Chapter 1

I met (so to speak) Vicky in a slightly unconventional manner. It was through SOL. I was particularly taken by a story I read, a story which I will not name in order to give the people involved some privacy. Anyhow I was struck by the way the author was able to communicate emotion, specifically love. This was at a time when I had no emotions left. I looked at my wife and felt nothing. No Love. No hate. No feelings at all. So the depth of emotion in this story got to me in a big way. So big I had to stop reading it and I wrote the author.

Instead of the author of the story I got the other main character instead.

She and I struck up a friendship pretty quickly. It started simple enough. I asked a couple of questions and had a comment or two. She replied. She would ask a question that I would answer. We even talked about the author a little regarding the differences between British English and American English. For example a fag in England is a cigarette here. Kind of a radical difference from our usage isn't it? I laughed. Especially when I pictured the author asking for a fag while working on a construction site in the South!

Well, we struck up a fast friendship this un named girl and I. I didn't know her real name at the time just her name from the story which I knew had been changed. It didn't take long before we were sharing personal details of each other's lives.

Right from the start we were writing to each other almost every single day. Sometimes more than once a day. As the subjects we discussed got deeper the emails got longer and longer. It didn't take too long for my emails to her to take a couple of hours to write.

I think I am going to let you read the emails for yourselves.

Almost all names have been changed including the name of the story I read.

The author of the story knows about this and all quotes are with permission.

It all started with this.

On 19 July at 1:34 AM, SOL Feedback wrote: Message from: Bob

I've just finished chapter 21 where Eddie has his health crises and Janet has a crises of her own. I must say your writing has been very effective. At times I've laughed, cried and just about everything in between. So that said I do have a question. Is this story really true? Is Janet real or a story that could be?

This is what I got back.

Bob,

Thank you for your kind words and interest.

In actual fact, this is 'Janet' (not my real name) replying, so I guess that answers your question!

Frank is working away in another country and will be for quite some time, and his only contact with civilization is a sat phone, so no Internet or even emails.

He hates the thought of feedback going unanswered so has asked me to monitor his SOL account and feedback email address and to give a quick reply to any messages.

Frank will reply in more detail (if necessary) on his return.

I can tell you that in 'Brad and Janet' the account is true, only locations and names have been changed.

And yes, I'm still doing OK!

Best regards,

'Janet' (on behalf of Frank)

July 19, 8:12 am

Well then if that is the case please allow me a couple of thoughts on the subject. Personally if it was my story and some of those things were published, I'd have his head on a platter-or maybe his bollocks. Names changed or not I probably would have had a screaming fit at some of the things revealed in the story. Some of those details are intensely personal and I would have been highly upset if it had been my life that was put on the page.

In some ways I can relate quite well to Frank. In others well not so much. I am a somewhat jaded 38 year old in a relatively loveless marriage. Although with 3 times in the last 18 months it seems like I can hardly complain comparatively-8 years? YEARS!!! As you Brits would say Bloody hell. There comes a point when it just isn't fair for one person to expect the other person to stay true to their vows. I have stayed true to mine, so far, but at times it is a struggle. There is a difference between sex and intimacy. It is quite possible to have one and not the other. Crap, look who I'm telling, if anybody knows, it's you.

Unlike Frank I do not have any children. Strangely enough I was the one that wanted them. My wife has always said she did yet I am the one upset about it so I guess that tells me the reality of that particular issue.

On a much lighter note I thought I was familiar with British slang terms. I've been reading magazines that were published in England since I was 9 or 10, still subscribe to one as a matter of fact. Anyhow I recently learned one has a different meaning there than it does here. In the US a fanny is the same thing as an arse and both males and females have one. Quite different in England I know-now anyway. Next time my mother is over and watching John Cleese I am going to fall on the floor laughing and I will not be able to explain why cause I know I've heard him use that word before.

You are a very special individual "Janet" Seems you and Frank were both fortunate to find each other. Nobody deserves the youth you had. Even though we've never met and most likely never will I feel I've gotten to know you a little through the story. So I guess you can add me as another member of your fan club.

One last question, is the person Eddie is based on still doing well after the heart attack?

Bob

I think at this point I should mention that when these emails were exchanged Janet was just about half my age. Frank is a good 10 years or so older than I am and yes I am being a little generous with that age difference.

July 20 3:40am

Bob,

Thanks for a lovely reply and I'm sure Frank will have something to say to you once he gets back - he will certainly empathize with you regarding you own marital predicament. It's sad you didn't get the children you so wanted. I do know that without Nell and Tim, there would be nothing to really keep Frank at home (and I hate to say that - I really like Patricia). Tim starts university this September, then Nell will follow in three years time - I know he's dreading that day...

However, I have to take you to task on your first comment. Not only was I aware of Frank writing up an account of our story (I was with him a lot of the time as he wrote it), I also knew what the content and and style was, and, more to the point, I actively encouraged him to include intimate details, both the good and the bad. In fact, I wanted him to be more graphic in the way he described my past - I wanted folk to REALLY know what it was like to be a victim of rape and torture - but Frank didn't want to go that far. He wanted to place more emphasis on my subsequent healing and rehabilitation (of which his gentle love making helped me greatly). Frank felt that too much emphasis on the rape, torture and humiliation I suffered as a child would attract an audience he wasn't aiming our story at.

I've known about Franks love of erotic literature from very early on. We're very 'open book' with each other and he readily admitted that to me that he read such stuff. In fact, three of his favorite authors on SOL now happen to be mine too - 'Oyster50', 'Tedbiker' and Kaffir. If you want to read lovely stories of 'girls being saved', look them up. Oysters tales of 'Cindy', 'Cristina' and 'Nikki' are wonderful (warning, you must really read all three together, as Oyster is about to combine the three stories together). Kaffir's story 'A Just Reward' will have you in tears and Tedbikers 'Jenny' series are brilliant too. A word of warning about Kaffir's style of writing (and to a lesser extent Tedbiker) - they use very 'English' English; It's the kind of English that Americans see as the stereotypical Brit - we don't really talk like that, well, not now anyway! - but Kaffir's story is set in the late 50's through to the late 60's - Frank tells me that people in the UK probably did speak more like Kaffir's style of writing back then. Oyster50 is from the USA and his stories are all set in the deep south - I love his dialogue and can 'hear; those deep southern accents even though I'm not American (though I've watched plenty of American films).

Presently, I'm reading 'Rebeca Danced' by Ezzy B - it's probably more of a 'girly story' (I know Frank hasn't read it) but I'm enjoying it very much - you may not like it as the story revolves around teens 'coming of age'.

Regarding 'fanny' et al - it doesn't just stop there. Frank has told me stories of when he worked in the US throughout the 90's. He said many, many terms (technical and conversational) have different meanings and he often found himself taken out of context and once or twice nearly in trouble! Frank loves the US name for what we call a 'bum bag'; namely a 'fanny pack'. That still makes him laugh; he says it sounds like a female hygiene item! Side mention from Bob here, In England fanny is another term for pussy.

To answer your last question, 'Eddie' is doing very well and is soon to retire. He is presently training a new lad as store man and he will then gradually cut-back his hours to just one day a week and then in a year or so's time will retire completely. 'Eddie and Columbia' are very happy and have a new addition to their family - yet another grandchild!

So all is good, except I'm missing Frank - he's been away for three weeks already and isn't due back till the end of August. Nell is missing him terribly too. (Yeah, a 15yo teen girl missing her Dad - that has to be something!).

I'm sorry, I've waffled on. I've got a day off work today and I'm at a bit of a loose end at home. I'll make sure that Frank see's your emails - I'm sure he will want to add one or two lines to your feedback - thanks again for the interest.

Kind Regards,

'Janet' X

July 21, 2:49 am

"Janet",

I'm trying to tread carefully here as I have absolutely no desire to cause a flashback. Not easy as I tend to be a very blunt person with very little sugar coating. So please, please if anything I say disturbs you too much stop reading and save the email for Frank to sort me out.

You've had far too much pain in your life and I will not be the cause of more. At least not on purpose. Pain is something I find myself becoming more familiar with and I have no desire to inflict that on others. More about that later though. It's on the personal side for me to reveal it, and at the moment still debating...

As for taking me to task, I don't mind in the slightest. I'm quite relieved you did actually. I'm glad Frank involved you in the writing. Considering your role and the depth of things you allowed him to share he damn well better have involved you. Yes it is Franks life he wrote about, but in a way it isn't at all. It's your story and he is but a supporting cast member. OK, ok a central cast member, but time for that honest bit again you are the star of this story, not Frank.

I understand why the rape scenes are there. It wasn't the rape scene I was thinking of as being too intimate to share. It's one of the few specific events footnoted and I think Frank explained its inclusion rather well, particularly the bit about trying to avoid the wrong kind of audience for that. His explanation did make my blood run cold though.

Most of the erotic stories I've read seem to be aimed at a male audience, as such it never really occurred to me that there would be men with rape fantasies. It's common enough in women that it is not considered all that unusual-to have the fantasies I mean. But to find that there are men with these fantasies too scares the shit out of me. That is no easy thing to do. I am 6'2" and over 32 stone. Yes more than 4 times your own weight. Needless to say, I do not intimidate easily.

The thought that there are men with these fantasies who may try to act upon them is disgusting and horrifying at the same time. The worst part is I don't think it's even about rape in the first place, more about control. Either being in control or out of control of a situation. At least I understand that aspect of S&M even if I don't quite get the whole whips chains and leather/latex concept. Then again I don't understand foot fetishes either.

