I often saw her, as I took my daily walk in the park. Sometimes she’d be there as I sipped my morning coffee. She was big. Obviously well over her ideal weight, and I have no idea why she piqued my interest, though she had a pretty face. But that was really her only obvious asset; her hair was a greasy, lank, mess of indeterminate, nondescript brown. Sometimes I saw her stuffing crisps in her mouth, and washing them down with some fizzy, over-sweet soft drink. She never looked happy. Now I’m a nurse – perhaps that should be past tense, as I retired early, but I studied and worked hard to earn that title and I didn’t want to abandon it. But the same thing which drew me to the profession and drove me, in the end, to burn out and leave, was the desire to help people who were hurting.
I suppose I ought to tell you about myself? Just over six foot, brown, greying hair receding rapidly, beard, slim build but spreading a little despite my daily constitutional. Divorced – nursing as an occupation is not conducive to marital harmony; the erratic shift-work, overtime (though the money was welcome) and the stress, all contrived to drive us apart.
Now? The house is paid for (my wife left me for a prosperous architect and took nothing out of the marriage except her person and some of my self-respect) and I have a small pension. I do odd jobs for some spending money, read or scribe for students at University and supervise examinations sometimes, but I’m flexible, time wise.
Anyway, I kept seeing her and it seemed as though she was sinking. Then, one day, I saw her slumped over one of the picnic tables, head on her arms, sobbing. I could not resist, and flung my leg over the wooden backless bench so I could sit opposite her.
She raised her head slowly. Very slowly. And stared at me out of reddened eyes, set in a blotchy face streaked with tears.
“Have you come to laugh at the fat girl who’s crying?” It was a pleasant voice, though lacking vigour.
“Nope. Wondered if you need help. My name’s Jim Downs.”
“You wanna help? How? Wanna fuck the fat girl?”
My eyebrows rose unbidden. “I don’t think so. Not because you’re overweight, but because I don’t know you and I don’t do casual sex. As to help, I don’t know what you need.”
She was silent, but her head stayed up, staring at me.
“I’m fat. The heavier I get, the harder it is to refuse to eat. I work in a small shop and it’s getting so that there’s not enough room for me and the customers. The owners have been warning me about my weight, and now they’ve given me two weeks’ notice of termination. My flat is a dump. Partly my fault, I know, but the building is old and not properly maintained. Mildew on the walls which run with condensation. In the winter, the draughts cut like a knife.”
“There’s more than over eating in being over weight.”
“I’m a nurse. Retired, but I’m still entitled to the title. Not a dietician, but I know the basics. Firstly, it’s not so much how much you eat as what you eat. Secondly, diet alone doesn’t work. Two other things. First is exercise. Regular, planned exercise. Second is learning to love yourself. Respect yourself. Your self-esteem is rock-bottom. You need support, encouragement, discipline. And at first that’ll need to come from outside you.”
Did I see a glimmer of hope? “Are you offering to be that help?”
“If you’re prepared to work, struggle, and put up with some strange demands.”
“I thought you didn’t want my body?”
I shook my head. “Not what I said. One of my demands will be that you are naked in my house, and that you give up your flat and live with me.”
“Nudity is not sex. Nudity promotes honesty. You want help. It’s got to be a package. Close supervision. Diet. Exercise. Honest talk. Not sex, but you’ll need to be close to me, nearly all the time.” I dug out a card with my name and address on. “Go home, via the shop. Tell them you’re going into a 24/7 programme to tackle your problems. If they won’t hold your job open, we’ll worry about that another day. Pack a bag, clothes for a week. Come to my house and we’ll talk. Try things for a fortnight and if you think they’re working, give up your flat and move in with me. Your own room.”
“Your choice,” I said, standing. “Be on my doorstep by half-past five this afternoon if you want to go ahead. I’ll be in all afternoon.”
I left her there, not looking back, and took a brisk walk up the valley, and on the way home did some grocery shopping. After a light lunch, I did a little research with the help of Google.
