Copyright © 2012 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
I was finally there, the happiest day of my life, of any woman’s life, her marriage day. I glanced across at Tim, he sneaked a look back at me and we both smiled. I felt so much love for him that it was almost painful, this ache which consumed my body was for him. I wanted to feel his lips on mine, his strong arms around me and to be Mrs Tim Bristowe–his wife.
Behind us stood his twelve year old son, who’d been a challenge, but now, he was standing there holding the rings with which his dad and I would marry and tie a knot between us which was stronger than any bond I’d ever known.
Tim’s son, Aidan, had lost his mother when he was seven years old. She’d developed breast cancer and not told anyone until it was too late. She’d taken a year to die and Aidan had been devastated. Then for five years he’d coped with just his dad and his grandparents, it wasn’t perfect but lots of kids have one parent families, usually through divorce.
I glanced at Tim again as the registrar started the ceremony. All our friends were here to share our magical day. I thought back to how we’d met, who would have thought that the little old job centre clerk, viz. me, would be standing here eighteen months after that morning.
It was a vile morning, we had two off sick with heavy colds and everyone who came in seemed to be dripping wet, irritable and full of assorted viruses which they shared by coughing and sneezing over us gallant few.
The queue of unemployed people was never ending and we apologised time and time again for keeping the punters waiting. I had one helpful soul who grumbled that he could do my job better than I could. I handed him a sheaf of paper and invited him to find himself a job or a training scheme if it was that easy. He threw them in my face and was about to hit me when someone yanked him backwards and said grimly, “Apologise to the lady.”
Of course he refused, so my rescuer yanked him harder and repeated his instruction, “Apologise to the lady.”
“Okay, okay, lemme go.” He was yanked again and turning purple in the face, he finally said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.” He was then unceremoniously shoved out the door and my rescuer came and asked me if I was okay.
“I am now, thank you,” I said as I picked up the paper my previous client had thrown in my face. My rescuer bent over to help me, we banged heads and both stood up quickly rubbing them and saying, “Sorry.”
The queue had mysteriously vanished–well actually–they’d all gone to see my colleagues, not wanting to crowd the man who chucked out the nuisance with so little effort.
I looked up at him, “Are you here to see me?” I asked.
“I wish,” he said, “Sadly I’m here to sign on–I need the money.”
I sighed, what a waste, tall, dark and handsome and he’s here because he’s unemployed. Aren’t they always? At that point, I assumed he had a wife or girlfriend, he had a domesticated look about him that his predecessor didn’t. He also looked a bit downtrodden, the rings under his eyes showing that he wasn’t sleeping as well as he should either.
I pulled up his records on the computer when he showed me his card. He’d been out of work on and off for the last five years. “It says here that you’re a salesman?”
“Used to be.”
“It also says you seem to find it difficult to hold down a job.”
“I’ve had some domestic difficulties, which have counted against me with various employers.”
“Domestic difficulties?” Usually that means a fight with the wife or being thrown out for non-payment of rent.
He blushed. “Yeah,” that was it? Then he looked me in the eye and said, “Look, my wife died five years ago. I have a ten year old boy–he misses his mum–and he gets into trouble.”
“And you have to sort it out?”
“Something like that.”
“I see, I’m sorry about your wife.”
“Yeah, so am I,” he looked at me, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude, thank you for that, no one else ever says anything like that.”
I smiled, and he smiled back–his whole face lit up and I could see his grey eyes which were inviting me to dive into them and swim around, I felt something I’d never felt for anyone quite like that before. I wanted sex with this man–how unprofessional is that?
“It’s not my brief to deal with domestic situations except where they affect job prospects, but I’d like to help if you think talking to me would be of use.”
“You’re the first person here who’s even offered, most just want to stamp my card or click me on the computer, give me some application forms and politely tell me to clear off.”
“I presume your son is in school?”
“Aidan, yeah, at least he’s supposed to be–he bunks off as often as he’s there, one or two bullies pick on him. The school try to stop it but they never do, and with mobile phones and Facebook, they can get to him out of school as well.”
“It is a problem, I can see that, so with you being off work at present aren’t you able to spend time with him, help him cope with this?”
“I try, but he misses his mum, so much. It’s a woman he needs, his gran tries to help, but she’s got dreadful arthritis and is of limited use. They do take him at weekends sometimes to give me a break from him or him from me–not sure which.”
He smiled in embarrassment, I smiled because I fancied him like crazy. I also wanted to help him sort his son out but my remit was to get him off the unemployed register–and the climate with austerity everywhere, it was tall order.
“You’re in sales, right?”
“Yeah, or was.”
“What sort of stuff do you sell?”
