Life after Death Ch. 04byExecutive Gent©
Anyway the weeks past and I almost forgot about her, and then I went to a business lunch as a guest, when to my surprise she was a guest at my table. I reintroduced myself, and she politely remembered me, I knew she didn't notice but I was impressed at the way she dealt with the situation. She looked radiant, her hair was fashionably up, with just a hint of make-up and she wore a fitted dark business style suit, which the skirt was finished just above the knee. Although, quite formal to me she looked gorgeous, we chatted about mutual friends and acquaintances, her divorce, and it turned out she had known Jane also, but only in passing, I felt I had known her for a very long time, as the lunch finished, she gave me her number saying that why didn't I bring my daughter over to see her horses, which I thanked her very much and said I would.
As I walked to my car, I felt so happy, there was a lightness in my step and although it was still March and the weather showed no sign of breaking into a long awaited spring, I felt a warmth in my heart, that I hadn't for a very long time. Then, I heard a voice calling me, it was Rachel, she caught up with me and said why didn't I take Isobel to visit late Saturday morning and we could all have a spot of lunch too. So it was agreed, my son was going on a sports development day, so in truth I needed something to occupy Issy's time and it gave me chance to get to know Rachel better too.
Saturday arrived, and we set off from the house around 11.00 ish, Issy was enthralled with the idea of being able to spend time with a new friend (hopefully) and seven thoroughbred horses. On a personal note I hoped that I would find friendship with Rachel also. Even now I was not thinking about romance, my only thought was that she intrigued me, and I really hoped that such an attractive and vibrant woman might want to know me better too. As we drove the seven miles to her house, My Range Rover seemed to be on auto pilot, Issy chattered away, and I smiled appropriately but my mind was lost in my own thoughts, flitting from memories of Jane and how much I loved and missed her but who I knew would also want me to move on and find happiness where I could. Friends and our families who's love and support had been so crucial, and finally Rachel who had somehow stirred my heart in recent weeks.
Suddenly I was facing a lovely old stone built house that while not run down was certainly fraying a little around the edges, as the big 4x4 crunched its way up the gravel driveway, I was greeted by a smiling little girl who was the image of her mother, then a split second her mother appeared in a pair of faded jeans and a white T-shirt, very little makeup, her dark hair flowing freely in the wind and smiling at us. As we got out of the car, both mother and daughter started chatting excitedly about what they had planned.
Alice, Rachel's daughter, dragged Issy off to explore the grounds; Rachel gave a friendly kiss on the cheek, and invited me into her home. If the outside needed the some care and attention the inside was like stepping into another world, it was beautiful, old beams, real wooden floors, lots of Olde Worlde charm, mixed with a contemporary theme, I almost sighed with contentment as I appreciated her style and obvious good taste, she chatted about her plans for the house which had been her parents home, until she had bought it off them after her divorce. We had a fantastic time together that first day, and before I knew it, I needed to pick up my son. I started to make movement to gather up Issy's belongings, when Rachel suggested that I went and fetched Tim, and brought him back for supper, she was going to do Pasta and Meatballs, and would love us to join them too. My heart couldn't help missing a beat when she suggested this, and the decision was made when Issy, started pleading with me to stay. I made some half-hearted excuses about outstaying our welcome, but was easily persuaded by the girls. Infact Issy stayed with Rachel and Alice whilst I nipped into town to fetch him.
Tim, was shattered when I picked him up and wasn't best pleased at the thought of going out to supper after a day playing sports, like all twelve year old boys, he did not relish an evening with two young girls and his "boring" father and his even more "boring" friend. I pleaded with him to just go with it and promised him we would just have supper then leave as soon as we could. He seemed to lighten his mood, when I promised him home made pasta and meatballs!!! One of his favourite meals I am pleased to say. He asked about Rachel and her daughter, and seemed to also understand that it was important to me, that we all got along. So I felt reasonably confident when I swung the car into her driveway. As before the tyres of the heavy 4x4 announced our presence, and by the time we had reached the house Rachel and the girls were waiting to meet us. There was a warm glow radiating from the house into the cold winters night and I was pleased to see that Rachel had taken the trouble to change since I left.
