Emma

bymarriedbuthoping©

This is partly, well almost entirely, true (However the names have been changed). l will leave you to speculate what is true or not. It is written as we would both speak the words and sentences so if the grammar or vernacular seems wrong, i assure you it is not. That's how we talk...Any feedback is always appreciated. Thank you.

*****

Chapter One:

Let me tell you about Emma. I first met her in 2008 when she joined as an Accounts Junior where I used to work. She was on the grand tour, you know the one that everyone gets on their first day at any job where you go around all the departments, get told everyone's names that you immediately forget and then go through all the HR stuff, that grand tour...

I was happily working away at my desk when I saw her and it was a JFK moment where years later you remember exactly what she was wearing, what she looked like, what I was doing...everything. At the time though I didn't think much of it except for the fact that there was something about her, something compelling and captivating, and the instant spark that I got when we first made eye contact was definitely there.

Well time went on, she used to come upstairs to my department regularly to go through my customers' accounts queries. At the time I didn't think anything of it, I was glad to talk to her and get to know her a little bit, and I was sure she wasn't coming up to see me as a more likely explanation would be that she fancied one of our customer service boys...when I say a more likely explanation I mean that was the explanation as she would regularly talk to me about how much she liked him and wanted to go out with him as they were a similar age. All the while I would give her my perceived sound advice but secretly wished I was seventeen years younger than my age of 39 years and that it was me who she fancied and wanted and liked...little did I know...but that's to come.

Emma was a troubled girl though and didn't help herself. She had over time gained herself a reputation for being extremely easy...some of it justified but some not...and her forthright attitude had the habit of rubbing people up the wrong way. She spoke her mind and, I think the phrase is, had no filter. She was also very flirty and know exactly how to manipulate people, males in particular, but one thing that set her apart for me was that she never tried to manipulate me, or fool me. She was always honest, maybe too honest, with me. Perhaps I was the father figure she never had or the big brother she craved for but whatever it was we grew close to the point where I was thinking about her almost constantly, giving her advice but secretly wishing something would happen between us, hoping beyond hope she would see through the flirting, joviality and protectiveness to actually notice that I was the one for her. I had fallen for her in a big way but deep down I had resigned myself to the fact that it was never going to be anything but what it was, regrettably.

Fast forward to 2011 and one Thursday in July. It was just another normal day. I was at my desk and as usual had already exchanged emails with Emma. It was a kind of ritual, like she needed to let me know she was ok and in work, and it always made me smile. I kept looking up at the door to see when she walk in to my office, as she always did, waiting for that moment where my heart jumped as the door opened only to be disappointed time and again as other staff walked in and out, Half ten came and it was sandwich van time, you know where somebody comes round in a little van selling sandwiches and snacks to all the local businesses, and I bounded downstairs knowing I would see her there. As usual she smiled when she saw me and as usual I managed to be next to her in the queue, sharing small talk and coming up with odd flirty line or two, and then all too soon, it was back up the stairs, sandwiches in hand and back to my desk. About half an hour later I had that heart jump moment as she came into my office, a wad of papers in her hand and she came over to my desk. I loved those moments, where she leaned over my partition and smiled, but she seemed quiet, not her usual self.

"Hey Ems. What's up?" I asked with that hint of concern in my voice. I knew the answer as it was nearly always the same recently, her boyfriend of about a year and the row that they had the previous night. I had told her many times she should leave him but she said she loved him, and this was the one...again.

"It's Blake, he's being a shit again. Just left me to go to the gym last night and then expected me to clean up after him while he was gone. So, we had this almighty row and, well I don't know, it was a quiet night let me put it that way." she said

I rolled my eyes. "I keep telling you he's no good for you. He treats you like a Victorian wife and I would have thought he would know better by know that that isn't you, and you know that isn't you and knowing you, you told him as much."

She laughed. "Right as always Neil. It's not always like that though, and he can be so sweet." I hmmpffed in mock disgust. "Yeah yeah." She carried on. "He's already rung me like about ten times this morning but I'm ignoring him. Let him suffer a little."

