Author Topic: Moonlight and Roses  (Read 5507 times)

Offline loopylin

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Moonlight and Roses
« on: June 13, 2011, 03:54:11 PM »
I have set this story to run in the time after the series finished. It is a spin-off from my other stories of that time. The colonel has died. Dora and Steve are married and have a 3 month old son called Jeff. They have just moved into Mrs. Oldcastle's old bungalow which is a few minutes walk from Follyfoot through the woods. They only need to be in the background in this story which is meant as a little romantic interlude between Steve's aunt Milly and Slugger.I know it's way out of season but I have started it just before Christmas. Please join in if you want as I have no pre-conceived ideas where it's going!

Milly Robinson looked in the mirror and smilingly patted her hair which had recently beed styled for the first time in years. In a few hours time her nephew, Steve Ross and his family were coming to pick her up and take her to spend Christmas and the New Year with them. At first she had refused saying they did not want an old fogie like her around them. Steve had persisted knowing it was very lonely for his aunt since his gran had died.Now she was really looking forward to seeing Jeff for the first time and renewing her acquaintance with her friends at Follyfoot-especially Slugger. She smiled as she remembered walking back down the aisle arm in arm with him after the wedding ceremony.  He had scrubbed up well and looked really smart in his regimental blazer. He had complimented her on her choice of outfit- a deep red suit with matching blouse and black accessories. Her suitcase lay open on her bed. She grimaced at the collection of tweed skirts and twin sets, the wedding outfit being the only
thing that really appealed to her. On impulse she opened her wardrobe and looked through it. At the back there were three dresses that she hadn't worn in a while. They still looked good and when she tried them on she was delighted that they still fitted. She took out two skirts and twin sets and replaced them with the dresses. Steve's family were having lunch with her before returning home and Milly now checked that the chicken casserole in the oven. The clock showed quarter to one, they'd be here soon and she looked forward to their arrival and then, later in the day to seeing Slugger.
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Offline Jane

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Re: Moonlight and Roses
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2011, 12:15:36 PM »
After an enjoyable lunch, Milly climbed into the back of Steve’s car thinking how ridiculous it was that she suddenly felt nervous at the prospect of seeing Slugger again.

“O.K.?” Dora asked as she looked at Millys worried expression.

“Yes I’m fine” Milly lied. “This is silly, at my age behaving like a teenager!” she mused, “Slugger probably hasn’t even given me a thought since the wedding.”

“What’s up Milly?” asked Steve but Dora gave him a look that silenced him. “I’ve got an idea I know what’s wrong, I’ll tell you later” she whispered. Steve shrugged and started the engine.

