12a Archdeacon Street
Chapter 1: Love In A Cold Climate
Copyright© 2012 by Axolotl
Humor Sex Story: Chapter 1: Love In A Cold Climate - A tale of blundering time-travel, quite a lot of sex, several Kleenex-worth of bitter-sweet love and tenderness, and some very big tits indeed...
Caution: This Humor Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa mt/ft Ma/ft Consensual Romantic Science Fiction Time Travel Historical Humor Tear Jerker Exhibitionism Size Big Breasts School
The clock struck five. It was now almost completely dark outside. It had been one of those days when it never really gets light. Dingy, wet and clinging.
Claire sighed. "Funny how funerals always make you weepy, even if you didn't really know the person who's died. I mean, Nanna was my great-grandmother. You never really know your great grandmother, do you?"
"I don't even know my grandmother all that well." Russ sat up amongst the rumpled sheets and hugged his knees. Claire was staring into the dressing table mirror from a distance of about three inches, attacking an invisible spot with two fingernails. Russ shivered.
Claire shifted her gaze to his reflection. "Cold, darling?"
"No, not really. Well, perhaps a bit. Still jet-lagged. And not acclimatised."
"I'd have turned the heating on if I'd known we were coming back to the house." She turned, her slender figure outlined in the lacy nightdress, spot-lit by the single lamp on the dressing table. "It is freezing in here." She ran a hand absently across her stiff nipples. "Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea, going to bed afterwards. I was too eager, I suppose. It has been a whole three months, after all. There you go, though, the best-laid schemes..."
"Scheming woman! I only arrived home this morning. Or was it this evening? The first thing you try to do is rape me."
"The second thing. The first was Nanna's funeral."
Russ got up and stretched. He could just touch the ceiling with his fingertips. Claire sneaked up behind and grabbed him round the middle. She rested her head against his shoulder and moulded her body against his back. "No wonder you're freezing, standing there without a stitch on."
"You ought to get dressed, too."
"Do they stick out as much as that?" Claire pulled away and her hand found her nipple again. "Gosh! Yes, they do. At least, they're a decent size, even if I don't have the family trademark titties."
"There you go again!"
"Don't pretend you wouldn't prefer them as big as my mother's. Or my baby sister's."
"Sally's are a bit extreme, dear!"
"It didn't stop you staring at them earlier."
"The way she was waggling them in my face, I could hardly do anything else but stare. At a funeral, too. Somebody ought to have a word with that girl."
Claire sniffed. "Black suits her."
"She looked like a silver service waitress in a Gentleman's Adult Club. I wasn't the only one staring."
"The vicar... !"
"The organist... !"
"The choirboys... !"
"Especially the choirboys. They'll all be having wet dreams tonight. You could practically hear them coming during the sermon. Sally sitting there in the front row like that..."
"Her nipples were closer to the choir than they were to her!" Claire bit her lip and flopped down on the dressing table stool. "If only my tits were half as big. Or even a quarter."
"I didn't ask you to marry me so I could get my filthy hands on your breasts, dear." Russ found his trousers and put them on, hopping around the bedroom until he could get both feet back on the floor. He stood behind her and caressed the soft shoulders, turning her round on the revolving stool to look at her in the mirror again. She rested her cheek on his hand.
"I'm sorry, love!"
"Sorry?" He rotated her through a further three hundred and sixty degrees.
"Wheeeee," she said softly. She looked up at him. "About earlier. It was my fault. I was too pushy. All I was thinking about was myself..."
"No. The old cliché is right. Love is never having to say..." His fingers toyed with the rich softness of her hair as it tumbled across her shoulders. In this light it was as much golden as brown. "Just think, darling. Next time, it could be even worse!" He bent to kiss her neck as she started to answer. Something about a cliché for all occasions. She discarded the reply and relaxed a little.
"It couldn't. Not much worse than that!" she goaded him gently.
"We get it right now and again and it's as if a choir of angels strikes up in the bedroom."
"Not a choir of choirboys?"
"If that's what turns you on, lover, I'll have a word with the vicar on Sunday. They might learn a thing or two. Come on. Let's get something to eat. Breakfast."
"It's half-past five in the afternoon!"
"Not in sunny Sydney, it's not. It's going to take me a week to get used to Greenwich Mean Time."
"Another lot coming down, lover. Mind the dust."