She was now dressed in an elegant cream silk blouse, fashionably cut to accentuate her body shape and a pair of black velvet trousers and heals, her hair was now up, and she wore the merest hint of make up, and subtle silver jewellery. I was enthralled, she welcomed us warmly, and introduced herself and Alice to Tim, without missing a beat, she immediately made him feel the most important person in the group. As I locked the car, and strode over to join them, she was telling him, about the house and that she had grown up here, and that when he next came over, she would let him have a go on her quad, which she used to get to difficult places on outlying farms if there was trapped animal which couldn't reach by car or 4x4. He was immediately in love, and I have to say, when I saw her with them all, so was I!!
We had a wonderful supper and the kids went off to watch TV and videos, and she I talked and talked for hours. I felt so at ease with her, I told her about Jane, and how badly I had reacted after her death, and how I had decided six months or so ago, that I must get on with my life. She told me about her divorce and how hard it was to raise a child on her own. We laughed about the way friends and families try to match you up with other single people, and most of them you just couldn't bare to spend time alone with.
We discussed whether we would ever remarry; a definite maybe from me, and a definite doubt it from her!!! However, we both laughed about it and agreed that you never knew what was around the corner. The evening came to and end, when Tim came into the kitchen and said he was shattered and could he go home to bed, he was so polite about it but I realised it was nearly midnight and the girls were fast asleep in Alice's bunk beds. Rachel asked me if she would be ok in the morning, if I let her sleep where she was. I thought she would be ok, but said if there was a problem just ring me, for a fleeting moment part of me hoped that we all could stay, but I knew that could not be the case. I said I would come over and get her first thing, but Rachel, said that she would bring her over to us later in the morning. I protested that we had taken up enough of her weekend already, but she insisted, so it seemed only natural to invite her over to Sunday lunch. She accepted without hesitation and with a warm kiss on the cheek Tim and I left Issy there and headed home. As we got to the doorway she put her hand on my arm and smiled and thanked me for making a usually boring Saturday special.
As we climbed into the cold Leather seats of the Range Rover, Tim shivered and looked over to me and said; -
"We used have days like today with Mum didn't we Dad?" I felt a huge lump in my throat, as I said with a smile:
"Yes, we did, didn't we? I'm really sorry that its just us Tim, I know how much you miss her. You know there isn't a day goes by that I don't wish she was here with us."
"I know Dad, me too."
Then as afterthought he touched my hand and said;
"I really liked Rachel and Alice. Do you really think she would let me have a go on her Quad?"
I laughed but not out loud and said to him I was sure that she would, and as the big car warmed up we both went silent, both lost in our thoughts about this amazing woman and her equally enchanting daughter who had just entered our lives. Fifteen minutes later I pulled onto our driveway, flicked the remote for the garage door and parked the Big Rover up for the night. Tim went off to bed with a cheery "night Dad" and I sat in the lounge with a glass of red wine as I contemplated my journey of despair and recovery since my beloved wife had left me. I swore I heard her giggle with delight as I sat there hoping that Rachel would become more than a friend. Infact as I sat there, I was sure she told me not to worry, everything was going to be fine, and that I would be happy again. I made a mental note not to drink late at night and alone. To which I swear I heard her laugh once more, but this time I knew that all she ever wanted was for me to be happy, and that however much I loved someone else, she would always be in my heart.
I woke bright and early next day, and set about tidying the house ready for my guests. The phone rang about 9.30 and I heard my daughter launch into monologue of how she was wearing Alice's dress and that they had had bacon sandwiches and toast for breakfast. With that I head her being called by her new friend, and I found myself with a deadly quiet on the other end for a few seconds while Rachel obviously realised what had happened and got to the phone, in fits of laughter. Telling me that they had woken up at 7.00am and hadn't stopped since!!! We chatted for a while about this and that, finally agreeing that she would arrive around eleven, so she could help with lunch. I assured her I was fine and not to rush, but she insisted that she would help with the preparations. I laughed and agreed that eleven would be great. Just as we were say saying goodbye, I suggested that she brought Alice's swimming things over and the girls could swim in our indoor pool, and that as long as we supervised them, they would be kept out of mischief after their food had gone down. Rachel laughed once more, saying she had not realised we had an indoor pool, and she might be tempted to pack her costume too!!! I said to her that ofcourse she was welcome to use it, but be warned that my kids can get quite boisterous in it, and that I often ended up retreating to the poolside a beaten and humiliated old man!!! To which she replied she was made of sterner stuff than that, and didn't believe in ever retreating once she made her mind up about something. I laughed out loud and told her to arrive as soon as she wished, she said she would see us, in an hour or so, and with light-hearted farewell the phone line went dead.
