Mission unaccomplished is a chapter from Book II, Peter's Children, of the trilogy A Family Affair, by Bernard Preston.
They chose a different route home, climbing down the steep rock slides directly into the valley below. By the time Peter caught up with Janet the moment was past and, although he took her hand periodically helping her down a particularly steep place, the flames had been extinguished. In Janet, too. She found herself thinking of Santie, wishing she was there to share the walk with them, and recognising that the spontaneous combustion that had started on the ledge now high above them had been firmly doused. Just how was she going to re-ignite, and did she really want to? she asked herself. Yes, I do, she decided, focussing squarely on her mission again.
‘Let’s take a break,’ she called. ‘I still haven’t seen those Lammergeiers. Mind you I’m not sorry our birdwatching was disturbed!’ She gave another of her throaty little laughs.
Peter looked back at her again, now ten or more metres above him, thinking again just how lovely she was, but more guarded now of his feelings. Later he described to his mother how he felt like a runaway train and how close they had been to a derailment. Every doctor’s son knows the dangers. He sat on another convenient ledge, unslinging the binoculars and began searching the sky again, shading his eyes from the hot sun. It was a little after midday, and the sky was bright. Janet chose a spot next to him, but not too close. Instinctively she knew she would have to make her next play very carefully.
The giant vultures were nowhere to be seen, and the nest was empty, the chick having long since fledged and left. Again they slithered their way down the steep valley, sometimes holding hands with Peter helping her down the more difficult places. They passed a few small waterfalls as tiny springs joined forces to form a moderate stream. They drank of the crystal clear water when they thirsted, and stopped once to eat a second orange, then following the riverbed back towards the lake, now only a few kilometres away. Several large crystal-clear green pools appeared as the river cut its way through a sandstone layer of rock, a quick flash of silver betraying the trout that had found their way upstream to escape the fishermen’s sharp barbs and perhaps, in season, to mate.
‘Time for tea,’ said Peter. ‘I always like to stop here. These pools are called Marble Baths and it’s a lovely place for a cuppa and, if you like, a swim. The water’s cold, though,’ he warned.
‘What a beautiful place,’ said Janet, looking down from the yellow rock to the deep pool just below them. ‘How do you make tea?’
‘I always bring a little stove. I hope you like it black, and I’ve got a little raw honey if you like it sweet.’
‘Some like it hot. And sweet,’ she added, giving a little sexy laugh.
Peter looked up at her with a smile. ‘You’ve seen the movie obviously,’ he said thinking that, while she wasn’t nearly as busty, she was really much more beautiful than Marilyn Monroe. He couldn’t help wondering how many men she had invited into her bed. His father had warned him often enough: If you haven’t come dressed for the party then don’t start flirting. Even the nicest girls can be infected with the HI virus. It wasn’t long before he had the little benzene stove singing with a billy of spring water resting precariously on it. They sat quietly in the hot sun, silently enjoying each other’s company, each lost in their own thoughts, Peter occasionally, reaching for his binoculars, and scanning the sky for vultures and eagles. There were a few pairs of Crows but nothing more interesting.
Janet had slipped her shirt off and was tanning her shoulders, back to the sun, her chin resting on her knees, and staring down at the deep waters below them.
‘Penny for your thoughts?’ Peter asked, wishing she didn’t have her back to him. The flimsy black bra strap was causing havoc with his emotions, Reason again threatening to leave the place where he belonged.
Janet didn’t answer for a while but eventually turned towards him as the lid began to jitter on the billy. Peter turned the little stove off and added a few sprigs of bush tea. He was reaching for a couple mugs and the little bottle of honey in his rucksack when Janet said: ‘I was thinking of a time when I was quite small, probably about ten when my whole family came on a New Year’s Day outing to a place just like this.’ Peter looked up at her, struggling to keep his eyes focussed on her face. He longed to look down at what the bra was protecting. She blushed. ‘The whole lot of us, my gran and grandpa, my parents, all of us, took off all our clothes and jumped in the pool. Grandpa had a great big ding-dong and Gran such tiny shrivelled up breasts. It was the first time I had really seen adults without any clothes on.’
