The Sins of the Fathers
Caution: This Historical Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, mt/ft, Ma/ft, mt/Fa, Consensual, Pedophilia, Fiction, Incest, First, Safe Sex, Masturbation, Slow,
Desc: Historical Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A chance discovery of some diaries uncovers the scandals of a family's past. Little or no sex in the early chapters, mostly background.
I was going through the attic of my father's house, passing things down to my younger sister, Annie, and hence to her husband, Ron. Essentially we were clearing the house after his death from cancer a few weeks before and were dividing up the contents into what we wanted (with only a few good natured squabbles), what we could sell and what we were throwing out to be sold, as per the instructions in his will. Mum had pre-deceased Dad by a couple of years and the only other relative we knew about was his sister, Abigail, who now lived in a nursing home in Australia and had Alzheimer's. We had tried to get in touch with Aunt Abi's family, but so far hadn't had much luck. The nursing home said they'd passed the messages on, but her family rarely visited as they were scattered all over the country.
I had finally reached the end of the attic, the last space to be cleared, and had pulled out the last box and was looking with interest at the contents, a few photos, letters and a large quantity of what appeared to be diaries. They were a little bit of a mystery. As far as I knew, my Dad didn't keep a diary, or rather hadn't when I was around. Besides, the dates suggested a time in the 1950s when my Dad would have been aged between ten and twenty.
I carried them down to the landing and let Annie have a look; Ron had disappeared outside, skiving again, letting us get on with things. Then again we didn't really care, it had been a while since we had spent any time with each other. Bringing up families and, in my case, divorcing an errant wife, can take up a lot of your time and so I'd hit fifty and wondered where it all went...
Still Annie looked as nice as ever, if a little older and still able to get to the nub of any matter quickly...
"Diaries huh?" she questioned.
"Yes, from the 50's, want them?" I responded.
"You know I'm not an avid reader, so, if you want them, they're yours," she replied.
"I'll have a look through. If there's anything of interest, I'll let you know," I said.
"OK, Ben, they're yours. Just let me know if there are any juicy scandals in the family's past," she chuckled.
"No problem, sis," I chuckled in return, as we took everything down to the kitchen.
I popped the box into my car, which mostly had Dad's tools and a few ornaments which held sentimental value to me, and promptly forgot all about it.
It was a week later that I finally got around to the box and pulled the first few diaries out, only to find there were two types. One set, clearly written by my Dad, but another, written by his Grandfather, a man about whom I knew very little. Only that he died before I was ten and had been somewhat of a recluse, although Grandma Jenny, my Dad's Mum, always had a smile when she talked about him. There were also a series of letters written in part by my Gran and also Aunt Abigail to each other and some to my Dad and his Grandfather.
It took a little while to sort out the order of events and generally I read them side by side and used the letters to fill in the odd details too. However it did seem that there was a 'juicy' scandal, though I did wonder if it was one my sis would care to know about. Still, having a bit of a literary bent I pieced together the intertwined tales of the 'scandal' into one coherent whole and wrote it as I believed it happened...
I watched as the car drove up, a four door Rover 10 saloon I believed, probably acquired from an Army disposal sale, as for all I chose to live alone since the death of my wife, I still read articles in the press and had a monthly delivery of various magazines on whatever subjects piqued my interest.
Still I'm getting a little ahead of myself here; I believe an introduction is in order...
My name, for what it's worth, is Alan. I'm in my fifties and retired from being a very successful businessman (or war profiteer, if you believe the idiot press). I live in what used to be the Lord of the Manor's house, having bought it for a song when the aging aristocrat found the difference between what he spent and what he earned had finally caught up with him. I spent a small part of my fortune modernising the place, fitting internal toilets and bathrooms and upgrading the wiring. I even bought a television for the coronation and invited the estate staff and their families round to watch it, though rarely watched it myself after, preferring the radio or gramophone. I had planned the house on being mine and Georgette's retirement home. Georgette was my wife and the mother of our children. They had all flown the nest but we could still afford it, even with the staffing and estate costs. Yet in the end it was for naught, she developed a hacking cough and tests showed it to be cancer. Within a month she was dead and I was left in a house far too big for me, yet I was loathe to give up what I had worked so hard to obtain.
