The Other Gentleman – A Short Story

******

Susanna’s wedding dress was as lacy and intricate and interwoven as the life she had led. It was made from the most delicate silk and lace in lavish ivory and cream. The trail was the longest anyone had ever seen.

As she stood at the alter, her life with Alex, wealthy, handsome Alex, with the golden locks and the bluest eyes beamed down on her. Susanna’s smile, a brilliant white matched his, her hair was pinned with exquisite pins and ribbons looked a picture. Susanna admitted they made a perfect couple.

Alex Ramsey privately educated, a ruby player’s build squeezed into a dark grey morning suit stood at six feet tall besides Susanna’s tall elegance.

Susanna gathered herself and glanced around the church hall at the two families exuding affluence and breeding. Who could want for more? The Fitzgerald family renowned City of London bankers and Alex Ramsey’s family of beef farmers from Scotland, an enviable position for most women.

Lucy her younger sister and chief bridesmaid gave a delicate cough into a cream gloved hand, silently communicating to her sister to not let her mind wander. Susanna shot her a knowing smile. She then caught the eye of Toby, her groom’s older brother and best man, she inclined her head in his direction.

Then, she caught the eye of the matriarch, Hermione Fitzgerald, resplendent in pale blue silk with a wide brimmed hat to match, who sat upright in the pew, no doubt looking forward to her first glass of champagne at the wedding lunch which she had naturally funded, with no expense spared.

“And when you marry Alex and later inherit,” her grand mother was fond of saying, “you will become one of the richest women in England darling.”

Susanna acknowledged now the veiled threat her grand mother was making. That this marriage was for the best and served both families perfectly. Susanna thought the whole arrangement was rather Victorian, but dare not rebel because she had no real means of making her way in life alone, making a living as other less fortunate women had to do.

She stole a look at her proud father, Henry whose arm she was entwined with, a short while ago. Thus, she was proudly deposited to her future husband whose eyes twinkled with eager anticipation. How could Susanna turn him down? They had known each other since they were children and it was simply expected of them to marry each other one day and live happily ever after!

Butterflies fluttered in her tummy but not for the most obvious reasons.

Ben Cooper, dark haired, funny and broke was the polar opposite to Alex. He hadn’t quite managed to gain any footage in life even though he was nearly thirty years old. He got by with odd jobs like removals and decorating but despite that Susanna loved him for it. And it was to him that Susanna’s thoughts remained at her own wedding ceremony to another man.

“You marry who you must Susie,” he had told her previously, “I know your family would never accept a simple guy like me.” And she had tried to introduce Ben casually at the odd Fitzgerald clan gathering, but he had been politely snubbed with the consensus being that Susanna was being absurd if she thought they were going to allow her to ruin her life by taking such a guy seriously. The most he could have been was a temporary interlude, anything more would have been swiftly quashed. And Susanna simply wasn’t strong enough to become an outcast from her own family whom she cared for dearly.

So it was on this sunny morning in July that Susanna Fitzgerald stood at the alter in a Sussex church looking for all to see like the happy young bride, who had chosen well and was looking forward to life with her new husband. In a sense she was. Very much. She loved Alex, however she loved the other gentleman more and it was this truth that broke her heart. How was it possible that a bride wanted to weep for another man on her wedding day?

It was a question Susanna didn’t have time to answer, because her attention was brought back to the present when she heard the vicar say, as if from a distance…

‘Do you, Susanna Caroline Penelope Fitzgerald take Alexander Charles Patrick to be your…’

It was in that very moment that Susanna Fitzgerald truly woke up to what the vicar was asking of her, was asking her to give up.

So without any more hesitation she gathered up the front of her dress and spun around on her delicate heels, and proceeded to walked calmly to the church door to the utter astonishment of her guests especially her now jilted husband who stood and watched on in mild shock. There were gasps and muted utterances of disbelief as everyone watched transfixed.

Susanna quickened her step and her heart raced before the inevitable happened and she was somehow dragged back to a life she no longer wanted to be a part of. She was well aware she was giving up a life of cocktail hours and privilege for a life of relative poverty, but as she approached the door Susanna knew there was only one life she could in all heart have chosen.

