When Ned returned home later that evening from his visit to Lady Jane's he had an invitation to visit when she was set up in her lakeland retreat.
"I've chosen it because it is as far away from the people I know as possible," she told him. "With the exception of an old school friend who is a doctor. Well, that's the real reason. I'll be seen privately and looked after by someone I've a great deal of faith in, And, I want you to come and visit me. The lake district is such a wonderful place and every artist wants to go there. In fact the whole of Cumberland and Westmoreland are worth a visit. Do say you'll come."
Now that she had told him her news, and he had not only accepted it, but welcomed it, she was clearly relieved and just like Lia had been, full of enthusiasm and almost bouncing with excitement. Not a bit like a forty-four year old woman who was facing almost the biggest challenge of her life. Not a bit like the pillar of society and school governor either Ned thought.
Susie greeted him on his arrival at home with the news that mother was out.
"With a man," she told him.
"Well let's hope she enjoys herself, she deserves it," Ned replied.
"And there's a message for you. Sir Rawly phoned and wants to see you. Tomorrow morning, he said, about eleven. What do you think Ned? Has he found out about you and Lady Eleanor? Do you think he'll challenge you to a duel, that's the sort of thing they do isn't it?"
Ned laughed. "Don't be silly Susie, no one does that sort of thing nowadays. I expect he wants to discuss the cataloguing of all their objects d'art."
"Art objects be blowed, one of these days you'll be for the high jump. Anyway, what did Lady Jane want?"
"Oh, she told me she's moving to the lake district for a while," Ned said, truthfully, but slightly shy of the whole truth, "to get away from things."
"Why would she tell you that, I wonder."
"She invited me to stay during the holidays, she's rented a cottage there."
"Oh lucky you, I don't suppose I'll be going anywhere."
Just before eleven o'clock the next morning Ned's pull on the big brass bell pull was shortly answered by a very pretty girl in a maid's uniform.
"I'm here to see Sir Rawlston," he replied in answer to her unspoken question.
"If you would step inside sir, I'll see if he is free."
Ned entered the foyer and almost at the same moment a blonde bundle of energy burst through one of the doors.
"Hi Lucy," said Ned.
"Ned, what are you doing here? It's okay Alice," she said to the maid. "I'll deal with him."
"Yes, miss," said the maid and left.
"That's Alice, our new maid, pretty isn't she? I bet you'd like to fuck her wouldn't you?" she started. "You can't be here to see mother, because she's not here. She's gone to town to see her gynaecologist. Did you know she was pregnant? I think it's awful at her age. And you're probably not here to see me, although I wouldn't mind, so you must want daddy."
"One question at a time," laughed Ned. "First, I'd be happy to be here to see you, and yes Alice is pretty, but not as pretty as you," Lucy preened, "but it's your father I'm here to see, and yes, I had heard about Lady Eleanor and I think it's great."
"Oh, well it might be fun to have a baby brother, but she is awfully old. Come on, daddy's through here." and she opened the door to the library.
"Come in, Ned," said Sir Rawlston. "Lucy, go and do what your mother told you to yesterday. Now that you're home for the summer that pony needs a lot more attention."
"Can Ned come and see Gold when you've finished?"
"Oh, very well."
Lucy left with a grin on her face.
"Sit yourself down, Ned. Coffee?" He rang the bell and a few moments later the maid arrived. She looked at Ned and blushed. What, Ned wondered, had Lucy said to her.
Sir Rawlston asked her to serve coffee and she left.
"Now, Ned. I wanted a word about what you've been up to ... I mean with the photographs for cataloguing the items in the house. Um ... yes, I expect you know that my wife is expecting, hoping it's a boy of course, no guarantees though, what? Still, it'll make the world of difference around here."
Ned was almost bright red with embarrassment.
"No need to be embarrassed my boy, we really are delighted. Now, your work on the catalogue is complete, I understand the valuers asked for a few more pictures which you have done? Yes? Excellent, well here's a cheque for that."
He handed Ned a cheque. Ned looked at the amount.
"I can't accept that much, sir. That's far too much."