Russ lowered the box through the hatchway. Claire took it in her arms and dumped it with the others. She sneezed three times, a polite little noise.
"Is that the lot?"
He came down the step ladder, lowering the hatch into place. "Apart from a few odds and sods, old curtains and stuff. Christ, it's cold up there. It's a wonder the old dear's pipes haven't frozen solid."
"You're still feeling the cold after Australia. It's not too bad." She opened the last of the boxes and peered inside.
"Come on, you! Don't start looking through that lot now. Let's get it home and we can go through it all properly."
It took ten minutes to get all of the late contents of Nanna's attic into the back of the car. Then Russ locked the door of the cottage. "It's funny. It felt as if she was in there the whole time, watching us."
"Stop it! You're trying to give me the creeps."
He grabbed suddenly at her arm, making her jump. "Boo! No," he laughed. "It wasn't spooky at all. Just a sort of warm, friendly feeling. As if she would have like to have been there to give us a hand sorting through all her bits and pieces. I think she'd have enjoyed it, somehow."
"Nanna was ninety years old, love. I don't think she'd have enjoyed that sort of thing."
Russ pocketed the key and they both got into the car. Dusk was already softening the outline of Nanna's house. Not hers any more. It would be sold soon. Charming, desirable cottage with mature gardens to front and rear. Ripe for loving restoration, sympathetic extension, orgasmic desecration...
"No, whoever was watching over us wasn't ninety," Russ mused softly. "She was only a young girl..."
"All this stuff Nanna was keeping! What for? Look, here's a box of money!"
"Where?" Russ craned to see inside the small black enamelled tin box.
"It's nothing. Only pennies and stuff. Some shillings: what's this big thing? Half-crown. That might be worth something now."
"Probably less than twelve and a half pence. Here's another box of photos." He spilled them out on the table. They curled up slightly at the edges, the pile separating into individual snapshots.
"God, look at this one! Was that her? Look at that hat!"
"The height of fashion, probably. What about that car? That would be worth a fortune now."
"Here's another. And a boyfriend, too. Look at him." Claire held the photo closer to the light. "I quite fancy him, you know."
"Looks like me, does he?" Russ took the yellowing picture and stared at it. Spooky. No, not really spooky. And the sound of a girl laughing, like a mountain stream across pebbles. "Naah! He's not as handsome as me. No way."
"What's this one?"
Claire tugged at the big picture in a frame. It was wedged cornerways into the box, and didn't want to come out.
"It's caught, hang on. I'll get some of the other stuff out first."
But Claire wanted to see it. She pulled harder. The side of the box gave way suddenly, and the picture came out with a rush. It was heavier than she'd thought. She grabbed at it, but missed. "Oh, shit!"
The picture had hit the corner of the table with a sharp crack, and landed partly in Claire's lap.
"Careful, don't cut yourself." Russ rescued the picture and laid it on the table.
"Oh, look." Claire was close to tears. "I didn't mean to..."
"It's all right, love." Russ plucked the shards of dusty glass from the frame, placing them to one side. "Hey, look. It's quite a nice picture underneath. It will clean up. It's only the glass that's broken. The frame's not in bad condition."
Claire bent forward to see. "Who are they all?"
"One of those turn of the century family portraits. Three, maybe four generations."
"Is there a date on it anywhere?"
"Can't see one. Before the Great War, by the look of it." He turned the frame over. "It's local, though. Here's the photographer's address on the back."
"Old photos are so lovely. That brown colour..."
"It's really terrific quality. I bet it was a contact print from a plate camera negative. Eight by ten. Imagine it, all this bunch turning up at the studio to have their picture taken ... must be twenty of them."
"That grumpy old granny in the middle..."
"Those babies yelling their heads off..."
"I wonder who they all were." She did some calculations in her head. "Nanna was about ninety. If it was taken back then, Nanna could have been one of these babies. Imagine!" Claire stared closer. "She could be. Anyway, I'm sure it's our family."
"Look at the women. Even in these Edwardian dresses, you can see the family trademark. Look at that one there! And her! Sister Sally, eat your heart out!"
"That does it, then. I am definitely taking this to town tomorrow and getting the glass replaced. Perhaps get the frame cleaned up, a new mount. We can hang it on the wall in here."
"Where? Which room?"
"You're joking! With titties like those women have got, it has to go in the toilet!"
"Not the bathroom! I'm not having that lot looking at me with nothing on."