While horrible doesn't even begin to describe those events I was thinking more of some of the intimate times between "Janet" and Frank may have been a little too personal for sharing with people you don't know, never met and in all reality probably never will meet.--

Or is that the secret then, knowing you will never meet your readers made it easier to share these things? Notice please that I choose the word intimate specifically. What a dumbass I must look like-explaining the difference between sex and intimacy to a rape victim. At least you got the chance to discover we're not all monsters. Men that is.

In all honesty I did upon reading think Frank was sexually active with you too early in your relationship-especially after the first dinner at Fisherman's Catch when at the time you knew no other way to repay someone for something. Again one of the more horrifying type things that have occurred. Not because it was intrinsically bad, but because that was the only way you knew at the time. But then I only have my own experience to go on and as I was not there I am in no position to judge. It just seemed at that point in the story when you asked him to make love to you that he was taking advantage of you. It was later in the story when I realized that was not the case. I feel even better about it for what you said in your email about that and I will add relieved too.

You are not the first rape victim I have ever talked to. I'd almost forgotten that memory until now. I still remember my shock at the discovery. It was just before I turned 17, a group of us were outside school and my plans to spend the afternoon with Christine had been interrupted. Then she told me why. Christine wasn't the one, though she had her own traumas, it was another girl whose name I no longer remember but whose face I still recall. After that I was always more careful around her. I was a bit over 22 stone then and even then I knew my size could be intimidating.

I will look up those authors you mentioned. May even try the "girly" one. I have only ever really enjoyed a couple of female authors. Ann Rice, though I seem to be over her and Lindsey Davis. She has a series of mysteries that take place in Rome in the time of Emperor Vespasian. There's something about her work that really appeals to me. Maybe it is because so many of her characters were real people, even if the events themselves are made up.

Do I like stories of "girls being saved" Yes. Doesn't have to be girls though. I like animals too and have a rescue story of my own there. There are some men who would just love to be a woman's "knight in shining armor". I am in that group. Frank is too but I don't think he knew it until he met you. Now that I think of it I've managed that at least once or twice too, at least in a small way. Gallant possibly, romantic no.

You have officially ruined fanny packs for me. Especially since my wife still uses one from time to time. I'm going to get in trouble for laughing next time she pulls it out...

Bob

July 22, 8:05 am

Bob,

Your email didn't disturb me, in fact, I find it touching you took time to write a detailed and thoughtful reply. Frank sharing my story with strangers may seem odd to you, yet to me, it is a form of closure. Frank did agonize over this. As I stated before, he did consult me before and during the writing of Brad and Janet. He was going to write a family-friendly version initially, but with his (our) love of erotica and that fact that his 'making love' to me in the most gentle and caring way possible was central to my rehabilitation (seriously, it was), I almost decided for him that the story had to include that intimacy between us as part of the central theme.

Being slightly pedantic here, Frank didn't actually make love to me that first night (after the Fisherman's Catch meal) or even the second night. He merely introduced me to the delights of being cuddled. Yes, I know he admitted in the story to stroking my thighs and caressing my bum as I slept that first night. But, not that I would have understood back then, I do now understand that for a bloke that had not had sex for eight years, the temptation to touch the bare legs of a 17year old girl, whose bum was also showing as a result of sleeping curled up must have been just too much of a temptation for him. Credit to him for stopping where he did - as you will have realized, I would have let him 'fuck me' that night, but, I would have been packing my things and moving on the next day, thinking 'oh well, just another typical bloke', and 'Brad and Janet' and this email would not exist.

The next evening, I insisted (practically begged) him to cuddle me again, and then to join me in bed and remain cuddling me. He was the perfect gent. As we spooned, I knew he had an erection - I felt it - even in my fucked-up state at that time, I realized that here was a guy turned on by me, but yet he did nothing about it; he respected me, just did as I asked (cuddled me), something that up until then in my miserable life I'd never known. That's why within 48hours I began to trust him. Now I trust him with my life. My trust and love for that bloke is unconditional. And yes, I still enjoy a simple cuddle and embrace from him - it's hard to describe how safe that makes me feel. Frank understates his role in making me what I am today. To me though, he is my hero, my knight in shining armour.

As for fetishes and the strange things people love, well, so long as it remains a fantasy, just words in a story, I guess that's OK. It's when people carry out those fantasies it is not. Frank and I have looked at some of the stories on SOL and ASSTR and quite frankly, cannot believe what some people get off on. But, as Frank says, 'each to their own, whatever floats your boat'.

As for you - 6'2" and 32 stone - wow! - That makes you the size of Stanley! Frank is only 5'10" and 13 stone - I guess he'd feel intimidated in your presence until he got to know you! You'd no doubt pick me up like I was a feather!

It must have been tough for you at nearly 17 in the knowledge that someone you knew had been raped. Frank still struggles to come to terms with my revelations at the age of 50, so for a 17 year old, that must have really played with your immature emotions. There have been a couple of nights when I've been with Frank in some motel, to find myself waking up in the middle of the night and find him sobbing his heart out. I'd eventually coax out of him that he'd simply been watching me sleep, looking so peaceful and then trying to come to terms with all that happened to me as a child – it sometimes really overwhelms him. Those are the occasions where the tables turn and I comfort him. It saddens me to see him in that state, but at the same time it proves to me (not that it is needed) just what sort of bloke he is.

So, are you going to tell me your story about the animal you rescued? We girls love stories like that! Sorry to also read you suffer personal pain - I take it you mean emotional, and I guess that must be your relationship with your wife. That's one aspect of Franks life I cannot get him to talk about. Oh, and sorry about making you see 'fanny packs' in a new light - good luck explaining your chuckles next your wife dons hers! ;) Kind Regards,

Jane

July 23, 1:13 am

"Janet"

I'm glad you found my last email touching. Thank you for the compliment. Now about the time part-you have no idea how long it took me to write it. Something like 15 hours start to finish. With several rereads and revisions mixed in. I meant what I said about not wanting to cause any additional harm. I don't get off on inflicting pain on others. Keep in mind that 15 hours is not straight through. Actual time would be closer to about an hour. You know type a little, go away from it, come back in twenty or thirty minutes sort of thing. Been doing that a lot lately. You'll see why later if you are interested but I am trying not to drop my own emotional baggage on you. I've got a bit of a dichotomy going here as I have to keep reminding myself that even though I got to know you through Brad and Janet you hardly know me at all. The other is one of the ways your story has affected me. That is what the hell are you feeling sorry for yourself for-look what "Janet" went through and how far she has come since...

I know you and Frank weren't sexually active those first couple of nights. Something like the third though? Just saying when I first read the story I thought that was a bit fast, but upon continuing to read decided that I was in no position to judge and you were, that's all. Again here I'm still separating sex and intimacy. When I spoke of you and Frank sharing intimate things I'm not necessarily including sex.

I'm not quite sure how to explain this bit and again not so good with sugar coating. Mary Poppins I'm not ... So speaking as a man with his own specific experiences behind him I can tell you it is completely possible for a man to have sex and feel no intimacy. Again I'm treading on look who I'm telling territory but I include only good men, not the sort of pathetic excuses you were exposed to before Frank.

To me intimacy is more about the emotional connection. I find that a kiss can be far more intimate than the act of intercourse itself. Take my marriage, for me at least the level of intimacy I feel is directly related to the emotional connection I have with her at the time. I have had sex with no intimacy what so ever-not with the wife, that was someone else, In that case it is a purely physical thing, a lot like, how to phrase this, "relieving ones self" only with a partner.

I'm glad to see you refer to what you do with Frank as making love. Again to me there are differences. Making love and fucking are not the same thing-they can be, but they don't have to be. As an example the scene on the ferry on your first trip to Belgium. Just read that chapter last night. When you first got into the cabin and shall we say "tore one off", that was both fucking and making love at the same time. It was fucking to relieve the built up frustrations of not having had a chance to be physical for some time. It was making love because it was with someone that loves you and shares an emotional connection to you. What you did later the same night was making love and not fucking. Now back to that first night. You said had Frank "fucked you" that night you would have packed your things in the morning, left and "Brad and Janet" and this email would not exist. The stakes were far, far higher than that girlie.

I'm from New York.

These streets are hard.

I don't imagine England is too different. Cities are cities you just have less gunfire in yours. I've stood over more than one body. The latest was yesterday.

If you hadn't met Frank when you did there's a very good chance you wouldn't have made it. Girls are even more susceptible than boys and a tiny thing like you even more so.

Frank can try and say he didn't all he likes. The plain truth of the matter is he saved your life. Before you jump to the wrong conclusion remind me to tell you what I do for a living. Just keep that whole saving people thing in mind and no not the EMS fire or police but I do work for a government agency and the vehicle I use does have what you refer to as "blues and twos" it is considered an emergency vehicle and I do have the right to go through red lights.

In fact I've decided to make a game of it just to lighten things up a little. Try and guess what I do. I'm not telling until you take a couple of shots at it. Let's see how close you get. I will tell you about Riff Raff The Cat-and how he got his name. But first I would like to know if this email addy accepts attachments. I want to show you my pussy!

I couldn't even type that with a straight face...

About feeling safe when you are snuggled in Franks arms I understand that. It's one of the things my wife used to say while we spooned. I'm quite fond of spooning myself. We do seem to use the word cuddle a little differently. Some of the scenes Frank has a cuddle in we would describe as a hug. I've always used cuddle and snuggle interchangeably.

