Choices: Someone to Watch Over MebyThe Wanderer©
I thank my LadyCibelle and Techsan for their patience, proof reading, editing skills and of course encouragement. I'd also like to add that we don't always see eye to eye, we do have some disagreements sometimes - well quite often really, - I can be an obstinate old bugger when I want to be. Anyway I take full responsibility for the content and any cock-ups in this story.
Notes for the uninitiated: Cor = slang expressing surprise, excitement, etc. Palaver = a prolonged or tiresome act. Throw a wobbly = Have a fit of nerves or temper. On a loosing wicket = in a no win situation.
Someone to Watch Over Me.
Damn it, I really should have seen it coming. You know with a bit of foresight it should have been obvious to me, like two trains racing towards each other on the same track. But maybe I wasn't looking hard enough; well, at least I wasn't thinking things out that well. And I suppose I could use the excuse that one train was hiding in a tunnel. But all the warning signs were there if I'd only looked hard enough for them. But I was kinda besotted with the girl so when that other train came roaring out of that bleeding tunnel, I just had no idea what was coming.
Okay, enough of the bleeding metaphors; let's get down to brass tacks. All through my school life they must have been there. Well, they were there but you kinda didn't notice that there was two of them. Them - that's it! They weren't two people really; they were a single entity. Mercedes Clough and Porticia Rowan; two girls, one personality.
As I remember, all through school they were referred to as 'the twins'. They dressed alike and spoke alike. Their hair was styled the same. Shit, they were like a pair of twins, but they were not related. But they might as well have been joined at the hip.
Now don't get the idea that they were stand-offish or anything. Once they were in their teens, they dated boys all the time. The only problem there was that they only double dated. If a guy fancied one of them, he not only had to get her attention; he had to find a suitable date for the other one.
I must admit I liked the look of both of them. But I never did get to know either of them well; I couldn't be bothered to play the silly double date game. Shit, a guy would be running around for weeks trying to find the suitable candidate that the girls would find acceptable to make up the foursome. I learnt at a young age that the girls could be bloody choosy when they wanted to be and from what I heard the girls wanted to be. It was probably all a game to them.
Anyway, the problem never came up for me really, because when I was sixteen, my old man talked my Uncle Harry into taking me as an apprentice builder. That was my old man all over, "Get yourself an apprenticeship boy; you'll have a job for life." The only problem with that bloody apprenticeship was that I had to go and live with my Uncle Harry and Auntie Mavis in London.
Cor London, the big city and bright lights! Like fuck! We lived in the suburbs and most of my Uncle Harry's and my work was out in the suburbs as well. I had one day and one evening a week at a technical college, also in the suburbs. Uncle Harry wanted blood for his money so by the time I got home at night, I was so knackered; travelling up into town wasn't an option.
Add to that, Uncle Harry was a bleeding workaholic. Hold on, a correction there. He was under the impression I was a bleeding workaholic. He always had little jobs laid on for the weekends. "You missed a day's work during the week to go to college; you can make it up on the weekends, boy." So my planned monthly weekend trips home soon became bi-monthly then tri-monthly. You get the idea; I got home three times the first year, and besides Christmas once the second year. By the end of the third year my dog had started growling at the stranger when I walked in the door of my parents' home. And there was a bloody lodger sleeping in my room. I had to share my little brother's room.
Apprenticeship over, I decided I'd had enough of working for Uncle Harry. I really don't think he was too pleased when I took my leave. Bollocks to him, the old bugger had got his money's worth out of me.
Home wasn't home anymore for me, if you get my drift. I'd managed to save a lot of the meagre salary Uncle Harry had paid me over the years; so I had enough in the bank to allow me to put a security deposit down and rent a little flat of my own back in my home town.
Work wasn't a problem either; I had my papers, and I was soon on the books of one of the local firms. The work was hard, but at least the money was spectacular after what Uncle Harry had been paying me. Builders who really knew what they were doing were not exactly rare, but were a bit thin on the ground back then. Well, young ones were.
