Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?
- Merchant of Venice, Act 3, Scene 2
Why did my life take the improbable turn that it did? I can tell you the answer to that: it was fancy. Begotten in the eyes, Shakespeare said. In my case, I'd say it was a different part of the anatomy. Her anatomy. Her -- I'm trying to be quite honest here -- big, mature arse. Now you're thinking I'm crude, to be referring to her in these terms; and maybe I am. But I loved her. Still do. Get that straight. So if you're maybe thinking this is going to be one of those stories by a nasty-minded tosser, obsessing and gloating about how he could order a woman around sexually -- well, that's not it at all. On the other hand, it wasn't what you'd call a normal boy-meets-girl scenario either. Far from normal. Some people, I suppose, still find it perverted. I just want you to understand that when fancy strikes you, everything can change. And fancy doesn't follow any rules.
* * *
My name is Derek. I grew up in a working-class neighbourhood in Sheffield. My dad was a skilled machinist in a steel mill. My mum was my mum. That's what most women were back then, at least in our part of Sheffield, at least if they had a husband working. Given my background, the only things I can point to that were unusual about me, as I was growing up, was that I did well in school (most of my schoolmates never cracked a book if a teacher didn't force them to), and that I was an only child (my mates' families all seemed to have four-plus). My ears stuck out a bit -- still do -- and I was self-conscious about them. But you see, I didn't have hair on my palms, nor a three-foot prick, nor did my parents shut me in a dark room for years. That is, I was essentially normal, I think -- whatever that means. I liked cricket. I liked making model aeroplanes. I read voraciously.
Mrs Ponsonby, Ellen -- I still think of her then as Mrs Ponsonby -- lived next door. Which is to say, she occupied a room on the top floor of our neighbours', the Hendersons', place. It used to be her place: the Hendersons moved in when I was about five, and Mrs Ponsonby moved upstairs. My mum always referred to her as a widow, but I knew that her husband, Frank the Crank, had left her for some woman in Leeds, which is why Ellen couldn't afford the house by herself, and had to take in the Hendersons. No children of her own. She was in her mid-thirties then. Short and round of build, bright eyes, a round face, button nose and a slight overbite, light-brown hair which she kept in an unfashionable bun. Not dazzlingly beautiful, to a lad's eye, but genuinely warm. My early memories of her were ... of an old-fashioned coat she used to wear, with padded shoulders and brocade trim, the material straining against her plump figure. Her body was comfortingly soft when she hugged me, and she always smelled nice, of lavender water. She didn't smoke, though she worked in a tobacconist's shop down the street. I bought my sweeties there, along with dad's weekly tin of pipe tobacco. When mum and dad went out of an evening, she'd have me up to her room for cocoa, and read to me from her poetry books. When she recited Browning's monologues, I was spellbound. Beyond that, well, she was just a fixture of the neighbourhood. She was Mrs Ponsonby. The poor old dear, as my mum would always add.
I ate my porridge, I drank my tea, I sat my exams, I grew taller, my voice deepened, I delivered groceries, I fumbled around with the sister of one of my mates. And then I was off to Oxford, to read literature. I had won a 'place'.
I stuck it out for a year at Oxford. I did well enough academically. But class lines were sharply drawn in England then. Me with my broad Yorkshire accent -- the dons always acted surprised when I said or wrote anything halfway intelligent, as though I were a talking dog or something. I also had an intense, gut-wrenching affair with Susan, a young Trotskyite from a middle-class background. She was my first real experience of sex, and I was enthralled. But Susan, I think, had taken me up merely as a symbol of the working class, and dropped me when the novelty wore off. And then my mum took sick of leukemia.
Humiliated and heart-sick, I switched to the University of Sheffield, and moved back home. My mum died just a month after I came back. I channelled my grief, my sense of isolation and confusion, into my writing. I became involved in the local theatre scene. At the age of twenty-four, I finished university, and a short story of mine was published in Beacon. I dated a few girls in my theatre circle, but these relationships never went anywhere. A radio play appeared on the BBC. A volume of my Susan poems was published, with a foreword by Ted Hughes. I wrote a screenplay for BBC television. I contributed some reviews, of films and books, to the Manchester Guardian. I might have gone on like this, being a regional man of letters, for the rest of my life: not very happy, but successful in a mediocre sort of way. But for fancy. A strange fancy.