Well, three years had now passed and it seemed I was about to have family around me again, though the circumstances weren't too good. My son and his family had arrived for him to convalesce after he had been wounded in the Korean War. He was brought home by hospital ship, only to realise that their home in smoggy London wasn't a good place for an invalid.
I had spoken to his wife, Jennifer. She was a woman whom I'd once seriously misjudged and now she didn't particularly care for me at all. She had asked me to allow them to come and stay with me as the country air would do Tom far more good than the choking smogs that beset the capital at that time. Indeed only a couple of years before 4,000 people had died prematurely and 100,000 more were made ill during what had become known as the Great Smog. That she had asked, told me just how serious my son's wounds were. Only a threat to her family could make Jennifer even bear my presence.
The sadness I felt over Tom's wounds had been stoked over the years by the deaths of three of my four children. Beatrice died in labour and her firstborn with her, her husband had remarried and I'd lost touch; Simon had vanished in the Blitz, no body had ever been found; Robert was killed on Sword beach during the D Day landings, which was why I had been further angered by Tom's insistence on remaining in the military.
I wandered down, summoning the two ladies in charge of my household who cooked and cleaned for me, as the car pulled up, driven by Jennifer. This was unusual in that day and age, then again you had to be doing rather well to even afford a car back then, never mind see a woman drive one. Beside her, sitting all hunched up and pale faced was my son, someone with whom I rarely interacted at all these days, having made the mistake of openly stating my doubts as to the suitability of Jennifer as his wife, as she had been an actress. This had brought us into a blazing row with neither of us prepared to put aside our stupid pride over the matter. So I'd missed out on seeing my grand-children growing up. Though, fortunately, Georgette did visit and passed on the news of Tom's military career, another bone of contention between us.
The rear doors of the car then opened and two young adolescents spilled out. The terrible twins my wife had called them, Abigail and Tony, both only just fourteen and seeing me for the first time ever as they'd not been permitted to attend Georgette's funeral, having both been at boarding school.
I nodded to them and stepped forward to open the door for Jennifer, watching a slight moue of distaste pass over her features at seeing me before she alighted.
"Hello, Jennifer, good journey?" I asked when she stood.
"Tolerable, Alan, thank you," she replied coldly.
Always Alan, never Dad. I hadn't earned that honour in her life at all, I sighed mentally.
"How are we to get Tom out?" I asked, knowing the land-mine that had ended his military career had left him with only one leg and extensive damage to his other as well as his lower abdomen. Still, he was lucky to be alive, I guessed, and, for all our differences, I was at least prepared to admit I might have been wrong and indeed had missed him.
"I'm afraid we'll have to carry him. I have a van due with his medical equipment, but they may be hours yet," she replied.
I opened the front passenger door and gazed at my son. Pale, unhealthy, a minor sheen of perspiration coating his exposed flesh, his hair lank and seemingly unwashed, all in all, not the man I remembered.
"Tom," I acknowledged.
"Dad," he returned.
"I'm going to pick you out and carry you to the house. Is there any advice as to where not to place my hands to avoid your wounds?" I asked.
"You'll have to try a fireman's carry, Dad. Sorry, my legs are just too painful," he replied.
Fortunately I'm still a fit vigorous man and believed I'd at least manage to pick him up, my fitness and his weight loss should help.
Kneeling down, I assisted Tom to lean forward and over my shoulder. I also felt an extra pair of hands on my back and to my side, supporting me in this awkward task. Glancing to the side I saw it was Tony who had stepped in to assist and I nodded my thanks. It was awkward, but with Tony's help I managed to get upright with Tom over my shoulder and I walked to the house, leaving the two ladies to retrieve the family's luggage as Jennifer and the children followed slowly and in silence.
