tagNovels and NovellasLucky Man Pt. 02

Lucky Man Pt. 02


It has been a busy four and a half years since I wrote the passages which appeared in Part 1. I meant to get back to you after a year, but my apologies. Put it down to good intentions and all that.


Chapter 1. New life

As I said before, I settled in Beijing for a while, even taking Chinese citizenship and adopted a Chinese boy, Billy, as my heir. He impressed me from the first. He was small, the runt of his litter like me, and sent out to serve Western tourists, in any way needed.

I put a stop to that immediately and paid off his drug-dependent minders. I put Billy back in contact with his country-based parents and eventually with his encouragement and their consent I adopted him as my son. I fed him up and gave him an education, although he would always be small for his age, he was at least healthy. I was a lot healthier, too. I ate a better diet and had a personal trainer. I was leaner and fitter than I had been since my 20s.

It was on the second leg of the journey from London Heathrow to Sydney, just after we took off from Singapore, half an hour behind schedule due to an instrument malfunction, that she approached me. I didn't see her coming.

I had had my eyes closed for half an hour or so into the flight, although I wasn't really asleep. She must have touched my shoulder, just firmly enough to rouse me from my reverie.

I had enjoyed that dreamy state, thinking about the new boat and clear blue water to come. I recalled memories of myself in scuba gear and swimming in the warm waters of the Red Sea, rather than the Great Barrier Reef where I would be in a day or so. I had been to the first location a number of times but never the second and I was looking forward to the new experience. I was also relishing my eventual trip - sailing around the eastern and southern coasts of Australia through to my new harbour-side home in Melbourne.

My boat had sailed from the Med weeks ago and in the meantime I had closed down my Beijing apartment and then spent a few weeks in London tying up some loose ends in connection with business. I was quite excited when the text came through that my boat was in Australian waters and would be ready for me in a day or two. I was so anxious to go, that I happily booked cabin class on the next available flight.

I opened my eyes after my shoulder was touched and was very surprised to see my ex-wife's old friend Carol leaning over my aisle seat immediately in front of me. Her hands were leaning on my armrests, so her face was very close to mine. I had to blink twice before my relaxed brain recognised it was her. I assumed she still worked for British Airways, she had been a stewardess on short-and long-haul flights for ten or fifteen years at least, but I didn't think she did flights anymore. Before replying I took in her face and clothes with a quick up and down glance. She wasn't wearing a uniform but, fitting like a glove, she wore a smart business suit in a powder blue colour cloth, cut to finish just above the knee. She was still very slim and remained in possession of the smoothest, shapeliest knees I've every seen. She was smiling at me and repeated what she had said.

"Hello, Mark," she reiterated, her white teeth in contrast to her dark red lips and deep tan, her face framed by her long strawberry hair, still as frizzy as it always was, but quite lustrous and shiny. Her eyes shone too, with faint laughter lines around her soft green eyes. She still looked stunning for a woman in her mid-forties. I had always liked Carol, she was the genuine article, all right.

"Hi, back," I said, returning her easy smile and leaning forward to kiss her on her freckle-speckled left cheek, lifting my hands from my lap to hold her gently on her firm, lean upper arms. "I go by the name Bill, now Carol, Bill Antony. You are looking good!" I commented, "Didn't think you flew any more."

"Well, I don't as a rule," she replied, her voice a little deeper than I remembered, but still recognisable, a most pleasant female voice. "I do go out training and testing flight crews occasionally, I don't sit on my butt all the time, you know!"

I shifted my gaze back down her slim frame once more, taking her all in, lingering at those lovely knees once more. I couldn't actually see her butt from my angle but her hips were certainly in impressive shape and I'm not easily impressed nowadays. I'd stopped looking at women that way, I suppose, a long time ago. Looking at desirable women had become too painful and I'd had my full share of pain. I snapped my eyes back to hers and she was still regarding me, eyeball to eyeball, a playful smile on her ruby lips.

"I can see that," I said.

Carol grinned and cocked one eyebrow, "You checking me out, mister?"

"Oh, I check you out every time I see you, which isn't nearly often enough, I can see."

