By Susan Brown
Something in the way she moves,
Attracts me like no other lover.
Something in the way she woos me.
I don't want to leave her now,
You know I believe and how.
She looked at her watch.
‘I must go now,’ she said, all businesslike, ‘ I must tell the vicar what I want in the sermon on Sunday, he’s getting very modern and needs my guidance as to what should and what should not be said.’
She held out her gloved hand.
‘Goodbye, Samantha and thank you again.’
‘I am pleased that you like them, m’lady.’
I looked down at Fifi, who had gone to sleep in front of her portrait and smiled.
‘Yes, I am very happy with your work and I will make it my business to tell my friends and acquaintances.’
She went to a red rope in the corner and pulled it. In seconds, Jenkins opened the door and entered.
‘Miss Smart is leaving now, Jenkins.’
Jenkins moved aside and went to leave.
‘Goodbye, Samantha, I look forward to seeing the new portrait.’
‘I will do my best for you, m’lady.’
‘I’m sure you will, but I think that I would prefer oils, not acrylics next time. Goodbye,’
I felt myself going slightly pale at that, but she was smiling, so I didn’t think she was too upset with me.
And now the story continues…
I had hopes of things being fairly quiet over the next week. I really needed to recharge my batteries after everything that had gone on over the previous ones!
On Monday, Mr Potts the Painter and his son Arthur began work on the gallery. Arthur had a nephew, Damien, who apparently was—according to the Jocasta grapevine—sweet on the daughter of the Doctors Sinclair.
To a relative outsider like me it appeared that there was a lot of inbreeding in the cove and I fully expected to see someone walking down the road with two heads at any moment.
One of the most exciting things occurred on Tuesday. I was working on a preliminary sketch of Lady Fairbairn and her hubby from the photo she had provided, when I heard a knock on the door and went to answer it. There, in all his greasy glory in an oil spattered overall with a toothy grin and an apologetic look on his face, was old Mr Potts, the mechanic.
‘Car be fixed, downalong int’ garage.’
‘The car’s fixed and it’s down in your garage?’ I replied excitedly and secretly pleased that I was at last beginning to understand the language.
‘Can I come and get it?’
‘’I’ll be down in a few moments.’
He touched his grease-ridden cloth cap, leered at my heaving faux bosom, gave me another toothy grin and sauntered down the road.
I rushed upstairs, threw off my painters smock, put on my cardi—it was a bit chilly for a change—and then pelted down the road to Potts Garage, scattering a few startled seagulls on the way. The reason I was rushing was that I wanted to see my baby again and also felt that if I didn’t get it quickly, Old Potty would find something else wrong with it and I would be deprived of my car for months and months.
I had visions of my car being covered in oil and dust and I dreaded what my cream leather seats would be like after Mr Potts sat on them with his greasy overalls.
I arrived at the garage breathlessly. Potts Garage was at the top of the lane leading out of the cove. It was a series of rather tatty buildings with corrugated iron roofs.
The garage used to sell petrol in days of yore when it was 4/6 a gallon but the hand-cranked pumps were just relics of a bygone age now—a bit like Mr Potts, I suppose—there was I being ageist again! All too soon I would get to be his age and think that all policemen were children and hark back to the days when the past was looked upon with rose tinted (and, no doubt bifocal) spectacles.
I couldn’t see my beamer anywhere and it was with a sense of alarm that I went into what passed as Mr Potts’s office.
He was sitting behind a desk littered with papers, car parts and other assorted paraphernalia, reading the Daily Wail, slurping at a mug of tea and devouring a massive pasty.
He looked up at me with rheumy eyes and then smiled. ‘’Ello, ’m.’ he said, spraying pasty crumbs across the desk.
‘Hello, Mr Potts. I’ve come for my car and to settle up.’
‘’Righ’,’ he said, putting his pasty down in a businesslike manner and sorting through the papers on his desk. After lifting up a once-glossy magazine showing a girl with a chest the size of a pair of hot air balloons on the cover, he found what he was looking for.
He passed the hand-written bill to me and I gasped at the cost. £122.22 plus VAT. I expected it to be much more than this. Normally, if a light bulb goes on a BMW, you need to rob a bank to pay for it!
