tagNovels and NovellasThe Touch Ch. 17

The Touch Ch. 17


WARNING TO READERS - This is a long, rambling, multi-part story and VERY British. The individual chapters will make more sense if read in sequence.

Pt. 17 The Secret Desires of Schoolgirls

I was woken by the telephone ringing at eight o'clock on Sunday morning. It was Maggie calling to say that she was already at Calais and waiting to board the morning ferry to Dover, she had left Dijon and four o'clock in the morning to get to Calais by seven. The weather forecast had been reporting high winds and gales across France with lots of structural damage in the rural areas and there were quite severe storm warnings for the channel. She was a day early and should not have been returning until Monday but the cross channel ferry operators were already warning that sailings might be cancelled on Monday and Tuesday.

The weather was pretty foul throughout the Southern Counties of England as well, with high winds and driving rain and so I told Maggie that I would be spending the day at the garden centre just in case there were any problems with the greenhouses or temporary structures, and that she could telephone me there if she needed me. The logical part of my brain told me that I was being over protective. Maggie was one of the most sensible people I knew and Mum had often told us stories about when they were teenagers and were both mad keen sailors and into all sort of tough activities like mountain climbing and pot holing. But, I still felt a bit more comfortable knowing that if she did call from this side of the channel; I could turn out with the Land Rover and get to her within a couple of hours at most.

I pulled on a polo necked sweater and a pair of jeans under my yellow oil skin, then rode in on the Vespa; riding in that wind and rain was a pretty hairy experience, there were trees down and I had to take several diversions. It was a measure of everybody's loyalty and commitment that by the time I got to the garden centre half an hour later, Jack was already there checking for broken glass or leaks in the greenhouses and Steve turned up about ten minutes later to see if there was anything he could help with. As it happened several of the stays supporting the marquee had torn loose and it took both of us the best part of two hours to make the big tent secure again. We were both cold and wet despite the fact that we were wearing weather proof coats and were ready to go in when Jack came down to the edge of the back field and beckoned us up to the office building miming that hot drinks were ready. I was surprised to find that it was Emma who was in the staff room and had made teas and coffees and brought in enough ham rolls from home for everybody to have one. She had still been in bed when I left but had chosen to cycle in through the pouring rain to see if she could help. I was really impressed that she was taking her new found commitment to the business so seriously.

The telephone rang in the office and I pounded up the stairs like a maniac and grabbed the receiver. It was Maggie. To my relief she was safely across the channel and on her way home, she had stopped at a hotel near Tunbridge to get a coffee and call me. She said she would be home in about three hours. By mid-day the rain had stopped and the wind had abated a bit, we had covered those jobs that were necessary and so I thanked the guys and told them to go home and spend what was left of Sunday with their families. I intended staying at least until Maggie got back; Steve offered to drop Emma off at home and so after I locked the gates I went back to the office to catch-up with some studying.

I was about three thirty when I heard Maggie's Range Rover on the back lane and the side gate opening. I went down and she was standing in the yard. She looked cold and tired and it was starting to rain again.

"Lock up and come up to the house for a hot drink," she said, "I'll wait for you in the car!"

It took me no time to close up the office, grab my coat and lock the side gate. I climbed into the passenger seat and she drove up to the house. She left her keys in the ignition.

"I'll go in and make some coffee," she said, "Will you put the car in the garage for me?" She got out of the car and went up to the house door whilst I ran around the car, got in and drove to the garage. It was almost déjà vu, I had a vision of the last time she had asked me to put the car away, and how that had led to my getting shagged by Lucinda in the garage.

It was pouring with rain again by the time I had secured the garage and I ran up to the back door, which Maggie had unlocked and left standing open for me. I kicked off my muddy boots and hung my coat in the lobby. Through in the kitchen, coffee was starting to bubble in the percolator and I could hear the shower running upstairs. The coffee maker settled and I poured out two mugs, black and strong.