Once inside, I carried Tom to a downstairs room that I'd had the ladies prepare for him. It had a bed and also a set of doors that led to a south facing patio with balustrades. With Tony's help I managed to lay Tom down gently on the bed and decided that introductions were in order.
"Thank you, Tony," I said, before turning to face Abigail as well. "I'm your Grandfather. I know you don't know me, not really, so please call me Alan, and definitely not sir. I'm very pleased to finally meet you."
I held out my hand to Tony and he shook it before I turned to Abigail and gave her a formal kiss on the back of her hand.
"Delightful," I murmured watching her blush slightly at being treated as an adult.
<Ben's Note: this was before the days of 'teenagers'. A time when you had children or adults and you were a child more or less till you reached 18-21, married or got a job.>
"Now, if you'd please go with Mrs Harris," I said, pointing her out. "She'll show you to your rooms and then help with any luggage."
I watched them troop off, neither having said a word, but that was only to be expected I surmised. They both gave the impression of a fish out of water.
I turned to Tom and Jennifer somewhat unsure as to what to say, but determined to swallow my pride.
"I realise things I have said in the past give you no reason to feel as welcome as you should. However, for now, let this house be your home and I hope you, Tom will recover and you, Jennifer will accept my apologies for my disgraceful conduct in the past and allow bygones to be bygones, as well as letting me make amends and for us to get to know each other," I said.
"Thanks for having us, Dad," wheezed Tom.
"Thank you, Alan," said Jennifer in tones so cold I swear I could feel icicles on them.
I've arranged for Henry ... that is Doctor Davis and his good lady Pamela, the district nurse, to call tomorrow afternoon, simply to introduce themselves and get to know you, Tom, in case you have any things that need to be and can be sorted locally. Although Jennifer told me that an army doctor will visit once a week to advise on recuperation," I said.
"I'm not sure that I want some local doctor, who may know nothing of war wounds, even coming near Tom," stated Jennifer.
"Normally I'd agree," I said in placating tones. "However Henry is an ex-army doctor and Pamela was in Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps and both served during the war so have experience of war wounds."
"Oh, I see," said Jennifer coldly. "Well, I withdraw my objection."
"Thanks, Dad. I may need dressings and suchlike to be changed and wounds to be inspected," gasped Tom, who was clearly in a lot of discomfort and not relishing his role as peacemaker.
"Your wounds aren't healing?" I asked.
"No, not as well as they ought, despite the liberal use of antibiotics. That plus the physical damage and pain is rather ... extreme," Tom said as Jennifer took his hand.
"I know the basics, but at the moment I suspect you need to rest. There is a hand bell at the side of the bed which will summon Mrs Harris if you have any needs," I replied, then turned to Jennifer. "May I escort you to your room?"
"I had expected to stay with Tom," she replied.
"There's only room for a chair and footstool and whilst both together are quite comfortable, I did feel that if you needed a break or privacy then you could have your own room. At least it's where yours and Tom's clothing can be kept," I replied.
"Thank you, Alan," she replied after a long pause. "That's most considerate of you."
I led the way out of the room and into the central hallway before ascending the stairs with Jennifer following me and glancing around at the various objects on display. Other than the ticking of the many clocks situated about the house we walked in uncomfortable silence and I admit my courage failed me as I did not attempt to put right the mistakes of the past, but thought perhaps tomorrow.
"I've put you into Georgette's old room as its south facing and quite cosy. There's also a fireplace if it gets chilly as well as a basin with hot water taps," I said eventually, trying to break the ice.
"Thank you, Alan," she replied adding a tone of disdain into her voice. "Why did Mum have her own room?"
"It was supposed to be our room and I had Georgette furnish it to her tastes before her ... before she died and I never had the heart to use it afterwards, too many reminders," I replied feeling an old ache I could never quite shift.
"I see," said Jennifer in softer tones.
I opened the door and allowed Jennifer to enter, watching her pause and look around.
"Mum had beautiful taste," she said quietly.
"That she did. Dinner will be at five, but let Mrs Ellis know if Tom has any particular needs with regards to food. You can summon her by the bell pull in the corner," I replied.
