tagNovels and NovellasThe Touch Ch. 09

The Touch Ch. 09

byGreenFingers©

WARNING TO READERS - This is a long, rambling, multi-part story and VERY British. The individual chapters will make more sense if read in sequence.

Chapter 9: A Visit to Joanna

When I got into work the next morning, Maggie was already in the office. I made coffee and then told her about re-hiring Joanna and Debbie; my meeting with Mark Dwight and the deal for the garden produce shop. She was really pleased on both counts and I felt as proud as Punch. We put our coats on and went out into the yard and spent a little time discussing which of the converted outhouses should be used for the new shop, how best to lay it out and what special equipment we would need. Mark had said he would throw in his mother's old manual brass scales, they would add character, but I was not sure if they would pass scrutiny by HM Weights and Measures in a proper shop, and told Maggie I would look into it.

Maggie went back to the office and I took a walk around the grounds and made mental note of a few jobs that needing doing, and checked the heating and water systems for the greenhouses. As I came into the office Maggie was just finishing a telephone call, she beckoned me over and tore a sheet of paper from her pad and passed it to me. It was an address out off the A36 near Wilton.

"What's this?" I asked after she had hung up.

"It's where we are going this afternoon," she chuckled. "That was Georgia Craven on the 'phone, do you remember her?"

I did vaguely recall a smart woman who had been at the Christmas Eve drinks party, and was a partner in the law firm that Maggie used. "Yes, I remember," I said, "She brought her gormless son to the party....reading classics at Cambridge or something, yes?"

"Well, she is absolutely loaded; she married and divorced two very rich husbands, and then inherited this house from her father, who was a high court judge!" She flicked the piece of paper in my hand, and then continued, "Both the house and grounds are terribly run down but, she now wants to start renovations and has asked if we will take on the redesign and planting of the gardens!"

"Bloody hell! I exclaimed, "That sounds as if it could be a serious long term earner, but are we going to be able to take it on with the alterations and everything else that is happening here between now and Easter?"

"I don't see why not!" she replied, "we are not actually going to be doing the building work our selves during the next couple of months, Jack has the growing in hand, and if we start to advertise now, we may be able to take on some experienced hands ahead of the planned schedule, or even head hunt a couple from other garden centres."

I knew that she was keen to expand the design and landscaping side of the business, this was what she really did best and I was busting a gut to try out all the theory that I had learned at college. She was right; we needed to start thinking about hiring more full time staff because when the expansions were completed at Easter we were going to be one of the largest and most up to date gardening businesses in the area.

Maggie fetched the Range Rover and we stopped off at 'The Wilton' for lunch, the pub was a bit run down, but served a really good ploughman's lunch, then we drove on to the A36. It took a bit of time to find the address but eventually after touring a lot of narrow back roads and lanes we found a large farm gate between two crumbling gate posts which had seen grander days, with a lopsided sign saying 'Craven Lodge'. The drive was nothing but thick mud and wound through some scrubby trees to curve out in front of an impressive timber framed house, probably sixteenth century, with modern builder's scaffolding encasing most of the front face. The drive in front of the house was gravelled but we were still glad that we had chosen to wear rubber boots, it had rained heavily during the night and everywhere was a sea of mud.

Georgia Craven was waiting for us in the doorway. She was a small woman of about fifty, with a still neat figure and dark brown hair which was starting to streak with grey and was tied back into a tight, rather old fashioned bun. Her face was probably best described as handsome rather than pretty, but her eyes were incredibly blue and piercing; I imagined that as a younger woman she would have been seriously attractive and sexy. I guessed she had just got in from the office as she was wearing a smart, dark grey, pin-striped business style, skirt suit over a cream jumper and had single row of pearls at her throat. Incongruously she was wearing green Wellington boots which were already covered in mud. There were two young black Labradors chasing about the drive and I deduced that she had just been walking the dogs.

She greeted Maggie warmly and they hugged and exchanged air kisses in the way that women do, and then turned to me. "Do I know you?" she asked, her voice had a typical lawyer's tone, slightly sharp and totally devoid of warmth.

"Er .... Maybe," I stuttered, "We met briefly at the Christmas Eve party."

