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Saturday after Lilly’s party.
I had never before felt as I did then. I know the difference between falling in love and loving. I know how to tell the difference between love and lust. I was a forty-two year old woman and whilst I wasn’t the most promiscuous woman in the world, I’d had my share.
I knew I was tired, not to say exhausted. A night of very active sex and my emotional epiphany had left me drained.
I went up to my room and decided a shower would help, but the bed looked simply too inviting and I decided a short power nap would be good for me. I stripped off and lay down and that was me, gone. I woke up about six and put a pair of pyjamas on with a big towelling robe over and went downstairs to find Nadine and Heather in the kitchen, drinking tea.
“Hi, Faye,” said Nadine. Her work clothes were soiled and her dungaree bib was down again revealing, as before the shabby, sweat stained t shirt and, deliciously, its contents. “We didn’t want to wake you.”
“Tea, Faye?” That was Heather McAlister, my housekeeper. I said, yes please and she poured me a mug and pushed it across the table to me.
Nadine started telling me about her afternoon’s work but was interrupted when her mobile rang and, excusing herself, she answered it. I heard fragments of the conversation. Oh shit. Where is he? Is he OK? When? I’ll be there.
“I’m sorry, I have to go. Shirley,” her colleague, “has been looking after my dog and she’s had to take him to the vet. Apparently, he’s eaten something.”
“I’ll come with you.”
“I think you’d better get changed?” Her eyebrow added the question mark.
I shot upstairs and changed into a loose dress and a pair of trainers and hurried downstairs to find her waiting impatiently in the hall. I said, “We’ll take my car, it’s cleaner and quicker.”
We got in the Merc and I drove quickly towards Marcombe, the next village from hers, where the vet’s surgery was.
“On your pyjamas. Shirley’s eight-year old has jammies like that.”
I laughed. “They were a joke Christmas present from Lilly.”
“What’s the dog eaten?”
“They think it’s a shoe.”
I could tell she was anxious, so I let her sit in silence until we got to the surgery. Almost running, she made her way into the clinic and I followed her. She spoke to the receptionist then led me to a seat where we waited. I held her hand. Eventually a man dressed in scrubs and with a face mask lowered around his neck came out of a door marked ‘Consulting 1.’ He was incredibly handsome and, despite being quite short, had a powerful, athletic look and bright, incredibly bright blue eyes.
Nadine stood and hurried to him. “What news?”
Taking her in his arms, which actually made me feel a moment’s jealousy, he kissed her cheek and said, “I’ve operated. He’d swallowed a kid’s trainer and I wanted to get it out quickly. It’s the laces; they get caught up and twist the gut if you’re not quick. But he’ll be fine. He’s in recovery just now and he should be ok to come home tomorrow. He’s young and fit. Don’t worry, Nad.”
Suddenly remembering me, she turned and said, “Mike, this is Faye. Faye, this is my brother, Mike.”
So, that explained it. We did the polite, English, hello stuff and then Mike suggested that she leave the dog with him. A nurse would be on duty over-night to keep an eye and he should be able to leave in the morning if he’d eaten, had a drink and pissed.
We got back in the car and she leant back in her seat and I watched as a tear made a rivulet down her cheek.
“You must be relieved. What is the dog’s name?”
Now, those of you who have followed my career will know I have a habit of laughing at inappropriate moments. This was one. Nadine looked at me, her eyes bright with tears and sharp with suspicion. “What’s funny.”
I tried to stop laughing but it wasn’t going to be easy. “Wilberforce? Why Wilberforce.”
“He championed the cause of making slavery illegal.”
“I know. I was in a tv programme about him.”
“Well, I admired him so Demetevler Escort I decided my Labrador should have his name.” Then she laughed too. “Is that just too pretentious?”
“No, no, it’s a great name, it just took me by surprise.” I drove off. “Why don’t you stay with me tonight? You could pick up some clothes on the way and then we can have supper and you won’t have to be alone worrying about Wilberforce.” I still couldn’t conceal a chuckle. “And I could come with you to collect him tomorrow?”
We stopped at her house and, as I sat in her kitchen, she sorted out a bag with some clothes, changed into jeans and a shirt and then we drove back to my place. Heather was solicitous and said she’d made a chocolate cake. Her cakes were weapons-grade dangerous, health-wise.
We went for a walk so she could show me some of the work she had been doing with Shirley. I slipped my arm through hers and leant my head on her shoulder. Suddenly she stopped, turned to face me.
“Thanks for taking me to see Wilberforce.”
“I’m so glad your brother has sorted him out. My life doesn’t really allow me to have a dog, but I would love one.”
“Do you have to do all the travel?”
“I’ll be here for a few months at least. I’m working at the Flotsam Theatre in Dorset for now so I can commute.”