"For everything you've done for us, no, I don't think so. Now, I may have another job for you, but it'll be a week or two before I need you. You know that, amongst other things, I'm chairman of a London merchant bank. We have a bit of a problem and it really requires some pictures to be taken as a record of what is being, and will be done on a project that we are financing. D'you think you could do that? It'd involve a bit of travelling, up north."
"Well, sir, I have an open invitation to visit the Lake District this summer so it would fit very well if the time was right," replied Ned.
"Capital my boy!" exclaimed Sir Rawlston. "Now, off you go and see what that girl of mine is up to. Take care with her though, won't you? She's only fifteen and quite innocent."
Ned was somewhat taken aback for a moment before answering:
"I will, sir, and thankyou," said Ned, and left.
Outside the library door he found Alice.
"Is Lucy in the stables?" he asked her.
"Yes, sir," replied the maid. "Miss Lucy said I was to take you out to her when you was finished with Sir Rawlston."
"Oh," said Ned, and followed her.
They went out through the passage to the rear entrance and across the laundry yard and entered the stable yard where Lucy was brushing down a handsome chestnut gelding.
"I don't know why daddy pretends not to know anything horses, Gold here is hardly a pony is he?" she greeted them.
"He doesn't know much about daughters either, he just described you as innocent."
There was a snort from Alice as she turned to leave.
"Hang on a minute, Alice," said Lucy, making sure that Gold was secure. "Come in here."
"I ought to get back miss," said Alice
"Nonsense, come on," and she led the way into an empty stable. When they were inside she grabbed Alice and turned her to face Ned. Standing behind her she slipped her arms around her waist and moved her hands up to hold Alice by her breasts. She started to massage them.
"Don't miss, please," said the flustered girl.
"You like it, you little minx."
"No, miss, really."
"Let her go, Lucy," said Ned.
"She likes it, Ned. Watch."
Lucy slid her hands behind the bib of Alice's apron and Ned saw her fiddle as she undid the buttons on Alice's blouse.
"You do have nice tits don't you Alice and nice long nipples too."
Alice groaned as Lucy was obviously pinching and pulling them.
"Let's show Ned shall we?"
"No, miss, please" said Alice in a whisper, her breathing becoming slightly ragged.
"I think we will," said Lucy and removed one hand which she moved between them to undo the apron.
A moment later Ned stood open mouthed as the bib of the apron fell to expose Lucy's hands playing with Alice's nipples. Lucy pulled the girl back slightly and leant against some hay bales, Alice leaning against her. As she did so she moved her feet between Alice's ankles and moved them apart.
"Lift her skirt up, Ned."
"I really don't think..."
"Do it, she's ready."
There was a soft 'nooo... ' from the maid, but Ned was entranced. He moved forward, and catching the calf length skirt by the hem lifted it up, exposing first knees, and then thighs and finally a triangle of hair and beneath pink folds glistening with copious amounts of liquid.
"See, she doesn't even wear knickers or a bra, she's always ready aren't you, you little slut?" And Lucy gave the nipples an extra tweak, at which the girl gave a loud squeak and her knees parted further displaying to Ned how wet and ready she was.
Ned stood staring.
"Get on with it, Ned."
Ned's attention came back to the present, he freed his iron stiff prick, reached out, caught the girl by the waist and pulled her towards him, and slid into her welcoming wetness. Alice released her as he lifted her up with his hands supporting her by her bum cheeks. Alice threw her arms around Ned's neck and her legs crossed behind him and hugged herself to him, her greedy mouth trying to devour his. As they stood there Ned felt other hands on her bum as Lucy pulled her cheeks apart, gathered some moisture and thrust her finger into the maid's rosebud. Alice moved herself back and forth on Ned's cock so rapidly that he had a job to hold her. He could feel Lucy's finger thrusting in and out at the same time and massaging him through the thin wall separating them. Just as well that it took but moments for Alice to reach an explosive climax with Ned only a second behind her or he would have dropped her.
Ned set her back on her feet. She reached up and kissed him.
"Thankyou, sir," she whispered and fled from the stable adjusting her dress as she went.
"Well I never..."
"I think you just did, Ned," Lucy giggled.
"Will she be all right? And where did you learn things like that Lucy?"
"My parents don't send me to an expensive Borstal just to learn Latin and Greek you know. She'll be okay, she loves it but she doesn't think she should."
