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Illingworth House: Chance Child - Part One: 76 - "You Are Cheap''

...John had everything her husband lacked, macho, charm, polish - and sex. She hungered after him like nothing else. He was her whole world. She shook her hair free and her cheeks felt hot as she smoothed in some cream, wiping away her lipstick and make-up, sitting looking at herself in the mirror and whispering, "I'm yours, John."...

But Rosie is about to learn a harsh truth.

John Waddington-Feather continues his saga set in a Yorkshire mill town.

Clemence was snoring his head off in their bedroom when she got there. The whole room reeked of drink and stale air, and she looked in disgust as she brushed her hair and saw him sprawled across their bed in a drunken stupor. He would be no problem that night. She looked at herself in the mirror and mouthed the word, "Bitch!" as she undressed, putting her tongue on her top lip and running it slowly across. Then she whispered to herself," He's yours at last, Rosie!"

She had dreamed of this moment for years, ever since she'd had a teenage crush on him. Though she was grown up and a mother, that changed nothing. Her craving for him hadn't lessened one iota; on the contrary, it had grown, become an obsession, thwarted a while by Helen, but now at full rein.

John had everything her husband lacked, macho, charm, polish - and sex. She hungered after him like nothing else. He was her whole world. She shook her hair free and her cheeks felt hot as she smoothed in some cream, wiping away her lipstick and make-up, sitting looking at herself in the mirror and whispering, "I'm yours, John."

Harry Clemence snored on, belching and farting in his sleep, dribbling saliva from one corner of his mouth and looking utterly repulsive. She finished undressing as quickly as possible, taking off her wedding and engagement rings and the necklace she'd worn all evening, tossing them contemptuously into her trinket box.

Then she stripped naked and took a see-through nightdress from her wardrobe, trembling slightly as she let it fall over her body. It was a flimsy affair, designed to impress not by what it concealed but what it revealed. Making sure it hung just right, she dabbed some scent between her breasts, then stole into the corridor outside, closing the bedroom door quietly behind her.

John Illingworth was still awake in bed reading when she slipped into his room and he showed no surprise when she knocked lightly on his door. He told her to enter, and as she slipped round the door, he put down his book. "Surprise, surprise," he said with that strange smile on his face. "I thought you were never coming."

She stood unsure of herself a moment near the bed-light, faltering as he looked her slowly up and down. He could see her body clearly through her nightdress and she knew it, letting his eyes wander all about her. His look roused her more and she didn't hesitate when he drew back the bed-sheet and patted the place beside him.

As she climbed in, he told her to put her hands over her head and whisked her nightie off in one move leaving her naked, relishing her sudden nudity in the red light from the lamp. Then he began kissing her breasts and running his hands between her legs, making her gasp with passion.

It was the prelude to intense love-making and when they had done, she dozed a while, snuggling close to him, relaxed and smiling. But he lay silent, distant, looking through the window at the moon. Still drowsy, she woke up and began stroking his face, drawing it down to kiss her breasts again, telling him how wonderful his love-making was.

He remained silent and drew her hands from his face. He had surprised her earlier by not saying a single word during their love-making. Now he ignored her completely, reaching for a packet of cigarettes on the other side of the bed.

He pulled out a cigarette and lit up, inhaling deeply and continuing to stare out of the window as if she wasn't there. They had switched off the bed-light and the light from the full moon lit him up. She regarded him a moment before drawing herself up, holding her knees and asking him for a cigarette. He said nothing, only tossing her the packet with his lighter.

His face was expressionless, hard, and the white moonlight made him look unearthly, highlighting the matted hair on his chest and shoulders, emphasising his muscular torso. He looked at once devilish and divine,
like a satyr.

She continued staring at him dreamy-eyed, hoping he would look at her and smile; but his eyes narrowed in the haze of blue smoke that hovered around them, concentrating on something so distant, she might well have not been there.

"John, darling," she murmured at length, with a catch in her voice. "John, say something. Tell me you love me. I've wanted you for so long, for God's sake tell me."

He sat motionless as if he hadn't heard her, smoking out his cigarette before he turned. When she saw his face more clearly it frightened her. He looked wolfish, full of hate. She shivered, his face was so full of hatred and his mouth held a snarl.

"Love you?" he growled, and his voice shook with rage. "Love you? God, no! I took you. I had you in revenge for what you did to Helen. Nothing more, Rosie. Don't you understand? It was a one-night stand. That's all you're good for now. Love didn't enter into it. All my love's with Helen and always will be."

He stubbed his cigarette viciously. She dropped hers in the ash-tray and let it burn itself out, she was shaking so. She tried holding him close but he would have none of it, flinging her violently away to the other side of the bed and throwing her nightdress after her. Then he sat on the edge of the bed to pull on his pyjamas.

She began sobbing. "You make me feel so cheap, John," she moaned, wiping away her tears with the edge of the sheet. It seemed to amuse him and for the first time he smiled, that twisted hate-filled smile.

"You are cheap," he said. "You always were! You'd better get back to your husband and make love to him. You might not feel so cheap then."

He climbed out of bed and went to the door as she put on her nightdress. She wanted to put on the light but he told her to leave it, and when he opened the door, they could hear Clemence snoring swinishly the length
of the corridor.

She walked slowly to the door still crying, hoping he would comfort her, and as she passed him she raised her head for a final kiss. But he only stood back to let her pass.

She never got over it, for she knew then that he would never be hers. Yet she never lost her love for him and slept with him often when he came on leave. She did everything to make him love her, writing him long passionate letters, which he always burned. When he did take the trouble to reply, his letters were full of spite. The more he humiliated her, the more she seemed to love him and it gave her some comfort that she had his body at least. But that was all she ever had, and she knew it.


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