A Little Bugger Comes to Stay, a short story by KiwiDreamer. Date added: 2012-07-12. Times viewed: 2148.
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- Intro: A young girl finds puppy love without knowing it initially and then converts her collected thoughts into a poem that resurfaces throughout the years. Then as a sexy couple they meet again.
Hi, my name is Irene White and this story is a snapshot of the association of my husband and me. Hopefully this won’t read quite like a ‘Girl’s Own Paper’ c1941. Actually Tom and I weren’t around till long after 1941. In the first period of our association I was a tom-boy and a couple of times beat the crap out of him. But when we met again years later in London…well let’s go back to the beginning.
Toni Long, who became a fabulously skilled -hairdresser and a great mother, was born almost ten years after her parents immigrated to Auckland, New Zealand, on the 41,915-ton liner Oriana from England in 1961. The family settled comfortably in the suburb of Onehunga and were happy and eventfully Toni married a Dick White, who worked in a hush-hush Department (probably Stores or Pests and Weeds), of the Wellington-based Government (or perhaps in the VIP Protection Service).
In fairly quick succession, Toni gave birth to Irene, a blonde potential beauty queen, or so her mum fancied, Desmond, Ronald and Arthur. As they aged, Irene maintained her place in the pecking order by being an effective pacifier of snotty-nosed boisterous younger brothers and as they grew to flex their muscles, their sister prudently had learned the skills of martial arts. That was to ensure she continued to hold respect and dominance unless gang-banged, meaning two or all three brothers took to her in a planned and concerted attack to cut her down to size. Although during those joint fights Irene would go down wailing, it was she who always drew first blood and administered the most painful and enduring of the injuries.
The brothers were not stupid and they enrolled in martial arts but their minds were flighty, their interests multitudinous. Ron lasted the longest at Martial Arts School, all of seven weeks, whereas his sister had already clocked up more than two years in training.
Irene remembers vividly when wide-eyed, suspicious and hesitant Tommy Andrews 12, her age, came to live with them because her mother’s friend Alice Andrews couldn’t manage him. Irene had long known that if her mum hadn’t been a hairdresser she may well have been a missionary because although she wasn’t particularly religious or churchy, she frequently used a term grandma used about ‘the responsibility to do God’s work’. Her father would laugh and say, “You do that Toni and in the meantime I’ll work on another beer.”
Tommy, the skinny and surly thug, quickly cleaned up the brothers, working from the bottom, first Arthur and then Ronald and Desmond and then he turned to administer enlightenment to Irene about who was second-level boss in their household.
Irene took the first slap across the mouth, not expecting it.
She spat out a bit of blood and as Tommy came at her again, she flattened his nose with the palm of her hand and he howled in pain. He rallied and rushed back in to kick her guts against her backbone but she caught his leg and flipped him backwards and then stomped on the side of his head and she cried ‘Say it” and he mumbled “I submit.”
She figured another attack would be coming, and so did her mum who’d learned from loud-mouth Ron what had happened. When Toni saw Tommy running in with a Tomahawk from the garden shed, she calmly slammed the door in his face and as Tommy picked himself up off the floor dazed and crying, Toni said sternly, “Each time I hear you have hit one of my children I’ll cut off one of your fingers.”
Young Tommy practically crapped himself and for a while her kids treated their mum with huge respect and probably feared her for a while.
Tommy stayed with the family for three years and he’d calmed a lot by then was communicating better and showing signs he was less resentful. One day he hit on Irene who had developed the start of a crush on him. She allowed him to play with her vulva and vagina but her mum arrived at an appropriate or inappropriate time, depending on one’s view, and next day Tommy was returned home. His parents received a welfare grant that enabled them to send unwanted Tommy to boarding school.
Irene moped for Tommy and worked out she had lost her first love before any love had actually began to materialise. Although Tommy more or less tolerated her, she’d known she’d had finer feelings for him that until now she’d considered represented respect. But then how could she respect the little bugger who’d come to stay and then had set out to terrorise the White kids.
