tagRomanceSod's Law Pt. 06

Sod's Law Pt. 06


Chapter 11

Life went on for another three weeks. I got round to advertising for a tenant to fill Harry's room without much hope of many replies, but was surprised when Annette Furlong applied. She was a medical student and came from a fairly wealthy family. The residents were impressed with her and she moved in on the 1st of September.

It was Thursday 22nd August that Fred eventually got back to me.

I had to buy him dinner! He said it was very difficult and involved some questionable behaviour on his part that I did not need to know about. Not to worry, he said, it wasn't quite illegal. Morally he felt it was fine since he did not actually contact the target.

"David John Evans was adopted by Francis and Gloria Benson and given the name Peter Christopher. He was formally adopted on 20th June 1960. Here's where it gets complicated. The family moved to Australia the following year and settled in Brisbane where they now live.

"Peter married Dawn Patricia Connolly two years ago and they have a son Robert."

He passed a sheet of A4 paper to me.

"This is Peter's address and phone number, but it struck me that if you want to contact him at some stage, he may not know he's adopted. Unlikely, but it can happen. So I found the address of his parents and their phone number as well. You may wish to contact them first to see if Peter knows he's adopted. If he doesn't..."

"I'll leave well alone. Don't worry, I don't want to mess up another family."

"Good man! I rather knew you'd say that. I wouldn't have moved heaven and earth to find all this otherwise.

"Just a note of warning. It takes anything between a few days and a few weeks for letters to get there. Keep that in mind."

I thought about the information I'd received, and was pleased that the bill was not as high as I thought it would be: 'friends' discount' Fred called it with a laugh. The upshot was that I would phone the parents first to find out if he knew he was adopted, and depending on their response, I would either phone him, or let the matter drop.

So the next morning at nine I made the call, calculating it would be six in the evening in Brisbane.


"Mr Benson?"

"Yes, that's me."

"My name is David Evans, and I'm a solicitor phoning from Manchester England, but I'm phoning on a private matter concerning your son Peter."

"Must be costing you a packet, mate. Get to it, and save yourself some money!"

"Very kind of you. It concerns his adoption, but before contacting him, I wanted to make sure he knows he was adopted. If he doesn't know, I'll let the matter drop. I don't want to cause any distress on your or his part."

"Oh, yeah! He's known that since he was small. Funny you should ring because he's been talking about trying to trace his family history."

"So in your view I'll be OK phoning him about his sister."

"He's got a sister? Strewth, he'll be chuffed about that! Can we know what it's about?"

"You'll know his name before you adopted him?"

"Yeah, David Evans... Oh crikey!"

"I see you're ahead of me. It's about a mix up. I got engaged to his sister Helen who was also adopted, but I was fostered. Her parents got some company to find out more and wrongly concluded I was her brother. David's and my births were both registered in Shrewsbury, but I am ten days older than David and they got the wrong one.

"Problem is, she has been traumatised by the news, thinking she's been committing incest for over a year, and she and her family have cut off all communication with me. What's more, she's disappeared off the radar."

"And you want her back?"

"Not sure if that's possible, she's marrying someone else in October, but I think she needs to know the truth, rather than to find out after she's married. She messed me up badly by disappearing without talking to me, so I'm not sure where we'll go after this, but I think she needs to know the truth."

"You go ahead and phone him mate. If you give me ten minutes, I'll warn him you're going to phone. I'll leave you to tell the tale."

"Thanks, you're very kind."

"No worries."

So I waited ten minutes and then phoned Peter.

"Dad phoned saying you're a lawyer from Britain, something about my adoption?"

"Yes, do you know what name you had before you were adopted?"

"Yeah, I was David John Evans."

"Good. My name is David Evans. You were born 16th May, I was born 6th May. We were both registered in Shrewsbury."

"So this is about a mix-up?"

"Exactly. I think the first thing to tell you is that you have a sister."

"No! Really? Older, younger?"

"Three years younger. She was adopted as well, and is now Helen Metcalfe. Anyway, we started going out, and we hit it off really well, almost knew what each other was thinking, and we lived together more or less for over a year. Then we got engaged and that was when her parents messed us up."

