This story originally appeared elsewhere in 2006 under one of my other pen-names and sporting the alternative title "The Twenty-sixth". LadyCibelle and Techsan assisted me in preparing it for posting on that occasion.
However like most of the tales on my hard drives, I'm pretty sure that it has undergone some modification since then. So responsibility for any typo's etcetera found in the content fall squarely upon my shoulders.
Clarification: Local Bike or Village Bike = a promiscuous female. Female, strategic planning and information dissemination centre = well, if you are male and you don't understand to what that refers, the reader should be able to pick it up from the text immediately following.
For The Good times.
You know, sometimes life can throw some real curve balls at you. Then you can finish up getting left to make choices and really you're not really sure which way you should go.
My problems started when I got talked into doing something really quite innocent, but which had consequences I never really expected. Before I knew it I found that I'd come to a point where I had to re-evaluate almost everything that had happened in my life before and make a serious decision about my future.
The decision that brought me to that particular point in my life came a few months after the wedding of one of my friends. Well, to be honest, she had really started out as just another girl who worked in my office. I was never really sure why she had latched-on to me in the first place, or even how it came about that we started going to lunch together. After all, I was nearly twenty years her senior.
Maybe she figured I was a safe bet, as I hadn't made a play for her when she started working in my department. Or maybe - as I was the boss and old enough to be her father to boot - the thought of me making a pass at her had never crossed her mind.
I think nearly all the other guys in the office - whether single or married - had had at least one try at chatting her up over the five years she'd been with the firm. And I've got to admit, she'd made a pretty good -- and sometimes very public -- job of shooting them down. She didn't really need my help on that score.
I don't mind telling you Theresa -- or Terri as she was known in the office -- was one hot looking young lady. You know, her body went in and out in all the right places and she dressed to show it off to its best advantage. And I am going to admit that I really did enjoy the envious looks I received when we went to the café or pub together for lunch.
I'm willing to bet that quite a few of the guys got jealous when they saw Terri hanging on my arm. But I'll tell you now that the friendship between the young woman and I was strictly platonic. Terri treated me more like a surrogate father than anything else, although I was on the receiving end of some nice kisses under the mistletoe at the firm's Christmas dos over the years, and I'm sure there were a few rumours flying around on occasion.
Whatever, I didn't really care; it kept the gold-diggers at bay. I was one of the high earners in my company and it was rumoured that before I retired I'd be in the running to be top dog.
Terri's own father had passed-away whilst she was still at school and shortly after she joined the company I discovered that she missed him a lot. It could be that's why she had chosen me as her mentor when she first joined the firm. From what I had learnt over the years, there didn't appear to be anyone else in the frame for that particular job and I assume Terri had decided I was the best candidate around.
As the years had passed, I'd come to know first Terri's mother Brenda, and latterly her boyfriend Kevin, whom eventually became Terri's fiancé, very well.
Theresa's mother was about my age, an extremely attractive woman, and she had a very vivacious personality; there was no mistaking where Terri had inherited her looks and personality. As we got to know each other better Brenda, or Terri and her fiancé would quite often baby - or should I really say, child - sit my children for me when required.
Wow, wow, wow, now don't any of you go getting ideas about Theresa's mother and myself. We had on occasions gone out for a meal or to see a show together, and she had been a wonderful help to me with the children. But there was definitely no chemistry between us and we both knew it. We'd had a long and very personal conversation shortly after we first met and since we had come to treat each other almost like brother and sister. Any affection that we felt for each other was strictly on those grounds. Funny really, when guys did asked Brenda out, they found themselves being presented to me, to get my approval.
And if you must insist, I will admit that Brenda and I had shared a bed on occasions. We'd had some fun and kept each other satisfied, but that was as far as it went. I believe we'd successfully kept those liaisons a secret from Terri and my children though. We had no intention of showing any of the children that Brenda and I considered sex outside of wedlock acceptable behaviour.
There was a slight drawback to my association with the two women though. Over the years, Brenda and Terri had produced -- what appeared to me to be a never-ending line of – eligible female to whom they enthusiastically introduced me. I have never been able to understand why it is that women think that all unmarried men need to be clapped back into irons. I had it figured that I was doing quite nicely on my own, thank you very much. Well, with the kids around, that is!
Anyway eventually it came to the time when Terri had finally accepted Kevin's proposal and she decided that was finally going to deign to walk down the aisle with him. Terri had that poor guy twisted around her little finger. But then she invited me to have the honour of giving her away.
Terri claimed that there was no one else she could ask to do the job and made it quite clear that there was no way I was going to get out of it. Ah, yeah, I think I was under her spell as well, almost as much as Kevin was. If only I had been a few years younger!
I did suggest that -- in these modern times -- Brenda could have done the job quite easily; but neither of the women thought that was a good idea. Probably for the best actually, because Terri's mother was in tears (of joy) for most of the ceremony and I had to almost carry her back along the aisle. I also had to support her (physically) during the photo call, and the receiving line at the reception. Well, she was losing her only child.
It also fell upon my shoulders to read Brenda's speech at the end of the meal, because she gave up after about three or four attempts at starting it; Brenda kept breaking down in tears. Terri's new husband, Kevin, had requested that I say a few words; he said that I was the nearest thing Theresa had to a father. So I did the best I could.
Whilst I was reading out Brenda's speech, I had been concentrating on reading it from the piece of paper she had handed me so that went fine, I think. However when it came time for me to have my little say, I was reciting from memory most of the time. Until that is, I saw 'her' sitting there at the back of the room!
I can't exactly say what happened then. I must have stopped speaking for a moment, because I suddenly became aware of the silence in the room and that everyone was looking at me expectantly. My mouth had suddenly gone very dry and then I fumbled around until I found where I thought I had broken off in my little diatribe. I did as good a job as I could under the circumstances of reading the rest of it out. I think that the latter part of my little offering didn't go quite as well as the beginning.
Later when the speeches over and the cake ceremonially cut and the tables had been moved from the dance floor. As usual Terri and Kevin had the first waltz together and then Kevin's father came over and took Brenda's hand; I had been asked to do the honours with his wife Shirley.
We had only been on the dance floor for a couple of moments when she demanded, "Okay, Jack, who the hell is she?"
I think I should tell you, that I had got to know Shirley and Ken (Kevin's father) quite well in the weeks leading up to the wedding. Besides that, we'd met many times during the previous couple years, since Kevin and Theresa had started courting seriously. I believe I can refer to them as good friends. But I'll add, that for some year I'd been a fairly private person, and I had rarely discussed my past life with anyone.
"Pardon, Shirley; what do you mean?"
"Come off it, Jack. You saw someone out there and it knocked the stuffing out of you. You struggled through the rest of that speech. Come on, tell me who could have had that effect on the Rock?"
"Sorry, the Rock?"
"Jack, you're a Rock. Just what Brenda and Terri would have done over the last few years without you around, I don't know. Now I know they've introduced you to every available female within a hundred miles. But from what they tell me, you have never been in the slightest bit interested. Then quite suddenly you saw someone out there in this room today and you went completely to pieces. Now come on, tell me who she is?"
"Okay, you've got me. If you insist on knowing, it's my ex-wife!"
"Oh, my, and you didn't know she was coming?"
"No Shirley. I haven't seen her since our divorce ten years ago."
"Doesn't she ever come to see the children?"
"Oh, blimey, Shirley, they aren't Claire's children! Christ they aren't even mine really; they're my brother's kids."
.... There is more of this story ...