Her guests watched on as the last of Susanna’s trail snaked around the door and then disappeared from view.

Susanna smiled inwardly as she tossed her bouquet of white roses aside and made her way calmly downtown.

The End

*******

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time, Sharon

‘Wife, Where Art Thou?’ A Sonnet

Prawny – Pixabay

**********

Sonnet #2

Five children, so yea I have some,

Yet, a wife and mother I seek thou, to wipe a runny nose and kiss a bruised knee

How they would jump with glee,

Oh, how my children deserve some fun

For their birth mother left without a word!

How hard that was on us all,

Oh, new wife, pray don’t stall

I pledge to take good care of you, and protect you with my sword

Alas, only if your heart doth pledge,

With love in your bosom

Should not by force you venture, better you jump a hedge

But, if you do make me and my children your chosen

And cometh of your own free will

I vow to love you till the earth stands still.

******

Link to Sonnet #1 https://wordpress.com/post/sharonswriterstidbits.wordpress.com/6923

Thanks for stopping by

Until next time

Sharon

Your Unique Viewpoint

Matt Hardy – Pexels

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I read recently that the reason the why writers especially the new writer makes so little money (if any at all) is because writing is in itself not a rare commodity.

That means many people can and do write. Let’s face it, it doesn’t require high start up costs, just a sheet of paper and a pen can get you started on a writing career. And add to that you can write alongside doing a day job until it takes off.

So how does the new writer break through? Apart from self publishing of which I am an advocate of (please see The Rise of the Indie Market), what can you do to take your writing from the generic to something only you will know about and write on convincingly?

The answer is simple: your view of the world and events. Your take on what you experience is what will give your writing the edge because only you have experienced it in that way. The rest is down to your skill as a writer to get it down in an appealing way.

For example: two people may look at the same painting and see entirely different things. And this is what makes what you have written unique and may draw the attention of say a publisher or you sell more copies if you are an indie author. Obviously, we know how competitive writing is (especially fiction writing), so there are still no guarantees, but at least you have put something out there that showcases your individuality!

Good luck!

*******

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time.

Sharon

An Invisible Woman

Andressa Marino – Pexels

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Warning: Contains adult content and language!

Annette Baker hadn’t realized she was that kind of woman until she saw him bounding up the garden path. She hadn’t realized she was any kind of woman at all, she sadly acknowledged.

Annette rushed to the front door as Jason Peters pressed the doorbell.

She swung it open and immediately sensed a ripple of something long forgotten pass through her body.

Jason Peters stretched out a large solid hand towards her.

‘I’ve come about the leak in the bathroom,’ he announced.

‘Oh yes, yes,’ Annette said, regaining her momentary loss of composure.

‘I’m parked on the driveway, is that OK?’

‘Yes, that’s what it’s there for’ she replied as she led him up her wide stairway to an immaculate bathroom.

‘The bath taps are leaking. I think they need tightening or something. You do what you plumbers do, I’ll be downstairs in case you need me,’ Annette threw over her shoulder. ‘Can I offer you a tea or coffee?’

‘Coffee would be great Mrs Baker, milk and two sugars.’

‘Oh, you can call me Annette,’ she said as she exited the bathroom.

Since when did tradesmen get so handsome she thought as she tapped on the kettle and got the coffee things ready.

She brushed her hands through unruly auburn curls and now wished she had ran a comb through it properly that morning. She cast critical eyes at her jeans, expensive and stylish though they were, she wished she had on something better. But how could she know with Ben and Samantha no longer around to give her their opinions. Then, who was she trying to impress lately?

Phillip had long since stopped noticing her let alone noticing how she was dressed. She knew he would buy her anything she wanted, she guessed that’s what being the head of the maths department got you. But what he couldn’t or wouldn’t give her, would not actually cost money.

