John was preparing chicken, bacon and pasta in four-cheese sauce when the phone rang. He waited his customary four rings before picking it up. "Shipperly residence. John speaking."
"John, hi. It's Adele. Is Sally about?"
"Sure, Dell. She's upstairs. Hang on, I'll call her." He held the phone to his chest, covering the mouthpiece with his hand and bellowed up the staircase. "Sal! Sal, it's your sister."
He put the phone back to his mouth. "She's on her way, Dell."
"Thanks. How are you, John. How's work?"
"Oh, you know. Same old same old. Kids who couldn't be bothered and piles of marking four foot high."
"I'm so glad I gave up teaching."
"Yeah, you're lucky. Here's Sal." He handed the phone to his wife and went back into the kitchen. He kept half an ear on Sally's side of the conversation while he attended to the sauce, which was in danger of going lumpy. A little water and a good stir would sort it out.
It was an oddly stilted conversation—nothing like when Sally usually spoke to her twin. "No, I haven't. Not yet." A pause. "I can't just come out with it like that." Another pause. "Well, if you insist. See you in a bit."
Sally hung up and popped her head around the kitchen door. "Did you make too much?"
"Don't I always?"
"Good, because Adele's coming over of dinner. Set another place at the table."
"But I was going to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow."
"Tough. You'll have to go to the canteen with the pupils." She went back upstairs without another word. That in itself was odd. Sally had been distant with John for a few days now. Ever since she'd last seen Adele, now that he came to think of it. What was going on with those two? John shrugged his shoulders and got on with the cooking. The sauce had smoothed nicely but it needed a touch more cheddar.
The conversation over dinner was unusually formal. The sisters kept exchanging glances and stealing looks at him. He figured they were doing their we're twins and we don't need words to communicate thing. It annoyed him when they did that. They always seemed to know what the other was thinking or was going to say. Even to the point that they often finished each other's sentences. He'd half-expected Adele to finish Sally's vows for her on their wedding day.
After they'd finished eating, John went upstairs to watch football on the set in the bedroom while the twins went into the lounge with the remainder of the bottle of Bordeaux.
It wasn't a particularly good match—the top two sides in the country were cancelling each other out, and the game was heading for a scoreless draw. That didn't prevent John's annoyance when Sally called him downstairs mid-way through the second half, seconds after the referee had awarded a penalty and was searching his pocket for a red card.
"I'll be down in five. I just want to see if he scores."
"No, John. Now! I ... Adele ... We need to ask you something."
Resigned to his fate, John snapped off the television as the star striker put the ball on the penalty spot and tossed the remote onto the bedside table. He hauled himself off the bed and dutifully trooped down to the lounge where he threw himself into his favourite armchair. His wife and sister-in-law sat on the sofa and stared at him. After almost a minute of awkward silence, he said, "Well? What is it?"
Adele nudged Sally's arm. Sally scowled at her sister then cleared her throat and said, "John, sweetheart, you know that Dell's been having some trouble around the house since... he walked out on her."
John nodded. He had a fair idea of what was coming. "Yes. And?"
"She's got some things that need attending to, and I've sort of volunteered you for the job."
"Figured as much."
"So is that okay?" asked Adele. "You'll help me out?"
"Let's be honest, Dell. That dickhead of a husband—"
"Ex-husband," said Sally with intense dislike in her voice. "I always said he wasn't good enough for you."
"And you were right," said Adele.
John ploughed on. " He was never exactly handy around the house was he? Whatever jobs you've got planned for me, I'd have probably ended up doing even if he was still around."
"Not all of them, I hope," said Sally under her breath. John only just heard it. He had no idea what she meant.
"Excellent," Adele said. "Are you free this weekend?"
John looked at Sally. "Am I?"
"Looks like I am. What have you got in mind for me?"
Adele put her hands on her knees, leaned forwards and spoke enthusiastically. "I need you to look at my sink. There's a funny smell coming from it."
"Probably a blocked pipe—shouldn't be a problem."
"And there's some stuff of... his in the shed that he hasn't collected. I'd like to get rid of it."
"Fine. I'll bring the trailer. We can take it all down the tip."