She turned away from him. Could she do it? She slipped her pants off revealing the most beautiful pair of buttocks that Peter had ever seen, not an ounce of fat and, reaching behind her, dropping her bra. Her back still to him Janet leapt off the rock into the deep pool below, letting off a shrill scream. Eventually, after the splash, she swam into view, swimming strongly to the top end of the pool where a small waterchute cascaded into the pool. ‘Whew, it’s cold. Aren’t you coming in?’ she called.
‘I don’t trust myself,’ Peter laughed, ‘so I’ll just enjoy watching you enjoy yourself.’ He moved to the edge of the slab of rock, taking off his heavy boots and socks, leaving his feet dangling over the edge. He slipped off his shirt and sat watching her, sipping his bush tea.
‘Scaredy cat. That’s not fair!’
‘You’re dead right I’m scared,’ he called back with a grin, ‘and so I should be.’
Janet swam a few lengths of the pool before clambering unashamedly up the rocks to where Peter was sitting. ‘It’s too cold to stay in long,’ she said.
Water dripping from her hair, her sleek strong body gleaming in the sun, Peter thought to himself, ahe is the most beautiful nymph I have ever seen. He forced himself to look away. Janet picked up her cup of tea, thinking to herself, it’s now or never.
She took a deep swallow of tea, and gave a sigh of satisfaction before crouching carefully over Peter, sitting astride him. She took his head in her hands and gave him a long slow kiss, gently pushing him onto his back and giving him another of her seductive earthy laughs. Peter was still a virgin, unsure, but Instinct soon had her way.
Janet’s breasts hung down just above him, as she crouched over him, dripping water onto his chest. Gently at first he teased her nipples and then more strongly palmed her whole breasts as he felt the urge beginning. They lay on the warm rock gently making love, and it seemed for long moments that Reason had completely deserted the young man.
Janet rolled to her side, loosening his pants and, reaching inside, thinking: I’ve never done this. I wonder what’s its going to be like? The first episode on the beach didn’t count, and she had absolutely no recollection of what it had been like. It was almost as though it had never happened, her subconscious mind had so successfully blacked it out.
Fate was not on Janet’s side that day.
As she moved over, Peter, glancing over her shoulder, looked up into the heavens, raptured by his lucky stars. It had been worth the wait for this beautiful woman, he thought, fiercely pulling her down over him. But over her now dry, lightly tanned shoulder, he spied the giant Lammergeiers circling not too high above them. One of them, unseen, dropped something and a few seconds later a large bone clattered onto the rocks not far from them, breaking the spell. He half sat up, looking to see where the noise had come from, and even Janet was distracted. ‘What is it?’ she asked, not allowing her hand to stop its gentle work. His spear felt even lovelier than all the books and movies could possibly describe.
‘The Lammergeiers. They’re just above us and one of them has just dropped a bone onto the rocks. That’s how they crack them open.’
Janet rolled onto her back, looking up at the giant birds, lower now, perhaps only five hundred feet above them. ‘They’re beautiful, but not as beautiful as you,’ she said turning back to Peter determined not to let her quarry escape, fearing that for the second time their mood might falter.
Too late, the Lammergeiers broke Peter’s thought pattern. Instead his thoughts slid back to how he and his father had carefully abseiled to a rocky ledge from where they could photograph the giant birds’ nest, with the solitary chick, and his father’s words began echoing through his head. Dressed for the party, dressed for the party, are you dressed for the party, Peter? Taking in a deep breath, he said: ‘I’m sorry, Jane. This isn’t going to work.’ He took her hand out of his pants, holding it tightly, and giving her gentle kiss. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said again, ‘but I can’t go through with this. I not ready to be a father and we both know that strangers shouldn’t have unprotected sex.’
Janet wasn’t ready to give up that easily. ‘Not to worry. I’m on the pill to regulate my horribly painful periods and I’ve only had sex once. About three years ago. And I have to be tested every year for an insurance policy that I hold. I’m clean. How about you?’