I was ambivalent as to whether I wanted her to turn up, and my guess as to whether she was desperate enough to come dropped as the afternoon wore on. I’d almost decided she wasn’t going to show, but at five-twenty-five, the door-bell rang.
She stood there, a suitcase in each hand, baggy clothes covering her shapeless body, her face a study in mixed expressions. Part – most – was fear, but I thought there was hope there too. “Come in,” I said, “let me have those cases. Would you mind leaving your shoes here? I usually go barefoot in the house.”
I shut the door behind her and she handed me the cases with a show of reluctance before stooping awkwardly to remove her shoes, sensible brogues, I was glad to see.
“Come with me, and I’ll show you your room.” I led the way upstairs, carrying her cases. In the enclosed space I was aware of a musty smell; of course, if she lived in a damp flat, that wasn’t surprising.
I have three bedrooms and an unfurnished attic room. My bedroom has the marital bed, a king-size (European standard, that is). The second, into which I showed her, has a three-quarter bed, halfway between a single and a double, and the smallest room just a single bed. There’s not much in there, just a chest-of-drawers and a small wardrobe. The window looks out on the (rather neglected) back garden.
She looked around. “Better than what I just left.” She faced me and held out her hand. “Simone Townsend. Thank you for this.”
“You’re welcome, Simone. I suggest you undress here and have a shower. You’ll find towels and toiletries in the bathroom next door. Plenty of hot water, so take your time. Have you got a hair dryer? Hair brush and comb?”
“No hair dryer.”
“I’ll get one for you. When you’re finished, come down to the kitchen. Food in an hour. Bring anything you want to wash downstairs and we’ll start a load.”
I left her standing there in the middle of the room. I wondered whether she would, in fact, come downstairs naked. I can’t say I looked forward to the experience, in all honesty.
It wouldn’t hurt me to lose a pound or two, either. I prepared a meal very carefully, and arranged the elements on two plates.
Simone shuffled in, head down and hands fluttering by her side. Yes, there was a lot of her, with folds of fat concealing whatever figure she might have and little or no tone to whatever muscle she had. I guessed that her breasts would not be large if she lost weight. Even with the fat, they weren’t big. But her face was not her only asset. Her hair was a fluffy cloud of auburn, reaching to below her shoulders, her luxuriant bush a shade lighter. Her hands and feet actually looked well-shaped, too.
“Come in and sit down,” I suggested, indicating a chair with a folded towel on it. “Your hair looks wonderful.”
She took her place. “You think so? I’d neglected it; it was quite tangled and very greasy.”
I placed two large glasses of water on the table, one for each of us, and sat myself.
Actually, she ate neatly and carefully. I had half expected her to gobble down the light meal. But she finished and laid her knife and fork together on the plate.
“Thank you. That was tasty.”
I finished not too far behind her and cleared the plates to the sink before placing a bowl containing a fruit cocktail and yoghurt in front of each of us. Though I say it, it was very nice too. I’m not usually keen on yoghurt but it went well with the chopped orange, apple, kiwi-fruit and grapes. I had to encourage Simone to finish her glass of water but once she had,
“Will you wash, or dry?”
She hesitated. “I’ll ... wash. I don’t know where things live yet.”
But we cleared up, washed up and left the kitchen tidy, then retired to the living room. Again, I’d placed towels on the chairs, but before we sat, I had Simone stand against the door so I could measure her height, then to stand on the sophisticated scales I’d bought on the way home.
“Okay, Simone. Take a seat.”
“Which one’s yours?”
“Whichever I feel like sitting in! Take your pick. I don’t mind.”
She made her choice and sat.
“Now, Simone. You’re five foot seven, and seventeen stone*, all but a pound.”
*Seventeen stone is 238 pounds
I thought she was going to cry.
“Don’t get all upset. It is what it is. What matters is what you can achieve in the future.”
She sighed, nodded, and relaxed somewhat. “You’re ... how old?”
“Simone, that gives you a BMI of thirty-seven point one. We need to aim at between nine and eleven stone*, roughly. Ideally, about ten stone. You don’t need to be rail thin and probably never will be.”
