Life after Death Ch. 09byExecutive Gent©
Two minutes later, Issy and Alice crashed into the kitchen, laughing and giggling over something that they chose not to share, they were already becoming extremely close and I knew that the bond they were forming would be life-long. My heart began to swell with the thought of just how these two had changed our lives in such a short period of time. Issy started telling Rachel about all the things she had done with Jane's parents over the weekend, usually throwing in comments about how Tim and Grampa had ganged up on her or had upset her in some way. Within a couple of minutes Rachel had Issy on one knee and Alice on the other and was laughing with them as they competed to tell the most exciting story about their weekend. Tim sat there for a while, quietly pensive but enjoying the scene almost as much as I did. Rachel looked at us as she listened to the girls and raised her eyebrows and smiled as if to say "these two are as mad as each other," but the look of utter contentment on her face was absolute, and I could see the happiness she found from this scene was something she wanted as much as I did. I said a silent prayer of thanks at that minute for the arrival of this remarkable woman in our lives.
The rest of the evening was a blur of domestic activity, I sat enthralled as I began to watch the relationship between Rachel and the children strengthen, Issy loved her to bits, I knew that she would one day call Rachel Mum, sitting on the large squashy sofa in the family area of the kitchen. I questioned myself on how I would react when that happened. Issy was so young when Jane died, she was only just five, and even now it was hard for her remember Jane as she was before she became ill. The love of someone like Rachel was so badly needed in her life; she was a wonderful little girl, who had been deprived of her mother's love in the most heart wrenching way possible. I knew I had to talk to the people most affected by this tragedy, specifically about what had been agreed between Rachel and I over the last two days. I decided that the children would be fine with things moving on as they were, but Jane's parents needed chatting to and to a lesser degree so did mine, although in reality I knew they would be happy as long as the children and I were.
For those people who have suffered this type of bereavement, you find yourself worrying about the reaction of the deceased partners family as much as you worry about yourself. I stood up from the sofa and walked over to Rachel who was standing at the Belfast sink looking out of the window which overlooked the pool house to the right and the lawns and tennis court to the right, putting my arms around her waist, I nuzzled into her neck and whispered that if she didn't mind I needed to make a few phone calls which would take fifteen minute or so. She turned in my arms and gently kissed me on the lips, telling me she would get the girls off to bed, and perhaps when I had finished we could sit quietly and think about the holiday and where we could go with the kids that would be suitable for both ages. I smiled into those lovely eyes that I had come to adore so much, agreeing that it would be great to spend some quiet time together. Kissing her deeply trying to show how much I loved her, I moved away and began to saunter across the large farmhouse kitchen towards my study. Just as I reached the doorway into the hall she called out in a slightly questioning tone;
Stopping and looking back at her as she lit up the room with her smile she said;
"Do you know how happy you have made me? And how much I love you?"
Speechless I replied; "Rachel, I love you so very deeply, more than I could ever have believed possible, and if I have made you as happy, as just thinking about you makes me, then I am the happiest man alive!"
Pirouetting with clear joy she ran across the kitchen, and into my arms again, kissing me and telling me that she wanted to be with us for always and kissed me in a way that shook me to the core. Just at that moment Tim ambled into the room looking for food and drink and laughing he muttered;
"Gross…… Is this what its going to be like from now on? Having to knock on every door before I enter, so that you two have time to get decent!"
Before I could answer Rachel, pulled him close and kissed his forehead, laughing telling him that he better get used to us being like this, because she was too happy to start hiding all of us how happy she was, and just because he was growing up, he was still not too old for a cuddle from her either!!
He just laughed, wriggled out her grip and told her she would have to catch him first, laughing I left them chasing each other around the kitchen in shrieks of laughter. I walked over to my study and began to call Miles again, asking him if I could leave Scooby there until the morning as I was shattered and didn't feel like getting him tonight. Laughing he said he was sure I had far better things to do tonight than get the dog, as he put the phone down, he told me to have fun, and that he would drop him into the house on his way to work. Thanking him I promised him that I had no ulterior motive for not leaving the house tonight, he just laughed again and said he would see me in the morning. Smiling, I put the phone down and began to dial Rob and Claire's number.
