Friday 25th November
They moved into the big house just two years after Phil married June, in those two short years his life seemed to be turning out really well for him, no longer the boring twerp studying Law for years on end but a real success. At work Jameson was slowing down, and often left after lunch, leaving him to get on with stuff; he was writing letters with the bosses name and putting them in front of him to sign the next morning, he rarely questioned Phil. He seemed to trust his judgement, and gradually he let go of the purse strings a bit too. As his Dad had predicted, he was lining him up.
Jones and Phil got on really well too. Jones was more into business, and he sometimes gave him share tips. Phil had already bought a few shares, but it felt too long term somehow, why tie money up for years when there were opportunities closer to home. Jones and Phil decided to go into business together and buy the lease on a small shop at the wrong end of the high street, where the shops petered out and the houses begun. It had been a second-hand furniture shop, and before that a greengrocers, but nobody seemed to make it work.
Jones had this friend who wanted to open a Newsagents’, and had the money to pay them a decent few bob if they could find him a site. It was like taking sweets from a child; they only paid a thousand for the lease, Phil borrowed his share from the bank on the pretext of needing a car and no questions were asked of the smart new Junior Solicitor. They sub-let the shop for a decent rent, and got a premium of six hundred back for their trouble. It was so easy, and Phil was really beginning to like making money too, it seemed more his style than conveyancing yet another property. Phil bought a nice little Austin with the premium money; it wouldn’t do for the bank manager not to see he had a car, would it. And the rent they got for the shop more than covered the loan, so Phil was quids in too.
Then June went and got herself pregnant, and would have to stop work in a few months so Phil would be needing money more than ever now. He was like a hawk, on the look-out for prey. He realised that quite a few clients, small business-men, shop owners and the like would have a consultation with old Jameson and then not come back to give them their business.
“Put off by the fees, I expect,” said Jameson, “but I won’t do it for less. That’s the road to ruin, doing business on the cheap, soon run down your business that way I can assure you Phillip. Better to lose business than do it on the cheap.”
And Phil had to agree with him, at least while he was in the office, but in the pub after work he would find they often spoke to him, and bewailed the fees they were charging, and even asked if Phil knew a cheaper solicitor by any chance. Of course he did, though it would have to be done on the QT. We wouldn’t want old Jameson to find out, now would we? And it would have to be a one-off, oh, and cash, he couldn’t start running cheques through his bank account or questions would soon be asked.
* * *
It was barely a month after they moved into the big house when Ted and June would meet about once a week and just do it. No preliminaries, just frantic kissing, undoing of clothes and getting him inside her as quick as they could. And it was as good as it always had been, if not better. It was spring when they started, and Ted and her would meet at the bottom of Spikes Lane, and he would have the farm truck with him, so he could drive them round the back way, and they would have their fun in one of the barns, full of straw and old machinery, sometimes on an old tarpaulin or just on their coats, Ted’s trousers loosened and her skirt hoiked up, leaning on a bale of hay at the back.
Somehow doing it half-clothed was more exciting, and the possibility of getting caught only added to the excitement. June came so quickly with Ted too, whereas she was often left hanging on after Phil had finished, wishing it had lasted a bit longer, or that it was Ted doing it, rather than Phil. In fact it was far better with Phil if she let her mind drift, and it was Ted here with her, behind an old Combined Harvester smelling of oil and cow shit, rather than Phil with his red neck and Brylcreamed hair banging her in their new bed. It was quite easy, she just had to half close my eyes and let her thoughts slip and it was her and Ted all along – maybe it had always been that way, who knew?
Of course June was scared of getting caught. Who wouldn’t be? The last thing she wanted was to hurt her sister, despite a residue of jealousy that wouldn’t quite go away, but somehow she felt that if Julie didn’t know then it wouldn’t hurt her, would it? And you know how it is, the first time you do something you shouldn’t you are scared wit-less, then each time after that it just gets easier, and the guilt slips away like the mist over the fields on Summer mornings. Then by the time it got to Autumn she was pregnant, so Ted and her stopped, stopped meeting let alone doing it, but they had never had a discussion about any of it, there never seemed the right moment to actually talk about what they were doing. It was as if some madness had overtaken them both, besides June didn’t think they could have talked sensibly about any of it if they had wanted to, they were just too besotted with each other.
Ted and June had stopped seeing each other because it was getting much colder, and she was huge with Harriet too, so she couldn’t be bumping down country lanes anymore, let alone doing it in freezing cold cowsheds. Strangely enough her sister was pregnant at the same time, and in a way this brought the two sisters closer together. They had never been that close growing up really, June was two years older than her sister, and probably thought Julie was too young for her to be her friend, she’d always hung around with older girls at school, and the last thing she would have wanted was a younger sister under her feet.
But now that they were both pregnant they suddenly became friends (despite the fact that June had been banging her husband all Summer) and they would go to the Hospital together on the bus, two hugely pregnant ladies sitting side by side on the downstairs seat opposite the conductor. And Julie would wait at June’s house with her until Ted came to fetch her in the evening, and he would laugh and say there must be something in the water. Phil never saw the funny side of it though, he was peeved about June having to stop work, and how they were going to manage with the mortgage and loan to pay, and that was when he started going out to meet clients in the evening. June knew it was a bit peculiar, but somehow she just accepted that with Phil that was the way it was, and so a couple of evenings a week, he would drive off in the Austin and meet some crony or other to talk about business. He never shared any of the details with her, it was all just ‘business’ with him, and so she put his absences out of her mind, besides she had quite a lot to think about with this baby coming. She was determined that this would be the end of it with Ted; it had been stupid and reckless and it must end now. But in her secret thoughts she wasn’t sure how she would tell him, let alone be able to stop herself from wanting him so desperately.