The Big Black Dog

The Big Black Dog (aka Boris)

By
Samantha Michelle Davies

At a farm on a bleak Welsh hillside on a wet dank day, a car drew up and a late middles aged man got out. He walked across the farmyard being careful not to get his shoes wet. He approached two men who were outside a cowshed. Their attention was focussed on a large brown & white cow.

“Mr Andrew Wright?” said the newcomer.
One of the two men turned to look at man.
“Yes. Is there some problem?”

“I’m Inspector Raymond Barnes of Powys Police.”
The man showed his warrant card.
“Is there somewhere we can talk privately?”

“I’m a little busy now as you can see” said Mr Wright. His arm was deep inside the Cow’s rear end. This was a fairly common situation for a vet in a Rural Practice in Mid Wales. The cow he was attending to had failed to conceive after a second dose of semen via AI.

“This is rather important”
Mr Wright gave a big sigh and pulled his arm out of the cow’s rear end.
“I’m sure this won’t take long Dai”, he said to the Farmer who was waiting anxiously for the verdict on the Cow.

He removed the very long glove from his hand and tossed it into a black plastic rubbish bag.
“We can talk over here”

The two men walked out of the Cow Shed into the Yard. There was a small lean-to out of the steady drizzle that had been falling for several hours.

“Now, Inspector, what can’t wait for me to finish examining that fine animal”
“Do you own a Vauxhall Astra registration number C440WCG?”
“Yes, well no, that’s my wife’s car”.

“I’m sorry to have to inform you that there was an accident just outside Brecon earlier today”

“Oh my God Julia”
“And the children. They were with her when they left home”

“They children are fine. They’d been dropped off at School. Your wife was driving towards Newtown. Do you know where she was going?”
“She was going to Swansea to see her Mother in the hospice. She only has a few days to live. Lung Cancer I’m afraid” he replied sadly.

Then it suddenly struck home as to why the Inspector was standing in this cowshed on a Welsh mountainside in the rain.
“How is Julia?”
The inspector looked a bit awkward.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you that your wife died in the accident. An HGV had a blow out and veered across in front of her. She never had a chance. I’m told it was pretty instantaneous.”

The Vet started to weep.
“I need to go to the school to pick up the children”
“Mr Wright. Don’t fret over them. I’ve sent a WPC to the school and should be with them now. They will meet us at your home”

“Dai?” said the Vet turning to look at his client and the cows.

“Please go home Mr Wright. Your children will need you. I’ll handle Dai Evans. He’ll understand”

[at about the same time, at a house in Kilburn, London]

A Farther & Son of Indian origin were arguing.

“You are no son of mine. I go to all the trouble of arranging a marriage to a lovely girl from Mumbai and you have the nerve to say no to your Father’s wished. This will bring great shame to this Family. I don’t know what your Mother will say?”
“Mum will understand. I know she had tried to get you to stop this silliness”
“Our marriage was arranged and look at it now. Still going strong after all these years”
“Yeah right Dad”
“Don’t you disrespect me” replied the father angrily.
This didn’t deter the son.
“You know very well that she only stays with you because she has nowhere else to go. She’s known about your many bits on the side in Cricklewood, oh and the latest one in Willesden, for a long time. To her, arranged marriages should be consigned to the dustbin of history”

“After all I’ve done for you. Got you into Medical School. Paid out good money for your Education”

“Hold on a moment Dad. I got myself into Medical School remember. I sat the exams, I passed the exams not you. I still sit the exams. I’ll soon be the Doctor you always wanted me to be. And that’s it. I’m done with you. I have my own plans for my life and that does not involve an arranged marriage.”
The father was livid.

“Get out of this house and never darken its doors again”
“Gladly.”
“Do not even think of contacting your Mother or your Sisters. They will not talk to you once I direct them that they are not to. They know who is the real man in this house”
The son thought for a split second about answering but thought better of it.

The young Asian Man left the family home with a heavy heart at the loss of his family but deep down, he knew that he had to live his life as he wanted and not as how his very controlling father demanded.

[Three Days Later at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, London]
“There’s a Ms Ashwini Khoderi to see you Professor”
“I don’t think I know anyone by that name”
“She says she is a Final Year Medial Student, Professor”
“Send her in and look for her records please”

A few seconds later, there was a knock on the door.
“Come”

The door opened and in walked a woman wearing a full silk sari with a red Bindi on her forehead.

The headpiece of the Sari was draped over her face.

“Please take a seat Ms Khoderi”
She sat but didn’t say anything.

“I don’t think we have met before”

She slowly and deliberately removed the ‘veil’ from her face.
“Well Professor, don’t you recognise me now?”

“Mr Khoderi? Would you like to explain? I hope this is not some medical school prank?”
“Certainly not Professor, I am here to tell you that I am a Transexual.”
She paused for a half second to let it sink in before continuing.
“I’ve been a patient under Professor Thomas at Guy’s for the past three years. I’ve also been taking Testosterone Blockers ever since and he started me on Female Hormones some eleven months ago. I expect you know what happens when you take them? I’ve been binding my breasts for a while now but it getting very uncomfortable. So Professor, I’ve come out and from now on I’d like to be known as Ashwini.”

The Professor was shocked.
“Why on earth didn’t you come to me earlier?”

Ashwini smiled.
“Because Professor, you know my Father. You would have told him. After all, he is a benefactor of this Medical School is he not?”
“Yes he is. He has donated a considerable sum to the Post Graduate Medical School, but what has that to do with you?”
“He has disowned me. It is nothing about this,” said Ashwini pointing at her Sari
“He knows nothing about it. We have disagreed over an arranged marriage. This is why I can’t agree to an arranged marriage. My bride would be from a very rural part of India and would most certainly not understand that I am different. To them, it is worse than being gay which I might remind you Professor is still illegal in India.”
The professor was dumbfounded.
Ashwini continued,
“I should have been born female. Now I am going to become that person that I am inside and live my life and work as a female doctor”.

She breathed a huge sigh of relief. She’d done it. Told the world that Sidharth Khoderi was no more and Ashwini Khoderi was here.

The professor thought for a moment.
He vaguely knew of the Sex Change Programme being run at Guy’s Hospital. This was not something he could avoid.
“What do you want from me? Do you want me to talk to your father?”
“No. No, please, that’s the last thing you should do. No. I have legally changed my name. So I want my records to show that and I want to sit the exam under my new name. Then I can become a Doctor and practice medicine as a woman”

The professor needed some time to think.
“When are you next on Duty?”
“The graveyard shift tonight”

“What is your current rota placing?”
“Gynaecology”
The Prof had to smile. There was a certain irony in his placing and his desire to be a woman.

“Well, go home and leave your contact number with my secretary. I need to talk to a few people and prep Mr Atkins and your Ward Sister”
“Should I come into work as normal later today?”
“No, please wait for my call”
“If you don’t call?”

That really put the Prof on the spot.

“Then come into work as normal tomorrow afternoon”
Ashwini stood up and offered her hand to the Professor.

“Should an Indian Woman be doing that?” he joked.
Ashwini smiled.
The Prof shook her hand just the same.
“Yes Professor, I am British, I was born here but I am proud of my ancestry”

When the Professor was alone once more, he sat and thought for quite a while.
“I thought I’d seen everything but this beats the lot,” he muttered to himself.
After a while, he turned to his computer. After a minute or so, he picked up the phone and dialled a number.

