Chapter 12

Jim’s Call

While Fara was working hard, starting to learn the elements of Kòngzhì Rén, her mother was enjoying an unexpected spell of summer sunshine after the earlier rain.

“Excuse me, Ms Dangerfield,” Jim Wheeland called over the garden hedge to where Phyllis was lying stretched out on a sun lounger. “I wondered if there was any news from Fara.”

Phyllis sat up and pulled a towel around herself, covering up the bikini she had on. She understood enough about 18-year-old boys to not encourage this one.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to disturb you.”

“That’s all right, Jim. It’s no problem.” Phyllis could tell it was no problem for Jim either. The way that his cock was stiffening in his shorts was somewhat gratifying, Phyllis thought. She wondered if she made it on to his list of “MILS.” She was perfectly aware that every teenaged boy had a mental list of “Moms I’d Like To Serve,” although she also knew that the more coarse version of the acronym substituted the word “Suck.”

“It’s just I hadn’t heard anything since she went off to London. And, well, college has been suggesting I should start looking at sponsorships and I’d hoped that….”

It was a problem every male faced on leaving college. He had to find someone that would accept him as their responsibility in law. With males having so little freedom in society it was almost impossible for them to function without someone to hold a bank account for them, be responsible for their whereabouts and behaviour. Either that meant continuing to be the responsibility of their parents (something few parents were willing to do), finding a place with an commercial or private employer who would take this on under a contract of service like the short-term agreement Phyllis had for Harry (a sponsorship as they were known,) or – and this was extremely rare – to get taken as a life partner by a woman so love struck as to want to tie herself down as Marianne Higgs had done. Life without a sponsor or a life partner was precarious and often put those without a sponsorship on the wrong side of the law.

Oh, heavens, thought Phyllis. He thinks that Fara might have been planning to take him on as her partner. How could he be so naive? Phyllis understood enough about her daughter to know that she wasn’t planning to tie herself down yet, if ever. She reached over to pull her blouse from a bag beside the sun bed. As she pulled it on, dropping the towel, she could sense Jim’s conflicted response.

“Ms Dangerfield,…”

“Yes, Jim.” Phyllis was sitting on the sunbed. Her white blouse contrasted with her suntanned skin and the jet-black bikini. Jim’s gaze flicked from her bare legs to an envelope he was carrying.

“Well, I wondered. Could you get this to her? Please.” He offered her the envelope.

“Yes, of course.” Phyllis was anxious to let the boy’s hopes down gently. She was pretty sure that Fara would have forgotten all about him, given the demands of the course and the distractions of London. “You know you shouldn’t be thinking about settling down with one girl yet at your age, though. Have you thought about trying to find a sponsorship placement yet? You must be coming up to the end of college soon. If you find the right one, well, that can lead on to relationships, can’t it?”

“I guess so. And, yes, I’d thought about sponsorships. I was going to ask, well, I wondered if you might have a place here?”

This is too complicated, thought Phyllis. On one hand, the idea of having a fit-looking eighteen-year-old around the place was distinctly appealing and she was starting to get bored with Harry. There was a part of her that would have quite happily grabbed Jim by the wrist and dragged him to her bedroom. On the other hand, though, did she really want to take a complete beginner in hand, and one that thought he was romantically involved with her daughter? Sense prevailed over lust.

“I don’t think so, Jim,” she said. Jim’s crestfallen expression told Phyllis she wasn’t going to be successful in her aim to avoid disappointing him. “You’re a nice boy, and I’ve been very happy that you and Fara are friends. But there’s a long way from that to a sponsorship place and I’m not in a position to take on more than the one I have now, I’m afraid.”

“But I’m sure I could do a better job than Harry. I mean, Fara…”

“Jim, I do not want to know what you and Fara may or may not have got up to. I’m flattered that you like my daughter well enough to want to come into sponsorship here, but it just wouldn’t work.”

“Well, perhaps I could show you. Wouldn’t you like a foot massage after that sun bathing, or perhaps I could fetch you a drink, or maybe something more.”

Phyllis found herself admiring Jim’s persistence. The fact that his gaze had hardly left her legs throughout their entire conversation was both endearing and rather pleasing. Even so, she knew that it would be very unwise to take things any further. “No, Jim, I mean it. I’ll pass on your envelope, but I really think you should go now.”

Jim’s expression changed to one of resignation. “All right, Ms Dangerfield, of course. But if you change your mind, you will get in touch, won’t you? I mean, no matter what Fara says.”

Phyllis nodded and watched him leave. It was only after he had gone that she started to realise that maybe Jim’s visit had little to do with her daughter, after all. Maybe he was just hitting on Phyllis, and Fara’s trip to London just meant he didn’t have an excuse to come around anymore. That would explain why he’d had to ask her about sponsorship.

Still, at least she could send on his letter, she thought, although she was pretty sure she knew that Fara wouldn’t want to be thinking about a life partner of any kind or thinking about being a sponsor herself.

…………………………………………………………………………..

Fara’s reaction to Jim’s envelope was even more dismissive than Phyllis had predicted. Colette, Daphne, Fara and Anna had been together when the letter from Fara’s mother with Jim’s envelope arrived. They had been discussing the day’s lessons, all agreeing that Mary Tang was possibly the most glamorous woman that they had ever encountered.

What’s that?” Colette asked.

Letter from my mother. She’s sent me a note from a boy I was seeing at home.”

Important?”

I don’t know. I haven’t opened it. The last thing I need is an ex-boyfriend complicating my life,” Fara said. “I’ve got enough to think about with the Path of the Hand, the Path of the Cane, the Path of the Rope, and the Path of the Look. I’m not going to worry about the Path of the Sad Boy Back Home.”

She tossed Jim’s envelope into the waste bin unopened.