I busied myself with lunch preparations, and in truth the vegetables were cleaned and the meat was already in the oven by 10.30am. They arrived in a flourish of activity and noise around 10.45am. Tim who not only got up before 10, but had also showered and dressed and tidied his bedroom, - something that was normally unheard of on a weekend!!! - ran to the door to greet them. Rachel breezed in giving him a big hug and me equally warm kiss on the cheek - we said later that both of us felt she had been part of our lives forever. Today she was dressed in black cord jeans a white cotton blouse with a matching black cotton V-necked jumper, her hair was loose and she had a scrunchy on her wrist in case of emergency. Her make up, again was light but she wore a lovely deep red lipstick, which seemed to accentuate her sensuous mouth to perfection. Without appearing to be interfering she found the kitchen, checked the Chicken in the oven, put a lovely bottle of chardonnay in the fridge to cool and managed to get me to give her a guided tour of the ground floor of the house. She complimented me on its décor, and said what good taste Jane had had, and even when Issy dragged her off upto her bedroom to see her toys, she just smiled and followed her up the stairs. I smiled at the way my daughter dragged her off upstairs and much to Tim's disgust Issy proceeded to show her and Alice every room upstairs too. She came downstairs laughing and teasing him that he must been up at the crack of dawn to get his room that tidy! To which, he blushed but also beamed with pride that she had noticed his hard work.
We had a great lunch and the kids went off to do their thing, leaving us to sit and chat over the mayhem that a full Sunday Roast brings to a table, but I was in no rush to clear the dishes as I was enthralled by the vitality and warmth this woman brought back to my home. Eventually she broke the spell by gathering the dishes and heading to the kitchen, even loading a dishwasher didn't seem a pain in her presence, as she seemed to smile and laugh her way through the chores and as we finally sat down in the lounge with a well-earned drink. I caught her studying me intently, I questioned her about this, and she just said that today was the first time she saw no pain in my eyes! I was a little taken aback, but said that I could not remember enjoying two days as much as I had enjoyed this weekend. She just smiled as curled her long slender legs under her bottom and layback into the sofa, agreeing that she had really enjoyed it too. As she reclined on my sofa, she seemed to me completely relaxed in my presence and my home, I had an over whelming urge to go over and kiss her. Yet I wasn't sure of what she felt about me, but I prayed she felt the same way too, and in order not to jeopardise our relationship I could wait.
After sitting for 10 minutes or so lost in our own thoughts she suggested a we went for a walk in the grounds, the kids didn't want to come, but wanted to go and visit Miles and Helen, We said this was ok as long as they didn't mind, I rang them and told them that the kids wanted to come up and that Rachel and Alice had come over for lunch. Helen being her ever-tactful self said to send the kids up and for us to enjoy ourselves and she would ring before letting them come home. I said if was dark to I would come up to get them.
So it was that at 2.30 on a Sunday after noon we were walking the fields and woods around my old house in the rain alone. The winter had been long and cold, but in the dying days of the season the rains didn't let up. We spent an hour walking through the fields and woods. The first signs of spring were already showing on the cold dark silhouettes of the trees. It was a day filled with the sights of the end of winter and the first smells in the rain promised the onset of spring. But we laughed and joked and finally held hands as we realised that we were soaked as we slowly walked up to the house door, but we didn't care about that. We were together which was all that seemed important. I took her coat as she playfully shook the water from her hair and laughed. As we moved from the utility room through to the lounge where the fire still glowed its welcome, we stood by the fireplace lost in our own thoughts as an aura of warmth swept through the room. She said she was soaking wet and was glad that she always kept a change of close in the car for work, if I didn't mind she might go and get them.
