The next morning I woke with the sun pouring into the one window in the room where Robert and I slept. The lack of electricity was going to be hard to get used to at night, but the sunshine would be glorious. Robert’s left arm was draped over me still as I turned and kissed his cheek; how he always managed to look so innocent was beyond me and stole my heart away. Refreshed after yesterday’s activity, I got out of bed carefully and put my robe on over my nightgown. I opened the door and stepped into the kitchen; no one was there but the teapot was still steaming on the stove from being boiled. I walked over and poured myself a cup, looking out the window as I sipped it. It was Jimmy who had boiled the water- he had set himself down in the grass a ways from the cottage, a cup in one hand and a guitar in the other. I decided to join him.
Walking barefoot across the grass, my heart felt full at the sight of Jimmy in his element. He was strumming out an unknown tune, eyes closed, feeling every vibration the instrument made. It wasn’t till I was right in front of him that Jimmy noticed me.
“Morning love,” he said warmly. I continued to stand as he admired me, “You look like an angel.”
“Did you slip something into your tea?” I asked as I sat down on the dew sodden grass, my legs folded up at my side.
Jimmy laughed, “No! The sun was shining behind you and it resembled a halo.”
“Oh. Well thank you.”
“But then you always look so lovely,” he stated with a grin.
I hit him lightly, “Stop it! Anyway, what are you working on?”
“Nothing in particular. I’ll go over it with Percy later,” he replied. Jimmy then stood, “Want to go for a walk?”
“I’d love to,” I said. He set his guitar down and we both left our cups on the grass with it.
Jimmy and I walked together, arm in arm and my head practically resting on him through the small stretch of land with no one in sight. I was searching my mind for something, anything, to talk to him about. But I was also relishing in this moment together, free of the mystery and darkness of our usual meetings.
“I hope you know how sorry I am for any trouble I may have caused you and Robert. You must know I never meant to hurt anyone,” Jimmy explained.
I looked up at him, “I know. We’ve both been irresponsible. But if it makes you feel any better, I have a pretty good feeling about the pregnancy. I don’t think it’s yours.”
“Really? How can you know?” he asked and we stopped to look at each other. A glimmer of hope shown in Jimmy’s eyes.
“Intuition. Of course if the baby comes out with dark hair looking like you, well then…” I trailed off trying to make light of the situation.
“That’s not funny you know.”
“Well he has to find out at some point!” I exclaimed, gesturing wildly. Jimmy looked away and his shoulders hunched in sadness. I reached up and touched his cheek, forcing him to look back at me, “It’ll be ok. Robert won’t leave me.”
Jimmy took me by my hands, “Juliet I promise, if it would be mind I’ll take care of you and the baby. I won’t leave you either.”
I hugged him then, put my head to his chest as we held each other tight. Jimmy ran a hand through my hair as I bent up to kiss him. We both knew that as of this moment our intimate relationship would slowly come to an end. There was no way with my being pregnant that we could be together and either of us not feel guilty about it. But a part of me still wanted to hang on, ever clinging to this unbridled passion I felt whenever I was near Jimmy.
We ended up lying together on the grass, I on my back and Jimmy next to me on his side, continuing to kiss me passionately as he left his hands roam the outside of my nightgown and then dive under it. I sighed and felt his arousal on my leg as he touched my skin. He started to kiss and suck gently on my neck, breathing rapidly; I ran my hands over his back and chest desperately. Jimmy’s hand eventually reached my underwear and I could tell he was thrilled with the excitement he was stirring in me; he put his fingers inside me gently and I arched my back with a moan, which he enveloped in a deep kiss. I wanted to touch him, I wanted so much more, but he suddenly stopped.
“I, I can’t. I just can’t. I want you so bad,” he said, his forehead resting on mine and both of our chests heaving.
“It’s ok,” I whispered. Jimmy closed his eyes and then stood up, cursing himself quietly. He walked a bit away from me, trying to bring himself back to reality. I ran a hand over my flushed cheeks and got up myself, brushing grass and dirt off my robe. I walked to Jimmy’s side, he seemed much calmer now, and we instinctively started back towards the cottage together, “I wish it didn’t have to be this way.”
“But it does,” he replied. In another world, another life perhaps it could be different. He picked up his guitar and I got the cups as we headed inside.
“Good morning!” Robert exclaimed on our entering. He and Charlotte were both up and about; she was fixing some semblance of breakfast, while Robert was sitting at the table with a cup of tea and Stryer at his feet. The dog automatically noticed me and came over, wagging his tail as I petted him hello, “You go for a walk?”
“Yeah, Jimmy was doing some writing as well,” I replied quickly as I too sat down. Jimmy had set his guitar down and was now standing by Charlotte, greeting her.
“Great!” Robert replied. Again my heart was filled up by him; he simply had to exist for me to find him irresistible. And it didn’t hurt that he liked to walk around without a shirt in the morning either. I wanted him to grab me up on his shoulder, take me in the bedroom and have his way with me. But I also realized that was probably my lingering feelings from Jimmy and shame displaying themselves.
“Some breakfast for you?” Charlotte asked, ripping me from my fantasies. She set a plate with eggs and toast in front of me and also gave me a smile. I knew that she knew where Jimmy and I had disappeared to and I only hoped she’d keep it to herself. I also hoped she wasn’t too perturbed by it; she had seemed to understand before.