*Between 126 and 154 pounds.
“I’ve got to lose seven stone?”
“Eventually. Eventually. What we need to aim for is around two pounds a week. It doesn’t sound much, but you can reach the target in a year.”
“A year? It’s going to take me a year?”
“If you try to rush, you’ll only end up with folds of excess skin, if you don’t give up before you get there. Take your time, and you’ll feel better in a few weeks. You need to build good habits.”
“But...” she looked at me wide-eyed, “I’m to stay here for a year?”
“You can stay as long as you like, Simone. You should probably stay at least three months. But I’m not in a hurry to get rid of you. Oh. What about the shop?”
“They were really nice, actually. They’ve got a student to help out through the summer, and if I do okay, lose some weight, they’ll take me back in September.”
“That’s good. There’s just one more thing. I want to photograph you, and keep a record of your progress like that.”
She sighed. “I hate being photographed. Is it important?”
“I think so. For you, not for me. I’ll keep the photos in an encrypted file.”
I used a compact digital camera to photograph her, front, back and sides, against a plain section of wall, then removed the card. Later on, I copied the files, encrypted them to an external drive and scrubbed the original.
“Television? Music? Books?” I asked Simone.
“I like documentaries, animal programmes, history. Music, classical, folk, some jazz. Right now? I’d like to browse your shelves.”
That first evening ... I suppose that was when I began to get a clue about my guest/project/rescue. She sat quietly, turning the pages of a tome about the RAF in the second World War, while I pottered with my laptop, glancing occasionally in her direction.
At nine o’clock, I told her, “I’m going to bed, Simone. I’ll be waking you at six, assuming you aren’t already awake, to begin an exercise programme and have breakfast.”
As I lay in bed, I heard, faintly, the sound of classical music, something soothing and smooth, from the other bedroom and drifted off, half listening to it.
Up early as usual, I went through my routine before waking Simone. When she came downstairs, I handed her a glass of water. “Drink up.”
She gave me a quizzical look, but did as she was told.
“I don’t have much in the way of exercise equipment,” I said, “no treadmill or stair-master. We’ll start with some flexibility stuff and use some weights, then shower and have breakfast.”
Inevitably, some of the exercises exposed her ... intimate areas ... and she was blushing. I can’t say it had no effect on me, but I was trying to be detached. She managed the flexibility well, but others proved too demanding.
I just told her, “Two sit-ups a day this week, three next, four the week after, You’ll get there.”
When we got to the free weights she did better than I expected. She had, after all, been humping boxes of this and that in the shop. Once we’d worked through a routine for her, I sent her to shower, and went to start cooking. When she came back she stopped at the kitchen door in shock.
“Yep. Grilled bacon, baked beans, egg, wholemeal toast. Protein is more satisfying and is slower to digest than cereal. I’ll be trying to cut your carbohydrate intake right down. Fruit juice. Tea or coffee, but try to limit your caffeine intake. As much water as you can drink.” I put a plate in front of her. “I need to go shower, okay?”
We walked. We made it three miles up the valley at something less than my usual brisk walk, but it involved stops to discuss industrial archaeology, wildlife and other stuff too. Not a trace of pop stars, make up, or soap opera. In several places we sat to look at trees or some remnant of the past. There’s a cafe at Forge Dam (each mill pond, each site, has a name; sometimes of the original proprietor, sometimes the product made, as in ‘Wire Mills Dam) where we got a chicken burger and salad – Simone managed to resist the bread bun – and mugs of tea. A slightly quicker walk home; it’s downhill.
That evening I gave her a massage, methodically working those folds of flesh, only avoiding her breasts and groin. She sighed with pleasure as I worked.
“Don’t you mind? I mean, surely you don’t like handling all that fat?”
“I don’t mind. Actually, you have lovely skin, soft and smooth.”
That, more or less, was the pattern. The eighth day of our relationship I weighed her, first thing in the morning. She was elated to have lost five pounds.
