Written by pandsal

13 Feb 2009

I knocked softly, waited a respectful fifteen seconds before entering. The name plate said baldly: R B James, Head Teacher. The letters MSc to which R B James was entitled were absent. The term Head Teacher rather than Principal - the correct form for the appointment - was a small token of defiance.

Behind the desk R B James completed filling in a form and transferred it to a mounting pile in the out tray before looking up. She removed her glasses and gave me a weary smile. “Bureaucracy, Michael,” she said, with a dismissive gesture. “One day we will disappear under a landslide of forms, and what remains of education in this country will come to an end.”

It was a familiar theme. Ruth James - Jimmy to her pupils - was a brilliant communicator with a vocation for teaching. After graduation, she had spent two years in industry to experience the real world before taking up her first school post. Her impact was almost instantaneous. But such is the structure of education in this country, promotion leads inexorably to administration. Ruth was thirty-five, the youngest in the county and one of the youngest in the country, when she was appointed Principal at Spurfield High School. That much emerged in an article in the Guardian.

Local gossip suggested why she had been lured from the class room where she excelled. She and her husband needed the money. Spencer James was an academic, a professor of pre-Christian sephardic history, internationally renowned in his field; but the income from books, articles and lectures contributed only marginally to the mortgage repayments.

So here was Ruth, at six o’clock on a dismal February Tuesday, filling in forms that should have been the responsibility of any half-brained clerk. I was sorry to have to add to her concerns. “It’s the Brown girl,” I said, taking a chair on the other side of the desk.

“Alice Brown, a credit to the standing of Spurfield High and a royal pain in the backside.” Ruth screwed up her nose. “In a few months we’ll be rid of her, thank the Lord. But what now?”

“She and Carole Thomas were supposed to stay on for rehearsal,” I said, “but Carole is apparently unwell. Apparently - because we only have Alice’s word for it.”

“With you in mind?”

“I can’t prove it, but you’ve seen her. Skirt an inch or two shorter than school rules, but not enough to make an issue of it. Until she picks up her cello and hikes the skirt up round her thighs. Well, she can invite you to look but when Carole is there, too, that’s all it is.”

“But today, no Carole.”

“No Carole.”

“So perhaps she wanted you to do more than look.”

“I don’t know. But I wouldn’t rule it out.”

“This is all to do with that orchestra - the Italy trip?”

“The Anglo-Italian Youth Orchestra, yes. Three weeks in Livorno during the Easter break. This will be Alice’s third year and she’s due to audition for the first desk. She’ll walk it. But today they were supposed to be working on their audition piece, the Kodaly Sonata. The one that starts right down in the cello’s lowest register. When Carole didn’t turn up, Alice said she wanted to try some unaccompanied Bach.”

“Was that a problem?”

“Not until she asked me to help her with the fingering. As soon as I stood behind her, she complained it was hot in the studio and undid the top button on her blouse.”

“Time to go home.”

“Exactly. Went off with a pout, suggesting that if she failed her audition it would be the fault not just of the Head of the Music Department but the whole of stuffy old Spurfield High.”

“You should have called me - I could have chaperoned until you’d finished.”

“I know. And then you would have had more work to take home.” I motioned towards the overflowing out tray. “We’ll sweat it out. Her ability will be a feather in our cap. And she’ll be off to the Academy in a few months.”

“And till then?”

“We’ll be careful. Whether she will in Livorno is another matter. My guess is when she’s out there she’ll get more than her cello between her legs. But that’s not our problem. Anyway, she’ll be eighteen early next term.”

“Sex and the teenager,” said Ruth with a wry look. “She’ll discover it doesn’t get easier. Unless she’s lucky and finds someone the way you’ve found Mira.”

Mira. Miranda Poole. My live-in partner, a modern languages specialist, also a teacher at Spurfield High, but currently on a year’s exchange at Córdoba to polish up her Spanish.

“Well, yes,” I said. “Put it this way - life will be a lot happier when the vacation comes and we get together out there.”

Ruth nodded. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder, Michael, but abstinence is something else, eh? Never mind. Just be grateful you’ve something of that kind to look forward to.”

This was heading into uncharted territory. Embarrassed and puzzled, I looked at Ruth but her face was turned away. In the silence I felt the need to say something. “Problems?” I asked. I knew it sounded gauche and naive; what should I have said instead?

