Author: JoiForber PM
Betty and Stephen had been married for 6 years and it had been three years since Katherine was born. The girls attended nursery school. Stephen took over as shop steward and union rep at Woodward & Lothrop when Mel retired.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Family - Chapters: 21 - Words: 19,885 - Reviews: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 03-19-13 - Published: 04-26-12 - id: 8062349
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Stephen and Betty were enjoying a quiet evening. All three girls were tucked in bed for the evening. They snuggled together under a blanket on the settee sipping cocoa. The fire crackled and flickered, sending shadows dancing across the walls. Stephen laced his fingers with Betty's, brought her hand to his lips, and pressed gentle kisses against her fingers.
"Do you ever miss it?" she asked dreamily.
"Um? What?" he turned to look at her.
"Being a floorwalker. Do you miss that life?"
"No," he said flatly, snaking his arm round her waist.
"You don't miss flirting with all the young, pretty customers, secretaries and salesgirls?" Betty knew she was playing with fire. What would she say if he said he had missed his old life?
"Do you remember Rumbold's secretary? The blonde one? Miss Belfridge?"
Betty nodded, "Yes. Miss Belfridge," she replied, as she had not heard the name in years, "What about her?"
"Well, I had taken her to dinner several times, the theatre, breakfast at the Savoy, I put her in for a pay rise; I bought her gifts.
Remember when there was that transport strike and Young Mr. Grace graciously offered the staff those flats upstairs?"
"Yes…" she pondered.
"She and I took that flat and spent the night together…"
"Go on," Betty said cautiously, nuzzling in closer, wondering what this reminiscence might trigger.
"Well, the next morning, as we laid there ensconced in each other's arms, I laid there watching her sleep. I was so smitten, I was poised to leave Vivienne right then and there. Miss Belfridge opened her eyes and looked up at me in horror!" he spoke softly, painfully.
"What?" Betty's eyes flew open and she gaped; she tightened her arms round him.
"Yes," he said in a voice that sounded far away, "She said 'Oh, God! Stephen, you're old!' I mean, what does one say to a statement like that? I wanted to crawl into a hole! So I said, 'I'm not that old!' and she says, 'You are very old! We didn't have a bit of how's your father, more like how's your grandfather!' I was so mortified I could have jumped out the window!"
Betty looked at him sympathetically, "Oh, my! Stephen, I'm so sorry. That was very cruel of her to say that."
"I was so hurt and humiliated; I didn't want to talk to anyone for a week!"
Her eyebrows raised as she recalled the incident, "I remember that! We all wondered what was wrong. But we didn't want to make a fuss, you know how you do. We didn't want to pry."
"I thought everyone knew. I thought everyone heard; the walls in that flat were paper-thin. I was afraid I would be a laughingstock."
"We didn't have a clue. No one mentioned anything at all about the sleeping arrangements," Betty stated.
She cupped his cheek in her hand, caressing his chin with her thumb. When she gently stroked his lips, he kissed the tip of her thumb and smiled.
"Then there was Miss Hurst from novelty candles… I wined and dined her and she told me to 'get in queue'. I was just one of many. So I figured I was just making a fool of myself."
Betty touched his arm lightly, leaned in and kissed his cheek.
"What did I do to deserve you?" he mused, returning her kiss.
"You came back," she whispered lovingly.
He sighed and his whole countenance lit up.