Offline loopylin

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Re: Moonlight and Roses
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2011, 03:45:15 PM »
Later when Milly was unpacking and Jeff was asleep Steve said: 'Come on girl, what gives, what's the matter with Milly?'
'Have you noticed that she's had her hair done Steve? She's alos wearing a little make up and the 4711 eau de cologne she usually wears has been replaced by Coty L'aimant.'
'Mmn, yes, I did notice she looked a bit different.'
'Noticed anyone around this neck of the woods has had a bit of a makeover?'
'Well- Slugger's had his hair cut and taken his suit to the cleaners- hey you don't mean Milly and Slugger fancy each other! No way!'
'Why not Steve?'
'Well er it's just that, I mean Slugger doesn't usually take much notice of the ladies- 'cept you and as for Milly! Still, good luck to them, I say, just so long as no-one gets hurt.'
'Hush now, she's coming back.' said Dora as Milly's bedroom door closed.'
'Okay, Milly?' asked Steve.
'Yes luv. Ee your little Jeff's a right bobby dazzler. I'm so looking forward to Christmas. I need to do some shopping, I know you're busy but I wondered whether someone would be able to tek me into Leeds.'
Steve caught Dora's eye. 'I'm sure someone will be able to take you.' he said giving his wife a conspiratory wink.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: Moonlight and Roses
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2011, 10:53:54 PM »
'By the way, Milly, we've been invited to have tea at the farmhouse. Hazel wants to show off her scone making skills.' said Dora. 'So we'll go down around 5 and Steve and I can sort the horses out together if you'll look after Jeff between you.'
'Ee I'd love to but I know nowt about looking after babbies really'
'It's okay, Slugger's a dab hand. He loves Jeff and he's a very good boy.'
Later Milly sat with Jeff on her knee while Hazel set the table with Slugger's help.
'How long are yer staying, Milly?' asked Slugger.
'About three weeks I reckon- Steve and Dora ay I can stay as long as I like.'
'Smashin'!'
'I hope you like the scones Milly. I made the jam myself too. I hear you're a good cook, perhaps you can give Slugs and I a few tips.' said Hazel.
'I'd be glad to luv.'
Milly pronounced the scones and jam delicious. Steve asked Slugger if he would take Milly shopping in Leeds the next day as it would get very busy later in the week with Christmas day falling on Saturday.'
'Yeah- we'll go early and make a day of it eh? Might even take in a tea dance.'
'I've not been dancing for years, I used to be quite good at the waltz and the foxtrot' said Milly.
Next day she put on her long sleeved navy blue crimplene dress with pearls and matching earrings and was ready when Slugger called for her borrowing Steve's cortina estate for the day.Slugger had on his regimental blazer, white shirt, regimental tie and dark grey trousers.
His hair had been smoothed down with Brylcreem liberally applied and he smelt of Brut aftershave which made a change from eau de cheval. He helped Milly on with her coat and told Dora not to expect them back till late. Dora put Jeff in his baby bouncer.'Well what do you think of that then Jeff?' He held his rattle for a few seconds shaking it before letting it fall and blowing bubbles.
Slugger managed to find space on a car park and took Milly's arm to guide her through the
streets already busy with shoppers. 'Let's have coffee before we start.' he suggested.
'You must let me pay' she said.
'No way, never let it be said that Slugger Jones don't know how to treat a lady.'
Afterwards they strolled round the shops, usually Slugger was not into shopping but Milly's enthusiasm was catching and he made some purchases of his own. By lunchtime they had several carrier bags and Slugger left her in British Home Stores while he took them back to the car. This gave her the opportunity to look around for a present for him which she had not been able to do while he was with her and she was pleased that she was able to find something suitable and be back where they'd arranged to meet when he arrived. As they left and went in search of lunch a man bumped into Milly making her drop her handbag which he picked up and tried to make off with. Slugger was too quick and stuck his foot out causing the man to trip and drop the bag himself. He then ran off and Milly was left feeling quite shocked. Slugger put his arm round her shoulder. 'There now luv, it's okay. Let's go in this little caff and get some Joe Skinner an a cup of Rosie Lee. You 'ang on tight ter that bag and dontyer dare try and pay.'
Regaining her composure Milly allowed herself to be ushered to the last vacant table in the small cafe. 'Thank you for stopping that horrid thief, Slugger.'
