I remember it as being one of ‘those’ weeks.
Sunday was my twenty-second birthday and my mother took me to lunch at The Connaught. On such occasions, my mother likes to take charge. I think that the elderly couple at the next table thought that I was her Toy Boy. Oh well, if it brightened up their outing.
On Monday I got a call from the editor of First Thoughts to say that she wanted to use a piece I’d written entitled ‘The Joy of Really Small Pubs’. Not only had I had a great time doing the research, but now I was going to get paid for the pleasure as well. That’s what I call a result.
Tuesday wasn’t so good. Celine announced that she was moving back to France. This had always been Celine’s plan. I’d known that for at least two years. She was only in London to complete her degree. Still, the thought that our Friday night ritual of a cheap-and-cheerful meal followed by a couple of hours of energetic shagging was going to come to an end still put a serious dampener on the day.
And then on Thursday I got the offer of a position at Thompson Mackenzie Fallon.
For the best part of five years — well, all through my time at university, really — well-meaning friends and family had been telling me that I needed to try to get into a top-tier law firm.
‘From the top, you can always work your way down,’ my uncle had said on more than one occasion. And Tommy Mack was about as top as they come. From Tommy Mack, I could spend years working my way down.
When I told Prof Goldberg that I’d been offered the job, he stared briefly into the distance. ‘Thompson Mackenzie Fallon,’ he said. ‘Hmm. Yes. Well done, Mr Fox. Well done.’ But then, after a further brief reflective pause, he said: ‘I take it that you have, umm, visited the citadel?’
For a moment there, I wasn’t quite sure what he meant. Then the penny dropped. ‘Oh, yes,’ I said. ‘The Aldwych building. Yes. Yes, I have.’
‘And what did you think?’
‘Pretty impressive,’ I said.
Prof Goldberg said nothing.
‘And pretty stuffy, too,’ I added. ‘You know … if I’m honest.’
‘Ah, well, it’s good that you know,’ he said.
He was right, of course. I may have had a pretty decent academic record and the gift of the gab, but I also had a bit of a reputation for hating pomposity. I’d been brought up to respect people for what they did rather than simply for who they were. As I soon discovered, that wasn’t necessarily the way that some of the people at Thompson Mackenzie Fallon thought the world should operate.
I had been at Tommy Mack for less than a week when my so-called mentor took me to one side.
‘Mr Fox,’ he said, ‘I would like you to remember that my name is Jonathan Josephson. It is not — nor has it ever been — Jonnie Joe. Indeed, while I am your assigned mentor, I would prefer you to address me as Mr Josephson. Are we clear?’
‘As a double shot of Absolut,’ I said.
‘Vodka,’ I said. ‘You know, pure, clear, triple-filtered. Or is that Jack Daniels?’
Jonnie Joe shook his head. ‘Just as long as we both understand each other.’
‘Tell me, Mr Josephson,’ I said, being particularly careful not to call him Jonnie Joe, ‘do you have a small penis?’
A look of absolute horror spread across his face.
‘It’s OK,’ I reassured him, ‘I’m not overly blessed myself. But it doesn’t worry me the way it seems to worry you. You can call me Freddy, Fred, or even Jeremy — which, incidentally, is the name on my birth certificate. But I’d prefer it if you dropped the Mr Fox. I keep looking around for my father.
‘And your small penis? I wouldn’t worry about it. We all get what we get. I gather the secret is to make the best of what you’re given. I’ve heard that there’s this woman in Hampstead who gives private, umm, shall we say tuition. Apparently her fees are very reasonable. If you’re interested, I could get you her phone number.’
Jonnie Joe didn’t actually explode, although for a moment there it looked as though he might. And, a couple of days later, I was assigned a new babysitter.
My new mentor was a senior associate: an Australian named David Wight.
‘G’day, Freddy,’ he said. ‘Call me Dave. Dingo if you like. Although I’d prefer you didn’t call me Dingo in front of clients. Might make them nervous.’
‘Fair enough,’ I said.
Dingo and I got on really well.
