tagNovels and NovellasJogging Memories Ch. 07

Jogging Memories Ch. 07

bySpencerfiction©

CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Bob goes home

Wednesday morning was very busy on the ward rounds, which slowed down the doctors' passage through the list of patients. Tommy waited nervously for them to arrive, as he felt fit and eager to get out after ten days stuck inside. The wound in his chest, where the lung drain had been the previous week, was healing up nicely and the dressing changed again as usual that morning. His ribs were mending satisfactorily. His blood test had checked out as normal. So, as far as the nurse Ben was concerned, Bob was ready to go. He was just waiting for that official release that only his doctors could give.

Today, Jennifer turned up long before the doctors did.

"Sleep well, Jen?" Tommy asked her, kissing her on the cheek.

"Yes, very well, Bob," she smiled, "What about you? Have they got around to releasing you into my custody, yet?"

"That's a yes and a no. Yes, I slept OK. I must admit I was really knackered after you all left and after half an hour looking through the photo albums you brought up, that was me out for the count," he grinned, "Not been released yet, though, still waiting for the doctors to visit me on their rounds and give their verdict on me. But Ben reckons the results of the tests they took earlier look positive, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be let off with good behaviour."

When they did put in an appearance, Doctors Harding and Holland made nods all around and Tommy received the release he had looked forward to. He had to book a number of appointments to outpatients, for dressing changes to his ribs and stitch removal from his head and arm, plus weekly sessions with Dr Phoebe while his amnesia continued. He was under orders not to exercise excessively for at least a couple of weeks, although gentle long walks were fine. And they wouldn't allow him to drive until after he had at least one further assessment in a couple of weeks' time. Most of the appointments involved checks that he could have had at his local surgery or hospital if he wished, but Tommy was happy, after a quick consultation with Jennifer, who would have to bear the brunt of the driving in the initial stages, to return to Chesterfield Royal.

There was quite a send off, as Tommy had become something of a local celebrity during his stay. He was wheeled through the hospital, dressed in some comfortable outdoor clothes that Jennifer had brought with her. Ben, of course, shook his hand first, tapping his mobile number into Bob's restored and fully charged mobile that JJ had brought up the previous evening.

In the foyer there was another send-off party greeting him before he departed. Sharon and Helen Bister were there, of course, as they had been there for him all along. Also in attendance were Tommy's Mum, brought to the hospital by Ralph, and Alicia Knight, who had dragged her reluctant daughter Hannah along, to meet her saviour for the first and probably, she thought, the last time.

It was Hannah that broke ranks first, as the enormity of what had happened to her rose to the surface the instant she saw the slim, tall person she now saw as an injured old man slumped in the wheel chair. Tears welled up in her previously bored and disinterested eyes as she saw the still vibrantly highlighted bruised eyes, cheeks and jaw, the plasters wrapped around several fingers, the sling supporting the still-sore and tightly-bandaged right arm.

"Oh, man," she wailed as she put her arms around him and kissed him on the top of his stubbly pate, "I didn't realise what a job those guys did on you!" Then, when she saw the stitches on the top and back of his head, she almost collapsed in tears and her mum Alicia had to come and hold her up.

By then pretty much everyone was moist in their eyes, except maybe the hardened ex-copper Ralph, who looked on with a detached but interested eye.

His Mum, Ann, and wife Jennifer each embraced one other, promising regular contact all round. Sharon and Helen, too, were invited to come over any time they wanted, and to start soon. Everyone busily exchanged telephone numbers, where they hadn't already done so, with Jennifer.

Alicia and Jennifer were already well acquainted and had arranged between them a joint lunch and shopping expedition in Derby for the following Saturday, which Hannah, who rarely did anything with her mother any more, had also wangled an invite. Ralph offered to bring Ann over to the Morris household the next morning and noted the house number and postcode for his satellite navigation system in a notebook that looked suspiciously familiar to his former working one.

By the time Tommy and Jennifer had strapped themselves into the car and Jennifer drove them out of the car park, heading home, Jennifer was animated and invigorated by the exchanges and Tommy was absolutely exhausted.

<<<>>>

Emma had managed to catch Rich on his mobile phone, having missed him again the previous night. He had gone to bed early evening in anticipation of his customary early start in the morning, while Emma slept in late.