"They thought you were me, and you were brother and sister."

"Boy, you're quick on the uptake Peter! Exactly! They hired a tracing company who rather casually 'proved' we were siblings. Parents told Helen, who basically ran away - she disappeared.

"I think her parents know where she is, but they're not telling. She sent me a letter recently telling me to keep away, she doesn't want anything to do with me."

"She's still in love with you and it would hurt her too much."

"I think you may be right there. In the letter she said she'd talk to me a year after she was married and that might, to put it in her words, get me off her back, and let me get on with my own life."

"David, I'm really sorry about that. How do you want me to help? Phone her parents?"

"I'm pretty sure they'll think it was a trick of mine. I'm thinking more about a letter from you to her parents, but without any reference to me. As if you have been doing research and want to verify she is your sister.

"In the meantime, I'll send you a transcript and documents-"

"You can fax them to me at work. Can't remember the number, but if you give me your fax number I'll send you a fax and then you'll have mine."

"Good thinking! It's been good talking to you Peter."

"Same here! Fancy me having a sister."

On Tuesday morning, the Monday being a Bank Holiday, the fax was waiting on my desk for me, and I sent photocopies of the birth certificates, his and hers and mine, and the full story of what had transpired, including details of my mother's life and death. I got a fax with all his adoption documents.

On Friday of the first week of September, there was another fax from Peter. The front page told me he had sent the letter registered post, but with the unpredictable Australian post who knew when it would arrive? He had written to Helen's parents. The second page was his letter to her parents. I thought it was cleverly written.

Dear Mr. and Mrs Metcalfe,

My name is Peter Benson and I was adopted in 1960. My birthday is 16th May 1960. My adoptive parents moved here to Brisbane the following year. I have recently married and have a one year old son.

I recently became interested in finding out about my family history, and discovered my birth parents, and the fact I have a sister.

My birth parents were David and Kathleen Evans. I did some research into them, mainly using a researcher in England, and found out about their problem of being addicted to drugs. I'm still looking for them to see if they're still alive. I hope they got treatment.

My researcher trawled the English BMD indexes and tells me that I have a sister born 23rd November 1963, Kylie Evans.

My researcher also found that Kylie was adopted by a Mr and Mrs Metcalfe and by a process of elimination suggests you may be her adoptive parents.

I would be very grateful if you could confirm or deny whether you are her adoptive parents, and if you are, if you could inform her she has a brother and give her my address. Of course, if she doesn't wish to contact me, I will understand and trouble you no further.

Yours hopefully

Peter Benson

Just over a week later, I got a fax from Peter, saying that the letter had been delivered and signed for, but it was unlikely he'd get a reply in he foreseeable future. He would notify me of any developments.

I half expected some reaction from the Metcalfes, or from Helen, but there was none forthcoming.

The following Friday I was again persuaded to go out on the town, this time with Alan Watkins, who was now well settled in Helen's old room. I noticed he left the decorations as they were. He said they were fine and to his taste.

We scored with a pair of pretty girls out for a good time. My girl seemed happy enough with our pairing, and at the end of the night, or rather early in the morning, Allan and I brought our dates back to the House.

Once in my room, Lorraine, for such was her name, asked for a white wine which I had to get from the cellar: there being no space in my room for wine storage since I usually drank beer. When I returned she was naked and in bed, so I poured her a glass, brought it to her side of the bed and, going to my side, stripped off to join her.

She embraced me on arrival, and we kissed at length, our hands roaming over each other. Then she drew back a little.

"Condom?" she asked.

"Only if you're keen on having full sex with this stranger," I replied.

"I get a choice?" she asked.

"Of course you do."

"But you undressed as well."

"Yes, because you did first. I wouldn't embarrass you."

"This night is proving very strange," she said, stroking my shoulder. I kissed her lips.

"I don't get it," she said at length, once we parted breathing a little heavily. I could hear Alan and Jacey going at it next door, and so could Lorraine. We looked at each other and laughed.

"Look," I said. "If the noise turns you on, we can have sex as well, I do have condoms but..."