“Professor Thomas please”
“Tell him its Professor Markham, dean of St Mary’s Medical School”

He waited for some 30 seconds.
“Hello Professor”
“Yes it’s about a patient of yours Ashwini Khoderi”
“Yes she has. It presents me with a bit of a dilemma. I need your advice”
“That would be better yes”
He looked at his watch.
“In an hour then, Circle line permitting”

[one hour later at Guy’s hospital]
“Pleased to meet you Professor. I’ve heard a lot about your programme. I didn’t expect to meet in circumstances like this”
“Yes indeed”
“About Ashwini as he calls himself now. You know he has his final exams coming up next month. Is there any way he could be persuaded to postpone all this?”

The other professor shook his head.
“Ashwini, is and has been part of the programme here for some three years. She’d prefer us to talk about her in the feminine gender now that she has announced to the world her new status. “
“Very well.”
“Good. Now about her place in the programme. She has been treated with female growth hormones for nearly a year now. These are to promote the growth of her breasts and to completely block the production of male hormones. These are as I expect you have seen for yourself, having an effect. I have to admin that her regime was originally planned so that her development would not ne noticeable until after her qualification. However, you know only too well, the human anatomy can play tricks with us. For a few months now, she has had to bind her breasts to avoid premature exposure. I’m sure that you will understand that his is becoming increasingly uncomfortable so we decided at her last appointment that it would be better for her to ‘come out’ sooner rather than later but the exact timing would be totally down to her”.
“I would have appreciated a heads-up Professor”

“As much as I would have liked to do so, this part in a patients transition is really down to them. They have to manage it themselves. It really does help them psychologically. As she has now done that so I am now free to talk to you in general terms about Ashwini”

“So she really wants to be a woman then?”
“Oh yes most definitely so. We give all the participants in our programme a whole series of psychological tests as regular intervals. Ashwini’s scores in these tests were amongst the highest we have ever seen in the programme. I am pretty certain that there are many genetic women who would probably score less than her. If you are asking me if there is a woman inside that physical male body, then the answer is an emphatic yes”

“Thank you for that. It still leaves me with a problem back at St Mary’s.”

Professor Thomas smiled.
“Just let her handle it herself but be there for her when she needs it. The medical profession is not free of bigots. There will undoubtedly be some who refuse to work with her. You should gently remind them of the NHS policy on Sexual Discrimination. She will have enough problems of her own in the next two years with the final transition surgery and her career as a doctor”
“That surprises me. She want’s to be a doctor after all this?”
Professor Thomas smiled.
“Ashwini is one determined young lady. She wants to be a GP. I know she will be a very good one. She is a good listener. She has been helping out some of the new entrants to the programme and we know how much of being a good doctor is down to listening don’t we?”

The Professor couldn’t argue with that.

[The Next Day]

Ashwini put on her white cost for the first time wearing a Sari. She’d decided to wear one all the time as a symbol of her heritage. It was also useful for hiding her still developing figure. The downside was the time it took to get dressed in the morning. Still, she’d been practising for a few months and was definitely improving in both the speed and the accuracy of the folds needed to properly wear the garment.

She walked onto the ward and looked for the Ward Sister.
She was as expected in her office.
“Hello Sister. Are you ready for the rounds?”

Sister Kumani looked up from her paperwork.
“I was told you were coming in today. I can’t say that I’m happy to have someone like you on MY ward but it appears that I don’t have any choice.”
Sister Kumani was of the Moslem faith.

“In my homeland you would be stoned to death.”
“This is London, not the Persian Gulf. Things are different here”
The sister gave her a look of pure hatred. There was no doubt as to where she stood on the matter.
“I’m only here for another week. Then you’ll never see me again so surely you can put your beliefs to one side until then?” suggested Ashwini.
“I’ve been told that I can work with you for the next week or take some leave. I’ve chosen to take some leave. Staff Nurse Bright will be working with you from now on. So if you will excuse me, I have some paperwork to do before I go on leave”
She went back to her paperwork leaving Ashwini with no doubt that the conversation was over.

[five weeks later]
A throng of white-coated Medical Students were gathered around the main noticeboard in the Medical School. The exam results had been posted. As Ashwini entered the hallway, the place fell silent. Everyone looked at her. She’d become used to people staring at her since her transition.

Suddenly, several of the now former students started to clap.

This surprised Ashwini.
“What are you doing?”
“You are top of the class. You will have the pick of places for post grad training”, said one.
“Well done Ashwini|” said another.
Most of her fellow medical students had accepted her ‘change’ a few, mostly from some less tolerant societies had totally shunned her. This included two from South Asia, who before she’d counted as friends would not speak to her any longer.
Ashwini was prepared for this bigotry. Far more fellow students and staff were on her side than against.

She walked up to the noticeboard to check for herself. There at the top of the list was her name, Ashwini Khoderi.
She permitted herself a small smile when she read the results.
“What are you going to do?” asked one of the Asian women students.

“I’m going to be a GP. I have a post-grad place at North Staffs”
Two of them shook their heads.
“But with these results Ashwini, you could be a registrar in no time at all. You are totally brilliant in Diagnostics and Haematology”, said one.
“Yes, far better than any of us” said the other.
Ashwini laughed.
“As you said, I could have the choice of placements. I’m leaving the nice juicy specialist ones to you lot. I just want a quiet life as GP in some nice leafy suburb somewhere and to settle down with a nice man”
The three of them laughed.

[Nearly two years later]
It had been a full year since Ashwini had her re-assignment surgery. Only a few select people at the hospital where she was undergoing GP training knew of her true sexual status. To everyone else, she was Ashwini, a British woman of Indian decent with a penchant for wearing brightly coloured Sari’s. This suited her down to the ground. Her next task in becoming a GP was to find a practice for her final year of training.

Despite a submitting a plethora of applications to GP Practices and being once again top of her class at Post Grad Medical School, she was finding it rather difficult to find a placement. Time was running out and Ashwini was getting rather depressed.

One day just before the end of June, a letter arrived for her.

Dear Ms Khoderi,
Thank you for your application to us for a GP Placement. This practice is very small and normally we would not be able to take a GP Trainee. However, one of our doctors has been forced to retire rather suddenly. If you are prepared to work in a very rural practice, we’d be pleased to welcome you. You do come highly recommended by Professor Markham at St Mary’s.

And so it continued.

Ashwini could hardly keep her excitement to herself. She looked at the address on the letter and for the life of her couldn’t remember applying to this particular practice. Slightly concerned, she went to her desk and looked through the thick sheaf of applications she’d sent out. Sure enough there was no copy of an application to this particular practice.

The thought crossed her mind that this was a student prank. Her feelings of elation dissolved like a soluble Aspirin when dropped into a glass of water.

Then she had an idea. The letter mentioned her old alma-mater, St Mary’s.
She opened up her phone and called Professor Markham.

“I’d like to speak to Professor Markham please”
“Yes, I’m a former student of his. Ashwini Khoderi”
“Yes. I’ll hold”

A few seconds later the Professor came on the line.
“Hello Professor. Do you remember me?”
“Yes. I’m fine. You?”
“Yes. It’s about my GP Placement. I’ve received this letter from a GP Practice in Wales. The thing is that I didn’t apply to them for placement”
“Yes. That’s correct it is in Knighton. Do you know anything about it?”
“Oh! Thank you Professor. That was very kind of you to put in a good word for me”

“Yes I will. Next time I’m down in London, you can count on it. You have been very good to me.”
“Thank you once again. Bye”

She hung up the call and a she allowed a small smile to appear on her face. It appeared that it wasn’t a joke after all.

Her next step was to find out where on earth Knighton was. Being a Londoner by birth, much of rural Britain was still a mystery to her. As a child, she’d spent a lot of holidays with her extended family in Mumbai, Bangalore and India in general but sadly very little time outside London.

She soon found Knighton on the Map. She thought to herself that this would be interesting. She’d never been to Wales. Knighton was only just in the principality as it was right on the border with England. She wondered how the Welsh name for it was pronounced. ‘Tref-y-clawdd’? She spoke Hindi as well as English but it looked like some of the pronunciation of Welsh place names were going to a problem.