It was Dingo who first introduced me to Miss Jones, Sir James Mackenzie’s executive assistant.
‘Mr Fox and I are fellow travellers,’ she said. And then she quickly added: ‘On the Central Line.’
Of course. I had seen her getting off the Tube at Holborn a couple of times. ‘Oh. Right,’ I said. ‘Yes. By the way, call me Freddy.’
‘Freddy. Yes. Thank you, Mr Fox,’ she said graciously. Although she didn’t invite me to call her Harriet. In fact, as far as I could make out, no one called her Harriet. Not even Sir James. She was simply Miss Jones.
‘She seems very nice,’ I said later.
‘Steady on!’ Dingo said. ‘She’s old enough to be your mother.’
‘I just meant that she seems very nice,’ I said. ‘I’m not planning to slip her one or anything.’
Dingo just smiled.
And Miss Jones did seem very nice. She was probably in her early 50s. She had pale skin and thick dark hair that made her look a little like someone from a pre-Raphaelite painting.
And she was always immaculately dressed.
I particularly noticed Miss Jones’ shoes. She seemed to have an endless supply of Salvatore Ferragamos. I noticed this because Salvatore Ferragamo is also one of my mother’s favourite designers.
Miss Jones caught the Tube from Holland Park. My station was Notting Hill, the very next station heading east. And, given the number of trains there must have been on the Central Line in the half hour between 7:30 and eight o’clock on a normal weekday morning, it was surprising how often we ended up on the same train. A least once a week, we even ended up in the same carriage. And I must say that Miss Jones was excellent company for that hour of the morning: interesting and interested without being too demanding or nosey.
I didn’t get to travel home with Miss Jones. We junior members of Tommy Mack’s professional staff were expected to ‘put in the hours’. A nine o’clock finish was almost considered to be a half day for many of the younger solicitors. Fortunately for me, Dingo liked to hold his briefing and debriefing sessions in what he termed Satellite Conference Room Number One and Satellite Conference Room Number Two, a couple of facilities more commonly known as The Harp and The Lamb and Flag.
It was in The Lamb and Flag that I met Pippa.
Dingo and I had had a bit of win. (Well, in truth, Dingo had had a bit of a win. But he’d been decent enough to include me in the celebratory ‘debriefing session’.)
‘I think a quick thirst quencher, Freddy. Then we’ll move on and find some fizz. What d’you reckon?’
‘You’re in charge, Dingo,’ I told him.
‘In that case, you can fight your way up to bar and get me a pint of cooking lager.’
‘You don’t fancy something with a little more class and flavour?’ I asked. ‘You know … in honour of the occasion?’
Dingo shook his head. ‘Just to wash away the dust, Freddy. And, anyway, I need to do my bit to keep my countrymen in work.’
So, there I was, standing at the bar, collecting a pint of Fosters for Dingo and something a little less like alcoholic dishwater for myself, when, suddenly, a delightful waft of Arpège passed my way.
‘Hello,’ a woman’s voice said. ‘Fancy seeing you here.’
I turned to see a very nicely turned-out girl, probably about my age. She looked vaguely familiar. But at that moment I couldn’t for the life of me think why.
‘I thought an upmarket wine bar would have been more your style,’ she said. And then she added, ‘Oh, by the way, I’m Pippa.’
‘Freddy,’ I said. And then I added: ‘Excuse me, Pippa, but have we met?’
She laughed. ‘Well, we have now, Freddy.’
‘I suppose we have, Pippa.’ I must have looked a bit bewildered.
‘I was temping at your office a couple of weeks ago,’ she said.
‘Ah. Right. I’m sorry. I thought you looked, umm … but, yeah … well, nice to see you again. Are you here with someone?’
She said that she had come in to meet a friend, but that the friend had just phoned to say that she couldn’t make it after all.
‘Bit of a bugger,’ I said. ‘Come and join us.’
‘Oh no, I don’t want to interrupt,’ she said.
I told her that any girl who wears Arpège couldn’t possibly be considered an interruption.
Pippa just smiled. And when I introduced her to Dingo, he smiled too.