She laughed out loud and tossed her flowing red mane. "Bob did say you fancied me once upon a time, a long time ago, maybe half a world away." She looked at me and moved her head a fraction closer, pouting her lips, "Was he having me on?"

I laughed back and kissed her on her smooth, beautifully freckled cheek again. "I remember that I was the one who saw you first in that nightclub but Bob got the benefit. I was stuck in the front seat driving, remember? Not sure if I could ever forgive him for that!"

Carol laughed and lightly dropped her butt onto my lap, I didn't have to see it to know her butt was definitely well-toned, perched as she was on my own regularly exercised thighs. She put her right arm round my neck whilst holding up her left hand in front of my eyes, wiggling the fingers, particularly the third finger. Very obviously displayed on the ring finger of her slim hand was a sizeable diamond rock on a thin band of gold, with another plain gold band sitting comfortably next to it.

"Would you forgive Bob now?" she asked with a note of triumphant in her voice, "if you knew he had at last made an honest woman of me?" She fluttered her fair eyelashes in front of her green eyes, with a smile hovering on her lips.

Last time I had seen Carol was at my father's house on the day of his funeral over five years previously and she had never been married to anyone up to that point. As far as I knew she had only gone out with Bob for those first few months while I was courting my ex-wife over 25 years ago, so it seemed incredible to me that they were now married.

"You and ... Bob?" I must have sounded astonished. I hadn't even thought about Bob in those last five years. Suddenly all sorts of memories came flooding back, especially the last time when he had held and given up that fateful life-destroying letter. I wanted to expunge those emerging thoughts, memories I deluded myself that I had successfully submerged for good.

Carol continued to fix me with her emerald eyes, her lovely face becoming concerned at the obvious change in my expression. I am sure my face was drained of all colour.

"Well, somebody had to make an honest woman of me, after all we had been through. You weren't around to help us to hold onto sanity any more after you abandoned us all."

She switched on her smile again, trying hard I thought to lighten the mood.

"So I married the best man I could ever really love, knowing he loved me and we had had to keep that love to ourselves for over twenty years, pretending each meeting was an accident and feigning indifference. We knew, lived every day at a time hoping, that one day Bob would be free, otherwise we'd never have endured all we had to go through. Bon particularly."

She bit her lower lip, haunting me with unwanted memories of another lovely girl who used to do the same when she was unsure of what to say or how her words would be received.

"You, Mark, sorry, 'Bill'," she said decisively, "was, is, the only other man I could love and I love you only very slightly less than Bob. You were just too tough a nut to crack. Besides ... you love my best friend, my very best friend, so romantically you were definitely off limits!"

"Not 'love your best friend', Carol, but 'loved', past tense." I corrected.

She grinned even broader than before, "I forgot, you're an English teacher."

"Was, once upon a time. I'm not a teacher any more," I grinned back at her, the mood swinging away from those leeward rocky shoals we had sailed so close to.

I had long dreaded meeting anyone I knew from the past. I knew there was always a slim possibility that this would happen one day and had been resigned to it, expecting pain, recriminations, heartache. I was on a streak of good luck for the last five years so it had to run out sometime. But this particular encounter wasn't at all bad, as it happened. Of all the people who had hurt me during those 22 years when I was with my ex-wife, Carol had hurt me the least. Carol and Bob must have hurt each other badly too, during those years and I knew that Carol must have had a revolutionary experience to enable her to trust Bob again to even consider marrying him.

In fact, all against my expectations, Carol looked very happy, she certainly seemed to swell with pride while showing off her pair of rings. She was most definitely not one of those countless, sad married women that had thrown themselves at me to no avail over the last few years. I chuckled, the fact that she was sitting on my lap a mile up in the air with both her hands around my neck, didn't make her a sad married woman, quite the reverse, especially as she was so innocently proud telling me about the man she loved. Even if it was a man I hated.

Yes, I had to admit to myself that, as Carol had said as much herself: she loved me at least a little bit. I thought that right now she was probably the only woman alive in the world that I also loved even a little bit. My ex-wife and possibly my ex-daughters didn't figure in the equation at all, although I was still affected by the pain, I could feel every barb just being reminded of their very existence.

"What are you doing now, other than flying halfway across the world to Sydney?" she enquired.