'Anything for a damsel in distress' he said raising her hand to his lips and placing on it the tiniest of kisses. Milly blushed and said 'Damsel indeed!'

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Offline loopylin

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Re: Moonlight and Roses
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2011, 09:37:25 PM »
Slugger knew that a hotel just round the corner from the cafe where they had eaten lunch held regular afternoon tea dances with high tea served at 5 O'clock. 'I'm so full that I'll never be able to eat again that soon' protested Milly.
'Nonsense- dancing will make you work up an appetite' said Slugger. On the way to the hotel they passed a small cinema advertising a double bill of ' Carry On ' films starting at 7pm.
'That'd be a smashing way to end the day.' said Slugger. Then, wondering if they might be a bit risque for Milly he added 'That is if you'd like to go.'
'I'd love to. I've not been to the cinema in years.'
'That's settled then.' he said as they walked into the hotel ballroom where a 3 piece band, piano, double bass and drums was already playing 'Apple Blossom Time' and a few couples were dancing.
After watching for a few minutes slugger led Milly onto the floor. He was a surprisinglygood dancer and the afternoon flew by. Around 4 O'clock all the Christmas lights were switched on and the main lights dimmed. The large glitter ball reflected the light
and the whole scene was very festive. The MC announced that the band would play a medley of Christmas favourites to accompany a Barn Dance. 'Do you know how to do this Milly?' asked slugger.
Well I used to but I've not done it in years.'
The lady at the next table said 'Don't worry, follow us and it'll soon come back ' and explained the simple steps as they walked on to the floor. At the end of the sequence as they returned to their seats Milly was breathless and smiling. The dancing was coming to an end when the band struck up the slow foxtrot 'Moonlight and Roses.' As they danced Slugger hummed along and whenit finished he blew his nose and brushed his hand across his eyes.'Are you okay, luv?' asked a concerned Milly.
'Yes- it's just that it was one of my late wife's favourite songs. We used to go dancing quite a lot and if they asked for requests that's what she'd always choose.'
'I didn't know you'd been married Slugger.'
'My wife died many years ago- and now is not the time to get maudlin. They're about to play the last waltz.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: Moonlight and Roses
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2011, 09:57:32 PM »
Over tea Slugger said 'You know Milly, Dora and Steve haven't had a night out together for ages. It would be nice if they could. How about if we suggest to them that you and I babysit tomorrow? Jeff's a good sleeper so they say. I could bring over some of me cassettes to play on the music centre. '
'That's a lovely idea. I used to babysit Steve when he were little but I'm a bit out of practice.'
'Don't worry- it'll be okay, you'll see.'
The two films were hilarious and Slugger had to fight hard to stop himself from laughing too loudly. During the interval he asked Milly if she had enjoyed 'Carry on Abroad.'
'Ee that I did, it were a right giggle. Sid James has always been one of me favourites.'
She declined the offer of an ice cream so Slugger didn't have one either but he bought two packets of Butterkist and two Kiaoras to take back to Dora and Steve. During 'Carry on Matron' Milly laughed out loud several times so Slugger didn't mind doing so either.
They were quite late getting back to the bungalow. Slugger got out and opened Milly's door for her and as he helped her out she exclaimed. 'How lovely. i can see throught the trees to the lake and the moon is shining on the water.'
'Funny, living here we take that view too much for granted. Would you like to walk down there?'
'Not tonight- but definitely another night. I'd best be getting in now but thanks for a lovely day. It's what my mother would have called a treasure.' She reached up and planted a light kiss on Slugger's cheek. He took her packages from the boot and just then the front door opened and a very sleepy-looking Steve asked 'You two had a good time?'
'Smashing!' said Slugger handing him the popcorn and drinks. 'It's a nice night so I'll walk back. See yer tomorrer!'
Once inside Steve locked the door and gave his aunt a hug. 'Reckon as how I'll turn in now luv.' she said. Dora was already in bed and as Steve passed his aunt's room on his way to join her he heard Milly singing 'Moonlight and Roses bring wonderful memories of you.'
Smiling to himself Steve entered the bedroom and was delighted to find Dora still wide awake.
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Offline Jane