"Hi Rich, honey, it's Emma."

"I know, Em, your name comes up on the phone," he replied.

"Of course it does, I'm not thinking straight this morning, it was all a bit emotional last night. Look Honey, Jen's just called, she's brought Bob home this morning and has invited us over for tea, although not to stay late as Bob is still feeling very tired. What time are you coming home?"

"Early, about four-ish, hopefully. Only got a short job to complete about two, an' it'll be too dark to start another. Guess by the time we drop everything off at the yard, I'll get home by four."

"OK, get showered and ready as soon as you get in, Rich, so we can get over to Jen's by five."

"Yeah, sure, Em, it'll be good to see Bob again."

"I don't know if you'll recognise him, Rich, he's ... well, he's different."

"Different? Better or worse?"

"Better, I think. Funny, lively, seems like a much younger Bob without all the worries that used to get him down. He is going into the rest of his life with an optimism and enthusiasm that is, well, quite inspiring."

"Nothing like the misery guts he'd been lately, then?" Richard laughed.

"No, nothing like. He's upbeat. Anyway, I'll see you later then, honey. Oh, honey?"

"Yes?"

"See if you can get off an hour early, I feel ... horny, you know?"

"Yeah, like that surprises me! I'll see what I can do, Hon."

<<<>>>

"Don't hang up, Jen, please."

"I told you until I'm blue in the face, never to ring me again, Richard, ever!"

"I know, but it would appear more than a little awkward if I didn't ring you up and ask about my best friend Bob, when I've only just this minute heard that you've brought the poor old man home from hospital, wouldn't it?"

"I suppose it would," Jennifer agreed reluctantly.

"Well then, how is he?"

"Fine. Considering."

"Where is he?"

"He's in bed having a nap, he is completely exhausted, poor lamb," Jennifer said.

"And just WHO is he?"

Jennifer hesitated, walking with the phone from the kitchen, which was just below the main bedroom where Bob was sleeping, out into the conservatory, pulling the French doors tightly shut behind her.

"He ... he's not the old Bob any more, Rich. He, well he seems to be a different guy altogether."

"What d'yer mean? Different, how?"

"He's more youthful, playful, he gets excited, chatty, flirty even, and I can't get over the fact that he smiles all the time." Jen smiled at the thought, her most recent impressions of her rejuvenated husband.

"What, 'Bashful Bob', flirty?"

"Yes, the old Bob we knew was quiet, reserved, aloof, as you know. He never said very much, always kept himself to himself." Jennifer bit her lip, "He has been miserable for a long time, and I was so used to it that I never really realised that until now. I suppose I had nothing to compare him against."

"Not with me, Jen. I was his best mate, someone he could talk to," Rich commented, "We used to talk about all sorts of thing that he was enthusiastic about, like football and the kids."

"Yes, sure, he was much more natural with the kids, of course, in his encouragement of their interests. And he was very pally with you Rich, and Em, of course. But I mean, even with me, he was quiet most of the time. I sometimes used to wonder if he knew what we had done, all those years ago. It was as if he has always been pushing me away ever since."

"Well, maybe that's why you and I hooked up again recently."

"No, that's not it, Richard, I think you just wore me down. I should never have started back with you-"

"Wait a minute, you can't blame me, Jen, you came onto me a couple of months ago, don't you remember? I had my hands full with Em jumping me all the time, I still do. Emma even wants me to come home early today."

"I think it was you and Emma both getting me going when each of you kept on about how much sex you were getting and ... I wasn't getting any."

"What?"

"You heard me, I was getting nothing from Bob."

"Why, Bob gone off the boil?"

"Big time. He hardly ever touched me and he never even just held or squeezed me unless I was the one who made the first move. I noticed that he was cool towards me, but he always had a glib answer to come back with. You know, always too tired or his legs ached, or his feet were hurting, always full of excuses. Even when I attacked him in desperation, he would fend me off, or pick an argument with me in order to ruin the mood. It's like he couldn't get it up any more but didn't want to admit it to me or go and see the doctor about it. Even though I kept on at him about it."

"Yeah, Em keeps going on about me seein' the quack..."

