Sex Doll: No. 7 - Batch 13 (Sequel)

This story is written by David, please send comments and appreciation to voondave@yahoo.co.uk

Sex Doll: No 7 - Batch 13. (Sequel).

Sequel: The trouble with Mitzi.


"Eat up all of those cornflakes, Tiger. I want to see that cereal bowl empty," said Mitzi from across the breakfast table. "You are going to need all of those B vitamins," she added, smiling meaningfully.

Tiger.

Derek smiled delightedly. 'Tiger' - ha ha!

Well, he certainly hadn't gotten much in the way of sleep last night - their 'honeymoon' night!

How many times (and in how many different positions!) had he and Mitzi done it ...?

He was no shy, awkward, lacking in confidence, sexual novice now - thanks to Mitzi.

Tiger - ha ha ha!

And to his great delight, even now, Mitzi wasn't leaving him alone ...

Under the table, Mitzi's foot was marauding inside his boxer shorts, scant protection against her playfully incursive bare toes playing all sorts of games with his easily accessible (vulnerable!) dick. She'd invade, wreak havoc ... and then retreat. Work him all up ... and then let him come down.

Derek thought of taking off his boxers - but decided it would be more fun to leave them on. Besides, he did have a sense of propriety!

On Sunday mornings Derek usually treated himself to a full English breakfast fry-up: sausages, bacon, eggs, a slice of fried bread, buttered toast - the whole works.

But at seeing him gathering the high-fat content wherewithal from the fridge and putting the frying pan on the hob, with a concerned frown Mitzi had told him she wouldn't like to see him eating all of that stuff because of what it would do to his heart health and to his arteries. No wonder he was at least a stone overweight. Hadn't he heard of cholesterol?

So he had switched to cereal and fresh fruit to please her.

And at Mitzi's urging he'd also promised to stock up on plain yoghurts and the other low-fat food items she'd written up on his shopping list the next time he visited the supermarket.

He was going to eat healthily from now on, Mitzi had told him, in what had sounded to Derek very much like a decree.

Mitzi, of course, didn't eat or drink a thing.

That was one of the great things about Mitzi: she didn't cost him a penny.

Well, apart from the bank loaned 20,000, he'd paid for her yesterday at Sex Doll for U's High St boutique ... And (unbeknown to him, while he'd been taking a shower yesterday) the 1,500 or so, on the Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo shoes she'd bought online ... And the additional 200 or so, she'd spent on nail polishes - lots of different lovely colours, so that (she'd told him) he could paint her toes for her every day in a different eye-pleasing shade.

Mitzi, easily cracking or somehow bypassing his not uncomplicated computer and bank account passwords, had maxed out all of his credit cards.

Now, Derek was down to his last few hundred pounds in readily available cash, and the maybe 150 or so he had left in his wallet.

Derek had told himself that it was only money. And the bright side: Mitzi would look dynamite, shod and adorned in all of the tasteful and stylish items 'she'd' bought.

But he had learned an expensive lesson: From now on, no more credit accounts. He would just have to get by without them.

As though reading something of his thoughts, Mitzi said, "My new shoes will be arriving later. Are you looking forward to seeing me try them all on, Degsie? And my nail polishes too. Are you looking forward to painting my toes for me? You can choose the colour, Degsie darling."

Degsie.

Derek loved Mitzi's pet name for him. He was still getting used to it.

Mitzi was full of surprises.

Sometimes, yesterday, she'd called him Derek. When she was being ... assertive.

Or rather, bossy.

No. Better make that: Controlling.

There seemed to be two sides, to Mitzi.

Maybe that was what that extremely attractive young woman from Sex Doll For U had come about, early yesterday evening?

But, for some reason, Derek rather liked it when Mitzi acted that way.

He liked it a lot.

When she dominated him.

And the answer to both of her questions was yes: He was, looking forward to watching Mitzi try on all of those pairs of fabulous sexy shoes - and especially, to painting her lovely slender toes for her every day in the exciting hues she'd chosen.

He was looking forward to it a lot; to painting a girl's toes for her.

Much more than he would have imagined, just a couple of days ago.

Before Mitzi.

He was now finding that, more than anything, he wanted to submit to her every whim.

And her every command.

Mitzi was full of surprises, yes. But now he was also learning some surprising things about himself.

Mitzi stretched her leg under the table again and, her bare foot invading his boxers she resumed playing with her owner's dick, again expertly teasing it to erection ... not that it took much.

It was all Derek could do to stop himself from giggling. This was such fun! Mitzi treating his thing as if it was ... well, her plaything.