‘Are you sure this is right, Mr Potts?’
‘Yez’m. Parts only, mucked yer ’bout a bit. Can’t abide bein’ mucked about mesel’.’
‘Well, thank you very much. Will you take a cheque?’
‘Pref’r cash, ’m.’
‘Right, can it wait ‘til I get into town?’
‘No worries, ’m. Yurr’s yerr keys.’
He gave me the keys, then stood up and I followed him out of his office and into a large shed where several cars were in various state of dismemberment, up on ramps or just sitting there, rusting quietly. But I only had eyes for my baby. There she was in the corner, looking sparkly clean and raring to go! All nasty thoughts about her being dirty or suffering from Car Abuse went out of the garage’s grimy windows as I rushed to her and hugged the bonnet.
‘Oooh I’ve missed you,’ I cooed, stroking her fondly.
I looked inside and found she was cleaner than when I abandoned her on the moor—seemingly years ago—but in fact only weeks.
I turned to Mr Potts, ignored the fact that he was dirty, had missing teeth and was staring at my chest with more than a passing interest, and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
‘Thank you soooo much!’ I gushed. Under the grime, I could just detect that he was actually blushing.
‘Or righ’m.’ he said, ‘t’wer nothin’.’
I got in the car, shut the door and turned the key in the ignition. She started instantly and purred like the thoroughbred she was.
Mr Potts, pulled the sliding doors aside and with a merry wave, I was on my way.
I drove up out of the cove, through the countryside and out on the moors. It was fabulous to be driving my car again. She drove like a dream and I was so pleased that I had my baby back again!
I found a place to park on the side, next to a stream. Getting out, I took a deep breath. The air was so clean and up fresh here. Nearby, I could hear the bleating of sheep. The birds twittered as they do and the bushes and grass gently waved in the gentle breeze.
In the distance, the sea looked grey, there being no reflection from a blue sky today. It was funny, I had only been away from the Cove for a few minutes, but already I was pining for it.
Wednesday was altogether brighter and warmer. I woke up, in bed with Abby. I was spooned into her back, cuddling her and had a hand cupping her warm soft breast. I could feel the nipple was quite hard through thin material of her satin, babydoll nightie and I shamelessly started stroking it. It made me feel rather amorous and I was able to wake her up in a rather original (for me) way…
‘Oooh, Samantha, you are awful – but I like you!’
Eventually, we got up and had a communal shower, doing our bit to save the planet by conserving water and having a bit of aerobic exercise with the well worn loofah at the same time.
Today was the day that I was going to see Doctor Marcia’s trick cyclist friend. I had to go into Exeter for that and Abby said that she would come with me, bless her.
I dressed conservatively in a red satin blouse, short black leather skirt and fishnet stockings—oh sorry, that was last evening; today I wore a cream smock top and skirt that looked pretty and felt delightfully cool and airy, as it was a hot day.
Using Abby’s map of Exeter, we soon found the building where Doctor Hannah Roach had her office. Walking into her pleasant consulting room, we were met by the lady herself, just as she put the ’phone down.
She looked at both of us.
‘Hi, erm, Samantha?’
I put my hand up.
‘That’s me,’ I said a bit nervously.
She came over and shook my hand.
‘—This is my friend, Abby—’
After all the introductions, Abby said that she was going to do a bit of shopping and would be back in an hour.
As she left, I felt more than a little nervous; I hadn’t realised what a prop Abby was for me—but I must be a big girl: there were things that I needed to do for myself and this was one of them.
Quickly, Doctor Roach put me at ease and over a cup of coffee and a couple of chocolate Hobnobs we were almost immediately chatting like two friends. Without realising it, I began telling her everything about myself—who and what I was. After half an hour, I had told her virtually everything, my failed marriage and why I considered myself a woman.
‘So, Samantha, when did you realise that you were not just someone who liked to crossdress, but much more?’
‘I can’t put an exact time on it. I suppose, in the back of my mind, I was always happier being a woman. Whenever I dressed, even in the earlier days, I always felt more content—happier I suppose—when dressed as a girl. I wasn’t much good as either a boy or a man. I know it sounds stereotypical, but I was a gentle child and I did prefer the company of girls to boys. I looked at the girls in their pretty dresses and I yearned to be one of them. My parents knew about this side of me from an early age and although they didn’t understand it, they were never nasty about it. They just tried to steer me away from the girly things, but weren’t very successful.’
