Abigail, Rebecca and Miriam (Ch. 3)

by Lyman Henderson with assistance from Kim Good


by Lyman Henderson

This is a sequel! Synopsis of Chapters 1 &2, previously posted:

Abigail and Rebecca are two middle aged sisters, living together with Rebecca’s brilliant teenage daughter, Miriam, in the old family home. All three are beauties. However, Abigail had never met the right man. Recently she has been strongly enamoured of Marion’s teacher, Albert, and is currently living together with Albert at his home. Rebecca, on the other hand, is a woman who eats a new man for each breakfast. She has been married three times and is currently on the hunt. She has few other concerns other than herself. Miriam is an exceptional student, top of her class in marks, a great sportswoman and a social success. Albert (with the help of Abigail) has been grooming her for an eventual Rhodes scholarship.

Rebecca examined her nails closely. There was a tiny chip out of one. So frustrating! She had just had them painted yesterday at what she considered an indecent cost. It was so annoying, the cost of living up to one’s own expectations. Still if one had to do it one had to do it well. It was the price one paid for beauty and even she admitted to herself, as she examined herself in the mirror, that she was beautiful.

Preparing her face for the day was a ritual Rebecca lingered over, loving the time it took to apply her make-up so that she could face the world calmly and confidently, knowing that she had achieved perfection. First velvety smooth moisturizer and then, to create the look of flawless skin, she gently applied her foundation which a minute later was set off with a fine silky powder. Next were her eyebrows. With eyebrow brush in hand she groomed away any stray hair to achieve the perfect arch that framed her large expressive, deep blue eyes. She used midnight black liner to outline them ,then with a practiced hand, mascara for the lashes. She took out the lip liner, and carefully followed the voluptuous curve of her lips. Then she meticulously filled in the lined lips.

Her flamboyant blond hair was up, with golden highlights winking in the mirror. Her coiffure was still in excellent shape. She stood and twirled before the mirror. And so was her figure. Almost perfect. Being aware that women tended to broaden in middle age, she early decided that, “No way this chick!” She worked hard on her appearance. Other than that she did not work. The final touch was a mist of outrageously expensive perfume, her favourite, Chanel from France. It made her feel better to play today’s game leading from strength.

Yester-evening had not been good. In public, she had made an ass of herself about Albert. Despite Abigail’s moon-love gaze, she had put Albert in her own gun sights. Then that little bitch, Miriam, had really thrown her by bringing her father (Rebecca’s ex) into the game. Rebecca had lost her temper—completely and utterly. She thought she could probably get Albert back on the hook, if she could get him on the dance floor once more. But then was it really worth it? She wasn’t one to cry over spilt milk. She usually got her way—but if it was not going to happen well then it was not going to happen. Period. Next sentence.

But she needed a man. She felt only half there without one tagging along. She missed an escort to open the door for her and take her arm. She needed the security, the comfort, the completeness of having a man. She wasn’t particularly missing the bed part. That was sort of the price one paid for the comfortable presence. However when she assessed the situation she not only did not have a man but there was no one in view.

She pondered. She picked up the phone and dialed a number from memory.

“Sheila darling, it’s your Rebecca. I want so much to go to your gala but I haven’t got a man. Isn’t that terrible? Yes, me! I haven’t got a man! Can you fix me up?”

She paused to listen. “Oh nothing sensational. He should be taller than I am in my high heels… and just a little bit handsome I think. Oh yes, he shouldn’t be fat nor bald and he must be able to dance. He doesn’t have to be perfect, I only want to use him for the one evening.”

)n the other end of the phone, Sheila paused for a moment or two. “I think I’ve got the very man, Rebecca darling. Name’s Jeremy Firstbrook. Doesn’t like to be called ‘Jerry.’ Passes the tall and sort-of-handsome test. Good head of hair. Just coming down off a long-term relationship. She gave him the pink slip. So he’s been house broken. Presumably he can dance. You’ve got to take some chances.”

“That’s sounds quite appetizing. Should you phone him?” Pause to listen. “Oh thank you darling. Tell him to phone me. I’ll be home this evening. I’ll look forward to hearing from him.”

She put the phone down with a satisfied smirk. That’s taken care of. And if he should prove interesting she might just hang onto him for a month or too. So this would be a sort of trial date. She could hardly wait. The gala was a week hence.

That evening the phone rang and she just knew it was the man. She let it ring several times before she picked it up. A pleasant male voice asked for “Rebecca.”