As usual Rob answered, slightly gruffly, which even after all these years made me feel uneasy, Jane used to tease me about it so much when we first got together, telling me he was a teddy bear really, but I never got over the feeling, even after so many years. As I let him know who it was, he immediately asked if there was anything wrong, and I assured him there was nothing out of the ordinary, and that I had rung to check they got home ok, and to thank them for having the kids. His tone immediately warmed and said they had been fine, other than Issy had wanted to spend all her pocket money within the first half hour of arriving there. I laughed, as he said she reminded him of her mother so much, I agreed with him, she was the spit of her in so many ways. I chatted on for a moment or so, and I knew I needed to get to the real reason for my call, which was to invite them out to dinner later in the week as I wanted to chat to them about Rachel and I without any external influences. I used the tack that I hadn't seen them properly for ages and I wanted to take them out for a meal to catch up. He checked with Claire who took the phone off him and after much discussion we decided that the following evening would be ideal. She told me to take care and that she thought Rachel was lovely with kids, and that Issy had told her that we were sleeping together in Mum and Dad's room. I blushed and stammered an answer, but heard the warmth in her voice as told me that she was teasing me, and that I needed to move on. With that she told me to get off the phone and to ring them if there was a problem with tomorrow. The obvious warmth in her tone of conversation about Rachel made me feel much happier about the forthcoming meal.
I quickly phoned my own parents and told them that I was going to ask Rachel to marry me, and did they have any issues with it? My dad was pleased for us, but my mother was worried that it was so soon after getting together, but as long as I was happy then she was sure that everything would be fine. I assured her that I knew exactly what I was doing and that whilst I accepted that we had only known each other a short time; I had never been so sure of anything in my life. After this, I received their blessing and told them not say anything to anyone until I had seen Rob and Claire tomorrow. To which my mother dutifully agreed, that she wouldn't breathe a word to a soul, I could almost hear the clock in her head ticking as she counted down to the time when she could break the news to her friends, that her poor bereaved son was remarrying a successful vet with her own practise. I loved her dearly, but on times she was hard work, but at least they were happy for me, and I was really pleased for that, putting down the phone after saying goodnight I walked out into the hall and headed for the living room where Rachel had taken a bottle of my favourite Chablis and was standing next to the centrally located coffee table pouring two generous glasses for us.
She had put the girls to bed as it was gone 9.30 and Tim was in his room on the playstation and going to bed himself at 10. Whilst upstairs, she had changed into a matching turquoise sheer silk halter neck pyjama set and sheer full length wrap, which made her complexion, and eyes look exquisite in the dimmed light of the room. The top obviously tied at the neck and had intricate detailing inlaid with beads around the neck and ankles with satin kitten heel slippers. Her long hair loose and trailing over her shoulders, smiling at me mischievously she looked amazing, as she grinned at my obvious shock in her appearance. Laughing she said;
"What's wrong sweety? The cat got your tongue?"
I smiled, slightly embarrassed, and told her she looked beautiful and she said that she just wanted to feel special with the man she loved. I made a mental note that in future I was going to make sure she had as many of this style of gown as she wanted, as she melted my heart, dressed like this. She looked incredibly sexy, but the appeal was more than just physical, it was almost ethereal in many ways. On any other night, we would have made love there and then, but the weekend had been so special, the feeling of complete togetherness that we were beginning to experience, coupled with the way my children reacted to her when they saw her for the first time in three days made it an almost spiritual atmosphere. However, as she came to kiss me and hand me my wine, it didn't stop my body reacting to hers as she brushed against me, it was like an electric shock ran from my lips to my groin and I couldn't help the fact that I got incredibly hard just by lightly kissing her lips. She instinctively knew the effect she was having on me and as she pulled away from the kiss she traced the outline of my shaft with her nail lightly, and licked my lips sensuously with her tongue.
