A chance encounter

Fate, the final frontier

I think you can picture the scene when you are standing in front of a bank of hotel or office lifts eagerly waiting for the next one to go in your direction. You don’t really take much notice of the people around you until something diverts your attention from the all important question of the moment, ‘which lift is next?’

[In the lobby of a Posh Manhattan Hotel]

I was there peering up at the lift indicators when something hard clattered into my legs. I turned around to see what and more importantly who had the impertinence to invade my personal space in such a way.
My anger disappeared in a few microseconds. A woman was struggling with a huge suitcase on wheels. She gave me a smile and said,

“Sorry. This thing has a mind of its own at times.”

I smiled back before looking at my legs to see if any damage had been done. My tights didn’t appear to be laddered and the scuffs on my black court shoes were probably there already.

“That’s ok, it does not appear to have done any damage.”

Just then the lift door bleeped and there was a surge of people towards it. I held back realising that that lift was going to be full and that I could see another one approaching.
The woman who had the suitcase also declined to try to get in the first lift.

I looked out of the corner of my eye at her. She was stunning. Think of someone with the complexion and hair of Jennifer Lopez and then make her taller and give her a drop-dead figure and that was her.

Before my tale goes further, I should explain that my name is Jennifer Edwards. It used to be Anthony Smart but along with living as a woman for the past six years, goes a name change and a few shall we say nips and tucks on the old fizzog (face for your yanks) to make me a bit more presentable to the world at large.

I like observing women. Not for any sordid means you understand. I enjoy observing the way they walk, dress and behave. It is so different from the male of the species.

Anyway, this woman was way off my stun-o-meter off the scale. And she had a nice smile to boot. Just seeing her had made my day.

The next lift arrived and the door opened with a bleep. The woman tried to get her case to behave but it didn’t want to.

“Here, let me give you a hand?” I asked slinging my handbag over my other shoulder and offering my hand in support.

“Thanks,” came her reply with just the slightest hint of desperation in her voice.

I lifted the suitcase off the floor and heaved it into the lift. The beaming smile on her face said that she was pleased.

When both of us were inside the lift, I asked, “What floor are you on?”

“Twenty Three please.”

“That’s good. So am I. I’ll help you with this thing. “

I pressed the 23rd floor button and the doors began to close.

I looked down at the case. I could see right away what was wrong. One of those silly casters they use on those cases was all bent out of shape.

“I think your case needs some attention. One of the wheels is bent out of shape.”

She looked down and saw what I meant.

“Stupid cheap crap thing. I knew I should have bought a better one.”

She smiled at me again. I liked that. I smiled back.

“You aren’t from around here are you?” she asked.

“No. I’m from England.”

She grinned.

“I guessed as much from your accent.”

New York was indeed a veritable melting pot of nationalities.

“Are you in town for long?” she asked.

“I fly home tomorrow night. I’m going to try to see a little of the city in what remains of my stay.”
She thought for a second.

“Why don’t I show you around? I used to live here so I know where everything is. As you are helping me with this beast so the least I can do if offer to help you in return.”

Just then the chime sounded and the lift doors opened. We’d arrived the 23rd floor.

I lugged the case out of the lift before the doors slid closed.

“Which room are you in?”

“2321. It is this way.”

“Ok. Lead on,” I suggested.

I hauled the case along the corridor at the same time getting a good look at her legs. They were perfect. She walked in her 4-inch heels perfectly and I soon came to the conclusion that the view from behind was just as good as the one from the front.

She’d opened the door to her room well before I arrived.

“Where do you want it?”

“If you can put in on the nearest bed that would be great.”

“Ok.”

I lifted the ‘beast’ of a case up onto the bed and laid it flat.

“If you don’t mind me asking, what on earth is in there? It weighs a ton.”

“Just my designs, I make clothes for people. I was delivering some to a client but they after a fitting, decided that I needed to make some changes. There are just fat too many to do here so I’ll do them when I get home.”

I just smiled and began to walk out of the room.

“You didn’t answer my question about the sightseeing?” she called back.