I shook my head, looking at her with a half-smile on my face, and she poked her tongue out at me.

"I told you what I'd do if you keep poking your tongue out young lady'." I said winking at her.

"Yeah, yeah." She replied. "I'm going back downstairs now." Which was code for follow me out into the hallway I need a hug and we can't do that in the middle of an open plan office.

"I'm going down too, wait a sec." I said hurriedly, gathering up the papers I needed, and I semi-hastily followed her.

The one thing about the hallway on all the floors are is that if you are in a certain place there, then no-one in the offices can see you and this was our hugging place at work. The door closed behind us and we were out of sight. She stopped and looked up at me, partly feigning sad-puppy dog eyes, but I could see she was a little upset. "Come here." I said opening my arms wide, and she moved in close and I wrapped my arms around her, and kissed the top of her head, just as I usually would do. However today, instead of just letting me hug her like this she squeezed her arms around me and tilted her head up to look at me, and that's when I saw something different in her eyes. All of sudden she closed the gap between our faces and kissed me softly, deeply and tenderly and I responded in kind. It only lasted a few seconds but it was mind-blowing.

We looked at each other kind of awkwardly, not really knowing what to say or do next. "I'm erm...erm, going downstairs now." Emma stuttered, her face reddened as she blushed. I just nodded, mumbled something about needing to go the toilet first and, eyes locked together, went in different directions.

Once in the toilet I took a very, very deep breath and looked in the mirror taking in what had just happened. I shook my head to clear the cobwebs and breathed out heavily again. "Wow." I said out loud, leaning forward on the sink. All sorts of things were going through my head. How amazing her lips felt, how tender this kiss was, how I wanted more but then thinking what have we done, will it be a one-off and what happens next. I sighed audibly and thought "Well, you won't know if you don't talk to her Neil m'lad." and off I went downstairs. I had to see her, just to gauge her reaction, and to see if she was alright

I walked into the Accounts Office, my heart thumping out of my chest that I was sure it was causing the Richter Scale to overheat. I glanced over at where Emma was sitting and she looked up, and then back down again, as though not to make eye contact with me. Was it that bad? Had everything been ruined. I made small talk with some of the other accounts ladies and then turned to leave.

Before I did, Emma shouted over "Neil, check your emails when you get back upstairs, there's something you need to look at for me."

"Of course Ems, will do." I said all office formally and I left.

Walking back to my desk I had a dread of what this email was going to say. I knew it was nothing about work that's for certain. Inwardly shaking I opened her email

'I don't regret it Neil. I want to do it again but I need to talk to you first' it read. Trying to stop beaming like a Cheshire Cat I replied. 'Phew, I wasn't sure how you'd react. I'd love to do it again. Lunchtime?' and pressed send.

Seconds later I had a reply. 'I'm meant to be going to lunch with Carly but I'll put it off. Meet me at the road behind the flour factory.'

Carly was one of the customer service team, and Emma and her were best friends. I looked over at her, not knowing why as I was sure Emma wouldn't have said anything, and she was on the phone anyway. 'No problem, see you soon then.' I typed and then sent.

Those nearly two hours seemed to drag, I kept wanting to email Emma, to check she was ok but thought it was best not to and waited. I watched the clock move laboriously to one o'clock and then, with my heart once again thumping out of my chest, I walked the two flights downstairs to my car. Emma's car was still there so I texted 'On my way, see you in a sec xx' and off I went the mile or so to where the flour factory was in the industrial estate where we worked and parked up, and waited.

Around five minutes later Emma's car pulled in behind me, and I saw her beckon me to come into her vehicle as I looked in the rear-view mirror. She opened the door, hastily removing everything that was on the front seat... handbag, crisp packets, chocolate wrappers, box of tissues...chucking them on the back seat, which was already full. I laughed and she smiled.

I closed the door and looked at her, and she instantly took my hand. I'm not sure whether it was to reassure me or her that she did that, but whatever the reason it sent jolts of electricity through my body. We just looked at each other, the silence growing more awkward by the second until we both tried to speak at the same time, and then laughed.

