One day in April.
Steve woke to the unmistakable smell of bacon frying. They only had bacon and eggs for breakfast on one day of the year.
He got up and put on his dressing gown knowing what he would find in the kitchen. Sure enough, there was Dora standing cooking, tears streaming down her face, watching till the bacon turned from cooked,to overdone then removing it quickly from the pan before it became inedible.The eggs went in next.
Steve went to stand behind her his hands circling her still trim waist.
'Morning sweetheart- you're up early'
Dora switched the power off and turned into his embrace lifting her face for a kiss. At 51 she was still a very attractive woman whom Steve loved with all his being.Their kiss was long and tender. Dora put their food on the plates and Steve cut two doorsteps from the loaf of bread.
Sitting down they held hands and said together
'Eggs is a proper breakfast eggs is. We still miss you Slugs- 'Happy Birthday'
Steve said 'He would have been 100 today- 25 years since he died. What a lot of horses have gone through the stables since then!'
Just then their daughter Pru appeared and looked at their plates in disgust.
'Yuk- I know what day it is!!!' she kissed both her parents in turn. 'I'm off to help Jeff at 'Follyfoot'- big day for us today. I'll get some breakfast over there. Carl will be over soon. See you at the show if not before'
'Her first show' said Dora.
'But certainly not her first kiss' said Steve remembering the time he had planted a peck on Dora's cheek at her first showjumping competition.
'And what a long time I had to wait before the next one-still it was worth it. For a moment time stood still as they remembered the occasion not long after she'd asked him to leave and changed her mind when he told her he needed her.
During the day Dora had been over at Chadwick's stables. Marty who had been retired to Follyfoot despite the protests of the young boy Gip had been taken ill and quite unexpectedly died.Dora had sat with the old horse and Steve who had taken over fish and chips for supper had also been there when he died.
He held her while she cried. She was still upset when they got back to the farm. As they had done so often before they stood beneath the lightning tree.
'It doesn't get any easier for you however many times it happens does it girl?'
In the moonlight she could see traces of tears in his eyes.
'You loved him too Steve- I'm sorry.
Steve had been instrumental in winning Gip over- helping to prevent Marty from dying from the effects of colic. He felt that he wanted to share this moment of grief with Dora so once again he took her into his arms, held her close and let his tears mingle with hers.
Then he kissed her gently testing her reaction to see if she was going to pull away from him but she kissed him back and showed not the slighest sign of wanting to leave his embrace. He tilted her chin and looked into her hazel eyes.
'Dora, from now on this is how I want every day to end with you in my arms and us sharing kisses- though hopefully we won't always be in tears. I thought I'd lost you a while back. I can't risk losing you again- I love you.'
The kiss they shared then was the most beautiful thing that Dora had ever experienced in her life and now all those years later as she looked deep into his lovely liquid chocolate eyes she said the same words as she'd said then
'I've loved you for so long'
Her hands crept inside his dressing gown and she caressed him lovingly. 'Come back to bed' he said hoarsely 'it's still early.'
'We've got to see to our horses'
'That won't take too long'
She offered very little in the way of resistance and they were soon making love with a passion that had not dwindled over the years. A noise interrupted the peace that enveloped them as they lay side by side sated and content.
'That's Ronny I can hear moving- he'll be wanting his breakfast' said Dora.
'Okay- you see to that and I'll deal with the four footed ones' Steve dressed quickly and went outside. They kept only two horses at their bungalow which they had named Coppers rest. Dora's beloved Copper was buried there in a field they'd turned into a pet cemetery. So too was Alex Steve's favourite.
His current horse,Sabre, greeted him enthusiastically. He was the same breed as Alex and very much like him. After seeing to his needs Steve moved on to Follena, Dora's horse which was directly descended from her first foal, Folly.
As he was finishing grooming her Ronny came running out.
'I'm off to help Pru and Jeff. At 12 years old, the youngest of their three children was as mad keen on horses as the rest of them. With his own mount Sexton, which was kept at Follyfoot, he was entering his first competition too.
Back indoors Steve could hear the shower running. He locked the door and went to the en-suite bathroom. Stripping off his clothes he called 'Can I come in' and without waiting for a reply stepped in with Dora. They'd started showering together when she was pregnant with Jeff and sometimes felt a bit dizzy. There were no problems like that now just two people who enjoyed showering together.
They were both in a playful mood and with the house to themselves made love again. The first time they'd spent the night together Steve had been delighted that once she got over her initial shyness she had responded to his lovemaking with a passion he hadn't expected, a passion she showed him every time they made love.
The telephone rang and Steve picked up the extension by the bed. 'Hi Ron- yes we're still on for today. We should be back from the show late afternoon so we'll see you about 5.30pm. We're going to have a barbecue- hopefully we won't burn the sausages. Yes sure- bring a bottle if you want. Okay mate- see you and Teri later.
Dora stretched contentedly. 'Come on lazybones, we'd better be making a move'