Then she realised that she was putting the cart a long way before the horse. She needed to call the Practice.

“Hello. I’d like to speak to Dr Williams please”
“No I’m not a patient. This is Dr Khoderi. He sent me a letter about a placement”
She smiled as she said her name. She still got a kick out of being able to call herself ‘Dr’.

“No, I understand. When do you expect him back?”
“3pm? I’ll call back after then. Thank you”

The doctor was out making house calls. She sat back and looked at the map once more. She found a number of pictures on the Internet. Seeing the hills and the valleys in the area hit home to her that she needed a car and not just any car. She’d need a decent vehicle probably a four-wheel-drive.
That was going to be a bit of a problem. She knew absolutely nothing about cars. One of the other GP Trainees was a bit of a car freak. He’d tried unsuccessfully to get her into his Classic MG Sports car the previous summer. We wondered if he’d help her out.
She sought him out that lunchtime in the Hospital Canteen.

“Hi James”
“Oh hi Ash. What’s up? Got a placement yet?”
James was one of the lucky ones. His father was a GP so getting a placement at his practice was always going to be a shoe-in.
“I think so. I’m going to need a car though”

He smiled.
“Well, you’ve come to the right person then. What sort of thing do you have in mind? A nice little saloon or hatch-back in Pink perhaps?”
Ashwini laughed.
She was wearing a rose pink sari and had pink nail varnish on her fingers.
“Not quite. I was thinking of a small four by four. I’m probably going somewhere very rural”
“How rural?”
“Knighton, just over the border in Wales. Do you know it?”
He grinned.
“Oh good, you won’t be very far from me then. Dad’s practice is in Craven Arms. Just a couple of stops on the train”

Inwardly Ashwini groaned. It was obvious that he fancied her. But she didn’t fancy him. In fact, she’d yet to meet a man that she fancied and of all the graduates in the programme he was the one she fancied the least but she had to be civil for the time being, as she needed his help.
“That’s nice”, she said trying to sound enthusiastic.
“Can you help me find a decent one then? One that will get up the hills in winter time?”
“No problem Ash”
He looked at his watch.
“I have my ward rounds in a while. How about tomorrow afternoon after outpatients clinic?”
She smiled back.
“That sounds good. Shall we meet in here for lunch first?”
“Good idea. I’ll buy you Lunch”

James looked slightly disappointed. He’d obviously hoped for something else.

[The following day]
Ashwini met James for Lunch in the Canteen.
As he sat down beside her he commented.
“Do you have something else to wear?”
“Eh? What wrong with this?”
She was wearing a dark green silk Sari. It was her birthday a few days previously. It had been her present to herself. She’d been down to Birmingham the previous weekend and bought it from one of the many Indian Sari shops in the City.
“It’s hardly the sort of thing to wear in a four wheel drive. Some of them are pretty high off the ground”
Then he laughed.

“What’s so funny?”
“The thought of you wearing a Sari with Wellies underneath getting into a Land Rover”
“Wellies?”
“Oh dear, Ash, you have a lot to learn. A lot of your house calls will be to farms. Farms are muddy. You will need to have at least one pair of rubber boots otherwise know as ‘Wellies’ in the car with you. No Jimmy Choo’s for you I’m afraid”
He laughed at his own joke.

Despite the fact that Ashwini didn’t own any Jimmy Choo’s she understood what he meant. She normally wore shoes with 2in heels but did secretly hanker after some really high heels a really tight skirt and a very revealing top.
She put those thoughts aside for the time being.
“Point taken. Let’s see how we get on with this first ok?”
James smiled back.

They left the hospital in his immaculate 1968 MGB-Gt.
“I’ve got you in my car at last” he smirked.
“Just keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel” she said sternly.
“Ok. Ok. Message understood”

Two hours later, Ashwini was the proud owner of a four year old Toyota RAV-4, fully dealer serviced with only 12,000 miles on the clock. She’d arranged to pick it up from the dealer two days later on her way to Knighton to meet Doctor Williams.

[Two Days Later]
Ashwini found the surgery in Knighton without problem. It was on the hillside to the South West of the small town that nestled in the Teme Valley below.

Ashwini walked into the Surgery full of confidence. Her drive over from Stafford had been very enjoyable. There were a few patients waiting to be seen. They all stared at her. She guessed that there were not many ‘coloured’ people in this part of the country.
“Dr Williams please. Tell him that Dr Ashwini is here”, she said to the receptionist.

“Oh good you are here. We are expecting you. Can you take the surgery? Dr Williams has been called out. Mrs Evans over in Rhos-y-meirch has gone into Labour. She’s three weeks early and the Ambulance is over an hour away”

The realities of a rural GP Practice were rudely hammered home in that instant. This was not going to be a cushy year at all.
She’d been expecting an interview with Dr Williams but it seemed that the job was hers by default if she wanted.
“Very well. Which consulting room can I use?”
The Receptionist smiled.
“We only have the one. Apart from Dr Williams room that is.”
She directed Ashwini to a room to the right of the front door to the Surgery.
“Thanks. Give me a few minutes to get my bearings and then send the first patient in”

Two hours later the Surgery was over and she had time for a breather.

She went back into the waiting area.
The receptionist came round from behind the counter to greet her.
“I didn’t get around to introducing myself. I’m Mrs Williams. Dr Williams is my Husband. I am also the practice nurse when needed. You can call me Gwen”
She extended her hand to Ashwini.
“Ashwini. Ashwini Khoderi. Pleased to meet you”
They shook hands.

“Emrys, my Husband should be back in the middle of the afternoon. Can I get you some lunch? Our home is next door. I’d expect you could do with a cuppa”
“That would be nice”

As they walked across the car park, Gwen said,

“Sorry for dropping you in at the deep end like that. Things can sometimes get a bit hectic around here”
Ashwini smiled.
“That’s fine. I think it is all part of the job description for a GP in places like this if I’m not mistaken”
Gwen laughed.
“Yes. That’s about right”

Over Lunch, Gwen asked.
“Why did you choose to apply for a placement our here in this backwater?”
Ashwini almost choked on the salad she was eating.
“I didn’t. Apply that is. Your husband wrote to me offering me the post.”

“I didn’t know that”
“Apparently your husband knows the head of the medical school where I studied”
“Oh. You must mean Alexander. He’s my Brother. If he recommended you then you must be one of the top students. Well, you are certainly very welcome here”
“Excuse me for asking but I was under the impression that I was coming here today to meet your Husband and be interviewed for the post”
It was Gwen’s turn to be surprised.
“Oh no. I thought you knew that you were starting work today”
Ashwini sat back in her seat flabbergasted.
She shook her head.
“That surprises me. I’ve no clothes or anything with me. They are all back in Stafford. Besides, I don’t have anywhere to stay or to live here”

Gwen smiled.
“Oh dear. There has been a bit of a breakdown in communication.”
She sighed.

“That’s what you get when you leave if to the men to organise things. I’m afraid Emrys couldn’t organise his way out of a wet paper bag if you ask me”
Ashwini smiled. She was starting to like Gwen.
“Never mind. You can use our spare room until you find somewhere suitable.”

Any further conversation was cut short by the phone ringing.
Gwen went to answer it.
“Hello Darling. How’s Mrs Evans?”

“Oh dear. How long do you think you will be?”
“Ok. I’ll tell her. We are having some lunch”
“Fine. Let me know if there are any changes”

“That was Emrys. There has been some complications in the delivery. He asks if you can manage evening Surgery as well?”
Ashwini smiled.
“Yes no problem. I’ll do that and head back to Stafford once I’m done”

Thus began her baptism into life as a GP.

