Penny's World pt 16

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A dance, a meal, and a kiss

Penny’s World
Part Sixteen
By
Sophie Jones
© 2017

This is the story of Penny. A closet Transwoman thrust into the outside world 24-7 when she would rather go and hide away. Perhaps the title should be Welcome to Penny’s Paranoid World…

From part fifteen
At Apple Tree Farm, Evie leans forward putting a hand on my arm, stopping me from opening my door to get out.
“Its ok, Penny. We’ll pop her to bed. You two go off and have something to eat. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Before I can do or say anything. They are both out and John has the Tesla turned in a tight circle and back out onto Village Lane and heading up to the main road.
“You hungry?”
“Um, yes.” I say, unsure of what is happening.
“That’s good, I’ve got a table booked for us at The Station Arms.”

And now as they say, read on…

In a car, it takes barely six minutes to go from Lower Steeping to Mid-Steeping. They were the longest and shortest six minutes of my life. I had a quick glance over at John who seemed calm and not cross with me. He even had a small smile on his lips I thought. I only wish my heart would stop thumping like crazy. And I really am not sure if he wants to woo me or accuse me over how the girls are behaving concerning me. Or how I will react to either situation if he brings it up. And it’s daft, I know it is, but I feel a closeness between us when we are next to each other, as if we have been together a long time and not just a few times over the last couple of weeks.

Anyway, we are almost at Mid-Steeping now. Over on our right with a field between us are the lights of the houses on The Sixties Estate where all the roads are named after sixties pop stars. Everly Close, Richard Avenue, Marvin Lane. That sort of thing. Then we are past the village road sign and the roadside hedges give way to the 1930’s semi’s built between the wars. Before we have past them and are up by the Co-op’s little supermarket. John slows and turns left onto Station Lane, and moments later turns left again to go down the back of the 1930s semi’s rear gardens with the River Beck on our right.

At one time this use to be just a dirt track running between the back gardens and the river. But then people started to avoid paying to use the Railway Station car park by coming down the track to park on the grass verge of the riverbank. Then the parish council had to put down a single lane of tarmac to stop the break-up of the dirt track. Then when a few stupid people forgot to put their hand brakes on and got out to watch their cars roll down into the river. They had to put a metal crash barrier along the top of the bank to stop that happening. Before you know it they will tarmac it all over and add a parking ticket machine to pay for it all.

I held onto John’s arm as we walked the hundred feet back to Station Lane. In the quiet of the evening you could hear my high-heels tapping on the tarmac as well as the slap of my heels on my mules as we walked. I had ditched the idea of wearing the high-heel sling-backs in the end, as they were too high for the sixties. I did try my low heel sling-backs again, but they still pinched my toes and having blisters on them at the end of a nights dancing was not my idea of fun. So I got my pair of yellow four inch stiletto heel mules out instead. Did I mention I love my stiletto heel mules? I have about five pairs in different colours at home.

The Station Arms is all old world on the outside, but was extensively refitted inside a few years ago. It still looks old inside with plenty of oak panelling all over the place. But the four or five rooms that use to be on the ground floor are gone, replaced by one big room around a centre core that has inside it the staircase going up stairs and the cellar steps going down to the still cellar. The pub bar runs along the front and curves around to go part of the way down left side with the restaurant being in the long single story part of the building alongside the river.

John spoke to a young woman in a black cocktail dress at a raised lectern on the end of the bar on the left side end. She led us to a small alcove at the far end of the restaurant with a table for two with a little Reserved card on it. It was against an angled corner window that looked out on the fairy lights strung on poles going down the river bank going to the water’s edge. Their lights mixed with the coloured lights on the side of building to magically reflect and dance on the rivers surface.

After giving us menus and asking if we would like any drinks, she left us. The menu gave us a choice of the a-la-carte menu, or a number of set two or three course meals.

