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This chapter is a bit different from the rest. There’s no hot sexy action, in fact there’s no action at all. If that’s what you’re looking for look elsewhere. Rather this is a coda, an epilogue. I felt I had taken the story about as far as it could go but needed something to round it off, to provide closure.
So, here’s the final part of Lisa and Judy’s story. I hope you enjoy it.
The months rolled by and Lisa and Judy settled into a steady routine living together, happy to share their bed and their lives. Christmas came and went with Lisa travelling back to Manchester to spend Christmas day with her parents, but she pleaded work commitments, and returned back to Bristol on Boxing day. It hadn’t felt right, she loved her mum and dad, but she wanted to share the day with Judy. They had agreed to save their presents to each other until Lisa came back, but it just wasn’t the same.
Christmas at her parents house had been a strain for Lisa. Firstly she wanted to tell them all about her new life but she had to hide the bit that had become central, the thing that made it special. Mum and dad were, after all, rather old fashioned and she didn’t feel that the time was right to tell them just yet. Secondly she was worried about her dad’s hacking cough which had got much worse, she really wished he’d give up smoking, and he seemed to wheeze with every breath he took. As she travelled back to Bristol she couldn’t help being torn between her love for Judy and her love for her dad, if he was as ill as he looked then surely she should be near him.
February was hard that year, and March was no better. As the winter storms battered the house Lisa and Judy would snuggle down together beneath the duvet. It wasn’t that the central heating was inadequate, it was just that, in such inclement weather, the warmth of a lover was far, far better than the warmth of a radiator, warming the soul as well as the bones.
Then came the fateful Thursday. Judy was reading and Lisa was watching a cookery show on the television when the phone went. Judy answered it but passed it to Lisa.
“Lisa, it’s for you, it’s your mum.”
Judy watched in concern as Lisa face went white. Whatever the phone call was about Lisa hardly spoke, but she was shaking as she fought back tears and her face told half the story. When she was finished she put the phone down and turned to Judy.
“It’s my dad, he’s in hospital, they don’t thing he’s got very long.”
“Right, let’s go and pack, I’ll drive you there,” Judy casino oyna spoke calmly.
“But… But, it’s two hundred miles.” Lisa couldn’t believe Judy would just drop everything like that.
“I know where Manchester is, come on, he sooner we leave the sooner we’re there. Let’s go upstairs and pack.” They went upstairs threw some clothes into a couple of overnight bags. Judy was very concerned, she’d never seen Lisa this close to the edge, she was obviously fighting back tears. She wasn’t sure if they were going for a day or a week so she packed for the latter; better safe than sorry.
The M5 and M6 were mercifully clear of traffic as they drove through the night, even the stretch past Birmingham was not too bad so they made good time arriving in Manchester in the early hours of the morning. However, when they got to Lisa’s parents house it was dark and unoccupied so they went on to the hospital and, after a number of enquiries, found Lisa’s mum sitting in a waiting area, her face a picture of worry. As they entered she looked up, and seeing Lisa rushed over and hugged her.
“Oh, Lisa, Lisa, my little baby, thank heavens you could make it. It’s not good, he’s dying love, he’s dying.”
“Oh, mum. I came as quick as I could. Can I see him?” Lisa asked.
“Of course, he’s asleep now, but they’ll let you go in. Here, I’ll show you the way.” Lisa’s mum took her onto the ward and left her at her father’s bedside before returning to the waiting area and introduced herself to Judy.
“Hi, I’m Lisa’s mum, Molly. And you are?”
“I’m Judy, Judy Ford, Lisa’s landlady. I’m so sorry that we had to meet under these circumstances.”
“No, no, thank you for bringing her. Lisa was always close to her dad. I’m so glad she was able to make it. Was the drive…” She was interrupted by Lisa’s wail of pain. Molly dashed to the ward with Judy close behind. The flat lines on the heart monitor said it all so Judy, respecting their privacy, drew back to wait in the lobby. As she left the ward a nurse entered with that brisk businesslike walk they use when they’re in a hurry. For maybe half an hour Judy sat and waited, idly reading the public health leaflets to pass the time. She wanted to be there for Lisa, to help ease her pain, but she knew this was not her time, Lisa needed her mother. Eventually Lisa and Molly appeared, holding each other, mother and daughter united in grief. Judy took them to the car and drove them home.
Despite the lateness of the hour they couldn’t sleep and the three women sat and talked for a while. Judy said that canlı casino she would go and find a hotel but Molly was having none of that and insisted on making up the spare room.
