Ned returned to school in an excellent mood. He'd passed his driving test, and his mother had agreed to buy a new car for herself, and for him to have her old one; the Christmas and new year holidays had been pretty good too, and he had spent some time setting up a darkroom in one of the old outbuildings attached to the house. Admittedly the water system was primitive, a tank that he had to fill by hand from the outside tap near the backdoor. The water fed to a tap over an old Belfast sink using a piece of rubber hose, and electricity was via an extension lead from the house, but it all worked and gave him his own place to work on his photography. In addition, his mother and Susie had bought him a developing tank and various trays and tongs for Christmas, and his uncle had passed his old enlarger to him.
He had done quite a lot of work on his drawing and painting over the Christmas period, some of which he was quite pleased with, so he had every reason to feel good. He stepped of the school bus and across the pavement, said a cheery 'good morning' to Albert, and was delighted when he was totally ignored. Everything went well during the day, Miss Green was pleased with his work, and his English master was pleased to receive essays before the deadline. Everything was so good that Ned decided that on his way home he would call in on Diana to see how she was.
His knock on Diana's door was answered very promptly.
"Good, I was hoping you'd call in. Come in." Despite the greeting she didn't seem very happy, and once she had closed the door she rounded on him.
"You sit there while I make a phone call," she said, indicating a chair.
She returned a minute or two later.
"What the hell have you been saying? I had your mother here earlier."
Oh shit, thought Ned.
"Umm ... what did she have to say?"
"That she knew she was going to become a grandmother."
"Why the hell did you tell her?"
"It's not easy to refuse someone who has their hand on your bollocks."
"What?" she closed in on him, swiftly undid his fly, put her hand in his trousers and grasped the aforementioned appendages.
"You mean like this?"
"Yes," said Ned, followed by, "Ow!" as Diana gave a little squeeze.
"You'll really have tears in your eyes if you don't hold still. Now," she mused, "under what circumstances would a mother have her son by the balls? Literally by the balls, hands on so to speak," she continued, massaging gently. "Oh my God," she yelped, "you've shagged your mother as well! You randy little bugger," and she started laughing.
She hadn't recovered when Beatrice walked in.
"What's so funny?" She asked. "I'm certainly not laughing. I want a word with you Ned Kelly! What are you doing Di?"
"I've got him by the balls, and what's so funny," replied Diana, "is that Ned has been shagging his mother too."
"Well, I can't see what difference that makes," said Bea. "It's ... oh wait, I see what you mean, she can hardly come the high and mighty after that can she? I don't suppose it makes a lot of difference but it may account for why she calmed down when I mentioned Susie, she didn't want her branded a slut. Well, well ... what are we going to do?"
"I don't see why you're making so much fuss," said Ned. "After all, you've told Lady Eleanor!" He looked at Bea. "Ouch, will you stop that."
Diana had been continuing to massage Ned throughout, but was taken aback by the latest titbit of information and had inadvertently squeezed rather too hard again.
"What's going on?" she demanded. "Why did you do that Bea? And how the hell did you know Ned? I'd better have some answers or I'm going to tear these off." And she gave Ned's tender parts another squeeze.
"Oh dear," said Bea. "Look, it's like this..." and she went on to explain the predicament that Lady Eleanor had found herself in, and ended up saying that Ned's mother didn't know about that part of it. "Curiously though, Ned, she did mention four grandchildren. Diana's one, I'm two and three, so who's number four? It's not Gillian so ... it's her mother, isn't it?"
"It was almost rape," pleaded Ned. "And you didn't explain to Di exactly what your relationship with Eleanor is. Anyway, how was mother when she left?"
"Oh she was fine, no problem."
"Just a minute, what relationship with Lady Eleanor? And Cecil was out this afternoon wasn't he?" asked Diana, a thoughtful expression on her face.
"Yes," said Bea, colouring up slightly.
"Ha! And you seduced her, didn't you? You mucky baggage. So we're not going to have much of a problem there anyway."
"Well, it didn't take a lot, I mean, she is very attractive, and I thought it was the best thing to do. You can't say much if you've been doing things yourself can you? And that was before I knew about her sleeping with her son."