[two weeks later]

Ashwini was visiting a cottage on the outskirts of the town. Accompanying her was Mr Griffith, the letting agent.

“As you can see Ms Khoderi, the cottage comes fully furnished. All you need is bed linen, and kitchen items”
Ashwini had been getting a bit tired with Mr Griffiths. He’d been showing her places totally unsuitable for her to rent. All the four places she been shown so far were unfurnished despite her requests for only to be shown furnished properties. If she was going to be here for a year then this was going to be a far more sensible solution. This time, though he’d come up trumps.

“Mr Griffith, are there any other furnished properties available in Town?”
“Well no. There are some outside town though”
“Right. No more pussyfooting about then. Lets go and see them now. I want to get somewhere sorted out today”
He was surprised at her directness. Nevertheless, he complied.

As soon as she saw the second property from the car, she knew that this was the one for her. It was a semi-detached farm cottage built from the local stone and had a Welsh slate roof. There was a wonderful view of the black mountains to the southwest.

She fought hard to contain her excitement during the tour of the property.
As the end, she simply said,

“This will do. I’ll take it”

They soon sorted out the paperwork and Mr Griffith left her looking around the outside of the property.

She’d gone around the end of the cottage into the back garden when she was suddenly attacked by a big black dog.
Attacked was really the wrong word. She soon realised that this huge beast was trying to lick her to death.

She tried to get him to stop but to no avail. Then she heard someone call.

“Boris. Stop that this instant”
The dog ignored the command. He continued to slobber over her. The dog’s drool was spattered all over the front of her light yellow & pink Sari.

The owner of the voice appeared. Her heart stopped for a second.

“Boris. Get down” came a second more urgent command.

The man came over and pulled at the dog’s collar. The dog soon realised who was boss and sat down.

“I’m sorry about that. Boris was trying to be friendly. I’m Andrew Wright. I live next door”

Ashwini was frantically trying to run the excess drool off her chest.
“Come inside. I’m sure a damp cloth will help remove that”

Ashwini followed him inside the next-door house. As she went inside, she realised she’d not introduced herself.
“I’m Ashwini. Ashwini Khoderi”
Alec turned and smiled at her.
“I know. The new Doctor”

“Eh? How did you know that?”
Alec grinned as he gave her a damp cloth.

“There are not many people in these parts that wear a Sari and certainly none as attractive as you”
Ashwini blushed at the compliment. He was certainly forthright.

“Sorry. But you are the talk of the town. I’m the local Vet by the way. I live here with my family”

Her heart was racing. This gorgeous man had appeared from nowhere and he was going to be her next door neighbour. She said to herself, ‘there is a god’.
“Thanks for the cloth.” She said.
There was just a damp stain.

“I have to apologise for Boris. He seems to like you though. He’s a big softie really. Wouldn’t hurt a fly except for a bitch in heat that is” he said trying to make a joke.

Ashwini smiled back. She was getting the idea about Boris. She took the time to look at Alec. Her heart dropped when she noticed the wedding ring on his hand.

“I expect I’ll have to get used to him. I’ve taken the lease on the cottage next door. I’ll be moving in at the weekend”
“Oh good. It’s been a while since anyone has lived there. It will need a good airing though”
“Yes. There was a musty smell but the place is just what I was looking for”

“I’d like to stay and talk but I have to pick the kids up. The School bus isn’t running today so I have to go into town and pick them up”
She took the hint and followed him out of the cottage.

“Thanks for rescuing me from Boris. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of each other when I get moved in”

She watched him drive off in his Range Rover.
She let out a big sigh. He was gorgeous but married. This left her feeling rather sad. He was rather dishy.

Ashwini returned to the Surgery for the evening clinic. It was evident that there was really enough work for three doctors let alone two. Mrs Williams was a great help but doing the job of receptionist and effectively the practice manager as well as the practice nurse was more than a full time job for one person. They needed another Doctor and a full time manager/receptionist but as only a temporary placement at the surgery, it was not her place to speak out.
That aside, she was enjoying the work. Everyone seemed to like her. She’d heard herself being talked about in the town. She was out shopping for some face cream when she’d heard two women gossiping. They’d mentioned ‘Dr Sari’ in positive terms. This had brought a smile to her face.

That weekend, she moved into the Cottage. She’d been into Shrewsbury a few days before to buy all the bits and pieces she needed for the kitchen.
Cooking for her was a real joy. This had been a sore point in her relationship with her father. He was a firm believer in that all the cooking should only be done by the women. There were times when he argued with his son as a child when he found him in the kitchen with his mother doing the cooking. For a brief moment Ashwini wondered what her father would make of her now. Then she decided that he’d never understand.

She’d only recently heard from her Aunt Harshini that he’d gone totally off his head when someone told him that his ex son was graduating with the name Ashwini and wearing a Sari to boot. His Mother had wanted to call her to wish her ‘daughter’ luck but her father apparently made it very clear that she should not do anything of the kind.

There was only one person in the family she had any real contact with and that was her Aunt Harshini.
As a boy, they always been close and he’d told her about the gender change programme. All she’d said was, ‘About time too’, but in Hindi with a huge grin on her face.

Harshini was to many in the family the ‘black sheep’ as she’d married a white Englishman and adopted non Indian ways. She’d even become a Christian. Ashwini looked forward to inviting her and her husband David down to stay with her once she’d got settled.

*

Ashwini happily settled into life as a small town GP. Then one day, she had a visitor.

Morning Surgery was over and she was writing up some notes for a referral. One of the patients needed an urgent full blood test. She suspected that he had Leukaemia. She wasn’t sure which one but all the indications were there, lethargy, lack of appetite, swelling around the ankles and a general pallid colour to his complexion. Unfortunately there was nothing remotely like a microscope at the Surgery. Diagnostic medicine was one thing that Ashwini had excelled in at medical school. She’d had several offers to do research but turned them down in favour of being a GP. At least here, she felt she was making a difference.
She was busy writing a letter to the Haemtology department in Swansea about the patient when she heard James’s MG pull outside the Surgery. He still hadn’t gotten the hole in the exhaust fixed since the last time she seen him. She looked out of her office window and saw him get out of the car. Her heart sank. The reason was that he was carrying a bunch of flowers.
She had to think fast. He was just about the last person she wanted to see.

An idea came into her head.
Quickly, she picked up the phone and dialled the number of the patient she’d seen less than an hour previously.
“Mr Davies? Dr Ashwini”
“Its about your blood test. I’m going into Welshpool very shortly. Can I give you a lift? I can get the results expedited while we are there”
“Yes I am concerned”

“Very good. I’ll pick you up in 10 minutes”

With a big sigh of relief she put the phone down just as James came through the door.
“Hello Ashwini. Are you free for lunch?”
She said holding out the bunch of Red Roses towards her.

She smiled back.
“Sorry James. I need to ferry a patient of mine to Welshpool. I suspect he has ‘megakaryoblastic leukemia’. You know how fast growing it is. The sooner he gets a BMB (bone marrow biopsy) the better. You should have called ahead. You know how erratic a GP’s life is.”
“Oh. Sorry. Yes you’d better get off then. Perhaps I should have called ahead to see if you were free?”
Ashwini smiled.
“Thanks for the flowers. Red Roses are my favourite”

They weren’t but he looked so sad at the news that he’d not be having lunch with her after all.

Ashwini gathered her things and walked outside the Surgery with James.
“How are you getting on in your Father’s Practice?”
“Big Mistake”
“What’s the mistake?”
“Going to work for my dad. That’s the mistake. He won’t let me do anything on my own. He’s keeping me in cotton wool. So I’ve arranged a new temporary placement but it is in Chester”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Yes you should get off”
She breathed a sigh of relief. Diseases were never James’s strong point. She hoped he’d take her explanation at face value.