We all sat down to breakfast together then, probably for the first time ever. It started out peacefully enough, the four of us eating quietly and Robert throwing the dog scraps here and there. When I finally looked up and grabbed my newly filled cup of tea, I took note that Jimmy’s eyes had barely left their vantage point on me, and somehow no one else seemed to notice. I suddenly felt nauseous, but thought it was anxiety in the situation. I found that it wasn’t as it rapidly worsened and I put my cup down.
“You alright Jules? You look pale,” Jimmy remarked with concern, placing his fork on his plate, seemingly ready for anything.
All eyes were on me as I put my hand to my mouth, “I think I’m going to be sick.” I quickly stood up and ran to the bathroom, my head over the toilet, spilling the contents of my stomach. No this wasn’t more stress, this was what experienced mothers called morning sickness.
As I continued to sit there in the floor waiting for my stomach to flip again, I wondered if this was my body’s way of punishing me for my sins. Maybe it was the baby, perhaps it knew its father’s identity was being called into question and was making me suffer for that. I knew it was a ridiculous prospect but I couldn’t help but have these sorts of thoughts whirling through my head. I leaned over the bowl again.
When my stomach finally began to settle a few minutes later, I was greeted by Charlotte’s concerned face by the doorframe, “Are you ok? I thought I’d cooked the eggs properly!”
I stood up and went straight to the kitchen to dish myself out a glass of water, “No, it wasn’t that! I think it must be morning sickness, one of the woes of being pregnant apparently.” Relief washed over Charlotte’s face as I sat down with my water to a now empty house, “Where’d Jimmy and Robert get to?”
“I believe they sort of scuttled out to do some songwriting. Robert asked me to look after you.”
“Typical male; if I’m ill he avoids me, but if he’s sick I’d better be waiting on him hand a foot!” Charlotte laughed and I covered my mouth at my sudden outburst, “I don’t mean that. God, what’s happening to me?”
Charlotte sat down, “Do you want to talk about it?”
I sighed loudly, going back to the beginning in my head, “I suppose it all started when I first met Jimmy- Robert and I had only been dating a few months; real hot and heavy, you know, we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. Meeting Jimmy made me realize this completely different side that I had to myself. When I’m with Robert, it’s either tender and sensitive or sexy and we have a lot of fun and laugh a lot. Around Jimmy, I’m able to bring out my philosophical side, be friends and flirt. I had no indication of how he felt about me till that night when he came onto me. When he seemed utterly floored by my appearance and kissed me, something switched inside me and I immediately found him irresistible and I haven’t been able to say no ever since. I married Robert, he’s my soulmate, but I have real feelings for Jimmy too. And I have no idea how to stop it. I don’t think I can! When I looked at him, Jimmy sees right through me and fills me with such a fire… He would have to call it off, but he’s just as caught up and treats me like a drug he can’t wait to get high off of again and again.”
“I see,” Charlotte commented, “Well it’s not entirely your fault then, if Jimmy made the first move. He is hard to resist.”
I frowned, “That’s no excuse. I sound like such a tart. I love my husband more than anything, but Jimmy sends me reeling. And I know you can possibly help me solve it. I hope you at least won’t think less of me now, but if you do that’s understandable.” The bit of relief I had felt in my confession now left me feeling numb and used.
“No, I don’t feel that way! I know his kind all too well. And I can just be here to listen if you like. But if you feel a line has been crossed and this is eating you up inside, that isn’t healthy either.”
“I know. I have this terrible feeling it could all end so badly. I mean, I’m pregnant, I should have happy! I feel like a fool. And it isn’t just about me anymore, there’s a child involved.” I grimaced and put my elbows on the table, my head in my hands.
“How unsure are you of whose it is?”
“Well, Robert and I, and it’s strange to be talking about, have sex often, just about everyday. And we never used protection.” I explained seeming to weigh out the possibilities with my hand gestures, “But Jimmy and I did it a few times, always protected except apparently that one time.”
“So everything seemed to be pointing to Robert,” Charlotte concluded, her face brightening.
“Yes, but it’s curious that I haven’t gotten pregnant till now if we weren’t protecting against it. This makes me worry that perhaps Robert is impotent and the baby really could be Jimmy’s. Logically, I don’t want to believe that could be the case though.”
Charlotte reached out a put a hand on mine, “Well if there is anything I can do for you, will you let me know?”
I smiled, “Of course, and thank you. I’m going to go have a kip now if you don’t mind.” She nodded and I stood up and went into the bedroom, closing the door behind me. I drew back the shades and looked out the window; the sun was gorgeous and not too far off I could see Jimmy and Robert together; by the mannerisms Robert was using I could tell he was singing something. I felt my eyes well up with tears as I thought of the two of them, the men I loved. I went to the bed and curled up, wetting the pillow in grief.
What seemed like minutes later, I was awoken by a hand running up the length of my hip and torso. I opened my eyes and saw Robert there, just making his way to lie down next to me, “You still not feeling well?”
“Not very. I’m sorry, I must be spoiling your time here.”
“No, not at all! Ah love, you know I only care about your wellbeing. Anyway, Jim and I got some work done.” Robert curled up and faced me, playing with my hair.
“Where is he now?”
A smile crept to Robert’s lips, “The next room with his lady love.”
“Oh,” I felt myself blush in a mix of embarrassment and jealousy, the pit of my stomach turning hollow.
“Maybe soon they’ll have a little bundle on the way as well,” he predicted, still smiling. Robert petted my stomach and I wanted to burst into tears, but instead pressed my lips hard to his, trying to put out of my mind the images and the sounds coming from the next room.