I hesitated actually telling Carol that I was moving to Australia permanently to live. That is why I had applied for and had recently been given an Australian passport. I didn't really want anyone I had cut off from my past to know my business and certainly did not want to divulge my future plans.

"I'm going on vacation," I said cheerfully, which was partly the truth, "Sailing and diving about the barrier reef." That was also a long way from from being a fib.

"So, where do you actually call home now?" she probed using a casual tone which, I sensed, covered some underlying tension.

I was becoming a little uncomfortable, both by the probing and her closeness. I hadn't been this close to any woman for about five years, let alone having a gorgeous woman I was particularly fond of sitting pert-bottomed on my accommodating lap. She was starting to have an effect on me and my involuntary reflex came in the form of a potentially embarrassing boner.

"I'm between addresses right now," I said, remaining truthful whilst maintaining a non-committal attitude.

Carol's fingers were stroking the short hairs on the back of my head. I had long ago lost my former trademark pony tail. I had to adjust my seating position slightly to shift this light, lovely woman further down my lap in case my natural reaction to her closeness became obvious or even offensive to her, married as she was to my cousin, who used to be my best friend in another life.

Now was definitely not the right time to tell Carol that I loved her too, even if it was only a little bit, with my boner betraying feelings which I had delusionally imagined had been submerged for good. Carol was quiet, I think she was wondering where to take the conversation to next.

"So," I broke the silence. "What would Bob say if he saw you sitting on my lap a mile up in the sky?"

She smiled very sweetly and said, "He trusts me completely, he knows I am his and his only, while I know he truly loves both you and I." She stopped stroking the back of my neck and wrapped her long fingers around my face. "True love does exist you know, and when you embrace it, love is a wonderful thing that you would fight tooth and claw to keep. I think I fell in love with Bob the very first night I met him but it took a long time for him to catch on. Men are so dense sometimes, maybe that's why we love you and torment you so much."

Her smile was wide and lit up her face. She looked stunning, a picture of a beautiful woman obviously deeply in love, neither unreachable or untouchable, perhaps, but certainly unattainable by anyone else.

What else could I say?

"I'm delighted for you."

I really was. I wasn't so sure how I felt about Bob, but I thought Carol certainly deserved to be happy, I just hoped that the professional deceiver had changed his ways since my Dad died, I would hate this beautiful woman's dreams to be shattered like mine had been do utterly.

"How long have you two been married?"

"Five years, two months and ... seventeen days!" she announced triumphantly. "You would have got an invite, but you disappeared and we didn't know where you were. There's a piece of wedding cake for you wrapped in foil in our freezer in London, I could send it onto you if you like?"

Oh dear I thought, she's still trying to find out where I live, the last thing I want is Carol even knowing the state where I am going, let alone my postal address. If Carol knows then Bob will know and if Bob knows then ... then She will know. I did not want any part of that.

"My permanent residence is in a state of flux at the moment, plans-wise," I said. Well, I was certainly off balanced by this unforeseen encounter. "Perhaps once I am on track I can ..."

"I'm so glad I found you," she interrupted me quietly, perhaps accepting that my address would not be forthcoming, and kissed me slowly and gently on the lips, no tongue, just a wonderful loving kiss between old friends apart for so long.

"I am, too," I replied when she broke off our kiss, "I had not thought I would be happy seeing anyone from my past, but it really is great seeing you again. You look stunning, Carol, just as if it was yesterday, and I am so glad you are happy."

"I am happy, happier than at any time in my life," she said, seriously, then smiling, "And today, right this minute, is the happiest I could possibly be, finding you after all this time." She paused before continuing, "What about you, Bill? Are you happy? Is your new life everything that you want it to be?"

I considered for a few moments. I had worked so hard for the last five years and more, with only short breaks to recharge my batteries. I had laboured until exhaustion, until sleep claimed me so that my thoughts were only of the present and the immediate future. While my thoughts were thus occupied I was at peace and at least I wasn't so desperately sad for a while. Only in sleep, in dreams did I still suffer nightmares, but even these had faded in recent months. With all my businesses in such capable, trusted hands, an ability to relax and ignore the pain of my memories had influenced my decision to retire. I had someone in my life I could love and receive devotion from, my adopted son Billy.