"Oh, yes, you are the bright young nephew, aren't you?" she intoned, "Let us hope that you are as good a gardener as your aunt keeps telling everyone."

"He certainly is," Maggie interrupted, a little protectively, I thought. "Jamie is not just the manager of the garden centre; he will also be helping me with the designs for your garden and will be managing and overseeing a lot of the work."

I tried not to look shocked, it was a bit of an exaggeration to describe me as manager, but worse, Maggie had not mentioned to me anything at all about working on this project. I was really chuffed that Maggie thought that much of me, but I was not sure about the task, I was confident in my abilities, but Georgia Craven obviously did not like me or just thought that I was too young for job.

"Let's get on then," she said, "follow me and I will show what we have here and you can get some idea of what you have to do."

There was a ten foot Leylandii hedge to the left of the house and she led us through an untidy archway. I made a note on my pad that the hedge needed pruning and shaping. I looked up and found we were standing on a gravel path at the top of a stone stairway leading down to what had been at one time, the main flower gardens. It was massive! The land doglegged to the right and I could see a large orchard and what appeared to be a walled kitchen garden. In all there must have been at least three acres. The whole area was carpeted with scrub grass and weeds, out of control bushes and shrubs and I could see two ancient trees which appeared dead and were probably dangerous. You could just make out the shapes that had once been flower beds and borders. I have seen more decorative bomb sites.

Maggie and I just stood there, staring silently for a couple of minutes. Eventually I grasped the initiative. "I'll go back to the car and get the camera," I said, "I think we need to photograph the whole area and make some notes before we do anything else." When I got back a few minutes later Maggie was alone and I could hear Georgia Craven somewhere behind the house calling to the dogs.

We spent two hours photographing everywhere and everything. We discovered two large derelict hot houses behind the walled garden and at the bottom of the land we found that the garden dropped away sharply to reveal what had once been an ornamental lake complete with boathouse. It was now not much more than a large expanse of mud and a tangle of rushes. We did not talk a lot but I used up all ten film cartridges that I had with me and Maggie made a lot of sketches in her pad, we both had pages and pages of notes and comments, and I had taken several soil samples for PH testing. By mid-afternoon it was starting to cloud over and so we trudged back to the house.

Georgia Craven met us at the door and invited us in but we declined, our boots were caked with thick mud and ooze nearly up to the knee and I wanted to get the films into Salisbury for developing so that I could get the prints back on Tuesday.

"It was nice to meet you again, Mr. Riley," she said, I thought a bit frostily, then held out her hand.

I reached out and took it. Her hand was so small that my fingers curled around and lightly touched the side of her palm as we shook hands. I felt a tiny jolt, the merest of tingles and then our hands parted and it was gone. I looked at her face, she had obviously experienced something as well, her expression had not changed but there was a hint of surprise in her eyes.

"I will call you next week, Georgia," Maggie said, and then we were walking back to the car and driving off. Our conversation was naturally dominated by the afternoon's experience and by the time we were back in Salisbury I had pushed thoughts of that handshake with Georgia Craven to the back of my mind.

Maggie was going out with the twins that evening so she dropped me at the garden centre and I collected my moped and drove into town to drop off the negatives at the photo shop for developing. I ordered a full set of 9" x 7" prints and started to drive home, it wasn't until I was across town that I remembered my promise to Debbie to drop in on Joanna.

By the time that I had been home, eaten and changed it was getting on for seven-thirty and so I swung around by the rail station as there was always a flower seller on Great Western Approach who stayed until the last commuter train came in. I bought a bunch of mixed colour roses and drove over to Joanna's place with them buttoned into the front of my jacket. The blooms kept rocking in front of my face and I am sure that I would have pulled had I been spotted by the cops.

I parked the Vespa inside the garden gate and walked up and knocked on the door of the bungalow. After what seemed a very long time I heard the latch being unfastened and the door opened a few inches. I could hear a television rattling away in the background.

"Who is it? What do you want? You're not Jehovah's Witnesses, are you?" a female voice asked. I guessed that this was Joanna's mother.

"Hello, Mrs. Robbins," I ventured, "Is Joanna at home? I'm Jamie Riley from the garden centre."

