Just another day in Paradise

“I’ll have the code changes worked out in a couple of days. I’ll be ready to test by the end of the week,” I said feeling a bit of pressure from the people in the office.

The Video call wound down and I breathed a sigh of relief as I hung up. As I was doing so, I heard a voice start to call out my name. I ignored it. The call had gone on far longer than anyone had anticipated and I really didn’t want to speak to anyone for a while.

I disconnected my Skype session and got up from my desk and walked to the door of my office.

As soon as I did so, I heard a patter of doggy feet on the wooden floor. I smiled. The owner was my dog, Pete. I’d acquired Pete from a rescue centre almost two years ago. His sad face and long ears said ‘I want to be your friend’ loud and clear.

Pete thought that it was time for his walk. Pretty well any moment of the day or night is time for Pete to have a walk.

“Hello Pete? Walkies time?”

His tail-wagging rate went from 1 wag a second to in excess of 10 wags in an instant.

“Lead?”

Pete took off down the hall in search of his lead.

I followed him and put my coat and shoes on. By the time I’d done that Pete was sitting by the back door with his tail thumping on the floor. His lead was in his mouth.

“Thanks Pete,” I joked as I took it from him and clipped it to his collar.

“Let’s go.”

I Opened the door and Pete almost pulled me through it. This was SOP for Pete. His life revolved around walkies and being fed. I didn’t mind. Living in this remote corner of Radnorshire could be dull and lonely at times so having Pete had changed my life as much as him coming to live with me had done to his.

Pete and I headed down the track to the small lane that ran down the valley and connected the A470 and the outside world. He crossed a small tributary of the River Wye and climbed up to the lovely field that was part of my property. It was an SSSI (Site of special scientific interest) because of the ‘Mountain Pansies’ that grew there prolifically. Some of the Lichens were pretty cool as well. According to local folklore, the field had not been ploughed for more than 100 years. I thought that was really cool when I was looking for a place to escape the city before the city drove me mad.

I let Pete loose and he took off looking for a rabbit or two. I took a deep breath and revelled in the peace and quiet of the place. A few Red Kites flew overhead. I heard the cry of a Buzzard and a few Hooded Crows in the distance. Now that I was settled here, there was no way in hell that I’d ever trade this place for a small flat in Islington or Camden and a job in the City or even worse, Docklands.

I wandered down to the stream and looked for the Dippers. I smiled when I saw the female teaching her three offspring how to turn over in order to find food.

The yapping of Pete returning empty handed from his explorations signalled the end to my daydreaming. I said hello to him again and after giving him a doggie chocolate treat, I clipped his lead in back in place. Time to head home and get down to sorting out the problems our Indian Developers had left us and me in particular to sort out.

My joy was short-lived when I saw the number of emails and Skype ‘Where are you?’ requests from the owner of the voice that had called out my name at the end of the conference call just over an hour before.

I ignored them all. I had lots of work to without her interrupting me every half hour for a stupid status update. They'd get the updates when I promised and not a moment before.

[Two days later]

I’d just finished the first test run and was feeling quite pleased with myself so I decided to take Pete for his walk. It was a fine June day and the Mountain Pansies would be out in force in my field and I wanted to enjoy them before settling down to a long afternoon and evening of testing. I’d decided to get all the outstanding work done by the end of Thursday so that I could take Friday off and take a trip to Skomer Island to see the Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbill’s that nest on the island in their thousands. I'd be back home late on Sunday and be able to send off my work before start of business on Monday.

That was for the future. My mind was on the present and our walk. I wanted to see if the Dipper brood had flown the nest or not.

Pete was his usual adventurous self so it was a good ninety minutes before I returned home. Still it was a beautiful day and I’d seen a Female Redpoll feeding so I was in a good mood. The only downside was the dippers. They were nowhere to be seen.

As I approached my cottage, I wasn’t prepared to see a car parked outside. Pete tugged harder than usual and his lead slipped out of my hands. As the occupant of the car emerged from the vehicle they were attached but a dog demanding to be petted.

My heart sank as I saw the driver. The good mood that I was in disappeared like a feather in a gust of wind. The car belonged to Anne Forrester, my erstwhile boss and someone I loathed with all my might. She was just about the main reason why I left London and moved to the back of beyond in Mid Wales.