Before I realised what was happening I was working on a site of about fifty new houses. Once that site was finished, I was offered job by a smaller builder, on a barn conversion. It was a small job, only about six of us on the site and the owner was around most days.
The boss and I were studying the plans one day over a cup of tea and I just happened to mention that the way the architect had planned things, there was going to be a bleeding great blank area of wall on the front of the building. I just said that if it was my place I'd make some changes that I thought would make the place look better.
The boss pushed the artist's impression drawing of the finished house at me and said show me. So I roughly sketched in the changes I thought would be improvements. Later that day I was called into the little shed we were using as a site office. There I found the Boss, the owner of the house and the architect. After some strong words were exchanged between the architect and the owner my changes were added to the plan.
It was on the day we handed the newly converted house over, that the architect came over to me. "Son, you're in the wrong business. You should have been a bloody architect or a ruddy designer at least. You've got an eye for design."
A couple of weeks later I signed up on a part time college course, learning to be an architect. I still worked on the building sites to earn the money to support my studies but I was heading into the design side of the business.
It was in the college library that I first saw her. I'd just sat down at one of the large tables, to look up some references in a book, when a young lady the other side of the table looked up from the book she was reading and our eyes found each other's for a brief moment. She gave me a wonderful smile and returned to reading her book. The face was familiar but I couldn't place it.
I kinda sat there confused and stared at her. Well, she was a very good-looking young woman. Some minutes later she looked over at me again. I quickly looked down at the book I was studying. Trying to pretend I hadn't been staring at her.
Out of the corner of my eye, I was aware of her getting up from the table and walking around it until she was standing beside me. Embarrassed that she'd seen me watching her, I didn't raise my head and pretended to be lost in the book before me. The young lady reached out and, rotating my book through 180 degrees she said, "You'll find it easier to read, Roger, if it is the right way up!"
I looked up at her.
"You don't recognise me, do you, Roger? -- Mercedes, Mercedes Clough!"
"Crikey, Dee you've changed some!"
"Do I take that as a complement?"
"Of course you do, but where's Tish?" I added looking around.
"Porticia's in the States doing an internship. We're both supposed to be on a gap year from Uni. We got placements together in the states for the year, but mine blew out on me."
"And Tish went on her own? You two do everything together."
"Well, normally we do but it was too good an opportunity for her to pass up."
"When did she go?"
"About a month or so back, I thought I'd spend the year brushing up my Spanish. So I signed on here."
Mercedes, or Dee as she had always been known as at school, and I talked for a while until the librarian came over and told us to be quiet. Then we adjourned to the refectory. By the time she had to go to her class we'd made a date for that evening. Well, kind of. I was driving her home from college in my van that night. As I was doing some private work on the side, I'd bought myself an old van to carry all my gear around in.
I did wonder what her folks thought when my tatty old van with ladders on the top pulled up outside their upmarket house that evening. Dee and I sat in the van for some time; chatting about school days and the like. In the end I asked her to go out with me the following evening. It could be that I should have picked up something in her reply; with hindsight I think I should have.
"That would be nice, Roger. I haven't been out since Tish went away."
I arrived at her house about seven-thirty that Friday evening. The door was opened by her father who looked me over like I was something the cat had dragged in and the expression on his face when he looked at my van was something I can't describe.
I was shown into the lounge where Dee's mother and her younger sister were sitting, to wait until Dee was ready. Dee's mother was very pleasant and so was her sister, I remembered Dee's sister Estelle from school. To be honest I think I got the old swooning looks from her.
It struck me that Dee's father didn't like me. This is not an uncommon attitude for a father to take; after all, he was young once and knew how most young guys' minds worked. Standard fatherly protective behaviour, if you ask me.
When Dee entered the room, my jaw dropped. Remember I'd known Dee since she was a little kid. The day before I was struck by her pleasant face and nice figure. But there was no way that I was prepared for the woman that walked into the lounge that evening.