"I don't have to," she finished for me. Then, "What's wrong with me? Don't I turn you on?"

I led her hand to my cock, which was stiff and ready. "That answer your question?" I said with a smile.

"OK. David, I go out every weekend with Jaycee and Polly. If we end up having drinks bought for us all night, we know we're expected to perform later, and to be honest, I think we all enjoy it. But really, it gets a bit boring, a bit predictable. And shallow. So this..."

"Is new and different."

"Yes. Now there's a reason for your attitude. I've just felt with my own fingers that you are a red blooded male. So talk to me."

So, as she lay in my arms, I told her everything, and she listened, asking questions for clarity, and smiling and looking upset at the appropriate moments. When I finished she made a comment.

"David, whatever happens, you must find a way to tell her how things really are. Believe me, and I know from bitter experience, you can't let her marry someone and then find out she's with the wrong man."

"Perhaps he's the right-"

"No he isn't. You're the right man. She'll never he happy and neither will you if you let this go."

She then narrated a tale of a girl friend of hers who finished with the love of her life when some bitch of a woman convinced her that he'd cheated. She even used photographs which were in fact innocent, but could be misinterpreted.

The girl friend eventually married someone else and then found the love of her life had been true all along. He'd been so upset and angry he refused to tell her the truth. Her marriage did not last, but he had married someone else. Lorraine got the impression both settled for second best in the end.

"I'm not getting married," she said resolutely. "I'll live with someone for a long time and perhaps never tie the knot. I work in Manchester Register Office and I see all these couples getting married, and half of them won't last five years before they're ready to divorce.

"You know you can find out when she's getting married and where? In her local register office they have to display couples' intention to marry, and Parish Churches display which couples are getting married in their church. You could easily find out."

I was amazed! "Lorraine, you're a genius! I'll find her somehow."

She smiled with satisfaction.

We chatted on for about an hour and then fell asleep, the amorous activity next door having presumably ended in exhaustion.

On Saturday morning we awoke and after we had showered, separately, I took her down to the kitchen, where she consumed some toast and marmalade by way of breakfast, with coffee being her preference.

As I saw her off at the front door before anyone else was about, she kissed me gently and with, I thought, some love.

"I think I enjoyed last night more than any for a long time," she said. "I think we were more intimate than if we'd had the obligatory shag!"

"So do I," I replied. "And thanks for that information about marriages, I can't think why I didn't remember that."

"You're not a divorce lawyer," she said significantly.

We kissed again and she set off down the road, meeting Kim and Imogen running the other way. They looked at her, and then at me and smiled.

"So you got lucky!" said Kim. "Pretty girl!"

"Yes, she is," I said. "We talked into the night and fell asleep together."


"No. But she said it was her best night for a long time."

"Wow, that's something," said Kim. "I bet you told her your tale of woe. It's as good as a novel."

"And I'll bet she told you you simply have to tell Helen before she gets married to someone else, didn't she?" said Imogen. It wasn't really a question.

"Yes, she did. And I will, even if I have to go to the wedding to do it."

"How will you know where she's getting married? Or when?" asked Imogen.

"You won't believe this, but Lorraine works in Manchester Register Office, and reminded me they have to post who's getting married, and so do Parish Churches. So I can find out when and where. I assume it'll be in York somewhere."

"About time you saw sense, and got after her" said Imogen. "I'm getting cold. Shower time!"

They ran into the house and I watched their neat rears as they mounted the stairs at a run. Very pretty they were too.

September came to an end, and October began dismally with rain. I noted that there had been no contact from Helen. Yes, I was searching for a letter every day that told me she'd seen and understood who her brother really was. Nothing. Neither was there a fax from Australia saying she'd been in touch there. I began to wonder if she got to see the letter at all.

However, while there was nothing voluntarily from the Metcalfes, they could not keep the venue for the wedding secret. Weddings are public ceremonies and Helen's ceremony was to be on Saturday the 19th of October, at 3pm. All it took was a phone call to the Rectory of the Parish Church nearest to the Metcalfe home.

However, I was not going to wait until that part of the ceremony when the priest asks if there are any objections!

