It is better if you start with The Prologue first
My daughter may be a typical teenage girl but she was also pretty observant when it came to her dad.
‘Okay Dad, what’s going on?’ Kate demanded within moments of getting in the car.
‘What do you mean?’
‘Come on Dad, I’m not blind. You’re as happy as I’ve seen you since Mum died.’
‘All right, you win,’ I said smiling at my inquisitor. ‘I went on a date last night.’
‘Oooh that was quick, we only talked about it the other day.’ She paused a moment. ‘No wonder you raised no objections to me staying over for the night,’ Kate giggled. ‘Did you spend the night together?’
I felt myself blush deeply. This was the sort of conversation I’d envisaged with my daughter a few times, but not for a number of years and with me asking the questions.
‘No need to answer Dad, you face has done it for you,’ she said pealing with laughter. ‘Who is she? Wait let me guess. It’s Michelle Grayson’s aunt, isn’t it?’
‘No Kate it isn’t. It’s someone you haven’t met and seriously it was nothing that was planned.’
I went on to explain yesterdays events, omitting certain obvious details.
‘When do I get to meet her then?’
‘This afternoon if you want.’
The rest of the short trip back and the next hour were full of questions about Lucy. Where did we meet, how long ago, how old was she, what did she look like and many other variations on the theme.
‘Enough, enough,’ I cried holding my hands up in surrender. ‘I never had these many questions from my parents when I first met your mother,’ I laughed. ‘Now, I believe you have chores to do. What say you get them done whilst I give Lucy a call and arrange something for this afternoon.’
‘Okay slave driver,’ my daughter answered, as always determined to have the last word.
I rang Lucy, thankful that it was her mobile number and not her parent’s landline. After the inquisition my daughter had just put me through I didn’t fancy another from one or both of Lucy’s parents.
‘Hi lover,’ came her very cheerful reply. ‘Have you spoke to your daughter yet?’
I was a little surprised at her perkiness and said. ‘You seem chirpy. I expected that you might be half asleep as you said you were going to bed.’
‘Never got the chance. Had the third degree from Mum and Dad,’ she laughed. ‘Besides I seem on too much of a high to sleep.’
‘I had the same from Kate. How did yours go? Am I public enemy number one?’
I heard a roar of laughter. ‘Just the opposite. I think Mum is in the kitchen planning the wedding right now.’
‘Wait ’til she meets me, that’ll soon change. Now what do you want to do this afternoon, bearing in mind that Kate will be with us and will have a million questions for you.’
‘Do you enjoy swimming?’
‘We both love it.’
‘Okay then. How about Water World and then ten pin bowling?’
‘Sounds great and I get to see you on a swimsuit,’ I answered.
‘Men! You’ve already seen everything.’
‘Naked is for touching. A partially clad woman is much more alluring to the eye.’
‘Whatever,’ she giggled.
The afternoon was a brilliant success. The two women in my life bonded instantly and just as immediately began to gang up on me; physically in the pool and verbally out. I revelled in it.
Lucy looked fabulous in a turquoise and silver bikini, something I told her on the few occasions that my daughter was out of earshot. I was thrilled when she told me that it was the first time that she’d ever used an unpadded bikini top. I think she too was quietly thrilled when I demanded that she never wear a padded anything again.
I won the bowling but only after a lucky strike in the third and last frame with Lucy and I sharing the first two. It was back in my teens when I’d last played and that showed both in my scores and the ache in my buttock as we walked back to my car.
Kate insisted that Lucy come back home with us, an order that we were both happy to obey. I suggested a Chinese takeaway but was overridden in favour of a KFC. So we grabbed one of their large buckets and headed back with both girls dipping into the bucket for the hot fries. Lucy, in the front seat occasionally deigned to feed one to me.
One of the many freshly discovered things that bound Lucy and Kate was a love of films. I wouldn’t say that I hated films but have yet to see a film that even approached the quality of the book that it was based on. As Kate knew too well, it was the Hollywood type of film that I did despise the most, so she selected a good English film, Billy Elliott. We had all seen it before and I knew that it was one that I could tolerate again. The bucket on my lap with Kate and Lucy either side ensured it was one of the most pleasurable times I’d had in front of a film.
Once the film had finished and we’d cleaned all the grease from our fingers and mouths. Kate surprised me once more when she stood up and said she had lots of work to do in her bedroom. Her tact and thoughtfulness was only slightly marred by the giggles she had as she left the room. Like a pair of horny teenagers left alone by normally strict parents Lucy and me were all over each other in seconds.
The forty minutes that my daughter gave us alone just about took the edge of our need for each other, well that and the hour or so it took me to do the few miles to drop Lucy home. Her spending another night was briefly discussed but both of us reluctantly agreed that she should go back to her parents. It was also agreed that she would borrow her father’s car again sometime tomorrow and actually look over my studio.
As soon as I was home again I was hit by an energetic bundle of teenage girl.
‘Oh Dad, she’s great,’ Kate enthused, ’I’m thrilled for you.’
‘For me?’ I joked, ‘What about all those shopping trips I heard you pair planning?’
Kate giggled. ‘We were just messing, though it would be cool if we could take my card and just shop.’
Not long after my win, I had gotten a credit card for my daughter. Although I trusted her not to splash out, the card stayed at home unless Kate had express permission to use it. As I’d expected, my daughter had never come close to abusing it. I could tell by the way she commented on treating Lucy that it was not meant as a request.
’I’m glad you like her because if you didn’t…’ I left the sentence hanging.
‘Oh I do, even if she does look young enough to be my twin sister.’
‘Hey, she doesn’t look THAT young.’
Kate just giggled and squeezed me tightly.
‘Is she coming on holiday with us?’ Kate asked seriously a few moments later after allowing me to sit down.
‘I haven’t even thought about it,’ I answered honestly. School broke up for the summer holidays in two weeks and after much debate we had agreed to holiday on the Greek mainland.
’Wouldn’t you feel a little put out if we took someone else along, even someone you like?’ I asked.
‘A bit, I suppose,’ she admitted.
As I thought about the idea I said. ‘As much as I like Lucy, this holiday was planned as quality time with my beautiful young daughter.’ Kate beamed as I continued. ‘I also reckon that two weeks apart will give us a good idea whether this is serious or not. If it turns out that it is then we can all have another holiday before you go back to school and, talking of school, I think it’s your bed time madam.’
This is a romantic story of 13 chapters,set in the north Midlands of England and is written using an English vocabulary. Where I know of differing meanings for my none English readers then I have explained them. If I miss any please feel free to ask.
The Potteries — The area of Stoke-on-Trent famed for its production of pottery included names like Wedgwood, Doulton, Minton, Spode and many others. http://www.thepotteries.org
Throwing — the art of throwing clay onto a Potter’s Wheel and building up a ‘pot’ http://www.wikihow.com/Throw-a-Pot
North Staffordshire oatcakes are a local delicacy, though their delicious flavour doesn’t seem to have spread too far. Plan a visit to almost any Stokie living away and a request for a dozen or so oatcakes is almost immediate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oatcake