No it had to be something else rather than respect. Irene was big into reading and had recently branched into poetry and felt uplifted in reading about emotions and, thinking about it, knew what she’d felt about the so-called little bastard was the emergence of puppy love.
But why? She worried about that question for a few hours and then it simply drifted from her mind but a year later the class she was in at school was asked to write a poem about love. Quite unexpectedly memories of her peculiar relationship with the thug called Tommy flooded back to her.
She wrote what she felt and near the end of the period when she held up her poem as finished on a subject she was so clear about, her teacher cried, “Oh no Irene, this is not your original work. You have either copied what a poet has written or have used bits from various poems you have read.”
“Stick your poetry class Miss Matthews,” Irene said, walking out and yelled, “If you can’t recognise the truth within me you should be working in a coffee shop rather than teaching.”
The use of those words, ‘you can’t recognise the truth within me’ rather jolted Susan Matthews. She instantly knew those weren’t the words of a cheap little liar or a literary cheat but indicated something much more profound.”
“Now girls, quieten down, Irene is just out of sorts today. We must excuse her.”
Irene’s heart was beating. At training college one of their tutors had told their group, ‘Once in your career, perhaps a couple more times if you’re lucky, by chance you’ll discover a student with talent so far unmasked, that even she or he remains unaware they possess. If you ever do, consider yourself a privileged person and as an educator you’ll know what to do.”
* * *
Toni answered the door and said, “Oh Miss Matthews this is a surprise. Come in. Coffee?”
“Is there anything wrong, with Irene I mean?”
“Wrong no, in fact quite the opposite. Look I’ll fold the top part of this page over for you to just read the text of the poem.”
“Oh I love poetry and Irene is just beginning to get into it.”
Toni put on her glasses and read the thirty-two lines.
Removing her glasses Toni said, “Well I’m no authority but I like it and can say really it’s rather tragic and beautiful expressed.”
“Yes and I’m prepared to stand by my opinion. Are you here to ask me to part-sponsor the woman who wrote this poem to have her poems published? You take an adult group at nigh school I believe?”
“Irene wrote it and she denied she’d copied it and as a result of the strength of her denial I belief it’s her original work.”
Toni was astonished and said that can’t be so. “At her age Irene doesn’t know how to express such deep emotion.”
Susan unfolded the top section of the page and Irene put on her glasses and read, ‘The Litter Bugger Comes to Stay… An original poem by Irene White’.
“What an usual title for a schoolgirl writing a poem and… Omigod.”
“What is it Mrs White?”
“Please allow me to read the poem once more. May I mark particular passages?”
“Yes of course; this is a copy of the original.”
Toni marked particular words and phrase while Susan used her initiative and made the plunger coffee as the jug has boiled.
Toni finished her markings and sat and smiled at Susan and said, “I’m Toni. May I call you Susan?”
“Yes please do.”
“Susan I can assure you at least the shell of this poem is my daughter’s original work and my doubt about her apparent giant step forward in emotional thought notwithstanding, I firmly believe this poem is totally Irene’s creation. Please let me explain.”
Heads almost touching, Toni pointed to each word. “Thug: my bullied sons called him a thug behind Tommy’s back. Displaced person: for three years we acted as a foster home for Tommy because his quite timid mother was unable to handle him and his father is a travelling salesman. Rooster: that’s my pet name for my husband, Irene’s father, and refers to a queer haircut he made me give him not long after I first met him. Tommy latched on to my rare used of that nickname and it seemed to draw my husband and the unruly child closer together. Stroked me artfully: Oh dear, that refers to the afternoon I caught Tommy interfering with Irene with his fingers and because of that he was returned home and sent to boarding school. She grieved much like she grieved over the loss of Tinker. Omigod, my poor child. I had no idea something was developing within her over Tommy and I recall her going into a shell for a while from the time Tommy left. I just thought she missed him. Tinker was the only pet Irene has ever had; she was a Tabby and was run over and killed. What she’s expressing here is she regards Tommy’s as being similar to her tragic loss of Tinker.”