I turned and looked at her and wondered why she’d made this offer. Now I’m not the best looking impersonation of a woman but she was so beautiful so why she was making dresses for a living and not a model or something was beyond me. Still, her clients must pay her handsomely for her to be able to stay at a place like this.

I smiled back at her.

“If it isn’t too much trouble then yes it would be great.”

“Fantastic. What time is your flight tomorrow?”

“It is from JFK, at a little after eight in the evening.”

“That’s even better. We can share a cab to the airport as my flight is at nine.”

“That’s a deal then? What time tomorrow?”

She didn’t answer immediately.

“What are you doing for dinner tonight? I’m going to a little Italian place I know in Queens. They do the most marvellous Ravioli with cheese and clams. Do you want to come with me?”

“Well, my option is that or a room service Pizza. That’s no contest really.”

“That sounds fantastic. What time?”

“Oh, I’m Jennifer Edwards by the way.”

“Pleased to meet you Jennifer. “ She offered me her leather-gloved hand. I shook it.

“I’m Isabella Lopez. My friends call me Izzy for short.”

“I’m pleased to meet you Izzy. What do I need to wear for tonight?”

“Just come as you are. Why don’t we meet here in half an hour?”

“Sounds like a plan. I’m in 2328 by the way. Just down the corridor.”

As I walked down the corridor it was all I could do not to leap in the air. I could feel her eyes looking at me. I wondered if she had read me. Oh well. I’ll find out soon enough.

I spent the next half hour re-doing my makeup, changing my blouse and sorting out my hair. I failed at re-applying my eyeliner because I was so nervous. In the end I gave up with that and the mascara was far too high a risk so I just applied some powder and a new coat of lippy and I was done.

A couple of minutes late, I knocked on her door.

“Come on in. It is open,” came her reply.

I pushed the door open. I could see that she was just putting a few things back into the case. From the sewing kit lying on the other bed, I could see that despite her words, she’d started on the alterations to the clothes.

“Just let me put my coat on and I’ll be right with you.”

Two minutes later, we were standing at the lift.

“Where’s home for you?” I asked, “You said that you once lived here in the city?”

“I live in a small town about 50 miles from Phoenix. My parents moved back there from here some 10 years ago. My mother was ill. The damp climate here wasn’t good for her health.”

Then she let out a sigh.

“It didn’t make much difference because she passed away a couple of years ago.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” I replied.

“Aren’t there earlier flights to Phoenix?” I asked changing the subject.

“Yes but I got a super cheap fare. No changes possible.”

“Yes, much like me. I got the flight and hotel as a package. I could never have afforded to stay in a place like this otherwise.”

We didn’t get back to the hotel until shortly before Midnight. In the restaurant we’d talked and talked for hours. The food was good as well. I’d found out a lot about her, her life and even though many of her clients were on the east coast, she’d declined to move back to the city. Her reason was that it was too noisy after the quiet of Arizona. That was something I could certainly agree on.
Back at the hotel, we stood for an awkward second or so outside her room.

“Thanks for the evening. It was nice to have some female company for a change. Dining alone is just asking to be picked up, so I normally just order room service.”

“I know what you mean. They will have already had a few too many, be in town for a few days on business and be married with three kids and come from Des Moines,” she replied with laugh.

I had no idea where Des Moines was but I knew what she meant only too well.

“How about we meet for breakfast at say 9:00am and plan the day?”

“That’s a deal. Good night Izzy and thanks once again for the evening.”

“Good night Jenny.”

New York in the spring can be a wonderful place. The weather was kind to us so I let Izzy show me Central Park, a couple of Museums, lunch at Macy’s and we finished the day at the Coney Island Fun-Fair. From her child like expression I could tell that Izzy was enjoying herself visiting places she’d last seen as a child. I had a good time as well. Just being with her was enough.

All the time, she remained poised, elegant and stunningly beautiful. We got lots of attention from men wherever we went or rather it was Izzy who got all the attention. She wasn’t really bothered by it at first but by the end of the day I could see that she was getting a bit tired of it all.

We arrived back at the hotel just before 5:00pm. Both of us were tired but we both agreed that we’d had a good day. We went up to our rooms to freshen up and collect our belongings before we checked out of the hotel. Then we shared a cab to the airport.

