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Before There Was Me

Dedication
To my husband for loving me and making my sex life so
memorable we have had some great times.
To all my friends for encouraging and putting up with me.
Christine, Kelly, Lucy, Nicki, Wendy, Andy, Bert, Carl, et al.
To my beautiful Granddaughter, who died aged 28, and her
wonderful son, Oliver Gabriel, who was sadly adopted.

I. N. Prosser

SMILING AT YOU

Copyright I. N. Prosser (2015)


The right of I. N. Prosser to be identified as author of this
work has been asserted by her in accordance with section 77
and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the
publishers.
Any person who commits any unauthorized act in relation to
this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil
claims for damages.
All characters in this publication are fictitious and any
resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely
coincidental
A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the
British Library.
ISBN 9781785547690 (Paperback)
ISBN 9781785547706 (Hardback)
www.austinmacauley.com
First Published (2015)
Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd.
25 Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London
E14 5LQ
Printed and bound in the Great Britain

CHAPTER ONE

It had been a brilliant first date first date? Just a coffee.


Why did he call it a date? They were not dating definitely
not.
She wore a wedding ring and hed had a girlfriend who
had very recently dumped him for someone else. He had
been on the point of talking marriage but she had beaten
him to it and left him.
Had he been too slow? Had he been slow because she
was not the one? He felt the need for someone in his life;
someone to share his thoughts with; a soulmate? He felt
tired of the chase, vapid girls who only wanted a good time.
Was he looking in the wrong places? He guessed he was.
Clubs and nightclubs and bars did not attract intelligent
women who wanted to settle down with one man. They
attracted married women out for the night with their
girlfriends, single women out for a good time, not the
domesticity of a husband.
Or they were women he met through his work;
successful, hardheaded women in sharp suits who earned as
much as him and had no time for him to cosset them. He
wanted some romance; two eyes meeting across a table in
the candle light, a soft touch of the hand as passion kindled.

He was nearly fifty-five and the decent women were all


taken, just like all the good secretaries; not like the moronic
bimbo he had working for him at the moment. Why the hell
had he employed her with her blonde highlights and skimpy
jumpers? Perhaps hed had visions of just enjoying the
view, but it had paled after a few weeks of her atrocious
typing.
His ex-girlfriend had been a successful barrister, but
she was always flitting round the country from one law
court to the next chasing success and she had ended up
getting engaged to another barrister. He did not want
children unless he met someone who did; kids were not a
driving need.
He had a son who he did not particularly like and that
would do. He just wanted a woman of his own.
Miserable and dejected, he collided with her when she
was coming out of the lift and he was going in; her bag
went flying and all the files she was holding. They stooped
to pick the papers up, both apologising desperately. What a
clique, but it does happen like that.
She was a chubby, motherly type but when she lifted
her eyes to apologise once more he felt an unexpected
flutter near his heart. Their hands touched, electric sparked.
This damn static electric he laughed. It seemed like
the first time he had stretched his lips in a smile since
forever.
She smiled back. Too much nylon around. We do not
get enough money to buy silk. She emphasized the not,
and she blushed. A mature woman blushing, he was
amused.
She hurried across the atrium and he watched her go.
She is certainly a Tellytubby he thought.
From rarely seeing each other they now seemed to
always be in the same lift. She smiled at him as he got in

and her face lit up. It was not just him she smiled at. She
smiled at the security guard as she handed him a file. She
smiled at the messenger who delivered her a package. She
smiled when someone she knew got in the lift. She smiled
at him when he did.
He realised he must have been watching her to know
who she smiled at.
She was so mumsy with her hair held back in a bun
with an elastic beaded clip and not his type at all, so he was
surprised when he found himself alone with her in the lift
asking Have you got time for a coffee? He wanted to see
her eyes again,
She smiled her usual smile, Not tonight or I will miss
my train. I can tomorrow though. She lifted her eyes and
he felt the flutter again.
Its a date. Five-thirty in the coffee shop then, just in
case we do not bump into each other tomorrow. He felt his
eyes crinkle and his mouth stretch into an involuntary
smile.
What the hell was he thinking, the words had come
unbidden and now he could not take them back. Idiot. Now
I am stuck with her.

CHAPTER TWO

5.20. He kept looking at his watch. Can you hurry this up,
Marianne he told his secretary, I have got to be someplace
else by half past. Why was he so impatient, why was it so
important that he was not late?
She dithered for another five minutes, so he ran for the
lift. It whizzed past his floor and up to floor twenty-six. He
usually did not mind waiting, one of the downsides of
working in this giant office block, but today he felt as if he
was jigging from foot to foot. Should he take the stairs 10
floors 20 flights would the high speed lift be quicker?
The doors opened as he deliberated and she was there;
squashed at the back, but all his eyes saw was her face light
up as she smiled. Everyone else faded.
Last in first out, he waited while the lift disgorged its
passengers. He felt his arm try to move to put it round her
ample waist he could get done for sexual harassment if he
did that. Why had he wanted to do that?
Damn office politics and the politically correct brigade.
Many a marriage had started in the office but not now
thanks to all the rules and regulations. Where did a man of
his age meet decent women? He had always been too busy
with his career to bother to get married, until now. He had
affairs, he was not a monk and he enjoyed the exercise. He