‘Why did you get married?’ the doctor asked.
I looked away from her penetrating eyes as I marshalled my thoughts. ‘I loved her. She accepted me for who I was—although to be fair, she thought that I just liked dressing because I loved the feel of the clothes and the look. I didn’t disabuse her of that and I honestly think that I was in denial. I wanted to have as much of a normal heterosexual relationship as possible and lead a ‘normal’ life, whatever that is.’
‘Sorry to ask this, but I have to delve a bit into sensitive areas. How were things between you sexually?’
I took a deep breath and tried to answer as honestly as I could. ‘We were very active in that department. I tried hard to show her what a man I was and we had very regular sex which was enjoyable. We loved the thrill of doing it in strange places, like trains and boats and planes. But—’
I looked at her and decided to tell all. ‘Although I enjoyed it, thinking back, I believe on my part that I was like an actor in a role. Whenever we had sex, I wished that I was the one opening my legs and receiving—having her inside me, somehow. Does that sound stupid?’
‘No, I think I understand what you mean; go on.’
‘I wanted to be more passive. I wanted her to be the one to be in charge so to speak. Olivia wanted a man. Someone who would and——and could be man and take her. She liked rough sex and I preferred something gentler. To me sex has to have love included to give it any meaning. Looking back—and hindsight is all I have now—looking back, I think that I was a tool used by Olivia to get her quirky sexual kicks. I think she loved me in her own way, but her way was unacceptable to me and not what I wanted—or needed, for that matter.’
‘With Abby? Yes, things are different. I don’t think I knew what love really was until I met her. I am very happy and very lucky to have her.’
‘What about children?’
‘You mentioned earlier that you always regretted not having children.’
‘Yes. Olivia never wanted my child. She always said she wasn't ready. It was only after breaking up that I found out about her abortions and the fact that she’s now pregnant by another man.’
‘How do you feel about that?’
‘Hurt, angry, inadequate…lots of things. I now know that my marriage was a sham and that I am well out of it.’
We had another coffee and the Doctor carried on probing me.
‘Would you like a child with Abby?’
I looked at her. It was something that had crossed my mind more than once. It was hard to put my thoughts into words.
‘Yes, I would love to, but I—she——’ I broke down and cried.
After I cooled down a bit, having used several tissues, I carried on.
‘I—I’m not a man, I’m a woman. I haven’t used my—my penis for sex since the last time I had sex with Olivia, almost a year ago. I—hate my penis. It’s a part of me that shouldn’t be there. If Abby and I have a child and it’s early days yet—we haven’t discussed it much—if we have a child, I would want to adopt and I think that Abby would too.’
There; it was out; my innermost hidden feelings. Feelings that I had not voiced to myself and yet this kind, gentle doctor had extracted it from me like a surgeon with a scalpel.
We talked on for a while longer. Having the conversation with her helped me to sort out things in my mind and gave some sort of peace to my inner turmoil.
‘Well,’ said Doctor Roach,’ I think we’ve covered all we need to for today. I think it would help if we see each other once a month for a while, do you agree?’
‘Yes, it’s helped tremendously.’
‘As far as your decision regarding sexual reassignment, I have no problem with that. You know that you have to live full time as a woman for a while before we can go down the NHS route. Also, I think Marcia told you that there are a lot of hoops you have to go through before surgery. Have you started hormone treatment?’
‘Yes, Marcia has given me a couple of jabs and I have some pills to take. As far as the surgery goes, I may go private, but I need to talk to Abby about things and then make a decision. I’m not in a hurry, I’ve waited this long and another few months won’t make much difference, but I don’t want to wait a year.’
‘That’s understandable. Look, we’ll talk more next month, here is my card, ring me if you have any concerns or worries,’
‘Thanks for all your help.’
‘That’s all right, it’s been a pleasure seeing you.’
I shook her hand and left. Outside, Abby had just arrived with my car. She waved as she pulled up and got out. After a kiss and a hug, we went to a nearby pub and had a sandwich and a drink. We sat down by the river on a bench seat, watching the ducks and swans swim by as we had our lunch and I told Abby all that the doctor and I had discussed.
