Breakfast and later
"Would you spare one of those bread rolls, please, Sir?" Kate looked fearfully at the large man, obviously a fisherman from his waterproof smock and navy blue sailor's cap, as he walked along the seawall carrying a clear plastic carrier bag. His lunch box attracted her attention. The man paused and gazed at the young girl trying to keep warm in the meagre shelter of the bridge, a bridge too tall to prevent her getting wet or feeling the effects of the cold wind. "She's very young to be away from home but she doesn't look like a prostitute, " he thought while looking at the girl's round face surrounded by a colourful woolly hat. He partially revised his opinion of her being a prostitute when hunger driven, she very hesitantly asked again and added, "I ... I ... I'll give you a blowjob if I can have two."
"You must be pretty desperate to make that offer. Have you been here all night? Shouldn't you be in school? Are you one of the homeless?"
"Two nights, Sir, and yes, I am homeless and have no money and the job centre wouldn't let me sign on because I didn't have my birth certificate. I've just finished school, Sir."
"The answer to your request my little kitten, is no, but I can do better than a couple of rolls and don't need a blowjob, not out here in this weather. Get your stuff together and we'll go and see Meg at the café in the marina."
"But I've no money, none at all." The girl almost cried.
"You said that, and I wasn't suggesting you to pay for the food, not with money nor with your mouth." Hardly believing her ears, Kate gathered her bundle of clothes, pushed her woolly hat back and straightened her creased clothes as much as she could. The man watched and wondered at the events that caused an attractive young girl, with decent clothes, albeit a little worse for wear and dishevelled after having been slept in for several nights, not to have a proper home with her family. "She's not unlike my daughter, the daughter I never see except in pictures, similar slightly stocky build but my daughter has blonde hair and hers in dark, " he mused. Somewhat fearfully Kate followed him along the path, a path too narrow to allow them to talk, a path she knew led to the marina where there would be other people if things didn't go as the man said.
"Morning Meg," he greeted the dumpy woman behind the counter in the café.
"Morning Skip," she replied with a smile and eying the girl standing nervously at his side, "What would you like today?"
"Not for me, give this stray kitten a breakfast, I've a feeling she hasn't eaten for a few days." He threw a five pound note on the counter, "I've to go to the marina stores and get a fitting for the boat and if it's any more, I'll pay when I come back for a mug of tea."
"Sit yourself down, Kitten, and I'll bring you a man size breakfast as soon as I've cooked it. We've only just opened and it takes a little while for the hotplates to warm up." Sitting at a corner table out of the way, her stomach rumbling from the smell emanating from the kitchen, Kate looked around, "A typical working men's café", she thought, viewing the Formica topped tables with the condiments, ketchup and brown sauce set centrally, and the four wooden chairs around each. All clean and serviceable, but without frills. From her limited experience, the prices of the meals reflected this and probably attracted working class people rather than clients wanting posh service and fancy wines.
Half an hour later, Skip sat at her table while she finished her meal, "Kitten, what are you going to do for the rest of the day and where will you sleep tonight? Under the bridge?"
"I don't know, I don't know." Her eyes moistened as she thought of another day of fighting the unseasonably cold, wet weather for June and another night outside in the rain.
"Well, two thoughts, and please don't take this the wrong way and think I'm out to molest you. I'm not. See that blue fishing boat ahead of the white yacht?" He pointed through the window, that's my boat. If you would like to come out on it, you'll be very welcome and you won't come to any harm. I've got lifejackets in the shed and I keep an extra woollen sweater on the boat. I have to admit it is not the best of days to go out on the river and won't be offended if you say, no thanks." Kitten declined his offer more because of her fear of being alone on a boat with him were she wouldn't be able to get any help if she needed it, than from the weather conditions. "That's fine," Skip continued, "I didn't think that would appeal to you, especially on a day like this. The second offer is of a room in my house. My son used it until he left home, it has a single bed and all the usual wardrobes and a desk and it has a lock on the door. We'd share the bathroom and I'd expect you to help with the chores but otherwise, I'd treat you like a daughter and I promise you will not be interfered with in any way." A look of horror flashed across her face when he mentioned he'd treat her like a daughter, but Skip didn't notice it and continued, "However, if you feel a bit lonely, I won't mind if you decide to relieve my loneliness and come for a cuddle in bed but I'll never rape you, that I promise. You don't have to make up your mind right now, I'll be back about 2:30 and if you're still around, you can give me your decision then. I'll pay for another mug of tea for you and unless a crowd comes in, I doubt if Meg will mind if you take a long while drinking it. At least it's warm in here."