Was it Bobby Vee who sang "Poetry In Motion"? Well there it was, standing before me! I think my heart stopped beating for a moment. Well, I definitely remember I found that speech was impossible for quite some time.
That evening we went to a local night-spot; nothing flashy, just a pub that had live music and dance floor (of sorts). Although we did dance a few times, Dee and I spent most of the evening talking. Don't, for Christ sake, ask me what we talked about, because I haven't got the slightest recollection. I can just tell you that whenever we got together we were talking most of the time. No matter what the subject we appeared to agree on just about everything.
That is except one: Porticia. I had no interest in Porticia at all, although I feigned interest to keep Dee happy. It was clear to me that she had been missing her almost lifelong companion and I suppose it was really understandable. I just wished I'd understood at the time, that Porticia was the other train I was talking about, hiding in that bloody tunnel.
Well, that first date and the little kiss I got at the end of it; led to a second and third date, following in quick succession. By the end if the month, Mercedes and I had become an item. When we weren't either at college or working, we were together.
I would find Dee waiting by my van when I came out of my evening college classes and on the days I was at college she would meet me for lunch. To be honest I was besotted with her and, from what she said and how she behaved, I thought she was besotted with me.
Dee joined me in my bed for the first time after we'd been together about three months. For some reason she couldn't use the pill so we had to resort to other means of protection against her becoming pregnant. I've got to say it kind of took the edge off the moment and spoiled the mood a little. Consequently we didn't get to actual intercourse very often. We found other ways to satisfy our desires.
I knew that Dee was writing to and receiving letters from Tish all the time, but I didn't know the effect they were having on our relationship. Dee's sexual..., damn, how can I put it? Dee's sexual preferences and what she wanted or was willing to try out, slowly changed over time. I don't know why it didn't strike me as strange at the time.
When we first got in bed together in early December, Dee wanted nothing to do with oral sex. But about February time Dee suddenly wanted to try it. For someone who thought giving head was dirty, she soon turned into an enthusiastic expert. And where she had refused to let me go down on her, she was then begging me not to stop.
It was just after Easter that she suddenly mentioned anal sex. As I said, we rarely had intercourse, but as we were going through the palaver of putting the rubber on one night she asked me if I would like to take her anal cherry. I'll be honest - I'd never even thought about it before, but it was apparent Dee had as she had a tube of lubricant in her bag. She found she enjoyed it and as I can't say I didn't, anal intercourse became our norm when we were at my flat.
Right after the anal intercourse incident, Dee started talking about getting engaged. No, that's silly; we both had been talking about it for some time but it was around that time we started talking seriously about getting engaged and getting married. I brought her a ring in late July and we planned to get married right after she took her finals at university the following summer.
Dee's mother was over the moon at our plans. Her father wasn't as enthusiastic. I think he thought his daughter could do better than a bloody builder, as I heard him say on more than one occasion when he thought I was out of earshot. Estelle told me straight, she wanted me to drop Dee and marry her instead.
It was early August when Porticia returned from the States. She had her American boyfriend in tow and, I've got to say, I didn't like the geezer from the start. To my mind, he was everything that I didn't like in Yanks all rolled into one. He was a brash know-it-all, who was forever bragging about himself and how clever he was.
Now don't get the idea that I don't like Americans. I've got some good friends from over the water. There was an American air base near our town and I'd grown up with a lot of American friends. My first proper girlfriend, that I'd had whilst still at school, had come from Chicago.
No, like all nationalities, amongst them are the ones that give all a bad name. George Greenlake was one of those. Whilst he was in the country, he stayed at Porticia's parents' house. Of course there was no way that the Rowan's were going to let him and Porticia share a bed, as they had apparently been doing whilst Porticia was over there in America.
Porticia and George had only been in the country a couple of days and I hadn't met either of them yet. I came home from work one evening to find Dee sitting in the kitchen of my flat; she'd had her own key for some time. There were three coffee cups on the table, which I gave a cursory glance to as I took Dee into me arms and kissed her. I told her I wouldn't be a couple of minutes changing and then we'd go out and eat.
