You Don't Choose Love Ch. 02bydemure101©
(Many thanks to Northlander for pointing out some grave omissions, and to Dawnj for editing and for being there.)
Geoff Danvers and Kathy Smiths - Kathy Danvers, thank you - rolled down the windows of their car and waved at the crowd of people around them. Kathy had thrown her bouquet at them and it had landed in the hands of her best friend. A fistful of rice pattered on the roof, and the spectators cheered. Kathy blew them a kiss and Geoff started the engine. The newly-weds drove off slowly in a clatter of old tins.
The left-behinds stood looking at their taillights until the car disappeared round a bend in the narrow road. Then the guests took their leave from the various parents, and the throng slowly dispersed. When they had gone, Joan and Freddy Smiths, Kathy's parents, went with Lisa and John to their car. They had come the day before to stay the night at the Danvers', and they would have dinner together. It was a nice way to round off the day's excitement.
"See you at home," John said.
Hal and Karen, Geoff's parents, smiled at him and nodded. They had arranged things that way, and John and Lisa understood they wanted to walk home together; they knew how much they loved their village and the area around it, and how important it was for them to wind down a little.
Hal and Karen waited for the four of them to get into John's car. When they had driven off, they smiled at each other.
They went home arm in arm, along the narrow lane, past the church and across the bridge - they always stopped there for a moment to enjoy the view and listen to the gurgling water running over the stones below. They had stopped there so often when Geoff was small, to play for some time. Hal picked up a small blown-off branch and dropped it into the water, and they quickly went to the other side of the bridge. The branch shot out of the shade of the bridge and disappeared.
Hal looked at his wife and smiled. "Happy?" he said.
She nodded. "Kathy will make Geoff a good wife, and they really love each other. They look happy when they meet and even when you mention them to each other. What more could you want?"
Hal put his arm round her waist. They paused for some time and looked at the river. She thought about the children for a while. Then she asked, "Do you remember when we first stood here?"
Hal nodded and smiled warmly at her. As if he could ever forget... They grinned at each other and walked on.
Lisa and John would be waiting for them with the Smiths. Lisa was Karen's best and oldest friend. She'd known her longer than she'd known Hal, and Geoff called her aunt Lisa, even though she wasn't; Hal was very fond of her, too. If Lisa hadn't taken Karen to task, those long years ago, their lives would never have converged... The four of them met a few times a year, and as in all good friendships it always seemed as if they'd only seen each other the day before. They could talk about anything, and they could be silent together, too, sitting and reading and enjoying each other's presence.
Lisa would deny she'd had anything to do with it. Yes, she had acted on an impulse, and the impulse had proved felicitous - but she had anxiously waited at home for most of that Christmas Eve until Karen had called her, all jubilant and excited, and told her everything had worked out well, before she could go on her way again with a glad heart. Karen knew she was playing down her role; Lisa didn't like to be praised at all.
When Karen thought back about those days long ago she sometimes still felt a little embarrassed about her qualms and uncertainties. She had gone through a bad patch emotionally, and an unpleasant experience with an unfeeling young man had capped that nicely, and it had taken her a long time to realise that Hal wasn't like that at all. Fortunately no one knew, apart from Hal and Lisa, and they would never remind her of those horrible times, and when she was with Hal she never even thought about them.
She would never forget the ride to the place where Hal had picked her up, with Lisa driving and talking lots of nonsense to divert her and keep her mind off the meeting, nor how fantastic their first night together had been.
It had felt as if she'd come home after a long stay in the wilderness, with no questions asked, no reasons given - nor needed, for all that - but simply acceptance of and a need for who and what she was: Karen. In their first days together she found that Hal had wanted her as badly as she'd wanted him - his letter had indicated as much but it had been written so diplomatically that she hadn't been quite sure if it really said what she hoped. The look in his eyes had eventually restored her trust in men.
Hal, who'd been a widower for a long time, had already stopped hoping when Lisa called him. He had driven the stretch to meet Karen that night with wet palms for sheer anxiety, and a mixture of joy at the prospective meeting and fear it wouldn't materialise after all. He'd got out of his car in the cold and walked up and down until Lisa drove on to the parking place. She hadn't left the car, but left the stage free for Karen.