Kate made the tea last an hour, even though it went stone cold, and prepared herself to be thrown out when Meg came to her table. Customers had started arriving and many of the tables were occupied. "Have you done any waitressing, Kitten?" That appeared to be her name now and in a way she didn't mind because it gave her a sense of anonymity. She shook her head. "Like to give it a try? My usual help has morning sickness and can't make it, probably until after lunch. I can't pay you properly but I can fiddle a tenner from the till and you may get some tips if they like you."
"What have I to lose? I'll be in the warm and get a little money and I may well get lunch here too," she thought and went into the staff washroom to clean and tidy herself and don the big white apron Meg gave her to help cover her rather unsightly clothes.
In the first two hours with not too many customers in at a time, she quickly became adept in taking the orders and, being a top student, had no difficulty in adding the customer's bill, punching it into the ancient till and working out the change. Some of her old happy outgoing spirit returned and she began to enjoy the work and mixing with the customers. At 12:30 a group of eight construction workers arrived, pushed tables together and rearranged the seating. They were boisterous but friendly and Meg took the orders from one end of the table and Kate the other. "Who's she?" one man asked Meg.
"That's Kit," already her pseudonym had been shortened, "Jolene's sick and Kit came by and is giving me a hand. Be nice to her boys, she hasn't done this before."
Apart from having her bottom felt a few times, all went well until Kate calculated the bill for a man they called Seff. "That's £14.50," she informed him.
"You need to go back to school girlie, it only comes to £13.50." Kate quickly and mentally recalculated his bill and knew she had added it correctly and when the group became silent and the eyes of the others focussed on her, she guessed Seff teased her and decided to tease him back.
"I'm sorry Sir, but I fear it is you that need to return to school but in your school days, I guess you still used your fingers as calculators. I'll work it out your way for you if you will put your hands up." Amidst laughter and comments from his friends, Kate pushed a finger down for each £1 the items cost and when all ten digits on his hands were used, she took the ten pound note and went on to calculate the rest." With the approval of his friends, Seff had to admit his so-called mistake.
He tried to get his own back near the end of the meal. "Another mug of tea please Kit." He placed a 50p coin on the counter.
"Tea is £1, Sir."
"Second cups are half price."
"Is that right, Sir?" She noticed Meg give her a strange look. "If you sit down Sir, I'll bring it to you. We're just making a fresh pot and it needs to brew."
Minutes later, she placed a half filled mug in front of him. "Heh, Girlie, aren't you going to fill it?"
"Half price tea is for half a mug full, Sir." His friends erupted into laughter again, as did other customers in the café.
"She got the better of you again," one remarked.
Fortunately Seff took it all in good part and laughed with the others. "Do you live around here, Kit?"
"Sort of," Kate hesitated to reply.
"She's one of the homeless ones, I saw her under the bridge when I went for my morning jog," a lanky construction worker remarked.
"No need to sleep under the bridge tonight, you can sleep in my Portocabin, no charge," Seff grinned.
"And how long would it be before you cheated on me?" Kate grinned too and returned to the counter.
"That Seff is always trying it on. He's just a wag but sometimes he gets Jolene so confused I have to go and sort him out," Meg told her when the men had left and the room quietened, "You kept them under control very well and I've no doubt they'll talk about you for a while yet."
"And I did well for tips from them."
A new home
Jolene came in and took over while Kate sat with Meg to eat lunch. "Where will you sleep tonight, Kit?" Meg asked looking serious. Kate shrugged. "Skip has a spare room now that his son has moved out, I could ask him for you?"
"He's already offered it."
"But you're not sure about living in the same house as him?" Again Kate nodded. "I pretty sure he wouldn't harm you and most probably he'd treat you like his daughter." Unlike Skip, Meg didn't miss the frown that passed over Kate's face, "That's why you're homeless?" Years streamed down Kate's face as she nodded. "I really doubt Skip would do whatever your father did and you'd be company for him until you get on your feet. His wife divorced him and went with her lover to Australia and took their daughter with them," Meg whispered and hugged the girl.