With everyone in such a good mood, we enjoyed our drinks and small talk at The Lamb, and then the three of us headed off to Head Office — which, of course, is not an office at all, but a rather good wine bar. Still, some people find it useful to be able to claim back a few ‘Head Office’ expenses.
‘What do you recommend, Freddy? Polly Roger or The Widow?’
‘Your call, Dingo,’ I said.
‘Yeah. I know it’s my call,’ Dingo said. ‘But I’m asking you for a recommendation.’
‘Well …’ I said, ‘the Pol Roger is probably going to be slightly more citrusy — clean, crisp, and with an almost-savoury toasty spiciness. The Veuve Cliquot, on the other hand, is probably going to be a little more biscuity — with hints of fresh lime and possibly almonds.’
‘And so your recommendation is …?’
‘The Veuve Cliquot.’
‘Because you like the dark yellow label,’ I said.
Dingo beamed with pride. ‘Is the right answer! We’ll make a proper lawyer out of you yet. And just one more question in tonight’s quiz: What do we need to go with the bubbly?’
‘A few oysters?’ I ventured.
Dingo suddenly looked really disappointed. ‘Oh, jeez, have I taught you nothing, young Freddy? A few? What sort of celebration is that? I’d have said we need at least a dozen each.’
And so, courtesy of Dingo’s expense account, we settled down to a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and three dozen plump oysters on the half shell.
I don’t know if Dingo was on a promise that evening (he kept his after-hours cards pretty close to his chest), but shortly before eight, and having consumed his share of the oysters and then some, he was bidding Pippa and me goodnight, and exhorting us to ‘keep up the good work’.
‘So, what are your plans for the rest of the evening?’ I asked.
Pippa smiled. ‘I was wondering if you might like to show me your etchings.’
‘Etchings. Hmm. Don’t think I have any etchings. I’ve got a couple of watercolours that my grandfather left me. And a Pirelli calendar. But that’s about it.’
‘Then perhaps you could show me your watercolours.’
‘I suppose I could,’ I said. ‘They’re quite, well, racy — in a sort of Edwardian kind of way. I hope you’re OK with that.’
Pippa just smiled.
We caught the tube from Bond Street and we were back at my place within half an hour.
‘The watercolours are in the bedroom,’ I said. ‘I’ll go and get them if you like.’
‘That’s OK,’ she said. ‘I would be more than happy to appreciate them in situ.’
‘Hmm. Yes. Well, why not? I’ll just grab us a glass of wine. There’s no champagne, I’m afraid. But I have some New Zealand sauvignon blanc, if that’s OK.’
‘Perfect,’ she said.
I poured a couple of glasses of Oyster Bay and led the way to the bedroom.
‘Ahhh,’ she said as soon as I turned on the light. ‘Russell Flint.’
Pippa briefly studied one and then the other. ‘And originals too.’
‘My grandfather knew him when he lived over in Campden Hill.’
‘Very nice. And quite valuable.’
‘Oh, I don’t know about that,’ I said. ‘I don’t think there’s a lot of rarity value. He was, I understand, quite prolific.’
‘Oh, no, they’ll be worth real money,’ she said. ‘You know … at auction. Very desirable.’
And having pronounced on Sir William Russell Flint’s saleability, she moved on the next item on what appeared to be her mental ‘list of things to do this evening’: removing my suit.
Pippa began by opening the jacket and checking out the label. ‘Oscar le Chat. Very nice. But with what I have in mind, I think we should put this out of harm’s way.’
I guess she had a point. It was my favourite suit.
‘And the trousers,’ she said, holding out her hand.
‘Shouldn’t you be … umm …?’
‘One step at a time,’ she said.
I suddenly realised that if we were going to end up doing what I thought we were going to end up doing, it would be my first time since Celine. Just for the briefest moment I felt … I don’t know … sad? Well, no, not exactly sad. But I did think about Celine. I realised that I hadn’t heard from her for a couple of weeks. I wondered how she was. But, by then, Pippa was well into her work. And I had had several glasses of wine. As well as about a dozen oysters. And you know what they say about the aphrodisiac qualities of oysters.