* * *
I saw her nearly every day, of course. Sitting behind the counter at the tobacconists: Morning Mrs Ponsonby. Morning young Derek. A Manchester Guardian then? Yes, please. How's the new play? Coming along ... coming along. Ta then.
One October evening, after a seeing a play in Liverpool I was to review, I was returning home from the train station, when it began pissing down rain. As I was about to step into a cab, I saw, trudging up the pavement, Mrs Ponsonby, blocks from home, struggling with her umbrella in the gusting wind. I immediately pulled her into the cab with me.
"Why, thank you, young Derek. I was just over here visiting me niece Julia, and wondering how I was to get home without drowning, when along you come like a knight in shining armour."
I tut-tutted of course. But when we pulled up in front of her door, she invited me up to her room "for cocoa, just like old times, and a grown-up slug of whiskey in it to take the chill off," and I must admit it sounded appealing. After we ascended the stairs, flicked on the light, and shed our wet coats and hats, I sank down in her armchair, tired and chilled, while she bustled about, lighting the electric fire, finding a pot for the cocoa. Her face had a healthy glow, after coming in from the cold and wet. Her grey hair had slipped, alluringly, out of its bun. She was, what, in her mid fifties now? A good thirty years older than me. As warm and vivacious as ever, though. A cozy woman. I noticed a copy of my Susan poems on the shelf beside her bed, and was flattered that she had read them.
Unbidden, the memory of hugging Mrs Ponsonby surged into my consciousness: the soft warmth of her body, her delicate lavender smell. I looked at her, for the first time in years. She was heavier now, perhaps seven or eight stone, with a deep bosom, full belly, and ... well, to put it crudely, an arse that started early and ended late. As she puttered about the cooker, reaching down into the fridge for the milk, bending over, I could see the voluminous contours of it, jiggling, encased in the faint outline of her knickers, beneath her cotton frock.
And suddenly, I wanted Mrs Ponsonby, like I'd never wanted any woman in my life. I wanted to bury my face in that soft, fat arse and hibernate there all winter.
"There you go, dear. Now drink up."
I was startled from my embarassing reverie as she handed me my cocoa. As she sat down opposite me, my eyes were drawn to her heavy bosom. Christ, so much woman. I had to stop these thoughts. I hoped to God she didn't notice the throbbing erection I had in my trousers. I forced my eyes down to the floor, and asked perfunctorily after her niece Julia.
"Just finished a degree in anthropology at University of Liverpool, though she's no idea what to do with it. She's about your age, actually, Derek. A bit quiet, is Julia, but very bright. You might like to meet her."
"I'm not really ... interested ... in girls ... my own age right now, Mrs Ponsonby." Bloody hell! Now why did I say that?
"Poor lad, still stuck on that Susan, then?"
"Er, perhaps... A bit." It wasn't true, but it seemed the only way out of the conversational minefield I had just stepped into.
"If you'll excuse a meddlesome old woman's opinion," she said, with unexpected heat, "that bitch, pardon my French, wasn't worth your little finger, Derek. You deserve much better than her."
I looked up into her bright brown eyes, and saw such tenderness. l saw loneliness. I could smell her faint lavender scent. And I wanted her even more.
Abruptly, I made my excuses, gathered up my things (still endeavouring to hide the tent pole in my trousers), and headed downstairs.
* * *
I ran into her on the street the next day, as she was closing up the tobacconists. It was a fine afternoon, neither of us had had our tea yet, as it happened, so I took her to new tea shop a few blocks away. The day after that, she invited me up to her room again for cocoa, and we read together from a new play I was working on. Next evening, I took her to a performance of The Glass Menagerie put on by some mates of mine. Then I had her over to supper with my dad and me. And so it continued, for over a month.
In retrospect, I can see that I was behaving exactly like a love-smitten suitor. If it had been a girl my own age, I would have had no trouble saying straight out that I 'fancied' her. More than fancied her. At the time, though, I had scores of reasons why this couldn't really be happening. I told myself that I was still just the neighbours' boy to her. It would shock and repulse her if she knew ... I mean, I even tried to convince myself that I wasn't attracted to her at all, I just couldn't be. The sharp pangs of lust I felt for this older woman's body, and the frequent erections they caused, were ... well ... something else ... some Freudian 'complex' perhaps (psychoanalytical jargon was very popular at the time). But I never once considered not seeing her anymore. The idea of breaking off these ... meetings, these times together, was unthinkable. Meanwhile, the more reasons I thought of for why I ought to find her aging body unattractive -- the more I noticed the light wrinkles round her eyes, her grey hair, her double chin, her pendulous breasts, her voluminous bottom -- the more fiercely I wanted her.