“I’m Rebecca,” she answered and paused to listen. “Well, I’m glad to meet you even if it is just over the phone. Darling Sheila told me all about you. She made you sound very interesting. I’m dying to see you in person.”

The conversation carried on for ten minutes while they made arrangements for the gala. He would pick her up at 7:00 PM. Rebecca promised to have a drink ready for him so they’d have a few moments to get acquainted before plunging into the high society of the ball.

The week passed quite normally and being a creature of the present, she was not worried what the day might bring. But she did think very carefully about her wardrobe. She wanted to be distinctive, but she didn’t want to blast this new man out of the water before she had a chance to really assess him. The black sheath with the full, calf length skirt and the provocatively low back. That looked great on her, especially on the dance floor. She’d set it off with silver jewelry—a bracelet and a pair of showy rings. She had a rather large diamond on a necklace, left over from a former romance. That would look great nestling in her cleavage. She dressed herself mentally from shoes to hair do and was satisfied.

On the night in question, the doorbell rang precisely at seven o’clock. Even Rebecca felt her throat tighten in apprehension. She went to the front door and swung it wide. The smile on her face was genuine and didn’t let up as she surveyed her date. He was indeed tall and passably handsome but his built was Atlasian. He indeed could hold the world on those broad shoulders. He was in a tuxedo but with a subdued blue check jacket instead of the traditional black. She liked that. However it was the tentative but winsome smile that won her over completely.

“You must be Jeremy,” she said as she stepped back to allow him to enter. She held out her hand.

He took her hand and kissed it without embarrassment. “Good guess,”

he said lightly, “And you’re Rebecca.” He paused for a moment to take in the whole woman. “Sheila told me that you were beautiful. She understated the case. How could I be so lucky?” Rebecca had the decency to blush.

She ushered him into the living room sat him on the sofa, then prepared a Martini and one for herself. She sat facing him in a small arm chair. There was some small chat but not much. Then Rebecca asked, “So tell me why you agreed to take out a stranger on a blind date.”

He paused to study his drink. “Well, to be frank, I was at a loose end and feeling sorry for myself. That’s a terrible condition to be in. So Sheila’s suggestion was a sudden lifesaver to a drowning man.”

“Tell me more.” Rebecca was no novice in milking information.

“I don’t want to bore you.”

“You aren’t. Come on. Give!”

He looked embarrassed but proceeded slowly. “Well, you see. I was getting over, or I thought I was getting over a rather deep love affair. I don’t know why I should tell you this but I really thought that she was the one. Then she dumped me for another guy who had money oozing out of his pores.”

Rebecca paused long enough to consider whether she would dump this nice guy for a man with ”money oozing out of his pores.” Probably she would. She was always honest in her self-appraisal.

They talked easily and intimately for another half hour, piece by piece filling in the picture-puzzle of the other. Then Rebecca noticed that Jeremy’s glass was empty. “I think we should go to the ball now. Sheila will have her tongue hanging out in anticipation of how we’re getting on with each other.”

“So… How are we getting on with each other?” There was that winsome smile again.

A slight warm shiver went through Rebecca, an unusual experience for her. “I’d give you a passing grade,” she replied cautiously.

“I may stay for some post-grad education.”

“Be my guest.” She let him hold her wrap as she snuggled into it.

His car was neither expensive nor sporty but it was clean and comfortable. He could read her mind as she compared the car to his stylish tux jacket. He smiled, held out his jacketed arm, “Rented for the occasion,” he said simply. At the ball, they were lucky enough to find street parking just a few steps away from the entrance. Inside they were ushered to a table for eight. Sheila was there as hostess and welcomed them with an inquisitive smile. She introduced them to the rest of the guests. Jeremy went around the outside of the table to shake hands with each of them. Rebecca was impressed with this gesture.

The meal was a formal affair (four courses) and the wine flowed freely, as did the conversation, though typically no one could remember any of the latter after the event. There were only a couple of short speeches, also not memorable, and then the band took to the stand. From the opening few notes, Rebecca realized that this musical group was quite exceptional. Now was the time to see whether Sheila had picked out a dancer. She nudged Jeremy until he looked at her. She arched her eyebrow questioningly. He responded immediately by standing up and taking her elbow. They manoeuvred through the crowd to the dance floor.

