Chapter 13

SOPHIE

A couple of weeks after our row things at home had almost got back to how we were years ago.  I’d started working at the nursery just one day a week and we both thought that had been beneficial to our relationship at home.  Tim seemed pleased and made me very welcome and it did give us something in common that we could talk about over dinner.  I think I can definitely see a role for myself on the financial side and I will need to work there at least another day a week and Tim agrees.  I don’t know how this will impact on my work for Dad but I’ve not really had my heart in that for years and I think it’s the right time for me to leave Cannon Pet Supplies completely.  Anyone could do my till-checking job and it’s a  nonsense me being a Director.  I feel completely out of place at board meetings, embarrassed and inadequate.  I’d miss the salary but I even feel guilty about receiving that as I earn more for my pathetic input than the store managers do with their very demanding jobs.  

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It was Saturday and we’d both been invited to a posh wedding but Tim was tied up at the nursery as often happens. The manager, Erwin, was off sick, quite ill actually, and the other permanent member of staff was on holiday and Tim said he couldn’t leave the two Saturday girls to run things on their own. So he was at work and I was having to go to my friend Julia’s wedding on my own. Great, I thought, unlike the rest of my friends I’ll be a gooseberry yet again. None of their husbands had to work Saturdays as they were mostly ’employed’ in their fathers’ businesses and could take time off whenever they wanted, like I used to be at Cannon Pet Supplies.

“Welcome to the real world” as Tim put it.

I’m ashamed now that I made such a fuss when he said he couldn’t come.

“I’d love to come, I really would.”

I believe him now but at the time all I wanted was my own way.

It was an early wedding, a traditional church white wedding, and I expected the press there as the bridegroom is the son of the local Tory MP, Sir somebody or other, with royal connections. I’d chosen my clothes carefully in case I was in a magazine society picture, quite a daring outfit as I wanted to show off my legs but I was slightly worried the neck line might have been a little low as I didn’t want anyone to think I was tarty. My wedding and engagement rings were there to show I was taken.

The wedding went off well, the church was packed and the vicar was lovely. The reception was held in the grooms parent’s country mansion almost next door to the church, ideally suited to a wedding. There was a huge marquee in the bridegroom’s parent’s garden but the bride and groom and their parents greeted us in one of the reception rooms in the house itself. Then we proceeded to the marquee for drinks and a sit down three course meal.   The drink was flowing freely, I counted at least three black dustbins filled with champagne on ice and the tables were laden with red and white wine bottles.  I was given a placing on a table of couples who I didn’t know and who were rather cliquey and not at all inclusive.  I was bored by them and felt sorry for myself as there was an empty seat next to me where Tim should have been so even though I was determined to enjoy myself and the food was lovely and the speeches good stupidly I allowed myself to drink too much and became maudlin. The bride, my friend Julia, came over briefly for a chat which was the highlight of my time at the table. She looked lovely and happy and was very chatty.  She said was going to the Seychelles for three weeks for her honeymoon and Julian’s father (her new father-in-law) had bought them a beautiful house as a wedding present. I had hoped I’d be a bridesmaid but Julian had twin sisters so that was never going to happen.

After the meal, which finished about 4, the tables were moved away and a dance band started up. Julia took the floor with her Dad and then Julian and his mother joined them. After the first dance Julian’s Dad took over from his son and Julia’s Dad went and fetched Julian’s mother so the six of them were on the floor. It was perfect. Then they were joined by the best man and the two bridesmaids and then I was whisked onto the floor by the a man I knew vaguely. I love dancing and really started to enjoy myself. The music was inspiring and I was carried away by it. My partner, who reminded me he was called Boris, was a fantastic dancer. He could jive really well and do the old fashioned waltzes and quick steps too. After a few dances I became aware that we were dancing close in the slow numbers, too close for comfort. I could feel his thighs rubbing between mine and then I felt his erection pressing into my stomach.  Although that set the alarm bells ringing I was drunk and enjoying myself and stupidly I let myself get turned on even though I knew I was being naughty. I could feel dampness between my legs. Wow, I thought, this is exciting. Boris said, “you’re hot,”  and that made me come to my senses. This kind of behaviour was not right for me, a married woman, mother of two kids. So I broke away and told Boris I needed a break and to cool down outside. Boris followed me with drinks and brought them onto the terrace. The sun was shining onto fields of bright yellow flowers which Boris said were called rape. I began to feel a bit peculiar and wondered what he’d put in my drink. Maybe I’d just had one too many. Boris continued getting amorous. I knew it was partly my fault for getting carried away on the dance floor. He pulled me close to him and tried to kiss me with his hand groping for my fanny. 