Toni wept and Susan hugged her.
“You are not a bad mother Toni. Irene has chosen not to communicate about this and of her emerging feeling over this Tommy. In some ways it’s perhaps best you haven’t known because it’s allowed Irene to slowly come to terms with her feelings and only now has she had the opportunity to express herself about it. Omigod, what a magnificent revelation she has made to herself and she may now recognise she had talent to become a writer because I do not believe this is the one and only awesome literary output we’ll see from Irene. How long ago is it since Tommy was returned home?”
“About two years. They are both sixteen now. Should I discuss how excited I was to learn she’d written such a fine poem?”
“My suggestion is no. Let Irene reveal her talent when she’s ready. One day she’ll probably pin something to the household notice board or attach it to the fridge and Mr White will say, ‘Hey wants this?’ And the discussion will begin perhaps with a modest reply from Irene and from there it could be all on, with you contributing.”
“How long away will that significant moment be?”
“I have no idea and does it really matter?”
“Little wonder Irene admires in you what she calls you skill to bend the minds of your students. I guess I’m not supposed to mention that.”
“No but I’m glad you did. Who else but Irene White would have chosen to express her observations in that manner?”
The woman laughed and hugged and Irene said, “Do you accept late enrolments for your night class. I’d really like to attend.”
The arrangement was made.
The years passed and Irene continued on to university intending to take a business degree but the head of the English Department at the high school who was seated alongside the senior careers advisor said, “We called you in Irene although you are one of the few who have a firm view of what to study at university. I have here a note left by a teacher who went to another school on promotion, Miss Matthews. You’ll remember her.”
“Yes it was through her encouragement that I’ve managed to twice win the school’s end-of-year prize for poetry and I guess in this my final year at school I could be in the running again for my essay on ‘The Importance of Wheat to Mankind.”
“Yes well it’s usual for us to try to influence a student whose mind is already settled on a possible career path but we a mindful that students do change their minds after a year or so at university. All Miss Matthews writes is this: When Irene announces her mind is made up, as I certain she will do earlier than most leavers, please ask her from me has she considered a degree in English Lit.”
“Omigod,” Irene said.
“What?” Mr Temple asked.
“Susan knows me better than I do, almost as well as my mom and they were great friends through poetry.
“I know what to do Mr Temple and Mrs Sunderland. I must proceed to enrol in English Lit. I wasn’t too chuffed on a Business degree anyway because the prospectus makes it sound so boring.”
When Irene was called to the rostrum to be capped as a Master in English Literature, majoring in Professional Writing, she also collected the top award for poetry, a reworked update of her first original poem that she still called ‘A Little Bugger Comes to Stay’. She’d recently released it on request to the university to feature in its annual Year Book of University Literature.
* * *
Irene (24) went to England on what young New Zealanders call their OE (short for overseas work experience/working holiday jaunt) usually taken on or soon after graduation. After graduating she’d put in eighteen months working for a book publisher as a copy editor before heading off into the Northern Hemisphere winter after mothballing her surf board and mountain trail riding bike.
The New Zealander was one of five job seekers sent to the small Thomas-Fulton Bank by a job placement agency in response to the bank’s call for a professional writer to join a team charged with updating and perhaps re-writing the bank’s whole range of information pamphlets and booklets for customers and staff. That project was part of the bank’s 25th milestone year since it was launched. When it opened for trading, a columnist in an influential financial publication suggested the bank would be lucky to be still in business after one year.
The proud founder, now Lord Fulton, ordered his bank executives to ‘upmarket the bank’s image and upgrade services and promote them more imaginatively’.