"You can't go in there yet!" Dee blurted out. I looked at her. "Tish and George are using our bed."
"Like fuck they are!" A very apt statement on my part actually. But I'm one of those people who believe in the old adage 'An Englishman's home is his Castle' and in my home the most personal item of furniture is my bleeding bed. This probably goes back to me returning to my parent's house from Uncle Harry's and finding a lodger sleeping in my bed.
I think they must have heard my outburst, which I won't repeat here, because it was only a couple of minutes later that Porticia and George entered the kitchen still in the throes of getting dressed. For all their apologies, they didn't change the sheets or even make the bed.
Dee assured me that they didn't ask her permission to use my/our bed. We were so close by then that everything was referred to as ours. From the way George and Porticia behaved I've always believed Dee on that one. They acted as if they were the most important people in the world.
Whilst George was in the country, the four of us hung around together, although Porticia borrowed her father's car most of the time as there were only three seats in the front of my van. Not that Porticia wanted to lower herself to ride in it anyway. I steadfastly refused to ride in Porticia's father's car, because once they were away from her house, George was doing the driving. Dee always rode with me.
I've got to say, that it was with some sick amusement that I watched him drive out of a pub car park one evening, straight into the front of a bus. I was sounding my horn and I think that was why the bus driver managed to bring the bus to a standstill before George drove into it. So there wasn't too much damage. George had tried to drive along the wrong side of the road, a common mistake for foreigners to make.
As I had surmised, George was not insured to drive the car and wasn't in possession of an international licence, although the police appeared happy to accept his American licence. Once Porticia's father arrived at the scene I took Dee home. I don't know what ramifications there were to the incident. George flew home the following weekend.
September was on us before we really knew what was happening. Suddenly my tatty old van took on a new significance. Both Tish and Dee had to get all of their gear to the flat they were sharing at Uni. Suddenly Porticia was quite happy to travel in my van once all her junk was staked in the back along with Dee's.
Porticia was on the "not favourite daughter list" with her father, after he discovered his new Saab buried in the front of that bus. So he hadn't volunteered to drive her up.
All too soon the girls were gone. Not that I cared a toss about Tish being away again, but I was soon missing Dee. Hey, I wasn't the only one missing her. In all the time we'd been going out together, I'd been invited to Dee's house for a meal once. And I really think that was only because I needed to ask her father for her hand in marriage officially.
The week after the girls' left, Dee's mother called me and invited me to Sunday lunch. As I've said, I appeared to get on just fine with Dee's mother and her sister who was still following me around like a puppy. Now Dee's father started calling me son and even asked me to join him in a round of golf, not one of my sports. But I could see I was going to have to take it up after Dee and I were married. Got to keep the in-laws happy.
I figured there was a little bit of an ulterior motive in these invitations to meals on the weekends. When Dee came home every month to visit, we would spend a lot of time at her parents' house, now that I was a regular, and apparently welcome, visitor there.
Once a month I drove up to spend the weekend with Dee. Although that wasn't how it usually worked out. Most of the time Tish was with us, and her main topic of conversation was George and how she was going back to the States to marry him when she had her degree.
Tish also had the infuriating habit of coming home with Dee as well. She slept at her parents' house but appeared to spend most of her time at Dee's parents' place. Well, let's be precise; she spent most of her time wherever Dee was. That included the little time Dee spent at my flat.
By the time Christmas came around, plans for our marriage were in full swing. Um, let's be fair; Dee's mother was just about organising everything, along with Estelle that is. I think Dee and I were just agreeing to everything that they wanted to do. Hey, I wasn't paying. It was Dee's old man who was footing the bill.
I would just say, "Are you all right with this, Frank?"
He'd nod and say, "Wait till it's your turn, son. Take my advice and only have boys!"
I suppose he wasn't a bad old stick really. As far as Estelle was concerned, this marriage was only a rehearsal for what she termed as "The big one!" Frank would look at me and raise his eyebrows when she said that.