Anne also hated animals. She almost kicked Pete with her Black Loubotins heels.

She gave me a startled look.

“Dave?”

“Hello Anne.”

“Dave? What have you done to yourself?”

“Anne, what the hell are you doing here? If I recall, getting you to travel outside the M25 was almost impossible so once again what are you doing here?”

“Dave?”

“Stop saying that.”

“Dave? What have you done to yourself?”

"I said, stop saying that."

"Don't you think that I deserve an explanation? After all I am your boss. So once again, what have you done to yourself?"

“Me? Nothing. So once again, why are you here? What was the fantasticall important thing that got to out of your corner office and drive four to five hours to this back of beyond place just to see me? By the way, I’m not called Dave any more. I prefer to be called Dawn.”

Anne went a little red in the face.

“I saw your bra-strap on the last conference call.”

After a moment of shock, I laughed.

“Is that all?”

“All?”

“Look at me Anne? What do you see? How am I different from the person you accused of… what were the words you used against me? Ah yes. Philandering and Sexual Impropriety.”

“I….”

“Your accusations were lies then and they are still lies. We both know that your accusations were made just to ruin my chances of getting the job you now hold. It just does not matter any more. There is nothing you can do to me now. Look around you. What do you see? Peace and beauty. That’s what I see. That is why I came here. Actually, I want to thank you for making those silly made up accusations. The whole event was a wakeup call to me. I left London, came down here and changed everything about my life.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No you aren’t. You are just embarrassed to find me here not only living as a woman but from the fact that you can’t keep your eyes off my cleavage, yes I’m transitioning into a woman.”

“I…”

“So you saw my bra-strap. Big fucking deal. “

I glared at her.

“So now you know that I have to wear one everyday that is more than I can say for you, woman to woman, you could do with some help in that area. 'A' cups really don't work with those revealing tops and dresses that you like to wear. Why don’t you just get back into that expensive company car and go back to London and leave me alone. By all means tell everyone the news about me but I don’t really care anymore.”

Anne’s mouth was impersonating a drowning fish very well so I carried on and let her have the second barrel of my verbal shotgun.

“Since you got me fired I became self employed so you really have no power over me any more. I have been turning away a lot of work in recent months so even if you decide to finish with my services, I won’t have much trouble finding another contract. Encryption services are all the rage now don't you know. I've managed to get a couple of patents on the subject. There really isn't a lot more you can do to me now.”

With that Anne stomped back to her company Audi TT Quattro and roared off with quite a bit of wheel spin. I stood outside my home for several minutes my mind a blank.

Seeing Anne in the flesh again had rekindled all the old animosity I had for her. Animosity yes, but also a good deal of thanks. Her lies and their results had enabled me to embark on the change in my life that to be honest I’d been dithering about for a good few years.

Buying this place and working remotely had allowed me to realize my dream, the dream of finally being whom I should have been born as.

After a while I went back inside my home and took one look at the office. Any thoughts of working to complete the job at hand early had gone out of the window with the arrival of Anne.

After a few more swear words, I went into the kitchen and made myself some lunch. Some excellent local cheese with a hunk of my own homemade rye bread went down very well. I brewed some tea and took it into the garden to sit in the afternoon sun.

The thing about living where I was was that you could experience at least three of the four seasons on any given day. As a result you made the best of the sunny days because there was always the chance that the next day could be wet and very windy.

I’d just about dozed off in the warm sun when the sound of a vehicle rapidly coming up the drive woke me up. I could tell from the sound that it was Anne’s Audi coming back.

Somewhat reluctantly, I got up from my very comfortable chair and wandered around the house to see what she had to say for herself this time.

This time I didn’t let het get out of het car.

“Why did you come back? Didn’t I make it clear that you were not welcome here?”

“I have something to say and I’m going to say it. Then I’ll leave you alone.”

I didn’t say anything so she got out of the car. Quite how she managed to drive wearing 5in heels was quite beyond me. Then I realised that I’d never seen her wear anything less than about 4in in the 4 years that we’d known each other.