“Stop right now,” I said. “I’m married.”

He said, “So what, you’ve given me the come on all afternoon. You can’t go all high and mighty now.” He sounded a bit angry.  I think he was drunk like me.

“I wasn’t giving you the come on. I was just enjoying dancing with you.” That’s what I said but I knew he was sort of right, otherwise I wouldn’t have got turned on.  He tightened his grip and tried to grope me harder. I tried to push him away but he was stronger than me. So I said if he didn’t stop I’d scream which was enough to get him to let me go.  Then I told him I was feeling sick and was probably going to throw up and I rushed inside the house looking for the loo, suddenly realising I was desperate for a wee. I eventually found a toilet on the first floor, dropped my knickers and sat down, just in time. 

“That was a lucky escape,” I thought. “What was I thinking of?” 

I put my elbows on my knees and my hands on my forehead. My head was spinning. I had been excited by Boris. I could have carried on. It would serve Tim right for… My thoughts were interrupted by a noise which turned out to be the toilet door handle. I looked up as to my horror the door started to open and I realised I must have forgotten to lock it.

“Sorry, occupied,” I shouted and tried to hold the door shut with my foot. Whoever it was just kept pushing.

“Pleath don’t come in, I won’t be long,” I said but the door still kept opening until I saw it was Boris who must have followed me upstairs.

“Sorry,” he said, “I was desperate,” as he started to unzip himself.

“Get out, I’ll only be a thecond,” I said as firmly as I could but I just sounded very drunk. I’d stopped myself peeing but couldn’t hold it in any more. It was embarrassing urinating with him watching. He had a funny look on his face.  He turned round and shocked me by locking the door. I began to feel threatened. He fiddled with his trousers a bit more and out popped a fully erect penis which he held tightly in his left hand.

“Pleash leave me alone. I’m not intereshted,” I said. “I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression. I’m married.”

His response was to take hold of my head with his right hand and try to force it towards his member.

“Come on darling, just do me a favour. I bet you’d love to.” he smirked gloatingly. “You owe it to me and I’ve heard you used to put it about.”

I winced at this. I might have been a bit promiscuous when I was a teenager but I’d never give head and I’d been a faithful wife to Tim for more than 10 years. I realised I had to get out of this situation somehow. The drink, the smell of his organ and the situation all combined to make me really nauseous and I was very frightened.

“Lishen, I’d love to suck you off. I give really good head. But I shink I’m going to be sick and I wouldn’t want to throw up all over you. Jush let me get that out of the way first.”

I gave his balls an encouraging squeeze and pushed him back gently. To my relief he backed away releasing my head from his grip. I managed to turn and get down on my knees by the toilet. I started to retch and leaned over the bowl clutching the seat. The taste in my mouth was awful and my stomach was churning painfully, making me feel very weak. The next thing I knew was I could feel Boris pulling my dress up over my back and my thong down so my bottom was exposed. I knew he must have knelt behind me. Then I felt his member searching between my legs. He started to fuck me from behind. It seemed to slip in easily and he started to thrust rhythmically deep inside me. As he forced himself in and out I had to cling hard onto the seat to stop my head banging repeatedly into the toilet lid. He had me in a vice-like grip with his arms crossed under me, each hand squeezing one of my breasts.  I should have screamed but I just felt weak and powerless. I don’t know why but I just bit my lip and didn’t utter a sound and waited until he’d finished. My nausea had been completely supplanted by a feeling of complete helplessness and disgust. Then I heard someone trying the door. I recognised the noise.

“Won’t be long,” Boris shouted drowning out my pathetic, “Help.”

Fortunately it didn’t last long but my breasts were sore from his squeezing and my head bruised from being pushed against the toilet lid and I felts sperm oozing out between my legs. By the time I got up and rearranged my clothes Boris had put his penis away. As I tried to pull myself together wondering what to do next Boris unlocked the door and said to the person who had tried the handle,

“I think she’s finished. A bit too much to drink.” And to me, “Rinse you mouth out then you’ll be OK.”