While we were perusing the menu a horrible thought struck me. We were sitting at an angle to the rest of the diners and I was wearing a mini-dress and stockings and... I quickly slipped my hand down and cautiously ran it along my thigh to my dress hem to check all was well and I was not flashing my stocking tops at the rest of the diners. Although to be honest if I had, there was not much I could have done about it. But I was relieved to find I was not.

John looked up at me smiling. “I hope you’re having a pleasant evening. I know I sort of sprung this on you.”

“Yes, I am. Thank-you. I haven’t been dancing in ages.” Make that, never, if you exclude dancing around the kitchen in the bungalow to the radio.

John nodded. “Good.”

The girl in the black cocktail dress returned with our drinks and I noticed she had on black velvet super-high heeled court shoes showing toe cleavage which I rather liked. I was tempted to admire them and ask where she got them. Maybe I could get some on-line. We said “Thank-you,” to her for our drinks and gave her our food order. I watched her walk away a little envious of her shoes and wishing I had said something to her.

Food wise we both had decided on the same thing. The two course Roast of the Day: Roast beef, runner beans and brussel sprouts, yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes. Followed by ice cream for dessert and a pot of tea for two. Neither of us felt like having a starter.

Then we both kind of froze wondering what to say to each other. I wanted to ask how things on the farm were going. But, seeing as you could write what I knew about farming on a pin head. I said nothing. Then we both tried to talk at once. Both of us stopped for the other one to continue and then both giggled at ourselves for both doing the same thing. Well I giggled and John did a sort of manly chuckled.

I motioned John to go ahead. He asked if I was sure, and I nodded yes. He nodded back slowly. I guess thinking about what he was going to say, then looked over at me.

“I, ah... I wanted to say sorry for how the girls have been behaving. I know they have been calling you, Mum.”

I shook my head nervously. “It’s ok. I’m not complaining. I’ve spent the last eight years looking after my parents. It’s kind of nice. Something I never thought I would hear. When Carol married and went to live in the States, it left me to care for our parents or put them in a home as they got older. And I couldn’t do that. So I became a sort of modern day Victorian spinster looking after them.” Then I add quickly, “So I don’t mind. I mean, so long as that’s alright with you, that is. Emily’s very sweet. I adore her. The Twins as well.”

I looked down not sure of how he would reply. Thankfully John nodded and smiled. And I smiled back, relieved.

“This last week.” He continued, “Emily has opened up enormously. Something no one else has been able to get her to do. When she climbed up into your lap that first night and snuggled down on you. When we were playing monopoly with the girls. That was amazing. The first time she has responded to anyone apart from her grandparents and me.”

A waitress arrives with our food. It is tastefully laid out with a decent amount of food and a decent pot of gravy each. Conversation stops as we start to eat. Apart from comments to each other on how nice it was.

I popped some roast beef in my mouth, the thick sliced meat seeming to melt in my mouth and was scrumptious. John cut into his Yorkshire pudding, which was not any shape I have seen before. I had forgotten about the Yorkshire pudding and had been trying to figure out what on earth it was. To my delight I found the runner beans were cooked just how I liked them, which is soft, and covered in gravy.

After the main course and while waiting for the desert to arrive. John spoke almost to himself, but too me.

“The girls were too young to know Suzie before she died. The Twins were only five, Emily only three. The Twins had each other. They have always been close the way twins are. But Emily… I think…” he looks at me. “You know you look so like Suzie. You could have been twin sisters. I think the girls see the photo’s I keep of her in the house to try and keep their mother alive for them in some way, so they don’t forget her. And then they see you, and to them you and Suzie are both the same. So in their mind, you must somehow be their mother, too.” he grinned at me and smiled thoughtfully.

“They told me you had amnesia and had forgotten them. And we had to make you remember them again.” He flashed me a little smile.

“Everything has a simple explanation at their age.”

So, he was not cross, just not sure how I was going to react to what he was saying and I think not sure how to tell them the truth without hurting them. Especially Emily I think.

“I don’t mind, honestly.” I said, smiling at him. Then we stopped talking as the waitress returned with our ice cream. As we enjoyed it, he continued.