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Re: Moonlight and Roses
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2011, 01:52:28 PM »
“Well? “demanded Dora as she ignored Steve’s amorous advances.

“Well what?” Steve tried nuzzling Dora’s ear but she pulled back. “You know perfectly well what!” she exclaimed crossly. “How did Milly and Sluggers evening go?”

“Oh that!” grinned Steve. “If I’m any judge they’ll be wedding bells before long!”

Unbeknown to them, Milly could hear every word they said through the thin bungalow walls. She smiled at herself as she looked in the dressing table mirror. “Wedding bells!” she thought “Eee now there’s a thing!” But the smile faded and she turned sadly away. “No” she thought “I don’t think Slugger would marry again. Happen he looks on our time together as a right bit of a laugh but nowt else.”

Slugger walked jauntily along the path that led back to Follyfoot. Ever since his wife tiny had died fifteen years ago he never thought he’d be courting again let alone get married.” Married?” he thought.  “Now why would I think of a thing like that all of a sudden?” He stopped walking and shook his head. “No, Milly wouldn’t marry an ancient old bloke like me.” He shrugged his shoulders and set off again, muttering to himself the rest of the way back to the farmhouse.

Offline loopylin

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Re: Moonlight and Roses
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2011, 11:02:59 PM »
This time when Steve nuzzled her ear Dora didn't resist, she never could for very long. 'Are you happy about Milly and Slugger Steve?' she whispered turning into his arms and stroking his face.
'Well they certainly both deserve a bit of happiness. We'll just have to see what happens.'
Jeff woke up around 5 O'clock and Dora went to feed and settle him. She returned to bed and drifted off to sleep once more. When the alarm went off Steve switched it off, sat up and sniffed. Pulling on his pyjama bottoms and dressing gown he went to investigate. Milly was up and dressed and standing at the stove frying sausages. 'You're an early riser Milly- feeling peckish?'
'Nay lad. I'm cooking breakfast for you and Dora. I 'ope you don't mind. '
'Er no- of course not. I'd best go and wake her, she got up to Jeff earlier on.'
By the time he re-emerged with Dora, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and tomatoes were
ready for them, toast and coffee too.
'You'll have to give old Slugs some lessons Milly. What he does to eggs and bacon has to be seen to be believed.' said Steve.
'He does his best.' defended Dora,
'Course he does- and not so much of the 'Old' Slugger thankyou.' said Milly.
Over breakfast she told them about the offer to babysit that evening which was readily accepted. 'Do you fancy the pictures love? I can go get the local paper to see what's on.' asked Steve. 'Good idea- and a burger afterwards.' she replied.
By the time Slugger arrived Jeff was asleep in his cot and Dora and Steve were almost ready to go out. She had soon got her trim figure back and Slugger complimented her on her appearance. Steve held out her coat and kissed the back of her neck as he helped her on with it. 'Won't be late!' he called.
'Take yer time son!'
'Ee it is nice to see them so happy.' said Milly.
'Yeah- you know they used ter fight like cats and dogs- still do some times but they reckon that making up is good.'
Milly blushed. 'What have you got in there?' she said eyeing the battered old shopping bag Slugger carried.'Well- first of all there's me tapes. Joe Loss, James Last, 'Enry 'All and of course Glen Miller. Then there's a little drop of the hard stuff for me and something for you.' He produced a small bottle of rum and some sherry. 'Oh and I nearly forgot these'
He handed her a box of Cadbury's Roses. 'To go with the Moonlight' he explained.
'Oh Slugger, you are a one- but thanks.'
'Lucky I know where everything's kept.' Soon the music centre was playing Glen Miller 's 'Moonlight Serenade' and they sat companionably on the sofa sipping their drinks.
' Lovely sound that orchestra has,sad business him disappearing like that.' said Milly.
Yes- tough on the family what with him never being found like.' Milly's hand began to tremble and she hastily put her drink down.' What is it love?'
'I was engaged in 1938, I was 19 and so were Brian. He were from the same village as us and were quite pally with Steve's dad though Brian were a few years older.'
'Did he work down the pit?'
'Nay- 'is dad had the local grocery store and he worked there. When war broke out he joined the army and we decided to  wait till after war finished before we got wed. He went missing at Dunkirk. One of his friends said they were on the beach waiting their turn to be picked up. They had to wade into the sea but Brian hated the water and he told his mate to go ahead without him and that he would join him when it looked like they would soon be rescued. We don't know what happened to him- we kept hoping that he'd been wounded and was in hospital somewhere or that he was a prisoner of war-' Milly held her handkerchief to her eyes. 'I'm sorry, I'm just a stupid woman. It were over thirty year ago I know but he were my first love and there's been no-one since. Kathy were luckier, at least she had a few years of married life and she 'ad Steve whereas when me dad died young and me mother took bad I 'ad to work to support her and look after her too.'
'Well Milly, while you're here I'm gonna make sure you have a good time.' Slugger changed the tape to the second side and refilled her glass. 'Ere- 'ave a chocolate! The music was 'String of pearls,' Slugger gently pulled Milly to her feet and held her close his cheek against hers. Milly had a faraway look in her eyes thinking of the last time Brian had held her like this, that was the night that they almost--'Penny for 'em luv. You was miles away.'
'I were just thinking over what Steve said to me earlier today.' she lied.
'What was that?'
'He said that if I like I can put my bungalow up for sale. He and Dora have offered to have a granny flat built on the side of the bungalow. If I sell up and it's not ready I can live with them till it is.'
'It's a big step Milly, will you do it?'
'Happen I will. I've been very lonely since mother died.' She leaned against Slugger. 'Do you know I think all that sherry's gone to my head. Best I sit down before I fall down.'
When they returned Dora and Steve found Slugger nursing a near empty glass and Milly asleep with her head on his shoulder snoring gently.

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Offline Jane

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Re: Moonlight and Roses
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2011, 11:42:50 AM »
Slugger very gently gave Milly a shake. “Wake up luv they’re back”

Milly stirred and mumbled “Who’s back? Is it Brian?”

Slugger felt confused all of a sudden. “No, it’s Dora and Steve. I think I’d best be going now.”

Steve looked at Dora and raised his eyebrows. “Who’s Brian?” He mouthed at her.

Dora shrugged and watched Slugger hurriedly leaving without as much as a glance back.

Milly was properly awake now and she rubbed her head. “Eee I’ve got a thumping ‘eadache! Why did Slugger take off like that without even saying goodbye?”

“I think he had a headache too” lied Dora. Clearly something had upset Slugger and she intended to find out first thing in the morning.

Steve could read Dora like a book. “Leave it, don’t interfere girl! If they’ve had a tiff or something they’ll sort it out”

But Dora was never one to leave things alone. “Who’s Brian, Milly?”

“Oh just someone I knew a long time ago, why do you ask lass?”

“You asked where Brian was” Dora replied bluntly.

It was all coming back to Milly now; she’d had too much sherry and told Slugger things that maybe she shouldn’t have.

“I best be getting off to me bed now,” Milly’s shoulders drooped and she shuffled slowly from the room clutching her head.

Steve glared at Dora angrily. “You just couldn’t leave it alone could you!?”