"Yes, she's here!" the disembodied voice confirmed. The door remained half open and I heard her footsteps retreating down the hall, I peeped inside and saw the back of a tallish, thin woman in a plaid skirt and long grey cardigan disappearing into a door on the left which I guessed was the sitting room. I tentatively stepped into the hall and closed the door behind me. It was pitch black in the hallway and I wasn't really sure what to do; so holding the flowers out in front of me like some sort of protective amulet I crept forward until I reached the door through which she had disappeared. I quietly pushed it open and peered in. Mrs. Robbins was seated in an arm chair with her back to me watching the TV, in a thick fog of cigarette smoke, there was nobody else in the room. I backed out and closed the door and felt my way along the wall until I came to the door I knew to be Joanna's room. I tapped lightly and put my head around the door, Jo was sitting at her desk wearing the same Chinese design dressing gown that I remembered from my last visit, her leg, encased in a pink stocking covered, plaster cast was propped up on a dining chair. She hadn't seen or heard me.

"Hi, Jo," I said softly. She jerked around to face me almost unbalancing as her plaster coated leg failed to move with the rest of her body.

"Oh, Christ!" she gasped. "Oh, bloody hell Jamie, you frightened me half to death!"

"Sorry," I apologised. "Your mum, let me in.....here, these are for you!" I moved into the room and handed her the roses, then bent down and kissed her lightly on the lips. "If you don't want company...I'll go...." I laughed.

"Don't you dare go anywhere, James Riley!" she said sternly, and then broke into a wide smile, "Help me onto the bed and we can sit and talk." I bent down and picked her up in my arms, I think that the plaster cast actually weighed more than she did and sat her down on the bed with her leg stretched out in front of her. I noticed as I carried her across the room that she was wearing nothing beneath the robe.

"You didn't need to carry me, I just needed helping up," she said cheerfully, "but I'm not complaining it was nice!"

I dragged the chair from her desk over to the side of the bed and sat, like a hospital visitor, holding her hand as we talked. She told me about the accident, she had slipped on a staircase at the University trying to carry too many books in front of her, and thought herself lucky to have escaped with just a double leg fracture. We talked about how we had spent our respective Christmases and I told her about our plans for the garden centre. I had forgotten that she didn't know I had agreed for her and Debbie to come back to work next week and she was overjoyed when I told her.

"Thank God, Jamie!" she said, "I can't stay here all day, and all night, I do try with Mummy but she just drives me insane!"

I did not press her on the subject. Debbie had explained to me that Mrs. Robbins had been a school teacher, until about ten years ago when she had a nervous breakdown. After a while her husband left and then divorced her, but Joanna had virtually had to bring herself up and as a teenager had spent more time with Debbie and her parents that with her own mother. Everybody considered it a miracle that she had managed to excel at school and win a good place at university.

About nine o'clock the television in the next room suddenly went quiet and we heard Joanna's mother go into the kitchen and make herself a drink of something, then she came back into the hall.

"I am going to bed now, Joanna!" she called, "Good night, dear!" Then we heard her go into her room and close the door. I think she had forgotten that I was there.

"She will take her sleeping tablets now, and be sound asleep in ten minutes," Joanna commented. "It's like this every night, she just sits and watches TV, nothing in particular, just whatever is on, then takes her tablets and crashes out until nine the next morning!"

I wanted to comfort her and leaned over and tried to slip my arm around her but it was too far.

"Why don't you just get on the bed with me, you fool?" Joanna said, shuffling over, "It's a bit late to start being shy and discreet after you've already sampled the goods!" We both laughed and I kicked off my shoes and sat on the bed beside her, slipping my arm around her shoulders and pulling her close, softly nuzzling her hair.

Her dressing gown fell open and I saw that I had been right, she was completely naked beneath, I could see her small pert breasts with their tiny pink nipples, her pale belly and the small triangle of soft, dark curls that pointed the way to her pussy. I couldn't resist any longer and leaned over to fasten my lips gently onto one nipple and sucked it until it became a hot firm button.

"Hold on now, Casanova!" she said wryly, "You can't just come into the sick room and start raping the invalids, you know!"