We met up once more after we’d checked our bags in for our respective flights. Thankfully we were flying on the same airline so we were in the same terminal at JFK.

“Thanks for today. I’ve really enjoyed myself,” I said as we prepared to say our goodbyes.

“I did too. Here’s my email address. Please keep in touch. I really meant it,” said Izzy handing me a business card. I returned her the compliment.

Then I looked her in the eye.

“Thanks but Izzy; there is something you should know about me if we are to remain friends.”

She looked at me puzzled.

“I was born a man. I’m a lie, a 100% fraud,” I said quietly.

“But... “

The colour drained from her face.

“I’m sorry if I misled you. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever met. For you to have spent the day with me is something I shall cherish for a long time. Thank you very much.”

“Is that it? Is that all I get? That’s the lamest excuse for a brush off I’ve ever had” she replied with a little sob.

“I don’t understand? What do you mean? What I’ve said is perfectly true.”

Then she stepped forward and kissed me. Not on the cheeks but full on the lips.

“Didn’t you hear what I just said?”

“It does not matter. I feel so... comfortable when I with you. You make me laugh and are such a nice person to be with. I’ve never had that feeling before. Oh dear. I’m not really saying this very well am I?”

“I understand you very well Izzy, I’m not sure about all this. Don’t you want a relationship with someone who can give you children? Be their father?”

“Until today I thought so but now I’m not so sure.”

“Izzy! Just look at me and then look at yourself. We are like chalk and cheese. You could have any man you liked. I’m just a poor children’s book author who pretends that they are a woman.”

“Don’t you think I don’t know that? I don’t want any man. I want you.”

Then she kissed me again. This time is was a lot longer than before. I felt myself melt into her arms. I could feel my heart racing at the very thought of being with her. Then my brain took over.
I took hold of her hands.

“Look Izzy. I have to go. They are calling my flight. I will call you in a week or so and if you still feel the same about me then perhaps we can make this thing we have work.”

“Thank you,” she replied quietly and with those huge gooey brown eyes that were making me go weak at the knees.

Our lips met again for a third and longer time. Then we went parted to through security to get our flights.

I couldn’t sleep on the flight home. I was compiling in my mixed up brain a long list of reasons why I should not call her when I got home. The list was endless. Most of them came down to one thing. Would it last and would she ride off into the sunset with her male knight in shining armour at the earliest opportunity. All my answers to that question were ‘Yes’. If I thought otherwise I’d be totally deluding myself.

We’d just crossed the Irish Coast when finally I dozed off having exhausted all the options in the ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ question.

Home for me is a small cottage in a village on the edge of the Cotswolds. I’d lived in the village ever since I’d sold my first book and began living full time as a woman. The income I received in advances from my publisher and subsequent royalties had allowed me to pay off the mortgage and pay for the operations I’d had to improve my appearance.

Now I was saving hard for the big one. The one that would turn me into the woman I’d always wanted to become ever since I swapped my bike for my sister Annie’s dolls house when I was six.

She never really approved of my desire to be a woman and when I told her that I’d changed my name and had started living as a woman she broke off all contact with me. I think a good deal of that was down to her mother in law. Iris was a pure and utter snob. There was no other word for it. My sister had been taken in under her wing and was rapidly becoming Iris mk2. I knew from her father in law that Iris had been dismayed not to have a daughter. Linda was becoming her daughter by proxy. I was alone in the world and until my brief trip to New York, I’d been fairly happy with my lot in life.

Going back to my cold empty cottage was not an easy thing to do. Part of me wanted to get back on a plane and head for Phoenix right away. For one thing, I couldn’t afford it in both time and money. The other big problem was that my editor was pressing me for the next three chapters of my next novel. They wanted to release it before Christmas but as yet it was only half written. I knew how the story would go but I needed to put it all down on paper so to speak. That was going to be even more difficult now that Izzy had entered the picture.

As I opened the windows to air the cottage I wondered if I could ever get my mind around writing children’s fiction again. At that point in time, I knew I couldn’t.