Offline loopylin

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Re: Moonlight and Roses
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2011, 10:17:00 PM »
'I can't help caring so much about both of them, Steve.' said Dora.
'And you think I dont care enough?'
'I didn't say that- I think Jeff's woken up for his bottle.'
Usually they would sit in the lounge close together on the sofa for this nighly routine but tonight after gathering up the things she needed Dora sat in Jeff's room while Steve stayed to read the paper. Obviously Jeff picked up on Dora's emotional state because he was a long time settling down and woke up again a few hours later which he had not done in weeks. As she sat giving him another bottle Steve went in to their son's room with mugs of hot chocolate. He set them down and squatted beside Dora's chair. 'Everything's okay, Jeff he said stroking the little boy's head. 'You go back to sleep like a good boy.' He switched on the mobile which was fixed above the cot and continued stroking Jeff until his eyes closed, Dora laid Jeff down and picked up her chocolate.
'We broke our golden rule tonight, not to let the sun set on us being at odds with each other and this is the result.' said Steve.
'Slugger has been good to both of us and I feel very close to Milly too. I just couldn't bear it if one or both of them ended up with a broken heart.'
'I know' said Steve softly. 'Let's go to bed and see what the morning brings' he said helping her up from the chair and putting his arm round her shoulder.'
When the alarm clock woke him Steve sat up sleepily and sniffed. Putting on his dressing gown he went into the kitchen to find Milly cooking breakfast. 'Goodness Auntie, you're an early bird. 'It's a frosty morning and you need something hot inside you before you start work- and you know what Slugger says about eggs! Yours'll be ready in a jiffy- i'll do Dora's later.'
As he was eating Steve searched his aunt's face. 'You thought any more about coming here to live?'
'Well I'd like to but it would mean a lot of expense for you.'
'It's okay, the colonel left us well provided for.'
'Let's leave it till after Christmas, we'll talk more then.'
'Aren't you eating auntie?'
'I'll have something with Dora.'
Before he went to the farm Steve asked Dora not to mention Brian unless Milly did. Dora agreed but resolved to ask Slugger why he had left in such a hurry the night before.Milly cooked lunch and afterwards as they relaxed with a cup of tea she said. 'I know you're dying to ask me about Brian so I'll tell you.' She repeated what she'd told Slugger then from under her blouse she pulled a chain on which hung a diamond solitaire ring. 'I've decided to start wearing this again.' She then went to her handbag and produced a photo in a silver frame.' This is Brian and me on the day we got engaged.'
Steve took it, looked at it and open mouthed handed it to Dora.
'Milly, you look stunning and so very happy.' she said.
'Ee I were that lass.'
'Did you show this photo to Slugger Milly?' asked Steve.
'Do you know I can't rightly remember but wait- when I got a bit upset I went to me handbag for me hanky, the bag fell over  and some things fell out. Slugger picked them up for me so he might well have seen the photo, why do you ask?'
'Er no reason really' replied Steve but from the look she gave him it was clear that Dora knew why.
 
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Offline loopylin

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Re: Moonlight and Roses
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2011, 11:08:00 PM »
Next morning when Steve arrived at the farmhouse Slugger was nowhere to be seen. The landrover was missing and according to Hazel it had been gone when she got up. Callie called in to say 'Happy Christmas' and leave some presents as she and Anna were off to spend Christmas in Spain with Anna's younger brother. She was leaving Magic with them.
' Can't stay- mum's gone in the car to see Dora and I've got to walk over and meet her. Tell Slugs I'm sorry I missed him and wish him Merry Christmas.'
Slugger arranged the flowers he'd bought in the vase on Tiny's grave.'What d'ya reckon luv- am I being a silly old goat walking out wiv Milly? I still miss yer somefink rotten gal and I wish ter blazes you were still 'ere wiv me- the littlun too of course. Course I love the youngsters ter bits but I do get lonely for company nearer me own age and I do enjoy being wiv Milly. Funny thing though- I fink she might be seeing her old flame Brian when she looks at me. Saw a picture of 'im accidental like last night. Didn't half give me a start I can tell yer. Blimey it was like looking at a picture of me younger brother- not that I 'ad one of course. So wot d'yer fink I should do- 'ave it out wiv 'er and risk spoiling a special friendship or keep quiet-at least for the time being and see 'ow fings go?'
He ran his hand over her name on the headstone as if it could give him inspiration. After a few minutes he got stiffly up. 'Well old dear, I'd best be getting back. No-one knows I'm here. Kept the flowers in me room all night. God bless you and the little chap.' Slugger kissed his hand and laid it on the cold headstone- first on Tiny's name, then on that of their infant son. Then he walked slowly back to the landrover blowing his nose. He sat for several minutes regaining his composure and on the way home came to a decision.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: Moonlight and Roses
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2011, 10:17:48 PM »
On his way back to the farm Slugger called in at the same florist where he had bought the flowers for the grave and purchased a yellow rose in a pot to go with the present he had already bought for Milly. Steve was having morning tea when he got back. 'You ok Slugs?'
'Yers lad, been visiting Tiny's grave.'
'Christmas is hard when you're still missing someone you love. We're all missing the colonel-Dora especially, but we've got Jeff now, and Milly.' said Steve.
'She's a special lady is Milly.' Slugger responded.
Milly meanwhile was on the phone to her sister Kathy. 'Are you sure you and Bert can't come and spend a couple of days down here over Christmas, Kath? There's a spare bed in my room and Bert can have the room he had before. You've not seen Jeff yet, he's a little luv. You can see he's Steve's son!'
'The cafe's only shut for a week and we need to do a clean up. I want to spend time with my friends too. You could all come down for the day though.'
'Ee, Kath, you can't expect them to bring such a young baby all that way in this cold weather. Anyway, I'm having such a lovely time here.' She went on to tell Kathy about spending time with Slugger.
'Milly Robinson, are you out of your mind? Setting your cap at a fella at your age- someone like that Slugger person too!'
'What's wrong with Slugger? He's got a heart of gold.'
'The way he dresses for a start- and as for that disgusting woolly hat- it should be burnt. He doesn't speak the Queen's English either!'
'Nor do we most of t' time- and he can look really smart when he wants to.'
'You know what they say, there's no fool like an old fool! You mind what you're up to!'
'I could say the same to you but I wont! I intend to have a happy Christmas and I wish you the same!' Milly didn't exactly slam the phone down but she came close. Dora came into the room with Jeff who had just woken from a nap. 'Eee that Kathy fare meks my blood boli at times!' said Milly. The phone rang, Dora hefted Jeff onto her hip and answered it.
'Slugger for you, Milly.'  continued below
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Offline loopylin