“Thanks – would you mind letting them run with it for a while. Till they realise in their own time that life is not really like that.”

“No, of course I don’t mind.”

I asked how things were going on the farm. That was a big mistake, sort of. A long detailed explanation followed from him. Of which I understood just about not a single word.

But we had both relaxed and he asked me about flying and the planes I had flown and liked the best. The Mustang Biz-Jet was a thrill to fly, flying airways up to Scotland. And flying the SF260 from Africa was a blast. Like having your own modern day Spitfire to play with. Till I realised I was doing the same thing he had just done to me about farming and while John was looking and smiling at me. His brain had stopped listening to what I was saying.

“Sorry. Once I start talking about flying, I just go on and on without thinking.”

“I guess I’m about the same when it comes to farming. So I think that makes us quits.” He said grinning.

We laughed, I asked if he knew how the Twins were doing at Brownie Camp.

“Well, I spoke briefly to them this evening. Everything seemed to be fine. But they really wanted to talk to Emily. They spent most of their time in deep discussion with her. She made me leave the sitting room so I could not eavesdrop on them.” He said laughing. “I think that was on the instructions of the terrible two.”

“Getting your orders for tonight. Was she.” I said laughing.

“Yes. I think so.”

“And what were they?” I asked jokingly.

“Not to screw-up. And too remember I could marry you. But you were their mother first. But, I could borrow you at night to cuddle up to in bed, they said.” Then he added with a grin. “I don’t think they really know what parents do at night. Well at least I hope they don’t yet at their age.”

“That’s kind of them. I guess, I’ll have to marry you, then.” I said laughing, a bit embarrassed.

He nodded. “I’ll go see the vicar.” He said laughing.

I think we both knew there was something more in that than just the girls plotting. Something was happening between us. What he did not know was his mother was the arch-plotter in all of this and I was a willing, if frightened, co-conspirator as well. We talked about the village and other things. He asked about mother and how her dementia was. And then, before I knew it, we had finished our pot of tea and it was time to leave.

Outside I shivered as we walked back to the car. It was half ten and the evenings warmth had gone. Before I knew it, his jacket was around my shoulders and I was torn about that. I felt guilty at letting him do it. While at the same time it felt nice on my shoulders and bare arms and it really felt nice as we walked with Johns arm around my waist.

That was a nice meal, thank-you.” I told him.

“My pleasure. I enjoyed it as well.”

I grinned. Adding, “and even nicer when you haven’t had to cook it, too.”

He laughed. “Oh, yes. I whole heartedly agree with that. I’m not the greatest of cooks. That’s why the girls like eating at mums.”

Back at the car John quickly had warm air blowing on both my feet and shoulders. I was sorry the night was ending. This was truly my first ever time out as a girl on a date and it had been wonderful.

Instead of pulling up outside my home, John turned back into the village hall car park and parked their again. As we got out he told me grinning.

“The dance doesn’t end until midnight. Shame to waste it.”

Elvis Presley’s It’s Now Or Never was playing as we went back through the double doors into the village hall.

“…When I first saw you
with your smile so tender.
My heart was captured
my soul surrendered…”

We join the older couples on the dance floor, and as I swing round to take hold of Johns left hand, I cringed, hearing Zoey’s husband, Donald calling to us in a loud voice.

“Hiya, John, hello Penny. Where did you two disappear too, then? Been kissing and cuddling out there in the dark behind the bike sheds, have you.” Followed by his laughing.

John carries on, taking hold of my right hand in his left, placing his right hand in the small of my back, “Bye, Donald.”

“Bye.” I add sweetly and not meaning a word of it, as we dance away from him. What Zoey see in him. I’ll never know.

With the young children now in bed the music has slowed down to slow and smoochie numbers. It’s Now or Never slipped into Elvis’s Suspicion. I can feel John relax into me more and I am sure in his mind he is dancing with Suzie maybe, instead of me. I do not mind. I cannot imagine what it would be to lose the one you love when so young. Evie told me Suzie was only twenty-eight when she died. To know you were never going to see your girls grow up and marry, must have been so hard for her.