"Well, that was a bit different, you took me by surprise. I hope I haven't got her pregnant, I should have used a johnny, I don't want to end up marrying Alice."
"Oh, don't worry about that, if she's up the duff she can blame her brothers ... or her father. Now, speaking of johnnies, have you got some?"
"Good, there's a nice comfy hay loft up the ladder."
"What would your parents say? And you're not old enough, and I very much doubt that your parents would consider me a suitable match if I got you pregnant. In fact I'm sure they wouldn't."
"Age didn't worry you last time, or johnnies either come to that, and my parents always speak very highly of you."
"Different matter entirely," said Ned, following her up the ladder.
Wi With very little of the term left to go Ned was looking forward to the summer holidays. Better transport was, he felt, a must. With the money that he had received from Sir Rawlston and Lady Eleanor he had decided to buy a new car, well new to him that is, not new new. The old Hillman was showing its age and he fancied something rather better. He decided that first thing on Monday he would take some time off between registration and when he should be at the art building, and go down to the local Ford dealers to have a look.
The main thoroughfares within the town formed a triangle with the school located, at the tip of the highest point, the opposite side being roughly level and parallel to the river, although a couple of hundred yards from it so that it was out of the worst part of the flood plain. Each leg of the triangle was a little under half a mile long, so that you could walk right around in half an hour even if you stopped to chat to an acquaintance or two. The Art building, an old wooden army spider hut in fact, lay just off the right hand leg of the triangle, about half way down, and the Ford dealers were just off the junction at the bottom of that leg, so it wasn't far out of Ned's way.
He walked down the hill past the gas works and under the black brick railway viaduct to the garage. On the forecourt was a Ford Zephyr which rather took Ned's fancy. He liked everything about it, the colour, the fact that it had a six cylinder engine and the mileage wasn't too high, and the price displayed on the windscreen was within his budget. He walked in to the showroom to find out more about it.
The salesman was talking to another customer so Ned took a look at the new cars in the showroom. There was the latest version of the Zephyr, but with a price tag way beyond his means, but there was also a new Anglia which he could well afford. But somehow the bigger car just had more appeal.
The salesman shook hands with his client and turned his attention to Ned.
"What can I do for you son?"
Ned supposed that one day he would be addressed as 'sir', but it obviously wasn't yet.
"I wanted to take a closer look at the Zephyr," he said.
The salesman looked at him.
"I'm busy, I haven't got time to waste," he told Ned, "besides, I just sold it."
Ned was royally pissed by this, upset in part by the fact that it was sold, but more from the dismissive way in which he was addressed. As he was opening his mouth to say so he saw the salesman look past him and stiffen. Ned turned in time to see Roddy Smallhouse, his uncle's old army friend and Chairman of his school's governors walk in. General Sir Roderick Smallhouse to be exact.
"Morning, Jones," the General greeted the salesman. He then looked at Ned, and paused.
"And good morning Ned," he went on. "What brings you here?"
"Good morning Sir, I didn't expect to meet you here," replied Ned. "I was hoping to buy a car, but Mr Jones here doesn't think they have anything suitable."
Ned was aware that he could drop the salesman in a lot of trouble, but in a few seconds had realised that the man thought he was merely a schoolboy who was playing hookey. Which of course he was. But he might get more cooperation if he was reasonable.
"That so Jones?"
The salesman looked a little uncomfortable.
"The young man was enquiring about the Zephyr on the forecourt, sir, but I've just sold it."
"Well, that's a good start to the week anyway. We must have something else though. You sure you want a big car like that Ned?"
"I'm going to be doing quite a lot of travelling over the summer, so I thought a bigger engine would be better, sir"
"Mmm, yes, quite so. Well Jones?
"We've got a Zodiac that's just come in, sir, but it'll need some cleaning before it's ready, new tyres too, I think."
"What do you think of that Ned?"
"It sounds just the thing, sir."
"I'll leave you with Mr Jones then. Look after him, Jones. Good day to you Ned." And he walked off into the offices.
"Right then," said Mr Jones. "Sorry about that, I'm sure you appreciate that we get a lot of lads in here who do waste our time. Now, if you'll follow me the car's out in the back. It belonged to a local solicitor and it hasn't done that many miles, just enough to get through its first set of tyres. By the way, how do you know Sir Roderick? He owns half of this lot you know."