I cannot explain what I felt. I knew, somehow, that I had totally fallen for this woman, but I had no reason to think she felt or ever would feel the same. I dared not tell her. I didn’t answer, but I slipped my arms around her and rested my head on her shoulder while she held me.
“Look,” she said quietly, “I know we hardly know each other but, well…” I looked up into her eyes. “I’d like us to get to know each other well. I mean, really get to know each other.”
“I’d love that.”
Later, after supper and a few glasses of brandy we were in bed. I left the curtains open so we could see the stars. I was lying across the bed with my head on her lap, my finger tracing the shape of her flat tummy.
We’d come up to my room and she had slowly undressed me, her tongue in my mouth most of the time. I hadn’t been wearing much after the flight to see the dog, so it wasn’t hard for her. It was harder for me. I had to undo her belt, shirt buttons, the zip of her jeans and get her socks off.
We got into bed and I kissed her, pushing her mane of hair away from her face and breasts. I kissed that face, her cheeks, her chin, her lips and then down her throat to her shoulders and relished the pit in her collar bone. I travelled further south, licking and kissing as I went; down between her breasts then over them, sucking each nipple. They grew between my lips.
Down again over her stomach to the wild triangle, untamed on her mound. I felt her fingers in my hair. I lapped at her cunt, opening it, stroking the hairs away with my tongue and fingers. I lingered there, tasting her, probing her with my tongue, kissing her lips, her holes, her clit. I let a finger curl deep inside her and enjoyed the feeling of her gripping it until I eased a second in and started to work a bit harder, my tongue and lips still busy. Her grip on my hair tightened and I decided she was on the brink and started to circle her arse.
I was a bit surprise when she pushed me away and hauled herself into a sitting position.
“We’re not done yet,” she said as she reached into the bedside drawer and pulled out a feeldoe which she waggled at me. “Here’s one I prepared earlier. Watch and learn.” She lifted her knees and spread them. “You’ve got me nice and wet so this little beauty will,” she groaned as she pushed in where, moments before, my fingers had been busy, “slip in just beautifully. Kiss the tip.” I gave her a quizzical look but she stared me down, so I did. “You have no idea how hot that is.”
She pushed me onto my back, mounted me and pushed it into me. She obviously had pelvic floor muscles of iron because it went in without slipping from her vaginal grasp and stayed firm as she gave me a long, delightful fucking, Otele gelen escort her mouth on or close to mine throughout until she looked into my eyes and told me to give it to her. I did.
Rehearsals for ‘Being Apart’ started a few days later. It was a great cast with a couple of good names (always good for box office) and a couple of newcomers including Amanda Chicklade. Amanda was bubbly, blonde and quite stunning. She was also confident and in no way deferential to me. She played the part of the woman who turned to me during her husband’s absence in the war.
“Can I bum a fag?”
She was standing outside the rehearsal room smoking. “That’s not a sentence you’d often hear in polite company in America!” She smiled as she offered me her cigarette packet.
She lit it for me. “I’ve given up but every so often the smell just gets right in my head. Thanks, Amanda.”
“I’d give up, but I am crapping myself and it helps.”
“Why are you crapping yourself?”
She turned to face me. “I’m in a play with Faye Millerton and Dan Connors.” Dan was a big name. “I’m playing a part I don’t understand. Oh, and Millicent stuck her hand up my skirt.” Our director was known as an aggressive dyke and I had, for that reason, taken to wearing jeans which was rare for me.
“I understand. Millie’s ok but you have to tell her, no, thanks. She’ll always try it on, but show resistance and she’ll back off. One day, predators like her will be outed.” How true that turned out to be and how ashamed I was later in life not to have been among the brave men and women who started the movement. “Being with actors like me and Don isn’t a threat. For one, you’re really, really good and second, you learn from us. Not technically, you’re already fine. You watch us cope with nerves exactly the same as yours. Don throws up before every show. I have to stand in the wings for half an hour before every performance and talk myself into going on stage. You’ll be fantastic.”
I was right and we became firm friends. In those days I normally had a dressing room to myself, but the Flotsam was provincial and small despite, unusually, having a rehearsal room of its own. I had to share with the three other women in the cast and my dresser, Betty Miles, who was a permanent part of my support group. She was the most boring woman in the world but also one of the best with a needle and thread.
Provincial theatres don’t usually get overwhelmed on the night the critics come to see the play. The Flotsam, however, had handled the PR well and there was a distinct buzz in the auditorium as I stood for my usual thirty minutes in the wings, listening to the hubbub and coughing. I go into a sort of Zen state during this period and, over the years, I have found it calms the nerves before the curtain goes up. I was fired up because, in addition to the press, I’d got tickets for a load of friends including Nadine, her brother Lilly and Flick. It was planned that we’d have a reception at a local hotel after the show.