By the time I’d sorted out the post, been shopping and put some washing on the morning was gone. As I couldn’t be bothered to cook anything so I wandered down the village pub for some lunch.

The ‘Rising Sun’ is only 100yds from my home. Just about perfect crawling distance if you ask me. Not that I drank a lot but there are times when I’d had one or two too many that I was thankful for the proximity of my home to the pub.

I walked into the bar and waited for the barman Craig, to finish serving another customer.
“Hi Jenny. What’ll it be? The usual?” asked Craig in his usual cherry manner. Craig had asked me out a few times when I was new to the village. Now I was more or less accepted as a local by most of the regulars of the pub.

“Yes please Craig.”

Craig smiled back and began to pull me a pint of ‘Old Hooky’ in my own pewter tankard. This was the local beer and if you ask me one of the best brews in the country. When I’d first arrived at the pub a few eyebrows were raised at this youngish woman ordering pints of bitter. After a while and a few after-hours beer drinking competitions, I’d been accepted as ‘one of the lads’ by many in the village. I’d also made a determined attempt to play my part in Village life. Add to that the fact that I worked from home and was not just buying the cottage to sleep in and commute to somewhere like Evesham, Oxford or Stratford had also helped a good deal. I knew many of the local by first name now and took part in the Thursday Morning gossip sessions that took place outside the post office quite regularly. This was all going a long way to make my life worth living. As I downed a good half of the pint in one, I wondered if I really needed the complication of Izzy in my life. Now that I was in the familiar surroundings of the pub, I tried to imagine the reaction to many of the regulars when ... if the ever got to meet her. I’d wager that they’d be a lot of ‘cor’, ‘ooooh’ and ‘you are welcome in my bed any time love’ from some of the coarser regulars at the pub.

“I needed that,” I replied coming back to earth.

“How was The Big Apple then?” asked Craig.

“Interesting,” was my simple reply.

He looked at me hard.

“You’ve changed. There is something about you that is different.”

“Don’t be silly Craig. I’ve only been gone five days.”

“Don’t move. Let me get Pru. She’ll know.”

“While you are in the kitchen, put an order in for a cheese and ham toastie.” I cried out.

“Ok” shouted Craig as he disappeared into the kitchen.

He soon returned with Pru in tow. Pru was his mother and the landlady of the pub. She did the cooking most days.

“Hello Jenny. How was New York? Craig here says that you have changed.”

Then she looked long and hard at me. Pru was the only one in the village apart from the Doctor who knew that I was a transsexual. She’d read me about a week after I’d moved in to my cottage.

“You have a glow about you. You aren’t pregnant are you?”

I laughed.

“No I’m not but thank you very much for asking.”

“I recon she’s found a man,” said Craig.

“I have not ‘found a man’ as you so eloquently put it. Now be a nice barman and pull me another pint. I’ll have the Toastie and go home to bed. The flight home was awful. There were two babies that never stopped crying the whole time,” I replied lying through my back teeth.

That ended the inquisition for today. No doubt a rumour would be going round the village before the day is over.

As I ate the Toastie and drank my beer I wondered what the reaction would be to Izzy coming here and being in a relationship with me. Now, that would be a rumour that would do the rounds of the village gossips for many a long day. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Counting chickens and all that. There was no doubt that I was attracted to her. I’d fallen in love with her the minute I’d seen her but I was under no illusion that it was anything more than a holiday romance. She’d probably lost my phone number already.

My wishes didn’t come true. When I got home there was a message on my answering machine.

“Hi Jenny. I can’t stop thinking about you. I can’t sleep. It’s six in the morning here and I just had to phone you. Please call me when you get this. I love you.”

My heart sank, so much for leaving it a week or so. I debated calling her but my bed beckoned. My bed won. I went to sleep aided by the two pints of good beer and a reasonably full stomach.

My problems hadn’t gone away when I woke up in the middle of the night. After answering a call of nature I lay there in bed tossing and turning trying to get HER out of my mind. I failed miserably. In the end there was nothing for it but to get up and go for a run. I hadn’t run for nearly a week so my calorie debit was huge. I put my running gear on and stepped out and got a shock. It was raining. I cursed myself for not checking first. It was that steady light drizzle that only ever seems to occur in the British Isles. Well, it appeared that way to me anyway. I dithered for a few seconds and then set off for my normal run. That was just over five miles and took me out of the village and up a track onto the highest point around and then back via a long loop to the village.