Then they'd gone home. The entire night was fixed in his memory as sharp as a steel engraving.
They had talked and talked, and made love in between, and they had blessed their good fortune every moment of those Christmas holidays. When it was time for Karen to go back to Wales they had already decided she would give up her job and put her house up for sale. Hal had been rather anxious about that; he had seen how much she loved her house, but Karen said she liked his place as much. They could always spend their holidays in Wales, couldn't they?
She had driven back in Hal's car, and gone straight to Lisa to tell her all about it. Lisa said she had seemed rejuvenated - happy and beaming and quite unlike the tense woman she'd driven to meet Hal.
Karen told her employer the next morning. He was quite glad for her, and promised her to give a good account of her when asked. She visited an estate agent next; then she went through her possessions and decided which ones to bring to Kent, and which ones to sell; she had the remainder taken away by Oxfam's.
She visited Lisa every evening in the week it took her to arrange everything, and then she took her leave of her, after extracting a promise from her to come and visit them as soon as she could.
"Will that be ok with Hal?"
"He said he hoped you'd come. He'd be quite disappointed if you don't. You will, won't you?"
"Of course, silly - I'd like to see things with my own eyes; and I haven't met him yet." She poked out her tongue at Karen and added, "You may well be lying. I suppose he squints, has warts and goes bandy-legged!"
"And you're a dragon with wings," Karen replied with a grin. Lisa was a wonderful friend; she'd miss her most of all she left behind.
When the van had dropped off her things at Hal's place they spent quite some time rearranging his set-up together. January had brought snow and a light frost, so they stayed indoors most of the time, apart for some short walks in the neighbourhood, and it wasn't long before they felt Hal's place had become theirs instead, to the delight of both. Karen had a few pictures that fitted in beautifully with Hal's; they rearranged two bunches of LPs into an alphabetical whole and managed to bring some system into the book collection. The Zulu doll Hal had sent her for her birthday stood in the living room with the family photographs, and whenever she saw it she smiled at it - it was another good friend.
The bedroom was quite big enough for all of Karen's clothes. One evening she took Hal upstairs, put him in a chair and gave him a private fashion viewing that grew more and more daring as time progressed. She had great fun watching her lover get very worked up and smiled at him wickedly - she had placed a bet with herself how much he could stand. To her delight, she lost. He suddenly got out of his chair and lifted her off the floor to deposit her on the bed while she squealed with laughter, only to wrap her arms around him as soon as she'd landed, and to be wafted away from her clothes into Hal's admiring eyes. They'd spent a long time making love that night...
Hal had his own business, which took a lot of time, and Karen hated sitting at home idle, so she applied for a job herself, and she found one in early February. Her old employer had been true to his word and lavished praise on her, apparently. Her old house had fetched a good price and she bought a car for the daily stretch back and forth to Sevenoaks.
In the period of sunshine that followed, they established a lovely walking routine at weekends. They especially liked the river and the fields, and they would walk hand in hand, enjoying the gradual change in the light as the year progressed; Karen was very sensitive to all the little things nature had to show her in her new part of the world. She'd never noticed the sudden chorus the birds had to offer her in the early morning, and she loved the occasional glimpse of a fox or badger at dusk; to her delight a couple of pheasants regularly visited the garden.
She found she loved gardening. She hadn't had a garden in town, just a paved backyard, and it turned out she was very good at it. Hal wasn't. He did his best, but his heart wasn't really in it. Together they made a wonderful job of it, with Hal doing the heavy work and Karen attending to the really important things. The indifferent attempt at a garden that Hal had made was slowly turned into a little Eden by Karen's green fingers.
Lisa came down with John, her boyfriend, in March. When they rang the bell Hal and Karen came to the door together, and Lisa saw immediately that whatever misgivings she might have harboured concerning Karen's great step were completely unnecessary. When Karen and Hal looked at each other, there was such a clear rapport that no one could fail to see they were as happy together as anyone could hope for.
