ROMANCE IN FRANCE

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Chapter 20

‘You don’t have to drive fast Mark. There’s still a while between the pains.’ Abbey said, looking at the speedometer, slightly worried at Mark’s speed. He usually drove steadily and she wasn’t used to him not doing so.

I know darling, but I want to get you there before the pains get too bad, then they can give you something, alright?’ He said watching the road carefully.

’Thank you Mark, you’re always so thoughtful.’ Turning his head quickly he gave her a smile, and then glued his eyes back on the road.

‘I don’t know if they’ll let me stay with you all the time Abbey. I may have to leave you and come back in visiting hours.’

‘Oh, that will mean an awful lot of driving for you Mark.’

‘Well, I thought I could book into a hotel for a couple of nights, and then I would be here whenever you need me. They will be able to ring me at the hotel, and I can be here to see our baby born if that’s alright with you Abbey?’

‘It’s alright with me Mark, you know that, I did say so before.’

‘I know you did love, but I thought I would check, just in case you had changed your mind, and if I stay out of the way for a couple of day’s and we leave Carl and Jemma alone.’ He sighed then finished what he was saying. ‘Who knows what might happen?’ and he gave her a quick conspiratorial grin. She grinned back, and then gasped as another pain shot through her body, leaving her panting for a few minutes.

‘You all right Abbey,’ asked Mark the worry evident in his voice.

’Yes,’ grunted Abbey warily, ‘but it makes you wonder if it’s a good idea, falling in love and having babies, if you have to go through this kind of pain.’ She said holding herself tightly and panting heavily. ‘Nearly there Abbey, love,’ Mark said as he pulled up out side the hospital.

Carl walked into the dining room, surprised to see only Alice and Jemma sitting at the table, but before he could speak.

Alice spoke up.

’Abbey’s gone to the hospital to have her baby, Uncle Carl.’ She said nodding her head wisely at Carl as if she knew everything about it.

‘Has she now, then you’ll be having a new baby brother or sister then soon Alice, will you like that?’ he said smiling kindly at the child.

‘Oh yes, although I think I would like a brother first, Abbey can have a sister for me next time.’

’Oh, can she? Carl answered her, slightly amused at what the child had said he asked. ‘Who said she might have a sister next time?’

‘Jemma!’ said Alice. ‘She told me, mummies and daddy’s sometimes, have big families, and have two or maybe even three, brothers and sisters.’ She said looking at Carl with her eyes like saucers.

‘Did she now,’ said Carl, giving Jemma a quizzical look, as he thought, I wish she’d give me the chance to give her a baby. He gazed longingly at the bent head opposite him, how could he explain to her, he was sorry for the way he had treated her.

Jemma let the child chatter on it relieved the tension she felt at sitting at the table with Carl and the child on her own. She kept her head bent her eyes on the plate, the conversation was slightly embarrassing, and she felt dreadfully shy.

Her emotions were bursting and radiating in circles inside her. She wasn’t exactly sure what the feelings were that raged through her, but knew that whenever he was near it happened. His nearness had released them again they twisted and curled inside her filling her with an incredible tenderness and longing to feel his arms around her.

Finishing her meal she stood up and began to clear the dishes.

Carl stood up too, and brought his plate to stand at her side, placing it on top of hers at the serving hatch. She could feel the warmth of his nearness as he stood at her side, and it sent a shiver of delight through her body filling her with strange excitement that entered every part of her making her knees feel weak. Then he moved away and she had to take a deep breath, willing her body to calm down.

Carl was in the same predicament, his body had leapt to life as he felt her warmth, his pulses raced wildly, and it was the first time they had been so close since the night he had kissed her. He hadn’t expected such a reaction from his body, and he forced himself to walk away, shuddering with a desire that shook him. He walked out of the room bent on finding something to do that would take his mind off her, and heard the telephone ringing in the office.

‘I won’t be home for a couple of nights Carl; I’m staying in town with Abbey.’

‘Oh’ has Abbey not had the baby then yet?’

‘No, they seem to think it could be a while yet. If it happens in the night, I won’t ring you till the morning, it’s silly to wake everyone up, and will you tell Jemma?’

‘Yes, give Abbey our love Mark, and I hope everything goes well, Bye.’