She hitched up her Sari and climbed into the RAV-4 and waved at an obviously disappointed James as she left him standing there in the Surgery Car Park.

[Five Days Later]

“Ah Mr Davies. Please take a seat.”
“Thanks Dr Ashwini.” Replied the man nervously.

“I’ve got the results of your Biopsy”
She tried to smile.
“I’m afraid to say, you do in fact have Leukaemia. It is a type of Leukaemia called Hairy Cell Leukaemia. It is a fairly rare type but I’m pleased to say that it is treatable and we seem to have caught it early so I’m confident that given the right treatment, you will be able to live a long and productive life”
“Thanks Doctor. Where will I have to go for treatment?” replied the obviously shaken man.

“That’s the down side I’m afraid. The best place to go is Swansea. I’ve booked an appointment for you for tomorrow with Professor Jones at his clinic. He’s probably the best Haematologist in Wales. He’ll go into the details of the treatment in a lot more detail”
“Swansea? That’s a fair distance. The wife will have to drive me” he said sadly.

“What sort of things will the treatment involve?”
“As far as I know and I know that Professor Jones will explain in detail, and you will understand that I’m no expert in Leukaemia and especially this type, the treatment is only involves some chemotherapy. Five injections over five days. We can probably get them done in Welshpool once Professor Jones has setup your treatment plan. That said Mr Davies, we are going to be seeing rather a lot of each other in the coming months. I need to make sure you don’t start infecting yourself. You may also need some regular transfusions. I’m afraid you will have to go to Welshpool for that”
Mr Davies still looked stunned.
“Do you have any questions? Or should I let you think about it and drop by this evening so that I can explain things to your family?”
“Do blesio. ‘r gwraig ewyllysia angen at adnabod ‘n gymaint fel ‘n bosib.”
“Sorry Doctor. Yes please. I Think the wife should hear it from you otherwise, she’ll think I’m swinging the lead”
“Mr Davies” said Ashwini with a very serious tone.

“Please understand this, you are seriously ill. There is no cure for any cancer only treatment. Ok, this type of Leukaemia won’t kill you overnight but please understand that this is a deadly disease. There is no way you can be judged as ‘swinging the lead’ as you so eloquently put it. You are going to be off work for several months”

Her tone really shocked the patient.
“Thank you doctor. I think I understand it now. I can only hope the wife sees it that way. She thinks I’m an idle sod as it is”
Ashwini smiled.
“Don’t worry Mr Davies. I’ll make sure she understands. You are going to need her full support in the next few months. Dealing with Cancer is not something one should have to do alone”

[Later that night, at Ashwini’s cottage]

She’d arrived home from the Davies’ house just as the sun was setting behind the hills. It was a barmy evening so she poured herself a glass of wine and went outside to try to enjoy the last of the daylight. The experience she’d just had was what being a GP was all about. Helping a patient and their family come to terms with a chronic illness in a family member. Luckily Mrs Davies had been very understanding once shed fully explained the seriousness of her husbands illness.

She’d hardly sat down when a familiar black shape appeared. It came bounding over the low hedge that separated the two cottages.
“Hello Boris”

The dog was used to Ashwini by now. He didn’t slobber so much but waited for attention. If he didn’t get it straight away, then he slobbered and drooled ‘stuff’ all over you.
She petted the dog.
“Andy not around to take you walkies then?”
The tail wagging went into overdrive at the sound of the ‘w’ word.

Ashwini smiled. She’d seen Andrews’ Range Rover in the driveway only a few minutes earlier. He was probably putting the children to bed as it was a school day the next day.

Sure enough a few minutes later Andrew popped his head over the fence.
“Boris! There you are bad dog”
Boris knew he was in the wrong. He rolled over and played dead.

“Hi Andrew. Fancy a glass of wine?”

“Bad day?”
“Not the best I’ve had since I’ve been here”
“Well then I’ll join you. It wasn’t too hot for me either. Daffy Jones’s herd if Friesians has TB”
Ashwini was starting to understand some of the problems local farmers faced. Bovine TB was one of the more common yet totally devastating diseased faced by the local farmers.
“That’s not good. Didn’t his Bull win best in show last year”
Andrew had by now sat down next to her and poured himself a glass of wine.
“My, my Ashwini, you are well informed” she said smiling.
“Rubbish. He has that great big sign up outside the entrance to his farm for one and all to see. You can’t really miss it can you”
“Aye. That you can’t”

Andrew’s Scottish Lilt came through. Most of the time, he spoke with a local accent but just occasionally, his sounds of his country of birth came through”

“Are you doing anything this weekend? It’s the bank holiday remember”
Ashwini smiled. Summer was nearly over already.
“Not really. I’m not on call either. That’s the first time this month”
“Would you like to come to the coast with us? We plan on going to Cardigan Bay on Sunday. The forecast looks good”
“That would be nice.”
Inside her body, her heart was racing. Ever since she’d found out that Andrew was a Widower she wanted him to ask her to do something, anything, together. Going to the coast with the children would be fun”
“Great. Is an early start ok? The roads aren’t all that brilliant so I thought we might try to beat the worst of the holiday traffic”
“How early is early?”

“Half Six ok? There’s a good café just outside Aberystwyth. We could stop there for a Full English…”
Then he stopped mid sentence.
“Sorry. You don’t eat meat do you?”
“I do eat meet, but not Pork I’m afraid. But I respect your choices. I’m sure there will be something I can eat on the menu. So yes, Six Thirty is fine with me”
“Pack your swimming costume?”
Ashwini laughed.
“What’s so funny?”
“I don’t have one”
Andrew burst out laughing.

“What’s so funny?”
“You are Ashwini. You are”
“Why? Just because I don’t expose myself to all & sundry to gawp at?”

Andrew calmed down.
“I’m sorry. I should have thought things through”
Ashwini reached over and took his hand smiling.
“It’s all right Andrew. I’ll wear something appropriate. I’m not offended. As long as you don’t bring Boris then everything will be fine”
As the mention of his name, Boris who’d been dozing gently at Ashwini’s feet was suddenly hyper active.

“Yes you Boris” said Ashwini stroking his head.
“You can go swimming on Sunday”
At the mention of the word ‘swimming’ Boris started to whimper.
“Don’t like water then Boris?”
He whimpered even louder.
“Boris! Shut up” commanded Andrew.
Boris obeyed.

“You are good with him Andrew. But he is rather a handful”
“Yeah I know. I got him from a shelter. He was very close to being put down. No one could handle him”

“Yet you can?”
“Well I try”, grinned Andrew.
“He seems to really like you though. You have a way with Dogs”
Ashwini laughed.
“What’s so funny?”
“My father wouldn’t let me have any pets as a child”
“You seem so at ease with him”
“Once to get past his slobbering he is a big baby”
Boris whimpered.

Ashwini tickled his stomach.
“Yes you Boris. You big softie”
Boris licked her hand.
“Ok, you can come on Sunday”
He licked Ashwini’s hand.

[The following Sunday]

Ashwini was ready & waiting for Andrew & the children right on the dot of 06:30.

It was close to 07:00 before they were all packed and ready to go.

They stopped for breakfast at the café just before 09:00.
Ashwini chose some fruit, cereal and tea while the others had a full English. Everyone was in high spirits as they set off for the last leg to the beach.
Boris was unusually quiet in the back of the Range Rover. Ashwini remarked on this fact carefully. She mouthed his name rather than spoke it. The dog had an innate instinct for knowing when he was being talked about

“I gave him a little something to calm him. He’s not a good traveller if you know what I mean” whispered Andrew as they drove south from Aberystwyth.