As for the girl I knew who had been raped, we were not close and it was summer school not regular term. For the regular school year it was an all boys Catholic school. It was only open to girls during summer for makeup purposes. Our favorite lie to the Freshmen was that the school was going to go coed next year. Needless to say the year the school announced that in the newspaper I didn't believe them until I went and saw for myself-a dozen years after I graduated.

As for fanny packs I'm actually looking forward to the next time she drags it out. I'll still be laughing when I tell her what a fanny is in England.

Tell Frank a fag here is not a cigarette-its a derogatory term for homosexual men...

Bob

July 23, 8:33 am

Bob,

OK, here goes, 30mins during my lunch break, I did a little 'social engineering' on you:

This particular email from Janet has been edited for publication. You see I never hid my identity from her. Janet had my normal email address. With that she was able to find out EXACTLY what I do, who I work for and even managed to come up with my mothers street address. So, in order to keep my own anonymity intact I have chosen not to share her results here.

Sorry if I've either: a) creeped you out or b) made a complete fool of myself! Probably the latter - you can laugh at me, I don't mind! In the UK, the only emergency vehicles with 'blues and twos' are police, fire, ambulance, and the coast guard, plus some specialist military vehicles such as anti-terrorist and the bomb squad.

As for living on the streets, I managed it for just over a year without serious mishap, but I guess I was just very, very lucky. Once there was this guy who must have later regretted making an advance on me (I was cornered in a dead-end alley). I managed to get to him first and kicked him squarely in the balls, hard. He fell to the floor in agony, i then kicked him in the face and then I ran off. 8 stone only I might be, but, I have strong legs and a swift kick with a good aim - no bloke can stand that! In terms of risk to my life I was later actually more of a risk to myself than being hurt by others. As Frank hinted at in 'Brad and Janet', a couple of days after my 17th birthday, I'd all but given up and was contemplating suicide. That's the state Frank first found me in - crying in desperation as I contemplated my very limited options.

Now, send me that photo of your 'pussy', and no, I'm not sending you a photo of mine. Because I don't own a cat, what did you think I meant... ;)

Best regards, Janet

July 23, 11:35 am

Janet,

Before you go any further this email is not safe to read at work-even during your lunch. The beginning is ok but you will probably be crying before the end of it. Sorry in advance but you researched me a lot more than I had expected--yeah I know, I know throwing a challenge to "Janet" is a lot like standing in the middle of Pamplona waving a giant red flag...

Now I know why Frank and your work mates are so impressed with you.

Now besides sending you a pic of Riff Raff and telling you his story I have to send you one of Godzilla too-which is still so new as to not be in service yet. I reeeaaaalllllly wanna play with the new toy!! It's not often someone as truck mad as I am gets a 452000 Great British Pound present. ($700k) As to the pic you found Godzilla has the same number of axles in a different configuration. It's a Western Star 4900TS that TS is for Twin Steer. 8 wheelers are not a common type here. Technically the truck isn't street legal in this state, but you can get away with ignoring all sorts of transport laws when you work for the government. To my knowledge there's only one other truck in New York of similar size and it operates by special permit with lots of restrictions similar to your STGO system. Our heavy trucks only come out as needed so rack up pretty low miles. The truck Godzilla is replacing is a 27 year old Peterbilt that has less than 50k miles on it from new. A typical highway truck in the US runs 3 times that in a single year.

You got several direct quotes from me.

Again impressed young lady.

Some lives we save directly some indirectly.

One of my coworkers was first to arrive at a crash involving a NYPD car that was hit while responding to his own emergency. The squad car caught fire. The driver was trapped inside. His legs were already burning. My guy used a fire extinguisher to put the fire out. I still feel sorry for that cop. We carry dry chemical extinguishers, not CO2. The pain in getting the chemical powder out of his burns would be on a level I shudder to think of. It's a very fine powder. So fine that putting water on it just forces it into the air as it takes a long time to absorb.

Another did CPR on a heart attack victim until paramedics arrived.

At least two that I know have delivered babies.

Several have held the hands of the dying as they left this world.

As for me, I have come across heat stroke victims, diabetics in need of sugar or insulin depending on their situation and a heart attack victim-no need for CPR there.

Then theres the things that never happened because one of our 10 ton trucks was there. We get hit on a regular basis. I've been hit something like 5 or 6 times.

The last man killed doing my job was Cletus Snow. He used to carry a video camera with him, but was considering getting a digital still camera. My own video camera was an upgraded version of his-same camera not just similar but with one difference-mine had a digital still camera built in. I let him borrow it to try it out and upon return was to burn him a CD of the pics so he could see them for himself. I tend to procrastinate on things. He never saw the pictures. He was killed 2 or 3 weeks after returning the camera. Three weeks before Christmas. That's one of the pictures he never saw. He took it of himself in a mirror in his home. (There were two attachments with this email when I sent it to Janet).

Adults aren't too bad. Frank isn't the only softie. So I've had to harden things a little. All cops and firemen do it too. The ones that can't turn to alcohol, drugs or just loose it completely. I do not drink, I do not use drugs and have refused narcotics in hospital never mind street drugs. My attitude is you place your bets and take your chances. Hopefully you made an informed decision. Sometimes you just get lucky.

Others are not as easy for me.

I spent Memorial Day 2011 protecting the body of an infant. He was 8 days shy of his first birthday. He was ejected when the car he was riding in DRIVEN BY A DRUNK DRIVER, hit a guard rail in such a way as it opened the car a lot like a tin of sardines except it opened the side and not the top. The infant was ejected and died instantly upon contact with the pavement. I will tell you the exact manner of death if you wish but would rather spare you the nightmares that will come with the knowledge. One of his older sisters (age 3) made it to the hospital and no farther. Told you it would make you cry.

I'll send you another email tonight after I get off work with Riff Raff's tale. I'm not in the mood just now.

Bob

July 23, 2:30 pm

Bob,

OK, glad you aren't freaked out and/or annoyed with me; promise I'll leave it at that now. I'm not even sure if Frank will be mad with me (in a nice way - don't worry) for what I did - he may say I've taken things too far and invaded your privacy, I don't know ... actually, Bob, I do feel a little guilty - sorry, it seemed fun at the time to research you. :(

As I stated before, I don't envy your job and even less so now after what I've read. However, I DO love 'Godzilla! :) If I ever come to New York (unlikely) I'm looking you up and your taking me for a spin in her. That's an awesome vehicle. I'm going to show that photo to my colleague who's brother runs a truck. In fact, Frank will approve of her too. BTW, is machinery always referred to as 'her or 'she'' in the US like it is here in the UK?

Twin steer lorries (haha - a good UK word I bet you guys don't use!) are quite common here and in mainland Europe. Twin steer/twin rear axle (our transport manager tells me they're known as '8 leggers') tend to be used for construction vehicles such as tippers and cement mixers. You don't usually see them used for general haulage. BTW, Frank has an interest in vintage trucks and tractors, especially steam driven. He's taken Nell, Tim and me to several vintage rallies - I love that scene; the sights, sounds and smells. See, something else I would not have experienced had I not met him!

You don't need to tell me how that poor baby died - I can probably take a couple of guesses. Also, it was very sad to read about your colleague that died. You know how upset I got when Eddie had his heart attack - I would not be able to handle the death of a colleague. How the hell do you toughen up to something like that Bob? I've huge respect for you there. Yeah, I did shed some tears Bob, but I'm at home (it's evening here), so it doesn't matter.

I once befriended a tramp (I think you call them 'bums' or 'down and outs' in the US?) when I was on the street. He was a grumpy old guy, but would always share whatever food and water he had with me and let me sit by 'his' fire when it was cold (tramps are very protective of 'their' fires I learned). Strange isn't it, I trusted him for some reason. He used to drink a lot and always offered me his booze - thankfully, I never gave in to the temptation. He never spoke to me, apart from to say "now then young-un" when I turned up and he once told me I reminded him of his daughter. However, he would sing lovely old folk songs to me in the most beautiful voice imaginable; I used to fall asleep listening to him. Sadly, one day when I turned up, there was no fire and he was slumped against the wall, unconscious. I felt a slight pulse but couldn't rouse him. I found a call box, dialed 999 and told the operator where he was and then rang off - I didn't dare hang around. You know why. I never did see him again...

BTW, 'fag' was one of the words that nearly got Frank into trouble when he was working in the US. He was over with a colleague who smoked. Frankk's mate had run out of fags and it was break time. Frank being the ever friendly and helpful guy he is apparently approached one of the local contractors on the project site and asked "Excuse me, can you tell me if someone here can give my mate a fag?" Apparently the local guy went through several emotions and then called Frank several colourful names. Luckily for Frank, the guy didn't hit him and later the confusion was cleared up and laughed at by all. Yeah, Frank knows about fags! Also, I believe 'shagging' is a form of dancing in the US? Not in the UK! ;)

Look forward to the story of Riff Raff. I'll be in bed by the time you're home and then I'm on my travels tomorrow (up early), so don't know when I'll log in next. Late tomorrow night probably (say 24 hours from now).

Thanks for sharing a bit of your life with me Bob - it's enlightening for me to be touched by your story just as you have been touched by mine. I know Frank is in regular contact with several other readers for the same reason.