"Thank you, Alan," she said by way of dismissal.
Hearing the door close behind her, Jenny finally allowed the long checked bitterness and seething anger to surface. How dare he! How dare that awful man simply ask for bygones to be bygones after he had all but called her a whore? Simply because, when she had accepted Tom's proposal, she had been an actress. She still remembered the scene well when Alan had sent a peremptory summons demanding her presence at his office. Tom had told her it was simply his (Alan's) way and so she had sat outside the office, waiting, whilst his snobbish secretary had held her nose up as if an awful stench had drifted into the room. Finally, a buzzer had gone off and she had been permitted to enter his presence. What had happened next had been worse. Alan had simply demanded that she terminate their engagement and leave his son alone. He'd even had the temerity to offer her money to do so. Implying that, as an actress, her morals were of the gutter and that she simply wasn't good enough for Tom. Admittedly she was no blushing virgin, but through common sense and careful selection via the 'casting couch', she had gotten herself established. Though, unlike others, she hadn't embarked on open affairs or became a rich man's mistress.
In the end it had been the dashing Lieutenant who had showered her with flowers and had, initially, been an irritation, then a distraction until he had charmed his way into her heart. At the time she had no idea who his father was. The terrible wait as the Dunkirk drama unfolded and knowing he was trapped in France had sealed their love and she'd accepted his proposal once he sought her out on his return. Their first meeting with Alan and Georgette as an engaged couple had, she thought, gone well, even if Alan had been stiff and formal. The second in his office had left her simply slamming the door behind her, tears flowing at his rudeness and assumptions, only to run into Tom, who had heard everything through the door and had confronted his father in a blazing row as he'd defended her honour.
Alan had threatened to cut Tom out of his will if he didn't give Jennifer up. Tom responded that he'd rather give his family up and had, with Jennifer, simply walked away, both seething and both determined not to have anything to do with that awful man ever again.
They had married in a registry office, not the grand church affair Tom had wanted for her, with only a few friends as witnesses, before Tom had to report back to his unit. As it happened they had been surprised by Georgette turning up along with Simon and Robert to give them her blessings and to apologise for Alan's behaviour, though her attempt to seek reconciliation fell on deaf ears, both theirs and presumably Alan's. Still, Georgette and Jennifer became fast friends, though the touchy subject of Alan was rarely if ever mentioned.
By the end of the war Jennifer had two beautiful children, twins, although the difficult birth had left her barren. Still, she expected Tom to demob like most of the armed forces, only to see him take a drop in rank and remain enlisted. He was however based in the Lifeguard's Barracks in the Royal Mews, so they bought a small house in London and lived a life of wedded bliss, until at least the Korean War...
Jenny had begged him to resign his commission, though knew he wouldn't. His love affair with the army seemed stronger than the love they had. So he'd gone to fight, and, almost when the Armistice had been signed, stepped on a land mine, to be changed forever from the man she remembered and loved and whom she had last seen whole at Georgette's funeral just before his embarkation. The wounds themselves were worse than she imagined when she learned that he'd lost a leg. She'd anticipated some changes, perhaps a slowing down of life, but what awaited her in the military hospital was horrifying. Tom had lost a leg, but his other had sustained major tissue loss and damage. Even worse, he'd lost a testicle and the other had been severely damaged and was showing no signs of recovery along with several deep abdominal wounds.
Jenny was also honest enough with herself to acknowledge that she was sexually frustrated too. It had been too long and now the source of her satisfaction had returned and might never perform again. Frankly, she was a little tired of her fingers now...
Having been told Tom really needed to be in some sort of convalescent home, but that few places were available, Jenny had swallowed her pride and asked the one man she wanted nothing to do with if they could come and stay with him.
She was surprised when Alan had immediately said yes...
Further down the upstairs hallway, Tony and Abi were lying on Tony's bed in his room after unpacking and preparing to explore the house.
"I like him," said Abi.
"Who?" asked Tony.
"Alan of course, you ninny," she giggled.