They found a place close to the beach to park and soon the children were stripping off and heading into the sea.
“Are you sure you won’t come in?” asked Andrew.
“No I’m fine here”, said Ashwini struggling to keep her eyes off his ‘six pack’.
“He’s a real hunk”, she thought to herself.

A little later, Janice, Andrews daughter came up to Ashwini and said
“Please come into the sea Ashwini”, she pleaded.
“I don’t have a costume”
“Daddy has one of Mummy’s old ones in his bag for you”
This shocked Ashwini.
“I don’t know. I can’t swim”, said Ashwini trying to stave off the inevitable.
“Neither can I”, grinned Janice as she rummaged in her father’s bag for the costume.
“We can learn together”

With an air of resignation she took it from Janice and under a large towel she got changed.

To her immense surprise, the suit fit fairly well.
Then for the first time since she’d ‘come out’ more than two years before Ashwini appeared in public not wearing a Sari or having her legs & arms totally covered.
Andrew stopped dead in his tracks when he saw her. His mouth dropped open.
“God you are beautiful Ash. Why don’t you show it instead of hiding it like you do?” he thought to himself
Ashwini smiled to herself. She loved his directness. He didn’t have to say anything. The sudden bulge in his swimming short told her everything she needed to know.
He came to his senses apologised profusely and all four of them spent a good hour playing in the sea.

As they came back up the beach, Janice and her brother Bobby took Ashwini’s hands with a big smile on their faces.
Andrew noticed this development and felt very happy. It was then he realised that he rather fancied her. She was rather good with the children.

Then he felt sad.

Was he betraying the memory of his late wife Janice? What would the children say if someone like Ashwini became their new Mum? Would Ashwini want children?
A million and one questions were rattling around in his mind.

“Daddy, can we have an ice cream please?” asked Bobby.
The question brought him crashing back to earth.
“Yes. Why not. We are on holiday aren’t we”
He took the children off to the Ice Cream Van.
Ashwini watched them go.
For the first time since she’d arrived at the cottage both children seemed happy and outgoing. Until now, they’d both seemed reserved if not actually withdrawn into themselves. She realised they were still grieving for their Mother. The thought of by some remote chance becoming her replacement scared her shitless.

She put these thoughts aside and enjoyed the remainder of the day as a family.

All too soon, it was time to return home.

They’d not gone very far on the journey home before both the children were fast asleep in the back. Boris was snoring loudly as well.
Ashwini looked over at Andrew and smiled.

“Thanks for today Ashwini. It was fun. The Children loved being in the sea with you.”
“I had a good time as well. Thanks for inviting me”

As the sun set over Cardigan Bay, Andrew reached over and took hold of Ashwini’s hand.
For an instant she thought about resisting but it didn’t last long.
She looked over at Andrew & smiled at him.

He smiled back.

[One month later]

There was a knock at Ashwini’s back door one evening.
She opened it to find Bobby standing there.
“Hello Bobby. Do you want to come in?”
He shook his head.
“Homework”
He nodded his head.
“Ah. Yes.”

“Dad says do you want to come over for Dinner”
Ashwini smiled.
“Yes. Tell your Dad Yes. I’ll be over soon”

This was a ritual that was being played out with increasing frequency. Despite the time they’d spent together, Andrew had made no further advances towards Ashwini. Instead she was fast becoming part of the family.

As soon as Bobby had gone, she ran upstairs and changed into a new outfit. For the first time since she’d come out, Ashwini was not going to wear traditional dress when she went next door to eat. She’d bought a dress that showed off the curves of her body to great effect.

Half an hour later, she knocked at the back door of Andrew’s house.
Andrew was in the kitchen preparing the evening meal.
When he opened the door and saw her his mouth dropped open wide.

“Ash… Ashwini, please come in” said a very surprised host.

She stepped into the warmth of the kitchen. Her high heels sounding on the stone floor. She’d been practising in them for more than a week. They were deliberately aimed at making it easier for him to kiss her.

She went up to Andrew and kissed him. This was their first kiss.
He responded enthusiastically.
For Ashwini, it was her first real kiss since she was a teenager at a school dance. She liked how he tasted.
She made a quick mental prayer of thanks to the shop assistant who’d persuaded her to buy that pair of shoes.

When they broke free of each other, Andrew said.
“You look wonderful”
She grinned back.
“I thought it was time for a little kiss”

His heart was pounding 16 to the dozen.
“I think it is time for us to get to know each other a little better”

Bobby stuck his head around the door to the kitchen.
He cried.
“Cor, Ashwini’s got legs” before he ran off giggling in search of his sister.

The evening was a great success.
It was obvious that the two children were very taken by her, as was their father.

Together, they tucked the children up in bed and went downstairs.

They sat on the sofa looking lovingly into each other’s eyes.

The pair of them tried to say something at the same time.
“You go first”, said Andrew.

“I’ve fancied you since that first evening when I got slobbered by Boris”
They both laughed.
“Me too”
Ashwini smiled and then became serious.
“Andrew, I have something rather important to say. It is better you know now before things go too far between us”
The smile disappeared from his face.
“I can’t have children”

“That’s all right, we have two”
His use of the word two momentarily startled her.
“No. That’s not what I meant. I can’t have children because I was born a boy.”

Suddenly the temperature dropped between them.
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve had a sex change. I’m not a real woman”
There was an ominous silence between them.
“But you have breasts and curves and everything. Your hair is so long and beautiful, how can you be a man?”
“I was born male but my everything in my mind said that I should have been born female. Everything you see standing before you is the result of medical science. Hormones and a little plastic surgery and, of course the removal of my penis and the creation of a vagina”

“Can you? You know have an orgasm?”
His directness came to out once again.
“I don’t know. I’m a virgin”
Andrew broke free of their embrace.
“I need to think. Part of me says rip your dress off and fuck you now and part of me says to throw you out and do not darken my door ever again. I’m so confused”
Ashwini took his hand once again.
“If you want me to go I will. If you want to make love to me then I will let you. I love you and have done for months. I nearly didn’t tell you tonight but I wanted you to know what you were letting yourself in for. If you love me then we can make a go of it. You have two wonderful children and I’m not going to do anything to hurt your relationship with them if I can help it. I know that I can’t take the place of their mother but I’m willing to be a somewhat second rate substitute. If you will have me that is”

Andrew was silent for nearly a minute.
“I need to think about this. I don’t have to tell you that I’m shocked by what you just told me.”

He swallowed hard.
“Then there is you and your future? Aren’t you here for only a year? We love this place and don’t want to move. There are far too many things holding us here”
Ashwini smiled.
“I know. If I’m not offered a permanent role here then I’ll resign and be your stay at home wife if you want”
“You’d do that for me? All that years of training gone to waste?”
“Oh believe me I’ve had many a sleepless night working out how I could tell you and a dozen or more different endings. It all comes down to us. Can you in your heart begin to love a freak of nature like me? If you can’t then I’ll leave you alone. If you can then I want to be with you for the rest of my life.”

Andrew was stunned by Ashwini’s directness. This was so out of character for her.

He sat still for what seemed like a long time.
In the end it was Ashwini who made the first move.

She stood up, wobbled a bit on the heels and kissed him gently on the forehead.
“Goodnight Andrew. I love you and your family. If you can find a place in it for me then you know where I am”.
With a very heavy heart, she went home to be alone.

For Ashwini, the next few days were really hard. It was hard to concentrate of work. Listening to her patients troubles was the last thing she wanted to do so it required an enormous amount of effort to keep her mind on the job at hand.

Things went from bad to worse at the end of the week.
Dr Williams stuck his head around the door to her room after Morning Surgery was over. Ashwini was just collecting the files of the patients she was going to visit that day.
“Do you have a minute Ashwini?”
“Sure Emrys. Just let me put all this records in my case and I’ll be right with you”

A few minutes later she entered his room. His wife was there as well.