“Don’t get too excited, Simone. That’s partly because it’s first thing in the morning and you haven’t had breakfast yet. Also, the weight drops faster the first few weeks and you don’t want to lose it that fast long term. But, yes, you’re right to be pleased. You’re doing well.”
Into the second week, I was beginning to see Simone differently. No, seriously. Initially, I saw an unhappy, over weight young woman who had little going for her. But spending quite a lot of time together, I was beginning to get an impression of character and intelligence that had been far from noticeable at the beginning. She was beginning to stand straight and hold herself with some confidence, too; her excess weight seemed much less obtrusive. For the first time I began to respond physically at her exposure.
At the end of that week, she’d lost another three pounds.
“That’s good, Simone; that’s a real loss, real progress.”
“You think? It seems slow. But I have to admit I’m feeling better.”
“You’re being very open and honest with me, and I think you’re taking it all very seriously. I think you could dress all the time, now, if you like.”
“What? Getting tired of the sight of this body?” Her eyebrow cocked quizzically. I was unsure where she was going with this line.
“No. Rather the opposite, in fact.”
She was silent then as we followed our morning routines, but well into our walk, which was approaching the briskness I had been used to before taking her in, she began to talk.
“I, this is hard to say. I ... like being naked. With you. You look at me, and you aren’t disgusted. For the first time, I begin to think I’m, well, not an ugly mess.”
“You aren’t an ugly mess, and you have a brain. How did you do in school?”
“Kept up. Mediocre exam results. Difficult to do a good job on studying when...” she trailed off.
“We’ve never talked about your home life.”
“Single mum. Alcoholic. Do you know about Korsakov’s Syndrome?”
“Alcoholic dementia.” I’d encountered one or two when in psychiatric practice.
“She’s in a residential home. Will never come out. Doesn’t recognise me when I go. I haven’t been for over a year.” Long pause, during which we walked to a bridge over the brook and paused to look up and down; a grey wagtail hunting insects, hopping from rock to rock in search. “She’s not my mum any more, you know?”
We moved on along a rough track among the trees. “She’s never said anything about my dad, you know?”
“Have you got a birth certificate?”
She stopped suddenly. “Do you know, I’ve never seen it? I suppose it must have been among the rubbish when her flat was cleared, if mum kept it at all.”
“That’s something to look into; you need one for all sorts of reasons. We can get a certified copy – or two – at the Register Office.” We got to the top end of that bit of the park and I turned her round. “In fact, we’ll go now, and we can use my staff card to get salads in the University cafeteria.”
In town, we placed a request for her birth certificate, two copies, and arranged to call back for them after lunch. It was after the end of the second semester exams, and the cafeteria was quiet. I might actually say, eerily quiet. During term time, it tends to be bustling and very noisy. As we ate, she was looking around. “I would have loved to go to University.”
“To study what?”
She shrugged. “Anything, really. I suppose STEM subjects would be best, but I just like learning.”
“So how did you end up as a shop assistant in a tiny convenience store?”
“Mediocre ‘A’ levels after mediocre GCSE’s.”
Hmm. Food for thought.
Even more food for thought when we collected her certificates from the Register Office. Amazingly, there was a father named. “David Southern,” I mused. “That name’s sort of familiar.”
We had a wander round the Graves Art Gallery on the top floor of the Central Library building. Simone was much more knowledgable than me about art in general, another straw in the wind.
That evening as we ate – Simone having prepared the meal – she munched thoughtfully before saying, “I never really fancied salads, before.” She took and consumed another mouthful and I didn’t say anything. She went on, “But I quite enjoy them. And,” She stopped again for another mouthful before continuing, “I don’t really get hungry. I did at first, but I think that was habit as much as anything.”
“That’s good. Very good, in fact.”
“And, more than that, you make me feel I’m worth something.”
And that was it for the duration of the meal. Afterwards, as we sat and listened to a recording of ‘Orfeo and Euridice’, I couldn’t help but let my gaze wander over her naked body; still much more of her than was ideal, but nonetheless, having begun to know her, I was beginning to see her as an attractive woman. Unfortunately, I was also aware of the twenty-year age gap.