Those executives knew outside assistance was needed to drive the project forward imaginatively because generally the English banking industry was noted for moving two steps backwards before taking one step forward and ‘thinking imaginatively’ was something not even remotely considered when applicants was screened meticulously on merit on a points-scoring system under the traditional tried and proven method of recruitment within British banking.
Despite great references, Irene had failed to walk into a job in publishing and this was here first interview arranged for her by the agency. The consultant had been helpful saying, “Irene you must emphasize your mother was born and raised in England and that your association with banking began when an account was opened in a school banking scheme when you were five.”
“But I was never in school banking and didn’t have a bank account until I was sixteen.”
The consultant smiled and said, “I suggest you listen to me carefully darling.”
Irene got that clear message and to her astonishment she successfully lied her way through the interviews, with some scant backup evidence, and won the job of editor/chief writer. She had obeyed the consultant who’d instructed her to look wan and skinny by flattening her breasts tightly, to wear cheap low-powered reading glasses and plastered her face with white make-up and use dark red lipstick.
Thinking wearing absolute black and being trussed up with white make-up and wearing fake-glasses would fool no one, Irene was astonished when the head of HR for the bank, a very sharp-minded female, said after making the appointment, “Are you sure you’re not English dear?”
Irene’s smile froze and she didn’t know what to say and Mrs Roberts said, “Relax dear. I’m prepared to bet you ten quid Jenny Cole was your agency placement consultant. She prepares young women from the old Colonies so wonderfully for interviews. I suggest you remove those useless glasses that make you look owlish.”
Irene didn’t hesitate. She removed the glasses and pulled £10 from her wallet and handed it across.
Mrs Roberts smiled and said, “No you keep it darling because you face a tough time acclimatising here in winter and having a bath or shower as frequently as you New Zealanders are accustomed to. The water-heater on a meter in your digs will gobble up your money. And thanks for confirming my personal assessment that you are an honest and lovely young woman.”
Next day dressed in short sleeve and short skirt orange dress with black boots and sunglasses perched in her blonde hair, the effect of Irene entering the bank just before opening time was like a fireball flashing through the banking chamber.
“Good heavens, what planet is she from,” was one of the startled comments Irene heard.
She saw Mrs Roberts in the distance who displayed a toothy smile and gave Irene the thumb up sign. Mrs Roberts was in dour banking pinstripe.
Three young guys in pinstripe followed Irene into the lift and one leered and said, “Hello darling.”
Encouraged he moved in on Irene who said calmly, “If you attempt to fondle me or lift my skirt I’ll kill you.”
He staggered back into the arms of his companions who looked at Irene nervously.
She got out at the first floor and said cheerfully, “Have a productive day in banking guys and remember to be polite to females.”
Never in the bank’s twenty-five year history had a new employee made such a massive impact on his or her first day at work. As soon as HR posted the announcement of Irene’s appointment later that morning, her webpage was bought up on the screens of dozens of computers throughout the bank and the name Irene White came up in casual conversations throughout that day.
“She comes from New Zealand.”
“This Irene is a gun surfer.”
“Cor she was a New Zealand junior women’s champion in karate.”
“God she writes poetry and has had two paperback romances published and she’s only 24,” were raised in some of those conversations.
Irene was shown to the meeting room and introduce as Miss White, the team’s editor/senior writer.
“Hi gals and guys. Call me Irene or if you wish simply Rene.”
“You’re late,” said the fat guy sitting at the head of the table.
“Indeed sir but make allowances for the fact that I’m a creative person, not a tick-tock banker.”
The other five people at the table looked at Fat Man as if waiting to witness a titanic explosion triggered by foul temper.
Fat Man waited until all options had rattled through his brain and then decided on the softly-softly approach.