Also, there was no question that Pippa was a good looking young woman. A very sexy young woman. In fact, the fewer her clothes, the better she looked. In a brief moment of clarity, I realised that, earlier, she had been ‘dressed to impress’. At The Lamb, and later at Head Office, she had probably looked like another young lawyer or maybe a banker. But, as we peeled away the layers, she looked more and more like a hot fuck.
I’m afraid my cock tends to have a mind of its own. And at that particular moment it made up its mind that it was going to get inside the lovely Pippa, come what may. Fortunately, this also seemed to be her plan.
By the time she had finished removing my lower garments, my cock was standing at attention.
‘Mmm. Very nice,’ she said. ‘And I think I know exactly the right place for it.’
I don’t know whether Celine had trained me or I had trained Celine, but even our most urgent rutting had tended to start with a bit of foreplay. But with Pippa, it was straight down to business. Before I knew what was happening, her knickers were on the floor, and she was lying back on the bed, her legs spread, her elegant fingers spreading her blonde fur-covered labia.
‘Don’t fuck about,’ she growled. ‘I want you inside me. Now.’
Dingo and I were in a cab on our way to Marylebone.
‘So … where did you and the lovely Pippa end up?’
‘Well, we finished off the wine,’ I said. ‘It seemed a pity to waste good fizz.’
Dingo smiled. ‘And then back to your place?’
‘Well, yes, as a matter of fact.’
Dingo smiled again. ‘Where you … shall we say “consummated” the new relationship.’
‘There may have been a bit of rumpy pumpy,’ I admitted.
‘And tell me,’ Dingo said, ‘what did Pippa think of your gaff?’
‘I think she approved,’ I said.
‘But she had some suggestions? A few thoughts on how it might be improved? A bit of redecoration? A little more wardrobe space?’
‘Well, yes,’ I said. ‘Some quite good ideas, actually.’
Dingo nodded. ‘I think you’ve been chosen, mate. I think Pippa is looking for a husband. And you’re currently numero uno candidate on her list.’
‘But I only just met her last night,’ I protested.
‘Maybe,’ Dingo said. ‘But I don’t think that it was by accident. I think the girl has a plan. And I think she’s been working on it for a week or two. At least.’
As the cab turned off Wigmore Street and headed for Marylebone High Street, I had to admit that there had been a certain proprietorial tone about the way in which Pippa had ‘redesigned’ the flat. Maybe Dingo was right.
‘Of course, I could be wrong,’ Dingo said. And then as the cab swung into the High Street, he added: ‘I take it that the lady has arranged a further assignation? And soon, I suspect?’
‘Tonight,’ I told him. ‘And, no, I think you are probably right. I’ll have to set the record straight.’
‘Up to you,’ Dingo said. ‘But, either way, you might want to wait until after you’ve played another round of hide the sausage. I take it that part of the evening was satisfactory?’
‘Oh, very much so. I’d give her nine-and-a-half out of ten.’
And so, after a cheap-and-cheerful meal and a couple of glasses of wine — and another round of hide the sausage — I did my best to let Pippa down gently. I think she was a bit disappointed. But there was no big drama. And less than a week later, at a nearby wine bar, she just happened to run into Charles, one of the other newish Tommy Mack solicitors.
A couple of weeks after my last encounter with Pippa, my mother came up to town for a weekend of recreational shopping and spot of big city culture. On the Sunday morning she took me to Wigmore Hall to hear the Swandri Quartet performing a couple of pieces by Dvořák and a new piece by Aston Fyre. We were standing in the foyer enjoying a heart-starting glass of sherry when I heard a familiar voice.
‘Why, Mr Fox! I didn’t have you down as a chamber music aficionado.’
It was Miss Jones.
‘Miss Jones,’ I said. ‘How nice to see you. May I introduce my mother: Laura Hamilton.’
‘Harriet,’ Miss Jones said softly as she shook my mother’s hand.
At that point the bell sounded and we all trooped into the auditorium to find our seats.