I didn’t realise at the time, but she was very aware of my regard. Much later, she told me that my assessing gaze built her self-esteem even more than anything I’d said.
At the end, she stood – straight, with her shoulders back – and told me, “I’m off to bed, now. Thanks – I mean, really, thanks – for today. Um ... do you think we could track my father down?”
“I think that’s possible. I’m afraid I can’t afford a private investigator, but there are ways, these days.”
Simone gave up her flat and got her deposit back without problems. We settled in to something of a routine. As it happens, a few days later I ran into an old acquaintance, Ann Cowley, who’d been in my class when we’d started training. “Hey, Ann! How’s things?”
“Pretty good, Jim. How’s retirement?”
“Actually, quite happy, thanks. But do you remember a patient, David Southern?”
“Do I ever? Pain in the arse, that one.”
“Yeah. That’s how I remember it. Any idea where he is now?”
“Hutcliffe Wood, in a hole in the ground.”
“Really? What happened, do you know?”
“Missed his meds, thought he was a super-hero, and tried to fly from the top landing of the Park Hill flats. Couple of years ago, now. He was only in his forties.”
“I guess so. There’s a thing! Couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke.”
She looked at me strangely. “Y’know, when he was well, he wasn’t a bad sort. He talked to me a lot. Had a daughter, apparently, but went off the deep end for the first time just after she was born. When he was discharged, he couldn’t find the mother or the daughter.”
“D’you know if he had any family?”
“His mother used to visit pretty regularly.”
“Okay. Thanks. It’s just that I think I know his daughter. She’s just got her birth certificate and the father is named as David Southern.”
“Well, well. If you can track his mother down, I think she’d like to know.”
When Simone had been with me a couple of months, she’d lost over a stone in weight, putting her at a BMI of thirty-four point eight. Still high, but heading in the right direction. She went back to work at the shop, but took a packed lunch of salad and fruit, instead of the chocolate bars or crisps she’d been wont to buy to snack on. The owners of the shop were pleased to see her and she was glad to have a little money of her own. Clothes-wise, she was able to fit into some older items that she’d never been able to bring herself to throw away, but she did donate some of the baggier things to charity shops.
The only new item she bought was a swimming costume, and we began to swim laps regularly at a local pool, first thing in the morning.
With a few hitches, her progress continued. As we approached Christmas, she’d shed thirty-four pounds more. That put her just into the ‘overweight, but no longer obese’ range. She continued to be naked around the house, and continued to expect those massages. I have to confess that I derived more pleasure from the massages as she progressed and got more tone to her body. Actually, I’d been getting erections for some time, and after each massage session beat off in the shower. She never commented, and I just hoped she didn’t notice the bulge in my shorts. She did, of course, and later told me that it had been a major boost to her confidence.
I suppose I have to confess I benefited from the regime too. I lost a few pounds, but more importantly I gained muscle as I lost the fat. Consistent exercise and using the weights, I was stronger and had more stamina. I felt better than I had for years.
For Christmas, I insisted we didn’t spend a lot of money on presents, but we had a tree, and decorated it together. We collaborated on a dinner, chicken with all the trimmings, and I ordered, “All diets suspended for the day.”
I kept the house warm, in deference to her insistence on nudity, so I was in shorts and a t-shirt too, as I carved the chicken and we helped ourselves to roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnip, gravy and bread sauce. As we ate I could hardly keep my eyes off my companion.
“You’re staring at me,” she said, with a smile.
“I know. I can hardly keep my eyes off you; you’re very graceful, you know.”
“Really? Me, graceful?”
“Yes, you are. You’re pretty; your hair is gorgeous, and your hands and feet are perfectly formed. As to the rest of you, you’re a very attractive woman.”
Neither of us spoke, then until after the meal, which ended with Christmas Pudding and double cream, Port, then coffee. We took the coffee to the lounge to exchange gifts. My gift to her wasn’t very expensive, though more than we’d agreed. A friend of mine is a lapidary and amateur jeweller, quite a skilled one, and she’d made me a pendant, for which I’d obtained a gold chain.