“Welcome Irene. My name is Graham Gill, head of Banking Services. At first I had misgivings when I heard someone from New Zealand whose only connection with banking was with the opening of a school banking account when she was five. I cursed myself for attending a boring management meeting instead of sitting in on yesterday’s interviews. I expected you to start next Monday but Milly Roberts said you’d prefer to get cracking and start today and I said to myself hello, what’s this? And here you are, defying bank protocol by coming in here wearing colour and I said to myself she’s figured those dress rules are for banking staff and not contract consultants. Are you with me Miss Editor?”
“Yes sir, loud and clear.”
“Call me Graham. Milly gave me your personal file to read and I read it and was impressed and then wondered what it didn’t say. I brought up your personal website in New Zealand and I must say I was quite staggered by your personal achievements and then something really floored me. Let me read this poem to everyone.
Irene sunk into her chair in embarrassment and closed her eyes as Graham recited, ‘A Little Bugger Comes to Stay’.
He read it well, with feeling and when he finished and removed his glasses to dab at his eyes, everyone clapped, some politely and two females clapped enthusiastically.”
“My wife cried and cried last night for that poor young guy,” Graeme said and she reckons you have huge potential to become a better than average poet. But we now turn to business.”
“Ah Graeme, are you our team leader?”
“No you are Irene, under my supervision of course.”
“But the leader should be someone knowledgeable in banking, have access to what services other banks offer or are planning, where the gaps in our services are and have a keen sense of what clients want from their banks all levels.”
“Um you have members of your team who have some knowledge of many of those things.”
“Yes and I’m sure these team members have been handpicked Graeme but I talking team leader, preferably a non-banker with experience in team-building and leadership who is visionary and…”
“All right, you’ve made your point and I have to say and excellent point. Leave that with me. Now let’s look at this report laying down the general concepts of this project.”
“As suggested or they are set in concrete?”
“Um I wrote the report and it has been approved, drumroll, by The Board and endorsed by the chairman himself no less.”
“Graham, drumroll, answer the fucking question. Ooops, sorry. In New Zealand we use that word as a colloquialism, um at least some of us do.”
“Then confine your use of it to this room and in the presence of only the team and it’s not to be uttered angrily.”
“Careful Graham, you’ll be earning my respect,” Irene said and the five muted other members of the team smiled.
“God you are one out of the box,” Graham said. “Yes these concepts are… are…”
“Thanks Rene, yes firm suggestions. Now starting on page five. Lunch will be served in here at 1:00.”
* * *
Lord Fulton smiled at the young woman and said, “Welcome young lady.”
“Please call me Irene your Lordship.”
“Yes Irene and since I’ve heard as our latest in-house consultant you are already out to break every convention we have.”
“That information given you could be an exaggeration My Lord.”
“Yes and I reached that conclusion unaided. I suppose you best call me Thomas. I’ve been to New Zealand four times.”
“Yes I’m aware you have been there and it was during one of those visits, in 1991 I believe, you sailed as assistant tactician on my Uncle Ned’s 88-foot keeler Bye-Bye from Auckland Harbour to round Great Barrier Island. Bye-Bye came in second for line honours and you guys were one of only the ten yachts to complete the course in rising gale-force conditions from the forty-three yachts that made the start.”
“By joves, so Ned White is your uncle. I had him over here a couple of times to host him. He’s a great guy and I’ll never forget as we rounded to the outer side of Great Barrier we broached and I really thought it was bye-bye. We all were on deck prepared to be slammed and we were, beyond our expectations. To see an 88-feet keeler heel on its side with much of the keel showing out of the water is truly an awesome sight and not one for the faint-hearted. Well I have you here to take a look at you. Graham says you are young and innovative and not short of ideas and want to add extra cost to my upgrade of literature and services by bringing in an outside specialist to lead your team. I’m asking why?”
“To achieve the best possible results and that’s it, no other attempted justification.”
“I like the cut of your jib young woman. Do want she wants Graham. Can you cut your 2-year contract to eighteen months to contribute something toward this expensive person’s fee?”