“Yes, Michael, problems. But they’re for me to sort out. I shouldn’t have imposed them on you. I’m sorry.”

Seizing the opportunity, I reminded her that the cleaning staff would be around shortly, and following them Security would be switching off lights. We gathered up our things to leave. At the study door, Ruth paused with her back to me and said, “Forgive me, Michael. I shouldn’t have said anything like that.”

“”There’s nothing to forgive,” I said. “You’re tired.”

“Yes,” she replied. “And not just tired. But thanks, Michael.” She turned her head and made to kiss my cheek but suddenly it wasn’t that kind of polite gesture. Her mouth was on mine, her hands behind my neck. As her tongue probed between my lips, I reached out to pull her to me, cupping her buttocks with both palms, forcing her against my groin, both our bodies alive with urgent messages. I was acutely aware of the prominent, full breasts that staff members believe provide fuel for the masturbatory fantasies of many of Jimmy’s male pupils.

Eventually, she pushed me away. “No, Michael. Please don’t. We mustn’t.” Again I was bewildered, my mind and body at odds with each other, uncertain what to do or say. But Ruth went on. “Not now. Not here.”

Before I could respond, she opened the study door and dashed into the corridor past the first of the arriving cleaners. I followed her outside only to see her run to her car and climb in. I was left with no option but to go to my own vehicle, unsettled and uncertain. I sat replaying her words in my mind. ‘Please don’t ... we mustn’t’ - that suggested second thoughts after a moment of weakness. But in that case what did she mean by ‘Not now ...not here’?

I was trying to resolve the contradictory messages when I became conscious of a shadow momentarily obscuring the light from a street lamp. When I looked up, Ruth was standing outside. I wound down the window. Looking away, she said quietly, “Thursday is Spencer’s bridge night. But it can’t be at our house. Us, I mean.” She reached through the window and touched my cheek with the back of her hand, then hurried back to her car. I heard the engine start, watched the tail lights disappear into the road.

What remained was a clear inference that in two days time the Principal of Spurfield High and the Head of the Music Department should have a discreet meeting. But not for the purpose of discussing school topics.

Back at my flat I poured myself a large Scotch, added a dash of water, and sat down to ponder. Pluses and minuses. Plus. Ruth James, although no classical beauty, was an attractive, mature woman. Small, not much more than five feet, I guessed. A trim figure with somewhat disproportionately large breasts. No harm in that. Dark hair framing regular features and a sensual

mouth. As now proven. And in Miranda’s absence I was finding masturbation a poor substitute.

Minus. Ruth was my superior. I had to work with her on a daily basis. And she was married. Supposing I succumbed to a liaison, I had no way of knowing whether, in a fit of guilty remorse, she might confess all to her husband.

Additionally, there was Mira. And that wasn’t a straightforward consideration. Mira and I first met at Cambridge where we had a fling for a couple of months. It broke up through sheer stupidity: I liked to call her by her full name, she hated being Miranda. After graduation we didn’t even keep in touch so the coincidence that brought her to join the languages department at Spurfield High was a dramatic surprise. Even more so was the discovery that here we were, a decade later, both unattached. Tall, slim, blonde with high cheek bones and small breasts she was everything I remembered and more. I took her to dinner the evening she arrived. We finished in bed and within a week she had moved in. Sex was sensational. At Cambridge it had been immature and exploratory. Now we were old enough and lucky enough to be able to discuss it, work at it, make it better, feeding our innermost needs.

The downside was the exchange commitment to Spain. It had been organised before she applied for the post at Spurfield and the governors had decided to let her honour it; in the long term it would be beneficial for the school. But not for us. After a year of rediscovering each other we had to reconcile ourselves to being apart again.

Mira came home for Christmas. There were duty visits to both sets of parents individually; together we made up for what we had missed by fucking morning and night, sometimes at midday, too. Easter was a promise of more of the same - two people with matching sex drives and vivid erotic imagination.

In the meantime our consolation was weekly telephone sex. It rang now, interrupting my musing over my Ruth dilemma. Looking at the clock, I knew the caller would be Mira, but before answering I went to her underwear drawer and chose. Part of the ritual we had established.

We made small talk for a minute or two, ticked off another week before we would meet in Madrid. Then Mira said, “Ready?”


“Tell me.”

“Red. French.”

“Silk. I know the ones. Nice. Shall I start?”