"The downstairs loo then. It will be a nice conversation piece."
"You're serious! You are actually going to get that thing repaired?"
"I do not jest on such matters, dear heart. Anything else we want from town while I'm there?"
"Not a lot. Something for dinner, if you like. Steak or something. Or fish. See what you fancy when you get there."
"Now, that's an offer I can't refuse! I'll bring her straight home, this fanciable woman?"
"S'long as you bring me a fanciable man, too. I'll be back from Mum's by the time you get back. Here, I remembered something." Claire hurried into the spare room. Her voice came through the doorway. "That overcoat that was mixed in with the first box of Nanna's clothes. There are dozens more we haven't even looked through yet. Anyway, try it on." She came back with the big dark coat, shaking it out. "It's a bit moth-bally, but it's not in bad condition. Hardly worn. It must have been great-grandad's."
"You want me walking round like something from a charity shop?" The coat was certainly capacious enough. Great-grandpop must have been a sizeable bloke. It was warm-looking, too. Russ shook his head. "I can't wear that!" Yet he found himself putting it on. "It fits, though. Feels quite nice. God, it could have been made to measure for me."
"Perfect for this weather, anyway. And it doesn't look too bad." Claire reached up for the lapels and made an adjustment. "There! All you want is a hat. One with a great big feather. They always say fashion goes in cycles." Claire decided. "Wear it! Go on. It doesn't smell too bad."
Russ had already decided to wear it. He wasn't going to take it off. He fastened the domed leather buttons and smoothed the soft woollen material. It would have cost a penny or two whenever it had been made. The picture in its frame was already in a carrier bag. He tucked it under his arm.
"See you later, pet."
"Love you. Don't get lost!"
Why was everyone shopping in town this morning of all mornings? And why did the gas company choose today of all days to dig up the road right in the centre of town. Russ sat in the queue of cars inching round the one-way system, shrouded in clouds of steamy exhaust, everyone looking for somewhere to park which would save a walk of more than ten yards. There was a deserted side street leading off to the left. Sharp left, up a steep little hill, and not really the right direction, but anything was better than this nose-to-tail shuffle. He twirled the wheel and turned off. Nobody followed him. In fifty yards, the street turned sharp right, parallel to the crawling main road and now on a level with the wet roofs and chimneys. The surface here was cobble stones, greasy and dank, making the suspension thump and clatter. He slowed to a leisurely crawl.
Over the rooftops to the right was the church tower. Not more than a hundred yards to walk to the shopping centre. Strange that nobody had parked up here. Deserted. He pulled in to the curb. Spidery trees dripped moisture. The houses were anonymous, dark-windowed. As he got out and locked the car, the picture tucked firmly under his arm, he felt a chill seep through to his bones, even in great-grandpop's overcoat. He set off at a brisk walk, up a narrow cobbled alley between two leaning walls of soft red brick.
This part of town wasn't familiar at all. The church was still visible over that way, but there was no rumble of traffic, despite his having walked for nearly five minutes back in the direction of the main road. The alley gave on to a very slightly wider street, sloping steeply uphill in the direction of the church. It had to be the right way. Only been away from the place for three months, and I'm a total stranger. He stopped to get his bearings, and thrust a hand into his coat pocket.
What was that? A card of some sort? He took it out and read it, his breath steaming in the chill air.
Ratcliffe and Spreadbury
12a Archdeacon Street. Staunchbury
Strangely, despite its unfashionable script and slightly wonky printing, the card looked almost new. Wondering, he slipped the card back into his pocket and glanced up at the rough flint-faced wall in front of him.
And there, a cast-iron sign informed him that this was Archdeacon Street.
He set off up the slope, forsaking the cobbles for the narrow footpath on the left hand side. The numbers went Twenty-Five, Twenty-Four, Twenty-Three, Twenty-Two, then there was a gap in the houses, with iron railings bordering a little park with muddy grass and a bench seat positioned to provide a fine view of the valley and the railway viaduct. Thirty or so yards further on the houses started again, with number Twenty-One. So not only did the numbers not follow the convention of odds one side and evens on the other, but whoever had built Archdeacon Street had designed it as a whole. There was no intention of extending it at some time in the future. It was a dead end, with a substantial house built across the width of the street at the top; four stone steps leading up to an imposing front door. Then the houses ran in a more or less unbroken row down the right hand side.