-o0o-

Italian songs I have found are best heard in Italian, especially if you cannot speak the language. A bit like hearing a sultry French actress say your shopping list in French. Sounds fantastically sexy regardless of the contents. One of my favourite Italian songs is playing. Come Prima sung by Marino Marini.

“Come prima, più di prima t'amerò
Per la vita, la mia vita ti darò
Sembra un sogno rivederti, accarezzarti
Le tue mani fra le mani stringere ancor'”

Then Doris Day is singing for us again and I move closer to John as she sings Move Over Darling, again. But who is complaining. It’s a dreamy song to dance up close with someone. As it ends the DJ starts up for close to the last time after playing anther Radio Caroline Jingle.

“Hey everyone, since we only have time for one more dance before midnight and its time for us all to go home to our beds. Let's end the night with the song Radio Caroline use to end the day with before signing off the airwaves. The Fortunes and Caroline.”

“Caroline, Carol-eye-eye-ine
There is a girl
She really is fine, so fine
I know one day
She's gonna be mine, be mine…”

And then it is all over. We file outside with the others into a starry clear moon-lit night. Most head into the car park, but we head across the road to my home till we are standing outside my front door.

“I won’t ask you in. with luck Mother’s asleep, but I’m sure Carol is waiting up for me to give her a full description of this evening.”

John chuckles. “I’m sure my mother will do the same.”

“Thank-you for a lovely night. It was a lovely meal and I haven’t been out dancing in so long I can’t remember the last time I was. Thank-you.”

John smiles looking down at me. That’s something I never really thought would ever happen. Being six foot in heels. I thought if I changed, I would be looking down at guys. John I have to look up to.

“I’ve had a nice night too, Penny. And I know Emily had a great time tonight, too.”

I nod, and he looks at me with warm eyes and starts to bend forward, but stops. A brief frown crossing his forehead.

“Do you mind, if I kiss you?”

I grinned nervously, “I think that’s the whole idea of being on the doorstep together, don’t you?”

“Yeah.”

He bends down and out heads turn and our lips meet. I could smell his aftershave, the same as my fathers and I remembered back years ago when he was home on leave, he would get ready to go down to his local to meet his friends. I always remembered his newly shaved face and the smell of freshly applied Old Spice on his cheeks as he kissed us good-night on the head before going. I use to dream one day when I grew up as a girl, he would take me down on his arm with him. Something I knew he would never do. He though transsexuals should be put against a brick wall and shot.

Our lips pressed together, my lips opened a little. As did his, and I felt his tongue just touch inside my lips ever so gently. Top and then bottom lip. I think moved my lips a little bit, just a tiny amount. We sort of stayed there, not moving. Till we broke and moved apart, a little embarrassed.

A quiet “Wow!” escaped my lips and he grinned as I did.

“That’s what we like to hear.” He said. “A satisfied customer. Perhaps we could go out some other time when we can both have sitters. I’m sure mum would volunteer for all our charges.”

“Well, we are all going to the beach hut next Sunday, remember.”

“Oh, we’ll meet again before then I’m sure. Knowing my mother.”

I must have pulled a face as he laughed. “Hey, she’s been my mother all my life, I’m not as stupid as she sometimes thinks I am.” He smiles at me. “Now go in or you will get cold.”

I nod grinning and un-lock the door and slip in and turn back to him. He takes my hand and kisses it.

“I’ve just spotted your security camera.” He say grinning, tipping his head towards it. Then let’s go of my hand and with a wave starts down the path. Stopping at the lane to turn back to me.

“I tell the girls when they pull that face. Careful, or your face will get stuck like that.”

Then he starts to move across the lane and then has to hurry as a car pulls out of the village hall car park without checking, nearly running him over.

I close the front door and lean on it. The sitting room door opens to reveal a smiling Carol.

“Come on, I’ve put the kettle on.”

To be continued…



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