“Yes the team will work harder with greater focus to allow that to happen although while a cut of six months is possible, to keep standards up I estimate a cut of four months would be the preferable target.”
“Then four months it is. Off you go you two and thank you.”
“It’s our job to achieve sir,” said Graham.
Practically curtsying, Irene cooed, “You appear to be an okay sort of guy Thomas.”
Hearing that audacious comment, Graham appeared set for a heart seizure until he heard old Lord Fulton laugh heartily.
* * *
The company with the contract to service the bank’s advertising and promotional needs, and had held that contract for eleven years, sent three of its executives to be interviewed at the bank to work as the team leader of the publications and services upgrade project
Working with the director of HR, Graham appointed a blonde chap called Tom Andrews who clearly showed the greatest presence and indicated the keenest imagination of the three candidates.
Graeme went into Irene’s office where she and an assistant were working on a new version of the booklet ‘Banking Services for Pensioners’ that Irene had retitled ‘Banking Benefits for Seniors’ (similar wording but different emphasis).
“We’ve just appointed a chap to head your section. He appears to fill the bill.”
“He has to clear up his current work but can start Friday or else next Monday.”
“Monday will be fine.”
“His name is Tom Andrews and oh he’s a New Zealander.”
Irene froze, feeling the short hair on the nape of her neck moving.
“Where did he live in New Zealand?”
“Auckland, doesn’t almost everyone?”
“Omigod,” Irene screamed.
“Dunno. Except I have this feeling although there are numerous Tom Andrews about. Let’s take a look at the advertising agency’s web site. I think he’s the Tommy in my poem.”
“Jesus,” Graham said and they hunched together waiting for the page they wanted to open.”
The guy at Bridges and Mason Advertising Agency answered his phone, “Tom Andrews speaking.”
“Hi this is someone from your childhood speaking, Irene White. I’m in London and need to talk. Are you free for lunch?”
* * *
Tom sat in the restaurant nursing a beer, arriving on time although knowing that being a woman she’d be late. He wondered yet again how this was coming about. He’d done everything to try to bury his unhappy past. He supposed she would want him to help her find a job. God she’d hate it in bleak London in winter. Intelligent Kiwis knew to begin their OE in England in mid-spring. She’d be white and blue-lipped with soulful eyes dreaming of being back home and on the beach because it was summer there.
There was a stir at the bar of law, newspaper and advertising jerks crowding the bar and a couple of piercing wolf whistles rang out. He looked at the doorway and saw a blonde, hair up and in a near sleeveless dark blue dress with high hemline and mid-thigh boots and boobs jutting out like a 1970s sport car’s driving lights. He grinned thinking only a crazy Kiwi or an American babe on dope would not be dressed in black or dark brown and wearing an ankle-length thick coat.
He went to pick up his beer and swung back to look at the entrance: god he was waiting for a Kiwi female. She was talking to Carl the maître d’ and Carl, all charm, looked up and straight at Tom and held the focus.
Oh bloody heck; it was Irene White and he thought of the opening lines of a poem that his mom used to have taped beside the bathroom mirror: ‘
Out of nowhere came a stinging slap that rattled my teeth with a thud
Through pain I knew I could cry for mercy. But to submit to that jerk, no way
Looking aggressive and unwanted, the green-eyed brat we called the thug…
That was as far as he could still member for quoting but it was all précised in memory, his outrageous attempt to bash a plucky and rather charming young girl who ended up felling him and having him cry “Submit.” He remembered thinking afterwards about how she faced him, a burning red slash across the side of her face and her defiant look that made him think of that Warrior Queen in his favourite comic that his mum had tossed out in the refuse because he’d disobeyed her once too often.
Carl said as if introducing a Warrior Queen, “Tom your dinner companion Miss White.”
Tom loved what he saw and at the time had no idea he was inspecting his future wife. After all, he was engaged to Cynthia Ladbrook-Davis, fashion editor of a prominent women’s magazine.