It all looked wrong, and somehow unfamiliar. There were no cars parked in the street, which was pretty unusual. If people lived here, where did they park their cars? He turned his attention to the houses on the right hand side. There was no Thirteen. Twelve was followed by Fourteen. Yet despite the forethought which had gone into the design and numbering of Archdeacon Street, there was something between Twelve and Fourteen. An afterthought. A narrow porch was recessed about six feet. The brick walls were painted plain white, and framed photographs hung on both sides. At the end of the little porchway was a shop door, glazed in its upper half. Elaborate gold letters announced simply: 'Photographer'.
Russ shrugged. Fate, or Coincidence, had led him here, obviously for some perfectly valid reason. He went into the porch, tried the door handle. The door opened, and a little bell tinkled. The shop was dimly lit and smelled faintly of something half familiar. Gas, perhaps? He looked around the little shop, wondering. It was very well done. A theme shop. Captured the true feel of a bygone age. The whole thing was a page straight from the history books. More pictures glared sternly from the walls. Posters advertised Kodak Plates and Films — Ensign Cameras. The counter was glass-fronted, a display cabinet containing folding brass-bound cameras with leather bellows. No sales assistant pounced on him as he browsed. There was no sales assistant at all. There was, however, a bell on the counter, with a plunger on top. Please Ring, said a hand lettered sign.
Russ rang the bell.
Somewhere in the back of the shop, a door opened, and faint music came scratchily out of an inner room. Jazz. Whoever ran this theme shop even listened to authentic music of the period. What period? The nineteen-twenties, he guessed. Whoever the proprietor was, he deserved congratulations. Here he came now.
But not he. She.
"I'm sorry, sir, I didn't hear the doorbell. I was listening to ... to the music." She inclined her head down the steps leading to the rear of the shop. She looked about her. "It's so dark in here! It's awfully dull outside today." The young woman came out from behind the counter and reached up to turn on a gaslight on one wall. It glowed dully for a few seconds before brightening. She observed it critically as if daring it to go out, then moved swiftly and lithely to turn on two more lights. The shop was filled with a warm glow. Was it the gas lighting, or was it her presence? In keeping with the shop's theme, she was dressed for the 1920s: a grey woollen dress, like something out of an old photo album.
"There, that's better!" She turned to face Russ, who found himself staring. The light behind her turned her hair into a glowing halo. Chestnut. Golden brown and lustrous. "Sorry? Did you say something?"
Out the back, the music stopped. He waited for it to restart, for a radio announcer, for the next track of the album to start up. The woman followed his glance. "The record's stopped. Did you say something?"
"No. No, I was going to say something, but I've forgotten what it was." He produced the bundle from under his arm and laid it on the counter. "I've brought a picture. For repair? The glass is broken."
"Let's see." She looked at the bag curiously, rubbing the plastic between her fingers. "This paper feels nice and smooth," she said, then she shook her head and slid the heavy frame out on to the counter. She stared at the picture. Back at Russ, then at the picture again. "Oh, yes. This is one of our frames. An old picture, of course, but re-framed. Yours, sir?"
"Sorry?" She had called him 'sir'?
"I beg your pardon?"
"You apologised for something?"
"No, I was asking what you said."
"Oh. I asked if it was yours. The picture?"
"Oh. Oh, yes. My girlfriend's, actually. It belonged to her Nanna." The word sounded faintly ridiculous but the woman seemed not to notice. She looked at the picture again, rubbed at the surface with a finger.
"It's been allowed to get damp." She sounded disapproving. "We ought to remount it."
"Will it be much? How much will it cost?"
She was a young girl when she put a fingertip in her mouth and considered for a while. "Not too much. A plain card mount, same as this one, only clean. New glass. That would be four and eleven?"
"Sorry? I mean, I beg your pardon?"
"It's very reasonable. We're the most reasonable in Staunchbury."
"I wouldn't doubt it." Russ forced a smile, trying to convert old money to new. Less than twenty-five pence? "Special offer week, is it?"
The gentle irony failed to have the expected effect. The girl's face clouded. She wrapped the carrier bag round the picture and pushed it slightly toward him across the counter. Her fingers were long and delicate, the nails neatly trimmed, unvarnished. "I don't think you will find a better price elsewhere in town, sir. I'm sorry if we are too expen..."
"No! Please. Please do it. I was just surprised that it was so cheap..."