That same evening as Annette got ready for bed instead of putting on her cotton pyjamas she rummaged deep inside her drawers and pulled out a long silk red nightdress. Slipping it over her head she then slipped smoothly into bed where Phillip lay with his back to her.

She ran a hand gently along his spine and reached his buttocks, where her fingers played there, gently but firmly.

‘I’ve got an early start,’ Phillip mumbled as he moved ever so slightly away from her. ‘Sorry!’

Annette choked back the tears that were threatening to spill from her eyes. Turning around so they were back to back, she fell into a restless sleep.

*

‘Don’t you just want to be fucked?’ her friend Zoe exclaimed the following weekend at a wine bar in Islington, ‘this way and that!’ she giggled her hazel eyes alive with raunchy joviality.

‘Yes, I do’ Annette admitted tiredly. ‘But please do keep your voice down a bit.’

‘You and Phillip, still no action then?’ Zoe managed more quietly. ‘I would have done something about that years ago,’ she continued.

‘I don’t doubt it,’ Annette replied, with a hint of a smirk playing around her lips.

Zoe looked at her best friend levelly then burst out laughing.

‘What are you laughing for now? ‘Annette quizzed.

‘I can imagine how you must have felt. You, wanting to be twirled around your bedroom and Phillip snoring his ass off. I told you not to marry that starchy maths teacher, didn’t I!’ she said slightly more seriously.

‘It’s almost as if I am invisible Zoe,’ Annette explained.

‘Hmm, invisible! Don’t be ridiculous, you’re gorgeous. A lovely smile, a complexion with a dusting of bronze. Who wouldn’t fancy you? Just flash that smile a bit more and ditch the husband, then watch them come running. Now then, more red wine?’

‘What if he is having an affair?’ Annette pressed on.

Zoe, screwed her eyes up for a minute, and then said, ‘Phillip, affair! He hasn’t got it in him!’

‘Let’s have more wine now,’ Annette said mildly appeased.

*

Annette didn’t really know exactly when the affair with a man not that much older than her twenty-five year old son had started, but she had to admit, it was doing her some good. Zoe had given her a round of applause when she first told her some weeks before. She was even sketching more and was thinking of reviving her freelance career.

Phillip, seemed oblivious still taking great pleasure in instructing school kids and when he wasn’t doing that, was growing cabbages and tomatoes at his allotment.

All that and more Annette reflected on as she manoeuvred her BMW from Hornsey to Stoke Newington, where Jason lived. It was early evening, and Phillip wouldn’t be home for some time.

In less than twenty minutes she reached her destination and all but skipped up Jason’s garden path.

Annette liked the look of him, the more she saw him. Slender, but strong, his hair short, brown and well kept.

She allowed him to lead her straight to the bedroom, where she watched him unbutton her blouse and then unzip her slacks.

Annette could barely contain the frisson of excitement she felt as it worked its way through her very being. She eased herself onto a well-made double bed. And in a short while Annette Baker was groaning with sheer ecstasy as her lover probed her body with very capable hands. And Annette knew in that moment as their lovemaking came to a juddering close that she was lost and probably would be forever. She had morphed into that kind of woman, unfaithful and yet not sorry.

Annette was also aware that given their age difference and her marital status there could be no future with Jason. So for now, she was simply willing to enjoy moments like these for however long they could last.

*

Meanwhile, while Annette was wrapped up in the arms of her younger lover, she could not see the look of devastation on her husband’s Phillip’s face as he entered their empty house in Hornsey. He knew immediately that she was with someone else. And it was another man. His face contorted as the sad knowledge dawned on him. He could not express the love he still felt for his wife of twenty-six years and the worse part of it was he did not know why. Relationships were not logical like a mathematical equation. That he understood perfectly.

As he pounded upstairs to pack a bag he was acutely aware his marriage was over. And that is what broke his heart as he got into his car and pulled away, from a home, from a woman whom he really had cheated for so long. Yet, he could never forgive.

The End

*****

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time, Sharon

Two Wise Men

Tuna Dursun – Pexels

In Celebration of Black History Month (UK)

***

Two wise men were sitting on a park bench bickering about this and bickering that. After sometime the conversation grew more serious. Then, one wise man turned to the other and said,

‘What colour is a soul?’