“Are you going to be alright?” said the lady – to my horror it was the bridegroom’s mother, Mrs Gwent.

“Wash your face and I’ll take you for some fresh air,” Boris said to me.

“Leave me alone,” was all I could manage through clenched teeth. I wanted to say

“I’ve been raped. This bastard has just raped me,” but I was confused and in an emotional turmoil and in that state wondered if somehow it was my fault. Also I was aware that I was drunk and Mrs Gwent might have thought that if I accused Boris she might think it was just a lover’s tiff. I washed my face and my mouth out and left the bathroom to the new occupant. Boris had gone. I felt another trickle of sperm down my thigh and felt dirty. I wanted to sob my heart out. I didn’t know what to do. I checked my watch – 5:30. Tim would be setting off to join me at 6. He’d be here in less than an hour. I really didn’t think I could face him in my present state. I found an empty room downstairs and sat down, trembling. Someone popped their head round the door and asked if I was OK. I said I just needed a break from dancing. 

I sent Tim a text : “Sorry darling I’ve got a migraine and I’m going home. I’ll see you there.”

Then I rang Fred, Mum and Dad’s caretaker come chauffeur, and asked if he could pick me up and take me home, telling him I had a headache. I couldn’t face trying to get a taxi and I didn’t want Tim to come here. No way could I go back into the marquee.

Fred was brilliant. He arrived quickly and left me to my own thoughts in the back of the Roller. He didn’t try to make me talk once. And I was back home before Tim which was a great relief. I threw my thong away in the wheely bin and went up for a bath. My head was pounding and I was almost suicidal. How could I have let that beast do that do me? Why didn’t I scream, shout the house down, punch him in the balls, throw up over him? So many things I could have done and I did none of them. And now I’ve just washed away his sperm, the evidence. Of course I could retrieve my spermy thong but do I want to go through the ordeal of police interviews? Do I want Tim to know? Or anyone? It’s my word against his and everyone knows I was drunk and that I’d been dancing intimately with him and Mrs Gwent had seen both of us in the toilet and thought she’d seen me being sick.

I was still in the bath when Tim came home but I’d locked the bathroom door so we had to talk through it. I told him I was feeling really poorly and would be going straight to bed. He was upbeat because they’d had a really good day at the nursery with record takings.

I was asleep by the time he came to bed. Although he tried hard to be quiet he woke me but I didn’t let on. I didn’t want to tell him what had happened and I certainly didn’t want any intimacy. I felt dirty and I blamed myself for what had happened. I’d led him on, after all.  Next morning I was still weak and confused but it was Sunday and Tim and I were supposed to be going to his folks for late lunch. I didn’t want anything to draw attention to myself so resolved to pull myself together ready for the trip. I always enjoyed our visits to Wales and hoped the change would help me get over my wretchedness.

After Tim had gone downstairs I had another hot bath, letting the warmth permeate through me, hoping to cleanse myself. I swilled the water in and out of my vagina ten, twenty, thirty times. Then I massaged myself with body milk, hoping to enjoy the luxurious sensation. Then I dressed slowly choosing casual clothes suitable, I hoped, for a visit to Cwm Dinas. I tried to calm myself and empty my mind before I went downstairs to face Tim.

“How’s the headache?”

“Oh, yes much better now thanks. I hope you’re not cross with me for pulling out.”

“No,” said Tim generously, “I’d had a busy day and wouldn’t have been much company anyway. I had an early night and feel much better for it. You were well gone when I came to bed. You still look a bit peeky.”

“I’m OK now,” I lied. “Were you busy with customers?”

“Yes, we did well. Took over £3,000.  I’ve had to leave Kerry in charge today.  She only got back from Malaga yesterday and it will be the first time she been in charge at the weekend but she’s two Sunday staff to help her so I’m sure she’ll be OK.”

“Great,” I said, trying to sound enthusiastic. “Shame you couldn’t sort something out for yesterday,” I muttered under my breath, thinking then nothing untoward would have happened.