"I didn't see that you have any problems," Jen found herself suppressing a giggle, reminding herself that this was serious: her marriage, her life as she knew it, hinged on what she did about this stupid, unfulfilling mistake she had had with Richard. One thing she was adamant about, she wasn't going to make the same mistake again. By a miracle she had been given a second chance and she wasn't going to let it go without a fight.

"No, it's not that ... it's something else. I don't want to talk about it, Jen."

"Well, Bob's sleeping at the moment and I think when he wakes up I am going to throw myself on his mercy and own up. I'll tell him about us and that it's all over now."

"For crying out loud, Jen!" Richard hissed, "You can't do that, you'd fuck up both our lives, lose Emma as a friend. You know it would."

"My life's ruined as it is! I can't live like this, Rich. JJ hates me already and if Bob finds out about us before I get around to confessing to him, I know he will hate me too and our marriage will be finished."

"Well, if the worst does happen, maybe then you and I-"

"There's no 'you and I', Rich, you must know that. We were just messing about. I don't even know why really, it didn't really do anything for me. I don't love you and you don't love me. This is just a fucking mess." Jennifer started sobbing, "And it's all your fault, you started it."

"I-" he started.

"Don't deny it, I'm not stupid, Rich. I went along with it until I came to my senses on that cruise and kept quiet about it afterwards, but it doesn't take a genius to work out that you engineered the whole thing."

"It was just for a laugh Jen, that's all it was, we were on holiday."

"It was a chance you took to get into my knickers, that's what it was. No point in denying it now, Rich."

There was silence at the end of the line.

"OK then, tell me, did you buy those roofies on that cruise boat, or did you bring them with you?"

"I er..."

"Well?"

"OK, yes, I admit it, I fancied you right from the first time we met as neighbours and I thought that I could take advantage of the opportunity."

"I knew it, you bastard!"

"Well, there you were, next door neighbour, sunning yourself all day in your garden building up your tan for the holiday, while your kids were at school. You were fit and lovely, still in your twenties. Your boring old man, was in his forties and turning to fat, out working all day and night to earn enough so you could trade up to a better property for your growing family. I thought you'd be up for a bit o' fun."

"So it was a roofie you gave me in my drink too, wasn't it?"

"Half a one, Jen, not enough to knock you out but just enough to loosen your inhibitions, you know, make you extra horny."

Jennifer was quiet this time. Bob and she were on that lovely cruise ten years ago, the first holiday they had had together in nine years since their original honeymoon. The kids were between eight and nearly five and for the first time were all at school together and it became easier for her parents to look after them for a short period. They searched through the brochures for a holiday, a second honeymoon, for ten days or up to a fortnight during school term time, when package holidays were cheaper. They found a Mediterranean cruise for a fortnight which fitted the bill.

And they went with their best friends and next-door neighbours, newly-weds Emma and Richard. They had no kids and enjoyed regular exotic holidays. What could go wrong? Damn it, though, she thought, Richard was right. She was horny at the time. It was because she was suffering from concerns about losing her attractiveness. It was the same then, ten years ago, as it was now. Then she was 29 and, with three young children at school or just starting school, she had time on her hands and was bored with being a housewife and mother. Besides that she felt fat and frumpy. Jennifer had worked hard to get back in shape, and was tanned and looking good way before that holiday cruise. At that time, Bob was working extra hard and doing long hours of overtime to pay for the holiday and have enough spending money to enjoy it. They also had their eyes on moving to this smart neighbourhood on the "better" side of town, the house they now lived in and had improved since they had moved there.

"Jen?" Richard asked, worried that the line had gone so quiet.

"Yeah," she snapped at him, "So, you drugged me, your wife and my husband, even though they rarely ever drink, just so you could work yourself into a position where you could take advantage of me?"

"I thought, well, even if we didn't have full sex and only had a good snog and cop a feel, I thought it would be fun to take Bob down a peg or two."

"Your best friend, eh?"

"He wasn't then, to be honest, Bob and I hardly knew each other. It was you and Em that were as thick as thieves, though, as soon as she moved in next door to you. Bob and I were just thrown together by default and so we gradually got closer as time went on."

"So the joke that we put together on the night was already in your mind, that we would drug our better halves and get them undressed and into the same bed together in your cabin, while you and I carried on drinking and laughing about it in Bob and mine's cabin?"