I just groaned saying "Not fair babe, Tim is still awake"
"Its ok sweety, I can wait, anyway tell me about your calls, did you do what you needed?"
I told her that I had phoned Miles and asked him to keep Scooby until tomorrow, to which she replied that she was pleased to get me all to herself for the rest of the evening as she wanted to talk about holidays and stuff.
Joking, I told her that dressed like that I had plenty of "stuff" I wanted to talk about too. She laughed and kissing her finger, placed against my still semi hard shaft and whispered;
"Plenty of time for that later my love, now tell me who else you phoned."
"I phoned my parents and then Rob and Claire to thank them for having the kids for the weekend and to see if I could get together with them for dinner one night this week." I said cautiously.
"That's good are you seeing all four or just two at a time?"
"Well, I told my parents over the phone what I had to say, but I think I would like to talk face to face with Jane's parents. Is there any way you could have the kids tomorrow evening and I'll meet you at your house later, please?"
For some reason I was nervous to ask her, as it meant I wanted to meet them alone, I wasn't sure how she would feel if I went to talk about us to them on my own. She smiled, all sexual teasing aside for a minute, touching my hand as we sat next to each other on the large soft leather sofa, she said that there was no problem for to have the kids.
"Is it something important Steve, can I help or is it family business?"
Taking her hand in mine, I looked at her and kissed the back of her hand and said;
"It's immensely important, my love, I need to tell them how much you mean to me and ask them to stay involved with us all as we move forward. I suppose in someway I want their blessing, they have been wonderful to me, but I want them to know I am not just arbitrarily replacing their daughter with someone else. I know they have been encouraging me to meet new people, but nobody expected us to feel this deeply about each so soon. I love you so much that I want everything to be right for us before we start out on this journey.
Does that make sense? Rachel, I love you so much, that my life will never be the same again, I have been fortunate to find true love not once but twice in my life, most people don't find this sort of happiness once let alone for a second time."
The tears were rolling down my face now, I needed her know that she meant so much to me that I would do everything I could to make it right for us right from the beginning. She held my face in my hands, and kissed each eyelid exactly where the tears started, then she softly kissed my lips as if to show me that she was trying to take away my fear and pain, then quietly she started to talk.
"My darling Steve, on the first day you came to the farm I told you I would probably never marry again, I saw the pain in your eyes that day, but it was how I honestly felt then. I have never known the happiness that a truly wonderful marriage can bring. My marriage was based on fear and jealousy; I walked on eggshells every time I needed to go out for anything other than routine errands and even then he would question me about whom I met and what I did. It was awful, and then he started to abuse me, verbally at first and then physically. When I was six months pregnant he hit me so hard that I fell down a flight of stairs and I nearly lost Alice, because he thought I was having an affair with Dave our senior partner at the time. You have given me more love in the last few months than I have experienced with anyone else other than Alice and my own parents.
I watched the video that Jane made for the kids, it was so obvious that she loved you with her very soul, I don't feel threatened by her at all, but watching it showed me what I had missed. I knew that whilst I was hugely attracted to you…"
At this point she stroked my cheek and smiled a smile that made me just melt with love for her.
"I also knew you would not hurt me, that if I allowed you too, you could love me without compromise, and that there was room for me in your heart, because your incredible and unselfish wife, had released you and her children before she died. That video was her way of guiding you all back to spiritual health. You didn't know it but it was her gift to you all. Her legacy, if you like, she was giving you her blessing to find happiness.
I love you Steve, I will wait for you until you are ready to fully commit to me, I will help you recover when you need too, as I said earlier to Tim, and I already love the kids as if they were my own. However, my love you can only decide how ready you are to move forward, and if part of the journey is sitting down with Jane's parents and asking them for their blessing then that is what you must do sweety. "
The tears were flowing down both our faces now, and all I could do in response to those beautiful words was to whisper "Thank you" as I held her for dear life.
