I carried the little girl in and up to her bedroom.
‘Are you stopping for a while?’ Donna asked as she began to prepare her daughter for bed.
‘Do you want me to?’
She smiled and said, ‘Yes please.’
Although the old Donna regularly surfaced when we were out, I now, happily, rarely saw it when we alone together.
‘Then of course, but while you put Lisa Marie to bed, I’d better do the same for my girl.’
She giggled. ‘Bring a bottle of wine back.’
I raised my eyebrows. In the months of seeing Donna, I had only seen her drink alcohol once and that was little more than a sip. ‘Red or white?’
‘White please and not too dry.’
I leaned down to kiss her and told her I’d be back soon. I took Aggie for a short walk before taking her back to my cottage and selected a Pouilly Fume, an excellent Sauvignon Blanc based Loire wine.
When I got back Donna was relaxing on her sofa, and much to my surprise had changed and was wrapped in a big woollen dressing gown. On the coffee table before her were two glasses and a corkscrew. Although much of the world’s wine producers, especially those of whites, had switched to screw cap, the French maintained their preference for traditional cork.
I did the honours and filled the glasses. I handed one to Donna before sitting down beside her. She immediately cuddled up close with her feet tucked under the way all women seem to do. I wrapped my free hand around her. For my first glass and less than half of Donna’s we sat there comfortably silent. I felt as if all was right in my world and that my proposal was the right thing. Almost simultaneously we turned to each other for a kiss. It was one of tenderness and for me, love; something that emphasised the closeness I was feeling.
‘David!’ Donna said softly with more than a hint of nerves. ‘Take me to bed.’
This was totally out of the blue. I was sure that it would happen one day, maybe even one day soon, yet I had expected an extended period of build up. ‘Are you sure?’
I could see the nerves suddenly evaporate. ‘Oh yes! I’ve been ready for a while, waiting for you to make a move, until I realised that when you told me that you would wait, that is exactly what you meant, no pressure, no attempts to check if I’m ready, just wait until I gave you the sign.’ She then giggled, ‘No that’s wrong, I’ve been giving you signs but you have been to blind or noble to see them.’
‘I have noticed that you felt a lot more comfortable around me but no more than that. If you are that sure than I’d be stupid to say no, especially as it is something I’ve wanted for a while now.’
‘Is it what?’
‘Something you want.’
I pulled her to me and kissed her deeply. ‘If that kiss doesn’t answer you then I’m doing something wrong.’
Donna giggled. ‘I think I can take that as a yes then!’
‘I need to pop back home first, just to check on Aggie. I’ll be two minutes.’ I said as I stood up.
Donna gave me a fabulous smile. ‘Two minutes and no more.’
I shot out and hurried over to my house where I topped up Aggie’s water bowl and grabbed the ring, which was my real reason for coming back.
Donna was sitting where I left her but there was no doubt that she’d moved. When I’d left she had been wearing a nightdress of some type under her dressing gown. The latter was open slightly at the top and all I could see was bare flesh. I could feel my body starting to react.
I immediately knelt in front of her and handed her the wrapped package that I’d intended to give her the next day. ‘Donna, I had planned to give you this tomorrow, but I think now is more appropriate.’
I was amazed that the scream that she emitted didn’t fetch half the village out. ‘Is this what I think it is?’ She stammered excitedly.
‘Will you marry me?’ I asked as a confirmation.
She looked at me in bemusement at least she looked at me for a few seconds before she was opening the box and studying its contents, ‘Are you sure David? Don’t you want to sample the goods first in case they aren’t up to your satisfaction?’ The second question was asked half in jest and half with a very nervous seriousness.
‘I am more than happy with ’the goods’ as you call them. In some ways I hope you are as bad as you make out.’
That surprised her, shocked her even, as her expression showed.
‘Yup, because then I’ll have the excuse to keep you practising and practising until you’re perfect.’
The relief showed when she understood I was only joking. ’I’m sure we’ll need to practise whatever the reason. In fact I think you should put this ring where it belongs and then we should start right now with an extensive evaluation.’
Her last statement showed just how far Donna had come, okay she still had moments of self doubt when we were alone but they were becoming rarer and even when we were out she was a lot more confident. According to what I’d heard, she wasn’t anywhere near as self confident when I wasn’t with her. That could and would be worked on.
I took the ring and slipped it over her finger thinking of the Martha Reeves song ‘Third Finger Left hand’. It was just a little bit too big but that didn’t matter for now. The look on her face as she held her hand up was alone worth every penny of the ring’s cost.
Upstairs, she was a bundle of nerves held together by the determination that had brought her through her earlier problems. We started off very slowly and it was probably thirty minutes before we were naked in bed, although ten of those were taken up by Donna studying the ring I’d given to her. Her body, now that I had chance to see it, was glorious, her breasts were average in size but firm with no sag whatsoever and her legs were divine. To my biased eyes she was perfect, slim but not skinny; shapely but not carrying any excess fat.