I needed to take the initiative. At the beginning of the wedding week, Christian was cooking dinner for all the carnivores, and for a change, the veggies were there as well, cooking their own meal.

"Helen's wedding is on Saturday," I stated baldly.

There was a collective intake of breath.

"I need to get to Helen before she gets married," I said. "She's marrying in the Local Parish Church at 3pm but I don't want to go to the house the night before and risk having the door slammed in my face, or get arrested. Any ideas?"

"At most weddings they have a rehearsal in the church one or two days before," said Alan. "Stag and Hen nights are often the night before the wedding."

"At my cousin's wedding they had a family meal after the practice. They had it at the hotel where they had the reception" added Kim.

"But which hotel?" said Ibrahim. "There must be hundreds in York."

Then I had an idea. I remembered when we got engaged her parents took us to a hotel called the Edgemain.

"Helen once told me that her parents' favourite hotel because of the restaurant was the Edgemain," I said. "In fact they took us out to eat there and the food was really very good."

"Try it!" said Chris. "Contact the hotel on some pretext and see if there is a pre-wedding dinner for family. Failing that we all set to and try the restaurants in the area. If no luck, you'll just have to go to the house. She should be there the night before."

Nuala, practical soul that she is, went to the hall to phone the hotel. She came back grinning.

"That was easy," she said. "It seems there's a booking for Metcalfe on the Thursday at 7.30, and the wedding reception on Saturday is being held there as well."

"I assume you're going to gatecrash the meal," said Christian. "You know what you should do?"

I looked expectantly at him.

"Take your mother along. There's more chance they'll believe her."

"And try to catch them before the meal," said Nuala. "I asked if there's a lounge bar, and there is. It's where folk go to have a drink and order from the menu. And I think taking your mother along is a fabulous idea."

So later that evening, I called on Mum. "Mum, the first chance and the only one I'm going to get to talk to Helen is on Thursday. The family are eating at a hotel called the Edgemain that night. Will you come along with me? You can vouch for my birth certificate."

Mum can be quite formidable, but is also kind at heart. "Yes, of course. I'll get Craig, Nessa and Gina to hold the fort. I need to be back that night, though."

"It'll take a couple of hours to drive to York because of the rush hour," I told her. "So we need to leave about 4.00. We should be back home by ten at the latest."

I told her about getting in touch with Helen's real brother, now called Peter Benson. I also told her that the Metcalfes had received his letter and signed for it but Helen had not reacted at all. I added that I suspected the Metcalfes had not sent it on to Helen. I showed Mum the fax.

"Good, I'll take that with me," she said. "You keep out of sight, and I'll sit in the lounge and wait for them. If you go in cold, they'll kick up a fuss and have you thrown out before you can do any damage. Once they're arguing about the letter, you can come in and sit down."

She's a good planner, my Mum.

The housemates all wanted to come along, but that was clearly impossible. Chris said he'd go to be Mum's escort, but that would complicate matters too much since Helen knew him well, but Alan said Helen didn't know him, so it was agreed he'd go. I took the Friday off, thinking I would probably need the time in case of any fall out from the visit.

After a planning meeting when Mum met Alan, we were prepared, and on Thursday evening Mum and Alan were seated with drinks in a window seat of the Edgemain's lounge bar which was open to the public, and I was sitting in Alan's car watching them. My car would have been a giveaway. Alan would signal at the appropriate moment for me to enter.

I watched the party arrive and my heart missed a beat as I saw Helen. It was as if we had parted the day before, and I felt the tug, the attraction and it made me angry, for she was on the arm of a tall handsome man, who had to be Barry. It took all my will power not to get out of the car and accost them. Maurice and Kathleen Metcalfe were there of course and four other people of varying ages, who I assumed were relatives.

For what followed I am indebted to Alan and his prodigious photographic memory.

The party entered and were occupied in sorting out who was sitting where. One of the older men was taking orders for drinks and then went to the bar. Then Helen saw Brenda Collins and looked surprised then worried, or was it fearful? Brenda smiled and Helen gave a half smile, which Brenda took as an invitation to go over. Helen now looked a little more apprehensive.

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