14 - Mary & Max

14 - Mary & Max

A Chapter by Tertia

Chapter 14

From the broken outhouse he watched the mist roll in and it clung like an iron curtain to the sweeping valley and low hills below. Thirty wet sheep barged in and out, following and pushing each other in their attempt to escape the weather and find anything to chew on. Each sheep had a name and he knew some of them, but others he couldn't recall.

‘Lucas,’ a distant voice shouted.

‘What?’ he replied in a surly tone. His peace was broken.

‘Your lunch,’

‘Oh, thank you,’ he said, forming his disorganised thoughts into some sort of order. It was his father, who if he brought him anything to eat usually left it on the wall at the end of the lane, but this time there was the trudge of heavy boots. He looked out the opening that imitated a window and saw an older version of himself approaching. His dad was in good shape, because of the farm and was shorter than him by a couple of inches. He had greying hair in a short crew cut and in his hand was a parcel of silver foil; Lucas’s lunch.

‘You coming in for your supper later?’ his father asked, standing in the entranceway, staring out at the distant horizon where the mist had cleared.

‘No I’m staying here,’

‘Yar mother would appreciate the company,’ his father said, he said nothing, there was a silence. ‘It’s beef stew and dumplings tonight,’

‘Ha, maybe then,’ Lucas said laughing as they caught eye contact accidentally.

‘I’ll ask you the once, son. What’s wrong?’

‘Nothing. I don’t know,’

‘You've been like this since you got back,’

‘Have I?’

‘Aye, you have,’

‘Well, so,’

‘You sound like a teenager. You’re a man of twenty-two. Is it a about a girl?’

‘No,’ he lied sulkily and Celia was there in his head, rampaging around.

‘Money?’ his dad asked

‘No, not at all,’

‘What then?’

‘Just need time,’

‘There’s plenty of that. I want you to stay here for as long as you like, for forever and run the farm, you and Stan of course. I’m not getting any younger’

‘I know,’ he said.

His dad turned to go. ‘Remember one thing,’ he said pausing for effect. ‘Beef stew,’ his dad smiled, showing his broken teeth, but in his brief moment of happiness he looked youthful. ‘Keep an eye on Mary,’

Lucas looked around, but couldn’t see her. She had wandered off again. He knew her as she was branded with blue dye. Stan would find her, he’d been on the farm since school. Never left.

As soon as his dad was gone he unwrapped the silver foil and ate his lunch, which was a large split cob filled with cheese, ham and salad. He then sured up the sheep and walked down to the village.

There was signal there and he checked his phone for the first time in over a week. All four from the house had added messages, photos and updates. Davs and Ports were working for big companies in London and showed a lot of photos from a high-rise level. Lotts had passed her driving test and was driving her parents second car around. Daggs was working in a beach bar while she applied for a proper job.

‘Still looking after sheep, none lost yet’ he added and sitting on a low wall in the small square and waited for a response. He heard the latch of the pub open and the hubbub inside, people came from nowhere and drifted in and all of a sudden the square had sprung into life. Music played and glasses clinked. He longed for a drink and good company, but now all there was was isolation. He looked at his new watch an hour had gone already and as he was about to leave when a bleep came in, it was a personal message from Daggs.

‘Hey,’ it simply said with a picture of her in the beach bar surrounded by bottles of liqueur. He waited, he didn’t want to seem desperate.

‘Hey,’ he replied five minutes later, he attached a picture of Mary the run away sheep.

‘Your new girlfriend? Very nice,’

‘Like the others she runs away,’ he messaged. He meant it as a joke, nothing serious, but realised it could be taken the wrong way. There was no response and then ‘know the feeling :-)’

‘What’s happening. Any big news?’ he messaged. There was no response


She stood the six tumblers in a row and poured liberal measures of vodka into each, six eager faces watched as she added the coke and chunks of ice. Smiling she put the glasses on the bar in twos and felt the six men’s eyes on her. They took their drinks and went only to be immediately replaced by another group wanting beer and chasers.

‘It’s busy tonight,’ Max shouted in her ear. She nodded as she took the order, lining up a handful of glasses and starting to pour from the pump. She looked over at him as he served three customers at once, a pint for a local guy, two large glasses of Sauvignon blanc for two camper girls and some shots for a ragged bundle who had come in from their beach fire.

‘Roll on midnight,’ Max said as he passed behind her with a box of beer, she felt the corner it graze her a*s and moved in.

‘Hey!’ she yelled

‘What?’ he said stopping in his tracks

‘Careful,’ she said rubbing her bottom.

‘Oh sorry,’ he said, hesitating. She shook her head as she watched the third glass fill, coming to a big foamy head, not realising he was still there. ‘Shall I walk you home again tonight?’ he said as quietly as he could.

The man in the group buying the round looked between her and Max with disbelieving eyes. ‘If you like,’ she said, looking down at the bar embarrassed, shaking her head, hiding a smile. She looked at Max, he was a guy younger than her, shorter too, who probably weighed fifty pounds less than her. He wore oversized glasses, a baggy shirt and had a huge outbreak of freckles all over his face which blended to his curly ginger hair. What harm could he be she thought, but on the other hand she didn’t want to lead him on. They were such an unlikely combination they never could be one. The crowd had got deeper and people stood all the way out of the bar waiting for drinks on the beach itself and there was only Max and her on.