They had a wonderful weekend together. John, who was at least ten years older than the others, was a very pleasant, erudite lecturer at Cardiff University, and the men spent a couple of nice hours going through the bookshelves while Lisa and Karen caught up on the latest gossip about friends and acquaintances. They spent the afternoons on a few of Hal's favourite walks.
Hal and Karen got married in June. They had bought rings in April, and they kept the wedding simple, with only some relatives and their best friends. One couple, an old schoolmate of Hal's and his wife, came to the wedding with their child, a four-month-old girl, and Karen suddenly realised with a pang that she was already thirty-five, and that, if Hal...
She broached the subject a couple of times. As she had hoped, and more or less expected, Hal had the same ideas on the subject; children would be most welcome. But they hadn't done anything about it yet; she was still on the pill.
A fortnight later Hal went away on business for almost two weeks. Karen had the day off, and she decided to do a lot of gardening. She was kneeling beside a herbaceous border to get some weeds out when Lottie, one of the cats, came rubbing her legs. Karen stroked her head and said, "What is it, darling?" and then she sat down flat on her behind, realising that she wanted not just cats to talk to; she wanted a child. Not next year, but now. She took Lottie's head in her hands, rubbed behind her ears and said, "Don't you think I should stop taking the pill?"
Lottie just purred and rubbed her body against her calves. Then she got up and skipped off after a butterfly. The butterfly escaped, and Karen got up with a smile.
She shook the earth off her hands, went in and took the remaining pills for that week and stuck them into their cardboard box. Then she put them at the back of the top shelf of the medicine cupboard. Maybe she would want them later, after all, but not just now.
Sod the garden, she thought. She went downstairs, locked the back door and walked to her favourite spot on the old stone bridge across the river, where she sat down on the parapet with her legs dangling over the stream, and she tried to envisage what life would be like as a family. It certainly seemed very attractive, and she felt quite warm inside at the idea of having a child with Hal. She was certain it must be lovely; she just wished she could sit there with Hal's arm around her shoulder and talk about it, and start planning the necessary changes.
The days suddenly seemed long - she always missed him when he was away, but this time his absence was much longer and time seemed to go more slowly than ever, and she was eagerly looking forward to seeing him again; she longed even more than usual to take him in her arms and kiss him.
They had a great sex life. She knew Hal was perhaps a little too inhibited to her taste sometimes, but he was always in for anything she wanted, and he was both passionate and considerate. She felt so lucky. If it hadn't been such awful weather that day - but it had. She smiled. One more day to go, and then...
She couldn't wait for Hal to arrive. She'd perfumed her breasts with some Sun Moon Stars, a perfume she knew Hal loved - he'd given it to her on the tenth day of their being together - and put on a light summer dress with nothing underneath. That'll be a real surprise, she thought; and the idea in itself made her feel quite light-headed.
She heard Hal's car crunch up the drive a little before dinnertime, and she hurried outside to greet him. He took her face in his hands. "It's good to be home," he said. "I've missed you awfully." Then he kissed her.
When the kiss was over she said, "Hal, I've stopped taking the pill. That's ok, isn't it?"
He looked at her and slowly broke into a wide grin. He nodded and kissed her again. "It is," he said. "Hmm, you smell lovely!"
Over dinner Hal told her about his activities and Karen told him how Lottie had made her realise it was time to try and get pregnant. Hal smiled; he understood exactly what Karen meant. It was just like her to attribute part of her decision to his old cat.
They did the dishes together and Hal made some coffee. They took it into the living room and put their cups on a side table. Hal stretched his back, still a little stiff from the long drive, and smiled at his wife, looking into her eyes the way she liked best, and then Karen couldn't contain herself any longer.
"Oh, Hal," she said, and she took his arms and worked him onto the floor. She tore off his shirt and ripped off two buttons in the process, and then she unbuckled his belt, unzipped his trousers and pulled them down his legs.
After his long days of abstinence Karen's treatment was quite enough to give him a raging erection, to her great delight. She lifted her skirt and squatted over him, and the sight of her naked pussy excited him even more. She sat down on her knees astride of him and took him into her. She couldn't remember ever having been so aroused before, and she felt him disappear inside in one smooth motion and the tip of his cock touch her cervix.
