"Shit!" Roy swore at the screen, "I was anticipating a quiet, peaceful journey and now some yakking woman wants to come with me." He read the message again.
<Dear Mr. Emerson
I must apologise in advance for contacting you but the Cwm Rydr Study Centre gave me your email address as being someone attending the Art Summer School at the beginning of August and living close to me. I am wishing to attend but it is a cross-country route of over 300 miles and my daughter needs the car for work on weekdays. The Centre has one place left and they have pencilled me in and will hold a place for me until next weekend. With the course so close to starting, I was lucky to get a place at all.
Would it be too much of an imposition to ask if I could travel with you? I will, of course, share the cost of petrol etc.
Lillian Kell, Gt.Bishopham>
"Shit, Gt. Bishopham is only six miles away and the Centre needs all the students it can get to survive, so I suppose I'll have to offer her a seat in my car but maybe when she knows how I will travel, she might change her mind. I wonder if she is a chatterbox like my ex-wife? She must be at least middle-aged if she has a daughter old enough to drive." Still grumbling to himself, Roy replied:
There will certainly be room for you and your art gear in my car but before you decide, you need to know my travel arrangements. I will start at about 9:30 on Friday morning and travel by minor roads across England and I have booked a room at a Travel Lodge in Shropshire for the night and next day will meander through the Welsh countryside to arrive at the Centre early afternoon on the Saturday. The return journey will again take two days and this time I have booked a room in Warwickshire.
In view of the fact that we do not know each other and may not get on well, perhaps it would be advisable to meet beforehand. May I suggest lunch at the Cricketers Arms in Town Wed. 19th July?
<Thanks Roy, I will meet you at the Cricketers. I'll recognise you as I've seen you and your work at a couple of exhibitions.
"I wouldn't have thought you needed to go on a course," Lillian commented after the introductions.
"It's a holiday. I get to see and paint a totally different landscape to around here — and I don't have to cook any meals for a week. Usually I sell a couple of the paintings so the course almost pays for itself. I presume there is no husband to object to your spending time with me?"
"No, he cleared off with his secretary three years ago. What about you?"
"Much the same only it was six years ago. We just drifted apart. She talked and nagged incessantly so I couldn't concentrate and she couldn't get used to my sporadic income. There were times when I was flushed with funds and then went through a meagre period. I do pretty well now though especially after I painted a naked woman on the deck of a rich man's yacht. His affluent friends saw it and wanted something similar. How do you feel about sharing a room with me on the journey?"
"Okay, as long as it is understood that I will share the room but not your bed. When I enquired about you from friends, they said you were an eccentric, but harmless." She grinned and Roy had to smile too. He knew she referred to his unusual dress; sailor's cap covering his bald scalp, goatee beard, sleeveless shirt, shorts and trainers. At 5' 5" he stood a little shorter than her but he guessed there wasn't too much difference in her age to his forty-nine years.
By contrast she wore a neat flower-patterned frock, cut just low enough in the front to reveal a little of her cleavage. Her shoulder length, dark brown hair, curled under at the ends, surrounded a round face that bore little make-up. Her appearance didn't displease him and neither did her conversation. She kept to the point of the travel arrangements and what might be expected of her on the course. "I've been painting, on and off, since school, mainly flowers and only been on two weekend courses locally so when I heard of the Summer School I decided to try and go. At the time I had no idea how difficult it would be to get there by public transport and I didn't really expect anyone from this side of the country to go, let alone someone as close as you."
"I've gone every year for the last five, since Kate left me, so they know me well."
"You look a bit apprehensive, Lill."
"I suppose I am a little. In a way it feels a bit naughty to be in the same room with a man who is not my husband. Not that I have a husband now, but I guess you know what I mean."
Roy grinned and remembered her daughter Sharon's words when they left. "Be good, and if you can't be good, remember to take the pills!" "The ball is in your court. If you want to be naughty, climb into my bed, but rest assured I won't climb into yours and even if I see you naked, you won't be raped. With my work, I'm quite used to being with unclothed women and, while I often get aroused, they don't get interfered with unless they want it."
"Before I asked to come on this trip with you, I decided that I would have to begin to trust men again. It's been a long while and I've not been out with anyone since John left, so it may take time before I go further. We seemed to have got on well enough on the journey but expect to sleep alone tonight."
After a nice meal at the local pub and a couple of glasses of wine, she felt naughty enough to turn her back and undress in the room and don her nightdress in front of him. In turn she saw him naked and had glimpses of his half erect prick, but after a "Good night, thank you for bringing me," she climbed into her bed and turned out the light. Sleep took a long while coming for both of them.
Lillian wondered, "Am I being selfish by not sleeping with him after he has gone to the trouble to bring me? He didn't have to. Am I ready to have a man's prick inside me again? I think so. I still get horny and wet and I'm not that old, I still haven't reached fifty, although that isn't too far away. I wonder what he thought of my old body after seeing the gorgeous girls he paints? Maybe he's like John and wants younger girls. He looked in pretty good shape for his age and his penis is still in working order. Perhaps I'll find out before the end of the course. Sounds as if he is rubbing it now and trying to be quiet doing it. Is he thinking of me?"
Roy was indeed thinking of her. "She's not bad looking and has decent tits that hardly sag. Doesn't shave or at least, hasn't done so for a while. Doesn't talk too much. Even on the journey I didn't get the life history or her and her family. Seems willing enough to pay her way and not sponge on me so perhaps we can be friends if nothing more. Think if I had pushed things, she might be lying alongside me now but perhaps it was better to play it slowly, I've had enough one-night stands but they were only for the sex. With Lill I might want more than that. Remember though, you've only known her for a few days and things could change when you and she get to know each other better. You thought Kate was an ideal partner for several years."
Nestling in a mountain valley and overlooking the Irish Sea, the Cwm Rydr Study Centre started life as a Methodist chapel and the main building now contained the activity rooms, library, and dining room as well as the Warden's accommodation and office. Two neighbouring cottages provided the dormitories, mainly in individual rooms but with a few for couples.
"I've put you in room four like you requested Roy, only two couples this time so the double room was free," Peter Fletcher, the warden and tutor for the course informed them, "I know you like the view over the sea and there's room if you have company." He glanced at Lillian who immediately wondered if Roy planned to seduce her. "Lillian you are in room seven at the end of the corridor," Peter went on, "You're the first to arrive so I suggest you do any outside sketching this afternoon, the forecast for the next two days is for wind and rain so we won't get outside much until Tuesday."
Twenty minutes later, Roy knocked on her door. "Grab your sketchbook and I'll show you some of the sights."
"I've hardly started to unpack," Lillian protested.
"Plenty of time for that later. Sun's shining and the air is clear and fresh so we'd best make the most of it. It can get pretty wild here even in the summer."
Again she tried to protest, not because she didn't want to go but her mind kept returning to the fact that he'd booked a double room and it seemed that he'd had other ladies on previous courses. "Is he as trustworthy as he makes out?" she asked herself, "So far he's been a gentleman but is that a ploy just to gain my confidence and get into my knickers. Will he then be like John and look for someone younger and more attractive? With nine women booked and only three men, there are plenty of women to choose from on this course." A twinge of jealousy went through her body, but she grabbed her pad and pencils and followed him outside. In the end she was glad she did. Not only did he show her some of the interesting sights, but gave her useful drawing tips. Still, alongside him, she felt a true amateur. She laboured over details while he, with quick deft strokes, captured the atmosphere of the scene and even included her in one of the sketches.
.... There is more of this story ...