"Go on, you first Ems." I said, smiling.

She took a deep breath. "I've been wanting to do that for ages you know. I wasn't sure how you'd react though or if I did try to kiss you you'd not want to kiss me or..." Her voice trailed off.

"Ems, you don't know how long I've wanted to kiss you, and...oh my word I don't know what. You must have guessed surely that I wouldn't have rejected you. I've flirted enough with you over the years. I obviously wasn't being that obvious though I suppose." My heart was thumping again as I carried on. "I just thought you'd never want to be with someone like me if I'm honest. You know, older. I mean way older, like seventeen years older. And I didn't want to ruin what we have."

This time my voice trailed off and I looked at Emma, her eyes glazing over tearily. "I did kind of guess Neil. But, you know, like you I wasn't sure. You've been such a good friend and you are way older so just wasn't sure, that's all. I am sure now though." She said, gently squeezing my hand. "We do need to talk though about what happens next. It's going to get complicated I feel and also there's things I need to tell you which I haven't told anyone which you may not like."

I looked at her quizzically and let her carry on. "Not for now Neil, and we will worry about that later, but since we only have another forty-five minutes or so there is something I've wanted to do again since this morning." And with that she leaned over and we kissed and kissed and kissed, Deeply, passionately, longingly, lustfully and it lasted for ages. My mind, though slightly racing and wondering what bombshells she was going to drop, was filled with happy thoughts as we kissed like all my Christmas's had come at once and for the rest of that lunch hour all we did was kiss, laugh and hold hands like teenagers on a first date.

Like all things though, time caught up with us and reluctantly we had to get back to work. One thing for sure though, everything had changed and we both sensed it. "Neil, we have to act like we always do at work ok. For the time being at least anyway. Can you do that?"

I nodded. "Yes, it will be strange but I'm sure I can. When can we see each other again and what about Blake? Sorry, I've got ask."

"Yes, you are right to ask but I can't answer that yet. As I said it's complicated." She replied. "I will let you know when I am free for lunch next as I put Carly off for tomorrow and then it's the weekend but I will let you know. Please believe me though Neil. I want this, us, as much as you do. Please trust me though ok. And don't forget, you have some things you need to sort out as well." She looked at me knowingly. I look back at her even more knowingly, immediately thinking about my ex-wife who still lived with me in what was now a far from ideal situation.

"Yes, fair comment and I do trust you. It's going to be hell not being able to touch you and kiss you though every time I see you at work. As long as you are ok though with this, with everything? You know how much I care about you anyway, just want you to be ok hun."

"I'm ok with everything hun." She said reassuringly, even though I knew her mind was racing about whatever it was she had to tell me. "C'mon, we need to get back." and with that she kissed me softly, adjusted her hair in the mirror. I got out, and we drove back.

Chapter Two

Six days had passed, and apart from texts and emails, Emma and I hadn't really spoken or been able to spend any time with each other. At work we carried on as if nothing had changed. It was a little awkward especially when she was talking to others about what she had been up to and I was in earshot, but that's the way it had to be. We had the occasional flirty glance and subtle touching of hands when we were close like at the sandwich van, or by our desks. Nothing noticeable if you weren't looking, but noticeable to us. We had arranged to meet at lunch, desperate by now for a repeat of last week, but I was conscious that she hadn't mentioned Blake much and I could tell something had happened just by the look in her eye and the way she avoided the whole topic. Was I reading too much into it, or was she not saying anything to protect my feelings? Either way I had a good idea I was about to find out.

We parked up again, and after literally sucking each other's faces off and coming up for air, she took my hand and a serious look came across her face. I gulped hard and audibly.

"Ok here goes." She took a deep breath. "I've split up with Blake, for good. Properly for good." She paused to gauge my reaction. I was smiling, which may not have been the right thing to do, so it was a supressed smile. "That's a good thing, yes?" I enquired, even though it was more of a statement than a question.