Hal tried to take off her dress but she was too preoccupied to assist him and it took him some time to remove it. When he saw she didn't wear a bra either he almost came then and there.
Looking into his eyes she held out her hands to him. He reached out for her and she dug her fingers into the palms of his hands.
Karen rubbed her bottom on Hal's legs. She loved the physical contact, and she loved his body, and now... she raised her bum and slammed down on his legs again and then there was no stopping her.
She saw him beam at her with a look of such tenderness that she had to smile and cry at the same time, and with her breasts swinging up and down she rode the cock of the man she loved, hard and with determination, hands holding hands - she wanted his sperm and she wanted it without delay, all of it.
Hal understood only too well what was on her mind. For a brief moment he found himself fervently hoping they wouldn't turn out to be barren together - but then Karen's image blotted out all thought other than the love he felt for her.
They kept looking into each other's eyes while Karen worked herself into a sweat, fucking him frenziedly, laughing and crying and calling his name, revelling in the feeling of his cock sliding in and out of her, pressing his hands, all smiles and happiness, and Hal lay back marvelling at the sheer luck he had had to meet this wonderful soul mate of his.
Karen squeezed her pussy round his cock, and he tried to meet her motions as well as his position allowed. They put all they had into pleasing each other, loving every second of it.
The room was thick with the smell of Karen's arousal, overlain with a whiff of perfume. Hal found himself strangely lucid - he wanted to remember all of this, the smell, sounds, sight, the overpowering emotion that made Karen laugh and cry at the same time.
"It'll be alright, love," he whispered.
Karen felt all built-up passion push her over the brink - she trembled and shivered in a prolonged orgasm that felt so intense she hardly knew where she was. Hal's face filled her vision and her pussy contracted around his cock. It made Hal come so hard it felt as if he were drawn bodily into his lover, spurt after spurt.
Karen let go of his hands and let herself slump down on top of him, and then she rolled over, put her legs around the small of his back and kissed him.
They stayed lying like that for a long time, kissing and whispering and stroking each other. When they finally got up off the floor Hal put his arms around her bottom, lifted her up and carried her upstairs. He put her down on the bed and lay next to her. He told her how much he loved her, and thanked her for the love she'd shown to him that evening.
Karen lay beaming at him. She nodded; somehow it felt as if she could feel Hal's sperm inside her uterus. She never knew if that was actually possible, but she didn't care. She took his hands in hers again and looked at them.
"Oh dear," she said, "look at your palms."
The impressions of her nails stood out like bluish lines against the pale skin; Hal had never noticed it. He bent over to kiss her.
"Never mind," he said. "This was one of the sweetest fucks we've ever had!"
Karen looked at him. She felt over the moon, and she lazily stretched herself like a contented cat on a sunny morning. "I feel so wonderful," she said. "Come, I want to feel you inside again."
Over the next weeks they made love even more often than was their wont. Karen looked fantastic, Hal thought. It was as if she had an inner light that shone out through her eyes, and she wore an expression of pure happiness. She often sat in the living room stroking Lottie on her lap, to Lottie's delight, apparently, and she usually ended up next to him on the couch, cuddling him or sitting close, with a hand on his knee, smiling at him.
One evening as they sat together she said, "You know what? I think we've succeeded. I feel it, somehow. I expect it was when you were back from up north. I'll go and find out tomorrow." She beamed at him, and he put his arms around her.
"That would be the best news," he said.
The pregnancy test was positive. Hal took Karen out for dinner to celebrate, and he gave her a silver locket to house their child's picture once it was born. When they were back home Karen took his hand and led him upstairs where they made love long and tenderly, in the glad realisation there was more joy to come.
The one night had been July the eighth; their son Geoff was born on the eighth of April the next year.
"I told you so, didn't I?" Karen said later.
Karen had had to stop working a few months before her child was due. The final months of her pregnancy had been rather problematic. Her gynaecologist had strongly advised against another child, and so Hal decided he'd better have himself sterilised. Karen was a little sad about it, but oh well, she had a beautiful son, and she didn't feel like complaining.