He put the phone back onto the hook slowly. That meant he would have to tell Jemma what was happening. ‘It’s hard enough keeping out of her way when everyone’s here. Now I know we’ll be practically on our own it will be much worse.’ he thought desperately.

He made his way quickly to the kitchen to relay the message. His heart turned over as he entered the domestic scene. Jemma was stood at the sink with Alice washing the pots. Alice wrapped in one of Yvette’s plastic aprons, giggling her head off as she played with the bubbles in the sink.

He gazed at them from the doorway.

‘Mark just rang,’ Jemma didn’t turn from the sink, but answered him softly.

‘Oh, has Abbey, had the Baby already?’ and Alice turned to look at him her face lit with excitement.

’Is it a brother Uncle Carl?’

‘No, err we don’t know yet Alice, I’m afraid we won’t know until the morning.’

’Oh, never mind, you said it might not be till morning didn’t you Jemma?’ Content she turned back to the sink more interested in playing with the bubbles.

‘Daddy’s not coming home tonight Alice, he’s staying in town with Abbey till she’s feeling better then he’ll bring them both home.’

’Oh, it’s alright Uncle Carl, I’ve got you and Jemma haven’t I?’ She said nonplussed, and carried on playing, while Jemma put the pots away.

Carl walked away sadly, he would mow the grass around the caravans, ‘that would give him something to do and, keep his mind off Jemma’ he thought.

It was nearly Alice’s bedtime and Jemma took her for a bath and tucked the child into bed, then sat and read to her for a while, until she fell asleep. She and Pup usually went for a walk after Alice’s bedtime story, but she didn’t know where Carl was and didn’t really fancy leaving Alice in the house on her own for long, even though she knew that now it was pretty safe. Alice just might wake up and try looking for her.

She gazed at Pup who sat wagging his tail and gazing knowingly at her with his brown eye’s excited. He enjoyed this time with Jemma it was there special time. Jemma couldn’t resist the look in his eye’s,’ come on then Pup, I don’t suppose Carl’s far away, we’ll just go for a little walk tonight mind, just down the caravan field and back.’

The night sky wasn’t quite dark yet, still enough light left for them to see where they were going, and they walked through the garden to the gate that led into the caravan field; Pup snuffling away in the hedges and Jemma wandering along her mind on Carl. Reaching the end of the field, Jemma turned to make her way back, her gaze taking in the caravans and the slight hill that approached the field at the other side leading to the wood. On the top of the hill stood the mowing machine, and at the side of it lay Carl on his stomach.

Jemma’s heart leapt into her mouth.

‘Was he hurt? Why was he lying on the ground?’ Galvanised into action, she ran up the hill as fast as her legs would carry her and knelt down at his side. Her eye’s swept over him searching for blood, there didn’t seem to be any so she grabbed his clothes and tried to pull him over towards her.

Carl was dozing he’d finished the grass cutting and had lain down on the grass trying to marshal his feelings, having lain awake the last few nights wondering how he could explain everything to Jemma. As he felt the tug on his clothes he rolled over wondering who it was trying to move him.

His eye’s were wide open and he stared into wide green eye’s full of care and concern. Realising he was all right, Jemma’s face coloured, and rising swiftly to her feet she ran off. Flying as fast as her feet would take her to the safety of the house.

Carl gazed after her confused for a few seconds. ‘Why had she turned him over?’ Where was he? Finding that he lay in the middle of the field, with the lawn mower stood at the side of him he came wide-awake, feeling even guiltier as he realised why she had tried to turn him over. She had been concerned about his welfare. He drew himself up, his brother was right he was a damn fool even after the way he had treated her she still cared about him. ‘But that was Jemma. His, Jemma,’ he thought as suddenly it came to him, she loved him, he’d seen it in her eye’s.

He ran to the mower full of glee, and jumped onto the seat, firing it up he drove it to the garage, and locked it away. His heart beat with excitement and he ran to the house as if a thousand devils followed him.

Jemma sat in bed reading, she wore one of the long tea shirt nighties that she usually wore for bed; Paddington bear decorated the front eating a pot of honey. Pup curled up in his favourite place at the bottom of her bed. She looked up as she heard a knock on the door surprised because she thought she was in the house on her own. Perhaps Mark had come back after all, or perhaps Alice had awoke and come to find her, although it was unusual if she had thought Jemma.

