Julian finds that good deeds do get rewarded.
"Er, 'ow d'you do?" Barry stammered, rising to his feet, toast in hand. Angela held out a hand to shake, and Barry unwittingly offered the toast, corrected himself, changed the toast to his left hand and shook her proffered right hand. She smiled.
"Pleased to meet you, Barry," she said, smiling at his discomfort, and sat down at the table, pouring tea into the third mug which Joseph had put out ready to take to her in bed.
"Likewise I'm sure," he replied with a grin. "This hermit looking after yer proper?"
"Very proper," she laughed, "and he's a superb cook."
"Never had the chance to be poisoned by 'im," Barry said with a straight face, "but I can tell thee, thou've made a big impression on 'im - he's bin almost human this week. Well, best be off. See yer again Angela, I 'ope."
Joseph noticed Barry's accent had broadened; the man was overawed by Angela, and Joseph knew why. He remembered her effect on him when he first saw her in the house.
Angela had noticed Joseph had looked solemn as the brief conversation between herself and Barry continued.
As soon as Barry had shut the door, Joseph said, "I'll get some breakfast; do you want to get dressed? Then I think we need to talk."
Angela felt a stab of fear. She had gone too far the night before, joining him in bed. Now she felt mortified at her effrontery in doing so.
"Joseph, I'm so sorry," she gabbled. " I should never have-"
He stopped her.
"No, don't get upset," he hastened to intercept her, "I'm not upset you came to bed, but I do think we need to talk about it a little, don't you?"
She nodded as relief swept through her.
"Breakfast first," he said, "You getting dressed?"
She nodded again, her happiness returning, and went to change. She returned in jeans and a tee shirt.
After breakfast, and clearing away, they sat back at the table with mugs of tea.
Joseph started, "I'm not upset, I'm confused. The first time we met you stayed overnight and went the next morning. The second time, you stayed for two days and nights. This time you've been here one night so far. Four days, and you say you're falling in love and you come to my bed. I don't understand."
"I just wanted to be with you, that's all."
"But say last night when you came to bed I'd turned to you and make it clear I wanted to make love, what would you have done?"
"I'd have taken off my pyjamas and we would have."
"I'm sorry, I don't understand that. Four days, Angela?"
She felt uneasy. She was simply following her desires. She wanted whatever he would give her in terms of closeness.
"If I'd been at home," she said, trying to explain, "and some guy picked me up in a night club, and he was nice and turned me on, he would naturally try to have sex that night, but I'm not like that. I'm not easy, Joseph.
"But it's normal among my friends to have sex on the third date, if the man respects you and is nice. You would make him use a condom, and then the relationship would go from there. It's the way things are. If I wasn't sure of him, I'd not let it go any further than kissing, until I was."
"So you don't need any commitment - any expectation that it would be going somewhere?"
"Joseph, how many dates did you and Susan have, before you had sex?"
Joseph thought for a moment, "It was about three months. We'd been going out about once or twice a week."
"Who made the running?"
"It wasn't like that. We gradually got more and more intense, and eventually she told me she'd been on the pill for two months. By then we'd got as far as giving each other orgasms by hand and then orally, and we felt we were settled with each other. We moved in together and then we made love."
"Oh." Angela was taken aback. "You must think I'm a real slag."
Joseph didn't reply directly. "For me," he said quietly, "sex means deep intimacy and implies commitment. It's sacred - a gift of your whole self; you can't give someone more."
"Was it always like that for you?"
"As a teenager, no it wasn't.