“Anything, from snow to the Eskimos to sand to the Arabs–I once sold oil to the Saudi’s.” He thought of happier times and the smile he gave me turned my heart to mush.
“So have you sold electronics?”
“Yeah, worked at the largest retail chain in the country–and then, Aidan played up–I turned to some liquid assistance and–they let me go.”
“You had a drink problem?” My tummy flipped–they always have feet of clay.
“Did–I’ve not touched a drop for nearly a year.”
“D’you know much about computers?”
“Enough to sell them, to set them up and do minor repairs–that sort of thing, mind you, our one is getting a bit ancient, so I doubt I’m up to date on the latest gizmos.”
I must stop going out on a limb for my clients, but this one looked a bit more in need and yet also more worthy of my help. “Wait here, I need to make a call.”
I called my neighbour who runs a small computer firm, building and selling all sorts of electronica–only the other day he was saying he could use a hand because he’s so busy. I gave up my Saturday to man his shop while he was out the back, I sold three computers and a play station–he treated me to dinner. He’s twice my age, so no, he’s more like an uncle to me, but it’s nice to know he’s next door.
I called Dan, who was struggling to make some orders up to build systems and deal with callers to the shop. I twisted his arm and he threw back at me, “Send him straight over, if he can’t come–don’t bother. Can you do Saturday again, please, Julie?”
“I suppose so,” I sighed, “You drive a hard bargain.”
“Me? You’re the one who wants me to take on a complete unknown quantity.”
“Point taken, Dan; I’ll see if he can come straight over.”
It took a bit of persuading but Tim did go over, was upfront about his son’s problems and Dan gave him a go. They got on very well. Of course I didn’t see Tim again for months because I’m not at home when the shop’s open except on a Saturday and Tim tries to keep those free. However, one Saturday, he was there and I happened to come past the shop laden with shopping.
The fates decided to intervene and the bottom fell out of my carrier bag as I walked from the car to the house. Tim was seeing a customer out as my bag self-destructed in front of him. He came out to help and we banged heads again.
“Here, I know you, don’t I?” he said and that smile once again melted my resolve not to get involved again despite my fancying him. I seem to be bad news to relationships, with a worse record than Tim’s employment one.
As you can guess, with no professional boundaries to get in the way, he asked me out and instead I asked him in. The rest is history. We had awful problems with his boy–soon to be my step-son, but with patience and reassurance, I got him to like me and then to trust me. I explained I wasn’t there to replace his mum, no one could do that, but if he’d let me, I could help to finish the job she’d started to look after him and his dad. He liked my cooking and having a car, he found he could get lifts to out of school activities, which he liked even more than my cooking. I might not have been the best potential step-mother, but I was an ace taxi service.
Tim had been honest about his drink problem, I told him one or two less desirable things about myself, which he mulled over but decided, warts and all, he loved me. I most certainly had fallen head over heels for him. Hence the happiest day of my life.
We held hands as the registrar started her spiel about the solemnisation of marriage and the responsibilities etcetera. Then she did the legal bit, “If there is anyone with knowledge why these two people should not be joined in marriage, they should now declare it.”
I felt myself tense and Tim squeezed my hand in support. I heard a commotion from the back and a familiar voice said, “Stop the proceedings–that’s not a man and a woman, it’s two men. That is not a woman.”
I burst into tears, as the noise of the guests shock and horror became louder–one or two knew, including Tim, but Aidan didn’t and I heard him gasp. My bloody father, he said he’d never let me get away with misrepresenting myself–the bastard. He’d created mayhem at my office and they had to transfer me after he was arrested.
I’d done the GRP thing and was legally female now, I was doing nothing wrong. I heard him ranting and raving and I felt Tim leave my side asking Aidan to give me a hug, which the poor lad did. I heard real raised voices and then a slap or a punch and the door slamming.
Some of the guests left, obviously not in the know. Sadly that included Tim’s parents in law, but not Aidan. “I don’t care what that stupid man said, I want you to be my step-mother, Julie.” I almost hugged him to death.
The registrar knew of my history and whilst I was the first transsexual bride she’d married, she was happy to do so on the proof of my new legal status. We got married, it was a bittersweet day, but Tim, Aidan and I all love each other and Dan, who’d actually been the one who slogged my dad, loaned us his villa in Spain for our honeymoon.
We joked on the plane about the wedding, but Aidan asked us to talk about the villa again. I showed him the photos. “Has it really got its own pool?” he asked.
“Yes,” I answered for the umpteenth time.
“Cool, you’re the best step-mother in the world, Julie.”
Tim looked at me and squeezed my hand, “I think so, too.” I felt my eyes cloud with tears, but of happiness.
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