Peter didn’t answer for a few moments. Then he said carefully: ‘Jane, I’m besotted with you but I want much more than a day in the mountains and a moment of bliss on a rock next to a pool. I want you!’
Janet realised that her second chance was rapidly slipping through her fingers, but she still wasn’t ready to give up. She leaned on one elbow giving him a delicious kiss. Peter held the kiss but, when her hand gently caressed his cheek, he took it firmly it in his own big hand. He finished the long kiss with a gentle bearhug, holding her close to his chest. Then he rolled firmly away. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said, ‘but I’m not ready for this. But soon!’ he finished impishly with a smile. Standing up, he reached for his shirt and his boots and, after dressing, crossed the river and brought the pieces of the bloody bone that the birds had dropped. Janet had dressed, deeply disappointed with herself but put on a brave front. She was close to tears.
‘Just look at this bone,’ he said. ‘They drop it from it up there so that they can get the marrow out when it has shattered.’ Janet looked at it blankly, not the slightest bit interested. She had failed. Her mission was still unaccomplished.They made their way back to the resort, hand in hand, looking at each other wistfully, both wondering what the future held for them, if anything. ‘Supper tonight?’ Peter asked. ‘Just you and me.’
Janet nodded not trusting herself to speak. She gave him a little kiss, and turned quickly towards her cottage. She didn’t want him to see the tears.
Santie sensed immediately that all had not gone well. After seven years of living together she knew the signs. ‘Did you have nice day? Did you succeed?’
Janet shook her head. She gave a little smile: ‘It was a lovely day, but my charms and magic are not as powerful as I thought. It came close but he’s not ready to sleep with me yet. We’re having supper tonight but I don’t think I’m going to win.’ She went on to tell Santie how close it had come on the rock by the pool, only to be thwarted by a couple vultures. She burst into tears. Santie held her friend in her arms, not sure whether to be happy or not. She decided she was happy, but there were going to be miserable days ahead she knew intuitively. Janet wanted that baby, and she wanted Peter. She made some strong coffee and she pulled out a packet of Nutty Wonders. They sat quietly at the oak table sipping the coffee and nibbling the biscuits watching the sun go down over the mountains. Janet was miserable. As soon as she finished her coffee, she took a long bath and dressed despondently, thoughtlessly. She knew there was no hope. Peter’s mind was made up. Santie changed Janet’s necklace for something more suitable and helped her brush her hair, gently caressing her shoulders and neck. She knew that Janet already felt defeated and had lost her sparkle. Peter was out of reach. Unless …
Santie walked over to the bedside cupboard on Janet’s side of the huge king-size bed and opened the drawer. She pulled out a box of tablets and quickly scanned the sheet of instructions and warnings of side effects that she found inside.
‘Why have you taken out my sleeping tablets?’ asked Janet.Santie held the box up. ‘Do you know what the active ingredient in these is?’ Janet shook her head. Santie read from the instructions: ‘It’s called flunitrazepam. Ever heard of it?’
Janet’s head jerked up. Of course she had heard of it. In several of the cases of rape that she had defended the accused were reported to have used it. It’s other name is ‘the date-rape drug’.
‘You’re not suggesting … .’ Janet couldn’t finish her sentence.
‘Of course I’m suggesting but you’d better be careful.’
Peter fetched Janet just before eight. Santie recused herself, saying her ankle was still too sore to walk and wished them a pleasant evening. Her sleeping tablets secreted in her handbag, Janet was again at her sparkling best, her enthusiasm for the quest reignited. She would give it one more good try. Janet wasn’t one to give up easily; years later, Santie commented that was what ultimately made her such a good prosecutor. The evening was warm, the sky clear, the scimitar of a new moon slicing slowly across the evening sky. They sat outside on a patio with other young couples, enjoying the sweet cool air. Night birds called, and Peter described a few of them for Janet. She told him of her life, the times she and her twin sister had teased their boyfriends, her early childhood and schooldays. There was just enough truth to make it convincing. Peter was happy too, thinking how lucky he had been to meet this beautiful woman. Janet started with a tomato-juice cocktail while Peter enjoyed couple of Heinekens followed by bottle of red wine with dinner. They were both fairly tipsy by the time they got to the end of the dessert, holding hands across the table. Peter ordered coffee while Janet excused herself to go off to the loo. When she came back, she playfully dropped a packet of condoms onto the table.