"Well, you can give me a welcome back hug, now!" I heard her say from behind me. I turned around and she was standing in the kitchen doorway wearing a blue velvet jogging suit and rubbing her damp hair with a fluffy white towel. I did not need telling twice; I stepped up and pulled her close lifting her feet up off the floor.

"God Maggie, I've bloody missed you!" I said, swinging her round in a circle. I stopped and she just hung there suspended against me her feet tucked up behind her. We stood like that for what seemed to be an eternity but was probably only a few seconds and then she lowered her feet to the ground and I released her from my bear hug. There was a wild tension starting in the pit of my stomach, if I did not step back there and then I knew that I would do or say something really stupid and ruin everything. "Come and sit down and have a cup of coffee." I said finally.

"Christ but you're strong Jamie; I think you have crushed every bone in my body!" she laughed, "But it is nice to think that somebody has missed me; I think the girls couldn't wait for me to leave so that they could start terrorising the French countryside without their mother watching!"

We sat at the kitchen table and talked, about how the twins were settling in at their aunt's farm, what they planned doing during their stay, then moved on to the situation in York with Aunt Susan. Maggie had telephoned her before leaving France and it seemed that the funeral was to be held next Friday and was to be a small private service for family only, Maggie and Mum would be attending and she suggested the Emma and I might wish go as well. I really did not want to go and with the uncertainty the bad weather was causing, I felt that one of us should be here anyway to liaise with the building contractors and Maggie agreed.

I poured some more coffee and we moved on to talking about what had been happening with the business over the past week, the unavoidable building delays, and the prospect that we would not be able to move forward until the present storms abated as conditions were too dangerous for the construction workers to be climbing about on ladders or scaffolding. In the end we decided that it would probably be sensible to close completely on Monday as the predictions were for even worse weather and we spent half an hour telephoning everybody and telling them not to come into work. I would come in naturally, just to keep and eye on things and do the usual checks on the greenhouses.

Suddenly I realised that it was almost half past six. "Are you hungry, I know I am?" I asked her.

"Yes, I am a bit," she replied. "I hadn't realised it until you just asked, but I'm more tired than anything."

I knew there would not be much in the way of fresh food so I had a look through the larder and came back with a couple of cans of chicken soup, some crackers and crisps, we did have butter in the 'fridge. I held up my prizes for her approval and then opened the cans and tipped them into a saucepan to heat whilst I got out bowls, plates and cutlery and buttered a pile of the water biscuits to have instead of bread with the soup. There is nothing quite as warming and friendly as a bowl of soup when you are cold and hungry even when it comes out of a tin and after we had eaten I could see that Maggie felt better.

I poured another couple of coffees and dumped a decent slug of whisky in each and we took them through to the sitting room, and sat on the rug, very close together with our backs to the couch and smoked a couple of cigarettes and talked some more and listened to the wind buffeting the windows and the rain pattering on the glass. After a while Maggie began to yawn and I could see that the days travelling had caught up with her and she was starting to fall asleep.

"I should go home, and you should go to bed." I told her getting to my feet.

"That is just silly!" she said, yawning again. "You can't ride that moped home in this weather and you will probably want to be back again before first light. Why don't you stay here for the night, you can use one of the guest rooms, or even one of the girl's rooms I'm sure they wouldn't mind!" She eased herself off of the floor until she was sitting on the edge of the couch. "Just call Gwen now and tell her you are staying so that she doesn't worry."

I got the telephone and called Mum and told her that Maggie was home safely and that I would be staying for the night because of the weather, she agreed with Maggie that it would be madness to ride the Vespa in the worsening storm.

When I turned back Maggie was slumped forward and very nearly asleep. I scooped her up in my arms and carried her through to the hall and up the stairs, flicking off the light switches as I went. I could feel that she was wearing nothing beneath the jogger suit, she had twisted around to put her arm around my neck and I could feel the warm imprint of her breast through my pullover. When we reached her bedroom I took her over to the bed and sat her on the edge whilst I pulled back the duvet, removed her slippers, then switched on the bedside lamp. She opened her eyes halfway and smiled at me dreamily. God, but she was so beautiful!"

