"Aaaah NOOOO! Daddy NO!"
I couldn't stand by and let the drunken father punch his helpless, wheelchair-bound, daughter in the face and stepped between them. His fist caught me a glancing blow but I quickly pushed him back into his chair where he slumped down and berated his daughter for being useless and a burden on him. "Leave the kid alone, she couldn't help spilling your drink when you couldn't hold your hand still enough to take it," I told him, grabbing the wheelchair and moving her out of his reach.
"You wanna protect her? You take her. I've put up with her shit for long enough. I'll sell her to you ... cheap! You take her ... for maybe a hundred quid?"
"Bring her through to the kitchen please, Sir," his wife interrupted.
"Only a hundred quid ... and she's old enough to be your wife ... She mayn't be able to walk but yer can push her legs apart and her cunt is working okay," the man yelled after me. I wondered how he knew.
Rachel, the girl's mother, used a damp cloth to staunch the blood flowing from the girl's nose, and with tears in her eyes asked, "Are you married, Sir? Or have a partner?" I shook my head, no. "Then will you take her Sir? She'll get hurt bad before long if she stays here and we'll all get into trouble. It's not the first time he's hit her and only yesterday, he pasted her arse and again, it wasn't the first time."
"No way! I don't need a woman in my life to upset my routine and work."
I looked at the frightened, crying girl whom I'd only seen a couple of hours before and hardly knew her name. She looked about fourteen years old but her father suggested 'she's old enough to be your wife' so she had to be at least sixteen and her mother confirmed her age. "Please take her, Sir. I can't control him for much longer, not when he gets on the booze and starts on both of us. She'll be better off with you and, as she's no longer a child by their standards, Social Services don't want to know, at least not until she's nearly dead and then they'll hold an enquiry to find out why. Take her please. You can afford to keep her and you're not that much older." I knew she'd seen my new estate car. Almost like a used car salesman, she further pressured me to take the girl, emphasising that she was quiet and obedient and that her lack of movement in her legs, would cause no great problem once I found what she could or could not do.
What should I do? I had to make up my mind and quickly too. The girl appeared too frightened, confused and overwhelmed to give an opinion although I did ask her several times.
After sending the disc and manuscript of my latest book to the publisher the previous week, I decided to spend a few days touring in Scotland and on the way back, detoured into Northumberland to visit a friend from my college days. This took me well off the main road and towards teatime I stopped at a small café in a quiet village for a meal and afterwards enquired of the waitress for accommodation in the area. "You might get a room at the Selsey's. She does B&B on the quiet but she's only one room, otherwise you'll have to go into the city or find one of those motorway places and see what they have available."
I guessed that 'she does B&B on the quiet' inferred the place wasn't registered but I found it clean enough and Rachel Selsey a pleasant woman who suggested that I might prefer to spend the evening in their lounge rather than sit in my room. Having driven a long way, I relaxed and watched the TV while Claire sat in a wheelchair at the table doing her homework. She didn't speak and if I spoke to her, I received a glare in reply. Even then I thought she seemed scared stiff but put it down to my being a stranger and a man. About nine o'clock Mike Selsey staggered into the room obviously having been in the pub for some time and rather inebriated. "Where's my dinner!" he demanded.
"I had it ready three hours ago," Rachel told him hesitantly, "Sorry, you'll have to wait until I heat up again. It shouldn't take too long."
"Get me a glass of whiskey you useless bitch," he ordered Claire when Rachel went into the kitchen. He downed that and ordered her to get another. The way he sprawled in the armchair didn't allow Claire to get close to him and when she nervously offered him the full glass, his unsteady hand missed it and the liquor spilt on to the floor. Angered and in a drunken fury, he lashed out at the helpless girl until I intervened.
While Rachel tended her daughter I glanced back into the lounge as Mike Selsey appeared in the doorway and I noticed that he had dispensed with the glass and drank the whiskey straight from the bottle. "Don't expect to go to school tomorrow, Useless Bitch, cuz I'll tan your arse raw after this pansy man has gone." He finally managed to get back to the chair without falling.