’Come in she called, and stared as the door was slowly pushed open. Carl stood in the doorway, she could see he’d just come from the shower his hair was still wet. He’d changed his clothes, and was now wearing long fawn chinos and a pale cream silk shirt. She wasn’t used to seeing him so and her heart leaped seeming to thump harder in her chest she grabbed the top cover and pulled it up to her neck as a warm floaty feeling overcame her...

Carl’s body filled with emotion as he saw her sitting on the bed, a picture of innocence, he’d seen the Paddington bear nighties she wore, and his heart filled with a great tenderness toward her.

Her green eye’s widened as he walked towards her. Then their eyes met each trying to read the others thoughts. Carl stared amazed, as she seemed to change before his very eyes.

She felt the change in her self as he neared the bed her lips felt softer fuller. Her chest suddenly heaved as she took a breath and her eyes felt queer. The pulse at the base of her throat seemed to throb and caused her to breathe quicker. The blood in her body seemed to surge around her middle, and swirled out to her nerve endings. Leaving her languid and yet vitally alive. He was still walking towards her their eyes seemed to fuse together and melted her body. Her legs felt weak and if she hadn’t been lying down, she was sure she would have collapsed.

Carl sat down on the side of the bed suddenly, feeling as if he’d been whip-lashed. The fire inside him seemed to be erupting like a volcano, he wanted to pull her into his arms and kiss her soft mouth until she begged for breath. ‘Would she forgive him?’ he must ask her, his tongue felt like wool in his mouth. He didn’t seem to be able to get the words out.

Jemma was aware of the fire growing in her body. If only he’d take her into his arms and kiss her. Her lips felt dry and carefully she tried moistening them with her tongue.

Carl caught the tiny movement and his eyes switched to her mouth. She stopped, afraid he would think she was doing it on purpose, she’d seen them doing it in the movies she didn’t want him to think she was that kind of girl. He’d blamed her before, said she had enticed him. Afraid she quickly closed her lips even though it made it harder to breathe. Taking a deeper breath, she opened her mouth to speak, when Carl spoke.

‘Jemma, do you think you can forgive me for the way I’ve been, and let us try to be friends?’

She stared at him bewildered. ‘What had he done? He’d only kissed her that one time, admitted he was a bit rough and had torn her blouse, but apparently she’d asked for it. According to what he had said to her. She knew she was drunk that night. The only thing she remembered clearly was his kiss. It was then she had realised she was in love with him.’

‘Jemma,’ said Carl, afraid of her answer. His heart felt as if it was in his throat and it was difficult to swallow. She was so beautiful ‘what if she said, No?’ he hardly dare think.

‘No Carl! I don’t think we can be just, friends’.

’We can’t be just friends she’d said,” his mind ran round in tormented circles, as he gazed on that delicious strawberry mouth.

Dreamy green eyes smiled as she said, ’I think Carl that you and I are more than just friends.

‘Oh, Jemma, you were always wiser than your years. I am the one who is the child.’ Moving up the bed he pulled her into his arms. Their lips met, and for an infinite moment, the world stood still. At last they came up for air, smiling sublimely at one another.

‘Jemma?’

‘Yes Carl.’

‘How long have you known?’

‘Since the night you kissed me.’

‘God! What a damn fool I’ve been!’ She laid in his arms a smile of inner contentment on her face. Her bright auburn hair mussed a little on the white pillow her green eye’s sparkling. The strawberry mouth so temptingly lovely, that it melted all other thoughts clear out of his mind. He willingly gave up his heart to her, forever.

’Jemma, will you marry me?’

‘Yes, my Carl.’

‘And, have my babies,’ he said teasingly.

She smiled into the dark brown eyes, and licked her lips delicately.

‘Yes, My Carl, but not straight away.’ She turned her mouth to his ear and whispered sexily. ‘I think we should have a couple of year’s practice first. Don’t you?’

He laughed heartily and gathered her close.

‘There, I told you. You were much wiser than your years,’ then he kissed her hungrily and whispered. ‘Do you think we can start practising now darling?’

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