She started to pull herself up to her full height. "Not cheap, sir! Inexpensive." She picked up the picture and took it over to a bench by the door. "It will be ready tomorrow, same time." There was a chill note in her voice.
The girl was really very attractive. Awfully pretty. Get into the twenties vernacular, Russell! She was less than average height, shorter than Claire. Slim ankles, but perhaps a slightly chubby figure, surprisingly. Quite a heavy build, somehow. She moved briskly, yet ... what was it? Carefully?
"Thank you. Tomorrow, then," he said, turning to go. Reluctant to leave. The girl was already starting down the steps. Russ turned back. "Beiderbecke?" he said.
She looked up at him in surprise and came back up the steps. "That's right. You recognised it?"
"Of course," he grinned. "Classic stuff. I've got the cassette in my car. I was waiting for Royal Garden Blues to follow that one."
She looked confused during his explanation but her expression cleared. "That's on the other side," she said. "My brother gets his records in America." She blushed as if she had breached a confidence. "He's with Cunard. He gets them in New York."
Russ felt an unaccountable lurch in his stomach. "New York? On seventy-eights?"
"You mean Seventy-eighth Street? I'm not sure," the girl said, frowning. "He never said. Would you like to hear it? Royal Garden? If you've got three minutes, of course?"
"Three minutes? Of course."
"Come on, then!" The girl suddenly held a hand out to him, like a niece with a favourite uncle. He followed her down the bare wooden steps and through into a cluttered little room. The Twenties theme had been continued in the back room. A large scrubbed wood table in the middle of the floor bore a pile of black and white prints. A steel straight edge and a knife, a small pile of trimmings, all neatly lined up. She had been working, but not too hard. The gramophone squatted on the table, one of those old wind-up ones with a large horn. It lacked only a little white dog peering into it with its head on one side. Scratching noises came from it as the turntable still spun lazily, the tone arm at the centre of the record twitching from side to side, bobbling up and down.
She tutted and lifted the needle from the record, smiled up at him, stopped the platter and turned the record over. Then she wound furiously on the handle, and lowered the needle with care and delicacy.
The room filled with sound, familiar, yet somehow immediate. All the scratches and clicks sounded far more authentic than they did on the in-car system. The girl stepped back, apparently preventing herself with a conscious effort from dancing. "Is this the one?" she asked after the first chorus.
Russ nodded. "I never heard it like this before."
She blinked at him, still nodding in time to the music. "Do you have many recordings?"
"Like this one? I think I've got everything he ever recorded, from his early stuff right up to his last."
"Oh, how simply spiffing." She seemed about to do the Charleston. She settled for tapping a foot. "He's wonderful. I hope he does lots and lots more."
This girl certainly believed in throwing herself into her part. He joined in the game, leered wolfishly at her. "You'll really have to come in my car one day and have a listen."
"Golly, you're forward!" The girl snorted and giggled, then blushed deeply. "I'm sorry, sir. You're a customer." She lowered her head, then looked up shyly. "I didn't write down your name for the picture..."
"Russell." Why the full name? What possessed him to say that?
"Mr Russell." She sounded disappointed.
"No! That's my first name. Russell. Russ to my friends. What's yours?"
"I know, it's dreadfully common, but Mummy's never been very adventurous."
"Oh, I don't know. It's quite a nice name." For a maiden great-aunt, at least.
The silence lengthened. At some time, the record had ended unnoticed. She stopped the apparatus and looked up at him. "I should be working." She indicated the pile of pictures. "I was trimming the edges of those. Not much fun, I'm afraid."
"I mustn't stop you. I'd better go. I'll be back tomorrow for the picture."
He turned and headed for the door. Stopped. "Ethel?"
She blushed and bit her lip. "Yes ... Russell?"
"Russ. You're my friend, remember?"
"Russ. What was it?"
"It's early closing tomorrow, isn't it? What time do you shut up shop?"
"Early? No. The usual time. Six thirty. Why?" Her face was anxious, appealing, like a dog hoping for a walk.
"I'll see you tomorrow, then. Thanks!"
Ethel was looking curiously at him. "Where's your hat?"
"Of course. Surely you must have had one when you came in?"
"No. I wasn't wearing one."
"No hat?" She raised an eyebrow. "I see!" She seemed to pull herself together with an effort. "Well, bye-bye. Russ."