I was happy with my life now, not the same delusory happiness which had enslaved me for so long but a calmness had settled on me and that was better than I expected five years ago.

"Thank you for asking, Carol," I smiled warmly, "Yes, I think that now I am happy."

I thought probably this was the last time I would see anyone who would remind me of those painful days. Despite the pleasure I was getting by seeing Carol again, a feeling mitigated somewhat by some unruly action in my loose tracksuit bottoms, solely duly to having this beautiful woman in such intimate contact with me. Unlike Carol, who wore a smart business suit, I always wore loose baggy shapeless comfortable clothes when I travelled, and the tenting in my tracksuit bottoms was becoming embarrassing. It was very fortunate that Carol seemed to have focused only on my eyes.

"You should know," she said, her voice even softer as she leaned into me closer, making me squirm more uncomfortably in my cheap seat. I tried hard not to screw my face up, which was still clamped immoveable by her eye contact and the softest grip of her graceful hands. "Your family is still looking for you, searching for you everywhere and have done ever since you disappeared. They really do miss you, Mark, er Bill. Your family still needs you."

"I have my only family here with me," I said, flicking my eyes to my left and back to Carol. "All the family I want, need and love!"

Carol turned her head towards the seat beside me on my left. As she moved her shoulders to look around behind her, she shifted slightly in my lap and her right thigh touched my rock-hard erection. She froze in mid-turn and we both looked down at the same time at the object impeding her movement.

Bugger! My body was incapable of lying about its reaction to the lovely lady sitting inches away from my dick's rebellious instincts.

"I ... er ... I need a ... piss!" I excused myself rather lamely as I rolled my eyes before looking at her eyelids, which covered eyes that were clearly transfixed southwards.

I cleared my throat, noisily. Her eyes languidly returned to fix on mine. She did have a delicious smile on her lips to magnify my embarrassment. Everything about her was delicious, quite frankly, but she had already announced that she was exclusively another's. That gave me some comfort, strength to resist the foibles of nature. I am such a wuss, I thought to myself. I always have been weak and unable to control myself. I smiled back somewhat embarrassingly, but I actually felt quite relaxed. But then I have felt relaxed about my life for quite some time, now.

Carol leaned forward and whispered in my ear, "I confess I'm a little wet, too, but then we are very good friends."

"Good friends?" That was a relief, I thought. "I'm happy with just being good friends. You're one friend I'm quite comfortable to know again."

"What about Bob, would you be comfortable to know him again, too?" She had returned to looking at me directly with those fascinating green eyes again and her face was close to mine, very close. She was chewing her damn lower lip again, invoking memories, damn memories...

I deliberated, holding contact with her large emerald irises, gorgeously flecked as they were with browns and golds. How did I feel about Bob? Was I concerned that he appeared to be happily married to someone rather than my ex-wife? Did I really care any more that he was one of my ex-wife's lovers? I wasn't sure if I could feel anything any more, my feelings in that direction had been suppressed too long. I only knew that I did not hate him or any of them anymore, the last five years had been an unbroken period of positives and I found that a lot of those old negatives in my life had just melted away, leaving the inevitable scorched echo, but no more damage than before. I did experience hate, briefly, a long time ago but I had worked hard to eliminate it early on. You cannot hate and live and I desperately wanted to live, and live on my terms.

Before I could reply, there was a "Hurrummp!" from the adjacent seat. Bill Junior had been ignored for too long. He wasn't spoiled, I ensured that, but he was used to being the centre of attention and needed to restore that state of equilibrium. He had allowed his Old Man more than my share of the attention of this vision of loveliness before us, it was his turn now.

Carol resumed the turn she had commenced a moment or two earlier and moved into a position more comfortable to observe my companion, the only family that I currently acknowledged. I noted with some alarm that rather than just touching my, what shall I call it, my anatomical indicator, her firm right thigh rode over onto it and squeezed its rigidity into my stomach. Damn! It'll never go down now! I had to bite my own bottom lip for a change to divert my attention from the phenomenon and prevent any premature reinforcement of my embarrassment, so unaccustomed that I had become to such stimulation.

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