Chapter 3

Although September was drawing to a close, it was a beautiful evening with a warm southerly breeze, still summer clothing weather. Annie had settled on a three quarter length print dress, which had seen a revival that summer, covered only by a white crotched shawl her Mum had made her. Mark was waiting, once again on the front walkway of the hotel. He was dressed in smart black jeans and a semi tight short-sleeved shirt that emphasised his well-built physique. He opened the taxi door for Annie to alight and placed his hand on her back giving her a loving kiss on her cheek. She felt sure she had gasped a little.

Still holding her in his grasp, Mark whispered, "Have you eaten? I'd like to take you to one of my favourite pubs tonight."

Annie replied, "No I haven't eaten and that would be lovely."

"Then we need to go by car as it is just on the outskirts of the city." A little wary, Annie complied and Mark led her to his car, a navy blue BMW M3 convertible. They headed south of the city. Annie again had the opportunity to survey her suitor. She never had him down as flashy and was surprised at the car.

Mark interrupted Annie's daydreams. "So this pub is owned by one of my friends, someone I used to play rugby with. He is a bit rough around the edges but a good mate. I hope," he paused to check the traffic then continued, "you don't mind me introducing you to some of my friends but I have to confess I really like you."

Annie blushed. He continued, "I am sorry Annie I didn't mean to embarrass you. I just thought it would be great to go somewhere where we can continue chatting."

Annie apologetically said, "Mark I just wasn't expecting what you said. I am more than happy to meet your friends and I really want to spend as much time as I can with you ..." There, she thought, I've said it.

He now knew her interest. With that, he slowly lifted his hand and placed it on Annie's leg. They looked at each other, smiled and Annie returned the gesture by placing her hand on his. The pub was situated close to the river and as they pulled up to the car park, Annie was delighted to see the evening sun reflecting over the rippling water. She got out of the car and couldn't help but stand for a moment to take in the peaceful still of the September evening. Her trance was broken when Mark gently placed his arms around her shoulders and kissed the back of her neck. Annie clasped her arms around him.

Mark whispered in her ear, "I told you it was beautiful... Annie I wanted to share it with you." With that he kissed her ear once more before slowly turning her to him. He kissed her again on the lips and Annie offered no resistance. Annie felt she was walking on air as he led her into the bar.

"Now then Mark," said a portly, bald man from behind the bar. "How are you big man? Err. This must be your latest conquest ..." It was obvious this last remark both hurt and embarrassed Mark. Annie was taken aback and suddenly felt she had been thrown into yet another situation where she was going to be left hurt and wounded. Garry grabbed Annie and gave her a big squeeze.

"Oh Garry, you're such an idiot. This is Annie." Mark glanced at Annie who was clearly mortified at being the latest conquest.

Garry went on, "I've saved the table by the window for you."

He led the couple to the back of the room. The building looked like an old mill that had been converted. The bare stone walls were littered with rugby league memorabilia, including pictures of Mark in his playing days. Annie tried to maintain interest in Garry but couldn't help but glance at all the framed shirts and photographs. The rear of the bar was beautifully lit partly from the setting sun and the large amount of conservatory type windows servicing it. To Annie's delight the table overlooked the gently rippling water. Mark pulled the chair out and signalled for Annie to sit down. He sat opposite and looked straight into her eyes.

"Don't take Garry too seriously, he's an old rugby mate."

Annie interrupted, "So I'm your latest conquest?"

"No Annie. I have had two serious women in my life."

"So how many not serious?" Annie interjected.

Mark smiled but blushed. "I think you have completely the wrong impression of me. I have not seen anyone for the last ten years, well actually 12 but who's counting! I admit I have had dates but nothing that has led to even the third date," he laughed.

Annie smiled too, "So there's hope for me then," she added.

Mark stood up to pour the wine into the glasses. As he did, he leant over Annie's shoulder and gently whispered, "There is more than hope."

He placed the bottle in the middle of the table and sat back down. An awkward silence was interrupted by Garry who plonked himself in the chair next to Annie.