"Why? Mother says he's a bully and a prig," responded Tony.
"He kissed my hand and called me delightful," Abi replied with a blush.
"Well he can't have thought you a grown-up," said Tony. "Not unless he's blind."
This was true. Abi had just started a growth spurt like Tony, though unlike him she hadn't grown into an adult shape yet, nor sprouted any hairs. Still, she was starting to round out, if looking a tad gangly.
<Ben's Note: I have to admit this struck me as odd, though I can't fault the narrative. Still a quick Google check sorted the matter. Apparently, since the 1950's the average age of the onset of puberty has lowered six months per decade, so, in the year of my writing this, it has lowered by three whole years. The average age of puberty in the UK in the 50's was between thirteen and fifteen.>
"He was just being nice, you could try it some time," Abi teased.
"I dare you to call him Alan in front of Mother," Tony said slyly.
"I shall, just you watch!" Abi said primly, never being able to resist a chance to show off or having the wisdom to turn down a dare.
"Anyway, let's explore. There's bound to be a secret passage somewhere, it's that kind of place," said Tony thinking back to his Enid Blyton 'Famous Five' books.
"It is big, I wonder if Alan knows all about it, or perhaps Mrs Harris?" Abi replied as they scrambled off the bed, in a hurry to begin their adventure.
The two adolescents began by simply walking along the corridor and looking into various rooms, most of which were empty with a few items of furniture covered in dust sheets. Tony did discover what appeared to be a set of stairs leading up to the attics, but Abi refused to go due to the darkness and the cobwebs.
Other than discovering their Mother's room, there seemed little of interest upstairs, at least in this wing of the house. So the twins headed downstairs under Jennifer's admonishment to not disturb their father who was probably napping. Everywhere they looked they found pictures and ornaments, though very little sense of where they were from, nor who they were of. Finally, following the sound of music, they found Alan sitting in what appeared to be a small library going over some notes whilst the radio played 'Stranger in Paradise' by The Four Aces.
"Hello you two," Alan said with a smile.
"Hello Alan ... sir," replied Abi.
"You can call me Alan, it won't kill me," Alan chuckled.
"No ... but Mother might kill us," Tony replied.
"Ah, yes, I see the problem," Alan said. "Tell you what, you can call me Uncle Alan if you'd like, it sounds a lot less old than Grandfather anyway to my ears."
"Thank you ... Uncle Alan," replied a blushing Abi.
"Now, why the blush, little Lady?" Alan asked.
"You don't seem to be the man our Mother told us about, you seem ... nice," she said awkwardly.
"Oh, once I was a terrible man, always wanting my own way, even to telling your Mother and Father that they couldn't get married to each other," Alan sighed. "It was wrong and I made them terribly angry with me and deservedly so. I was too proud and stubborn to put things right when it was up to me to do that, not them and so I missed watching you grow up and be part of your lives unlike Nanna Georgette."
"So you don't hate us?" asked Tony.
"Good heavens, no! I've never hated you. I was just too stubborn to put right a wrong that I should never have done in the first place," Alan replied.
"I'm glad you're nice, Uncle Alan," said Abi with a beaming smile.
"I'm glad you're both here, as well as your Mother and Father," Alan responded. "Now tell me, what are you up to?"
"We're exploring," Tony replied.
"Oh that's good, this is a big old house and I don't think I've been everywhere in it yet. Tell me now, have you read 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?" Alan asked.
"Yes, we have," both twins chorused as one.
"Ah, then I don't need to remind you to keep out of the wardrobes then," said Alan with a big smile. "However, be careful to stay out of the kitchens too. That's Mrs Ellis' domain. If you want something to eat just go downstairs to the door and knock before opening it, but stay outside. She doesn't even allow me in there," Alan finished with a chuckle.
"We will," they both replied.
"Now, if you want, you can carry on exploring, or you can sit here and read," Alan said.
"Is there a secret passage?" asked Tony excitedly.
"Yes, there is," Alan replied with a smile.
"Where?" gasped Abi.