Mira’s ability to control her orgasms was impressive. In bed together, she might let herself ride the first wave to the crest and then repeat and repeat; on another occasion she would be in total charge, setting the tempo for a long, slow coupling with tongues and fingers and changing positions, advancing and receding, until at last, at last, a word would signal the onset of the final arched-back frenzy, love triggering lust, lust begetting love.

The phone, of course, was different. Time was limited. The objective was to finish together and that was where Mira’s innate skill was important. Conversation often remained mundane while we separately deployed our own technique. Somehow, Mira could sense when I was ready, somehow she was able to match me in the final moments.

My zip was open and the red knickers were sliding back and forth along the erect length of my cock. The sensation was good. Not to be compared with the memory of Mira’s wetness but good enough for now. There was though another consideration.

I said, “There’s something I need to tell you.”

“Go on.” Her breathing told me her fingers were at work. Fearful that I was about to break the spell, I told her what had happened with Ruth. She listened without interrupting. When I finished she said, “Well, well. Jimmy. You never know, do you?” A pause while she absorbed the information. Eventually I sensed a smile at her end as she said, “Big tits. You’ll enjoy those.”

“I’m not sure.”

“Why ever not? Every man’s fantasy, isn’t it?”

“I mean I’m not sure I should.”

“Oh Mike, what’s the problem? We made a deal, didn’t we?”

Yes, the deal. Because we talk honestly to each other we had confronted the possibility of one or the other of us being tempted. As a result we had agreed that it was permissible provided it was just a one-off while we were getting through this year apart. But this was the first time anything had arisen - I was confident Mira would have told me if she had succumbed. Curiously, having the licence seemed to have a restraining effect.

“How would you feel if I did?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I’m pretty sure I could cope. If you tell me everything afterwards I think it might even be exciting.”



The phone link was quiet. We were both wondering. My hand manipulating the red silk on my cock had speeded up.



“Let it happen. This once. Then we’ll discuss where we go.”

“I don’t want it to damage us. Not just for some big tits.”

“It won’t. I promise. Just don’t get addicted to big tits, that’s all.”

“OK. Anyway, it’s not really up to me. It has to be here she said, and maybe she won’t show up.”

“Agreed. But if she does, don’t hold back. Just call me straight away afterwards.”

“I will.”

The deal done, I found my grip on my cock had tightened. When the head emerged from its stimulating silken wrapper, there was precum. Mira’s intuition kicked in.



“Fuck me then.”

“Spread wider. Getting it up you.”


“Nice wet cunt.”

“Nice hard cock. Spunk for me.”

“Finger my arse.”

The release was exquisite. My fist closed round my knob as the warm discharge soaked into sheer material that had once been the intimate covering for Mia’s delectable cunt and would be again in the future. A smothered groan at the other end confirmed that Mira had contrived to synchronise orgasms once more.

Silence. Then, “Mike?”

“I love you.”

“I love you. Was it good?”

“Very. You too?”


Later, as I was drifting towards sleep, my erection returned. Somewhat to my relief, the unbidden accompanying images were not of Ruth’s voluptuous breasts thrusting towards my mouth; rather, they were of Mia’s ankles on my shoulders as we rocked towards one of our ecstatic climaxes.


All through Wednesday and Thursday at school, Ruth and I contrived to follow mostly separate paths. Deliberately or accidentally, I just don’t know. When they did cross and our eyes met, there was nothing to be read. No signals. No indication of regret or, for that matter, expectation.

I finished Thursday with a free period, left immediately and hurried home to shower and set the scene in my apartment. Low lights, soft music, the bedroom warm, clean sheets turned back. In case.

At six-twenty the doorbell rang. Outside stood Frank, my neighbour. A bore. “Saw you were back,” he said. “ We’ve got friends coming round for drinks. Wondered if you would like to join us?”

“Sorry,” I said. “Very kind of you. I can’t tonight.”

As I was closing the door, he said, “Elaine will be disappointed. Not many single men available at present, and we thought with your, you know ... your partner away - ”

“Well, thank you for the thought but - ”

“Got something planned? Something nice?”

“Perhaps,” I said and closed the door. I knew I would have to apologise the next day but if Ruth was coming I didn’t want her to arrive in full view of Frank.

By two minutes to seven I sensed I had been stood up. Could I eat humble pie and invite myself to a deadly drinks evening across the hall? No. I reached for the scotch bottle and the TV remote. Later I would ring Mira and report. That was when the bell rang again.