Watched by the bemused maître d’, Tom kissed the woman demurely and said, “How lovely to meet you Irene after such a long span of time from my unfortunate past.”
Carl raised an eyebrow as he left, hearing Irene ask, “This time we meet in happier circumstances. Are you now secure in life?”
Tom just nodded, being embarrassed as being asked such a thing. He smiled and said he’d do his best to help her find employment.
Irene, looking very relaxed, drew a ‘hey look at me’ hand over her left breast before dropping that hand on to the table and said, “Don’t you know?”
“I’m the editor and chief writer of the team you are to manage at Thomas-Fulton Bank.”
Irene was pleased Tom didn’t look unhappy to have that news dropped on him.
* * *
Cynthia Ladbrook-Davis pushed Tom off her and said her was not invited to park there.
“When you’ve gotten off, get off.
“You sound disagreeable this evening,” Tom said, keeping his tone light.
He received no reply and wondered when she’d do the usual and offer coffee.
Instead she sat up and said, “My mother thinks you are not right for me?”
“Well she’d entitled to her opinion. What matters to me is your opinion.”
There was silence and Tom suspected he was being manipulated. Gee wasn’t Cynthia slowly showing she could be such a pain? Well that’s what comes of being raised as a spoilt brat. He remained silent and believed he could feel the heat rising. Jerky body movements suggested Cindy was agitated.
Finally she told him what she wanted him to know.
“I’ve been having second thoughts about you as well and dad refused to tell me what he thinks about us being a couple.”
“Do you really know what you want Cindy, I mean do you ever know?”
“I-I know I can be impulsive but that’s not the point.”
“Oh? So you are leading up to say you accepted my proposal to become engaged too impulsively.”
“Yes I have thought that, um several times.”
“God why am I being pressed about this?” she scowled.
“I’m seeking clarification because you introduced the subject and failed to deliver on it coherently, laying down chunks and leaving them hanging as if I’m supposed to be able to read your mind.”
“Mum also points out I’m big into fashion and you tend to sneer at the efforts of some people who lead fashion.”
“You mean people with inflated egos who strut like peacocks?”
“There you go again… I wonder what’s wrong with me putting up with you.”
“You have the option of calling off the engagement.”
She sniffed. “I’ve been thinking about it. God I’m leaking stuff. Didn’t you wear a condom?”
“No I thought why wear one when you are protected and I’m not playing around.”
“Tom you are such a selfish prick. Well it’s time to act. From this moment we are un-engaged. Get off my bed and cover your dick. You are in front of a lady.”
“Hand over my ring.”
“Then I’ll sue you for breach of promise.”
Cynthia was aghast and said he couldn’t do that and the ring was hers.
“Show me the receipt of your purchase of the ring,” he goaded and she said she’d consult a solicitor.
“A breach of promise action will harm your reputation and cause your employers to review their contract with you.”
“Some of my friends will celebrate my toughness at being a woman who can make the hard decisions.”
“However, others will talk about you as being a selfish and heartless woman who has never been able to stick with any guy longer than three months until I arrived on the scene.”
Cynthia began crying and said he was such a bastard.
“Yeah well it’s time to stop being nice to you and being used as your bagman. You have only one safe option with that ring.”
She worked it off and snarled, “Here take it you bastard. Get out of my apartment and stay out of my life.”
“Thanks and don’t try to get the ring back as your property or I will commence legal action to test its ownership. Remember you promised to marry me and this ring was a symbol of that commitment that you now have wormed out of. That broken promise means I have a legal case to press for the return of my property.”
“Consult a solicitor,” Tom said and pick up his clothes and shoes and left the room with Cynthia screaming a farewell, “Fuck off you under-performer.”
He grinned thinking she was such a bitch. It would have been a doomed marriage but he’d learned that too late because his initial heavy focus had been on her pussy and her mum had only turned on him after he’d refused to ball her.