"Well, if I told you, it wouldn't be a secret now would it?" Alan chuckled.
"Oh, Uncle Alan!" she squeaked.
"Have a look around. I'll give you a week, and if you haven't found it, I'll give you a clue. By the way, there's more than one and there's a priest hole too," Alan chuckled as they headed out to search.
Alan watched them leave, feeling happy and amused, yet regretful at his stupid obstinacy at not putting things right. Also disturbing had been the effect Abi had on him. She was so like a young Georgette that he had felt himself becoming aroused just by talking to her, something he knew he needed to get under control ... or at least conceal. Part of the problem was that it had been over four years since Alan had known intimacy with a woman, Georgette's illness had taken its toll on their sexual relations. Not that Alan had been a saint during their marriage, his drive to excel in business had given him opportunity to take advantage of some of the benefits of 'being the boss'. Though he'd always kept that side of his nature separate from Georgette who, if she knew, never mentioned it as she played the part of the perfect wife. Still, he thought with amusement, he'd cut quite a swath through the typing pool, or rather the married part of it and it was a known fact, though never spoken aloud, that if you wished promotion to personal secretary, then you had to pass an 'interview' with Alan. Although many had made it known that it was simply for fun, as it was also 'known' that Alan had had a vasectomy after the birth of his fourth child.
Still, his sex life had more or less stopped after Georgette's death. The desire to copulate had died with her, he thought. So it was a surprise to find himself aroused, though shameful that a fourteen-year-old girl, his own granddaughter, had managed it.
<Ben's Note: I, like many others, had assumed that the first 60 years of the previous century was one of prudishness and hypocrisy. The letters and diaries I have however, are quite open, if circumspect, about the subject and it appears it was only the media and the self-censorship of the literary and film world that gave this impression. I believe it only to be fear of pregnancy outside marriage, along with the social stigma associated with the 'sin' that kept people from openly discussing something that was clearly going on ... as it were. Indeed, a Mass Observation survey in 1949 declared that one husband in four and one wife in five admitted to sexual relations outside marriage. Alan seems to be typical of his type in getting what he wanted and it appears the ladies had no real objection to his advances, although it may just be that some didn't dare refuse.>
"Excuse me sir, but there's a van full of medical equipment here to be unloaded," came the quiet voice of Mrs Harris.
"I'll be right out. See if you can find Jennifer and young Tony to give me a hand, if you could, please," I replied.
"Of course, sir," she said before drifting silently out of the room.
Outside I found two men waiting alongside an Austin 'three-way' van and I was joined by Tony, Abigail and shortly after by Jennifer.
"Bert Lancaster, at your service, guv. Where do you want it put?" I was asked.
"This good Lady here will tell you, but most of it I expect will go to the rear of the house and can be carried in through the patio doors," I replied glancing at Jennifer and getting a nod of acceptance. "Do you need a hand?"
"Many hands make light work, guv. So if you and the young lad here help unload, Alf and I will cart the stuff to where the Lady wants it," he replied.
There wasn't a lot of heavy stuff, a wheelchair, a commode, a lot of bedding and dressings as well as a job lot of rubbing alcohol. It didn't take long to get it out of the van and I watched as Bert and his mate, under Jennifer's supervision, carried it in stages to the rear of the manor. I also noted with amusement their careful observations of Jennifer, presumably due to the fact that she was a lovely looking woman with a good figure and dressed in a grey pencil skirt, nylons and a white blouse, which showed it off magnificently.
Tom's a lucky man I thought, until I remembered just how his luck ran out.
Abi had been watching and presumably trying to emulate her mother, although her pleated skirt with cotton blouse clearly identified her as a child. Still, unlike Jennifer, she had smiles for everyone and quite brightened the day.
Finally, I signed off Bert's delivery sheet and wandered round to see Tom and, if necessary, help with the placement of the items.
"Lot of bedding," I said to no one in particular.
"I'm afraid my wounds still weep, Dad," said Tom.
"Can you arrange for someone to do the laundry, Mrs Harris, as I doubt you'll have the time yourself," I requested my ever present housekeeper.