That answered a question for Ned, who told him that he was a friend of his uncle's, but he was more interested in the car than long explanations, which were in any case irrelevant.
The car was black with a red interior and together with its gleaming chrome and obvious speed it was indeed exactly what many young men would aspire to. But there was a small fly in the ointment, because there sitting alongside it was a small red MG sports car. The salesman saw Ned's attention wander, and as the professional that he was he realised that this would make an easier sale. The Zodiac would be no trouble to find a home for; in fact he was fairly sure he already had someone who would buy it.
"Nice, isn't it?" he asked referring to the MG. "Bit more the sort of thing for a young blade eh? You'd be fighting the girls off if you had that, and it'll quite happily go long distances too. It'll be a bit less to buy and a lot cheaper to run too."
Ned had enough trouble with girls as it was, but a red MG, despite only having two seats would be a lot of fun even without the girls.
"Would you like to try it out?"
They both got in the car and set out up the hill out of town. This, Ned thought, is living. Half an hour later they got back.
Mr Jones told him that the car had been taken in part exchange for a new Consul from a chap who had an expanding family. He worked out a price that was well within what Ned could afford.
"When could I take it?" asked Ned.
They settled on the end of the week, Friday morning. Ned gave the garage a cheque drawn on the bank account that Uncle George had helped him set up and he decided that he had better get back to school.
He retraced his steps under the viaduct arch and up the hill, whistling as he went. He arrived back in the art building a few minutes later, Miss Green had another class and he slipped in hopefully unnoticed.
When the other class left a little while later Miss Green came in to where Ned was working.
"Ned, where were you? I was worried."
"Sorry," said Ned, with a grin, "I took a few minutes to buy a new car."
"Well tell me next time," she said, and then went on excitedly. "Now, guess what, no you'll never guess. I'm friends with the curator at the art gallery in Shermouth, you know, the one where we met. It seems they had an exhibition scheduled for the summer and they've been let down. And guess what? I've been asked to fill in. Isn't that great?"
"Fantastic," replied Ned. "Have you got enough work though?"
"Yes, but it's going to take some work to put it together. D'you think you'd like to help? I could ask the head, but I'm sure he'd say yes because it will be a help to your career later on. Oh! There might be some space for some of your photos too, how about it?"
She was absolutely full of enthusiasm, and with good reason, this could launch a career as an artist and not just a teacher.
"Sure, I'd love to help." said Ned. "What do you want me to do?"
They went on to discuss what work would be entailed. When they broke for lunch Ned went down into the town to make sure that his car insurance would be transferred and a new cover note issued.
The next morning his registration teacher informed Ned that the headmaster wanted to see him after assembly.
"In trouble again Kelly," he quipped with a grin.
"I don't think so sir."
After assembly Ned duly presented himself, standing outside the head's office until he arrived.
"Come in, Ned."
The headmaster looked at some papers on his desk.
"Now, Ned, Miss Green has requested that you spend the rest of the term helping her with a forthcoming show, um ... exhibition, yes, well. I'm happy for you to do this, I think it will help you and of course her as well. Now, Ned, Miss Green is an attractive young woman, and not too much older than yourself."
"Yes, sir. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't noticed."
"Quite so, quite so. Now, for both her sake and the sake of the school's reputation I would hope that you will respect her position as your teacher ... do I make myself clear?"
"Yes, sir, crystal clear. There will be no problem."
"Good, yes, good lad. Oh, and don't spend too much time hanging around the local garages will you. When you should be in school. Ah, and don't drive that MG too fast." He smiled. "That'll be all."
Ned got outside and made it down the stairs before he gave himself up to laughter, keeping it as quiet as he could. I could, he thought, have told him that I wouldn't seduce her. Yet. And he laughed some more because he had every intention of doing so, but not for another twelve months. And obviously Roddy Smallhouse was no idiot, but then Ned never for one moment thought he was.
Friday morning Ned picked up the MG and parked it outside the art building.
When they had the few items they would need ready Ned told Kate that they would take his car.
"Your old Hillman?" she laughed. "Will it get us there?"
"Come and see," replied Ned, leading the way outside.
"Oh!" Kate squealed. "When did you get this? It's gorgeous."