By the time Skip rolled in somewhat later than he'd suggested, Kate had made up her mind to trust him. Seff and the construction gang now knew of her hidey-hole under the bridge and might be tempted to molest her there and the thought of a night in a warm soft bed ensured her acceptance. Once again they walked in single file on the seawall path and along a narrow lane to his cottage about a mile from the café. "This is my home, now your home," Skip stated as he showed her into her bedroom, "Sorry I never got around to clearing Peter's posters and stuff from the walls but if you stay, feel free to put up your own. My bedroom's straight across from here and the third bedroom at the end of the landing opposite the bathroom, is my office. I keep it locked when I'm out because of the hi-tech computer stuff in there and like when my son lived here, when I'm seriously working and don't want to be disturbed, I'll shut the door. If the door is open or ajar, feel free to walk in. There should be plenty of hot water for a bath or a shower, so make yourself at home. I'll cook the fish I caught about 6 o'clock and we'll eat them in the kitchen." A hot bath sounded great but after two almost sleepless nights and working in the café, tiredness overcame her and she lay down on top of the bed and fell asleep. Skip's gentle shaking, woke her in time for her meal.
"We need to talk, Kitten."
A frown wrinkled Kate's brow and she thought, "He's changed his mind and is going to tell me to leave." To her relief, that wasn't the case.
They sat at the breakfast table with mugs of tea and after polite questions on how well she slept, Skip made the statement.
"For my own peace of mind and to be able to help you, and you obviously need help, I need to know a little more about you and how you came to be in the situation you're in now. At the moment, I don't even know your real name and have taken a considerable risk in bringing you to my home. I know you are not underage because you mentioned that you'd left school and you must be sixteen to leave, but I don't know if you are a runaway in trouble with the police, although from your manner I rather doubt it. Something or someone caused you to leave home, and it must have been very serious for that to happen to a girl of your age. I know we only met yesterday, but I like you, and although Meg said not to say, 'like a daughter, ' sort of in that way. Last night in bed, I thought a great deal about you and your offer of a blowjob for two rolls, an offer that seemed totally out of character with your appearance and I wondered if your action and your father were connected in some way?"
For a long while Kate stared into space and inwardly debated whether or not she should reveal her past. "Will he really help me or will he throw me out when he knows what I did?" Her mind vacillated first one way and then the other.
Sensing the uncertainty of her future, Skip reassured her again of a place in his home, "Unless I am likely to get into serious trouble with the police, you can make this house your home, Kitten."
"What have I got to lose?" she asked herself, "I've only one change of clothes and they're all dirty, maybe if I let him help me he'll take me to my home, or what was my home, and I can get my other stuff."
Hesitantly she started her tale. "I'm Kate, Kate Paulsen and my home is, or was, in Combswell. Mother still lives there but I've no idea where Dad is now, mother threw him out eighteen months ago when she discovered me ... giving him a blowjob." She paused to see if Skip would get angry but he simply nodded and indicated for her to go on. "It started when I was thirteen and a bit. One evening when mother went to one of her WI meetings I went into the living room, not expecting daddy to be there. He sat in front of the computer watching porn and pulled me on to his lap to watch it with him. Most of the videos showed girls enthusiastically sucking men with large penises and I soon felt him touching my thigh. "It's time you learned to do that, Katie," he said and forced me down between his legs. I resisted but couldn't compete against his strength and found it easier and less painful to give in than to fight him. I threatened to go to the authorities but he laughed and asked if I really wanted to see him go to prison and if I wanted to live in a foster home. I didn't. Thereafter, whenever we were alone at home, he forced me to give him a blowjob and in the end, I just did it and went back to whatever I was doing."
"You didn't offer to do it to him? Did you get any enjoyment from it?"
"I never made any advances to him and tried not to be in the house with him whilst mother was out, but she often left work for me to do and I had to do it whether Dad was in the house or not. If I'm truthful, and I'm trying to be with you, Skip, sometimes I did enjoy it, or at least the power I had to make him hard and almost subservient to me."
"He never went further than wanting blowjobs?"
"No, I think he feared being caught or getting me pregnant and sent to prison for rape as well as incest. Mother caught us when she came home early one evening and blew her top and in a fury immediately sent Daddy away. She said if ever he came near her again, she'd report the pair of us. Then she turned her wrath on me and called me a slut and a whore before giving me her ultimatum without me being able to explain. "To keep up appearances, you can live here as you have done until the end of your secondary schooling, then you will leave and find somewhere else to live even if you have to get a job and miss college. She turned me out a fortnight ago. I stayed with a friend a week but her family didn't want me after mother had phoned them and hinted that I might set my sights on the husband and I spent the rest of the time living rough. Two nights ago I thought I found a reasonable place to sleep but a group of youths came by and said I could only stay there if they could have sex with me, they didn't say it in a polite way like that, and I managed to get away and left town, eventually ending up at the bridge."
