Sunday Serial – XXI

As it turned out, they both liked savage. A lot. They lay face-to-face and grinned at each other.

“Anna Marshall, you are a constant surprise and delight to me.”

“Ditto.”

She ran her hands up and down his muscular chest.

“I’m impressed. You really must have to put in some work to get a body like this.”

“Oh, I do. I’ve seen too many health professionals who are in crap physical condition. I vowed it wouldn’t be me. And you? How’d you get a body to die for?”

“Oh. I work at it too. Possibly from a different angle. My problem is keeping weight on. I’m naturally as thin as a lath, but if I walk plenty and make sure I eat enough I can be lean rather than thin.”

“I’d say lucky you, but I’m guessing that it all has something to do with the knife throwing incident.”

“Yeah. It was a very dirty knife. I lost some feet of intestines, an ovary, and some other bits.”

Then she looked at him shyly.

“The ovary I lost turned out to have been the only one I had. That’s why I’m infertile.”

He kissed her affectionately.

“I don’t have an excuse. I just fire blanks. And in the end it gave my ex a watertight excuse to divorce me.”

Anna heard the raw pain in his voice.

“Oh Sam,” she said gently. “What a silly girl.”

“Thank you for that, but she had no intention of contemplating a life without children. She had it all planned, you see.”

“Oh, I see, but you can’t plan life. It will get up and bite you if you try. I’m sorry for you Sam, but I think I’m even sorrier for her.”

He thought for a minute.

“Me too. Thanks Anna, I’d never thought of it like that, but you do have a point.”

“I know I do. Life has proved it to me many, many times.”

“So now you know about my marriage. Do you feel like telling me about your love life?”

“I don’t see why not. His name is Ted, and I met him at the home where my mother spent the last years of her life. I used to go every weekend to see Mum and take the dog along for her to cuddle. Ted’s wife is there. She’s only thirty-five, but her mind is completely gone. She is still the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, but that’s about it. She doesn’t recognise him, or remember anything about their life together. Ted and I became friends, then lovers. And that’s about all there is to it. It’s a sad little story, but we never hurt anybody – except maybe ourselves.”

“God, Anna. That is sad. I can see how it must have been.”

She looked at his face for a long moment.

“I believe you do understand. That’s a bit of a miracle in itself.”

She smiled and kissed both his cheeks.

“Now Bonnie needs to go out before it gets too dark. After which, I’ve got chocolate brownies that I need help to eat.”

He grinned like a little boy and jumped out of bed.

“Get on with it, woman. You just promised me cake.”

Leaping into his clothes he jumped out of the camper and dashed off with Bonnie at his heels. Anna found shorts and a tee shirt, picked up her own discarded clothing, and put the wrapped brownies in a low oven to warm through. Sam and Bonnie were down by the stream. He grinned at her then trotted back to the camper, after jumping inside for a minute he walked back over to them with his hands behind his back and an oddly shy expression on his face.

“What’s up Sam?”

“Brought you a present each. Dunno if you’ll like them.”

He brought his right hand out from behind his back and offered Bonnie a paper bag. She put her nose inside and emerged holding a brightly coloured ball, which she promptly dropped at his feet. He picked it up and threw it for the waiting dog, who raced after it happily.

“I know she likes to play ball. It’s a proper dog one, so it won’t burst or anything. And I got this for you.”

He proffered a small, badly-wrapped parcel.

“I’m shit at wrapping.”

Anna smiled, and tore off the paper as eagerly as a child. “Oh Sam,” her voice was a bit tremulous as she held the tiny porcelain Belgian Shepherd in careful hands.

“Saw it in a shop window. Couldn’t resist. Hoped you’d like it.”

“Oh I do like it. Nearly as much as I like you. I don’t have a present for you, but maybe you’d like warm chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream.”

He laughed.

“I would indeed. Then maybe Anna for afters.”

“I think that could be arranged.”

They whistled up Bonnie, who returned with a face full of ball, and went back to the camper in a mood of happy anticipation.

Jane Jago

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