‘Harriet seems very nice,’ Mother said. ‘Although perhaps a little more mature than most of your girlfriends have been thus far.’
‘Very funny,’ I muttered. ‘Although she is very nice. She’s the Chairman’s PA, executive assistant, you know, she looks after him.’
Mother nodded. ‘A useful person to know then.’
A month or so after the Swandri Quartet’s concert, Miss Jones turned out to be a very useful person to know. In keeping with tradition, several ‘first’ cuckoos had been reported to the editors of The Times and The Telegraph, the spring flowers were out in all their glory, and one or other of the Tube unions decided that it had been a far too long since they had had a good disruptive strike. And so, suddenly, it was spring. And it was also chaos.
On the Tuesday morning, I managed to get a bus as far as Marble Arch, and from there it was Shanks’s Pony. Oh well, at least I didn’t live in Uxbridge or Wimbledon or Epping or one of those other places out on the edge of the Tube map.
On several occasions during the day I checked with my favourite news sites hoping to read that the strike had been called off and everything was returning to normal. But no such luck. It looked as if it was going to be a long trek home that evening. And then Miss Jones phoned.
‘Sir James has kindly arranged for Cedric to drive me home this evening. I wondered if you might like a lift. Of course, if you have already made other arrangements ….’
‘No, no,’ I said. ‘That would be excellent. Thank you. I was just contemplating a long walk. A ride would be … well … excellent. Thank you.’
‘Shall we say six-thirty?’
‘I’ll just have to check with Dingo,’ I said. ‘But, no, I’m sure that should be OK.’
Dingo was fine with it. (I knew that he would be.) And, shortly after six-thirty, Miss Jones and I were seated in the back of Sir James’ Bentley as it edged its way along The Strand towards Trafalgar Square. It wasn’t the fastest-ever crossing of the West End, but shortly after seven o’clock we were pulling up outside what appeared to be an Italian restaurant on the edge of Holland Park.
‘Perhaps you’d like to join me for a little supper, Mr Fox.’
I didn’t know what to say.
‘The food here is quite good. Vaguely Tuscan,’ Miss Jones said. ‘Well, Tuscan based, anyway. And the wine list, too, is rather good.’
‘Well, I … umm ….’
‘Of course, if you have other plans ….’
‘No,’ I said. ‘No plans. It’s just … umm ….’
‘In that case …. Thank you, Cedric. For everything. Mr Fox and I will bid you goodnight. And I wish you every success for the future. Thank you.’
‘Thank you, Miss Jones. And you take care out there,’ Cedric replied.
‘Umm … yes … thank you, Cedric,’ I said. ‘You know … for the ride. Much appreciated. I had thought that I would be walking. So, yes, thank you.’
Cedric lightly tapped the peak of his chauffer’s cap and smiled knowingly.
I pushed open the door to the restaurant and followed Miss Jones inside. Lucca, the maître d’, greeted her like an old friend and showed us to a candle-lit table in the corner.
‘Lucca, this is my friend, Mr Fox,’ Miss Jones said.
Lucca smiled. ‘Buona sera, signore,’ he said. ‘And welcome to Scrivano’s.’ And then turning to Miss Jones he said, almost sadly: ‘So … the last supper.’
Miss Jones smiled. ‘Well … the last for the moment, Lucca. But I am sure that there will be visits. I don’t think that I will be abandoning London altogether.’
‘Let us hope not, Miss Jones,’ Lucca said.
Miss Jones must have noticed my frown and after Lucca had left she explained. ‘I am moving to Spain, Mr Fox. My sister and I have bought a guesthouse and a small vineyard. I know nothing about vineyards — or wine making — but my sister is quite knowledgeable. She has even written books on the subject. I intend to become a good student.’
‘Gosh,’ I said. ‘Spain.’
Miss Jones frowned, quizzically. ‘You don’t think a vineyard in Spain is a good idea?’
‘Oh, no. I mean … umm … yes. It’s probably a very good idea — especially if your sister is an expert. Just a bit of a surprise. You know.’