And then an offer came from the Liverpool Gazette. They had a regular job for me, as film, book, and theatre critic, if I'd move to Liverpool immediately. It meant a steady income, plus expenses. It meant I'd be moving away from Ellen.
I told them no.
* * *
That night, over our cocoa, she seemed distant, even a bit irritable.
When I asked if anything was wrong, she said wearily, "Your dad told me you've a job, in Liverpool. Weren't you even going to tell me, Derek?"
"I turned it down."
Her eyes widened. "Wh-why?"
"I suppose I'm just not ready to leave Sheffield," I shrugged.
She smiled shyly at me, her lip trembling slightly, and then leaned forward and kissed me on the cheek. We sat there for a moment, coyly gazing at each other. I squeezed her hand, reluctant to let it go. "Well. G'night then, Ellen. Thanks for the cocoa." I stood.
She sighed and looked away. "I suppose cocoa's all I'm good for," she muttered, anger and sadness flashing across her downturned face.
"Ellen, I'm sorry, did I say sommat wrong?" I understood damn well, but was too cowardly to acknowledge it.
"I'm sorry, Derek. Never you mind me." She wiped her eyes with her lace handkerchief. "It's me anniversary tonight. The anniversary of when Frank left me. This time of year's always a bit rough on me."
"Do you still miss him then?" I asked, with a touch of jealousy.
"Miss him? After twenty years? No. I miss ... I miss having someone in me life. I miss having sommat more to look forward to than a Women's Institute meeting every Wednesday night. More than a ... a bloody cup of cocoa. I was so frightened you were going to tell me you'd be moving away. You must do, eventually. There's nowt for you here in Sheffield. Ach, listen to me going on. I'm a lonely old woman, is all."
I slipped in beside her on the settee, and squeezed her hand. She looked up at me, her bright eyes vulnerable. My lips grazed her cheek. My heart was pounding. And then, so help me Christ, in spite of fifty million reasons why this couldn't be happening, I kissed her mouth, lightly. Stunned by the softness of her lips, I kissed her again, deeply. Her arms went round my neck, drawing me to her. Her mouth opened to my tongue. I felt the softness of her big breasts against my chest and arms. My arms reached round her and I held her tighter. Christ, even her back and shoulders felt soft. Her clean lavender smell filled my brain. Abruptly, she pulled back, panting.
"Derek. You don't have to do this. You feel sorry for me, I know that, sweet lad. But you can't be wanting to ... to do this with an old woman," she winced.
But I'd gone too far to go back to pretending we were just friendly neighbours. "Ellen, listen to me, please listen to me. I love you. I want you. Christ, I want you, every inch of you. Ellen, darling ... " I kissed her again, guiding her hand down to my trouser-covered erection. Her eyes flashed wide as she took it in her hand.
"Oh my. Do you really ... want me ... that way? Well, it certainly feels like you do," she chuckled, sniffing back her tears, rubbing my penis through the fabric. "Is it really for me?" I began unbuttoning her sweater, as I kissed her face and neck. Then she guided my hand to her knees, so I could feel the creamy warm flesh above her stocking tops. My hand tried to burrow to her knickers, but her frock was too tight about her thighs, and she couldn't part them enough. I could smell her womanly arrousal, though, mingling with her lavender scent.
"I think we'd be more comfortable if we continued this in bed," she said.
Standing up, I tore off my turtleneck, my trousers, my singlet. Kicking off my boots and socks, I let drop my pants.
"Oh my," she gasped, looking up at me. "You're exquisite, Derek." I came over to her, unloosened her bun, kissed the back of her neck, unzipped the back of her frock, and began sliding it from her shoulders. She hesitated. "I'm not beautiful like you, Derek. You've got to turn your back for a moment whilst I put on me nightie."
"Ellen! I've waited so long to see you naked. Please?" I continued sliding the frock off her shoulders. It caught round her waist, but she wiggled out of it and let it drop to her ankles. I unclasped her bra, and slid that too from her shoulders. And then she turned, uncertainly, to face me, with the two most magnificent breasts in creation, big as pudding bowls, hanging to her waist, capped with erect, thick pink nipples, and a faint network of blue veins. The skin of her cleavage and belly was slightly wrinkled, but so soft and warm. I pulled her down to the bed with me, taking a soft, full tit in my hands, gasping my delight, lifting it to my mouth, fastening onto the warm nipple and sucking like a baby.