I got to the summit and took my normal breather. The drizzle had stopped for the time being and the only sound was coming from the colony of crows in the copse I’d just run through. To the east, the sky was brightening. I really enjoyed the peace and quiet in places like this. I didn’t miss Manhattan one bit when I could enjoy a place as beautiful as this right in my own backyard. Well there wasn’t much of a vista today but I am sure that you can see what I’m getting at.

Then I became sad once more. Izzy had talked about loving the peace and quiet of where she lived in Arizona. I’d seen the dawn break over the Grand Canyon as a child so I had some idea about what she meant. With renewed vigour, I set off running again. I didn’t follow my normal route but instead I followed an old drove road to the east. These were the ancient highways that were used by ‘drovers’ to drive their cattle to market. These were in use long before the America was even discovered so the famed western cattle drives were nothing new to generations of people in these islands.

This longer route was also much harder. Loads of townies had messed up a good section of the road in their 4x4’s when they tried their hands at ‘off-roading’ The only stopped when the local farmers hauled great tree trunks over the entrances to the road and started charging £500 to any townie who had the temerity to drive past the barriers and get stuck. Only the farmers with those huge balloon tyres on their tractors could drag them out of the thick mud. This was well received locally by everyone except Pru who used to do a roaring trade in food when the townies were about.

I carried on along the drove road and then took a small country lane that would eventually take me back to the other end of the village. This route was nearly 7 miles long and I had a lot of Big Apple calories to burn off.

I was still trying to get that first image Izzy in all her beauty out of my mind when suddenly and totally out of nowhere came a lorry. It had no lights on and was going like the clappers. There was only room enough on the road for one of us and that one wasn’t me. I had to dive into the hedge. Even then there probably wasn’t going to be enough room for the lorry to pass so I did the only thing I could and that was to lie down in the ditch. The cold water was a real shock but the lorry went past and I got out of the ditch looking as if I’d been taking part in some mud wrestling.

As I dragged myself out of the smelly water I started cursing, “Sod that truck and Sod that woman. She was really messing with my mind”, or words to that effect.

I saw the lights of another vehicle coming along the lane. It was in a hurry as well. As it came into view I ducked back into the hedge. Then I saw the blue lights of a Police car. It skidded to a halt and someone got out of the passengers side.

“Are you hurt?” Came a voice out of the shadows.

“I’m fine. That sodding truck tried to kill me.”

“Which way did it go? They’ve taken 50 sheep from the estate.”
There was a junction about 200yds further down the lane. I knew that the estate famed sheep especially rare breed ones.

“It turned left. They’ll be heading for the A46 and probably Birmingham.”

“Thanks,” said the voice.

As the car pulled away I heard the crackle of the Police radio.

Then I began to shiver. Oh the joys of living in the country. I ran slowly along the lane keeping a sharp lookout for oncoming traffic, through the village hoping that no one was around to see me like this and to the safe haven of my cottage. I went inside and after closing the door; I stripped off and headed straight for the shower. One tank of hot water later I emerged clean, wrinkled but sill mightily pissed off at the driver. I chucked all my gear into the washer and got dressed.

As I got dressed, I saw myself in the mirror. Overall, I was pretty pleased with appearance. I wasn’t going bald like so many men these days and I kept myself reasonable trim. Mind you I was nowhere near as shapely as Izzy. In fact, I didn’t really have a shape. Sure I had some breasts courtesy of a surgeon and some implants but I was never going to have an hourglass figure like she had.

The only bit of me that was imperfect was my male parts. Still they were coming off in a few months. A letter had been waiting for me upon my return from New York with a date for my surgery. I wondered if Izzy would mind about my male bits. I gave a little shiver when I recalled the way it was described in the USA. They called it SRS. To me the name ‘SRS’ was just cold and impersonal. To me it just felt all wrong.

I sat down and took a deep breath. Why was everything I did coming back to that woman? She had really messed me up and that was a racing certainty.