“Sorry I’m late.” Ruth almost tumbled through the door which I hastened to close behind her. “Complaining parents. Had to be seen. But you know how they go on. Couldn’t explain why I was in a hurry to get away.” As she spoke, she looked around, taking in the apartment while I removed her coat. “I must leave by nine. Is that all right?”

“Yes, of course. Would you like anything?” I gestured towards the scotch bottle and some glasses.

“Thank you, Michael. But that’s not what I’ve come for.” Standing in front of me, she took both my hands, then seemed unable to look at me. I was reminded of our strange encounter forty-eight hours earlier. “There’s something I have to say. Something you need to know. I believe I can trust you, otherwise I couldn’t say it.”

As the start to a supposedly romantic evening, it was weird. But here we were and I felt I had to try to help. I released her hands, turned her back to me and put my arms round her. “Anything you say stays right here.”

She took a deep breath. “You have to understand about Spencer. It’s not that we haven’t tried. Doctors, tablets, sex therapists. Nothing works. He’s distraught about it. But we’ve reached the end of the road. That road, I mean. In every other way I couldn’t ask for a better husband. But I’m not cut out to be a nun.” The words now were pouring out. “To put it plainly, Michael, I need sex. Sex, not masturbation. That’s why I’m here. I know you have a relationship with Mira and I’ve no intention of hurting that. But she’s not here. It all suddenly dawned on me the other evening ... that it might be good for us both. Mightn’t it?”

Suddenly, the torrent ran out. She turned and looked into my face. “Yes,” I said. “I think it might.”

I took her hand and led her into the bedroom. But she wasn’t quite ready even then. Sitting awkwardly on the edge of the bed, she said, “There’s something else, Michael. And this is important. It has to be different.”


“From how it is with Spencer. When we try he ’s unlikely to work and that makes him introspective, gloomy almost. It’s just - silent humping. It mustn’t be like that with us, Michael. I want us to talk. While we do it. Please don’t hold back. It will help me.”

In my head I heard the echo of Mira’s exhortation. Don’t hold back. I said, “Whatever you want, Ruth.”

“I want you to fuck me, Michael. Fuck me anyway you want me. Do you want me to suck your cock? Tell me what I must do. What you want to do.”

She rose and stood in front of me, using both hands to lift her polo neck sweater over her head before dropping it to the floor. Without pausing, she shed her bra, releasing full round breasts. The nipples, dark and perhaps half an inch in diameter, were already showing signs of excitement. The orbs were surprisingly firm even though released from their support. She cupped them with her hands, pushing them towards me. “ Is this right for you? Do you want to be rough with me?”

If this wasn’t how Ruth behaved with Spencer, neither was it part of the repertoire with Mira where foreplay was subtle and seductive. For sure we could get animated, forceful even, but roughness didn’t figure at any stage. Nevertheless, although I might have reached my late thirties without exposure to the wilder fringes of sex, when the moment arrived I was instantly aroused.

I pulled her down on to the bed and heard myself say (was it really me?), “Great tits, Ruth. They need to be dealt with.”

“Yes, Michael. Do it. Whatever you want.”

With each hand I took the nipples, left and right, between thumb and forefinger, twisting and tweaking.

“Harder, Michael, do it harder.” When I responded she began to moan, telling me how good it felt, urging me on, pulling my head down to suck on her. When I nibbled with my teeth she clasped her hands behind my head while from underneath she pushed herself up on to my mouth.

At last, I had to pull away to get my breath. Ruth was scrabbling at my trousers, pulling them down and tossing them aside. My underpants followed. “Let me see your cock, Michael. I want your cock,” she demanded, rolling me on to my back. My erection showed that I was in no mood to refuse. “While I suck it, tell me what you are going to do with it.”

This was the game she needed to play. I had told her I would try to help. My reaction once we had begun was neither conscious nor calculated. I found myself drawn into an erotic world that embraced me totally. Her lips closed round my knob, her tongue licked the tender underside. I surrendered to the ministrations of someone who had been simply my professional colleague until she walked through the door only minutes ago. A friend, certainly, but a mature married woman whose private thoughts and desires had been no concern of mine. And now she was sucking my cock and I was on the brink of ejaculating into her mouth.