Our lovemaking was intense, I started out slow as not to scare her but I soon found that given even the slightest foreplay Donna became almost a nymphomaniac. I had no idea how she thought she was no good in bed, for me she was one of the best lovers I’d ever been with. I’m sure that my actually loving her played a big role, but it was more than that. I was drained after just our first session and wanted to just fall asleep.
Donna, ever the mother, reminded me that it was Christmas Eve and little Lisa Marie was expecting a visit from Father Christmas. I’d forgotten the excitement I felt for the ritual but it soon all came back. At Donna’s insistence I ate the mincepie and drank the milk that Lisa Marie had left out, whilst Donna laid out all the presents under the tree.
Once we were back in bed I said, ‘Donna, what on earth made you think you were poor in bed?’
‘My husband told me every time and I soon began to hate him touching me, which made me worse. He always complained that I only ever thought of my own pleasure, never his.’
She started crying at that point and I pulled her to me and caressed her hair. I told her just how good I thought she was and as we talked I gradually realised the problem. Donna was actually a very sexual person, but like just about any other woman required stimulation first, though in her case surprisingly little. Her husband, whose name I didn’t know as Donna refused to use it, thought that that was selfishness on her part. Foreplay was something done to him and certainly not by him. Because she was usually dry when he entered her it was painful and not in the least enjoyable. To him this made her lousy in bed and he rarely missed an opportunity to tell her.
Before we finally went to sleep I showed her just how much I enjoyed her body, spending almost an hour bringing her almost to her peak and keeping her there, before we finally joined together. She was astonished that I would go down on her but was ecstatic at the results.
Another thing I had forgotten about kids and Christmas was just how early they got up that particular morning. It seemed that we’d been asleep only an hour before a shrill shriek woke us up. Lisa Marie was too excited to stay in bed beyond four o’clock and had come in to tell her mother that Santa had been. The scream had been when she saw someone else in her mother’s bed. Strangely she was happy when she realised it was ‘Mr. Aggie’ and when questioned about her scream, said that she thought her father had returned. We managed to persuade the six year old to go back to sleep for a couple more hours but only at the expense of her crawling in between us. Another thing about young kids that I was going have to get used to again.
Given the wonderful, yet exhausting night I’d had, six o’clock is still far too early to be getting up, although it is far better than four. Lisa Marie seemed to accept my presence as natural, her only worry seemed to be who was looking after Aggie. Once I’d explained that my collie was still asleep and I would see to her in a short while the subject was never mentioned again. The little girl surprised me again when she wanted to forget her Christmas presents in order to come with me when I took Aggie for her morning walk. Because of that, my fiancée was also able to join me. That walk was probably the best one of my life, walking hand in hand with the woman that I loved, watching her delightful daughter and my mad collie running about before us. I couldn’t help but smile each time that Donna checked her ring finger, which was often.
I told my kids when I rang them to wish them Merry Christmas, as expected they were all happy with the news and even my far flung son promised to be there for the wedding, provided we gave him enough notice. It would be great to see all of my children again.
The following week was amongst my happiest. I had to spend a few hours finishing off the first boat and preparing it for collection. The rest of the time, including every night, was spent with Donna and Lisa Marie. Any feeling of neglect on Aggie’s part was more than made up by the attention Lisa Marie gave her. Every moment we spent together boosted Donna’s self image and my belief that I was doing the right thing.
Towards the end of that momentous week, I asked Donna how she felt about me adopting Lisa Marie and she was truly overwhelmed. When she accepted that I was serious and especially when she realised that it was something I wanted to do for myself as much as for her, she was really thrilled and was sure that her daughter would be too. Even I could see that the tears that were flowing liberally were those of joy. Unintentionally, I asked at the best time, when we were alone in bed. Donna used her body, and almost abused mine, to show me just how thrilled she was. It also was to finally prove to Donna that she was everything I could ever ask for in bed.
Lisa Marie reacted to the news in typical fashion, instant excitement and delight followed ten minutes later by returning to the doll she was playing with. Her only questions were could she call me ‘Daddy’ and how soon. I told her she could call me Daddy immediately if she wanted to but it wouldn’t yet be official. Nearly seven year olds don’t give a damn about officialdom so from that moment I was her Daddy. Her seventh birthday was in April so we planned an early April wedding and to have the adoption done for her birthday. Neither of us were in any way religious so we thought that the Registrar in Dorchester would be fine.
As it turned out it wasn’t to be. Well before we got around to booking it, our news eventually swept the village. Jane was amongst the first to congratulate us, actually coming to see us at Donna’s house. She insisted that we held the reception at the Manor, then a few days later she told us that we could hold the wedding there too. No doubt her position as a local magistrate helped smooth that path.