After an early, well it was by the kitchen clock, breakfast, I went into my office and looked at the current novel I’d been penning. I read the first chapter once more. It was complete crap. It was aimed at 8-12 year olds and it seemed to me that I as talking to them as if they were just out of nappies.
I threw the lot in the bin. Then I pulled it out and looked at it again before filing it away under ‘How not to write for a target audience’. Then I fired up the computer and ignored the umpteen emails from my publisher asking for the next part of the book, I started writing a new story. This time it was a story for adults.

The next four days were solid work. Sixteen to eighteen hours a day with only breaks to sleep, eat and pee. At the end of that time and largely thanks to being able to type at 30+ words a minute it was complete. I’d penned some 150,000 words or thereabouts about a ... but that would be giving the game away wouldn’t it?

I loaded the printer up with paper and set it printing while I went took a long hot shower. It was my first decent wash in days. I’d been so focussed that I’d not even noticed the many calls from my Publisher and of course Izzy.

Feeling refreshed after the shower, I went shopping. The larder was just about empty and even my backup supply of tinned soups had taken something of a hammering in recent times. I restocked everything and treated myself to a nice juicy rib eye from the estate farm shop and a decent bottle of red wine. My plan was to have something nice to eat and drink some decent wine before hitting the sack for some well-earned shut-eye.

They turned out to be my ‘Famous last words’. I wondered if my epitaph would contain those words.

That and a number of other relevant sayings flashed through my mind when I saw someone in my garden admiring the disaster area that is my rose garden. That person was none other than Izzy.

I stopped my car and thought for a second. That’s all I had time for because she noticed me and came bounding over to me with a huge smile on her face.

“I’ll bet you didn’t think I’d come all this way to see you?”

She was quite right I hadn’t thought for one millisecond that she’d jump on a plane and fly nearly 6,000 miles to see me.

“I wasn’t expecting you.”

“I was worried. You hadn’t retuned my calls and... Well I’m here now. Aren’t you pleased to see me?”

“Izzy, you know that I’m always pleased to see you. I’ve been busy writing.”

Then I remembered that I had some frozen food in my shopping.

“Help me in with this shopping and then we can talk.”

I got out of the car and opened the rear doors and retrieved three large bags of shopping.

As we she came close to me, she stopped and without warning put her arms around me and kissed me. As I had shopping bags in both hands, I was unable to stop her.

“Izzy please. Not here!”

“Why? Are you not pleased to see me or are you ashamed of me?”

“Oh Izzy!”

I dropped the shopping bags on the floor and literally dragged her inside my home and kissed her. Then the clothes started to come off as I directed her towards my bedroom. It was a tip. The whole house was a tip but at that instance neither of us cared.

By the time we flopped onto the bed we were both totally naked. The next two hours flew by. We made love in a way that I didn’t think possible. She even managed to get my normally limp penis to have some form of erection. Well it was stiff enough for it to penetrate her. We didn’t care. We went at it like, dare I say it, two bitches in heat.

When we were both exhausted we lay back in each other’s arms not saying anything for quite some time.
In the end, I spoke first.

“I tried you know.”

“Me too, but I couldn’t get you out of my mind. Then she giggled. That was my first time.”

“What do you mean first time?”

“That was the first time I’ve had sex and you know... intercourse.”

I pulled back the duvet. I let out a little groan. She’d bled a bit.

Oh why couldn’t we not have met for a few months? I thought to myself. Then it wouldn’t have mattered. At least the pills I was taking were supposed to make me impotent.

“Are you on the pill?” I asked calmly.

“No. Why?”

“There is a slight chance that I could have made you pregnant. The pills I’m taking are supposed to stop any... well you know what.”

She rolled over and looked at me with a grin on her face.

“Does it matter? You will make a fantastic parent.”

Then I broke down and cried. It had been coming for a long time, ever since we’d said goodbye to each other in New York. It had been building up while I was writing. Then she arrived and boom, it eventually had to come out.

“What’s wrong my darling?”

“Everything,” I sobbed.

“Aren’t you happy?”