“It will give me something to do,” she said. “I need something to do.”
“Lisa, love,” Judy asked once Molly had gone, “do you want me to go, I’m kind of in the way.”
“No, no, please don’t go. I’m sure mum can put you up. Please, please…” Once again Lisa’s tears ran down.
“Of course I’ll stay if you want me,” Judy replied and went to put her arm around Lisa. They were like that when Molly returned. They broke apart awkwardly.
“Fourty nine years, fourty nine glorious years. Your dad was so looking forward to our golden wedding. He had all sorts of plans,” Molly said as she sat down. “You were a menopause baby, you know, thought my child bearing days were over and then, pop, there’s another one. Our little gift, that’s what your dad used to say, you were always his favourite, you know.”
“Oh mum!” Lisa was slightly embarrassed but if it gave her mum comfort to talk, then let her talk. Their conversation rambled over all the memories that families have, best holidays, good times together, the shared experiences that bind. Before long Molly had got out the family album on the excuse of showing Judy pictures of Lisa as a child, but one picture led to another and Judy was forgotten as mother and daughter remembered together. At five in the morning exhaustion got the better of them and the three women went off to their separate beds.
The next few days were filled with sorting out all the trivia that comes with a bereavement. The funeral was fixed for Monday and Judy agreed to stay up and help. A few phone calls to her office put all the immediate business on hold, and she, and her car, were an invaluable aid as they got things ready for the wake.
Lisa’s mum and dad were not very religious and the funeral was quiet and functional. Judy sat at the back, explaining that she wasn’t family and didn’t want to intrude. The priest said the usual platitudes, more functional than meant, and, to the strains of ‘My Way’ Lisa’s dad’s coffin slid between the curtains and he was no more.
Wakes are curious affairs. On the one hand there’s the inevitable sadness, the sense of shared loss, shared grief. On the other hand it’s a time when distant parts of the family meet and there’s lots of ‘my, haven’t you grown’ and ‘we must get together soon under better circumstances’. Judy felt left out, the only people she knew were Lisa and her mother who was kaçak casino having to act as hostesses. To give herself something to do she slipped into the kitchen and busied herself with the washing up. She was half way through when Molly appeared holding a stack of dirty plates.
“You’re fond of Lisa, aren’t you?” she asked as she put down the plates.
“Yes, she’s a sweet girl, a perfect lodger,” Judy replied.
“No, I mean really fond of her.” Mollys tone was more insistent.
“Er, yes, I’m fond of her.”
“Are you sleeping together?”
“What!” Judy was totally nonplussed at Molly being so forthright. “I think that’s a question you should ask Lisa.”
“Well, I’m asking you. Are you sleeping with my daughter?”
“I’m sorry, I really do think that’s a question for Lisa.” Judy was feeling cornered. She hated lying but she wasn’t going to out Lisa to her mum.
“And I’m still asking, are you sleeping with my daughter?” There was a silence, neither woman prepared to back down.
“Yes, yes she is mum.” Lisa had appeared at the door. “Judy and I are lovers.”
“I thought so. I just wanted to make sure. Is this the real thing?” Lisa and Judy looked at each other. ‘Is this the real thing’ was a question each had been avoiding for quite a while.
“Yes, Molly, this is the real thing. I’ve never felt this way about anybody before. I love your daughter and want to take care of her for the rest of my life.” Cards on the table time. Judy thought to herself.
“Oh Judy, I love you too, I love you so much.” Lisa went and kissed Judy full on the lips.
“I knew it, I knew it from the moment you arrived. Mind you I’ve had my suspicions for a while. Never a boyfriend, and whenever you phone it’s Judy this, Judy that. I know the signs, even if it is a bit unusual.”
“And you don’t mind?” Lisa was taken aback, and still not sure of her mum’s response.
“Lisa, my love, when I married your dad his folks were dead set against it. I wasn’t good enough for him or so they said. But if forty nine years together taught me anything then, if you love each other, that’s all that matters.” She turned to Judy. “Look after her, if you hurt her you’ll face a mother’s wrath, but you have my blessing, both of you. Best not tell you’re Auntie Josie though, you know what she’s like. And Judy, you don’t need to bother with the spare room tonight. Right, I’ve got to see to our guests, are there any more nibbles anywhere?”
As she left Lisa and Judy looked at each other, totally amazed.
“I do love you, really I do,” Judy said at last
“And I love you too.”
“Good job we’ve got each other then. OK?”
“With you I’m always OK,” Lisa replied and with that the two women returned to the wake.
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