‘Need you on drinks, Max,’ she shouted over her shoulder. ‘Who’s next?’ she asked the front row of the crowd and they all gave their orders at once. Not knowing who was next she worked from left to right. Where was Max? Emptying the till into the safe, changing a barrel, re-stocking, anything but serving drinks, oh well it would soon be midnight and she was getting paid £12.50 an hour and that was a good thing. Verrs flashed into her mind.

Across the dunes Max put his arm around her waist and she let it stay there. ‘I’m getting a house,’ he said.

Getting?’ she questioned. She couldn’t believe it.

‘Been saving a while and the parents are helping with a deposit too,’

‘Nice,’ she looked at him, his eyes were shining, he was happy. ‘Where?’

‘Sailporth,’ she felt his grip tighten, pulling her to him. Sailporth was a new town that the locals hated, it had recently been built under much protest. The houses were weak and boxy.

‘I wouldn’t live there,’ Celia said. She felt his grip loosen.

He ignored her and said ‘You might like it, it’s not all bad,’

After ten minutes they sat in a hollow in the dunes and listened to the sea. The tufts of grass blew sand and the night air around them. Celia drunk from a bottle of gin she had stolen from the bar, she offered it to Max and he took a long swig and then sat by her. He put his arm around her and looked at her and they kissed and held each other tightly.

She broke away. ‘Phew, it’s hot,’ she said. She drank a little more gin, edging a burning slug of it into her mouth as she eyed him warily. For a while they looked out at the darkness where the sea might be and said nothing. There were flecks of white light that were sea birds and the distant shouting voices of night swimmers. There was a scent of flowers from the gardens that backed on to the beach and the smell of woodsmoke from barbecues and fires. Her head was whirring, but she felt nice. Relaxed, she put the bottle down, but as soon as she did his lips were on hers again. He felt hot and excited. He had a desperate look and was full of passion.

‘Sorry,’ he said. He stood up and took deep breaths of the night air and took a large hit of gin, he offered it to her and she took some. Her head was beginning to spin. Her hands tingled, she was aroused. She loosened her hair and slipped off her shoes. Was this happening? She composed herself, preening her eyelashes and widening her eyes.

‘It’s OK,’ she said. She took a gulp of gin and it went straight to her head. Max was by her again, his arm around her. It was cold, she leant into him and heard his heart racing. She felt numb as his hands explored her body. She lay back in the sand, rolling her head back and looking up at the stars as he gave her tiny kisses. ‘Oh god,’ she gasped.

‘You’re beautiful,’ he whispered. She looked at him, her eyes wide and reached out. She tugged his shirt, pulling it out of his jeans and then they were making love.

A few minutes later the gin was wearing off. ‘Its late, I need to get going,’ she said, getting up. They walked back to her house along the sandy lanes that linked the dunes to the houses talking about the beach bar and jobs they were applying for until they reached her back gate.

‘Do this again sometime, yeah?’ he asked, trying not to sound too keen.

‘Sure,’ she said flatly, but what exactly? ‘See you tomorrow anyway, usual place,’ He reached over to kiss her, but she slipped through the gate and before going in she looked at him, looked him over, he was a complete mess she thought, why was she hanging around with him. He smiled at her, but she turned away, shaking her head unable to hide her disappointment.

© 2021 Tertia

Author's Note

In the next chapter time has moved on, but have Lucas and Celia?

My Review

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Hi Tertia!

I think I've said before that you have the capacity and, based on your obvious dedication to this or any of your projects, you have the unabashed gumption and audacity for a successful and prolific career. There were a few minor technical issues that, as an objective party, I can bring to your attention.

I know it sounds like I read the piece like a ghoul who feeds on weaknesses. No, it's just that this entire piece is so well done that when I come across room for improvement I make a note of it, and probably the first and worst was the parenthetical "(Stan was his older brother.)" A professor would either rap your knuckles with a yardstick or just burst into tears and resign for TELLING! You gotta work that kind of information, if it's relevant, in a craftier way. Be alert to redundancies and describing the obvious, like when someone writes, "It was a hot summer." No s**t. But something like, "That summer, nobody left the house without their jackets."

These are just some of the nitpicky things I'm always guilty of myself. I can set aside something I've written, convinced it's so immaculately ingenious it must only be handled with barbecue tongs. And a month later I'll return to it, and I'll spend the next five years locked away in the attic wearing a sackcloth straight jacket.

There's more but at the moment I've got to go. As always, A+ sex scene! It's real and gutsy and brave. Sorry that I have to peace out at the moment. I'll return when I get the chance.

You kick a*s.


Posted 2 Months Ago


2 Months Ago

Nah, useful and good points and glad you’re staying with it - thanks for your review
great chapter,i liked the characters

Posted 2 Months Ago


2 Months Ago

Thank you, hope they felt real

2 Months Ago

you1re welcome,,they did
I was attracted by the name of this chapter.... Mary was a sheep that Lucas was looking after and Max... Well may be Celia made him one:)... It was a nice description overall... I enjoyed it thoroughly...

Posted 2 Months Ago


2 Months Ago

Glad you enjoyed it

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3 Reviews
Added on June 30, 2021
Last Updated on September 13, 2021
Tags: love, life, lust, attraction, linger, desire, story, chapter, book, trust, promises, jealousy, wild, discovery, emotions, people, relationships, freedom, reputation, morals, friends, feelings



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