“It’s beautiful,” she said, smiling, and fastened the clasp behind her neck so it lay just at the beginning of the valley between her breasts. She then handed me an envelope, containing two tickets to see Madama Butterfly at the City Hall.
“Thank you,” I said and, stood, lifting her to her feet in order to kiss her gently. “I hope that part of the present is that you use one of these tickets?”
“I hoped you’d want me to.” She hesitated, but went on, “Jim, there’s something else I want to give you, and it involves you giving me something too.”
“I want you to have my virginity.”
I can just imagine some horn dogs out there almost jumping up and down and shouting ‘Yay!’ or something similar, but that isn’t me, and it doesn’t fit the situation, either.
“Simone ... I won’t pretend I don’t want you. I do. But for me, sex has to mean something.”
She stretched out her hand and lightly brushed my face, or rather, my beard; so gently it almost tickled. “Jim ... Jim ... I know you. I know that for over six months you’ve helped, supported and cared for me. I’ve seen you react to me, despite my weight, but you’ve always treated me with respect. I think if we ... make love ... it will mean something.”
“I’m twenty years older than you, Simone. Would you marry me?”
“Given the chance – even half a chance – I would grab it with both hands! I just never thought you’d want to be saddled with me for life.”
“I wouldn’t be saddled with you. Life with you would be a gift which I would cherish every moment. Will you marry me?”
“Yes! Absolutely! As long as I don’t have to wait any longer.”
She turned and left the room, and I followed, leaving two hardly touched cups of coffee cooling on the table.
Followed her? Absolutely! Her bottom, while plump and well-padded, was shapely, and she actually had a waist, too, though not a small one. That plump derrière gyrated smoothly as she walked and, as I followed, I couldn’t resist cupping those cheeks. Of course, that wasn’t the first time I’d touched them, but there was an enormous difference between a massage (however sensual it may have been to her) where I was suppressing my, um, animal instincts, and a touch where I was expected to follow through sexually.
There was a distinct aroma of female arousal, and I was as hard as I’d ever been.
It wasn’t the first time she’d been in my room, but there’s a great gulf between bringing me a cup of coffee in the morning when she’d woken before me, and leading the way when our mutual purpose was intimacy.
She marched straight to my bed and flipped the duvet out of the way, then fell backwards onto the sheet, arms and legs akimbo. She told me afterwards that she expected me to climb on top and ram into her. Certainly, she was wet – I could see the gleam of the moisture and smell the aroma – but there was no way I’d do that to her. She was shocked into immobility when I followed my nose to the source of that delectable scent and swiped my tongue the length of her vulva. She tasted as good as she smelled and I loved exploring her folds with my tongue. It was easy to find her clit, which was beginning to peek out from its hood even before I touched her. I’m no expert, but I reckon it’s quite large. Large enough, certainly, for me to suck it between my lips and tease it with my tongue. She went off like a firecracker. A large one. And tumbled almost immediately into a succession of repeats.
I wasn’t counting, but after a while – I was barely started in enjoying her in that way – she pushed at my head and begged me to stop. Reluctantly, I sat back, then lay beside her and wrapped my arms round her. We were like that for a few minutes, until she said, “But you haven’t...”
“That’s for you, my dear. Get on top, and you can go at a pace that works for you. If it hurts, you can stop, or take a break.” That was assuming ... I was hoping ... I didn’t come immediately my glans touched her entrance!
“But I’m so heavy!”
“No problem. You’re not going to squash me. Come on, get on top. It’ll work best if you kneel astride me, so you can lower yourself onto me.”
It was a near thing, but I managed to resist coming as she touched me, and gradually increased the weight bearing down until I popped inside her. I could see her wince, but the only audible indication of pain was a quiet, “Ouch.” She held still with just my glans inside her, then slowly lowered herself further. It took several minutes of stopping, lifting a bit and then continuing, until I was fully inserted, at which point she stopped with our pubic mounds touching.