“That’s the problem,” I wailed, “No one should be this happy. Why me? A thirty five year old tranny should never be in love with someone like you. I just don’t deserve it.”

“Yes you do. I fell in love with you that first evening in the restaurant. I knew then I wanted to be with you. Now I’m here and I’m not going away.”

“But Izzy... Every heterosexual man in the world would like to have you as a wife. You are witty, intelligent and in my opinion, the most beautiful woman in the world. Yes you pick me? What have I done to deserve you?”

“Being in the right place at the right time and stop my wayward case from running away?”
I couldn’t argue with that. I had to stop crying and laugh.

Our combined need to answer the call of nature and have something to eat eventually forced us to get out of bed. The frozen food I’d bought was ruined but we sorted everything else out and I started to make us something to eat. Izzy went off to make herself beautiful once again. That wasn’t hard I know but in my eyes, she seemed more radiant and beautiful than ever. Whoever coined the phrase, ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’ was certainly not far off the mark.

It was getting dark when I finally gave up and put another burnt pan into the sink to soak. My mind wasn’t on the task. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her for more than a few seconds, I wanted her so bad.
Izzy smelt the burnt food and came to my rescue.

“I saw a pub down the road. I saw that they do food. A nice man inside gave me directions to your home.
Don’t you have any street signs in this part of the world?”

I groaned and laughed at the same time

“Was this man twenty something with an unruly crop of ginger hair?”

“Yes. That’s him. He said his name was Craig and that I should go back if I couldn’t find your house.”
I smiled at her.

“You do realise that your arrival is probably all over the village by now. It isn’t everyday that someone as stunningly beautiful as you comes around.”

“Does it matter?” She asked holding my hand.

A few days ago it did but now I wasn’t so sure. If we were to become an item then sooner or later Izzy would have to be introduced to the locals. As I was feeling on top of the world I thought that it might as well be sooner rather than later.

Izzy helped me with my makeup. She gave me some suggestions for a few changes. I was impressed by the end result. Then I started looking for something suitable to wear. Why is it when you need something special there is never anything just right in your wardrobe?

Once again, Izzy came to my rescue.

“I have a present for you. Stay right where you are.”

She dashed off to the spare room where she’d deposited her suitcase onto the bed and retrieved a garment bag.

“Here. I hope it isn’t too crushed from the flight.”

She opened it and pulled out an exquisite LBD.

“I’ve got the underwear to go with it,” she added.

Sure enough in the bag there was a black lacy bra, some knickers and a matching suspender belt.
For then next few minutes I was a 10 year old trying on their big sisters clothes for the first time.
I had to admit the result was pretty good. Izzy then did my hair. Is there no end to her talents?
By the time we were done it was nearly 8pm. As we prepared to leave the house I tried to kiss her but she avoided my lips saying,

“Later. I don’t want to mess up my lipstick before I meet all of your friends.”

I’d hardly call that motley crew of boozers at the pub my friends but they were the nearest to real friends that I had in the world so yes they would have to do.

We both put on our highest heels and walked arm in arm down the road to the pub. To my eternal relief we saw no one until we got to the pub door. If we had I’d probably have fled into the darkness never to be seen again.

“Are you ready for this? Some of them are just about one step up the evolutionary ladder from Neanderthals and that is paying them a compliment?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be”, she said holding my arm and grinning from ear to ear.
Her eyes alone would send a few of the regulars to an early grave. The rest of her body would send the rest of them soon after.

I pushed open the door to the bar and let her go in first. It took all of two seconds for the entire pub to become silent. I stepped in behind her and smiled at the gawping faces.

It was Craig who broke the ice.

“See. Didn’t I tell you all that a beautiful woman had come looking for our Jenny this afternoon? None of you would believe me.”

No one moved. All the men had their eyes glued on Izzy. A few of the wives were also looking shocked. Izzy was certainly turning heads in the pub that night.

“I’d like to introduce my friend Izzy. She’s an American.”

I looked at Izzy and smiled.

“I think she’s going to be popping in here with me for some time to come.”

Just then Pru stuck her head through the kitchen hatch.

“What’s happened? What have I missed” she asked.

