I had had my eye on Jackie for months. She was a casual employee at the newsagents/wool shop next to the off licence I worked in, and she would wander in from time to time and hang around, looking at the shelves but never buying anything. I concluded that she was probably lonely. One of her colleagues had told me she had been a widow for five years. She went to the Methodist church up the road, but I got the feeling she wasn't just religious, but using the place for company.
She had medium-length fair hair flecked with grey, although she was only about fifty years old. Always soberly dressed in a sensible dress or skirt and jumper, she was in quite good shape, with nice big breasts safely guarded by a sturdy bra, so they didn't wobble or protrude much. She was probably proud of them, but was too straightlaced to flaunt them. Her hips were wide and drew my attention to her midsection - attention she could not deflect, because there was no way of hiding them. Even when she wore a loose, voluminous skirt, she was broad in the beam.
As quiet and introverted as she was, I sensed she was dissatisfied with her life and the lack of affection or maybe intimacy. She had no children to comfort her and make her feel loved. I will admit I felt guilty about my feelings for her. Not guilty about fancying her, because there is nothing you can do about that, but about wanting a sexual relationship with her rather than a proper loving one in which sex would be a part. But another part of me felt what she needed was not a nice man to take her out for tea and cakes on a Sunday afternoon, but a lusty man who might still do the tea and cakes bit but would then take her home and make love to her.
Do I mean make love? With someone like Jackie, I didn't feel it could be described as fucking, or even having sex. Would she be capable of having it off with a man? She would probably think that sounded too naughty, too clandestine, and sly. No, it would be making love, even though the love part was short-term and lasted no longer than a couple of hours of build-up during a nice, innocent outing, plus half an hour of kissing and seduction, followed by the act itself and a period afterwards when we would slowly but inevitably float back down to earth. Seduction was what she needed. Only then could she allow herself to be drawn in, making it someone else's doing, not hers.
Timing was going to be crucial here. From the way she used to come in and hang around, I was pretty sure she was interested in me, but one wrong move could blow the whole thing, making her feel cheap.
And so it was that one afternoon when my manager was on a late lunch, Jackie drifted in and we chatted idly for a few minutes.
"Ruthie's off this afternoon," she said. "Going home as soon as I get back."
"Who else is on?" I asked.
"Just me," she said. "Boring." And with that, she left.
As soon as the manager returned, I made an excuse about buying a paper and was soon in the wool shop, where Jackie sat behind the counter doing a crossword.
"To what do I owe the honour?" she asked, putting the puzzle magazine away.
"Thought I'd come and see you for a change," I said, my natural conversational cool deserting me because I was on the prowl and felt she would detect that. She probably could tell, but was that a good thing or not? Only bad if she didn't want to receive my advances, I know now. Unprompted, she started telling me about her social life, chapel outings, and how a man she knew from the social committee had taken her out on his new Harley Davidson. It reminded her of her youth - as it no doubt reminded the mid-life crisis man of his.
"Oooh!" I said playfully.
"Nothing like that," she responded. "I don't need that, just a man to get out and about with."
She was leaning on the counter with her hands flat. We both went quiet and I instinctively began twirling a finger around one of her knuckles.
She pretended not to notice for a few seconds but suddenly became self-conscious. "What are you doing?" she asked, not quite sharply but nervously.
"I'm tickling your hand," I replied.
"Uh huh," she muttered and then, to my surprise, turned her hand over and held my finger. "You're a naughty man," she admonished gently. "I told you, I don't need that." She dropped my finger abruptly and then felt bad about it. She patted my hand. "For a minute there I thought you were going to ask me out," she said very quietly.
"We could go for a drink," I suggested.
"Just friendly friendly," she said pointedly but weakly.
"Okay," I said, putting my hand on hers as innocently as I could manage. "When are you free?"
"Tonight," she said. "Or is that..."
"Tonight is fine," I said brightly, relieved and hopeful.
I picked her up at her neat little semi-detached house and we went to a quiet pub in the country.
The conversation was a bit stilted because we both knew it was just wasting time before the main event. Or rather she knew and I hoped. At that stage we were scrupulously polite, not giving anything away.
When we got back to her house, I said, "Well, that was nice. I'll, err, see you at work," but she put a hand on my arm and said,
"Don't you want to come in for coffee?"
This was innocent, chapel-going Jackie talking, so I tried not to read anything into it. Coffee it would be. A quiet, civilised end to the evening. All the same, she was sitting next to me, warm and fragrant and relaxed - except now she wasn't as relaxed as she had been in the pub. Something had changed, but she clearly liked my company or she wouldn't have invited me in.
I sat in Jackie's quiet, ticking house, on a practical tweed sofa while she made some decaf. When she entered and had put the cups on the small glass coffee table, she went over to the sideboard and took out a bottle of Kahlua. Waving it at me, she asked, "Yes?"
I only lived down the road and would be well able to drive after one or two liqueurs, so I accepted and she poured us a glass each and sat next to me.
"I don't do music," she said defensively, reading my mind. "I'll put the telly on if you like." And that's what she did. Newsnight, with the sound turned down low. She sat back contentedly, relaxed again.
The air crackled with electricity and I put my arm around her, drew her to me, and kissed her. She kissed slowly and gently but happily. It was nice, like being loved with her tongue. I put a hand up her skirt and she pulled back and removed it, then looked into my eyes and kissed the tips of my fingers.