“You can rest your weight on me,” I suggested. “I told you, you won’t squash me.”
She did let all her weight down. “You sure this is okay?”
“It’s wonderful! If you move a little, you can rub your clitoris against me and get another orgasm that way.”
“Mmmm.” She was clearly experimenting and, yes, I felt her pussy squeeze me rhythmically as she came again.
I palmed and caressed her tits. They had got a little smaller as she lost weight, but were still getting on for a C cup. But they were firm and delightful to hold, and her nipples were hard and boring holes in the palms of my hands.
“You’re still hard,” she muttered. “Why?”
“Well, I’m happy I didn’t have a premature ejaculation when I entered you! Right now, it’s a fantastic feeling, your pussy squeezing me. I think I’d need to move, though to come.”
“Just lean forward so you’re laying on me, then I can thrust up.”
She carefully – almost gingerly – lay forward until she was resting on me. I moved her arms so that they weren’t taking her weight and I could feel her soft warmth all over my body, and I began to tilt my pelvis and thrust into her. I wrapped my arms around her and held her to me, but had my hands on her shoulders to pull her down. As I felt the sap rising, she came again, and that was enough. It felt like a flood.
She moaned. “Oh, Jim...”
After a minute or so, she tried to roll off me. “No, you don’t! You’re fine right where you are.”
“But me no buts, darling. This is lovely.” I caressed her, revelling in her smooth, silky skin and her luscious curves. “Beautiful.”
She twitched and would have jerked away had I not been holding her. “Jim, I ... I ... I’m sorry! I forgot something. I’m not on the pill, you know.”
I kissed her gently. “That’s a good reason to be married soon.”
“Don’t you mind?”
“I’m fifty-two this year. If I’m going to be a father, it needs to be fairly soon. For that matter, if you’re to be a mother – do you want that? – it needs to be soon, too.”
“I want your baby. I never thought I’d get the chance to be a mother.” She kissed me. “Actually, I never thought about what it would be like to,” she hesitated, “have sex.”
“That wasn’t just sex, that was making love.”
That seemed to have an effect on her. The gentle, soft, kiss became something more ... demanding.
“Whatever it was,” kiss – long kiss – and she wriggled her breasts against my chest, “I want to do it again,” kiss, “and again.”
“It’ll be my pleasure. In a little while.”
It was too dark to see her expression, but I was sure I could feel her moue. “I’ve got to wait? I’ll have to see about that.”
To my amazement, she twisted and wriggled down the bed. My penis, still almost half-hard and sloppy with our combined juices, not to mention a little blood, was suddenly enveloped in the warm wetness of her mouth. I know men who can’t understand this, but blow jobs, fellatio, have never done much for me. Emma, my ex-wife, would never do it anyway, but that never bothered me. What Simone was doing, though, that was something else; another dimension, another universe, whatever. I suddenly realised that, like my distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘making love’ this wasn’t just a ‘blow job’. This was another expression of love as her lips and tongue explored. Much faster than I could have imagined, I was ready to go again. She pulled off with an audible ‘pop’ – I don’t think I’d ever believed that description before – and stroked my six inches of uncircumcised absolutely ordinary erection.
“You on top, this time,” was all she said, flopping onto her back again. Undemanding, unconditional, trusting, love really does make a difference, and I thought I had never made love, or been made love to, before. The completion – a joint, epic, orgasm – was such that I lost consciousness and slipped straight from that to sleep.
I woke, spooned up behind Simone, my arms wrapped around her and one hand cupping her breast. I nuzzled her hair out of the way and kissed her neck, little pecks, until she stirred and turned in my arms.
She didn’t say anything for some time, just stared into my eyes.
“Why did you ask me to marry you?” she asked eventually.
“Because I’ve come to love you,” I said. “That’s the short answer. I didn’t think you’d want to marry someone as much older than you, but, hell, if you don’t ask, the answer’s always ‘no’, right?”
There was a further, long, pause, and I was getting uncomfortable, as you do, first thing in the morning. “What’s the long answer?”