"Your mother didn't believe you were forced to do it?"
"No, she said my face showed how much I enjoyed fellating him, she used that word, and ignored all my protests and denials. She also said that much as she disliked having to harbour a teenage whore, it would be much worse to have a pregnant girl to look after and she took me to the doctors to get contraceptive pills. Her motives were more to do with having to keep me longer if I had a baby. I still take the pills but I've never needed their use."
"I'm sorry if this sounds a bit like an interrogation but probably it is the quickest way to get the information, much like I have to when I interview people for newspaper articles. Has that turned you against all men?"
"No, I don't think so. I often imagine what it might be like to give myself to a kind man or boy who would treat me as a woman with feelings and not just demand their own satisfaction."
"Do you have any other clothes, Kitten?"
"Not with me, all my other stuff is still in boxes at home. Mum made me pack everything several days before the end of term and said she would store them for three months to give me time to find a place of my own. I now have?"
"Yes, of course you have. We'll arrange to go in my van and pick your stuff up."
With relief at the knowledge she again had a home, Kate's face brightened and some of her spirit returned, "Can I step down from the dock now, Sir?" Kate smiled and went on, "Well you know my proper name now, but I don't know yours. Do I get to interrogate you?"
"If you wish but I'll start by saying that I'm Bob Morlock although around here no one calls me Bob, and if you asked for me by that name you'd get blank looks. I work freelance as a cartoonist where I sign myself PIKZ which is Skip backwards, well almost, and write occasional articles for several newspapers and magazines. Mostly I do that when the weather is poor and I cannot go fishing, that's my main love. I inherited this house and a largish sum of money and bought the boat, the Red Eagle, and go out on it when I can, sometimes like yesterday, for angling, and when I can find a crew, I do a bit of trawling. Unfortunately my main crewman, a retired seaman had a fall and cannot get on to the boat now."
"How old are you Skip?"
"You married young?"
"That's perceptive of you. Yes, my wife was pregnant when we married and my son's nineteen and lives with a girl near their college up in Yorkshire I don't see them very often. I haven't seen my daughter, who is your age for six years. My wife found a wealthy lover who took her and Sharon to Australia. She emails me now and again and sends pictures but I haven't actually seen or held my daughter since she was a skinny thing and now she's a beautiful girl, much like you. Perhaps I wanted you as a substitute for her."
"Get used to it, Kate or would you rather I still called you Kitten?"
"Kitten or Kit will do fine, it will help to separate me from my past. Perhaps we ought to clear up now? Would you mind phoning my mother for me and arrange to collect my things, that is, if you are not off on the boat again. I don't think she really wants to hear from me."
A new life
"So my slut of a daughter quickly found an old man to look after her," Rachel Paulsen snapped when saw Skip in his seaman's outfit.
"Not so, Mrs. Paulsen, I found her and had I not taken her in, she might well have ended up in hospital with pneumonia or worse and an enquiry as to how it happened might have proved awkward for you. She'll be a substitute for the daughter I have in Australia. Here's my address so perhaps you will be kind enough to forward her mail and let her have any that has come since she left." He handed her a card on which he'd written his address and phone number and reluctantly she agreed, knowing she would legally be at fault if she didn't, and, refusing to speak with Kate, handed a bundle to Skip."
"Can I have my bicycle from the garage, please? We're three miles from town and I'll need it to get to the job centre and benefits office and to get to college when term starts." Again refusing to answer Kate, she handed the key to Skip.
As a reaction to her mother's refusal to acknowledge her, Kate cried quietly as they drove back to her new home and until they were indoors, Skip could do nothing to comfort her. Once inside he clasped her tightly to his chest, hugged and chastely kissed her forehead. Kate's response took him by surprise; she kissed him fully on the lips, thanked him for helping and held him closer to her body until she felt his manhood stiffen against her thigh. "Sorry," she murmured, "Perhaps we'd better leave dealing with that until I've unpacked and sorted my room out. I didn't mean to tease you." She broke away, grabbed one of the boxes and fled upstairs. Slightly bewildered by the turn of events, Skip waited a few minutes before carrying more of the boxes to her room.