Thanks to my editor, MisterE, for the time and effort spent in helping me get this story posted.
In this story there are no consequences from unprotected unsafe sex, no diseases and no unwanted pregnancies, but remember it is a story, not the real world.
Readers from other parts of the world should note that this story is set in England, and the language is that which you find in England.
If any of the words are a problem have a look at http://www.english2american.com, and if this doesn't provide the answer e-mail me.
Please take note of the Violent and Caution story codes, The violence is non-sexual, but it does form a significant part of the story and I have been, I think, fairly graphic, so if it's not your thing don't read on. The caution covers a couple of related scenes. The sex is all consensual.
I arrived home at five-thirty having cycled from my job in the city to my house, a terraced house in a pleasant tree lined street between Clapham and Balham. However in the middle of January on a cold wet Tuesday night it looked like any other London street, bleak, with people scurrying home from the buses and the tube station about half a mile away.
I started cycling to work the previous summer. At first it would take me forty minutes to cover the six miles or so but, as I got fitter, it took less time. I found it quicker and much more pleasant than the commute on the crowded tube trains. I found a route that kept me away from main roads, and changed into my dark suit, shirt and tie at the office. There were a few other cyclists in the company and we had taken over one of the disabled toilets as a changing room. We had no disabled staff on our floor and, being the boss, I sent out a memo condoning the use 'while there are no staff requiring the facility working on the tenth floor'. At fifty-four I was the oldest cyclist by a mile, it got me a few odd looks, but, once I started to look fitter, I caught a few admiring glances from the young female members of staff.
Anyway back to the story.
As I opened the gate into the small front garden, pushing my bike through, I spotted a figure hunched in the corner of the porch. As I approached the figure I realised it was a young woman and she was wet through. "At last," she said as she stood up, "I've lost my key."
"Sorry love," I said with a friendly smile. "You've got the wrong house."
"No I haven't," she replied, looking me straight in the eye. "67 Badminton Road, SW12, this is where I live."
"No, sorry, you don't live here," I said, still smiling. "I bought this house in 2005, and I've lived here ever since."
She stood there quite calmly and repeated, "I live here."
What was I to do? I opened the front door and the girl walked in. She paused in the hallway, pointed up the stairs and said, "That's my room, at the front."
Under the light I noticed that she had some bruises on her face and one eye was black, she had obviously taken a battering off someone. I wondered if this had affected her mind. I put her age at about thirty-five but it was hard to tell under the shabby wet clothes. Deciding that she wasn't a threat, I said, "Sit in the kitchen and take that wet coat off, I'll make us a mug of tea."
Under the coat she wore thin dress, totally unsuitable for winter, so I found her an old sweater out of the hall cupboard and put the kettle on. I made the tea, gave her the mug, and asked her again why she was here.
"I live here," was all she said. I asked what her name was and she replied, "Susan Holt."
The couple I had bought the house from were not called Holt, but they had only lived here 3 years, so I was at a loss.
After a few more attempts to convince Susan that she didn't live here, and failing to find out where she did live, I decided I had no option but to call the police. I left her in the kitchen and went upstairs to the boxroom that I used as a study. I told the police about my uninvited guest and they asked a few questions, I said she wasn't violent or threatening, just confused. They said they would send someone round but it may take a while as 'there wasn't any threat to life or property' and that if Susan became violent or dangerous to ring them again and they would send a response car round.
I went back down to find Susan had finished her tea. I asked if she was hungry, she said that she was so I decided to feed her while waiting for the police. During the week I live on ready meals so I put two ready-made stews in the microwave, it was fortunate that Marks & Spencers had them on a 'buy one get one free' offer when I did my shopping the previous day.
I then tried talking to her about other things and soon realised that she was quite intelligent and well read. We got into a discussion about the problems in the banking industry, a subject close to my heart since I worked for Nat West. I had already applied for voluntary severance and would take it if the terms were reasonable, with 34 years service I should get a good payout.
We sat talking for a while after we had eaten and she seemed perfectly normal until I again brought up the subject of where she lived, she was adamant that she lived here.
Two police officers, a man and a woman, arrived at about eight o'clock in a small patrol car. I took them through to the kitchen and explained the situation. They talked to Susan and she seemed completely rational but she was still convinced she lived here. They asked her about her bruises but she just sat there as if she hadn't heard. They asked me if I knew how she got the bruises and black eye and I said "I have no idea".
The WPC sat with Susan and the PC indicated he wanted to speak to me alone in the front room. I convinced him that the house was mine by showing him a variety of bills and other documents bearing my name and the address. Then he rang his station and, after speaking to someone for a few minutes, went into the kitchen and said, "Come on Susan, lets get you home."
Susan looked glum but got up and went out with the PC's. Once Susan was in the back of the patrol car the PC came back to me and said "I'm at a loss but we'll take her back to the station and try to sort it out there. You've been decent, some folks would kick up a right stink, so good night sir." He gave me a wave as he got in the drivers seat and drove off.
I spent the rest of the evening watching TV. I went to bed and mulled it over for a while and was still of the opinion that the beating she'd taken had affected her mind in some way.
Wednesday night was cold and clear, and I arrived back just after five-thirty as I always did. There was Susan sitting in the porch. I thought of the movie 'Groundhog Day'. "Hello Susan," I said cheerfully. "What are you doing here?"
"I told you," she replied tersely, "I live here. Those people at the police station wouldn't believe me but they let me go this morning so I walked back here."
I wondered why the hell I paid taxes, considering the state of mental health care these days, but I was at loss to know what to do. I asked her in and we had a rerun of yesterday though I decided that calling the police again was a waste of time. We talked while I was cooking tea - after raiding the freezer - and, on most topics, I got intelligent conversation. We shared a love of the countryside, eighties and nineties music and we both listened to Radio 2. I asked her how old she was, she told me she was twenty-nine and her birthday was on the twenty-eighth of May. When I asked about a husband or boyfriends she just sat there without answering. I guessed it was a touchy subject.
I then had an idea. Two doors down there was an old couple who had lived there for 40 years or more, maybe they would know her or her parents. I went down to see them and explained what had happened. They told me a young woman called Susan Crawford had been living here with her parents during the nineties and agreed to come back with me. As soon as they walked into the living room they recognised Susan, and she recognised them. Ada started talking with Susan while I took William into the kitchen. He told me the Crawfords lived here until about 1999, and when Susan got married they moved away. He thought they had gone to East Anglia. We were piecing things together.
We returned to the living room where Susan was telling Ada that her parents had died a couple of years ago. Damn, if it's true, and I thought it was, no hope there, Ada had already told me that Susan was an only child. "Let's have a cup of tea, Peter," said Ada, getting up from her chair, "come and show me where things are."
I knew Ada wanted to talk to me but she waited until we were in the kitchen. "She's been beaten badly by her husband. We didn't really know him but I know her parents didn't like him and didn't want her to marry him. They wanted her to move to Cromer with them when her dad retired. Anyway, I have a suggestion, let her stay here for a few days, she can't go back to her husband. Mentally she is fragile but we'll keep an eye on her and find out if she has any other family who will take her in."
"Will she be OK here?"
"If you mean will she steal or do damage, I think I can promise that she wont. I knew her from a baby and a nicer girl I have yet to meet. We'll keep an eye on her over the weekend when you go to Sussex." She then busied herself with the mugs and milk, adding. "It's quite good fun really, we get bored these days. It'll gives us a mission, to help her get back on her feet."
"Surely it'll be too much for you, you're not as young as you were."
.... There is more of this story ...