"I will leave you alone shortly but I just want to say I was only joking when you walked in. Mark is a sound guy and if you are half as lovely as he says you are, you will be well suited. I do hope you can make this sorry bastard happy again." Garry left the table.

Annie and Mark watched him leave the room, then looked at each other and laughed. That one moment seemed to break the ice between them and the conversation flowed all night. Mark told Annie he had been married but it had ended in a very messy and nasty divorce. He explained his wife was insanely jealous and insecure. With his career in its prime, she used to be paranoid about losing him on drunken nights away with the lads. She never understood how much Mark actually loved her and according to his account, he would never have cheated on her especially as he doted on his daughter. In the end the paranoia drove them apart. They divorced and he was banished to spending every other weekend with his daughter. Sophie was at University now in Manchester and that was where he had been that afternoon. His face beamed with pride. It struck Annie how honest he appeared to be and how he wasn't afraid to show he was upset. It was an endearing quality she loved. Annie was thankful they had spent the evening talking about Mark's past, if she unleashed her terrible past he would run a mile in the opposite direction. Mark continued his story during coffee. He had won the rugby league title twice, once with Garry.

"Shall we set off back now ?" Mark suggested. Annie nodded.

They bid goodnight to Garry who scuttled around the bar and landed a huge kiss on Annie's cheek. "Be seeing you," he said. He turned to Mark and warned, "You better keep hold of this one." They hugged. Mark reached out for Annie's hand and led her to the back of his car. He pulled her close and tenderly kissed her, squeezing her gently. Annie obliged and really did not want him to let go. Only the flash of another set of headlights made the couple retreat to the car. Mark started the engine, put the gear into reverse then stopped.

He put the handbrake on and leant over to place his hand over Annie's right cheek, he whispered, "Thank you," and with that his lips caressed hers. Annie sighed, closed her eyes and sank against the leather interior of the car. His warm tongue slowly moved around her mouth. She had never been kissed with such fervour or passion but yet tender. She held her hands around his tight muscles feeling very safe and secure. When Mark tried to sit upright, Annie did not want to let him go. He looked straight into her eyes but moved back over to the driver's side. For what seemed an eternity neither moved nor spoke.

"I'll drive you home," he said as he reversed the vehicle out. Not much was said during the journey home. They both glanced every now and then at each other but neither could really find the words.

Annie directed Mark to her house. They arrived outside. Mark leant over to kiss Annie but before he could she said, "Would you like to come in?"

There was no hesitation when Mark replied, "Yes I would love to and I promise not to bend your ear about my sorry past."

Annie grabbed his hand, "That's how we get to know each other."

Getting out of the car, Annie was determined it would be coffee, chat and then the night would be over. She repeated this to herself as she unlocked the door and put on the kettle. She was reaching up for the coffee cups when Mark came up behind her and reached over her for the cups. Once he had placed the cups on the side his hands were drawn to her waist. Her hair was tied up and her bare neck was too inviting not to be kissed. Mark kissed her and she felt her legs buckle. She wriggled round to face him, found her body consumed by his and sank into him with such ease. He held her tight. His hands roamed up and down her back whilst he kissed her slowly over her neck and lips. Annie kicked her shoes off and shrank by a further three inches. The couple broke apart when the kettle reached boiling point. Annie, full of excitement and passion, hurriedly made the coffees and led Mark into the living room. They sat close together on the sofa but stared into the fire drinking their coffee. Annie could not stand the suspense any longer; she put her cup on the table, took Mark's cup off him and placed it next to hers. She knelt on the sofa next to Mark and kissed him on the lips. He reciprocated and pulled her across his lap.

Mark whispered in her ear, "Take me to bed please." Getting up, she held her hand out to Mark and he obliged, stood up and they walked upstairs holding hands.

Both were like teenagers on their first date and had longed for this from the first time they had seen each other at the rugby league benefit dinner. Annie was there representing one of the sponsors and Mark had been the guest speaker recalling his antics as Great Britain and Wigan star. They had briefly talked at the end of the evening but nothing more. Mark had gone to great lengths to track Annie down although Annie was not quite sure how he had and at this point in time she didn't really care.