"Yes, sir, my daughter-in-law, Matilda, would be honoured, if asked," she replied.
"I'll pay the going rate of a housemaid, Mrs Harris. I trust your judgement," I replied.
"Of course, sir. That's good of you," she returned before drifting off again.
"Thanks, Dad," wheezed Tom, before coughing up some phlegm with what looked suspiciously like blood in it.
"Can we go back to exploring, Uncle Alan?" asked Abigail.
"Of course, but stay out of the wardrobes ... and the kitchen," I replied with a chuckle.
The two children raced off before their mother could object I imagined.
"Uncle?" Tom said.
"Seemed better than sir, or Alan," I replied.
"It should be Grandfather," he responded.
"There are a lot of things that should have been," I replied. "And many that should not, one being my objection to your marriage and the way I spoke to Jennifer about it."
"Indeed," said Jennifer archly.
"I can't change the past and I don't expect forgiveness, but rest assured I will do my best for you and by you and for the children," I said. "If there's anything I can do, do not hesitate to ask, no matter the cost either."
"Thanks, Dad," Tom replied as I nodded to him and Jennifer before withdrawing, to go back to my estate accounts in the library.
"I still don't like him, in fact I'll probably hate him to my dying day," stated Jenny a minute after the door closed.
"I think he knows that," chuckled Tom before coughing up phlegm into a handkerchief again. "Still, my good Lady, at least be civil."
"I have been so far, though it isn't easy. Just seeing him gets my goat," she replied.
"He has apologised and doesn't expect your forgiveness, what more do you want?" Tom asked.
"Him dropping dead and this house becoming ours might just do it," Jenny replied.
"I think you go too far, even in jest, Jenny," said Tom coldly. "He's still my Dad and although I took your side when he forbade our marriage and would again and stood by you when Georgette tried to make amends, I won't have you wish him dead ... ever."
"I'm sorry Tom, I can't help the way I feel about him. I'll be civil, but little else. That's all I can promise other than to keep my thoughts to myself," Jenny stated quietly.
Going to the various packs Jenny took out the rubbing alcohol and a sterile cloth and undressed her husband. She then cleaned the various red raw wounds carefully even though she knew the agony Tom was under before covering him over again.
"Thank you," Tom murmured.
"You're welcome my love, now would you like me to read to you?" Jenny asked trying to hide the tears that the sight of his wounds always brought her.
"No, I still need to nap I think, that car journey was ... difficult," he replied.
"Of course, my love," Jenny said as she retreated from the room closing the door gently behind her.
Once outside and feeling a little at a loss as it was still an hour before dinner, Jenny decided to do some exploring on her own. The Manor was quite large, though certainly not a stately home and many of the rooms were clearly not in use. Still she soon gravitated, as the children had done, to the sound of music coming from the library where Alan was still going over the estate's accounts and reports.
"I beg your pardon, Jennifer. I'll retire elsewhere if you need privacy and quiet," he said when he noticed her entry.
"No, Alan, it's your house and I can find somewhere else if you can't abide to be near me," she said feeling her anger rise again at his tones.
"It wasn't that at all. I know my presence causes you distress and anger and I do not wish to add to your burdens," he replied softly.
"We're going to have to tolerate each other," Jenny said. "So please stay and I'll ignore you, if you ignore me."
"Deal," said Alan with what sounded suspiciously like a chuckle. "Before we ignore each other, would you like some tea?"
"Yes, please," Jenny replied, before going to look at the books adorning the walls.
Alan pulled a bell cord and within a minute Mrs Harris appeared at the door.
"Could we have two teas, please, Mrs Harris?" he asked.
"Of course, sir," she replied before leaving.
Jenny continued her browsing of the books before pulling out a tome and inspecting it closely.
"Good Lord!" she murmured.
Alan glanced up but said nothing.
"Sorry," Jenny apologised. "But this is a first edition of D H Lawrence's 'Lady Chatterley's Lover."