Miss Jones reached across the table and gently placed her immaculately-manicured hand on top of mine. ‘It’s all right. There is no need to rush supper, Mr Fox. My flight is not until tomorrow afternoon.’
‘Tomorrow! Gosh. That soon.’
‘Afternoon,’ she assured me.
‘So no more Tommy Mack then.’
Miss Jones smiled and shook her head. ‘No, my Thompson Mackenzie days are over, Mr Fox. They have been interesting days, happy days, but now it is time to move on.’
For a moment or two I felt strangely sad that Miss Jones was spending her last evening in London having supper with me. There must have been other people in her life: friends, family perhaps. But then, after we had finished the complimentary glass of Prosecco that Lucca brought and started sipping the excellent Vernaccia di San Gimignano, I decided to just go with the flow. It had, after all, been Miss Jones’ choice. And anyway, I really enjoyed her company. Surprising? Perhaps — although not altogether.
I must say that Miss Jones’ earlier suggestion that the food at Scrivano’s was ‘quite good’ was not quite correct. The food at Scrivano’s was excellent.
We started with a simple dish of air-cured bacon, new season’s peas, garlic, and a fruity olive oil. It was superb. I ate every last spoonful, and would probably have eaten more if there had been more. The bacon and pea starter was followed by a light-yet-tasty version of cacciucco, the famous Livorno seafood stew. It probably sounds strange that a rustic stew, packed with prawns, clams, and chunky pieces of monkfish, served on a thick slice of toast, could be light, but, trust me, it was. It really was.
‘I do hope that you have left a small space for a slice of Aurelio’s wonderful chestnut cake, Mr Fox. It has a delightfully crisp crust, and a deliciously-soft melt-in-the-mouth centre. And the balance of the creamy chestnut with the slightly pungent rosemary is something to behold.’
‘I am in your hands, Miss Jones,’ I said. And I was enjoying every moment of being in Miss Jones’ hands.
But eventually the meal came to an end. The food had all been eaten; the wine had all been drunk. Miss Jones made a little sign to Lucca for the bill. But Lucca just smiled and shook his head. ‘It has been our pleasure,’ he said. ‘We will miss you, Miss Jones.’ And he blew her a little kiss.
When we left the restaurant, Miss Jones linked her arm through mine. ‘My furniture is on its way to Spain, Mr Fox, and my tenants will move in tomorrow, and so, for the moment, I am staying at The Markham.’
‘The Markham?’ I assumed that it was some sort of hotel, but I couldn’t picture it.
‘It’s just around the corner,’ Miss Jones said, as if she had read my mind and found the page blank. And she steered me north, away from the main road.
With its distinctive stone quoins and central triangular pediment set against a hipped roof with dormers, The Markham looked as though it may have started life as an 18th century manor house. But, over the years, it had acquired closer and closer neighbours, and now it was a slightly-out-of-orbit star in a short street of smart but largely undistinguished houses.
As we approached the impressive front door, Miss Jones reached out to press the polished brass doorbell, but before she could do so there was an audible buzz followed by a sharp click. Miss Jones smiled. ‘The night porter is very … umm … attentive.’
‘Impressive,’ I said.
Having seen Miss Jones safely to her hotel, I was about to thank her again for her hospitality, wish her farewell, bon voyage, and good luck in her new venture, and head for home. But Miss Jones had other ideas.
‘I hope that I can tempt you to join me for a small nightcap, Mr Fox. After all, this could be my last chance to enjoy your most agreeable company for, gosh, who knows how long — unless of course you come and visit my sister and me in our new establishment.’ And, gently but firmly, she led me past the reception desk (and the attentive-yet-discreet porter) and on towards the broad sweeping staircase beyond. ‘We are on the first floor,’ she said.
Miss Jones’ room was like something out of a grand house as seen in a period TV drama: tall, windows, lush drapes, a seating area bigger than many modern living rooms, and a large canopied bed.