"Ungh! Oh sweet God. Oh, Derek." She bit her pillow to keep from crying out.
After a few minutes of this, I turned my attention to the other nipple. Meanwhile, without further help from me, my wonderful Ellen wriggled out of her knickers, garter belt and stockings. So much for nighties.
"I love your breasts, Ellen. I love your belly," I murmured excitedly, kissing my way down, rubbing my face in the vast, jiggling softness of it, nuzzling the rolls of flesh, licking her navel, licking under her breasts. Her body was like a giant pink marshmallow -- a warm, living marshmallow. Lifting her belly, I uncovered her thick mat of silky, light-brown pubic hair. The smell of her was driving me into a frenzy of lust. My fingers stroked her inner thighs, her 'mud flaps'. She shuddered, parting them for me. I whispered, "My God, I love your cunt." She squealed with shock as I dove into her wetness with my lips, my tongue, my nose, my chin. I rooted in her with my tongue, filling my mouth with her juice. I sucked on her inner lips.
"Oh, Derek, I'm, ungh, I'm, I'm ..." she whispered hoarsely. And she clamped her thighs round my head for several seconds, blocking out all light and sound, as her wetness flooded my face and neck; then she gently released me.
"I read the Kinsey Report," she panted at lasted, "but I never really thought that was possible. I mean, that a man would do that for me." She giggled like a teenager.
"I loved it, Ellen. I've never done that before, but I could kiss your cunt for hours. It's beautiful." I sat up, wiping my face on my singlet.
"You mean, you don't want to do it the, er, normal way? We ... er, needn't take any precautions: I've been through the change."
"Of course I do. Any and every way that pleases you." I snuggled in beside her. "God, your body feels good." I stroked her belly with my hand.
"I still can't believe this is happening. With my darling little Derek." Her hand fastened on my engorged penis. "Not so little any more," she chuckled. As I rolled between her thighs, she lifted her belly out of the way, guiding my cock into her wet cleft. I sank into her in one slow, smooth thrust, like a hot knife into butter. We both groaned, and she grabbed at my buttocks. I slid out, and sank slowly in again, and again, picking up speed, till her oceanic belly and breasts were rippling at my thrusts. My mouth fastened on her nipple. Ellen whispered her cries of pleasure, rocking her giant arse beneath me, quickly reaching another climax, and suddenly, I came too, spurting my load deep inside her.
Ah, to fall back into her bed then, to be enfolded, cradled against her abundant softness, in the afterglow of sex, as she kissed my neck, my shoulders, my chest.
"Your body's so perfect, Derek. So smooth and strong." She sighed. "I'm bracing meself for the part where I wake up from the dream. This has got to be a dream, doesn't it. I suppose it can't ever happen again."
"Why ever not?"
"Derek. This was ... wonderful. But I'm near old enough to be your grandmother, love. I'm not even ... attractive at all. I'm fat. I've got varicose veins in me legs. This just doesn't happen."
I had been telling myself the same thing in the previous days, over and over again; but hearing it now from her, it hurt. It felt unfair. "Do you suppose I'm the only man in the world who's ever fallen for an older woman? There's no law against it. And dammit, you ARE attractive, to me. More than attractive. You're ... luscious. You're delightful. I'm in love with you Ellen." And just like that, I knew it was true, and had to be. "And I want you again."
A big smile crept over her face, all the way to her eyes, banishing the self-doubt that had been there a second before. "What, now again, already?"
"Yes, now again, already," I grinned back.
She took my cock in her hand. "It's awake again, so soon, is it? Ooh, it is." She kissed it several times, and began running her tongue over it. She look up at me. "I love you too Derek. You know that, don't you? And I love me little admirer here. Does he really admire me? Let's see." She took it in her mouth, bobbing her lips over the shaft. She paused and grinned at me. "I read about this in the Kinsey report as well. Does he like it?"
"Oh yes," I gasped, "but, but I want to come inside you again."
"Oh, very well," she grunted, with mock resignation, sitting up. "I, er, well ... this is a bit embarrassing to ask, but ... I think you could go in a bit deeper, into me, you know, if you go in from behind. Me belly doesn't get in the way as much. If you don't find that position ... distasteful." I guess she could tell from the way my eyes lit up that I didn't find it distasteful. Not in the least.