I have read some of the other emails Frank has received from readers (from all over the World). Some have recounted tales of being victims themselves, others have told him of how they have helped out others. He's also had his share of haters too. One rather twisted individual asked Frank why he'd wasted his time with me. 'Why didn't you just fuck her a few times and then dump her?' he asked. I guess the guy was either trolling or genuinely sick. Frank couldn't reply as the feedback was sent anonymously. Others have told him how unmoral he is and told him he could have helped me without taking advantage of me or something like that. I have to ask: if these people take such a moral high ground, what are they doing reading erotic stories in the first place? And it's strange how the haters won't reveal their email addys, isn't it? However, the majority of feedback is simply a one liner like 'Great story, hope Janet continues to do well. Frank gives a one line reply of thanks back, then tells the reader that 'Janet is still doing OK' and that is that - end of contact.

Anyway, I must sign off - I have some other readers to reply to and I'm up early tomorrow!

Cheers, 'Janet'.

July 24, 11:58 am

Janet,

Not freaked. I've done nothing to conceal who I am from you. Remember brutally honest right? I will answer any question someone asks me. But you really need to be sure you want the answer first. The only exception I make to that policy is the question I've been trying to avoid answering to myself for the past few weeks.

I would like to know where you found my mothers street address. I am far more open than she is, its kind of hard not to be when as a property owner my name and address are a matter of public record in the county offices.

Machinery here is also almost exclusively female. I once owned a car named Henrietta the Happy Hyundai. It came with the name. I swear I did not name that car.

I am absolutely truck mad and have been if family tales are to be believed since before I was old enough to talk. I have truck magazines from the US, Canada, Mexico, Italy, France, England, Australia and New Zealand.

I started reading Truck and Truck&Driver when I was 9 or so. I've been reading Trucking International since I was 12 and am a current subscriber to same They dropped International from the title some years ago. Now given that I am 38 and at this point you are what like 20? That means I have literally been reading British truck magazines since before you were born. Fuck I hate saying that.

As for a spin in Godzilla, would love to but only after they let me take a spin in it myself. No idea when its actually going in service. The longest thing is usually getting the radios fitted. The truck goes nowhere until it has our radio and State Police radios in it. As for being unlikely you would ever get here to do it, you of all people should know that you never know what the future holds. Besides the truck its replacing was here for 27 years...

As for feeling guilty in over researching me I have a solution to that little problem. Oh, Frank ... Janet's been bad and needs her bum spanked...

How do I toughen up after the death of Cletus? (totally not his real name, Cletus Snow was a character in Smoky and the Bandit) It has been 8 years. That helps. Also nobody really wants to discuss it but Cletus made a mistake. He didn't get the chance to learn from it. I have.

As to the public I can be pretty unsympathetic towards adults-especially the stupid ones. Only the children are difficult.

I've really been enjoying our emails. It's so nice to have an adult conversation that doesn't involve the words "Okay, why'd you break the car?"

So I guess it's time to show you my pussy then. Now I have to debate if I should show you the regular version or the shaved one. As for not sending me a picture of yours, no worries. I'd like to refer you back to chapter 7. "She had the neatest patch of pubic hair imaginable, almost straight rather than curly and it was blonde too, matching the hair on her head. I wanted to touch it right then to find out if it was as silky as the hair on her head; it certainly looked to be, but I resisted the temptation, instead enjoying the rest of my visual inspection."

Do I have to quote the paragraph under this one too or will you take my word that all of us who have read your story have seen it? You started teasing; it's only fair I get to tease you back!!!

OK on to Riff Raff. The Troopers got a call about a small cat on the highway. He was found north bound at 35th street in the express lanes. On this section of highway we have 3 lanes of traffic limited to passenger vehicles and pickup trucks, then a waist high concrete wall, then 3 to 4 more lanes of traffic that are available to all vehicles. When the trooper arrived he found the cat and being close to my yard brought it there. We don't usually find them alive. The kitten was extremely dirty and emaciated. I could see his ribs and knew from his size that he was just old enough to be weaned. I should explain while most men aren't cat friendly I am. I have had cats most of my life and prefer them to dogs. I'd rather clean a litter box than the backyard...

I gave my boss a twenty and sent him shopping. I told him exactly what I wanted for the type and brand of food and shampoo and had him get a towel too. This was in February mind and it had snowed two days before he was found. He was so dirty we had no idea what color he was. I knew he was a boy because of the ages old test I had performed on him. Yup I picked him up, spun him around and counted the number of butt holes. Looks like only one, must be a boy ... He was so filthy I didn't know where else to put him and I didn't want him wandering around so he went into a locker that was only slightly cleaner than he was. I should explain we keep all our trucks indoors at work in a heated garage. Makes it ever so much easier to start a diesel when it's below zero out.

My boss gets back with the supplies and we started with the food and a bowl of fresh water. He ate so fast I thought he would just throw it up so we let him have some then took it away. Then it was on to bath time.

I should have had an inkling of what I was getting myself into when it took 2 grown men to wash a roughly 8 week old kitten. He was so filthy dirt started sheeting off of him just from the water running in the sink. We used baby shampoo and took turns holding him and washing him. One held while the other washed and by God it did take both of us too. Keep in mind the little shit was fighting the whole time and to this day fights dirty.

On the way home I took him to the late night emergency vet to get him checked out because I had two other cats and didn't want to bring home a diseased animal. He was still so pathetic looking and his story so compelling that I was given the animal shelter discount rate.

Then started Riff Raffs life with me. I had a hell of a time naming him. Nothing seemed to fit. One day I came home to be told by my wife that she had named him. She said she just tried out every name she could think of and he kind of looked up at her when she tried Riff Raff. She did this because he had started answering to "furry little bastard". I'm telling you he's a real handful. Riff Raff is now eight years old. He's still a hand full. His file at our regular vet has the words BAD KITTY in red right on top of the first page. The girl who wrote it did so in pen. I told her to get a Sharpie because it needed to be bolder. I am the only person I know that takes welders gloves to the vet. For that matter I am the only person I have ever even heard of that owns welders gloves for a cat. I do not weld.

There's another kitten rescue that i was more active in but that one didn't come home with me. Did get my name in the paper though...

I've never heard of shagging being used as a term in this country at all, except for the movie Austin Powers the Spy Who Shagged Me. Since Austin was English they used the only definition for that word I've ever known.

One other thing, I will no longer type Janet in quotation marks. Nom de plume or not that particular key is kind of a pain in the ass for me.

Bob

July 24, 7:07 pm

Bob,

I've just got in, had a day from hell - 19hours solid. I've quickly read your email, great stuff and love the story about Junior. But I'm really knackered and need to hit the sack. I'll send a longer reply later - sorry :(

Cheers,

Janet.

July 25, 1:16 am

Janet,

No worries. My day had a couple of suck moments too. I work rotating shifts and have rotating days off. At least today was Friday. My days off are always Saturday and Sunday no matter what the calendar says. It's a mental thing.

On with the story.

I was in the middle of downtown with a disabled car. Turned out it was out of gas. Did the paperwork, issued a gallon of gas. I was walking back to the truck with the gas can in one hand and the funnel in the other. I was somewhat distracted, so when I noticed the problem it was already too late.

What I noticed was that my trousers had decided to take a ride south. Downtown Manhattan. During the evening rush hour.

But wait there's more.

Todays shorts are somewhat worn, as such the elastic band that holds them up is somewhat weak and they had already gone a bit south under my trousers. So when the trousers went south, the shorts went with.

I just managed to turn around in time to moon the public instead of showing them the family jewels.

Got so into Riff Raffs tale-or should that be tail? I forgot to add the pictures. On the good side that gave me a chance to take another pic today of where Riff Raff was found.

How I made the paper was we got another call about a kitten on the highway.

One of our supervisors went to get it. He found it also alive as Riff Raff was but had a whole new problem. Trying to catch the kitten it dodged him and ran under his truck. Then it jumped up into the undercarriage.

He drove off the highway and called me and another guy to come help him. We lifted the back of the supervisors truck in the air as high as we could-until the front bumper touched pavement. We could hear the kitten mewing. I tried to coax it out but to no avail.

It was on a skid plate under the gas tank. The kitten was between the plate and the tank. So we started taking things apart. When we were finally able to remove the skid plate, the kitten jumped up on top of the gas tank so it was between the gas tank and the floor of the truck.

I managed to get the kitten out as I was the only one willing to go in bare handed and just take whatever the kitten was going to do to me.

Fishing him out still took the better part of half an hour-after we got the skid plate off. Watching this whole incident starting from the very beginning was a guy who claimed to be the lawyer of the New York Times gossip columnist. He took the kitten with him. About a week later the three of us made the column. Guess he was her lawyer. This single event kept three of us tied up for almost 2 hours. Good thing it was a slow day.

Bob

July 25, 4:16 pm

Bob,

Love 'part 2' of your 2nd kitty story too. Great you made it to the paper as well - everyone is supposed to get their 15minutes of fame sometime in their life, right?

I laughed at your unintentional mooning at passing traffic - how embarrassing for ya! I, however, blushed as I read that excerpt from chapter 7: I'd forgotten, Frank paints a pretty good picture with his words, doesn't he?

Don't worry about dropping the single quotes around 'Janet' - it's only a name after all. I'd contemplated telling you my real name, but then I felt Frank would think me stupid and going too far. He'll probably already despair with me for the level of detail I entered into with you and two other readers. I was simply supposed to 'babysit' his SOL account and this email address (this is only used for SOL) and give a standard one-liner explaining Franks situation so that readers were not left hanging. Oh well too late now ... BTW, the other two readers - one's from Australia and the other is from the South of England, so a good spread!