“Can we talk about it over breakfast? I really need to go...”
“Oh! Sorry! Yes, of course.”
I rolled out of bed and almost ran to the bathroom, emptied my straining bladder, had a quick wash, and cleaned my teeth.
When I turned away from the basin, she was standing there, still naked, of course. I kissed her forehead and ran my hands down her back, pausing to squeeze her bum. “I love you,” I said. “See you downstairs.”
I pulled on shorts and a t-shirt. Keeping the house warm so my naked guest-become-fiancée would be comfortable meant I needed to be lightly dressed myself.
In the kitchen, I started a pot of coffee, began a pan of porridge, and laid out bowls. When Simone appeared, I was stirring the simmering pan. She moved with an unconscious dignity and grace far removed from the way she’d been when we met as she went to her accustomed place and sat.
“You’ve probably realised I’ve got a button in my mind which is pressed when I see any creature in distress, but especially if the creature is human, and even more so if it’s a woman. I couldn’t resist trying to help you.”
“But,” she interrupted, “I’m getting better all the time. Now you’ve got me on the right track, don’t you feel I no longer need you? I mean, I do need you, just not in the same way.”
I held up my free hand. “That’s only the beginning, Simone. Right at the beginning I thought you had the potential to be very attractive, and I wanted to help you achieve that. But more than that, as I’ve watched you, you’ve shown a determination to succeed. I’ve hardly had to push you at all; in fact I’ve had to restrain your enthusiasm. I’ve watched you, and as I have, I’ve seen a remarkable young woman emerge. As I said, I didn’t expect you’d want to marry a man old enough to be your father when even now you’re attractive enough to catch a man your own age, but I didn’t want to lose your company, your personality, and your beauty without at least asking.”
The buzzer went to inform me that the porridge was ready, and I ladled it out. I sprinkled Demerara sugar on mine, while Simone preferred maple syrup. We both had semi-skimmed milk. I poured coffee, and began to eat.
“I don’t care that you’re older,” she said, between mouthfuls. “You cared, helped me when I needed, and didn’t sneer at me because I’m fat – was fat. You’ve treated me as a person. Someone worthy of consideration. I like being naked in front of you, because you look at me as if I’m attractive, and you did even when I was ... obese. Horrible word. I think I fell in love with you, if not the day we met, then certainly within days.”
We finished our breakfast. “You still want to marry me?”
She looked a little worried. “Have you changed your mind?”
“Not at all.”
“Then no, I have not changed my mind.”
“Simone, I cannot afford to buy you a ring.”
“I do not need a ring.”
“But I want you to have one. Just a minute.” I went to the box-room I used for storage and dug for the small safe I kept mainly to protect documents. I extracted a small, faded, red-leather covered box. Back in the kitchen, I handed it to her. “This was my mother’s. Not her engagement ring, but an heirloom from an aunt.” It was, I thought, quite a pretty thing; gold, set with a little galaxy of tiny diamonds. Certainly, Mum loved it.
“It’s ... lovely!” The words could have been a polite nothing, but her tone said she approved.
“Then it’s yours.”
We filled the next few days with activities requiring motion; walking, mainly. It was a cold, dry, season, with just a few flurries of snow that came to nothing, but water birds, ducks, gulls, moorhens, coot, skidded across the frozen ponds, and there were icicles on the waterfalls and weirs despite the water that still flowed. In the evenings when the sky was clear we took my cheap astronomical telescope out onto the moors somewhat away from the city and the light pollution. We looked at the moon and the International Space Station. We saw indistinct images of the nearest planets, Saturn identifiable, just, with its rings. Sometimes, fairly often, there was too much cloud, and we stayed in to watch videos or listen to music.
Once the holiday was over, we went to the Register Office and arranged for a civil ceremony. Paid the fees.
“Excuse me,” Simone asked the clerk at the desk, “How many people may we invite?”
I hadn’t considered that. Selfishly, I’d assumed at the most one or two.
“Our usual room can accommodate around twenty guests. We have a small one, and arrangements can be made for larger parties.”