* * *
Tom and Irene sat back tiredly on their chairs. It was almost 7:00 and they’d been reviewing the data Tom had gathered from many confidential sources about the various services banks had trialled and rejected or had to modify severely before introduction and the reasons why and as well, what new services had performed at least as well as expected. Before that they’d reviewed the report commissioned from his agency of a survey of 1000 people on the services they expected from a bank and why and what complaints did they have about the service received from their bank.
“Do you wish to go out from a drink or alternatively I have a bottle of French red someone gave me planted in the back of that filing cabinet over there.”
“Yeah let’s stay here and relax and talk pussy.”
“Oh god, I did say that.”
“Yes,” Irene giggled.
“I meant to say old times.”
The wine was good and as Tom topped up their glasses for the second round, Irene said softly, “May I lean against you? Talking about the old days has brought back old memories in a big way.”
“Yes, please do.”
“Do you remember when mum came in and caught us together, you with a finger up my slit as it was called in those days?”
“Hell yes. It was the second time in the years I stayed in your house that your mom scared me stiff. The first time she’d said she’d cut off one of my fingers each time I hit one of you kids. Can you imagine that?”
“No I suppose I can’t.”
“That’s not very convincing.”
“Well you could never quite tell with mum.”
He chuckled and quoted the first three lines of her poem about him as a 12-year old and when he stopped she began it again, recited the re-worked version she completed less than two years ago.
“Thanks he said. “That was a revised version. You are more revealing about your emerging emotions for me in the revise.”
“How did you get that copy?”
“Shortly after I came to England to live with my maternal grandparents, your mum got my address from mom and sent me the poem with a long accompanying letter in which she said when I left at fifteen it had been time for me to move on and not only because of me fondling you. She said I should read the poem very carefully several times and something might be revealed to me.”
“God she was on to you, thinking you would have received a good education by going to boarding school and then possibly continuing on.”
“Well about six months later I picked up the poem during a thunderstorm and yes, I got the obvious about what a little bugger I was and then the underlying theme of your emerging emotional attachment to me. And then bang, there was a huge thunderclap that sent my pulse racing. When I settled, I suddenly saw what your mother hoped I’d find and that was your sensitive talent with words, in this case with poetry. The narrative, when viewed as a whole, revealed that only one member of my temporary foster family held any affection for me.
“Hot diggity and congratulations Tom. Why don’t you complete working my slit?”
He boggled. “Do you really mean that?”
“Yes but don’t do it if you think it would be unfaithful to your fiancé.”
“Cynthia dumped me some weeks ago.”
“And you were surprised, not knowing she could be such a bitch?”
Tom squirmed and said he needed a diversion and reached under Irene’s dress and hooked in a licked finger under the edge of her panty leg.
“Oh my little bugger is back home,” Irene cooed, as they moved in for their first real kiss.
* * *
Tom and Irene married in London, with Tom’s mom, now a divorcee and all of Irene’s family attending.
As the bride and her family were having a quiet chat together during a halt in proceedings for a toilet break at the wedding breakfast, Irene’s middle brother Ron said, “What I wish to know how can a little bugger like Tommy used to be turn out to be Nice Guy Tom?”
“He just had to find his way in life and then decide how he wished to be in life,” said his mum and her husband patted her hand and said, “You always have been able to hit the button Toni. I agree with your assessment.”
The rest of Irene’s family and nodded and made Irene feel ever so happy.
“Who will read my little bugger poem during the speeches?” she asked.
“Me,” they all cried.
“Right,” she beamed. “You lot gather round me and I’ll say a little piece about the origin of the poem and then we’ll all read it together including Tommy too.”
“Tommy?” said her mom laughing.
“Er Tom,” said the bride, wondering if she should switch to call her husband Tommy. She had given him the original copy of that poem and he was so proud to possess it. Irene was sure she could call him anything because for the first time in his life he was in love… and loving it.
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