She straightened her very tight skirt. That was another trademark of hers along with virtually see-through blouses and underwear that left very little to the imagination.

“Well get on with it I haven't got all day to stand around waiting for you?”

Anne stood up albeit slightly wobbly on those heels of hers. She took a deep breath and then let rip.

“You got the job that I deserved, the job that I worked really hard to get. Then I saw your weakness, your familiarity with women. I thought you were flirting with them but I see now that was wrong, very wrong. But I was so angry with you that I invented the stories about us.”

“Thank you. Thank you for admitting what I was saying all along.”

Anne stood there in front of me for a few seconds before I got her second barrel.

“Now that I have the job that you once coveted and I’m now the President Elect of the Institute thanks to Sir Robert. When I become President I am going to see to it that you never ever get any employment in the industry until the day you die. Once upon a time I looked up to you and for a while I even fancied you but now, you are nothing but a beaten up old has-been sadly trying to be someone you can never be. You can never be a proper woman so why bother? I hope you die a horrible death all alone in the world.”

She didn’t wait for me to reply but climbed back into her car and roared off. I sighed as I watched her car rapidly disappear along the track. Everyone knew that she was ‘banging’ Sir Robert. His wife had left him because of her. No one in the office liked her.

Her car had only just gone out of sight along the twisty track when there was an almighty crash and a bang.

I quickly took off out of my driveway towards the source of the noise. It didn’t take long for me to see what had happened.

The almost brand new Audi was a sorry wreck. It had piled right into my neighbour’s harvester. The Audi had come off by far the worse for wear.

I ran up to her car and pulled open the driver’s door. Anne was sitting very still and apparently dazed. She was all covered in the dust from the AirBags. She looked faintly comical as memories of bags of flour and clowns at the circus came to mind.

I was about to pull her out when the driver of the harvester, Hywel Hughes put his hand on my shoulder.

“Let me look at her first. She might have broken something.”

I stepped back and let him take charge. Hywel was a Special Constable in Rhyader so he’d had a lot more training in first aid than I’d ever had.

He quickly took command and began to examine Anne.

Anne for her part recovered and struck Hywel square in the jaw with a fantastic left hook.

“She’s all right,” he remarked.

“Get your filthy hands off me,” shouted Anne.

Hywell was as usual wearing his usual very scruffy boiler suit and smelt something rotten. I knew that he’d been dipping sheep earlier and was now off to cut some silage.

Anne got out of the car and after a slight totter on her heels exclaimed,

“Look what you have done to my car!”

“No Anne, you were driving recklessly and failed to take notice of this big beast,” I replied.

“I’ll make you both pay for this!”

“Do you know this woman?”

“Yes Hywel. Her name is Anne Forrester. I used to work with her down in London.”

Hywell turned to Anne.

“Well, Anne Forrester, my name is Hywel Hughes. I am a farmer and my place is just up the valley. I am also a Special Constable with the Powys Constabulary.”

Anne looked shocked.

“Anne Forrester, in my role as a Special Constable, I am arresting you on suspicion of dangerous driving and from the smell of your breath, I am also arresting you on suspicion of driving whilst under the influence of Alcohol. You do not have to say anything but you do not have the right to remain silent and anything you do say will be taken down any maybe used in evidence against you. Do you understand what I have just said?”

Ann just stood there glaring at the two of us. The look in her eyes was one of pure hatred.

Hywell broke the ice by asking me,

“Darling, will you go and phone the station and get a car to come up here. Ms Forrester needs to be taken to the station so that she can have a formal breathalyser and blood sample taken by Dr Evans.”

Anne stood there mouth open.

“Darling? She’s not a woman and never will be,” she cried.

“Oh, I know that. She told me before our first date.”

Anne was charged with Dangerous Driving and a few days later with Driving under the Influence of both Alcohol and Drugs. She lost her job but not after making a whole rafth of new threats against me. It came out that she already had nine points on her license so she was banned for three years because this was her second drink driving conviction. The roads would be a lot safer with her off them.

Hywell and I became even closer over the following months. We shared each other’s bed on a regular basis. I never felt happier.

I was in love with a lovely man, lived in a wonderful place and had some great friends, what more could I want eh?

Don’t answer that….



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