Relative Confusion


"Devious." Nigel grinned at his brother.

"You'd better believe it."

"So how do you feel."

"Well aside from the fact it was the most incredible sex since Susan, and Helen is one of the most fascinating women I have ever met, I feel fine." His voice was heavy with irony. "But I'd feel a whole lot better if she'd talk to me. You know even Leo misses her, they took quite a shine to each other there for a while." There was a longing in Martin's voice which he hoped Nigel wouldn't notice.

"Well if I can help, you know?"

"Yeah. Thanks for caring, Nige."


Helen held the strip of paper in her hand looking at the blue lines and feeling as though she'd been hit by a train. She looked at herself in the mirror, cursing out loud.

"Shit, shit, shit! How could this happen? You stupid bitch, you know how it happened, the question is how could you have let it happen?"

What the hell had she been thinking, taking a man to bed when she'd stopped taking the pill years ago? Why hadn't he taken precautions? Because she dragged him naked into her bed and told him it was OK, that's why.

What was she going to do now? How could she run a business and look after a baby? How could she keep the father's identity secret? The embarrassment of admitting her son-in-law's twin brother had been her lover. She could hear her friends already talking about cradle snatchers and toy boys. Martin could almost be her son!

She briefly considered termination. But this was a life growing inside her just as Kate had; and this one was already just as precious. It was created in love, illicit love maybe, but love nonetheless. No, she would keep the baby. And she knew Martin deserved to be told the truth.

After taking an hour to summon the courage, she returned to her bedroom and reached for the phone. He answered after a couple of rings. Just the sound of his voice was reassuring, and gave her a sense of pleasure.

"Hello. Martin Fielding."

"Martin, it's Helen." She was sure she sounded as pathetic as she felt.

"Hello." He sounded cheerfully surprised. "It's great to hear from you. I was beginning to think you'd never forgive me."

"I might not."

"Why? What do you mean?" His tone had changed.

She paused briefly, then, taking a deep breath, dropped the bombshell. "Martin, I'm pregnant."

There was silence.

"Martin? Are you still there?"


Martin sat looking out of his study window at the driveway in front of the house. The last of the daffodils were fading and the summer plants were beginning to flower. The thought of another child was exciting, and yet he had a vague sense of disquiet. He knew what it was: this pregnancy could end like Susan's. He explored his feelings and emotions. He knew he loved Helen; her charm, wit and intelligence had already captivated him. Did she love him? He thought so, but she seemed to have a big problem with the idea of any relationship with him. If only he could overcome her ridiculous obsession with his age.

Her small sports car pulled up on the drive. She called the MG her little indulgence, since her business was doing so well. He had opened the front door before she opened the car door. As always when she wore a skirt, it rode up as she climbed out, revealing long, stocking clad legs; a sight that made his pulse race and caused a stirring in his groin.

He took her hand as she entered, and kissed her cheek. He felt encouraged she didn't try to pull away and allowed him to lead her into the living room, where they sat, side by side, on the sofa. She still hadn't made him release her hand - as though his touch gave her strength.

"Oh Martin. What are we going to do?" She sounded so unhappy, it made him ache inside.

"We'll have a cup of coffee." He paused for a moment. "Can you drink coffee when you're pregnant?"

"I'd rather have tea."

He nodded.

"I won't have an abortion," she said firmly as he headed towards the kitchen.

He paused in the doorway. "And I wouldn't expect you to."

"I'd feel like I was murdering a child."

"Helen." Shocked by her words, he crossed the room, knelt at her feet and put his arms around her. "It's alright."

"Don't be silly. We can't just make it go away."

"And I don't want to. I don't see what the problem is."

"How can I tell anyone I slept with a man who could be my son?"

Martin sighed. That old argument again. "Well I hate to disappoint you but I will never believe you're that old. You had Kate when you were what, nineteen, twenty?"


"Gothcha." He grinned broadly and she was forced to smile in return.

"Beast." She gave him a wry smile.

"So now you're forty-one and look thirty-five. So, if I was only two years younger than you would it be a problem?"

"Of course not," she retorted.

"Well how about if I was five years younger?"

"No, not really." She sounded hesitant.

"Alright, ten years."

"That's exactly the problem." Her voice was almost triumphant, as though she'd finally won the argument.

"Well what about seven years younger?"

"What are you getting at?" she asked, once more uncertain.

"Well I'm trying to find out at what age you set the limit for being too young." He began to think that perhaps she'd see the logic in his argument. He wanted her more than any woman since Susan.

"That sounds silly."

"Because it is. But you're the one who's making it silly. You only look as if you're thirty-five, so I only look six years younger. If you like I'll grow a beard and then I can look five years older."

"I hate beards." She'd stopped arguing and he knew he'd won.

"The point is Helen, my love, the real problem seems to be with your perception. If you can accept me then everyone else will have to, won't they."

"What about the people who say I'm cradle snatching?" She sounded unconvinced, as though clutching at a last hope.

"They're not your friends."

"What about Kate and Nigel?"

"Well Nigel's OK, he knows about us. I'd be willing to bet Kate will accept anything if it makes you happy." He squeezed her hand.

"You told Nigel?"

"We're twins, we have no secrets."

She looked at him and nodded, accepting his explanation. "What about your mother?"

"Same as Nigel, they both want to see me happy, and you make me happier than anyone since Susan died."

"You make me happy too, you know."

"Then come on. Admit it, we're in love." He stroked her soft brown hair gazing longingly into her eyes.

"Well alright then, I love you." She finally looked at him with desire. Then her expression became serious again. "But how do I run a business with a baby?"

"Well there are going to be two babies in the business, there's Kate's baby and ours."

"Yes and how will I live this down? After the way I went after Kate for getting pregnant before she was married."

"I'm sure Kate won't be too harsh - as long as you marry the father." He smiled and she kissed him, pulling her into his arms, he imagined a future with Helen living in the house with Leo, Martha and him. Nigel and Kate would share the childcare, taking turns working from the study.

Feeling safe in his embrace and looking into his handsome, smiling face, she too believed it could happen. Voicing her only concern she asked, "Are you sure Martha won't mind?"

"She'll love it, she thrives on grandchildren. We're going to have some very confused offspring though."

"What do you mean?" She looked puzzled.

"Well, Kate's brother-in-law will be her step-father, our baby will be Kate's half brother or sister and her nephew or niece, my sister-in-law will be my step-daughter, your daughter's mother-in-law will also be your mother-in-law, Kate's baby will be your niece or nephew and your grandchild, I'll be a granddad at thirty, and my head's spinning already."

Helen giggled. "God, you make me feel like a teenager."

"Good," he replied. "You'll have plenty of stamina."

"You're incorrigible." She smiled and he kissed her again. "So where do we go from here?"

His grin became lecherous. "My bedroom. Let's see if That Night was a fluke or if we can do it every time like that."

"Race you," she said, already halfway to the stairs.


©2008 Tory del Ricoh

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