‘It seems like she’s got to the bottom of things.’
‘Yes, she peeled me like an onion. I’m clearer about what I want now.’
‘And what’s that?’ asked Abby, inquisitively.
I looked at her pretty face. She was so beautiful. ‘First of all, Abby, what do you want?’
‘That’s not fair, I asked first. Okay, I would like to live with you all the time, marry you when you are free and have children with you if we can.’
She looked at me with concern on her face, as if she felt that she had gone too far or assumed more from our relationship than she should have. A tear formed in the corner of one eye.
I took her hand and stroked it gently with my fingers.
‘Would you love me still if we didn’t have sex like a man and woman…I know we haven’t done it like that that and I love the way we actually do make love but…you know, I don’t think that I could do that again, you know, make love as a man would. We would need to adopt too, how do you feel about that and—oh, I’m not making sense!’
It was my turn to cry and soon we were in each others arms kissing and cuddling like two young teenagers on a date. Fortunately, the beer garden was pretty empty so we weren’t attracting any unwanted attention.
After we had both calmed down a bit and dried our tears, Abby looked up and smiled. ‘Sam, I only see you as a woman. I always have. I’m not into men and you’re not a man. I don’t care that you have a penis. As far as I am concerned, it’s a birth defect that can be remedied. I want to be with you forever and if we can have children, either fostered or adopted, I would be the happiest girl alive.’
In a short while, we went home, safe in the knowledge that we had made a lasting commitment to one another and had agreed on exactly what we wanted. How long this would take and how we would face the problems that we knew would arise, we didn’t know, but at least we had each other for love and support and that was all I could ask for.
On the way back, we made a few decisions. We both loved our homes and decided to have the best of both worlds and spend some time in each of them. I mentioned to Abby that I would love to buy my cottage and that Millie said that she might be able to do a deal with the owner. I would contact Millie ASAP to get that sorted out.
I dropped Abby at the pottery and then parked behind the gallery. Going in, I saw that real progress had already been achieved. I only stayed for a short while because Arthur and Damien were making rather a lot of mess and I didn’t want my skirt and blouse to be ruined.
I left my car where it was and just strolled back to the cottage. Abby would be busy for hours at the pottery, making up for lost time and I wanted to get my teeth into Lady F and her husband. I giggled at that thought and had visions of my biting into Lady Fairbairn’s ample rump, like a sort of human Fifi while she tried desperately to murder a defenceless mole using a twelve bore!
Chuckling, I let myself into the cottage and noticed that Postman Pat had delivered some letters.
I made for the kitchen and sat down. Glancing through the post, there were a lot of adverts and a letter from my car insurers, confirming my change of name and address. The final letter was a plain white envelope with nothing written on the outside. Intrigued, I slit it open with my paperknife and pulled out a single folded white sheet. The following was written using a black felt tipped pen.
YOU AND YOUR KIND ARE NOT WANTED HERE. GET OUT AND DON’T COME BACK.
A WELL WISHER.
My heart did a sort of flip and I re-read it. What was going on here? Why would anyone want to do this? I thought that everyone was being so nice to me and now this!
I threw the letter on the table and buried my head in my hands, tears coming easily to me. After a few moments, I was aware of a slight smell coming off my hands. I gradually stopped crying and got up and fetched a tissue. Wiping my eyes and blowing my nose made me feel marginally better. My thoughts returned to the letter and the strange smell. Picking up the white sheet of paper, I looked at the words again and then put the sheet up to my nose. I recognised that smell from somewhere, but where?
Then I had it! I picked up my bag and the letter and stormed out.
People were walking up and down the lane and I’m sure they must of thought me rude for not stopping or at least nodding to them, but I only had one thought——
In a few short minutes I was at my destination. I climbed the short flight of steps and went in.
She was at the desk, looking as sour as usual. She had just ordered someone to sit down and wore a superior look of being in charge.
I slammed the letter down in front of her and she jumped slightly in surprise.
‘What the hell are you doing sending this piece of crap to me?’
Please leave comments...thanks! ~Sue
My thanks go to the brilliant and lovely Gabi for editing, help with the plot-lines and pulling the story into shape.
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