Yeah, I recognized all those lorry names you reeled off from when I've been to rallies with Frank. He always moans at the loss of all our once famous and proud truck manufacturers; that said, he moans about the loss of a great number of British institutions and household names. We are rapidly becoming a 'services country', the 'sweat shop' of Europe that mostly now just imports stuff. Yeah, OK, we still manufacture a lot of specialist stuff, but, It's hard to believe 'we' started the Industrial revolution and that so much industrial innovation once came out of this country (see, his moans have rubbed off on me too!). One of my favourite vintage lorries are the old Scammels. We saw a beauty at the last rally we went to and Frank pointed out to me the beautiful Gardner diesel engine fitted in it, saying what a work of art the engine was. I had to agree with him actually - it did look lovely with polished alloy covers and copper pipework ( think it was a 6LW or something like that). If Frank had his way, he said he'd love to have a Gardner engine on display in his home. Not sure Patricia would share his enthusiasm though! I also love the Sentinel steam lorries too. So quiet and 'alive' - I love the combined smell of steam, hot oil and coal smoke!

Riff Raff has a certain wild look in that photo, its like he's pondering whether or not to dive bomb you! I don't have any pets. Franks family did have a large rabbit, but it died a few weeks ago (I think he mentions it in Brad and Janet?). I loved Eddie and Columbia's dog Bess - she was a great companion. She used to follow me all over Columbia's house and when I slept, she'd sleep at the foot of my bed. I suspect Columbia didn't really approve, but she said nothing, I guess she felt Bess was good company for me. Bess still fusses around me when I go round to visit. I won't have any pets of my own though, as my working life is too unpredictable. I have to admit that I'm more of a dog person than a cat person though. Columbia's cat always ignored me, so I never had chance to get to know about cats.

Looking at the photo of the highway, I do have to wonder how Riff Raff survived - he was a damn lucky little fella, that's for sure.

I'm feeling a little low at the moment. We (as in the company I work for) haven't heard from Frank for some ten days now. I can't disclose where he's working as it is all 'hush hush' (our company occasionally does some work for the Government and I suspect this project involves them). This job (which is simply known as 'project X' in the factory) involved an element of danger and because of that, the bosses asked for volunteers to go rather than picking a team. Frank volunteered to head it without hesitation. One of our fitters who have known Frank for years offered to join him (the guy referred to as 'Mike' in Brad and Janet). Knowing him as well as I do, I couldn't believe how irrational he was being (not thinking of Nell and Tim for starters?). The other thing I worried about is that prior to this extended trip, he hadn't been himself for a couple of weeks and was very quiet and withdrawn. He was perfectly friendly towards me, but he was distant and he didn't respond to get my hints that I fancied 'a bit of action', if you know what I mean - very unlike him!. His personality change all started a day or two after Fathers day. When I pressed him to tell me what was wrong, he just told me he had a lot on his mind. When I asked him why he volunteered for this secret project (as it doesn't need his level of expertise) he simply told me "the timings brilliant; it's a convenient way to get away for a while where I can be alone and can't be reached easily" (or words to that effect). He added an apology to me, saying it was nothing to do with me and that he'd really miss me, but that was cold comfort to me. Hey, why am I telling you all this, you have enough shit to deal with in your life - sorry. I just hope he's OK and comes back soon.

You asked how I found the address (which I assumed was yours, not your Mothers). Here's the link: (Link deleted, Bob)

Obviously, it goes without saying that anything we talk about goes no further than us, and on his return Frank. I am the only person other than Frank that knows the password to this email address and it's very long and obscure. Hushmail is very safe and anonymous too. Finally, I promise I won't fly over to New York and stalk you either ;)

Cheers, Janet

July 25, 8:44pm

Janet,

Glad you enjoyed the kitty stories.

Mooning passing traffic would have been an improvement. During the evening rush hour-or more appropriately don't rush hour. Traffic was crawling along nice and slowly. Which of course gives one more time to look around as you are traveling so slowly.

I just hope a couple of those honks were from women. I doubt it but I'd like to believe it.

Frank may despair at how much you have shared with me but take a moment and remind him of how much you know about me too. I've had this email addy for a long time.

I thought you might have forgotten how you were described. Feel free to reread the paragraph under the one I quoted to see just how deep a shade of red you can turn. I changed a color or two myself when I went back to find it but I couldn't resist the chance to tease you.

The odd part is I found myself skipping over most of the sex scenes the further I read. Not because it wasn't well written or anything but because I felt like I was intruding. I think a big part of that is because I had not finished the story before I sent the first email. Now that we've been talking to each other it just seemed wrong. Like I was a peeping Tom or something.

You don't have to tell me your real name as long as you don't mind me calling you Janet. I like that name anyhow. Short yet still a nice name. (I changed the name she used from what she used with me. I actually like the name she used better. Bob)

Please note in all the things we've talked (okay typed) about I have never asked your real name. The only real question was the first one as to if Brad and Janet was really a true story. There are lots and lots of sick weirdos out there.

Again look who I am telling.

I do understand the need for anonymity.

If I were to write a story and post it I'd change names and leave the location as a city in North America. New York isn't the only city with rail service. Even then the train is only necessary if I were to make it an erotic story. Now for that honest bit again I am seriously considering writing said story-which would be absolutely true even if I never made it public. If for no other reason than to sort things out in my own head. At least part of which I have been desperately trying to avoid because I'm pretty certain I already know the answer regardless of how much I am afraid of it. I came up with a question for the title. How did I get here? It starts about 2 or 3 weeks ago with a specific event in the present tense then travels backwards 22 or so years to explain what led to the event. Trying to be generic on purpose in case I do write it.

This next bit is going to be very harsh indeed but please remind Frank of my brutally honest philosophy and lack of sugar coating. I'm not trying to be insulting but most in the preservation scene would not see it that way. I can tell you why Britain is a failed manufacturer. We're very close to the same thing ourselves. STAGNATION. You lot were on the cutting edge more than once but then were just happy to sit there and rot. Your were still building steam traction engines at an almost obscene date. Never mind still in normal commercial use into the 50's.

Then learning absolutely nothing you did the same thing with trucks.

Take the perennial favorite Atkinson Borderer. A truck with a cab that did not tilt and a wood frame that was still in production until 1975. That is the worst example of industrial laziness I have ever even contemplated.

Wood framing on a truck cab? Wood?

Really?

After 1945?

Volvo didn't take the British market with the F86 and F88. You served it up on a silver platter like the Christmas goose.

No worries though. We're doing the same with the Chinese for the exact same reasons. Manufacturers getting too cocky and above all complacent.

That isn't Riff Raff looking wild. That's him wondering how we found him. That cabinet is above the fridge. We searched the entire house for over an hour before we found the little shit. The rabbit is indeed in Brad and Janet. Sorry to hear he's gone.

Don't you dare apologize for sharing your worries about Franks safety. Quite frankly the fact that you apologized is the only bit I find offensive. And it does offend me.

I'm actually quite touched that I am a person you have deemed worthy of sharing your concerns with. Shit woman the man you love is in a location you feel dangerous and you are worried about him! So whats the problem with that?

You love him. In this situation you are supposed to worry because you love him. I'd start to wonder about you a bit if you weren't worried after 10 days. I'm sorry there is so little I can do to ease your fears and make you feel better about the situation but I will be here to listen if you need me too. I have been trying to limit the amount I share my marriage issues with you not because I am unwilling but because I am trying not to add to your burden. Sixteen years of hell probably isn't going to be healed in 3 years.

OK so its an assumption on my part and Benny Hill taught me why that was a bad thing but in this case I'll risk it.

As for why Frank took the assignment speaking as someone in his own shitty marriage I bet I can make an educated guess. I've been agonizing for the last 6 weeks wondering if I threw away the last 21 years myself.

Sorry this email is running on so long but there's something from an earlier note I want to get back to. Here is what you said. "There have been a couple of nights when I've been with Frank in some motel, to find myself waking up in the middle of the night and find him sobbing his heart out. I'd eventually coax out of him that he'd simply been watching me sleep, looking so peaceful and then trying to come to terms with all that happened to me as a child – it sometimes really overwhelms him. Those are the occasions where the tables turn and I comfort him. It saddens me to see him in that state, but at the same time it proves to me (not that it is needed) just what sort of bloke he is."

I can tell you exactly why this happens. It's because he loves you. The way Brad and Janet was written I knew he loved you before I started talking to you. It almost comes pouring out of the screen. He cries because it hurts him to know that there are people who hurt you and there's nothing he can do about it. He hates that people caused you pain. Watching Sarah sleep have been some of the times my love for her was strongest. In the past anyway.

In Brad and Janet I don't think Frank ever told you he loved you. If he hasn't done that in real life than he is a coward.

Bob

July 26, 2:31 am

Bob,

A fairly quick response as I have to get to work!

That was touching reply - you made me cry, you twat! (as I would say to Frank, almost as a term of endearment when trying to bollock him!)

OK, I'm only19 and don't know who Benny Hill is - guess that will be my Google assignment this lunchtime!

The only reason Frank will despair with me is because he's over-protective (like placing virtual cotton wool around me at times!) and he'd be worried I might give something away I shouldn't, that's all. And yeah, I know you haven't asked me for my real name, I just thought about offering it to you as I know yours. I like 'Janet' too, in fact, far better than my real name. Perhaps I should change it to that by deed pole. Now there's a thought - Frank would love that as he holds the name 'Janet' close to his heart. I think, but cannot be sure it was the name of his childhood sweetheart. There are some things he simply won't discuss...