“I’d like to give you some news. It concerns you”
“It is about my work here?”
“No Ashwini. We’ve had nothing but glowing reports about your work.”
He looked at his wife.
“I’m going to retire in a few months. We’ve decided to call it a day and move to the coast. We have a small cottage not far from Cardigan.”
Ashwini remembered the day trip she’d taken with Andrew and the family only a few months ago. They might well be going to move near there.

“What is going to happen to the practice? To my placement?”
“Yes. A good friend of mine is going to take over temporarily. His son will take over my patients until we can find a permanent replacement to head up the practice. I believe you know him. James Mathews?”
Ashwini’s heart did a double stop.

Of all the people to be coming here, it had to be that idiot James.

Mrs Williams noticed that something was wrong.
“What’s the matter Ashwini? I thought you liked James?”
Without thinking, she replied.
“He’s a useless doctor with terrible diagnostic skills. If he comes here then I’m leaving. He’s wanted to get me into bed ever since we started Post Grad training together.”

Her blunt and to the point answer shocked them both.
“Ashwini? That’s hardly an appropriate answer”
“Look Dr Williams. I respect you and it is your decision about who is your replacement. But I’d rather leave that work with him. I know that I’d have to start my placement year all over again but frankly, I’d rather give up medicine that work with him. I know that I’m only here for a year but I like it here and I think the patients like me. It is obvious that there is work for three doctors rather than two and I am only the trainee but that man is a disaster waiting to happen. I wouldn’t want to be a patient of his.”

The couple looked at each other.

They had no idea that Ashwini felt like that.
There was an awkward silence.
Ashwini broke it by standing up and walking towards the door.
“If you don’t mind, I have a number of patients to see before I clear my desk”

She got her things for the patients she’d be visiting and drove away from the Surgery. With tears rapidly filling her eyes, she drove out of town to a quiet spot on the back road to Monaughty. She stopped the car and burst into tears. Her whole life was crashing and burning around her. Andrew hadn’t said anything to her for nearly a week and now this.
All she could think of was that she needed to speak to someone. That someone was her Aunt Harshini.

She opened her Mobile phone desperately hoping that there was at least one bar in reception. Luckily for her there was. She quickly called her Aunt.

“Hello Auntie. It’s Ashwini”
“I’m in trouble. Can we meet?”

“Yes I know I should have invited you to visit before. I need you now. My life is falling apart”
“Yes it’s man trouble but there’s far more. That idiot James is taking over at the surgery. I can’t work with him. All he wants to do is get inside my sari”
“Yes Auntie, I’m still wearing one. Every day”
“You can? Fantastic. I’ll make up the bed in the spare room for you both”
“See you later”
A very relieved Ashwini ended the call.
She wiped her eyes and then realised that most of her mascara was now on the handkerchief.

Some twenty minutes later with her makeup repaired Ashwini arrived at her first patients home.

It took a supreme effort but somehow, she managed to get through her rounds. When she got home, she had another good cry. That seemed to help a bit.

[later that day]

Ashwini was anxiously waiting for her Aunt & Uncle to arrive. She didn’t have evening surgery that day so once her house calls were complete she was free for the rest of the day barring emergencies.
She’d sorted out the mess that was the spare bedroom in the cottage and made up the bed. She’d also made dinner for her visitors. That really helped take her mind of her problems.
When she’d finished, all her problems came flooding back.
The longer she had to wait for her visitors to arrive, the worse it got.

It was getting dark when they eventually arrived.
Ashwini ran to their car and hugged her Aunt as soon as she got out of the car. The tears started flowing again.
Harshini took control of the situation and left her niece into the cottage whilst her husband David, retrieved their bags from the car.

Once inside the cottage, Harshini took her time and extracted all of Ashwinin’s problems from her. David stayed in the kitchen out of the way and prepared some food. He knew that this was ‘women’s work’.

Just the simple act of talking things over with Harshini helped enormously. David served the all dinner and made himself scarce once again.
“I’ve a good mind to go next door and give this Andrew a piece of my mind” said Harshini at one point in the evening.
“Please don’t do that Harshi. He has the children to think of”
“And what about you? There you are, always thinking of others before yourself”
Ashwini couldn’t answer that. It was so very true.
“I thought you’d gotten over that when to left your past behind. But I see you haven’t” added Harshini somewhat harshly.

The words of truth were hitting home hard.
“Then this Dr James. Why on earth didn’t you tell him to piss off right from the start? Now he’s going to screw up your life big time. I thought you liked it here?”

“Yes I do”
“So?”
“What do you mean?”
“Phone him up and tell him that he shouldn’t bother coming here looking for you as you won’t be here”
“I don’t understand?”
“Call his bluff”
“And what happens in he comes anyway?”
Harshini giggled.

“You buy yourself a chastity belt and stick it out for the remaining time of your placement and then come to live with us. The local GP’s are always advertising for doctors”

It took a few seconds then Ashwini realised what had just been said.
The two of them burst out laughing.
That was what both of them needed especially, Ashwini.

When they’d stopped laughing, Harshini repeated the offer. She knew about the GP shortage because she worked for her local NHS Trust. However, this was in a big City and that was the last place Ashwini wanted to live & work.
“I love it here and the man I love is right next door”
“Well go and tell him again?”
“I can’t”
Then she broke down and cried again, all of Harshini’s good work wasted.

Next door, Andrew was having a lot of the same issues.
The children kept asking where Mummy Ashwini was and why hadn’t she been around all week.
Andrew was rapidly running out of excuses.

It all came to a head the following evening.
Janice went up to her father and said.
“Daddy, have you and Mummy Ashwini had a fight?”
He smiled back.
“Yes. Yes we did”
“Why don’t you make up? We miss her. We want her to be a proper Mummy to us. She’s very nice and funny and makes you happy Daddy”

Tears welled up in his eyes.
“It is not as easy as that”
“Why?”
“Because”
“Why because?”
“Because of your Mummy”
In a statement that was far beyond her age of 7 years she said,
“Mummy’s now with God. He would want you to find someone nice to share your life. Ashwini is nice. She makes you happy. If Daddy, you are happy then me & Bobby are happy”

Andrew hugged his daughter.
He desperately wanted to go next door and see Ashwini but he was scared. And she had visitors. And he was scared.

The next day, David & Harshini went off sightseeing. It was market day in Welshpool and as city dwellers they wanted to see it.

Ashwini went about her duties at the Surgery. The atmosphere there was as cold as ice. Both of the Williams’s hardly spoke to her all day.

Somehow, Ashwini got through another day without making any major mistakes.
Sometimes, being a Doctor has its rewards. That day, she had the pleasure of telling the patient she’d sent for a Bone Marrow Biopsy just after she’d arrived at the practice that he was now in remission and that his bone marrow was starting to work once more. He would live!

When she arrived home, David & Harshini were back from Welshpool.

“We saw your lover at the Market doing Vet work” said David.
“He’s not my lover”, replied Ashwini angrily.
“He’s very dishy. If I were thirty years younger and unmarried, I’d be in their like a shot”, added Harshini.
“The children are gorgeous too. We saw them walking down the drive to get the school bus”
“All right. So they look nice. That isn’t everything is it?”
“We were only saying…”
Ashwini looked at them sternly.

Next door, Andrew was still in trouble.
“It’s your birthday next week” he said to Janice.

“Is there anything you want?”
Janice smiled.
“Ashwini as my new Mummy and a Sari like hers”
Those words were just what he didn’t want to hear at that particular time.
“Please Daddy. Please” added Janice.
In his heart, he knew that he was beaten.
“I’ll try”, he said quietly.
Janice hugged her father tightly.
Then he was shocked when Robert said.