Gradually we recovered from our emotions, and I began to think about how badly she had been treated. Alice's father had been a real bastard to her and somehow I knew that he would never quite leave us. He would be a spectre at the fringe of our happiness for a long time to come, but for Alice's sake we needed to deal with him. The one thing I knew was that I would do everything I could to safeguard them from risk, I already guessed from his reaction earlier today that I would need to be very careful around him. As my mind cleared I held gently and told her;
"My darling, I am ready to commit my body and soul to you and to Alice right now, you have brought me so much happiness recently, that it is beginning to be hard to remember how deeply I despaired about the future before I met you. There is so much to discuss though, our lives are so complex; for instance where will we live? Do you want to sell one house and move to the other? Should we sell both houses and find something fresh with no baggage? What about the girls schools if we do any of those things?
I just want you to be happy, I don't want you to feel threatened or at risk because of me. You can have anything you want, I can afford to refurbish a property if necessary or if you want too we could even build from scratch if we found the right land."
She just fell about laughing, and even though I was trying to be serious, I caught an amazing glimpse of her upper breasts and cleavage as she leant against me kissing me again and again. I remember thinking how would I ever live without this gorgeous creature in my life; the thing that I missed most after Jane was ill was spontaneous moments of affection like this. I knew we would make love tonight but it didn't matter if we didn't, I would equally be happy to spend hours cuddled up to her talking and stroking her like this, just whispering words of affection and love to each other.
After about twenty minutes or so we ended up chatting about where we should go on holiday, she was happy to either stay in the UK or go abroad, I wanted to go abroad, I felt like getting away to somewhere warm. If we stayed in the UK, I would still get lots of calls from work wanting to discuss the forthcoming merger, so we started throwing ideas into the frame and eventually we decided that we should go to either Spain or the Greek Islands but we would try for a good family resort that had everything for us and the kids alike. Rachel wasn't working until Tuesday, as it was her turn for a long weekend off so she agreed she would look for a suitable destination the next day.
With that agreed, she decided that as it was nearly midnight perhaps we should think about getting some sleep. I suggested that she should go on up and that I would shut up the house, tidy up a bit and lay breakfast for the morning and follow her up in a short while. She stood up gave me hug and told me not to be too long as she wanted me with her as soon as I could. Promising her that I would be as quick as I could, she went off to bed smiling. Although she wanted me to be quick, I couldn't help taking a while to reflect on the events of the weekend, picking up a photo of Jane from the bookcase in the living room. I looked at the smiling face and thanked her for letting me go and in many ways guiding me spiritually through the last couple of years. I almost heard her telling me that it was me, that rescued myself from my own grief, but I knew that it was the strength of our love that helped me recognise that feeling for a second time. I don't know how long I stood and looked at the picture, it seemed like it was forever, but in reality it was no more than a few minutes, but those sacred minutes alone with her memory allowed me to say thank you finally for her giving me the ability to move on to a new and happier life.
Twenty-five minutes after Rachel had left me to go up to bed, I was following her up the stairs and quietly walked into the bedroom, she was still awake and reading. As I stared at her for a second, I couldn't help notice her outlined form under the sheets as the soft light of the lamps cast shadows over her body as I quickly and quietly closed the door. Slowly making my way to the bed she smiled at me as she heard the soft sound of my feet on the polished boards of large room.
With a mischievous smile she put the book down and beckoned me over to the bed, grinning I slowly walked over to her and as she knelt up on the bed to meet me, I placed my hands on her arms, and then started to softly kiss her shoulder, then her neck. She rested her head against my shoulder, as I kissed and stroked her exposed shoulder. My hands moved to the back of the silk top, and slowly I began to untie the halter, as the sheer material fell forward to expose her glorious breasts, I stopped to caress each nipple as she softly whispered my name, begging me not to stop, gently I bent my head and flicked her each bud with my tongue before drawing it deep into my mouth and sucking it gently before releasing it to explore her glorious breasts with my lips and tongue once more. Rachel was now standing next to the bed in nothing but the sheer pyjama bottoms, I took a step back, so I could get a good look at her.