This is the fifteenth part of a fiction serial, in 752 words.
It was a long time coming, but Mabel had always known it was going to happen eventually.
On her birthday the following year, Winnie bought her friend an expensive gift. It was a dress watch on a bangle, not the sort you would wear every day, really fancy. And it was gold too. She gave it to Mabel in the kitchen, when Reg was still at work. Reg had left her a birthday card when he went to work that morning, just a small one with Happy Birthday written on the front, and a drawing of a country cottage. Inside, he had written ‘Have a happy birthday’. That was it. No present, and no fuss. Typical of Reg.
She was overwhelmed by Winnie’s present. A gold watch was beyond her dreams. “It’s too much, Win. You didn’t have to spend all that money on me”. Winnie stroked her face. “What else am I going to spend it on? My dad left me well provided for with insurance money, and I have the money from my job. You don’t need much when you’re on your own”.
Mabel hugged her, and kissed her on the cheek. But Winnie didn’t let go, turning to kiss her on the lips. A proper kiss.
Nothing was said. Putting the watch down on the table, she took Winnie’s hand and led her upstairs. She presumed Winnie would know what to do, and hoped she was right about that.
When it was all over, and only twenty minutes before Reg was due home, Mabel watched as Winnie got dressed. The older woman turned to her, a warm smile across her face. “I want you to know I love you, Mabel. I mean really love you”. Without having to even think about it, she replied. “I feel the same, but what can we do? I’m married”. Kissing her cheek, Winnie whispered softly. “We’ll work something out, leave it to me.”
Reg was soon home, and wondering why dinner wasn’t ready. “We’ve got sausages and mash, won’t take long. Winnie popped round to give me a present. Look, it’s a lovely watch, real gold too”. Giving it a cursory inspection, Reg snorted. “She must have more money than sense. I mean, when would you ever go somewhere posh enough to wear that? Might as well sell it, buy something useful”. She snatched it back. “I’ll never sell that watch, do you hear me, Reg Price? And you better not think about selling it behind my back, or there will be real trouble”.
They didn’t say much else to each other that night.
When Saturday night arrived, Reg made his usual move to climb over and get between her legs. Mabel was ready. “Not tonight, I’m feeling a bit sick”. With that, she turned over and pretended to go to sleep. He didn’t try again.
Perhaps if he had known that it was never going to happen again, he would have.
They settled into a routine that no longer involved the Saturday night sex. If Reg was annoyed, he didn’t say so. He was not a man to talk about such things, and Mabel suspected that he might have been relieved not to have to try to perform once a week. He did what a lot of men in such situations did, he found a hobby. The bloke who was a guard on the railway was called Clive and he suggested it one night at the pub. Fishing.
Never having fished, and knowing nothing at all about it, Reg soon became a dedicated fisherman. He loved to spend money, and now he had an excuse to buy more stuff. Rods, reels, waders, nets, hooks, and all sorts. And he had the car, for him and Clive to go all over to fishing places. Once he discovered that Mabel didn’t care where he went, he would set off with Clive every Saturday night for overnight fishing, not getting home until late on Sunday evenings.
That was fine with Mabel. “I’ll stop over at Winnie’s then. I don’t like being here on my own at night”. He had taken that without a murmur. There was some mumbling about fishing seasons, resulting in Reg telling her they would have to drive to the coast sometimes, for sea fishing. “Might be able to bring you back some mackerel to cook for dinner. In the rivers, we have to put them back”. She couldn’t care less about mackerel.
All she could think of was more time spent with Winnie.