"And daughter," said Ned.
"Well, I should have taken that as read," went on Bea. "It certainly didn't take a lot of doing. I was a bit concerned when you called me after she'd left you," she said to Diana, "but I don't think anyone is going to say anything. But you mind," she turned to Ned, "if people find out and the shit hits the fan we are all going to be covered, so you make sure your mouth stays firmly shut, except, I think that a penance is in order, don't you Di?"
"And from you too, you didn't tell me about Lady E."
Bea lifted her skirt and sat on one of the chairs with her legs apart.
"Let him go Di, come on Ned, stop waggling your tongue speaking, you've done enough damage with that, now get it to work down here and do some good for a change."
It turned out to be an enjoyable afternoon after all, although it was to be the last before Ned became a father.
All of this made Ned a bit late getting home. His mother was in the kitchen when he entered and was not best pleased.
"I suppose you've been to see your women!" she said acidly.
"And I understand you have too, mother."
"I felt I should say something, it isn't right."
"Only since you discovered you weren't pregnant. And did you have fun with Bea? And you don't have to say anything because I know you did."
Juliette blushed bright red.
"I ... I..."
"Was forced against your will?"
"N ... no."
"Mother, don't be silly. There's no harm done. Diana was happy to have a baby, Beatrice was desperate for one, Gillian's mother wanted one, La ... ot's of women do," Ned recovered quickly to a rather lame finish.
But not quick enough, his mother looked at him thoughtfully.
"You weren't going to say 'lots', were you? What were you going to s..." there was the sudden light of dawning in her eyes. "Ah! That perfume on Saturday, I knew that I recognised it. That was Lady Eleanor's perfume wasn't it? That's why she danced with you, wasn't it? What have I given birth to? Christ Almighty, I ought to charge stud fees for you."
Ned caught hold of her and kissed her.
"You wouldn't have to pay, mother," he said with a broad grin.
"No, but I don't want a baby," she said.
"You like the first part of making them though, don't you?"
Ned pushed her back against the table, manoeuvring himself between her knees and kissed her more deeply. She pushed him away.
"Get off you randy little toad, someone might come in."
"Susie for a start."
"She'd join in, you know she likes to watch."
"Oh! My children are both perverts. Go and do some homework while I get tea."
As Ned picked up his bag hie mother turned to the larder, but he could see she was smiling.
Ned went to his room, but he wasn't allowed to work long before Susie charged in.
"What's up with mother, she almost wouldn't talk to me when I came in. What have you done?"
"One question at a time Susie," laughed Ned. "Mother's been to see Diana and Bea, telling them they were wicked women, and then Bea seduced her."
"No! Really? My God, did she really do that? P'raps Bea is wicked."
"Don't be silly! She wanted to protect herself by getting something that would keep mother quiet, and she thought she'd have some pleasure at the same time. If anyone is wicked it must be you, because you introduced mother to that sort of thing, and if you hadn't then Bea might not have been successful."
"Pig! I'm not wicked. Horny though!"
"And that way you'll have to stay, because I've got an essay to write and tea will be ready soon."
Susie huffed, and flounced out.
The following Saturday morning saw Ned drive up to the manor in what would become his own car. His mother had ordered a new Morris 1000, and the old Hillman Minx that his father had bought would then be his. The great thing was that it could carry all the gear that he needed, on this occasion, his camera, a tripod and some lights. He rang the front door bell, and after a moment or two the door was opened by Lady Eleanor herself.
"Come in Ned," she said, leaving the door and turning to a rather plump lady that Ned knew as Mrs Garfield.
"Ned is going to photograph some of our treasures, Mrs Garfield," she told her. "We have a lot of stuff and it does need photographing and cataloguing.
Mrs Garfield smiled. "That's a good thing to do," she said. "You never know when someone might break in."
They said their goodbyes and she left. Lady Eleanor closed the door and leaned against it for a moment.
"Oh dear," she said. "That woman does go on, I'm sure her heart is in the right place but she is relentless ... Oh well..."
"Shall we go and photograph some treasures?" asked Ned.
.... There is more of this story ...