"Go to sleep now," I said quietly, "I'll see you in the morning." Then I laid her down and tucked the duvet over her. Before I could go she reached out and took hold of my hand.

"Thanks for being here," she murmured sleepily, "It was so nice having somebody waiting for me when I got home, I haven't had that for such a long time!" I lent over and kissed her gently on the forehead and then started to go again. She held onto my hand, "Stay for a few more minutes," she whispered and patted the bed beside her, "just keep me company for a little while."

I walked around the bed and lay down beside her. She had rolled over so that her back was to me and I was lying on top of the quilt and she was under it. Her hand found mine and drew it over so that my arm lay across her waist and our fingers were interlaced. I could feel the warm firmness of her body through the thick duvet; her honey blonde pony tail was hanging out of the cover. I pressed my face into it and my nose was full of the light herbal perfume of her shampoo.

I felt really strange. I wanted Maggie desperately, more than any other woman I had ever seen or met, the proximity of her body was arousing and I was glad that my erection was trapped behind my jeans and separated from her by the thickness of the bed cover, but laying there I was not only consumed with lust ..... I was content just to be there beside her.

After a while I felt her breathing change and knew that she was asleep. The knuckles of our fingers were still tightly locked together and I could not pull my hand away without waking her and so I just lay there enjoying being close to her.

I awoke with a start about seven-thirty. Maggie was still sound asleep beside me beneath the duvet much as we had been last night when we fell asleep; except, she must have got up at some point during the night because she had fetched another quilt and covered me with it. Our bodies were spooned and although still separated by the thickness of the quilt I could feel the outline of her buttocks against my night time erection.

Outside the wind was howling and I could hear the rain crashing against the bedroom windows. I didn't want to get up, I was warm and comfortable and I was lying next to Maggie and I could have happily stayed like that forever, but I knew that I had to move. I crept down the hall to the bathroom, stripped and took a shower and then redressed. I always kept some throwaway razors and some spare under clothes and socks in my locker at the garden centre and I could shave and change later. Maggie appeared to be still sleeping when I looked in and so I went down to the kitchen and put the coffee pot on and did the washing up from the previous night whilst I waited for it to brew.

My brain was a total muddle. I had spent the night with Maggie, spooned on the same bed, only separated by the thickness of a quilt, one half of my brain was calling me a total pillock for not making a play for her, or even using 'The Touch' to get into her pants. The other half was rationally telling me that IF anything was ever going to happen, and it was a very big and unlikely IF, then it had to come from Maggie herself, otherwise was to invite total disaster.

I poured two mugs, drank half of mine and then took the other up to Maggie's bedroom. She was awake and looked ruffled but refreshed and was smiling brightly, I handed her the mug.

"I'll see what I can find for breakfast," I told her, "then I had better go down and have a look around the garden centre .... The storm is really bad now!"

"OK," she replied, "I'll get dressed and come down, then we can go together."

I went back downstairs and found a loaf of sliced bread in the freezer which would defrost in the toaster, there was butter and marmalade and a can of grapefruit. By the time Maggie came down I had made us toast and poured fresh coffees. She was wearing a thick oiled wool fisherman's sweater and jeans, and even without make-up I thought that she looked lovely.

"You look radiant this morning." I said, I wasn't hitting on her, the words just slipped out.

"Thank you, Gallant Knight." She laughed. "I'm not sure that it is true, but I am glad you think so." I was at all not sure if there was something I should be reading into her remark and so I just smiled and got on with my breakfast.

After we had eaten we walked down to the garden centre and toured the site. We didn't seem to have taken too much damage during the night but the wind was so strong in the open that it was difficult to stand and it had whipped any loose paper or small items into a pile against the chain link fence. The rain stopped during the morning but the wind just seemed to get stronger and just after eleven there was an almighty crash somewhere over the back of the site. We both put our waterproof coats and boots on and left the office and walked up towards the greenhouses. A stack of large plastic water butts had blown over and were rolling about the yard and we dragged them into a more sheltered spot and then moved on to check out the greenhouses.