"Yeah, that's about what I hoped would happen. I also hoped that Em and Bob would hit it off together so we could change partners on a regular basis."

"You dirty sod! And you hoped I would be weak and, with the drink plus the drug you slipped me, to help get me falling for your charm offensive?"

"Yeah, that was the basic plan."

"And that's how we ended up in bed, both of us committing adultery, while our loved ones were drugged and unconscious in the next bloody cabin?"

"OK, it was a stupid and deceitful plan," Richard freely admitted to her, "Only it worked better than I could've possibly imagined."

"Yeah, it worked. ... but you killed Emma's baby at the same time. She was upset and told me later. I hated you for a long time after that happened, you know."

"You did?"

"When we moved, a year or so later, I was hoping Bob and I would be able to cut you off for good, but Bob insisted in inviting you round all the time."

"You don't think Bob knew, do you?" Richard asked.

"Oh, you mean after you had your wicked way and we had a change of heart and dragged his unconscious body back into our cabin through the connecting door, that he had somehow come around, seen us making out and went back to the compromising position we left them in, without a peep from him?"

"No, I suppose not," Richard concurred, "He had enough to knock him out all night. Remember they didn't wake up for hours and were pretty dozy all the next day. I thought I'd got away with it."

"If you remember they were both ill for the rest of the holiday . Those roofies were a disaster," Jennifer muttered into the phone, "And as for getting away with it! I suppose we were lucky and both of us got away with it."

CHAPTER FIFTEEN: Brick

JJ Morris just couldn't wait for school to end. All afternoon her target on the school clock of just before four o'clock seemed so far away. The day had dragged since lunch and she was anxious to get home and see her Dad again, hoping against hope, that this time he would recognise her again.

OK, she accepted that her father wouldn't actually have known who she was last night without an introduction by her mother the previous night. He couldn't remember her and had none of the memories they used to share, but he was still her Dad. That salient fact had not changed. Even if he never got his memory back, all that meant was that they would have to build brand new memories together. They would soon become just as close as they always had been. If she had anything to do with it, it would definitely happen. It was of maximum importance to her, she always was "Daddy's girl" and she wasn't prepared to lose that special relationship.

"Hey, Jennifer," came a deep voice from behind her, "Wait up, will you?"

JJ turned, oh no, that was all she needed right at this very minute, she thought.

JJ had been imagining this boy talking to her for ... well, forever. She even opened up about her feelings to Aunt Emma the other night, the wish that she could actually get Brick Alexander interested in her.

As a result, for the last couple of days at any rate, she had worn her hair differently, put on a minimal touch of make-up and dressed a lot less frumpy than she ever had before. All it had taken, thanks to her Aunt Emma, was someone she could talk to who would boost her self-esteem. It was crazy, the number of boys in her own class that had come up to talk to her, more nicely than they ever had before, since Tuesday morning. That had been a complete surprise to her.

Now, though, just as she desperately wanted to rush home especially to see her Dad, bloody Brick Alexander decided to pick that very moment to speak to her for the first time in her life, ever. She simply didn't want to stop and allow him to talk to her. That would inevitably mean he would never speak to her again. This was so frustrating!

"What d'yer want, Brick? I'm busy!" she snapped angrily as she continued to walk quickly towards the school gates, "I'm really in a hurry to get home."

"I know. Paula Jones, your friend Laura's sister, was telling my sister Lucy about your old man coming home today and we both wondered whether I could ... well, help you?"

"In what way could you help?" JJ asked, still walking away as fast as she could towards the school gates, "Cos at the moment all you are doing is getting in my way."

He almost had to break into a run to keep up with her, "Paula says it takes you about twenty minutes to walk home, is that about right?"

"Right." They were almost to the gates, a long way ahead of everyone else in the school.

"Well, I could always give you a lift, and therefore get you home in at least half the time."

"A lift?"

"Yeah, I passed my driving test last week and my Dad's got me a car."

"Students are not allowed to drive to school, Brick," JJ pointed out.

"I know," Brick grinned, "That's why I park in the housing estate over there. Plenty of places to park, especially during the day when everyone's gone off to work."

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