The Sponsors

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Chapter 6

Moria and Richard Adams were happy. After walking away from the clinic, checking that their baby was in order and providing it with a human identification, they knew they were having a baby girl. Moria’s bump protruded out proudly from her coat . They sat in Richard’s car and discussed names on the way home, the sky finally clearing as the raindrops only fell in a calming drizzle.

‘How about…Elizabeth? Margaret, Mary?’ Richard rattled off names as he drove, each one tested out by his mouth. ‘Mary Adams…Morticia Adams…’ He chuckled to himself at the old reference and Moria couldn’t help but giggle away. ’Why so many ‘M’ names?’ Moria asked. ‘They could go with something like…Clementine, or Poppy.’ Richard’s hand reached out for hers in response, his thumb drawing circles over the back of her hand.

‘I like the letter M. It reminds him of your name, and you and our baby are connected at the moment. he don’t know, it just…fits?’ Moria serenely circled her other hand over her stomach, so content with the days process. ‘Melanie’ she whispered, fingers tapping now over her belly button. ‘They should call her Melanie. That feels right to me.’ She looked at Richard with a smile on her face, such infatuation still present after so many years together. Melanie was the right choice, so Richard agreed, feeling her lean in to him as they slowly cruised into the driveway, the feel of her soft, warm lips damp against his stubble, moving the hairs slightly to scratch his own cheek against her lips. As they pulled into the driveway, both happy and content with Melanie Adams becoming a part of the family, Richard parked the car and quickly jumped out, running round to the other side of the car, heels digging into the gravel on their driveway in order to hurriedly open the door for his wife, lending her his hand to stand up with, and grabbing her on the small of her back to help her to stand up straight, concentrating hard on not touching the bump or hurrying Moria in any way.

‘I’m not an invalid yet!’ she tenderly exclaimed, voice soft due to the close capacity of his face.

’Ye she know, but this baby is our hesitant ‘perhaps’, the chances of her being here right now…you know they can’t risk that’

‘Yes, but they also can’t wrap him in cotton wool the whole time, his mental health is important too.’ She playfully hit his hand away from the small of her back, but he grasped her free hand with the other one of his, keeping her hands away as he leant in for a kiss, swooping down to peck her slightly, square on the mouth. A magical laugh escaped her throat, reluctantly making her accept his help by linking their arms together, walking side by side up the pathway to their small home, exposed brick running round to form a perfect rectangle, the blue door perfectly centred and surrounded by symmetrical square windows, painted cream on the outside. Flower pots lined the ground floor windows, and winding spires of moss climbed the walls, attacking the tiled rooftop with vigour. Richard and Moria hopped up to the step in front of their door, and turned their rusty brass key in the lock, the door shaking with the force of prizing it open, wobbling the black knocker on the outside back and forth, accentuating the shudder of the blue doorframe. Finally stumbling through the door, they kicked off their shoes onto a dirty rug specifically used to dissuade a muddy tread from appearing through the sandy coloured carpets and laminate flooring. Moria climbed up the stairs, resisting help from Richard as she grabbed on to the bannister. She bent down slowly to look under their bed, moving the various blankets in order to slide her hand through the gap between the door and the bed frame, drawing out a dusty safe that had been kept in the corner for a long time. The dust was blown off the top and the lock opened with the key hanging around Moria’s neck. She looked at the money inside, a bounty of cash that was an inheritance from her father, to be given to the Company in preparation for Charlie’s last few months in comfort. He was a blessing to their upcoming family, even with the amount of money they had to spend to make Melanie’s life possible. Richard came into the room, picking up the box and carrying it downstairs, easily accessible for when a government official comes to pick it up the following day. Wrapping his arms around Moria and kissing her neck, moving her voluminous hair to the side and over her shoulder, she held on tight to the box that she had protected for so long, until Richard slightly nibbled at the side of her neck, making her lean her head to the side relaxing fully into his mouth, barely noticing when he prized the box from her hands. He sighed into her hair and left to put the box in his office, keeping it near to the front door for a quick delivery, but also safe from anyone who might try to take their livelihood. It would be safe there until the Company official came to collect their dues tomorrow. As Moria was pregnant, she was entitled to leave from work, protecting every human life as part of the policy for sustainable living. The money she would have earned from working would go straight to the Company, adding to the amount they needed to pay before Charlie’s death. They would be able to manage living off Richard’s wages until the baby was born, as the money they had locked away only just covered the fees. The village they lived in would help them pay for things, as they had one of the only working cars around, and could exchange lifts for things they needed. None of this mattered to them in that moment, however, for they were joyful, contentment rolling off them as they pottered about for the evening, their usual routine accompanied by an increased amount of caresses, and a soft, slow soundtrack swooning through the air and into their home from the vinyl system they kept in the corner. Moria and Richard spent most of their evenings together in the kitchen. Their sofa by the fire was the only piece of furniture out of place there. They kept it by the fire in order to keep warm through the winter as the food cooked on the fire. Their breaks as they cooked were spent there, curled up watching the flames together, talking about anything that came to mind; idle chit chat about the days ahead, in-depth questions bringing them closer to knowing each other’s essence, their two different personalities untangling each other to understand what goes on, how they would react, like untangling the Christmas lights every December. All whilst the food they prepared cooked and boiled and baked on the small AGA behind them. While they weren’t rich, they’d done what they could with what they had, and Richard’s job brought in enough money to help them build their country home. Richard’s father was a Company man, and he disapproved of Richard’s village lifestyle, particularly his refusal to join him in his work in the fields, which caused a rift between them that was only solved on his deathbed, when a sudden illness bought them together again in the last moments. The late Mr. Adams gifted Richard this house and all its luxuries as a peace offering, leaving him redeemed of sin in his last few breaths. The small village they lived in was close to the city, the tube taking only five minutes to get them into the main zone. The villages around the city were entirely agricultural, the small, nice houses surrounded by fields, brown and stodgy in the winter and hard work, but in the spring and summer when the crops grew, the land became vibrant and green and yellow, easy to work with and full of life and promise for the next few months. The animals were in smaller spaces, meat a luxury only the Company were allowed, with vegetation so much easier to distribute and store. Any village that housed animals such as cows and chickens were the richer villages, and held large masses of people, mainly of the younger generation. This shared duty of the food growth required council meetings and organisation, each division of people working hard on their segment, either a field or a specific task based on talent. Richard, for example, was the most successful person in the town at both shearing sheep and rearing lambs, so in the summer, he is given more by the Company than anyone else in the village, due to his role as manager of the sheep. Collectively, the whole village knew one another, each person greeted by name and smiles found everyone who walked down the street. Banding together once a month, they held council at the Elliott’s house, as they had the largest in the village. This was to discuss any news from the city that had not been brought up before, and to discuss what was to be done this month. Duties were shared and friendships were made by the candlelight and communal food of such evenings, and it turned into a monthly happy event, the turning of the moon marking a new, refreshed atmosphere throughout the town, and many towns around the city. The villagers were mostly happy, gaining a great quality of life and knowledge of the land, benefitting from the fresh air and exercise that accompanied their job. However, the hard work required more energy than they could give from the sparse food that was left over when the dispatches were sent into the city. The struggle of hunger was overcome by their cooperation, and their friendship and ability to live happily was a small celebration of the fact they were still here, still thriving. The lack of sponsors was due to how happy people were becoming, adjusting to this way of life. Many manifestations were killed from the villages all around the city, the city-goers lucky enough to have more suicides and illnesses than their country counterparts. Because of all this, the village was ageing fast, and new life being brought in was a godsend. The meeting being held tonight was supposed to distract Moria and Richard from their hardship, from the termination of their manifestation, but they will turn up with the good news of a new life for their village.

Moria was standing by the fire in the house, the wire framing the diamond of mesh protecting them from the flames, Moria staring transfixed through the frame. She traced the lines with her fingers in the air, before placing one knee on the seat in front of her, padded by the long pillow, and gently sitting backwards, leaning forwards to feel the warmth of the fire glow onto her face, a gentle sheen of sweat forming as she embraced the heat. She felt warm arms reach her shoulders from behind. This was Richard’s favourite position as he curled around her, his arms following the lines of his (her?) body, as if the hands that grabbed each other could not let go, each of them reacting like opposing magnets. Moria span round in her seat in order to look up and face him, the warmth now tickling her feet, making her wriggle slightly at the movement.The only sound was the rustle of Richard’s shirt against Moria as she moved, looking up into the blue eyes of the man in front of her. She could smell the dewy grass and mellow tones of residual moss that clung to him from his time out in the fields earlier in the day. Her hands lifted from her sides and ran over his chest, feeling the rise of his inhale as he turned his head down, small double chin forming from his skin as she pushed herself up onto her knees to kiss him over the back of the sofa, feeling so familiar and comforted at the intimacy of the evening. Their heads moved in tandem, each interlace of their mouths forming a new area of tongue and lip to tug with her teeth and soothe with her own soft skin of her lips, the scratch of his stubble creating an extra layer of texture as they moved, the ebb and flow creating a buildup of heat.

Moria moved her torso closer to his, practically lifting herself up off of the sofa, helped by Richard’s strong hands, the roll of her pelvis as their bodies met, both standing behind the sofa, soft music forming the tempo of their sway in the background. She was handled by him gently, creating a collective shudder as they felt

the heat rising in both of them. As their breaths became shorter and the natural rhythm of their bodies became increasingly fast, double and then triple the pace of the music, the frantic feeling could not be controlled by any sensory bounds. His hands battled with her hips to bring her closer and further away, fully taking control of her body. His hand rose up and tucked her hair over her ear, slowly biting the lobe, forcing her head away from his touch, the heat becoming too much, each sense totally overwhelmed by the touches of her husband. Slowly the rest of her hair tumbled behind her , falling down to reach and stroke Moria’s lower back. Anticipation shot sparks down through all her nerves and into the heat of her lower belly, the feeling tensing and coiling up like a snake. They left the food and disregarded the time, running up the stairs to the bed, passion overriding contentment, creating a need that could only be satiated in that present moment.

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