“Slowly, Ruth, slowly,” I said, lifting her head momentarily. “Keep sucking but work with me when I tell you. Otherwise you’ll get a mouthful of spunk before we’re ready.”

A gurgling noise suggested she understood and the suction eased off very slightly.

“That’s good. Keep doing it like that till it’s ready for your cunt. You want it rigid, don’t you? A big stiff cock right up inside you. Fucking you. Harder. Faster. Making you cum.” While I was saying the things she apparently wanted to hear, I managed to twist my body without disengaging her greedy mouth. Then with one hand I could reach underneath to where those ripe tits dropped into my palm. I squeezed, found a nipple, fondled and pulled, gently at first, then harder. This was obviously what she liked because her mouth suddenly opened wide and engulfed my shaft, the knob resting against the back of her throat. Her fingers curled round my balls. I had to call a halt.

Ruth sat up, gasping. “It’s good, Michael. I hope this is all right for you. It’s not what you are used to, I expect. It’s not been like this for me since ... well, a long time. Too long.”

I wondered what memory she was chasing from her past. Clearly not of Spencer. I remembered the two years she had spent in industry before she turned to teaching. Had somebody then discovered her innermost desires and taken them to the limit? No wonder Spencer, for all that he was a devoted husband, left her frustrated. I chose not to pursue the subject. Her reference to ‘not what you are used to’ was shrewd enough but I didn’t want to talk to her about Mira. Instead, I said, “Shall we fuck then?”

“I want that cock up me,and the sooner the better. I’m ready for you. Or I will be as soon as I get out of this.” Lifting herself from the bed, she released a zip and stepped out of her skirt. That left her naked except for a pair of black stockings. “See - no knickers.”

My expression, swiftly though I tried to conceal it, must have revealed my response. Of course I had no objection to seeing her straddle her legs and part puffy cunt lips with her fingers, arching her groin towards me just as she had her tits previously. But for me, we had missed a stage that invariably added immensely to my arousal: I had been looking forward to dealing with her knickers.

“Oh,” she said, reading my mind. “I’ve got that wrong, haven’t I?”

My efforts to reassure her didn’t work. She was in such a state of over-excitement she couldn’t cope. On reflection, I think that in her mind the whole scenario had been planned, fuelling her imagination during the hours since the frustrated groping in her study. Now, without warning, instead of moving hungrily on, the spell was broken. I felt my erection beginning to subside.

That might have spelt the end had I not glimpsed a possible solution. From the corner of my eye, I could see Mira’s underwear drawer. It took only seconds to extract a pair of black knickers and offer them to Ruth. I saw the question coming and put my fingers to her lips. “Just put them on,” I said. “If you still want to be fucked, that is.”

“It’s why I’m here,” she replied, stepping into the garment and moulding it to her figure. It may have been a trifle small but the sight of the fabric stretched across her buttocks was all that was needed to revive my flagging member.

“It hasn’t been easy, Michael - doing this. But I need it badly and I don’t want to stop half way. These knickers - are they good for you?”

“Very,” I said, taking my cock in my hand and hastening its return to its full pomp. “Turn round and let me see.”

She pirouetted slowly in front of me. I reached out to caress the curves beneath the silk.

“Put your hands on my shoulders and open your legs wide.”

I ran my fingers up the inside of her legs. The stockings gave way to cool flesh, then my fingers were pressing the gusset of the knickers into her cunt. I felt moistness. Ruth was breathing fast, her fingernails digging into my shoulders.

“Now lie across my lap.”

Once again I was able to work on the tits that fell into one hand, while with the other I fondled her arse, pressing the knickers into the crack.

“Are you going to spank me? It’s a long time since ... well, a long time. But it was good. If you want to do it.”

That hadn’t been in my mind when I took her across my knees - this, too, wasn’t Mira’s turn-on - but once more I was an almost involuntary participant being drawn into a new world of erotic exploration. It was not lost on me that I was being invited to spank my boss, the Head Teacher of Spurfield High, who just happened to be wearing my lover’s knickers. I raised my hand and brought it down on Ruth’s upturned arse, firm under the taut black fabric.

“Harder, Michael.”

A second slap, more forceful.

“Harder. It’s all right.”

So it continued until my hand was stinging from the contact and, after a while, Ruth began to whimper with each each contact. Whether from pleasure, I couldn’t tell, but all the time she was urging me to go on. Eventually, she said, “That was good. Can we have the knickers off now?”