As we drove along the A55 in the nursery van, towing a trailer, towards Cwn Dinas I kept going over the events of the wedding over and over, wondering what I did wrong, how I could have avoided what happened. Firstly I resolved never to get drunk again. If what happened yesterday wasn’t enough motivation, nothing would be. Why didn’t I scream? Why didn’t I reach between my legs, grab his balls and squeeze them hard? Why didn’t I tell Mrs Gwent what had happened? As I got nearer Tim’s parents’ house different thoughts raced about in my head. What would Wendy, Tim’s Mum, Mrs Smith, say if I took her aside and explained what happened? Would she want me to go the police? Should I go to the police? What would Tim’s reaction be? Would he be sympathetic, or angry with me, disgusted maybe? He might even threaten to beat up Boris or blame me and finish our marriage. My mind was a whirlwind. I was confused, unable to come up with any answers. As Tim drove off the slip road which was only 10 minutes from Cwm Dinas I tried to pull myself together, taking a few deep breaths and running my fingers through my hair, massaging my scalp.

Tim’s voice broke my reverie. “You’re very quiet today. You’re not nervous are you. You’ve met the folks loads of times before so you should know they’re very easy going.”

“No I’m not nervous. Sorry, I’ve something on my mind.”

“Can I help?”

“No, I don’t want to talk about it if you don’t mind.”

“Sorry I didn’t want to pry.”

“No I know.” I sounded a bit sharp then. “I’m sorry.”

We wound along the last few miles down country lanes, which I found restful after the busy A55, and into the leafy drive of Wendy and John’s small holding. As we entered it I decided, since nothing had been resolved in my head to say nothing and to do my best to try to put yesterday’s horror out of my mind.  I noticed how unkempt it was compared with Dad’s drive and we splashed through some quite deep puddles before swinging into a cleared area that served as the car park. I was pleased I’d worn my rubber boots as this are too was dotted with puddles. The house was, I suppose a typical Welsh cottage with a few rather unsightly extensions that must have been added on later. The main entrance was into a little lean-to for boots and waterproofs and that led into the main living room. We were greeted royally as we went into the house. Wendy, John and Stanley, Tim’s younger brother all greeted us with hugs and kisses. Such warmth after the horror of yesterday. Such normality.

They wanted to know how Tim’s business was progressing and asked me how the wedding went. Of course I replied blandly but was never-the-less impressed that they were interested enough in me to ask the question. We had a simple but delicious meal – the Smiths were both vegetarian, not vegan anymore though, and then played some interesting games at the dinner table afterwards. I think they were called Zilch and Rummycup.

We went to inspect Wendy’s work before it got dark. The poly-tunnel was full of row upon row of plants, almost no floor space even though Tim had already taken several trailer loads to the nursery this season. Her outside beds were equally impressive with rows of tall plants that she said were shrubs and saplings. She and Tim loaded up the trailer. Tim wouldn’t let me as he said my clothes were too smart so I went in and Stanley entertained me as John was busy in the kitchen preparing dinner.  Stanley, who was recovering from flu and been confined to the indoors, had nearly finished college, having done the same degree as Tim. He’d always been curious. I remember him shooting very direct questions at me the first time I met him. Things like:

“Are you going to have children soon?”

“How rich are you?”

So I was a bit on edge in his company in case he asked any embarrassing questions whilst I felt so vulnerable. So I jumped in first, grilling him about his experience at college, his love life and what he was going to do after his three years at college.

I was shocked when he said he was hoping to come at work at the nursery.  He had been helping Wendy producing stock for the nursery at weekends for more that two years and wanted that to be his full-time job.  I gathered this had been discussed with both Wendy and Tim but I was upset that I was hearing it for the first time from Stanley.  I could see the advantage off having him in the business but finding enough tom pay him a decent wage seemed an impossibility.   I felt responsible for the future of the nursery and knew I’d have to discuss the issue with Tim before too long.

That aside the rest of day was so normal, so innocent, so far away from yesterday’s nightmare that I began to relax and put the incident to the back of my mind. On the return journey, however, I wasn’t able to keep it there and I still wasn’t sure whether to tell Tim.

“If I tell him,” I thought, “he’ll want to take it further. He’ll insist I go to the police. I suppose I should. Then I’d have to go to court. Then everyone would know about it. There’d be doubt in peoples minds about my role in the incident. I’ve washed away the proof, and I didn’t stop him, and I didn’t scream. If I don’t tell anyone I can just forget about it. I’ll get Boris back somehow.”