The audience were fabulous. They roared with laughter at the (admittedly few) jokes and applauded loudly at the end of the first half. Amanda, now known to all as Chicklet, hugged me when I came off stage. “Thanks, Faye.”
“All your own work, girl.” But I was grateful for the appreciation.
If they had been enthusiastic at half time, they were even more so at the final curtain. Laura Whitfield, theatre critic for one of the big nationals, spoke to me during the wine and whinge session afterwards. Flick, my agent, had arranged for her to interview me before we even started rehearsing and she was very pro.
“I wasn’t convinced when we met.”
“You doing this. I was wrong. It was brilliant. Millie Graham is brilliant and so were you.”
“What did you think of Amanda?”
“Well, she’s a new star, isn’t she?”
I told her how good I thought she was, how professional, assured and destined to be one of the great successes of her generation. “And, Laura?”
“Please Balgat Escort quote me.”
She smiled. “I will. You’re a nice woman, Faye. I know a few who’d have been keener to get their own praise.”
“So do I.”
True to her word, Whitfield gave Chicklet a great write up and quoted me.
The reception after the press performance was bubbly. Nadine gave me a huge uninhibited kiss. I felt inordinately proud. Flick joined us.
“Are you going to introduce me?”
“Do you promise to be civil?”
Flick smiled. “I’m always civil to grownups, darling.”
I introduced Nadine and, to be fair, Flick was lovely and even said something vaguely positive about me. Lilly, typically effusive, joined us and hugged me, kissed Nadine then hugged her sister. Despite their constant verbal fencing, she and Flick were extremely close.
Now, here’s something I have never told you before. Before I had joined her agency, when I was still going through the torment of advertising work and, I cringe as I say it, children’s tv, Flick was engaged to Giles Gabriel, apparently an exceedingly handsome, intelligent and brave Royal Marine Captain. It was that bravery that got him killed during the Iraq war. Since then, so far as I or anyone else knew, Flick had never had another man in her life. She worked incessantly and seemed to have displaced romance by success. I tell you this because what occurred next needs to be seen in that context.
Nadine’s brother, Mike the vet, arrived with a tray of champagne glasses. “Hi, ladies. I thought this might hit the spot.
Lilly said to her sister, “This, darling, is Nadine’s brother, Michael, our new local vet. Michael, meet my sister, Felicity. She is also Faye’s agent. Incestuous bunch, aren’t we?”
“Lovely to meet you.” He turned to me and kissed me. “Nad was bristling with pride during your performance. I absolutely loved it too.”
Flick was silent. She held a glass half way between the tray and her mouth and looked as though she had turned to stone. Mike turned back to her. “Your sister has been fabulous to Nad and me too. Are you staying down tonight?”
“Er, no, no I’m not. I have to get back to town.”
“What a shame. I’d have loved to show you my surgery. I’m inordinately proud of it. I’d love to show you some of the local country too, I’m a recent arrival and I guess I have the newcomer’s enthusiasm.”
“Mike,” said Nadine, “has only recently left the Artillery. He was an army vet.”
I felt Lilly stiffen beside me and I confess the fear that this revelation might stir old, unhappy memories for Flick welled up in me like an impending vomit.
“Well,” said Flick. “Perhaps I might come down and stay with my sister and let you show me your clinic and some of the countryside.” What?
“That would be marvellous. While the weather’s good there are some fabulous walks we could do.”
“That would be wonderful, Mike, I’d like that very much. I love walking. Do you have dogs? I always think they make a country walk somehow even more enjoyable.”
Dogs? She hated dogs.
Nadine said, “Mike hasn’t had time to get a dog, yet, but I’ll lend you Wilberforce, my Labrador.”
“Oh, Labradors are my favourite.”
Lilly and I looked at each other, aghast. In all the time she’d been my agent I had never seen her in anything but heels. She referred to the countryside as ‘the muddy hell outside the Capital.’ She also said that a dog’s sole purpose was deposit hairs and shit on perfectly good clothing.
Lilly gripped my arm and said, in a stage whisper, “Fucking hell.”
Flick turned to her. “What was that, darling?”
“Oh, nothing. I was just thinking I need to, er, change the spare bed sheets.”
“Would you mind if I came down for a weekend?”
I have never before seen Lilly lost for words.
Oh, and I almost forgot, Flick also asked Chicklet to join her agency. “It’ll be good to have at least one actress who can actually act!” So, she obviously hadn’t completely lost it.
I explained the background to Nadine later, after we had had a post-performance and rather delightfully vigorous fuck. As I have said, Nadine was fit, hard-bodied and strong. Didn’t I know it after an hour of being soundly rogered on my bed. And that was after I’d spent a good while with my face between her thighs in the sitting room where, once the McAlisters had left us, we had brandy and cunt, a delightful cocktail. Can you hear the smile in my voice?
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