“If Janice is getting a Sari, I want one too”
It was Robert’s birthday in a couple of weeks. He was just over a year younger than his sister.
“Saris are for girls and women. Boys don’t wear them”
“Why? I wear Janice’s dresses all the time”

Andrew almost fainted.
“You wear your Sister’s clothes?”
“Yes. We play dress up and stuff when we get home from school and you are out on calls” he said with a broad grin on his your innocent face.
He turned to Janice.
“Is this true?”

“Yes” she said slightly sheepishly.
“We live so far away from all the others at school we take it in turns to play together. Some days Roberta comes out to play and other days I play football in the garden with Bobby”

Andrew felt totally defeated. He had no idea that this was going on.
“How long has this been going on?”
“Mummy used to dress me up and make me play with dolly’s”
“Your mother?”
“Yes. When she was doing boring things like ironing or making dinner. Mostly when it was raining”

The week was apparently going from bad to worse.
“Do you like dressing up and playing with dolls?”

“Yes. I look pretty”, said Bobby with the total innocence that only a young child can have.

Andrew was at a total loss as to what to do next. He did the only thing he could think of at the time, he hugged his children.
After a while, Janice said,
“Is Ashwini going to be our new Mummy?”
Without thinking, Andrew answered.
“Yes, if she’ll have us”
“Does this mean I can have a beautiful Sari like hers?” asked Janice.
“Wait and see” mumbled Andrew.
“Oh goody” cried Janice. Then she leapt around totally happy.

Andrew couldn’t help but notice. Any last reservations were quickly banished.

David & Harshini left for home the following day. Ashwini was still unsure about her future. She didn’t know about the events going on next door the previous evening. From her viewpoint, it was becoming more and more likely that she’d be leaving this lovely part of the world very soon. Little did she know of the moves that were happening as she took morning surgery.

Before they left town, Harshini went to the Vet’s surgery and asked to see Andrew.
When she was shown into his office, he recognised her.
“Oh Hello. You must be Ashwini’s friend. Are you enjoying your stay in the area”
“Yes we are. But we are going home today. Ashwini is my neice”
She let that sink in for a second or two.
“I have just one question. Do you love her?”

Andrew smiled.
This woman was just like Ashwini. Direct and to the point.
“Yes I do”
“Have you told her that?”
“That’s two questions. But, no I haven’t told her”
“Why? Why ever not. You know about her and you sit here saying you love her. Why aren’t you at the Surgery right now telling her that?”
Andrew was surprised by just how forthright this woman was. He had no answer to her questions.
“I..I will tell her”, he stuttered.
“Good. I will look out for an invitation to your wedding”

Then she was gone.

Andrew sat stunned for several minutes. He stared blankly at the door to his office. His mind was a mess.
Then he made a decision.
He put on his jacket and walked out of the Vet’s Surgery, got in his car and drove to the Doctor’s Surgery.
He arrived just in time to see James Mathews walking into the Surgery.

Andrew leapt out of his car and almost ran into the surgery. He went straight into Ashwini’s office.
There was a patient there.
“Hello Mrs Jenkins. How’s little Fifi? Are you giving her enough exercise?”
“Oh hello Dr” she said surprised by his presence.

“Could I have a few moments alone with Dr Ashwini please?”
Mrs Jenkins smiled.
“Of course. I’ll wait outside” she said with a smile. It was fairly common knowledge that the two of them had been seeing each other.

All though this, Ashwini was sitting there stunned.
“Andrew, what is the meaning of this? Can’t you see I have patients? Is there something wrong with the children?”
Andrew grinned like a Cheshire Cat.
“Ashwini, I love you. Will you marry me?”
Slowly a smile appeared on her face.
“Will you be Mummy Ashwini to my Children?

She stood up and came round to his side of the desk.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him.

Both of them were oblivious to the fact that the door to the office was wide open and everyone in the surgery could see and hear what was going on.

They kissed for a long time. It was only when applause broke out from the patients waiting to see her that they realised they had an audience.
“I love you” whispered Andrew.
“Lets go and tell everyone”

“I think they all know. It will be all round town before midday” she replied pointing at the open door and the happy faces beyond.

The held hands and looked into each other’s eyes.
Their happiness was broker by the arrival of James. He’d been in with Dr Williams. The applause from the waiting room had brought them out.

“What are you doing?” he exclaimed when he saw Ashwini had in hand with Andrew.

“What does it look like James? Why are you here?”
James looked at Dr Williams.
“You said that she was on board with this?” he said angrily.

Ashwini was not sure what ‘this’ was but she didn’t care.
“If you mean you coming here to take over from Dr Williams then I’ll tell you now, that if you do that this town will be looking for not only another doctor but a new Vet as well” said Ashwini asserting herself. She was taking Harshin’s advice and calling their bluff.

Andrew was perplexed at that was going on. There seemed to be a lot of sexual tension between Ashwini and this James character.

James could see for himself that his time was up.
Without a word but with an angry glare at Ashwini, he turned and left them all standing there.

They heard the engine start and almost immediately a large bang and the sound of metal bending.

Everyone raced outside. The previously immaculate MGB was now a sorry wreck. It was embedded in the side of Andrews Range Rover. It didn’t need an expert mechanic to tell which car had come off worse.

Ashwini had a good deal of trouble stopping herself from laughing as James climbed out of the wreck.
“What fool left that heap in the way?” he asked.

“If you mean my Range Rover then I’m guilty”, said Andrew innocently.
“I’ll have your insurance details. You are to blame for this” cried James.

Ashwini stepped forward.
“No James, you are to blame. You drove into this car. Everyone can see that. Now I suggest you call Daddy and get him to come and collect you. This heap is only good for the scrapyard”

James was livid. He went very red in the face.

“You… you”
“Yes James, what am I? Please tell us all. I’m sure we’d all like to know what I am?”

He didn’t answer. He literally ran away.

“What was all that about?” asked Andrew still bewildered by the events of the past few minutes.
“I’ll tell you tonight” said a smiling Ashwini.
“In the meantime, someone had better phone Jones the Scrap and get him to remove this thing from the car park”, said Ashwini with a very Welsh lilt to her voice. More than a few of those present found it all rather funny.

That evening Ashwini was once again in Andrews cottage.
Janice was hugging her as if there was no tomorrow.
Bobby was not going to be left out.

Ashwini was in the middle of a three-way hug. She was home at last.

“Mummy Ashwini, can I have a Sari like yours for my Birthday?” pleaded Janice.
“Yes Janice. We can go into Birmingham and get you one”
“What about me? I want one too. If Ruchika can have on then I want one” asked Bobby.

Ashwini looked at Andrew.
He just shrugged his shoulders. He was out voted and out gunned by the THREE most important people in his life.
“Who’s Ruckiha, Janice” asked Andrew.
“Me. I no longer want to be called Janice. I’m now Ruchika. It means Shining, Beautiful and Desirable in Hindi. I am that aren’t I Daddy? Aren’t I Mummy Ashwini?”

Ashwini started laughing. She had a real family at last. Being called Mummy was the icing on the cake.

That night Ashwini shared Andrew’s bed for the first time. It goes without saying that she was no longer a virgin in the morning. The night was not spent alone though. An uninvited third party was in the bed with them for most of the night.
That third party was the big black beast called Boris.
He slobbered all over Ashwini as she tried to sleep. But she didn’t mind, she was home and she wasn’t going anywhere.

[the end]

[Authors Note]
This is a work of pure fantasy & fiction. The places mentioned do exist and the Indian names are real. Any coincdience to real people is just that a coincidence.



If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
up
64 users have voted.

And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks. 
This story is 13480 words long.