Tim thought I was dozing as I deliberately closed my eyes and rested my head back. We dropped the trailer off at the nursery, just as it was getting dark, picked the children up from Mum’s and I made tea and sandwiches for the four of us whilst Tim was getting changed.

I was deliberately untalkative and fended off Tim’s expressed concerns saying my headache had returned. Tim was wonderful, very gentle, and sent me to bed.  He bathed and put the children to bed on his own before coming up to the bed room and gently massaging my head. His attentiveness had the effect of relaxing me but I wondered how was I going to feel if he wanted to have sex? Would yesterday mean I’d be put off any form of intimacy, that I’d be revolted by his advances? Should I put him off for a few days in case bloody Boris had given me some horrible genital infection. Thank God I was still on the pill or that would be another worry. The bastard didn’t even have the decency to wear a condom.

Tim came to bed early and continued his gentle caresses. I felt myself starting to respond. He was so warm and tender. He seemed to sense the change in me and his attentions became more sexual. Suddenly I wanted him more than I’d ever wanted anyone before. My emotions boiled and I became completely abandoned. So much tension left me and I was more passionate than I’d ever been and my climax seemed to go on for ages. I think I surprised Tim and I certainly surprised myself. Soon afterwards I fell into a deep sleep, happy and fulfilled.

Next morning was work for both of us.  It was one of the days we both worked at the nursery so we were up early and after a quick breakfast dropped the children off at school. I hadn’t been working at the nursery for very long but the work was demanding and for the first time in my life I felt a real sense of purpose.  I could see that I could really make a difference to this business whereas in Cannon Pet Supplies I was just a nuisance at best.  I don’t think Tim was really cut out to be a businessman.  He was good with plants and customers but hopeless with money matters and that I could see was what I could do.

I was able to put the rape to the back of my mind for the whole day. I’d resolved that, because I’d been flirtatious and therefore could be said to be partly to blame, I wasn’t going to do anything about it.  Certainly I wasn’t going to tell Tim as I had no idea what his reaction would be.  I knew I had to tell someone and so one night about two weeks later I went out for a drink with Sarah and decided to talk it through with her. I’d kept in touch with her over the years. She’d had a bit of a tough time, had a long-standing affair with a married man who dumped her when his wife found out.  She said she hadn’t been able to face going to nightclubs as she felt too old so she’d tried the on-line route and that was how she’d met her new fella, Richard. She was full of him and assaulted me for a good hour going on about how cool Richard was and how she thought he was the one. Apparently he’d been through a similar experience. He started an affair with a woman who turned out to be married and she dumped him because she’d decided she wanted children and wanted to be sure who the father was. Eventually I managed to grab her attention and to change the subject by offering to recharge our glasses.  On my return came out with this:

“I’ve something to tell you but I want you to swear you won’t mention any of it to another soul, not to your new man or to any of your family and friends. What I’m going to tell you is very personal and mustn’t go any further. You are the only person I’m going to tell so I’ll know if any of it gets out.”

She promised faithfully it would go no further and I certainly had her full attention. I wanted to believe I could trust her but you can never tell as no-one’s good at keeping secrets and it’s very tempting to retell a bit of juicy gossip. Never-the-less I knew it would help me draw a line under the incident if I could share it with someone. So I did tell her, every last detail. Sarah already knew Boris and said she could see he might be the kind of man who would chance his arm whenever he got the opportunity and she seemed to understand how I’d just let it happen and why I’d done nothing about it afterwards. It reminded her a bit of what had happened to her with the man who’d she’d met at the nightclub all those years before. She did ask me if it was unprotected sex and suggested I have a pregnancy test. I was on the pill so that wasn’t what was worrying me. I just hoped I hadn’t picked up any infection. I’d inspected myself down there several times every day and there was no sign of anything but I regretted that I’d let Tim make love to me in case I’d passed anything on to him. That would be awful.

At the end of the evening I felt a tremendous warmth from my friendship with Sarah and I knew I’d been right to tell someone. I was pleased she had a new man and said I hoped we’d be able to go out as a foursome in the future.  I insisted again that she swear that she would keep my secret. I didn’t want her to even relate the incident omitting names, which was one way of getting round the promise not to tell.

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