Understand what you mean about UK manufacturing. Holding onto what started as a great product and taking the philosophy of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', and then that once wonderful product is past it's sale-by date when another country comes along with something much better (in your example, Volvo). I may be young and inexperienced, but, in my relatively short career in an engineering industry, I can just tell when I go to Belgium how different their attitude is to industry and innovation. The Belgians are a vibrant, switched-on bunch, always wanting to progress ideas. I'm pleased to say that the company I work for has the same attitude but companies like ours seem to be few and far between in the UK. You may think from reading Brad and Janet that we're a bunch of misfits who on paper at least, simply shouldn't work out. There's horseplay in the office. We're politically incorrect, tell rude jokes and swear, and that's just the lasses! BUT, we're a close-knit team, we help each other out, we learn about each others disciplines (there's no demarcation as such), we design, manufacture and install some great products. Frank and his peers are constantly scanning 'what's out there' to see how they can improve what we do ourselves. Working for them has been my only job, as you know, and I absolutely love it. I've visited other companies and seen how quiet and serious they all look and thank my lucky stars I work for who I do. In our company, we don't care what people have 'on paper', or how many fancy letters they have after their name (though plenty of people are highly qualified) - we're more concerned about what they can do with their hands; do they know the different between a screwdriver and a pair of wire cutters.

OK, sorry I apologized to you for being concerned about Frank - I'll smack my own bum in penance! (Bob here, there is a spanking reference in Brad and Janet that we are using as an inside joke.)

As for your own story, I'm intrigued and would certainly love to read it if you ever do write down your account. I'm intrigued (but also concerned) as to what's eating at Frank at the moment. I don't think it's just his marriage. As I said, it was a day or two after Fathers day when he changed. He'd been to visit his Mum and Dad, so whether there's some connection there I don't know.

I do love Frank, a love that's unconditional and complicated and that's what makes it hard for me to move on. Frank is constantly encouraging me to do that - he wants me to settle down with someone my own age. It's not that he wants rid of me, I know that, he's concerned that he's 30years older than me and that even if he were to leave his wife and settle down with me, statistically I'd be alone again by my mid-forties (assuming he'd live to 75-ish). Frank feels that the older I get, the less inclined I'll be to find another partner and, begrudgingly, I know he's right. Ha! - now you've fallen off you chair as a woman admits a man is right. ;) All that said, well, there is a lad in our electrical fab shop, a year older than me who's taken me out a couple of times, just pure friends. He's quiet, painfully shy and treats me like I'm some sort of Goddess (yeah, I love it!). Yeah, Frank knows; yeah, he's encouraged me and yeah, he trusts the lad - after all, it was Frank that employed him on the spot one day without even seeing his qualifications simply because he liked the guy and his attitude. So ... maybe...

You're right, Frank never once said he loved me during the time scale 'Brad and Janet' covered. But neither have I ever told him I love him. Our love is a strange sort of Love I think. Not the conventional love of partners, Or the love a father has for a daughter (or vice versa). I'm not really sure what it is. A mix I guess. But, he has told me he loved me, just the once. It was me that took him to the train station for the start of his epic journey for this dammed project he's working on. As I stood at the platform, fiercely hugging him and saying goodbye to him, he cupped my face in his hands, stared into my eyes and told me he loved me. He then turned, and walked towards the train. He looked back at me just once with a pained face. I don't know how long I remained standing on the platform after that, but a kind policeman must have been concerned because I was suddenly aware of him asking if I was OK. After that, in a daze I walked back to my car, got in and bawled my eyes out. I'm tempted to call myself a stupid emotional kid, but I know full-well that Frank would bollock me for saying it, so let's just say I was very emotional!

However, that all said, the one thing I didn't like was that pained look on his face just before he boarded that train. It seemed so final, like he was saying goodbye to me for the last time. Maybe I'm reading too much into things, I don't know. After all, I'm still a bit fucked-up in the head...

Cheers,

Janet.

July 26, 5:53 am

Bob,

Oh, and BTW, just remembered your last remark as I sit here drinking a cup of coffee. Coward? Don't you think that's a bit harsh? Frank is many things, but being a coward ain't one of them...

Cheers,

Janet.

July 26, 8:06 am

Yes it was harsh. Brutally honest remember.

The way Brad and Janet was written I do believe that if I printed it and left it in a dark room all by itself I would notice a nice rosy glow start to emanate from it because it is so full of his love for you. It sounds weird since yeah I read Brad and Janet on a computer screen but it really does seem to glow with love. Not that gooey, sappy make you roll your eyes ever too cute stuff that drives people nuts that have to see it. But it is quite obvious from the way he talks about you, the way he describes you, the way he watches you sleep, the pride he feels when you "tick another box" that it was written by a man who was absolutely head over heels in love with that woman. Sometimes though we don't want to admit as much to ourselves.

Had he not admitted it to you it would have been cowardice. But not as much because he couldn't tell you, but because he couldn't tell himself. Hells bells the biggest single reason I had to take a break from Brad and Janet was because it hit too close to home on an emotional level. Reminded me about times I felt the same way about Sarah.

Bob

July 26, 10:19 am

Bob,

OK, afternoon coffee break now! I'm saddened to read that 'Brad and Janet' got to you in a personal way - I hadn't realized that. You clearly loved/love Sarah really bad. I'm so sorry things aren't good for you. You know, from what I've read in some of the past emails on this account, it would seem that you are not the first person to be affected by our story either.

Something you said reminded me of a passage in 'Brad and Janet'. I found it using 'find' in Word, as I have a copy of the master 'Brad and Janet' file on my laptop:

Quote, from chapter 23, about halfway down. We're in the cabin in the Lakes, waiting for the Pizza to bake:

... She smiled at me too and right there and then I so desperately wanted to tell her I loved her, but I couldn't; I felt it would spoil things, possibly confuse her. We hadn't discussed 'love' at all.

So Frank did admit his love for me in 'Brad and Janet', but here in this passage he explains why he never admitted it. So your comeback: 'Had he not admitted it to you it would have been cowardice. But not as much because he couldn't tell you, but because he couldn't tell himself' is not strictly true. Do I sound defensive? You bet; I'd defend that man to the bitter end. But Bob, all's good, I'm not offended by what you said. I just don't think he was a being a coward in his silence; I think he was simply trying to protect me and my fucked-up and mixed emotions from yet more complication.

And yeah, I knew he loved me before he told me at the railway station, hell, everybody sees it. Nell at the tender age of 13 saw it the first time she saw us together and later directly asked him (that girl is so forthright and open-minded it makes me squirm sometimes, but I totally love her to bits!). Rocky sees it, Hans in Belgium noted it, Magenta et al. Hell, I guess even Patricia, but she hasn't said as much.

Maybe at the railway station he felt it was the right time to actually tell me in case he never got the opportunity again. Shit, I can't believe I've had that thought. I've upset myself now. Time to go, sorry.

Janet.

July 26, 3:48pm

Janet,

I don't mind when you call me a twat. Frank used it enough in Brad and Janet that I know how you use it. Not sure what it is in England though. Here a twat is something you have and I do not. Below your waistline that is.

Still unsure? Chapter 7

I'm rather enjoying that reference. I think any time I need a euphemism for the female genitals that you would understand I'll just say chapter 7. Blame Frank. He wrote it...

Benny Hill was an English comedian with his own TV show and a hell of a naughty streak. There were always scantily clad young lovelies about. His humor was sketches. Almost always with no dialog at all. Kind of like pantomime. He's the one that taught me about assumption. This one had him dressed as a college professor and he simply said while circling the relevant letters, "When you ASSUME, You make an ASS out of U and ME!!!"

If at some point in the future you decide to share your real name with me I am sure I will be honored. Until then you are simply Janet and that's fine too. No pressure love. (Using love in the same way a waitress would when talking to her customers).

I've already told you why Frank is over protective. Same reason you have woken up to find him crying. He just can't stand the idea that you might get hurt again even in some small way. "Glows" remember? "Head over heels" remember? I meant that. No sarcasm, no witty repartee. Just more of that honest streak. Besides, he's right.

This is what can happen if you reveal too much information on the Internet.

Note, link removed by Bob before submission to SOL

This article is from the paper in Everett Washington. The woman is from Chicago and the attack happened in far northern Michigan. Read it. Maybe not so OVER protective after all, eh? Just protective.

As for the seemingly special place Frank holds for the name Janet, I can give you a little insight. I have been with Sarah since I was 17 and she was 15. There are still some things from my own past she does not know and probably never will. Sometimes we as men keep things from you not because we are trying to hide them but because we are trying to protect you from them. I know Frank has that streak as bad or even more so than I do in his personality and I've got it pretty fierce myself. It may just hurt him too much to bring it to the surface. I'm sorry Frank won't share it with you but as a man I respect what I assume are his motives in doing so.

If you get the chance go see a one man play called Defending The Caveman. Make sure you take Frank. Drag Magenta too. For Gods sake take Nell. The younger you are when you see this the more it will help your future relationships. It was a damn near religious experience for me. I had my Mom on one side of me and Sarah on the other and they had to physically grab me and pull me back down to keep me from jumping up and yelling "Preach it brother!!!!" at the top of my voice. I am telling you that show is a true revelation.

See as men there are things about ourselves that we know are instinctive. The thing is we never bother (at least I never did) to stop and ask ourselves why. We just accept these things as being part of us and normal. Let me give you a prime example of what I mean. Women have been putting men down FOR DECADES about our attraction to the typical male ideal of large breasts narrow waist and wide hips. Go ahead tell me I'm wrong. I'll wait. As men we never bothered to stop and wonder why this combination attracts most of us so strongly. You women are just as guilty of never stopping to wonder why. Here's why.