“OF course, if that’s what you want. Shall I spank you some more?”

“No. I want to see your cock.” The knickers fell in a dark pool at the side of the bed but not before I had discovered evidence that Ruth had been lubricating freely while she was across my lap. Meanwhile, she was kneeling between my legs, massaging my balls with one hand, my rampant shaft with the other.

“You see,”she said, looking up into my face, not smiling, anxious to take us on to the next phase. “It’s made you really hard. Ready to fuck me. Can we do it now?”

They say we never truly know another person’s mind and here was living proof. This woman, so assured, so competent in the work environment, dealing with pupils, parents, staff, was on her knees imploring me to fuck her. Bizarre it may have been but there was only one possible response.

“How do you want it?”

Her eyes were still fixed on mine. “Can you repeat, Michael? Cum twice?”

Another step into the unknown. I could only shake my head in bewilderment.

“You won’t know if you don’t try,” she said. “Start like this.”

She climbed on to the bed on her knees and told me to stand behind her. Reaching round, she grasped my cock and fed it into her cunt. After a little grunt of approval, she said, “Good. Now fuck me.”

The cavity that enfolded me was warm and very wet. I gripped her hips with both hands and began urging myself into her. This was a form of coupling at which I had long experience; I set a steady tempo, figuring I could keep this going for some while without disgracing myself. I reckoned without Ruth’s desire to be possessed totally.

“Harder,” she began to demand. We were back in the same routine that had characterised the spanking. The more energetically I rammed into her, the more relentless her exhortations.

If I thought I could match Ruth’s unbridled lust and keep control, I was mistaken. While I strove to give her what she wanted, my balls swung through to contact her vulva at the end of each thrust, her left hand reached back to scrabble against her clit. This led her to back on to me ever more aggressively. Just as I was fearing I might lose contact, she cried, “I’m going to come. Fuck me, Michael. Give me your spunk.”

Somehow I managed to keep driving my cock into that voluptuous cunt until the tremors began to run through her, spreading from clitoris, to thighs to buttocks. Just before she collapsed in a gasping heap, I felt the exquisite sensations of a huge, pulsing ejaculation.

I was empty, spent, exhausted, utterly fulfilled. In its extraordinary way, entirely unprecedented in my experience, it had shown me another aspect of sex. What with Mira was essentially loving, no matter how unfettered our fucking, with Ruth was plain physical gratification.

For a minute or two we sought recuperation. In a while, I thought, l would need nothing more than a shower, a drink and sleep. But it wasn’t finished. I realised that Ruth was turning me on to my back, commandeering my cock with both hands. Her head descended, her lips closed round my knob, her tongue working its lascivious magic. We were back where we had been half an hour earlier. To my astonishment, I was reciprocating, pulling on the back of her head as I pressed myself into her mouth.

Satisfied with what she had achieved, Ruth rose and straddled me, felt for my cock, pointed its pouting head between the lips of her cunt and plunged down. This time it took longer, which seemed to please her. She rode me again and again, mouthing obscenities, praising my virility, insisting that we must both come again. And we did. She by manipulating her clit with my cock inside her, me with a wonderful, easy emission into her furthest recesses.


The aftermath was subdued. Ruth used my bathroom while I lay on the bed replaying all that had gone before. When she emerged, she dressed in silence. Ready to leave, she came to the bed and kissed my forehead. “Thank you, Michael,” she said. “It was what I needed. Please try to understand, and don’t think badly of me.” Before I could reply, she was gone. A large wet patch on the sheets told me I hadn’t imagined it all.

There were three sequels. First, a long and detailed conversation with Mira, remarkably leading to another orgasm although understandably there were no flooded knickers to show for it at my end. Mira, however, came with a freedom I had rarely heard in our bouts of telephone therapy. Easter was made to seem even more enticing.

Meanwhile, on the following day there was school. I encountered Ruth on the way to assembly. “Good morning, Michael,” she said briskly. “Another load of forms arrived this morning. Nobody understands anything, do they?”

It might have been no more than a rational response to her work load. It may have been intended as an enigmatic reference to something else. I just don’t know.

Finally, there was a chance encounter with Frank as I was returning home. “Sorry I couldn’t join you last night,” I said, not needing to feign sincerity. “I hope you had a good time.”

“Oh yes,” said Frank. “Did you?”

“Yes,” I said. “Quite good.”