It’s a well-known Internet fact that, when people want deep, meaningful philosophy and need comfort, condolences, compassion and lots of other things beginning with C, this is the last place they come. However, despite the fact that today I’d intended to conflate The Iliad, The King James Bible, four poems by Tennyson and the text of Irn Bru adverts between 1995 and 2004, that particular piece of enlightenment has had to be shelved. The reason? Well, by popular demand (OK, 2 people suggested it), I’ve penned (better than ‘keyboarded’) a continuation of ‘The Lovers of Wensley Dale’.
The story so far was posted on June 1st. It continues thus:
Leticia’s body was still awash with the desire Roger’s parting kiss had kindled in her. Her time at Wal-Mart had dulled her appreciation of metaphor to such an extent that she was ignorant of the fact that the conflation of kindled and awash implied a soggy fireplace. For her, the passion was an awakening, a confirmation that her time spent watching those TV movies written by Jane Austen had been the beginning of her education as a Belle Dame sans Merci.
She got up, poured herself another glass of the rich red wine and once more stood before the cheval mirror, turning her body to admire the way the satin folded jealously down the curve of her back. She lifted the hem of her dress, admired the legs which Roger had kissed and likened to freshly dug asparagus, and felt again the stirring inside her that was always provoked by the memory of his lips on her skin. She wanted him again. Badly. His sardonic laugh was a drug, the curl of his hair a challenge, his cheese-related quips a delight.
His image came to her – pulsing, hot, eager – and the Beethoven was suddenly infiltrated by the counterpoint of the Nokia theme. Roger! It was a sign. Merely thinking of him was bringing him to her, giving her access to his voice and, by extension, the tongue and lips which caressed its modulations into the air. The telepathy she sensed between them could fly through the night and burrow into his mind. And his body.
She put down her glass and looked around for her cell phone. (She’d stopped calling it a ‘mobile’ when Roger had smiled at her and told her that anecdote about himself with the B-movie actress in the elevator in Philadelphia.) It was on the rug in front of the blazing fire. She grabbed it without bothering to look at its little screen, spread herself on the sheepskin, rolled onto her back and pressed the button. There was silence with only a faint sound of breathing to disturb it.
‘Darling?’ she said.
The silence stretched. Then came a sneeze.
‘Roger?’ she said, alarmed at the thought that he was in any discomfort.
‘’snot Roger,’ said a voice.
Leticia sat up.
‘Who is it?’ she snapped, angry that her lover’s place had been usurped by a stranger.
‘’sme. Gavin,’ said the voice.
‘Oh no. What do you want? Bugger off,’ said Leticia, her Paisley accent resurfacing for the first time in days.
‘I can’t. I’ve got a puncture,’ said Gavin.
‘I’m not a bloody bike shop,’ said Leticia. ‘What you phonin me for?’
‘’cuz I still loves you, Myrtle,’ said Gavin.
‘Don’t call me that,’ said Leticia.
‘But it’s your name.’
‘Not any more. So bugger off. Where are you anyway?’
‘Outside,’ said Gavin. ‘I rode up here to see you, but me bike got the puncture just outside the village so I pushed it here.’
Leticia couldn’t believe what she was hearing. The village was a mile away. He couldn’t be here. Not Gavin. Not that loser. Outside Roger’s log cabin? Impossible.
She went to the window and looked out. In the yellow light it cast on the deepening snow stood a figure, wearing only a Celtic football shirt and a pair of jeans. Over his shoulder was a bike.
Bloody Gavin. She felt the hot tears brimming in her eyes. This never happened to Miss Bennett. It made a mockery of the flickering fire, the cabin’s sumptuous interior. It breached her dream and, in its place, built stark reminders of Wal-Mart and special offers on selected brands of cheese.
Gavin’s phone was still pressed to his ear.
‘Oh God, you look gorgeous,’ he said.
‘So I bloody should,’ said Leticia. ‘This is a Vera Wang frock. Twelve hundred quid’s worth.’
Gavin knelt in the snow, one arm stretched beseechingly out toward her, the other still holding his phone.
‘Come home. Please,’ he said.
Home. The single room in the tenement. The Pizza Hut deliveries. The laundrette. The TV with just five channels. No, she’d graduated from all that. She’d been elevated to the hushed corridors of amorous elegance. She could control her own destiny. Myrtle was dead. Long live Leticia.
She closed the phone and drew the curtains. Even in such adversity, love would triumph.