I told her that there were clean towels etc upstairs if she needed to shower, but she asked me if I minded if she had a quick bath? As she was really cold, I said ofcourse I didn't, and she nipped to her car, to get her bag of spare clothes. I told her she could use my bathroom as the bath there was large and very comfortable, she smiled and said following her earlier tour she remembered where it was and would meet me there. I didn't think anything more and went on up stairs to find towels and a spare robe etc for her suddenly wanting to make it more relaxing for her I decided to light some candles that had still remained from when Jane and I would spend romantic evenings in the large bath. When all of them were lit, no lights were needed and I had succeeded to surround the old cast iron bathtub with the little dancing flames. I knew she'd hear the water as I started to run her bath; she called as she entered the bedroom and I told her there was a fresh robe and towels on the bed, and to use the dressing room on the right of the room to change then I would leave her in peace to relax. She shouted ok, and I thought I would go get the kids while she relaxed. I turned around to leave and there she was, smiling a curious knowing smile. She wore the plain white towelling robe I left for her and kissed me on the cheek thanking me for going to such an effort. I took her hand to bring her into the room. She simply smiled. I was not expecting what she did next but I am so glad it happened.
She kissed me fully on the lips, deeply; gently she probed with her tongue until I returned her probing passionately. Breaking away, smiling up at me, her beautiful eyes watching me, subconsciously she wet her lips with her tongue; she opened her robe and let it slide from her shoulders. I tried not to stare, but her beauty astounded me. I took her hand again helping step her into the large tub. As she sat down, she sighed at the comfort of being warm for the first time for over an hour. Looking at me straight in the eyes with a wicked grin, she started to splash me, the floor got wet, the walls got wet and a few of the candles. We laughed as our eyes met. I tried to stop her but she just kept splashing me, laughing out loud I reached across her body to the small shelf to get the sponge and body wash. I fought with her as her laughed and giggled as I felt the urge that came over me, as our lips were so close. "Not yet." I told myself and moved behind her. Then as she felt the warm water cascade over her back, she started to relax. The bubbles from the sponge cascaded down her back into the steaming water. I almost felt jealous of those bubbles for being so close to her. She sighed as I rubbed her neck and back. I could feel her muscles relaxing and although I couldn't see, I knew she was smiling as I lifted her left arm out of the water and continued to bathe her with long languid strokes from her shoulder to her wrist and back again. I let the sponge brush against the side of her breast but I'm not sure whom it aroused more. I did the same motion with her right arm. Again I brushed against her breast.
I let the sponge fall into the water and pulled her back until she was were against the sloped back of the tub. I took her hair and pulled it over her left shoulder and leaned forward. I let her feel the warmth of my breath against her neck, lingering before I kissed her just behind her ear. Another kiss lower on her neck, and another. She turned to me, ever so slightly; her hand came up and around my neck. As I lowered myself to kiss her lips, I got more than I had intended, with a swift movement of her hand, she pulled me fully clothed into the bath. I surfaced, bewildered, and noticed that only two or three candles remained lit. That no longer mattered. We both laughed as I struggled to get comfortable, finally kneeling to get undressed. She helped me to get my wet shirt over my head and my trousers off of my ankles. It certainly wasn't graceful, but it was fun. Most importantly, we knew we were going to be together, and that we would end up making love. I looked deep into her eyes and moved closer. Our lips met. Only brushed really, for that first instant, then we pressed them together hard. Slow, deep meaningful kisses that felt like they lasted for days and tasted so wonderfully sweet. I gently moved my tongue across her lower lip nibbling it as we parted. Her lips parted and we explored each other's mouths. I reached behind me and pulled out the plug to let the water drain. I stood and offered my hands to her to help her up. Covering her with a giant towel and wiping the foamy water from her body. I could feel the contours of her body through the towel and as I lowered myself to the floor, to dry her legs, I could smell her growing passion and I could not resist planting soft butterfly kisses along her soft stomach as I dried her legs.