Peter looked down at them, and then slowly up at her. For long moments he looked deep into her eyes. Finally he said: ‘I want much more, Jane. Much more. I want you, not just a summer holiday romance, soon forgotten.’ He shook his head, slowly at first, and then quite definitely. He picked up the condoms, and carefully dropped them into her bag, never taking his eyes from hers. Gently he kissed her. Scraping back his chair, Peter suddenly made to stand up, staggering once or twice and made his own way off to the loo. Two beers and more than half a bottle of wine was having its effect on him too. Nobody saw Janet drop three sleeping tablets into his coffee and give it a quick stir.
Sandra Thomas lay in their large double bed tossing and turning, unable to sleep. ‘You’re worrying about nothing,’ Scott had said before falling asleep but she could recognise a pair of lezzies from a mile off. Mind you, it had taken a while for her to see it. Her mother’s protective instinct worried about her only child and, sleepless, she couldn’t help wondering what Janet’s little game with her son’s heart was all about. All of her senses were aroused. It was quite late when she heard the front door quietly open and Peter’s footsteps on the landing. Then she could hear Peter climbing the stairs to his room in the loft. She thought they sounded a bit clumsy, and she was sure she could hear another lighter pair of steps. It was not long before she heard the bed upstairs, only three metres above her head, creaking and she knew exactly what was happening. Something unclean, was how she described next day to Scott. Should she rush upstairs and save her son? Tormented with indecision, all her instincts at odds with one another, she thrust the pillow over head, blocking out the sounds she didn’t want to hear.
Upstairs, Janet gently helped Peter undress, slipping naked into his bed with him. He was in a limbo fantasy land. First, he was swimming swiftly in a deep green pool with a beautiful naked woman. Then she turned into a mermaid with a long tail who slipped up to him in a wave as he was surfing a wave in the early dawn. Vague and confused scenes of a turbulent sea swept through his drugged mind. ‘The sea-queen sent me,’ the mermaid whispered in his ear. ‘She said I would find you here, and you would know what to do. I must be back in the sea before sunrise, though. Otherwise I will lose my tail!’ Despite her considerable experience with Santie, Janet was somewhat at loss at what to do. To all intents and purposes she was a virgin on her first night out. Her hand slipped down to Peter’s loins, marvelling again at how he instinctively sprang to life in her hand, but Peter was far too drugged to make love to her. Finally she rolled over and positioned herself on him as she had once seen in a blue movie. Clumsily, she held his penis trying to insert it, but it was a lot more difficult that she had imagined. Without Peter’s cooperation his position wasn’t quite right and, much as she tried, she couldn’t get the angle right. Desperately, she finally just relaxed, kissing him passionately, and Peter instinctively started making love to his beautiful mermaid as the early dawn boldly touched the clouds above the horizon. Finally Janet felt Peter slide into her and, giving a great sigh of relief, she gently moved her pelvis and enjoying having a man for the first time. Despite having had hundreds of orgasms, this was her first time for real, and she relished the man deep inside her. She changed positions gently, enjoying his deep thrusts, but also pulling away to allow Peter to tease the mouth of her labia. She too was enjoying a fantasy. A honeybee had brought pollen to feed her hungry stamen, and was soon plunging his giant anther deep inside her. Peter was obviously passionately enjoying his beautiful mermaid, and Janet was not too concerned that he was giving neither his life-force, nor his love freely to her. In her inexperience, she thrust deeply too soon, realising as Peter gave a deep sigh, that he was climaxing long before she was ready. She lay quietly savouring the last moments, desperately clinging to the experience, knowing it could be her last.
The mermaid slipped back into the sea, deeply satisfied knowing that she had got what she came for, but Janet left Peter’s bed, the woman in her only partly fulfilled. She hadn’t reached her climax. Half an hour later the same lighter pair of steps quietly tiptoed down the stairs. By the time Sandra got to the window all she could see was an apparition vanishing across the dark lawns, long blond hair streaming out behind her, shoes in hand.