The first two were fine but there was a gaping hole in the roof of the third. I unlocked the door and flicked the light switch, the electrics were obviously out and so I told Maggie to stay outside until I had isolated the power and then we went in. The damage had been caused by a plastic dustbin, the type of black rubberised tub that was issued by the council to householders for domestic waste. The wind had picked it up from somewhere and hurled it through the roof of the greenhouse. Apart from the broken glass there was not a major amount of damage, one of the benches had been knocked over by the impact and a dozen or so trays of pansies were scattered about the floor. I righted the bench whilst Maggie started gathering up those plants that could saved and replanting them in their pots or trays. We agreed that there was no point trying to make repairs to the roof and just dragged the benches away from any incoming rain.

By the time that we had checked around and got back to the office the rain had stopped and the wind appeared to be dying down. By mid-afternoon the worst of the storm seemed to be over. That was Monday 13th February 1989 and the radio news told us that the winds had been the strongest in the Southern Counties since records began; we felt that we had got away lightly with the small amount of damage we had taken. We got out the Land Rover and drove into town, the supermarket had not opened that day in common with most businesses but we found a local corner shop and Maggie bought a bag full of groceries to take home. On the way back I spotted a café which was open for business and we stopped and had plates of sausage, eggs and chips it was all that they could offer but we were so hungry that we both had double portions and it was heavenly.

Maggie had a Chamber of Commerce meeting to go to that evening and so I dropped her off at her house and then collected my moped and rode home.

The next day was dry and the wind had dropped completely. Boris Keppel and the foreman from the glaziers were at the garden centre at first light and agreed that they could start work again immediately. Boris said that he would get the project electrician to see to the electrics in the damaged greenhouse and then get somebody to repair the glazing. We were lucky to have tradesmen on site, most people would probably have to wait days or weeks to get storm damage repaired.

It was St.Valentine's Day. When Emma came into the office she brought up the post from the letter box on the main gate. As well as the normal business correspondence there were three Valentine's cards, two of them were for me and one was for Emma. I handed Emma her envelope and she took it un-opened into her own office. The first card I opened had a local postmark and was a 'sniffer' card, which contained a small square of fabric onto which a girl could put a drop of her perfume; I really didn't recognise the scent. The only inscription was 'Call Me!' The other card had no message but the handwriting on the envelope was a give-away, it was from Emma. I wasn't sure if I should say anything to her and so I binned the envelopes and just stood the cards on my desk.

A few minutes later Emma came through and put her arms around my neck from behind and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I guessed that she thought her card was from me, it wasn't, I had never sent a Valentine's Card to anybody in my life. I guessed that it was probably from Tim, I knew that he still had a crush on her. She immediately homed in on the cards on my desk, and went straight for the one from Kristen, picked it up, read the verse and sniffed the perfume, then laid it face down on the desk.

"I like the other one best," she stated haughtily, "It's far more sincere and not tacky!" She hadn't even looked at it so it was a dead give-away that it was from her, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and said nothing.

I took a bit of ribbing from Maggie when she came in and saw the cards, she sniffed at the perfume, thought for a minute and then whispered, "Kristen Olsen, if I'm not mistaken." Women seem to know these things. Emma must have heard because she stormed in snatched the card and dumped it straight into my waste paper basket and stormed back to her own office and slammed the door, leaving Maggie and I in fits of silent laughter.

"Your mother told me you had a bit of a problem with Emma," she grinned. Maggie really didn't know the half of it! Yes, Emma was becoming very clingy, but I was starting to respond and that was the real problem.

The whole team were in and already working to clean up the mess from the storm and so I decided that I would take a run out to Shelby's Riding Stables and talk to Philippa Shelby about the supply of manure, and then call in at The Cedars to see if there was any storm damage to the gardens. Maggie intended to spend the day in the office catching up and Emma was still sulking so I decided to go alone on my Vespa.

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