot over, Veronica ordered the grandparents out of the room. Yeah, I did say ordered; I should have realised then just how much like her mother Veronica was going to turn out to be.
"I want to speak to my husband in private for a little while," she said. With definite emphasis placed on the words "My Husband."
I'd gotten off the bed again by this time and was sitting in a chair in the room with my daughter in my arms.
"John, would you put Otterley in the cot and come and sit here please!" Ronnie asked in her most charming voice, once we were alone.
Well, it wasn't often that Ronnie was that polite with me so I did as she requested. As I sat on the edge of the bed Ronnie reached out and pulled me closer, then laid her head against my chest. Then to my utter amazement she started crying.
Now look, actually I was quite ready for this. Besides that home doctor book we had at home, I'd done a lot of reading about women having babies and the aftermath. I knew all about how some of them get Postnatal or was it Prenatal Depression; I was buggered if I could remember at the time. Anyway I'd read a lot about what can happen around the time of a birth and I was quite prepared for unexplained tears and or tantrums.
Suddenly I realised that Ronnie was talking, although very softly.
"I'm sorry I was such a pig to you. It wasn't your fault. I could have said no any time I wanted to. But to be honest, I didn't want to say no."
"Ronnie, what are you talking about?" I asked.
She suddenly sat up and looked straight into my eyes
"Otterley," she replied. "I've been blaming you for making me pregnant. But that was silly; I wanted to do it that night just as much as you did. My problem was I couldn't understand why. But the other day after my waters broke, I sudden realised why. John, none of the other boys that I've known could have done what you did yesterday. You were so calm, so in control and knew exactly what to do."
"I was terrified that Otterley and I were going to die and you... well, you were just John, doing what had to be done and making me feel safe," she said.
"I might have looked all nice and calm, Veronica, but I was bloody shitting myself most of the time," I explained.
She smiled at me again then kissed me on the lips again. Gently this time though.
"I love you, John!" she said as she broke the kiss. "And I'm going to fuck your brains out when I've healed up, down there. I'm sorry but the doctor said it would be a few weeks before we can do it again."
"Veronica, look, please don't talk like that. I know that when you've just given birth your hormones and things are all out of kilter. You are going to be all-emotional for some time until things settle down again. Let's see how you feel in a few weeks, shall we?"
"No. John, I'm completely in control of my emotions and I know exactly what I'm doing. I'm going to be the best wife I can be to you from now on," she blurted out.
Yeah and I believed that? But from my reading, I'd figured that I wouldn't get much sense out of Veronica for sometime to come. Or until her system got back to where it should be. I thought it best to change the subject, before Veronica made any more promises that she wouldn't be keeping.
Think about it? "Love, honour and obey." Yeah, I'd seen sweet FA of any of them in the proceeding months.
"You changed the baby's name to Otterley?" I asked, seeking to change the topic of conversation.
"Yes, of course, that's the name you wanted to call her, wasn't it?