Ha! Ha!

Ha! Ha! They excaimed simultaneously, before rising, shaking hands and walking away in opposite directions.

The End

****

My favourite Black British author is Zadie Smith, whose career was launched in the year 2000 with the novel, White Teeth.

My favourite Black American writer, poet, dancer, speaker, civil rights activist amongst many other things, is the late Maya Angelou.

Thanks for stopping by

Until next time,

Sharon, with love.

‘Will You Hold My Hand?’

Ian Dooley – Unsplash

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Will you hold my hand and glide me the easy way

past the shadows, past the pitfalls?

Will you hold my hand through the broken hearts?

No tumbling waterfalls for me!

Rather, the scattered, shattered thoughts of my mind.

Will you hold my hand through the dereliction

of the colour grey

through to the benevolent green grass as green and lush

as the fields of Ireland?

Where I can hop, skip and roll –

Where my eyes can stretch beyond it all

and catch a vision of the iridescence –

the rainbow’s end?

And maybe catch a glimpse of a brilliant, radiant sun.

Will you hold my hand?

Until, until you can hear the roar and echo

of my laughter!

Will you hold my hand?

***********

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time, Sharon

Kisses for a Smile

Sofie Layla Thal – Pixabay

***********

Rome, Italy 1550

Six Benedictine monks sat in quiet contemplation having just finished their early evening meal of bread and fish when there was an incessant hammering on the monastery door.

All six monks rose as one led by the senior monk father Alfonso Vitale, and made their way calmly but curiously to the front door.

Father Alfonso heaved open the solid oak door.

‘Forgive me father and father,’ one Gabriel Gallo uttered and nodded to all six faces respectively. ‘May I come in?’ his body trembled visibly, his voice shaky. There were dark circles under his olive eyes, ‘for I need your help.’

‘Certainly son,’ father Alfonso uttered, stepping aside. The remaining five monks looked on with muted excitement. They all walked behind father Alfonso into a dimly lit communal area and sat while father Alfonso gestured for Gabriel to sit down.

‘Now then,’ father Alfonso began, his voice echoed slightly bouncing off the monastery walls. ‘Please begin.’

‘Father, I need your shelter,’ Gabriel began, looking at the six foot six monk with trepidation. Even sitting down his tall body cast long shadows against the pale backdrop. ‘Please help me he pleaded,’ fear coursing through his body.

‘And what pray tell us son, what is this all about?’ The remaining monks listened attentively.

‘You see father, I am nothing but a lowly thief. Gabriel eyed the other monks surreptitiously, noticing their fine dark robes and felt the first hint of envy. Father Alfonso, his long fingers interlaced and in his lap said, ‘continue.’

‘I steal off the fruit and vegetable carts and whenever I can father I have been known to steal from the pockets of the rich,’ Gabriel admitted shamefully.

‘I see, son.’

Just then, there was a pounding on the monastery door for a second time that evening. All six monks rose to their feet again, their black robes sweeping across the stone floor led by the six foot six monk. He heaved open the door for the second time and found himself staring at an angry of mob men.

Giovanni Sartini spoke rather tentatively as he looked up at the imposing form of father Alfonso.

‘Pardon us father he began now, but we know Gabriel Gallo came this way and wondered if you have seen a stout man with light brown hair.

Father Alfonso went silent for a while rapidly working out in his mind what would happen to Gabriel if he was discovered. He concluded he didn’t want to send a man to certain death.

‘No, my son,’ he said in a voice that broke no argument. We have seen no one who fits that description.’

‘I see,’ said Giovanni, ‘sorry to have disturbed your evening.’

‘Have a good evening,’ the tall monk responded.

*

‘You can stay here for a short while,’ father Alfonso told Gabriel five minutes later. But it’s my belief they will come back.’ The remaining five Benedictine monks murmured and agreed amongst themselves.

‘But your way of life cannot continue Gabriel, you have to improve yourself.’