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Re: Moonlight and Roses
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2011, 10:55:16 PM »
'Hello luv- how d'ya fancy coming to bingo in the village hall tonight? It's not for money but fer prizes like Christmas Puds and boxes of crackers. It's ter raise money fer the childrens 'ome.'
' Well, Bingo's not really my thing but as it's for charity...'
'It'll be a right giggle gal, you mark my words. It's supposed ter be a still night and good fer moon gazin'. We can 'ave a nightcap at the farm then I'll walk you 'ome frew the woods- stop orf at the lake on the way, it won't be late finishing but be sure ter wrap up well. Pick yer up abaht arf six.' One of the dresses that Milly had put in her case at the last minute was made of lavender wool with long sleeves and a roll-neck. Over it she wore her best black coat with a fur collar, a black cloche hat, leather handbag and boots.
Slugger was on the organising committee and took a bottle of sherry as a prize and a dozen sausage rolls for refreshments. 'Don't worry, ' he told everyone, ' 'Azel made em not me!'  Ron had 'volunteered' to act as caller for the evening and kept everyone entertained  by adding his own comments to the numbers rather than the traditional ones like kellys eye for number one. He called 99- stick it in yer cornet. 21- Slugger won't see that again, 100 telegram from her majesty, 66 we won the cup, 45 RPM and 17- she not so sweet now, to name but a few. There were loads of prizes and almost everyone won something even if it was just a booby prize, one of these came Slugger's way. It was a knitted red and green tea cosy with a pom pom on the top. Predictably Slugger put it on his head much to Milly's
delight. She herself fared better and won a large box of Terry's All Gold chocolates. Back at the farmhouse while Milly took off her outdoor things Slugger made Cocoa, she slipped off her boots and stretched out her legs towards the fire as the heater in the car was not very efficient. 'Ee this is right cosy luv.' Slugger realised he still had on his new 'hat' and chortled 'It is that gal.' He got up and went to fetch something from the study- a photo of himself in army uniform. 'Ows that fer an 'andsome bloke?'
'Ee, yer were that- but then you're still a fine looking man when you're dressed up proper like.'
'Now, now, dontcher start paying me compliments or I might believe yer! 'Ere Mil, d'yer fink that me and Brian look a bit alike?'
'Well yes, Slugger. I had noticed. Is that what bothered you t'other night? Did you see the picture of Brian and think mebee I were mixing t'two of you up in my mind?'
'Sommat like that, yers.'
'Well, although you look alike in the photos I don't have any image of what he might have looked like if he were alive today. Anyroad up in temperament you're as different as chalk and cheese. Brian were always on the serious side- you'd not catch him cracking jokes or wearing a tea cosy on his head! Also- now don't tek this wrong- he talked very nice
his family were a bit on the well -to- do side what with keeping shop an all. He didn't even speak wi' a Yorkshire accent. When I'm with you I'm with Slugger Jones- not Brian Maitland
so think on!' Slugger smiled. 'Well gal, if yer've finished yer drink we best be getting yer back- Christmas Eve termorrer!'
It was too cold to linger very long by the lake but in the few minutes they spent there Milly said 'It's really beautiful here. You are lucky to see the lake change with the seasons It meks me think as 'ow I'd like living here. They walked on and outside the bungalow he drew her close and kissed her forehead. 'G'night Mil- sweet dreams!'
'You too luv' she repled and went happily indoors.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: Moonlight and Roses
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2011, 04:24:43 PM »
Dora and Syeve took Jeff to the afternoon crib service at the church where they had been married. Neither of them was particularly religious but being new parents they felt they would like to get involved in this community event aimed at young families.
Milly liked to go to church occasionally and asked Slugger to take her to the midnight service.
'I dunno Mil, I'm a christenings, weddings an' funerals bloke meself.'
'I've heard you humming Christmas carols though.'
Slugger smiled thinking of 'While shepherds washed their socks by night, We four Beatles from Liverpool are, and Hark the Daily Herald sings which were the words he knew, he didn't want to disappoint Milly however.
'Ok luv- if yer really wanna go.'
'It starts at 11.30.'
'Well, if yer come and watch the telly wiv me at the farm ternight yer'll make sure I don't forget! I'll come over after tea and walk back wiv yer- ave anuvver butchers at the lake by moonlight, eh?'
Steve was on the phone to Kathy, they had sent some flowers by Interflora and he wanted to make sure she'd received them.' Yes thanks luv but you shouldn't have bothered really. I don't do much in the way of Christmas presents.'