We both laughed quietly, "Maybe I should leave, before Matron comes round?" I retorted.

"Don't you even think about it!" she said, then put on a sweet, little girl smile and added laughing, "I may be an innocent, helpless, invalid, but getting ravished is the only fun we get around here!" She reached up and kissed me briefly, "Let's stop talking and get back to the ravishing, shall we?" she giggled.

My hand found her small almost flat breast and my fingers squeezed and tugged the tiny nipple into a hard button and then moved on to the other, repeating the caresses until both nubs were standing erect; then roamed over her belly and down to cover her pussy, the heel of my hand gently rubbing and caressing her Mound of Venus and drawing the tip of my finger lightly up and down her pussy lips without penetrating.

She moaned quietly and her hands clasped my head and brought it up so that our lips met. The kiss was warm and deep and passionate, our tongues mingling and dancing to the rhythm of our deepening breaths. Joanna was the decade's best snogger. Our mouths clamped together and our tongues pushed and probed and wrestled like two entwined fat serpents. Just kissing Jo could bring on an instant erection and I am convinced that if we had kissed long enough we could both climax without ever touching each other.

She removed her mouth from mine, "Oh, Jamie!" she breathed, "I want it so much, I really do, but ....... my leg hurts really badly, right up to the hip... I don't think we could.....you know... do it properly...." I turned her face towards me; she looked so sad, and delicate, but at the same time her eyes were full of desire.

"I want you as well!" I murmured, kissing her chin and nibbling at her bottom lip. "But if you...." I never got to finish what I intended to say.

"Why don't you just get undressed and get into this bed," she whispered against my ear, "let's just see where things lead and take it from there, my leg may be broken but the rest of me is working just fine!"

"OK," I smiled, "but if I start to hurt you, you just say STOP!"

Joanna managed to manoeuvre the quilt and sheet out from under her whilst I stripped off my gear and we slipped beneath the covers, both now naked, except for her plaster cast. Jo was lying on her back, her dark hair a soft wavy cloud against the white pillow and her face turned towards me, her lips slightly open and her eyes were liquid and deep with longing. I was on my side half over her, my erection was thrust hard against her thigh and I felt her hand slip down my flank and push between us the fingers curling around my prick, just holding it gently.

I found her lips with mine and we sank into another deep, hot kiss, Joanna moaning softly into my mouth until I felt as though I was falling through her mouth into a bottomless pit. Her kisses really were absolutely phenomenal! I trailed my fingers down between her breasts and over her ribs and then down the outside of her leg then drew them back up over the delicate skin of the inside of her thigh, her leg and body quivering as my finger tips got closer to her crotch.

Joanna's hand gripped my erect knob tighter and her other hand came down to grasp mine and pull it against her pussy. I pressed one finger gently into her slit then worked it slowly up and down so that it caressed both lips, finally finding the little button of her clit. Her pussy was hot and wet and I slid my fingers deep into her, probing and rubbing the walls of her vagina and then returning to her clitoris. I positioned the tip of my finger onto that tiny ball of sensation and gently pressed and rubbed it with small rotating motions until I was sure that I could feel it starting to swell and harden.

Her moaning became deeper and with our mouths still locked together I felt as though she was sucking the life out of me as she drew her breaths from mine, like an ancient succubus, it made me feel light headed and was very, very erotic. We needed to break the kiss before we suffocated each other and parted panting and laughing.

My hand was still making love to her pussy and I felt her start to tense, the walls of her vagina tightening around my fingers. Then both of her hands were pushing on the back of mine, ramming my fingers deep into her as she pushed her groin up to impale herself onto my hand. I flexed my fingers inside her and moved my thumb upwards using it to rub her clit; and then she reached her climax. She jerked against my hand and her head fell backwards, her eyes were closed and her mouth was open and she let out one long, deep sigh of satisfaction.

Bringing Joanna to climax had a sympathetic re-action; my prick was pulsing against her thigh, with the need to achieve release. She must have sensed my need or felt the throbbing as she rolled over slightly and grasped my erection firmly in her small hand and began to draw her fist gently up and down the length.

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