Evolution and continuation of the species.

What is nature's reason for people to have sex?

Make babies and ensure the survival of the human race right?

So what happens to a woman's breasts when she is pregnant? They grow. They get larger in the process of ramping up for milk production so she can feed her offspring. Why are wide hips important? Did you know that Bulldogs have been so inbred that at least here in the US they can not give birth to their own puppies? Hips too narrow. Every Bulldog puppy born here is born by c Section. OK so we now understand that wide hips will allow for a babies head to pass more easily reducing the chances of death or injury to mother and child and we also know that large breasts produce milk to feed said child. So why would nature instill the desire in men for a woman with a narrow waist? What happens to the typical womans body after childbirth? Very few regain the same size they were before pregnancy, right? So therefore a woman with large breasts, large hips and a bigger waistline most likely already has children so therefore doesn't need us. Again I'm just describing natures intent here not the needs of any individual. Defending The Caveman is 90 minutes of this. Told you it was a revelation. That is far from the only topic covered too. It explains every aspect of male instinct and emotion. It explains why we are the way we are. I only wish I had seen it when I was younger myself.

Horseplay in the office I understand. Let me tell you a little naughty story of my own. Sarah knows all about it so no worries. Hell she knew about it when it was happening.

I used to work with a dark skinned black girl I can remember her name perfectly but no prayer of spelling it. Sarah and I were already a couple by then and had been for oh something like 4 or 5 years. Kolisha (coal-lee-sha) was a lesbian. She knew I had a girlfriend and I knew she liked girls. We used to sexually harass each other relentlessly. If management had walked by and heard us we'd have both gotten fired. But it was really fun because we could flirt in the most outrageous manner imaginable yet it could still be completely non threatening.

I mean we were terrible! Terrible!!! My personal favorite thing was to walk up to her and say "You know I've always been told the darker the berry the sweeter the juice. So when are you going to let me find out?"

The first time I dropped that little bomb on her is when I learned that it is indeed possible for a dark skinned black girl to blush. Then she swatted me on the arm. It was worse when a couple would come in and the girl was attractive. We'd both be checking HER out! If we were together we would not be subtle about it either! The guy always just assumed Kolisha was checking him out so they never complained about the looks their girl was getting from me. They were usually too busy hoping that the girl didn't notice her guy getting looked at. If we were apart one of us would walk up to the other when a particularly nice specimen would pass by. "Did you see the ass on her? Yeah, I know right!" She really was fun to hang out with. I haven't worked for that company since about 1996 and still think it was the place where I felt the most camaraderie. We all had fun working together. Still miss hanging out with some of them.

Ok had a bit of fun, now it's back to serious. You have successfully managed to offend me again! "After all, I'm still a bit fucked-up in the head..." Don't you EVER, EVER talk about yourself that way!!!!! Considering the horrors that you have survived and I'm sure there is more that I don't know about, the distance you have come and what you have made of yourself in the process I will not tolerate you putting yourself down. YOU ARE BETTER THAN THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And no giving Frank all the credit either. He helped you get the job, but what you did with it was all you. He helped you meet the professor but what you did when that opportunity presented itself is also all you.

You are better than that.

You feel what you feel. OK? It can not be helped, it just IS. You can't control your feelings no matter how much you might like too. I for one know that all too well.

Besides women are more perceptive to the little things than we are. Maybe you are over analyzing the changes in Franks behavior, maybe not. Since I'm not Franks best mate or anything, I can't really help there, but I do see possibilities. You are a bit of a conundrum in Franks life. You are the light of his life. I'm telling you the damn story glows with his love for you and at the same time he knows that the age difference really sucks ass.

Not because you or he has a problem with it but because he understands that it isn't fair to you. He knows he loves you even if he has difficulty expressing it directly. Crap, if I can see it, I bet everyone else can too. Remind me to expand on that thought later-yes I mean Patricia.

So here is his problem. He is desperately in love with a beautiful 19 year old girl that just happens to love him too (lucky bastard), a beautiful 19 year old girl who just happens to have his personal favorite body type. Shares an interest in his love for steam, (double lucky bastard) an interest in his job and the ability to figure it all out. That's either triple, quadruple or quintuple lucky bastard depending on your count. You have no idea what I'd give to have someone like that in my life. Fuck the outside bits I'd quite happily take old fat and ugly to get someone who shared my interests and was an actual partner to me and still consider myself fortunate. Frank on the other hand has hit the lottery in an almost unimaginable fashion and he knows it. He also knows that it isn't fair to you to expect you to stay with him for the rest of his life. He has had the strength to admit that to himself and believe me that took lots. And I'm sure it hurts like hell. To me that just shows the extent of his feelings towards you. He is trying to put what he sees as your best interests first even though it pains him to do so.

Bob

July 26, 5:43 pm

Bob.

Not a huge reply because a) I think you intend to add more to your email and b) I have to be up at 5AM to visit a client.

'Brutally honest' you keep telling me. So why is it when I'm brutally honest about myself (ref: my 'I'm still fucked-up in the head' comment) you feel I've offended you. Hell Bob, I KNOW I'm still fucked-up in the head. I'm doing pretty well on the surface, but when I'm alone at home, I still get dark periods. I still find myself hunched up on the bed, or on the settee, rocking to and fro, Yeah, I should probably have therapy, but by all accounts, shrinks can actually make you worse and/or want to pump you full of medications, I don't want meds and I'd rather deal with things myself and with the help of my very close friends. Yeah, I'm still a little fucked-up in the head. Don't be offended - I'm being brutally honest with myself, that's all - I appreciate you defending me against my own self-deprecation, but please you don't feel you need to mate.

Also, I have only had just under three years of a comparatively normal life. During that time, I've had to try and learn, understand and interpret human emotion, facial expressions and non-verbal communications (remember how I didn't understand Franks sighing at me when he first saw me completely nude?). A seven/eight year old kid with a normal up-bringing and normal parental nurture would run rings around me in that ability - nothing to do with intellect - but yeah, I'm a little behind and innocent on certain things, but I know that, and I'm working on it. So yeah, Framks 'pained face' confused and worried me. It's also a shame that that is the last expression I saw on his face before he boarded the train, but surely, seeing a face like that would hurt anyone who cared for someone like I care for him, right?

I do know, appreciate and understand why he wants me to find a partner my own age. I also understand the personal turmoil he must be going through and what he's prepared to give up. If he were a selfish person, he'd have left his wife months ago, shacked-up with me and 'enjoyed' me until he died, not giving a second thought about what would happen to me afterwards. But he's not like that, far from it. BUT, the problem lies with me. I cannot begin to think about trusting another bloke in an intimate way. I'm surrounded by loads of blokes at work, some really rough but likeable rogues and yes, I trust all of them. Even pervy Pete, cos I now realize he's no real threat - I didn't realize that two years ago, but I do now, so that's progress. But as for the thought of getting intimate with anyone other than Frank, that terrifies me.

The lad I told you about, he's called Brad (yeah, his real name too—no it isn't, Bob). He's really nice. I trust him. He doesn't drink or smoke or hang with the wrong crowd. He lives with his single Mum and helps support her. He works hard and despite being very shy, he's still a team player. The other lads take the piss out of him unmercifully (in fact, I defend him sometimes!) but he takes it all in his stride and with a smile. He ticks all the right boxes. I mean what the hell Bob, the lad's so old-fashioned he asked my permission if he could kiss me good night after I'd dropped him off at his house (we'd been out to the flicks). I cringed slightly but said yes, fully expecting he intended to kiss me on the lips, but all he did was kiss my cheek, blushed and then quickly got out of the car; It was so damn sweet. And yet, despite all this, I try to imagine taking things further and each time I come to the same conclusion; that is, I cannot stand the thought of ever being intimate with him. How the hell am I supposed to progress, to move on, as I know Frank (and as you have surmised) wants me to? Rhetorical that, you don't have to answer.

Anyway, thanks you for your continued, thoughtful and helpful replies - I value your opinions and I think it's amazing how much you have gleaned purely from Franks account. He worried about his ability to write. From the things you have deduced (and many others I might add) it would seem he did a pretty good job! And by the way, if you want to sound off on me, if you feel it would help to tell me about your own problems, you won't be adding to my burden. The only problem is, I won't be able to offer much in the way of considered answers, having so little meaningful real-life experiences myself. Well, I guess if you were a 16-year-old girl who had been abused, I'd be the ideal person to sound off against, but you're not...

BTW, 'twat' in the UK is a 'chapter 7'. It would seem that some words at least have a common meaning both sides of the pond! In the UK, to call someone you don't know a 'twat' is really offensive; however, to say it to someone you know well and/or are close to it's not. I guess I don't know you well in the literal sense, but I think we have shared enough information to waiver that clause! anyway, you said you didn't mind!

Also, what happened to that poor woman in the boat was truly horrendous. Now that I can empathise with. And yes, your message is duly understood and noted sir - thank you - Frank only cares and looks out for me, I know. He's just the same with Nell.