‘If I could ask you to do the honours, Mr Fox. In that cupboard over there, the one to the left, you should find a bottle of Laphroaig. If it’s good enough for the Prince of Wales, I’m sure that it will be good enough for us. The cupboard on the right is actually a refrigerator and there’s a small ice box too. If you would like ice with your whisky, please help yourself. Personally, I prefer a splash of chilled water. You should find a jug of water in the fridge.’ And with that, Miss Jones disappeared into the bathroom.
I have no idea what the room rate is at The Markham, but I’m sure that it’s a notch or two above The Travelodge. Even the drinking glasses appeared to be top quality crystal.
I followed Miss Jones’ instructions and retrieved the Laphroaig from the cupboard. To my surprise (and delight), it was a bottle of the celebrated 18-year old. I slowly withdrew the cork, and I was immediately greeted by the soft sweet and spicy aroma of peat smoke. I even thought that I detected a hint of the salty sea air of Islay — although that may have just been my somewhat over-stimulated imagination. (It was turning into a wonderfully indulgent evening.) I poured a small dram of the pale golden liquid into each of the glasses and added a splash of water.
I was just standing there, figuratively pinching myself, wondering what I had done to deserve such good fortune, when Miss Jones emerged from the bathroom. Gone was the business suit. Gone were the immaculate Salvatore Ferragamo pumps. It seems that not only had Miss Jones moved on from Tommy Mack, she had also moved on from being the buttoned-down Personal Assistant to Men of Power and Influence. The Miss Jones that emerged from the bathroom was a fine-looking woman of a certain age, dressed in pink silk pyjamas, and heeled slippers.
‘Thank you, Mr Fox,’ she said as I held out her drink. ‘And cheers.’
‘Cheers indeed, Miss Jones,’ I replied.
The Laphroaig did not disappoint. The flavour was every bit as good as the aroma.
‘Knowing you these past few months has given me great pleasure, Mr Fox. So many of the new recruits at Thompson Mackenzie are still little more than children, but you have a certain maturity that I find, well, both reassuring and endearing. Our little chats on our morning journeys have been a delight. Thank you. And thank you too for your company at supper this evening. I can think of no one with whom I would rather have shared this evening.’
‘The pleasure has been all mine,’ I assured her.
‘It is nice of you to say so, Mr Fox, but I assure you that the greater part of the pleasure has been mine. And now I hope you will not think me too presumptuous if I ask you to take me to bed. We can turn out the lights if you would find that more comfortable.’
Yes, it was a surprise. But only for a moment or two. Looking back, I suppose that we had been flirting in a courtly manner for several weeks. And as for the lights: there were no overhead lights, just an array of side lamps which gave the room a warm, soft glow. ‘Up to you, Miss Jones, but I think the lights will be just fine as they are,’ I said.
Miss Jones kissed me lightly. ‘Thank you. There’s no hurry. We should enjoy our whisky first.’
Having agreed (I’m pretty sure that’s what we had done) that we would take our developing friendship to another level, we both sat down on the couch and sipped and chatted. And then, the sipping reached an end, and the chatting paused. Miss Jones held out her glass. ‘What do you think, Mr Fox? A wee dram to take to bed?’
‘Why not?’ I said. ‘Mixture as before?’
‘Thank you. It was perfect.’
As I refreshed our nightcaps, Miss Jones went around to the other side of the bed, pulled back the duvet and, after stepping out of her slippers, swung her legs up onto the bed and under the duvet. ‘There.’ And she propped herself up on the pillows.
‘I’m afraid that I forgot to pack my pyjamas,’ I said.
Miss Jones smiled. ‘I don’t think that pyjamas will be required, Mr Fox. Not by you anyway. You have youth on your side. I, on the other hand … well, let’s just say that a little subtle camouflage can do no harm at my age.’
I handed Miss Jones her drink and began to remove my suit, tie, and shirt.
‘Although, now that I am safely under the covers, perhaps I could dispense with a part of my apparel.’ And she wriggled out of her pink silk pyjama trousers and tossed them on to a nearby chair.
Stripped down to my red and white striped boxers, I joined Miss Jones under the duvet.