"Ah, yes, it was a favourite of Georgette's," Alan admitted. "It's the original Florentine print and contains everything that you can't print in this country."
"The rude bits?" Jenny asked, a small smile forming on her lips despite her antagonism towards Alan.
"Most definitely the rude bits. Georgette always said she only allowed me to buy this Manor so she could seek out her own Mellors," Alan chuckled.
Remembering the times she spent with Georgette, Jenny could imagine her saying exactly that as Georgette had a wicked sense of humour and an outlook on life that Jenny admired greatly ... well, save for her marriage to Alan. Yet even so, despite her feelings over Alan's behaviour towards herself, she could see just what it was that drew the two together.
"You really miss her, don't you?" Jenny asked.
"Yes," he replied, a single word that had a whole gamut of meaning in it.
"As do I, she was my friend and never judged me or my past," Jenny replied.
"I should have followed her example," Alan said quietly.
"Yes, you should have," Jenny replied suddenly realising who she was talking to and starting to withdraw from the closeness. "May I borrow this?"
"This house and all that's in it is at your disposal Jennifer, please feel free to read anything here," he replied.
At this point Mrs Harris returned with a teapot and cups on a tray and placed it on a small table before pouring two cups.
"Will that be all, sir?" she asked.
"Yes, thank you, Mrs Harris," Alan replied.
"Milk, sugar?" he asked Jenny.
"Just milk please," Jenny replied and took the proffered cup before retreating to the opposite end of the library as far away from Alan as possible.
Tony and Abi were wandering the Manor tapping on walls and carefully twisting or pulling various brackets in order to find the secret tunnels, though so far with little luck.
"I don't suppose Uncle Alan was lying, do you?" asked Abi.
"I don't see why he would," answered Tony. "But you can always ask him."
"I'm not going to do that!" said Abi quite shocked.
"Then you'll just have to fem fatal him," said Tony slyly.
"What's fem fatal?" asked Abi a little confused.
"I read it in one of Dad's magazines, it's where you use your female wiles to tempt him into telling you secrets," answered Tony.
"What are my female wiles?" asked Abi, wondering if Tony was being rude ... again, like boys did.
"Er ... you give him kisses and cuddles I think ... well, at first," said Tony wishing he'd never said anything.
"Where did you get this magazine?" asked Abi suspiciously.
"I found some when we were packing, it's called Sir and it's American ... I think," Tony said.
"Can I see it?" Abi asked.
"Um, I suppose so. Let's go to my room," Tony replied.
Back in Tony's room he dug out of the bottom drawer of a dresser several dog eared magazines featuring scantily clad women and what appeared to be lurid story titles.
"This is the one ... I think," said Tony handing over a magazine of 'men's' stories which had advertised a tale of the 'femme fatale' and how a man fell for her and did as she wished until he was caught by the police.
Abi turned to the page and began reading, her cheeks slowly reddening as a saucy tale of a woman, using her wiles to get her way, seduced a man. Although, to be honest, she didn't know a good few of the words, still she knew it was rude ... if somewhat exciting to read.
"So you want me to sit on Uncle Alan's lap and give him kisses till he tells me where the secret tunnel is?" asked Abi frowning.
"I was only joking, Abi, sorry," said Tony wondering if this was to be one of the few moments when Abi told Mother about one of his deeds.
"Sounds like fun," said Abi.
"You mean you would? What like the woman in the story and let him put his hands up your skirt?" asked Tony quite shocked.
"Well, perhaps not that far," said Abi blushing, although the idea of it was making her feel slightly ... tingly.
"You wouldn't dare!" said Tony.
"I so would, if it gets him to tell me where the tunnel is," squeaked Abi.
"Mother would kill you," said Tony amazed at the way the conversation was going. "Anyway, you don't have any clothes like those in the magazine."
"True," said Abi sadly. "Still it's worth a go, just to see if I can."
"Just don't let Mother catch you. You know what she did when you sat on Fathers lap, without your ... um underthings on," Tony chuckled.
"Yes, but this time you'll help by keeping her busy whilst I femme fatale him," giggled Abi.