He took her in his arms and felt his hand on her bare back. An electric jolt went through the two of them. Out of the floor they swayed to the tempo. He tried some simple steps, which she easily anticipated. He essayed a few more intricate moves and she was his willing shadow. They moved as one. His style was not the classically learned fox trot, waltz, tango, etc. He was the music and she blended into every nuance. He found he could easily lift her off the floor, if the music demanded. Even when they danced apart, they were a syncopating pair.

After the first set they returned to their table, aglow. They spoke little, both eagerly awaiting the return of the musicians. And so the evening went. Jeremy reluctantly had a duty dance with Sheila during which Rebecca was literally dragged around the floor by Sheila’s husband, Bill. Then the two fell into each other’s arms again and danced off to heaven with the next melody.

It was just after one o’clock that the last piece was played. Some of the other guests had already left but Rebecca and Jeremy were almost the last. They finished off the dance with a twirl that ended precisely on the final note. They lingered still in each others’ arms to savour the satisfaction of their swirling conclusion. He quite naturally leaned forward and kissed her. She was surprised but not displeased.

They were effusive in their thanks to Sheila for arranging their blind date, then strolled out arm in arm to the car in the coolth of the evening. He made sure that her wrap was well around her. He drove to her house. He shut off the engine, turned to her with his arm behind her on the back of the seat.

“Well, that was some…” He swallowed the last of the sentence as she grabbed his lapels and pulled him in for a long, open-mouthed, kiss. He adjusted his arms to pull her closer.

Suddenly she surfaced for air. She pushed him away. It wasn’t as if she didn’t know the drill from this point on. She had been here before—too often. The bait had worked and the fish was well hooked. Take him to bed. In the morning he wouldn’t be as interesting and she could make up her mind whether to dump him or keep him for a few days. So what was stopping her? What was so different about this man compared to all the others? She didn’t know. She just knew she didn’t want to treat him with the same formula. She looked at him through misty eyes.

“Ah, Jeremy… Look. We can’t stay here all night. You know I’m no virgin but somehow I don’t want to ask you in. I think I may be in love with you and I don’t know how to handle it. Do you understand?”

He kissed her as she stayed in the circle of his arms. “Perfectly. I don’t want this to be a one-night stand. I want this to go on forever. I’ll take you up to the door and then go home.”

“Oh Jeremy. You’re too good for me.”

“What are you doing tomorrow night?”

“Jeremy I can’t. I organized with three other women and we’re going to Muskoka for a few days. Just four women. You wouldn’t like that.”

“Where are you going in Muskoka.”

“It’s a tiny place with a long history. It’s called Rostrevor.”

“Rostrevor! The place with the long sandy beach? I know it well. Been there myself… Here’s an idea. Could you stay over two or three extra days? I’m not booked up next week and I could join you up there. We could have a holiday in a canoe.”

She looked at him with longing. “You are a wonderfully resourceful man.” She paused in thought, then “I’ll take you up on that.”

“Great. I’ll book accommodation. Don’t worry, I’ll get two rooms,” he said.

She sighed as she kissed him again. She thought: the way this is going we may never use the second one. He took her to the door, gave her another swift kiss. She lingered in the doorway as he drove off.

She undressed thoughtfully as she prepared for bed. What on earth was happening to her?

6 Responses to “Abigail, Rebecca and Miriam (Ch. 3)”

  1. Victoria says:

    Lyman, I hope you’re not going to leave us all hanging too long for the next installment… :)

    Take care,

  2. Rose says:

    Welcome back Lyman,

    I hope you had a wonderful time in BC and a happy Birthday!!! So you are up to chapter 6 …. HMMMMM. Can’t wait.


  3. Geri says:

    Oh Lyman, I’ve missed you, now the suspense is killing me, if you are up to chapter 6, why can’t we have them weekly?
    So good to have you back……………..Geri.

  4. jack long Feb 21,10. says:

    When I finished reading I kept clicking around to try to find the rest of the story. This can’t end here just as the others couldn’t.
    By the way I like some of your word creation. “Atlasian, coolth”-very creative.

  5. Silvana Ness says:

    Hi! Lyman. I can only echo Victoria’s comment at the beginning of this column. You are very good at keeping the suspense going. I’m hurrying through the next two chapters and wait for more! Silvana

  6. Lawrie Pollard says:

    Lyman – you are a riot! Every time I read one of your treatises I am reminded of my impresssion of you when we first met. You had that sly sense of humour that immediately attracted me. You have not changed. When I read each one of your missives , I want to jump on a plane and fly East for a visit and a renewal of some of those memorable days. Stay well. You may yet find me at your front door.

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