"Some of it's quite heavy though. I don't want to wear you out."
"I'll be fine."
"No." She glanced at Sally, who nodded back. "It's just that there's one other thing I want, and you'll need all your energy for that."
John suddenly felt very suspicious. "And what would that be?"
"I ... Erm ... Sal?"
Sally tutted and shook her head. "Oh for heaven's sake. John, she wants you to fuck her."
It was John's turn to shake his head—only he was trying to clear his ears. They must be dirty because he could have sworn his wife just asked him to fuck her sister. "Come again?"
"Oh, I hope so," said Adele. "And again. And again." She and Sally suddenly started laughing. John figured it must a joke.
"Oh, very funny. How long did it take you to come up with this?"
Sally regained herself and reached out to take John's hand. "It's not a joke, honey. I'm serious. We're serious. Dell needs a damn good seeing to, and I volunteered your ... erm... services." She and Adele giggled like naughty schoolgirls.
"Hang on a sec." John shuffled in his seat. "Are you trying to tell me that this weekend, you want me to go over to Adele's and sort out her plumbing in more ways than one?"
The twins nodded enthusiastically. "I want you to stay the whole weekend, actually. Saturday morning 'til Sunday evening anyway," said Adele. "Sal says it's fine with her."
"As long as you come back and give me the same treatment you gave her." Sally grinned and winked at her husband. "Which I know you will."
"All you've got to do is say yes," said Adele. "Go on. Say yes."
John thought for a moment. Adele was not just offering herself on a plate to him, she was positively pleading with him. And what was more, his wife was in total agreement with the whole thing. Bizarre wasn't a strong enough word. "This is crazy. Crazy. I can't do it, Dell. It's just too weird."
"Oh, come on," Adele said. "You can't tell me you haven't wondered what it would be like. I know most of our ex-boyfriends did."
"But..." Adele was right. He'd long wondered if his wife and her twin were identical in every sense of the word, but he'd never expected he'd have the chance to find out. "But that's not the point. You're my ... Your Sally's..." He shook his head.
"Be thankful that we're asking you," said Sally.
"What do you mean?"
Adele grinned. "When we were younger, we used to pretend to be each other to see if our boyfriends would notice."
"You'd be surprised how many didn't," said Sally.
John scratched his chin and grimaced. He slowly nodded his head. "Okay. I don't suppose I have a choice really, do I?"
"No," said Sally. "You don't."
"That's settled then," said Adele. "I'll see you bright and early on Saturday. Let's say, between nine and ten?" She stood and addressed Sally. "I better go."
"I'll see you out." Sally stood as well. It was only polite for John to rise to his feet too.
Adele stepped forwards and kissed John tenderly on the check. "Until Saturday."
Sally accompanied her sister to the door. John heard Adele tell Sally not to wear him out between now and Saturday. John had the sudden feeling that he was going to need all the stamina he had. It was Wednesday. Sally had him to herself for three nights.
When she returned, Sally put her arms around John's neck and kissed him passionately. "Thanks," she said. "It's been a difficult time for Dell lately. She deserves a bit of fun."
"A bit of fun?" John held his wife's hips. "Sal, are you sure you're okay with this?"
"Of course I am. It was my idea, wasn't it?"
"Was it? I know what Adele's like. She can manipulate you pretty easily when she wants to."
"Well, it was my idea. Look, it's coming up to a year since the divorce, and Dell hasn't been herself for a while now. The dickhead might not have been good for very much, but he did keep her satisfied in the sack. And now she's so desperate that she's crawling the walls. Vibrators can only take you so far you know. In her current state of mind, she's likely to pick up some random guy from some random bar—and who knows what might happen?"
"So you suggested she borrow me instead of humping a total stranger?"
"Exactly. At least this way I don't have to worry about her. I know she'll be safe with you." She grinned. "And I know you'll keep her satisfied. For the time being, anyway."
"For the time being? You mean I might have to do this again?"
Sally shrugged. "Who knows? It's got to be better than risking disease and Lord knows what else, hasn't it?" She kissed him again and then nodded towards the door. "Come on. Let's go upstairs. You can get some practice for this weekend."
.... There is more of this story ...