Sandra woke late, lying quietly in bed thinking of the night’s events, wondering what it all meant. Peter was a big boy now, and she had no intention of interfering in his private life but, nevertheless, all her intuitions were that her son was being head-hunted, and his happiness was at stake. Scott was already up, and Peter would have been at the lake for several hours already, so she lay in quietly enjoying her beauty sleep. Tomorrow it would be back to the salt mines for Scott, and she didn’t often get the chance to lie in. Eventually she stretched, and did a few of the back exercises that she had seen Scott and Peter doing, and got up, putting a brush through her greying red hair. When she came into the living room, Scott looked up from the Sunday newspapers, with a pot of coffee at his right hand, readily accessible. He drank it black and without sweetening, so none of the usual paraphernalia was necessary.
‘Good morning, sleepyhead. It’s not like you to sleep in so late.’
She kissed her husband of nearly thirty years lightly and moved to get herself a cup of silver tea. ‘I didn’t sleep too well. You remember I was worrying about Peter. How long has he been up?’ she asked looking round for the usual signs of Peter’s early morning tea and snack.
‘Not a sign of him. I’m not even sure he came home last night.’‘Oh yes, he came home alright. With a lady in tow. I think it was that long-legged Jane. I don’t like her.’
‘Oh, you’re just fussing because she’s a few years older than Peter.’
‘More than a few years. Five or six I would guess.’
‘Well then, they must still be asleep upstairs. It’s not like him, though, to come down so late.’
Sandra made her way up the stairs, ignoring Scott’s protests. She knew she was the only woman in the cottage. She gently opened the door. Peter was sprawled out on his bed, lying flat on his back snoring gently. At 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning? That hadn’t happened in twenty years or more that she could remember. She quietly closed the door again, now doubly anxious. Peter still asleep at 11 o’clock? Her female instinct aroused, she knew her son had been deflowered.
Peter struggled to wake up, a heavy dull thudding behind the eyes making him quickly close them again, dropping his head back onto the pillow. Bright sunshine was assaulting his eyes, something that never happened in bed, and the smell of coffee percolating up from downstairs was also unexpected. That too never happened: he was always first up. As wakefulness gradually came, he became aware that he was quite naked and as his hand strayed to where a man’s hand strays in the early morning, he was astonished to discover that his foreskin was open. What happened last night? Sitting up abruptly in bed, a stab of pain assaulted his head. He fell back struggling with his memories, recalling a violent nightmare with a huge black and gold bird sitting on his headboard, it’s red eyes glowing at him in the dark. Then there were dim thoughts of a divine swim with a beautiful mermaid who emerged from the sea. Did he take her onto the beach and make love to her? He couldn’t remember. All he could remember was her saying that she had to be back in the sea before the sun rose. “Come back in exactly one year and I will bring our baby for you to see” she had whispered. That made no sense at all. After showering, he walked down the stairs, his head still thumping.
‘Coffee, coffee, please give me strong coffee!’ he called, his speech just a little slurred, sitting down heavily next to his father. Scott put down his paper and decided it was to time to actually look at his son. The doctor stared into the young man’s eyes, noting their blood-shot appearance, and pinprick pupils. ‘How much did you have to drink last night, Peter?’ It didn’t take him too long to work out that his son had been drugged. They gave him the coffee, suggesting he lay down on the couch, and then marched off to Santie and Janet’s cottage. It was empty. The birds had flown and reception refused to give them any details.
THE END of the freebies @ Mission unaccomplished
Book I, II and III are now available for a small fee as ebooks on your Kindle. Or, with the
free Amazon Kindle app you can read them on your smartphone, or tablet.
The price? About a dollar each.
If you've read this far, then you'll want to know what happened to Klein Jan, won't you, and how Santie was appointed to the Constitutional Court?
And what about the two monsters, Gerhard and Jan?
I warned you! A FAMILY AFFAIR IS A LONG BOOK. The equivalent of three normal novels.
Book I: The Bostonians
Book II: Peter's Children
Book III: The Return
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