"You've got to take her Sir," Rachel pleaded, "I won't be able to stop him and I'll suffer his wrath too. Take her away now, Sir, please. She may not be the wife of your dreams but I believe you'll look after her. He'll be asleep in a few minutes so we can pack and you can be on your way before morning."
"Do you want to come with me, Claire?" Again, I only had a glare in reply but she didn't look very pleased with the idea and I could understand why.
"If you don't go, you'll get another thrashing or worse in the morning. Better to go with John than face your father and your life could be much better than staying here. He seems to be a good man and not that much older than you," Rachel remarked persuasively.
Working at home, alone with my imagination running wild to produce novels that my publisher would accept, left me with little time, inclination or opportunity to meet girls but the romantic side of my creativity always came to the fore and I often thought about having a beautiful woman in bed with me and tending to my needs but I never met anyone I fancied or had the courage to speak to, not even at college. Now I had the choice of taking the young, disabled girl to my home and treating her as my wife or leaving her to suffer at her father's hand. At that time I didn't even know the extent of her disability. Rapid thoughts went through my mind. How would she fit into my life? How would I cope with a girl who couldn't walk? Like many men, I'd imagined having a slave girl but this young thing wouldn't be a slave, she'd be a girl I'd have to care for and look after. Would that be a bad thing? Maybe I could use the situation as a plot in a future novel? Would she be like her father said, a girl I could fuck and treat as my wife? A girl almost helpless to my advances? I doubted if I would find anyone else in the near future and it might be good to experience real sex for the first time even if it didn't last. Should I leave her here to suffer? After further pleas from Rachel, I made up my mind. "Okay, I'll take her. I won't hurt her but she'll have to act as a wife should, you understand what that means, Claire?" She nodded and Rachel confirmed she would know what to do.
With Claire crying quietly and only speaking to her mother when I couldn't hear and Rachel trying to bottle up her emotions, we packed her things into my car, fortunately having an estate car, there's plenty of room, and a little before midnight we were ready to go. Mike snored in the armchair and didn't waken when we left. During the packing, Rachel tried to explain Claire's disability and how I would need to look after her and at each explanation, I began to wonder at my stupidity at taking on the task. "Claire is paralysed from the waist down from a car accident that Mike caused, the guilt flipped his mind and he's taken to drinking heavily. The accident, only a minor shunt that did little damage to the car, but a folding table in the boot slid forward and damaged the nerves at the base of her spine and now her legs are useless and cannot walk, she has to be lifted in and out of the chair, bed, car or whatever. We've these rings from the ceiling in the bathroom and over her bed so she can get out of the chair then but even so she often needs help." My mind tried to visualise the structural alterations necessary for my home. Would the sex be worth all the trouble and expense even if she proved willing? I could probably have found a prostitute for less money, but when I looked at the sad, bewildered girl, I knew I'd have to take the challenge and try to bring a little happiness into her life. But I would need to get a little return and satisfaction for my own needs.
Finally, before we left, Rachel gave me an envelope with Claire's birth certificate and medical papers and I gave her £100. "Take this Rachel, it may soften his attitude towards you if you swear that he agreed to sell Claire to me for this price. He probably won't remember." I gave her my mobile phone number and suggested late evenings were a good time to contact me.
Claire cried when her mother kissed her goodbye and I felt her body tremble when I lifted her into the car but she buckled herself in. We didn't speak much, and when I spoke I didn't get more than a word or two in reply. Less than ten miles along the road, we saw a sign for a Travelodge and I pulled in. Twenty minutes past midnight. "I'm too tired to drive any further, Claire, so we'll see if they have a room for the night. I guess you are tired too and even if this is all strange to you, and me too, we'll get some rest even if we don't sleep. You'll have to tell me what I need to do to help you and we will be sleeping together like man and wife but I will not be hurting you, that I can assure you." The staff were polite enough and I got a room and managed to sneak Claire in without them seeing her bruised face.
.... There is more of this story ...