'I'd noticed' he said thinking of the very cheap looking card she'd sent between all of them. In contrast Bert had sent separate cards and a gift for Jeff. 'Now- about this Milly and Slugger thing- can't you have a word to her Steve- she won't listen to me.'
'Auntie deserves to enjoy herself. She and Slugger know their own minds.'
'Well I hope so!'
'It's good to know that you care though mum- anyway you and Bert have a good Christmas.'
'I expect we will, don't work too hard.'
Slugger studied his carol sheet to make sure he sang the right words. Milly, who knew them all by heart cast  a sideways glance at him thinking how upright and strong he was. His singing voice was low and tuneful and blended well with her soprano.  Slugger did not go forward to receive communion but sat with his head bowed ,deep in thought. The service was short as there was no sermon. The vicar stood in the porch afterwards shaking hands with the people and exchanging Christmas greetings as they left.
'Why Mr. Jones, how lovely to see you- and I think I met this lady before at the wedding of Dora and Steve.'
'Yers, thas right. This is Milly Robinson, Steve's aunt. She's staying wiv them fer the 'olidays.'
'Well, I hope to see you again before you leave.'
' 'appen I 'll mebbee be living here shortly.' The vicar looked from one to the other.'
'I see.' he said.
'Er yes,well,there's a chance Steve and Dora will 'ave a granny extension built.' explained Slugger reddening slightly and ushered Milly quickly away. As they drove back to the bungalow Milly chuckled softly to herself.
'I'm coming for me dinner termorrer' he said when he had his thoughts in control once more.
'I know, Hazel's coming over early to put the turkey in and later on I'll get the veggies done.'
'No Ron, so Steve's gonna be busy.'
'I'm minding Jeff so Dora can help.'
'I'll put me two penneth in before I come over, then p'raps we'll have a bit of time fer a walk ter work up an appetite- unless you'd like ter go ter the pub for a pair o teef?'
'No- a walk and a nice sweet sherry at 'ome will be lovely.'
'Happy Christmas then gal' said Slugger kissing her cheek.
'And to you too, I'm sure it will be' she replied returning the kiss.
After lunch on Christmas day Dora and Steve washed up while Slugger and Milly kept Jeff entertained. Hazel had gone back to the farm and when all was cleared away presents were exchanged. Jeff's had not been wrapped up but he showed interest in the rustling of the paper as the adults opened theirs. Milly loved  her plant and the brooch shaped like a flower with a pearl in the centre which Slugger had bought for her. She had bought him a new sheepskin hat and matching gloves. 'Cor, they're smashing Mil- thanks!' He stood up, pulled her to her feet and guided her to the mistletoe which hung over the hall doorway. For the first time he kissed her full on the lips and Milly blushed like a schoolgirl.
'You okay to mind Jeff while we check on the horses?' asked Steve 'he should sleep for about an hour.'
'Sure fing- orf yer go.We'll 'ave the kettle on fer when yer get back.'
'You've not kissed me under the mistletoe yet.' said Dora as they walked hand in hand through the woods to Follyfoot.'I don't need mistletoe as an excuse to do this' he said taking her in his arms and kissing her lovingly.' We'd best make a noise when we go back indoors, can't have poor Milly blushing again' said Dora.
They needn't have worried, on their return Slugger was asleep on the sofa and Milly was beside him knitting. They went to change out of their working clothes and Milly made a pot of tea. She gently shook Slugger to wake him. He smiled at her as he opened his eyes and looked at her. She was wearing an emerald green jersey dress onto which she had fastened her new brooch. 'I meant ter say earlier Milly- yer look a real treat in that dress don't she Steve?'  Steve went and gave his aunt a hug. 'Yeah, she sure does- and just look at my beautiful wife!'  He hugged her too. She had regained her figure and had now changed into a purple trouser suit which showed it off to perfection. Steve had on a matching shirt which he wore with black cords. 'You're easy on the eye too' she said and as Steve sank into the big cosy armchair she lowered herself onto his lap and laid her cheek against his feeling his sideburns rough against her skin. Jeff woke up as they were finishing their drinks.
'I'll get him' volunteered Slugger. He was gone for several minutes and explained that Jeff had needed changing. He sat down beside Milly again and she began to dangle a set of toy plastic keys in front of the little boy. When Steve looked at Dora there were tears in her eyes. 'Come on- let's wash up' he said,. As they did so she whispered 'Oh Steve, two lovely people like that should have had their own families!'
'I know, but they've got us- and now Jeff and maybe more in the future, they'll be the best surrogate gran and grandad ever.'
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Offline loopylin