Annie led Mark into her bedroom. She whispered, "I must warn you I am not very good at this."

Mark kissed her on the lips and slowly unzipped her dress, which fell to the floor. He led her to the bed and they stumbled onto it never letting their grasp loosen. He slipped his shoes off whilst Annie undid his shirt buttons to reveal his tight and well-formed torso. She couldn't help but run her hands across his smooth skin. As she did Mark shuddered a little but he never stopped kissing her. Slowly Mark fumbled with her bra cursing, as he couldn't open it fluently. They giggled. Resuming their composure, Mark pulled Annie close to him, both their bodies now entangled and warm. She could feel his manhood through his jeans trying to burst out. Slowly, she ran her hands down his massive thighs. She moved her hand over to the right and brushed his erect piece. It was his turn to let out a sigh of pleasure. Annie struggled to undo his button and unzipped his jeans. Soon they were both naked. Annie caressed his manhood whilst he lovingly played with her breasts. His touch was slight but very effective and not at all like a clumsy teenager. Annie felt his fingers slowly move down her body and he rubbed her wet lips. It wasn't long before Annie could not take much more; she had not been intimate in such a long time. Sensing this, Mark slowly inserted himself inside her. She let out a gasp then enjoyed every moment of his well-formed body inside and out until they both reached their peak and he slumped at her side. Both lay holding each other.


Judging by the alarm going off at 7am they must have fallen asleep. Annie reached over Mark to turn the alarm off. She kissed his ear whilst rubbing her warm hands along his side and upper thigh. Her breasts rubbed his back. She repeated this motion a few times then reached over and rubbed her hands on his inner thigh. With that, Mark was aroused and he turned and placed his hand onto Annie's face and kissed her with such passion it took her breath away. Annie climbed onto him kissing his face, his chest and moving down to his groin. He moaned with satisfaction. Annie played with him and teased him until she took his full length into her mouth. It was warm and hard and thick but she loved every minute of it. So did Mark, he was writhing when suddenly he burst with pleasure. She clambered up to him, kissed him on the cheek and returned to her position at his side. A few moments passed, then Mark spoke, "Good morning!" she returned the words with a smile and they kissed.

Saturday mornings were always good but this was especially pleasing. The dull house seemed alive again and as Annie made the coffee she daydreamed of last night's and this morning's events. Daydream soon turned to worry as she thought she had given herself too early. What if he gets bored? What if that's all he wanted? What if he turns out to be like the others?

"Shall we go out today?" Mark announced entering the room fresh from his shower. Annie jumped as he kissed her on the cheek and grabbed the cup of coffee off the side. Thankfully Annie's paranoia subsided.

"Yes I would love to go out," she replied. "Where would you like to go?"

"Well," Mark said, "do you fancy a drive over to Widnes, they are playing Wigan this afternoon. We can grab something to eat?"

Mark was unaware of the full extent of Annie's ties with rugby league and she had not yet told him that her eldest son played for Leeds. Without hesitation, Annie moved towards Mark and put her arms around him, "Yes I'll go to Widnes with you today if you will come to the Leeds and Castleford game tomorrow with me."

Mark looked extremely confused but hugged her all the same. Annie looked up into his eyes and realising his confusion explained, "Rugby league is one of my passions. I'm not just a fundraiser and trustee of the charity, my eldest son plays for Leeds." He put his cup down and held her tight for what seemed to be an eternity.

He rested his head on hers and sighed, "How lucky am I finding someone so special who shares my love of rugby." He squeezed her, then released and walked into the hall.

"We going now?" she shouted after him.

"No," Mark picked up his car keys from the table in the hall, "I have my rugby shirt in my gym bag in the car." He sprinted out to the car whilst Annie watched him from the lounge window.

He returned with his Wigan shirt, promptly changed and said, "Come on then let's get going."