‘Yes, yes, I agree.’

‘But, if you don’t mind me saying so, those men were very angry for just stealing. Is there anything else going on?’

‘Yes,’ Gabriel lowered his voice,’ there is Rosa.’

‘Rosa?’ the tall monk enquired.

‘Rosa is the woman I love father, but she is the sister of Giovanni, the leader of the gang. You see they want me to stop seeing Rosa. I cannot do that.’

Father Alfonso eyed the man in his rough clothes and obvious lack of a good meal and found it in his heart to feel sorry for him.

I know you are not familiar yourself with the ways of worldly men father, but beautiful Rosa is the woman I wish to marry. We are in love. Her brother doesn’t approve mainly because I have no honest way to support a wife.’

‘I understand,’ the monk replied, acknowledging how this could be a problem. ‘Might I suggest then Gabriel, you stay away from Rosa until all this has calmed down. We shall pray on this for you later today.’

Father Vincent a monk with a kindly countenance led Gabriel within the deep recesses of the monastery, past a chapel into a small clean room.

‘Thank you father,’ Gabriel whispered truly grateful. He headed for the bed and fell soundly asleep.

That same evening in the chapel the six monks prayed for Gabriel and that his outcomes would be favourable.

*

The following morning having rested Gabriel let himself out from the safety of the monastery in pursuit of Rosa. He knew the dangers but he had to see her raven hair and feel her soft cheeks again. He quickened his step with nothing more on his mind. And he didn’t think about father Alfonso’s advice the previous night.

He walked as fast as his stout legs could take him to Rosa’s cobbled street, thinking of nothing but her warm embrace. And before long, he was looking up at her window. He threw tiny pebbles at it and waited for her to join him. Maybe they could run away and get married in secret he thought, as he waited. And before long a young slim woman with raven hair appeared embracing Gabriel.

‘I have thought of nothing but you Gabriel,’ she said tenderly before smothering him with kisses.

‘Me too, Rosa. But we must be careful, let’s go quickly before your brother can catch us.’

‘I can’t today, but come back tomorrow, this time and I’ll be ready.’

‘Until tomorrow then Gabriel said,’ disappointed but happy at the same time.

After one final kiss, he left Rosa and made his way back down her cobbled street. As he turned the corner down a slim alley he encountered one Giovanni Sartini and a mob of men with glinting objects and all manner of weaponry. He turned to run but his way was blocked behind him too.

*

When word got out that Gabriel had met his demise, father Alfonso sent two of his monks with a cart to recover his body and give him a good Christian burial.

Upon recovering his broken body, father Vincent and father Pedro reported later that Gabriel’s face wore the biggest, sweetest smile they had ever seen and he appeared completely at peace.

The End.

*********

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time, Sharon

Approx 4 mins

BLINK!

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

She watches him striding up the garden path

moonlight blazing down on his every footstep, silver grey

she steps from behind the curtain – at last!

And watches him approach, both rigid with expectation.

How long has it been?

Does it matter?

Now he is here, and she is right there!

Her mouth moves to greet him

but nothing comes out

then, she doesn’t even know his name

so how could she know his touch?

But know it, she does

and so does he know hers!

He maps those secret places with knowing hands.

Until she blinks

And he is gone…

She returns to her place behind the curtain. Alone. Emptied.

Maybe next time he’ll stay longer.

Maybe he will…maybe he won’t…

**********

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time, Sharon

Stumble

Marcos Fernandez de Matos – Pexels

*********

I am but a shadow of my former self

eyes like slits

seeing nothing on the outside.

My shoulders hunched, bear the brunt of a wizened body

I pass ghost-like through it all…

Life has hurled me the book

of dreams fulfilled? – Not a chance

of dreams dashed

that’s about it!

I stumble and catch myself before

I am completely on my knees.

Then, I look up and there’s a hand extended

helping me back to my feet.

***

Dedicated to a man in my neigbourhood who I often see and who is obviously having a rough time! May things start looking up for you!

Thanks for stopping by

Until next time, Sharon

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