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Re: Moonlight and Roses
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2011, 10:52:57 PM »
On Boxing day after lunch Milly announced 'I've made up me mind Steve. I'd love to come and live here. If you don't mind I'd like to stay till the end of January. I'm not keen on going back at all cos I'll miss yer all too much but there's t'cottage to see to. I reckon I'll give it a clean right through and then put it on the market. You'll need to come and help me with that. We can help with the cleaning too- come over one Sunday. We'll visit you asoften as we can- maybe Slugger will come calling too.'
''Ow long d'you reckon it'll take to build an annexe?
'I dunno. As soon as the builders start back at work I'll speak to Mr. Clegg about it. You don't need to wait though, you can come as soon as the cottage is sold and stay with us. A lovely little place like yours should sell quickly. 'Ee- I'm that excited. Slugger's coming over this afternoon, would you and Dora like to go out for a ride? We can look after Jeff. He'll likely be asleep most of the time anyroad.'Steve said 'Yes please' and went to tell Dora. When Slugger arrived he was carrying two photo albums. The first had a few snaps of him as a young man, there were lots of him in uniform including several taken with Colonel Maddocks.' I wish I'd met him,' said Milly.' I've heard so much about him.' He was a proper gent, one of the best.' The last pictures in the album were of Slugger with Dora, Steve and Ron. Slugger hesitated before opening the second book- 'I thought you might like ter see Tiny' he said. The first pictures were taken before they got married, then they moved to the big event and then there were a few of them with Jonathan -and then the baby by himself. 'He died of Scarlet fever when he was three months old' said Slugger. There were no pictures of Tiny and Slugger after that but there were a few of the headstone he'd visited only days before. 'There's space there for my name when I go see. It's all writ down in me special box what I keeps under me bed.'
'You must have loved her a lot and you still miss her don't you?'
'There's not a day goes by without I fink of both of them. Johnny would have been 13 on Guy Fawkes night- poor little blighter came in with a bang and was snuffed out afore anyfing could be done fer 'im.' Milly patted his hand as his handkerchief came out once more. 'I didn't know about Jonathan- I'm so sorry.'
'Do yer believe in heaven Mil-believe that one day you'll see your Brian again?  I've done a few things I regret since my Tiny died- she was an angel, never unkind to anyone. Goodness only knows what she'll say to me if we meet up there.!' 'I do believe in heaven Slugger but exactly where or what it is I don't rightly know. There are times when I feel very close to Brian- me mother too, almost as if they were in the room with me. It comforts me and I'm not afraid of what'll 'appen to me when I go.'
'I feel close ter Tiny when I go to her grave but I'm not too sure abaht uvver times.'
'Well- obviously I didn't know her but after looking at those photos I can picture her in this room looking me up and down- not in a nasty way- just sort of curious like. I want to say 'Don't worry Tiny, I'm not about to steal your man. I heard Dora and Steve talking as if we might get wed- you weren't thinking like that were you?'
'Nah- I want us ter be really good friends, go out and enjoy ourselves and share good times tergevver but marriage- or even living tergevver, I don't fink so. I 'ope yer don't think I bin leading yer on gal.'
'Not a bit- it's exactly how I feel and I'm glad we've cleared the air, we'll have to let Dora and Steve down gently. I've decided I'm going to come and live here so we'll be seeing a lot of each other next year.'
'Oh I do 'ope so Mil. 'Allo- there's 'is nibs waking up. I'll see ter 'im while you make us a nice cuppa tea then we'll decide what to do later.'
linda-norfolk dumpling