‘Hmm,’ she said, looking at me as though over the top of a pair of glasses, ‘I have removed my lower garment, Mr Fox; I think it is only fair that you do likewise.’
Only fair? Well, yes, I suppose it was. I wriggled out of my boxers and dropped them onto the floor. ‘Happy?’ I said.
‘Very,’ she replied.
I took a large sip of my nightcap and then turned my full attention to Miss Jones.
Thinking about it afterwards, I realised that it could have been very awkward. But it wasn’t. It was as though it had been meant to have happened.
As I recall, I began by kissing her neck — not just once, but ten, fifteen, maybe even twenty times. I remember that she giggled, lightly, girlishly. Giggling was not something that I associated with Miss Jones, but, yes, she definitely giggled. And then, while my lips moved to her pale throat and the small triangle of exposed flesh framed by the V-neck of her elegant pink pyjama jacket, I slipped a hand up under the jacket a began to explore her soft breasts.
‘Oh, yes,’ she murmured. ‘Oh, yes, Mr Fox.’
Oh, yes indeed, Miss Jones, I thought; and I felt my cock swelling and stiffening. Perhaps it was just as well that she had insisted that I remove my boxers. There could have been a terrible tangle.
From her breasts, my fingers slowly travelled south, over her rib cage and across the contours of her belly until, eventually, they reached the upper limits of her luxuriant patch of thatch. For a moment or two, they tarried, teasingly, tracing the border between her smooth soft skin and the springy garden that flourished atop her pubic mound. I was tempted at that moment to throw back the duvet and bury my nose in her tantalising triangle, to inhale the heady aroma of sex. But there would be ample opportunity later.
After a further 15 or 20 seconds, my fingers continued their journey south into the warm cleft valley.
‘Oh, yes, Mr Fox.’
Her fur-clad outer lips were already starting to swell and open. I ran my pleasure finger gently between them and felt the beginnings of a slippery slickness on the surface of the smooth lips within. Four … five … six times my finger swept her secret valley, and each time the valley opened up a little more. Eventually I plunged my finger into her hot and waiting tunnel. And then, covered in her sweet pussy juice, my finger made the short journey north again to her soft-yet-firm clit.
And while I went to work on Miss Jones, Miss Jones went to work on my cock.
For perhaps ten minutes we lay there, side by side, exchanging little peat-flavoured kisses and pleasuring each other. And then, suddenly, Miss Jones began to make little animal-like sounds, part grunt, part yelp, before starting to shudder and then pushing my hand hard against her hot, wet vulva.
‘Oh, yes, Mr Fox. Oh, yes, yes, yes!’
For a minute or so afterwards, she just lay there smiling, her breathing gradually returning to normal. And then she kissed me again. ‘You have been very patient, Mr Fox, but I don’t think we should delay any longer. Why don’t we start with you on top?’
And so we did. Miss Jones lay on her back, her thighs spread, her knees drawn up, and I slid my cock slowly, surely, deeply into her wet and waiting tunnel of love. It felt very good. It felt very good indeed. It also felt very good when Miss Jones took her turn on top, riding my cock, cowgirl style. And an hour or so later — after we had both had another sip of whisky — it felt fantastic when she knelt on the edge of the bed and I took her from behind, doggy style.
At some stage, thanks probably to the sex and the alcohol, we both fell into a deep sleep, and when I next opened my eyes the bedside clock-radio was showing 5:32. Doing my best not to disturb my bed mate, I crept out from under the duvet and went for a quick (and much-needed) shower.
Showered and dressed, I was sitting in one of the armchairs, tying my shoelaces, when a small voice addressed me from amid a pile of pillows. ‘Thank you, Mr Fox. That was a perfect way to end one phase of my life and begin the next. Thank you.’
I finished tying my shoelaces and walked around to the other side of the bed and kissed her lightly on her forehead. ‘Thank you, Miss Jones,’ I said. ‘For everything.’
Miss Jones smiled. ‘And if you ever find yourself with a few days to spare and feel the need of a little Spanish sunshine ….’
‘I will keep it in mind,’ I assured her.