Anyway Bob, I really must hit the sack - I need my beauty sleep and I don't do early mornings very well ;)

Janet

July 27, 12:56am

Janet,

You know that stuff you aren't good at because of lack of experience? Things like reading facial expressions, processing tone of voice etc. I can do all that stuff but not in an email. Email is the great equalizer here. I can't hear your tone or see your face. I'm sure if I could I would have realized that was just you being honest with yourself. I just don't want you being too hard on yourself is all. With the shit storm of a life you had I think you have done amazingly well for your mere 3 years of normalcy. As for dark periods that's entirely understandable. Sorry Frank isn't there to help you through them. Really I am. Shrinks can and do cause more harm than good. Especially if you get a bad one. My best friend lost a year and a half on different meds when he was just not himself the entire time. His personality was completely different. He was not the same person. My wife's Grandmother was worse. She was being treated for conditions she did not have. She was so angry she broke her own arm during an outburst in the nursing home.

OK so you love Frank right? Without quoting directly I do believe something about all your heart and soul being mentioned. So since we have established that you love him, and the circumstances of the look you saw involved a couple having to be separated from each other for an extended period of time, then the answer to your question is yes. To both the question you asked and the question you didn't.

It is a shame that the last thing you saw on Franks face was pain. You saw the pain on his face and it hurt you. That is a normal reaction. Call it another box ticked even if it is a crappy box. It is still a step in recognizing and quite correctly in this case somebodys facial expression. There are a couple of reasons you saw the pain on his face I think. Again I can only try and put myself in Franks shoes and I may not get this right as all I know of him is in Brad and Janet. I can tell you how I would feel if it were me. Bear with me while I do a little recapping to get my thoughts straight ok?

Lets assume I am in the same situation Frank was at the train.

I am leaving a beautiful young woman who has absolutely flipped my lid and I am going to be away for several weeks. Because of our age difference I am conflicted about our relationship. My internal conflict is on the one hand our age difference makes me feel somewhat fatherly toward her and on the other hand she is a fantastic lover and the light of my life. Added to that is the belief I have that it is not fair for me to expect this young woman to commit herself to me largely because of the age gap and my own family situation. AND if that weren't enough this young woman just happens to be everything I've ever dreamed of and even a few things I never thought to ask for AND is in love with me.

Fuck.

Under those conditions I would be borderline as to making it on the train before I became a quivering mass of goo. I would hurt because not only would I not be seeing the person who I love very deeply but also because of my belief that being with me isn't fair to her. If it were me you'd be lucky to just see a flash of pain on my face. I do tend to be somewhat more emotional than most men.

That reminds me. Read the first book in the Rebecca Danced series (Chaos Universe I know) If you haven't made it that far you will shed a tear or two when she dances. I did. Told you I was more emotional than most men.

I didn't surmise Frank wants you to be able to move on. He told me too. He told all of us. "As for Janet, well who knows what destiny has in store for her. With the continued support of those close to her, she will achieve all hers goals and more. I note her becoming more and more independent and confident, which is really fantastic, but from a selfish point-of-view, that also makes me a little sad too; a small part of me wants her to remain 'my Janet'. I may also have to face the fact that someday she may want to find a partner more her own age; someone to permanently settle down with. That will be a personal wrench for me, but if that should ever happen, I just hope we will still remain close companions." I read epilogues too.

It may have been rhetorical but indulge me slightly while I answer anyway. The answer is you can't move on because you love Frank too much to do so. And you won't until that changes or you decide you can't live with his family situation. The bottom line is you said it yourself. "I cannot begin to think about trusting another bloke in an intimate way." Your feelings do not need explanation. They are what they are.

I'm thinking SOMEBODY (know any petite blonds up for the task?) needs to explain the last bit to Frank. Just tell him you love him and are not ready to move on to someone else. Maybe one day you will be but maybe you never will be either. None of us can predict the future. Tell him what you told me. That you understand why but you are not ready.

It's not your fault.

It's not his fault.

It just IS.

Glad to hear the other lad was so sweet--and so chaste. I'm not above telling Stanley "Janet hurt" I am glad you appreciate my ideas. Thank you for the compliment. As for sounding off on you, that's coming. Probably tomorrow. Not really any questions but I would like to share whats been going on. Part of it is going to be kind of scary and once you read that you will understand much more why I was so concerned about your self image. Believe it or not my emails to you have been instrumental in helping get my own issues at least out on the table. Kind of hoisted myself on my own petard. Sarah and I had a veeeerrry long talk today and I laid out everything. At least she knows the score. Managed not to get upset either. THAT was a surprise indeed. Not every day you hear the person you've spent more than half your life with say he isn't sure he still loves you.

I really don't mind being called a twat. By you at least and we have shared enough to waiver that clause.

Bob

July 27, 8:06 am

Bob,

I'll start with an apology as I'm having a rushed 20min lunch break and then moving on to another project. I've also got to get away quickly tonight, go home, pack a bag and get to Franks house. I got a text from Nell this morning. I've been invited to join Nell, Tim and Patty at their cabin in the Lakes for a few days. I had no real plans for a summer holiday and I've got loads of days off owing to me; we're between major projects so I thought 'what the hell'. I tentatively asked Rocky if I could have a few days off, apologizing for giving such short notice. The twat delighted in winding me up, talking to me with a deadpan face, making out how inconvenient it was etc. and I fell for it, hook line and sinker. Just as I was walking out of his office, he whispers "Janet, turn round". I did and saw a Cheshire cat grin on his face. "Fooled ya girl, course you can have the time off!" See, even the head of the company acts like a kid - remember me saying we're a bunch of misfits? And yeah, I called him a twat too, smiling at the same time to take away any offence from that word. He chuckled, muttering "definitely Franks apprentice..." I love scenes like that.

Going to the cabin with Franks family minus Frank is going to be a little strange to say the least, and I just know I will go through a range of emotions. But my 'little sister' is a very persuasive person and would not let me refuse to go. I shall be sitting on the settee. looking at that rug ... I shall be taking a shower, solo, thinking ... The patio doors ... The master bedroom ... The lakeside. Wow, the thoughts are going to be pretty intense I think. But, I love the Lakes and I do need a break. BTW, if you haven't already, look up the Lakes District on Google, in particular, 'Keswick', Derwent Water', 'Cat bells' and see why I (we) love it so much.

Your last two emails made me think, long and hard, and I think you're mostly right in your thought process. Yes, I do love Frank exactly in the way you describe. I do see him as a father figure as well as a lover too. But when I say I'm terrified of being intimate with another bloke, it isn't just my love for Frank holding me back. It is a real fear. As I told you yesterday, Brad is the sweetest lad imaginable. But what if he turns out to be a monster behind a closed door? How can I judge that? That's my fear. Yeah, so okay, I might be able to kick him in the balls and hurt him if he does turn out to be like that. But then how could I continue to work with him? These are all the irrational thoughts that go through my mind. I do really want to try and move on - I know Frank is right in what he says, even though moving on will hurt me as much as it will him, but ... My other fear is what if my potential younger partner objects to my close friendship with Frank? I don't mean the physical side, the 'making love', obviously that would cease, but I will never stop loving him, I'll always want him as a close companion, my best mate. I'll still want to go on walks with him on the Wolds, possible alone etc. Will a potential partner be able to accept that close albeit platonic relationship without feeling jealous or 'second in line'? I doubt it.

I don't know whether to say I'm pleased or saddened that you have had a long chat with Sarah. I guess both. Obviously I don't know all your circumstances (yet), but I'm guessing you've reached a cross roads in your life, an impasse with Sarah and have to decide which way to turn. You wrote ' ... were talking life changing decision here' in your last sentence of your first email yesterday. It seems that we're both going through that at the moment, but for totally different reasons. Also, I must warn you that there's no Internet in the cabin (Tim and Nell will feel like they've had a limb removed without access to their Facebook accounts!) and cell phone coverage is sketchy. Also, I cannot get this damn Hushmail account to work properly with my BlackBerry (I can read but not reply). I may have to create a Hotmail account as I know that does work with a BlackBerry. I'll try to make the addy meaningful with 'Janet' and 'Frank' in the name so that you know it's from me. Please bear with me if I don't reply so quickly. I'll be back to 'civilization' Thursday next week.

BTW, it was me that recommended 'Rebecca Danced' to you, remember? I've not only read it (and cried), I've also read 'Anita's Rescue (you will positively blub like a baby with that book if Rebecca Danced got to you... ) and I'm now half-way through 'State of Chaos'. This latter book takes the story to an altogether more serious level – Tony finds himself in two situations that no 17 year old lad should have to deal with. I won't spoil it for you, but it is riveting stuff. One last thing, what did you mean to expand on in this sentence (the latter part): 'He knows he loves you even if he has difficulty expressing it directly. Crap, if I can see it, I bet everyone else can too. Remind me to expand on that thought later-yes I mean Patricia.'

Bob, there's so much else I want to say, and I feel like I'm short-changing you in my reply, but I really have to dash.

Take care Bob, and good luck with the discussions with Sarah – I hope you guys can resolve your differences and at least remain amicable...

Cheers, Janet.

July 27, 9:58 am

Glad to hear you're getting some time off. All work and no play makes Janet a dull girl.

Ok so won't expect any long replies for a week.

Addy doesn't matter just put Janet in the subject line

Right now I am at a truck show a couple of hours drive away from home. Here waaaay to early as its before 10 am on a Friday so I'm typing this on my phone.

What I wanted to expand on was Patricia knows. She hasn't said anything but from how Frank wrote about you I know how he looks at you. So does she.

More when I'm on a computer read whenever

Enjoy your time off and don't let Nell chase too many boys

Ok ok let her chase them just don't let her catch them

Bob

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Heterosexual / True Story / Slow /