“It is just Jenny with her American friend. The one I told you about,” her replied to his mother.

Pru looked at us both and a huge grin appeared on her face. Then she commented,

“It is about time too Jenny. “

Then to her son,

“Don’t just stand the gawping at her everyone? You are wasting valuable drinking time. Craig, open a bottle of bubbly for the new couple. It’s on the house.”

The rest of the pub had begun to get over their collective shock of seeing Izzy for the first time. Most of them were engaged in conversation and I had no doubt about the topic of those conversations. Thankfully none had gotten up and walked out in disgust at seeing what was most likely the first Lesbian couple in the village.

Pru personally served us our meals. I was going to introduce Izzy to the delights of Pru’s Lamb and Vegetable Suet Pudding. It was a far cry from out first meal together but it was something of a local delicacy. As Pru served, she said quietly to Izzy,

“Look after this one, she’s rather special you know.”

Then she left.

Izzy mouthed to me

“Does she know?”

I nodded my head.

Izzy replied with a smile on her face and a shake of her beautiful head.

When we’d finished our meal a few of the locals came up and introduced themselves to Izzy. Most of what they said about me was to my relief rather complimentary. However it wasn’t long before the effects of the jet lag, champagne and her first day in the country started to catch up with Izzy.

She started yawning.

“I’m sorry. I don’t normally yawn like this,” she said apologetically.

“It has been quite a day for you what with all that travel and... well you know everything. Let’s head home. I think you are in need of some sleep.”

She didn’t disagree.

I stood up and went to the bar and tried to pay for the food.

“Next time Jenny,” replied Craig as he pulled another pint.

I nodded and escorted Izzy out of the pub and up the road to my or rather our home.

We both slept late the next day. Izzy sat up with a start when the Village Church announced morning service with the steady tolling of its solitary bell.

“What is that?”

“It’s only the church. It must be Sunday and it must be close to ten in the morning.”

Izzy leapt out of bed.

“I must go to church. I want to see inside one of your old churches.”

“Izzy, it is not going anywhere. It has been in the same place for close to six hundred years. Besides, there is another service tonight.”

Then it hit me.

“Oh shit.”

“What’s wrong?” asked a started Izzy.

“It’s Sunday. My editor is coming tomorrow. He finally gave up with the warnings and his last message was that he was coming for a meeting tomorrow.”

“So?”

“Have you seen this place? It is a mess. I have to get it sorted out before he comes. He’s not going to like the fact that I have abandoned the book that I’d told him that I was in the middle of.”

“Does it matter? Isn’t that a manuscript I saw on your desk when you gave me the grand tour?”

“Yes. Yes it is.”

“So give him that one. That will keep him quiet for a few days.”

I sighed.

“Oh Izzy! He’s a children’s editor. That book is for adults.”

Izzy grinned.

“I know. I had a peek last night. I am wondering why you didn’t tell me that someone very like me is the heroine. That same heroine who has it all and then gives it all up to marry a deadbeat?”

“Sorry. Izzy! I sort of wrote it in an attempt to get you out of my system. I failed. It should be thrown away. Besides I haven’t even re-read it yet. There is bound to be lots of bits that need re-working.”

Izzy sat on the bad and took my hand.

“Then why don’t you sit in your office and do it. I’ll do my best with the house.”

“It was never meant to be published like that, it was more like therapy for me.”

“I’d be honoured for you to get it published as long as you put a dedication in the front.”

“What sort of dedication?”

She grinned back at me.

“Oh, something along the lines of, ‘To Izzy who came into my life with a bang and changed it forever’.”
I sat up and kissed her. It was then I knew she wasn’t going anywhere unless I was at her side.

[The End]

Authors Note:
This story was inspired by an encounter not unlike the one that Jenny had with Izzy outside a lift at the Intercontinental Hotel in Amman, Jordan. The woman who inspired Izzy was an olive skinned Italian lady. She was wearing the Captains uniform of the Italian Airline, Alitalia. Only the Italians could produce pilots that beautiful, and yes, she was married (sigh).

A Toastie is a toastied sandwich. Take two slices of bread, add a filling and put in one of those George Forman Grill thingies, or something similar...



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