I’m sharing an excerpt from my book, ‘Loving Judah’; the tragic death of Aislin’s step-son Judah has almost broken her marriage with his father Peter. Aislin’s friend Sandi comes to stat and everything begins to improve. However Peter and Aislin have been renovating their new house, and in a frenzy of grief Peter ripped up all the floorboards, tore the doors off their hinges, and pulled the radiators from the walls. They’re living in a virtual ruin, unheated, no electricity, no hot water. The local vicar comes to call and Sandi invites herself and Aislin to the vicarage to use his shower and bathroom:
The vicar’s name was Gideon; it would be, thought Aislin. Sandi’s first description of him as a career vicar seemed very apt. He was tall and rangy and blond, rugged and sexy, very sexy. It was depressing. His pale blue eyes swept over Aislin as if she was a friend of his mother’s, which she almost could have been. It was more than depressing that his eyes lingered in a thoughtful way on Sandi. He seemed amused and genuinely pleased to help them in such an unusual way.
“I don’t have many of my parishioners using my bathroom!” he said as he led them up the narrow stairs of the small modern detached house that was the vicarage.
“Well, don’t worry, we’ll leave it spotless. Are you sure your wife doesn’t mind?” said Sandi with her familiar throaty chuckle.
The vicar laughed. “I’m not married,” he said.
Honestly, thought Aislin crossly, she’s got him flirting with her and I don’t suppose he’s even remembered my name.
He showed them into a neat but sparsely furnished spare room with an en-suite and invited them down for a drink when they finished, obviously finding the whole thing funny.
Aislin turned from shutting the door to find her friend had already stripped to her underwear.
“God, Ashy, your house is so cold, standing here makes me realise how utterly perishing it is. How on earth have you stood it for so long?” Sandi stepped out of her pants and reached to undo her bra.
“To be honest, I just put on extra clothes now, I suppose,” she was cross. I’m middle-aged, she thought, I’m going to be 50 in two years’ time and it was profoundly depressing. Sandi who was six months older was still slim, her long legs smooth and faintly tanned. It wasn’t much comfort to know that Sandi’s hair was greying beneath the honey colour while her own was still dark. Sandi stood up from rooting in the bag to find shampoo and shower gel and laughed at Aislin who was prodding her own breasts disparagingly.
Sandi laughed, “It would be worse if you’d had kids!”
Aislin laughed too, but there was a spasm of pain. Did she wish she’d had children? Peter had been so insistent that they had to wait for the right time for Judah’s sake that the right time had never come. She didn’t know whether she was sorry or not but thought perhaps she was.
She turned away quickly before Sandi could read these thoughts, but her friend knew her too well and came and put an arm round her shoulder and apologised for being thoughtless.
“No, it’s better to say these things, and yeah, I think on the whole it’s just as well we didn’t have kids. Now, let me go in the shower first, my need’s greater than yours!”
“You’ve still got your socks on!” and Sandi skipped into the bathroom, wanting to get back downstairs to chat up the vicar.
Aislin sat naked on the spare bed, amused at the thought as she glanced through the books on the bed-side table. She picked up ‘The Words of Martin Luther King,” and when Sandi reappeared she showed her friend the fly-leaf.
“To Gordon, love, Mum and Dad.”
“Gideon!” she said and they both hooted.
The bathroom was warm and steamy and perfumed with Sandi’s gel as Aislin let the water pour over her, comforting and soothingly erotic. She stood, eyes shut, the water streaming over her. Her hair felt really clean as it never did washing it in the basin at home with a kettle of water heated on the range and carried upstairs.
She was warm now and clean, warmer and cleaner than she’d been for months. She stood and wept, the water still tumbling around her.
© Lois Elsden 2018
I’ll share the last part of this scene tomorrow… meanwhile, if you want to read’Loving Judah’, here is a link: