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Illingworth House: Chance Child - Part One33 - A Passionate Affair

Helen is now head-over-heels in love with John Illingworth.

John Waddington-Feather continues his novel of high and low life in a Yorkshire mill town.

To read earlier chapters please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/illingworth_house/

John Illingworth's secret meetings with Helen at Timpson's Cafe were the beginning of passionate affair. But it wasn't as secret as they fondly thought at first. Clemence, on his way to the top, worked overtime regularly, and saw them several times returning hand in hand to Illingworth's car, but he never mentioned it again to Rosemary Braithwaite. Once was enough and in any case it became common knowledge in the mill and in Keighworth that he was courting Helen Greenwood. But as often happens, the last people to know about that were those nearest the couple, her family and his father. When they discovered it, the sky fell in.

Rosemary never stopped hankering after her cousin, nor did her jealousy wane. Harry Clemence caught her well and truly on the rebound. She flung herself at him to supply all her needs and by the end of the year she was pregnant. They had a shotgun wedding and her baby was born early in 1933. His new status, bringing with it Rosemary's wealth, earned him a directorship at Illingworth's, where he commanded more and more authority each year. Harry's rise to the top had been meteoric and once there, there he stayed.

The affair between John Illingworth and Helen also hot-housed. When she was late home from work, as she was most nights, Helen said she had been working overtime or that she had gone for tea with a workmate who had befriended her. But all the time she was seeing John at the cafe" round the corner, where they could meet unseen and unknown. When they had eaten, they returned to Keighworth the back way, over the moors and began stopping off at an old quarry to do their courting. As summer moved into a glorious autumn, they fell deeper and deeper in love, wild unbridled love, and of course the inevitable happened.

The weather had continued dry all summer and the moors were engulfed in shimmering heat by mid-day. Miles of ling and heather stretched endlessly through the haze in a sea of purple. At intervals, massive boulders rose up like islands, left-overs from a primeval past. Everywhere, abandoned quarries pocked the landscape, scarring entire hillsides, gouged out a century earlier to build the industrial towns and cities in the valley. Yet there was no sign of industry up there. All was wild and elemental.

The quarry they drove into each evening lay just off the road. Once past the entrance, they were confronted by a wide, open arena, over which the cracked quarry face towered. The only sign of life there, were the jackdaws nesting on stippled ledges and calling noisily to each other. Rusting machinery and broken slabs of stone, cluttered the floor over which the quarry face hung. At the far end, stood a dilapidated workmen's hut behind which they parked the car, then returned to the quarry entrance to walk up to the moors.

Immediately outside the quarry, the land fell away to a solitary farmhouse hemmed in by black walls and some scraggy wind-blown trees. Drystone walls ran everywhere, like varicose veins, right across the hillside below. In adjoining fields, dirty grey sheep munched the sparse grass, then scattered, startled by their sudden appearance. Between them and the distant horizon, ran the Aire Valley and its towns, hidden in the long dale many feet below them. They were quite alone up there, at one with themselves and the landscape about them.

Hand in hand, they strolled along a sandy track leading over the top of the quarry, scrambling as the going became steeper and arriving breathless and laughing at the top. The breeze, heavy with heather, met them head on and Helen shook her hair free to let the wind play with it. Above them, a lark began pouring down a torrent of song, leading them, it seemed, to a hollow ahead, warm and secretive, where they could love undisturbed and be out of the wind.

They had been there before and John lay out his macintosh for them to lie on. She lay down and relaxed as he began showering first her face then her neck, with kisses. They said nothing, absorbing each other's caresses. Only the lark and the hum of a foraging bee, broke the silence. About them, in the hollow, the air was still and thick with scent from the moors, mingling with Helen's own scent, which excited her lover.
Their love-making became more urgent and John took off his tie and opened his shirt to the waist to let her run her hands over his torso, his neck and shoulders, then lower in their urgency. She told him over and over again how much she loved him, feeling her whole body reach out to him as she explored his tight flesh and he hers.
He pressed closer and began caressing her breasts, till they reached the point where they had to free themselves from the constriction of clothes and undressed feverishly aching for possession of each other's body. The time, their surroundings, the intense assault on their senses, were exact. All control went and they possessed each other utterly.

The lark's song thundered climactically in her ears and sun blazed hot on her face as she felt him penetrate. They held each other a while, then sank back sighing, savouring their love, still locked in each other's arms. Then they came down to earth and a sense of guilt. The lark had stopped singing, plunging earthwards, and its song was replaced by the mournful call of a curlew wheeling directly overhead.
John finished dressing first, then walked to the edge of the quarry to give her privacy as she pulled on her pants and skirt. Neither spoke till she had finished dressing. He heard her sob and turned to face her, then hurried across to put his arms round her, sitting beside her to draw her close.

"I'm sorry, darling," he said lamely. "It was all my fault. I should have stopped."
It had all happened so suddenly. Everything had got out of control and as her puritanical upbringing surged back, she felt ashamed. He held her until she had cried herself out, telling her all the time that it wasn't her fault but his, and how much he loved her. His nearness comforted her and she calmed down, then gave his hand a squeeze.

When she stood up, he put his hand round her waist, supporting her back to the car. They walked in silence, for this time there was no laughter. But when they reached the car, he took her shoulders and kissed her again, tenderly and gently. He told her she would be all right. They had done nothing wrong because their love was true. Nothing would come between them now, he said. And he meant it.
Despite his reassurances, her mind was in a whirl as they drove back to
Keighworth. Her sense of guilt deepened and was at odds with the great love she bore him. What she had done, was something she couldn't tell her sister. She had nobody to unburden herself to and the burden of guilt grew heavier, the nearer they approached home. She didn't even dare to think what Joe would say if he knew. Though kindly, he had always been strict with her, treating her more like a daughter than a sister-in-law.

She would have to tell them that she was courting John Illingworth and she was dreading that, but there was no going back now. She was desperately in love with him and he with her. Her sister Mary would understand that, but not Joe. His hatred of the Illingworths was implacable.

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