"Yes, it is. Was a hard thing to do but after last week I just knew it was the right thing, I just needed my eyes to be opened more that you'd already tried to open them." She laughed a little nervously. "Oh God, I've never told anyone this, only my Mum. I hope you are ready for this. The reason I stayed with Blake for so long was...was..." She stopped, blinking back tears and wiping them away, smudging her make up.

I looked at her. She all of a sudden seemed so vulnerable, so tortured about what she was going to say, trying to find the courage to tell me what she needed to tell me.

"Hey Ems" I said softly. "Come here" and I opened my arms wide and she gratefully rested herself against me. "Whatever it is, it's going to be fine, I promise. I'm not going anywhere. This, you, is what I have wanted since the very first day I clapped eyes on you, when you stood over my desk in your white blouse and grey trousers, with your hair up and that sweet smile looking at me." Emma looked up at me, her teary expression mixed with amazement, "Yep I remember like it was yesterday Ems, I remember it all so vividly. So, you can tell me anything, you know that, and I'm not going anywhere." I said hopefully reassuring her.

She smiled up at me, brought her hand up and lightly touched my cheek. "Thank you, Neil. Well, here goes again. The reason I was with Blake so long is that..." She paused, took a deep breath and said "We had a child together, but it was stillborn." And with that she burst out crying, sobbing noisily into my chest. I held her so tight as she cried, unable to imagine the pain that she had gone though and was probably still going through, unable to say anything as whatever I said would have been the wrong words. I just held her and let it all come flooding out, and It needed to. It had been bottled up for so long that it was like someone popped the cork of a very shaken up magnum of champagne.

Calming down a little she carried on through the tears "To start with it was like a bond we had between us, a connection. But over the months it became this barrier, this stick to beat each other with, as though we wanted to prove it was the other person's fault that it happened. It got so bad that I was sure it was my fault, that I let him down and killed our baby. I know it isn't my fault but that's how he started making me feel, and I started to hate him for it. And then I would come and see you every day, see your smile and to chat with you and the world would be a better place, and I did see that look in your eyes every time you looked at me." She reached over to the back seat for a tissue and wiped her eyes, and then resumed her position in my arms. "I have wanted to tell you this for so long now, just wasn't sure how you'd be, or what you'd think of me. But when you hugged me last week I felt something I hadn't felt for ages, if at all, and I just had to kiss you right there and then I knew then that what I actually wanted had been staring me straight the face, and I just didn't know it. I knew then I had to end it and have to be with you. You never judge me Neil, never listen to any of the gossip or rumours. You never just tell me what I want to hear and pay me lip service just to shut me up or boost any ego I may have. It just has taken me such a long time, too long a time in fact, to realise that... oh shit I am going to say it... that I love you Neil, and it feels so right. So I told Blake it was over and that I was not going to put up with it anymore. I said we will probably eventually have to talk about it but me and him were over, so I have moved back home just like that. It's the right thing to do." And with that she looked up at me. "Say something Neil, please."

I looked down at her, her mascara smudged, her make up all over the place and said "Emma, you are the most wonderful, sassy, sexiest, honest, loving person I know. Boy hun, that must have taken so much courage to tell me that and heaven knows what you are feeling about what happened, it's unimaginable. But I will tell you this, I am here for you now. Whatever hurt you are going through I'm here. Whatever help you need I will give it and we will get through everything together. And Ems, I love you too." And with that we held each other tight and kissed each other until we had to go back to work. There were things I needed to sort out, which I would do, but right now all that mattered was in my arms right now. So, after hastily re-applying her make-up and making herself look presentable, we got back to work. I emailed her virtually straight away, just to check she was ok

'You ok hun?' I sent.

"I am yes, never better tbh." came the reply.

"Sure?" I sent back to which she replied 'Positive' and she added a smiley face.

I reciprocated the smiley face and then she replied 'LU' and I smiled and replied 'LU2 xx'

A few minutes later my phone buzzed. It was text from Emma. 'You free l8r? Want to come round to mine?'

'Absolutely hun. But what about your Mum?'

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