At first the old Donna re-emerged with worry about what people would think. I laughed and said that she alone would be responsible for the guest list and the opinions of anyone not on it was irrelevant. A few seconds of thought and she was laughing with me.
I didn’t realise it at the time but our announcement split the village. I’m happy to say that the majority were supportive, some more than most. I was approached by Lizzie who demanded to know what Donna had that she didn’t. When she asked, the answer was easy, everything, but in all honesty I don’t know why my initial attraction was for Donna and not for Lizzie; the only guess I could come up with was her vulnerability. I didn’t say anything except that I fell in love with Donna. Lizzie wasn’t on Donna’s list.
After much discussion we decided that I would move in with Donna, as I’d almost done that anyway. My uncle’s house meant a lot to me, not just because of his memory but for the life it had since given me. For that reason, I decided to keep the house and rent it out. Aggie missed the bigger garden but thoroughly loved her permanent playmate.
My daughter became a frequent visitor and she did a lot to help Donna plan the wedding, as did Jane. My only job was to turn up sober, oh, and to supply the necessary funds.
The adoption process was easy once we explained that we didn’t want it to happen until after the wedding.
Although not part of my original plan, I started on a new boat in January. It was only a spec boat so I would have no trouble finishing it before the wedding. It was also what would pay for it too.
(A spec boat is built to a predetermined specification with little or no bespoke work)
Just over a month before the wedding the Falconer’s was reopened under complete new management. However it seemed that our village demanded controversy of some sort and in this instance it was the couple that had bought the pub that were the cause. Stephen and Jeremy were not your usual couple, in fact they were not your usual anything. Within a week of opening they had the pub bustling. Stephen was a chef of great talent and a dedicated member of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale). He knew how to keep beer and his list of contacts contained many in charge of the small micro breweries, much loved by Real Ale drinkers. Jeremy was as camp as they come and provided a front of house that never failed to entertain. As camp as he was, he knew how to handle himself, as the inevitable riff-raff who tried it on with him soon found out.
Soon we had a village pub back, child friendly with superb food and beers. In fact it was at the pub one Sunday lunchtime that we came out as an official couple, even though by then everyone knew. I drank far to much good ale and didn’t have to buy any. Fortunately, Donna was a little more sensible as we had Lisa Marie with us. Her daughter had an instant adoring fan in Jeremy. In fact we all got along so well with the new landlords that they were belatedly invited to the wedding. Stephen only accepted on condition that we spend either our first week’s or first month’s anniversary at the Falconer. Much to my surprise it was Donna that agreed for us.
All this happened some years ago. The wedding went off without a hitch. Donna looked stunning in her burgundy wedding dress, she refused to wear white or even off white. It was great to have all my children together again and they all fell in love with their new sister. As expected Lisa Marie stole the show.
Aggie is still with us, though age has slowed her down a bit, now she only manages three miles to our one on her walks. My business is still plodding along. I regularly turn down work because I put my new family first. We are not rich by any means, but neither are we materialistic so building three or four boats a year easily keeps us comfortable. Apart from infrequent moments my wife is unrecognisable from the shy, introvert I first met.
Her husband must have had something good about him, even if it was only his ‘looks’ gene for Lisa Marie is already a stunner and I’m dreading the rapidly approaching boyfriends.
Stephen and Jeremy have made the Falconer into a local legend, especially its cuisine. Bookings need to be made at least a fortnight in advance, though Jeremy always seems to keep a table or two for villagers.
Seth spent a short time behind bars and if he ever resurfaced near us I never saw him. Stella and her daughter were really put out by Stephen and Jeremy, and ended up moving further down the valley to live with an old farmer. I have no idea, nor interest, if they are happy together.
Lizzie found her man, funnily enough at my cottage. A small time writer had leased it from us for a year and went home with a lot more than he bargained for. Sheila speaks occasionally, though I have difficulty forgetting her initial attitude to Donna, and tells me both writer and Lizzie are happy.
Ginny still lives at the Manor, at least officially, but spends the majority of her time in London. Time has done nothing to change her. Jane remains single and if truth be told, I think she prefers it that way. Any man in her life is kept quiet and well away from village gossip.
I see more of two of my children, especially my daughter, and we are planning a long holiday in New Zealand to see my eldest, who I haven’t seen since the wedding.
The only downside is that Donna can’t have any more children, we believe from some of the punishment her ex husband inflicted on her, but Lisa Marie more than makes up for that.
Thank you Uncle Jim, wherever you are.
This is a slow romantic story from my imagination and is not biographic, although some parts are close.
This is the final chapter.
Please let me know what you think, including any criticisms.
If you haven’t already, please start with chapter one first.
Please tell me about any silly typos and such