was abroad every month for weeks at a time and met


women there but that was just dalliances; none excited him
enough to ask them to come to the UK or to entice him to
move abroad.
He had been 34 and at the busiest part of his chosen
career when he had met Samantha at the wedding of a
friend from university. He had asked her out and things had
gone from there. When she had told him she was pregnant
he had asked her to marry him, more out of convention than
a driving need. She had turned him down. She had told him
that she could not be married to someone who spent so
much time away from home; she did not love him enough
for that.
Did she love him at all? Did she just like showing him
off to her friends? He drove an expensive car and was tall
and more than good looking with his dark swept back hair
and deep brown eyes. Her mother had said he looked like
Gregory Peck, whoever he was.
He had acknowledged and paid for his son and now the
boy was 20 and away at university. He had done the father
bit and his parents had accepted the boy as their grandson.
Seeing Samantha now he realised why he had not been too
upset when she turned down his offer of marriage.
She ran her home like a well-oiled machine.
Everything had a place and everything in that place,
including the husband who she had married when his son
was five. Her husband left for work at 8 oclock and
returned at six every day. They took two weeks holiday
abroad every year; the same two weeks every year and he
suspected they made love once a week on the same night,
every week. Probably with his socks on, Paul thought
sourly. They had managed to have a daughter together
though.
When he thought of having a woman, there in his life,
he almost felt a stab of jealousy and his mouth hardened.

What was he looking for? He did not want a bimbo or a


successful businesswoman; or an efficient Stepford wife,
like in the movie, like his sons mother. He just wanted an
ordinary woman he could love but they all wore wedding
rings and just smiled politely at him. He saw their eyes
appreciate his looks but nothing more. No encouragement
or enticing looks.
Was he looking for a mother figure? Get knotted, he
thought. I have a mum. An old lady of over eighty, but
sprightly and bright-eyed still living in her own home and
personally managing the dozen or so houses she owned and
rented out.
They walked the few steps to the coffee shop and he
waved her to a chair; she sat down. No words she had just
known what he meant.
He saw her delve into her bag and knew she was going
to offer to pay for her coffee. Damn, I probably earn five
times or more than she does. Why must older woman
always want to pay their own way while the young girls
expect everything for free? Without knowing it his mouth
set in a grim line.
He took the two lattes to the table. He had forgotten to
ask what she wanted.
Have I upset you, she asked worriedly.
Yes, I asked you for a coffee and you get your purse
out.
Her face lit up and a smile just touched her lips, he felt
his skin relax and a smile start inside him and burst out on
his face.
She chuckled, Oh dear, I am sorry. I am so used to
being the one who pays. Too many kids.
How many do you have?

Four too many. I never wanted any at all and ended up


with four and look what they did to my figure. Again she
laughed a tinkling, warm sound and he knew she only half
meant what she had said.
He looked at her figure. Her more than ample breasts.
He supposed they were rolled up in her bra, that was what
made them so big. He had known young girls in their
twenties with what looked like big breasts but when the
bras came off the breasts hung soft and empty to almost
under their armpits. Hers probably did the same.
Why am I thinking about her being naked? He thought.
He forced a smile, knowing she would answer it, and she
did; it made her eyes sparkle.
She had the most lovely eyes, deep hazel. He had
noticed that in the lift a few days ago. He looked again. No,
they were green, the same shade as the coffee shop walls.
How strange.
Do you have children? she asked and he was off
talking about his son at university. He knew she was not
bored by the way she listened and made comments and
interjected with anecdotes about her own brood.
He saw her taking surreptitious glances at the clock on
the wall and saw the slight frown in her eyes. I really must
go. It is seven-thirty already. It has been so good to talk to
you. If we do this again, you must let me pay.
They both stood, he leaned over and gently kissed her
lips, sod politically correct. He wanted to gather her into his
arms but that would be a step too far. Why the heck did he
want to do that? He felt his biceps twitch and try to reach
out to her. I dont even know your name, he said and
here I am kissing you good night. I am Paul, by the way.
A blush raced up from her neck. She took his
outstretched hand and shook it once, I am Janet. Thank
you for the coffee, Paul. His name felt odd on her tongue

as if it was a foreign word. She dropped his hand and


hurried from the coffee shop, across the atrium and through
the big glass doors.
He watched her go down the steps and mingle with the
crowds heading towards the station and their homes. I
wonder where her home is? He thought.
He gestured to the waitress for another coffee; but she
said they were closing and he realised the place was empty
and the chairs had been stacked on the tables all around
him.
She was not in the lift the next day or the next. He
found excuses to ride the lifts up and down at different
times and still did not see her. There were 16 lifts in all; 4
on each side of a big central block.
He could not even remember which floor she got in and
out. He felt a fool. The stupidity of looking out for this
chubby little woman. He did not fancy her did he? She
was not his type at all. He liked thin woman in high heels
with lots of hair; and look where that got you he thought.
Fifty-five and single that is where.
Suddenly the lift doors opened and there she was in the
middle of the crowd. She lifted her eyes, saw him and
smiled. He felt the black mood lift and his face split into a
grin without him realising it.
Coffee tomorrow night, he bent down and whispered
in her ear same time and place? He waited for a year
before she nodded and whispered Yes.