That was one of the other great things about Mitzi: In her company, he was totally unselfconscious. She banished his shyness, his awkwardness, his inhibitions. She made him feel confident.

And to the diffident, given to nervous stuttering twenty-one-year-old Derek Duncan, with his adolescent remnant acne scarred skin and girlfriend-deterring carrot-coloured hair, it was a new, liberating feeling.

It was a new lease on life.

"If you've finished your breakfast, Degsie ... why don't we go back to bed?" invited Mitzi, with that come-to-bed smile of hers. "And you can ... work off a few of those calories."

Derek didn't need to be asked twice.

Hand in hand, Derek and Mitzi headed back to the bedroom.

Customarily Derek enjoyed a bit of a lie-in on Sunday mornings. It was the only day of the week he didn't turn out for work, at his dad's small Building and DIY supplies business.

But today it would be no ordinary lie-in.

It would be a lie-in with a difference!

***


Sitting at their breakfast table too, were Derek's mum and dad, Douglas and Doreen Duncan.

"Dougie, how about we call on our Derek today, at tea-time? I haven't seen him in a couple of weeks. I'll take along one of the walnut sponge cakes I baked yesterday - they're his favourite."

"But, Dor, I was going to go down to the pub to watch the pre-season friendly match on Sky with a few of the blokes. It's a five o'clock kick-off: Chelsea v Spurs."

"And I, Douglas, would like to see our son, every once in a while - if that's okay with you?"

"Aw, Dor ..."

"Douglas!"

"All right, love. All right. Of course."

"You see Derek every day, Douglas, at work. While I-"

"Yes, I know, love. I know. You are right, of course."

"And anyway, Dougie, Derek will have the match on, won't he? He's football mad."

"Yes, there is that."

"Besides ... I get a bit concerned, don't you, Dougie? About Derek living all on his own?"

"No, love. Not at all. Why, Dor?"

"Well, he's only twenty-one, and ... Oh, I don't know."

"Derek's all right, Dor. He's a level-headed lad. He just likes his own space, that's all. I mean, what do you think he might get up to?"

***


Later that Sunday morning ...

Derek was lying on his long settee, enjoying the sensations of Mitzi's fingers running through his unruly shock of carrot-coloured hair as he rested his head upon her bosom. And, as he stared at the endless unfathomable lines of numbers, symbols, and upper and lower case letters flitting across the black background of his 50-inch Smart TV screen that Mitzi was so intent upon watching, suddenly Mitzi said, "I know, Degsie! Go and sit over there on that chair, in front of the bureau mirror ... Go on!"

"Okay," said Derek, wondering what Mitzi was up to now.

Reluctantly, but by now almost automatically doing as Mitzi asked, Derek gave up his comfortable and highly agreeable position on his settee and did as Mitzi bade.

A moment later, in the bureau's mirror, Derek saw Mitzi standing right behind him. She had his naff cartoon-vegetable character kitchen apron in one hand and a comb and a small pair of scissors in her other.

"M-Mitzi. Wh-what are you-"

"Shh!" commanded Mitzi, draping his colourful kitchen apron over him.

Positioning and holding in place as necessary Derek's head with the fingers of her comb-holding left hand, with her right hand Mitzi expertly snip-snipped away with the sharp scissors.

Just under two minutes later, Mitzi's hairstyling handiwork was done.

And Derek, wide-eyed, stared into the mirror at his utterly transformed appearance.

In less than two minutes, Mitzi had given him what his dad would refer to as a '100-haircut'.

Derek could hardly believe his eyes. To say he was pleased would be the understatement of the year.

"Mitzi, thank you! It's great! It's fantastic! It's-"

At hearing the knock at the door, Mitzi looked out the window and saw a courier van parked outside.

"My shoes are here, Degsie! And my nail polishes!"

"Right ... great!"

"You brush up all of this hair, Degsie, and I'll get the door."

Without stopping to think, Derek just obeyed Mitzi. "Okay!" he said, setting off to get his dustpan and brush from the kitchen cupboard.

As he performed his brushing-up chore, he heard Mitzi's squeals of delight at receiving her deliveries.

When he returned to the living room after disposing of his dustpanful of cut hair, Derek saw a clutter of shoeboxes and a small pile of smaller boxes on the carpet ... and his wallet, in Mitzi's hand.

"Thank you!" Mitzi told the delivery driver, a young man of about Derek's own age, who's admiring eyes were all over Mitzi from head to toe - not that Derek could blame him. That was the effect she had.

"And here ..." said Mitzi, putting her hand into Derek's wallet and fishing out a 50 note, severely diminishing his now critically depleted funds even further "... this is for you."

"Wow!" exclaimed the astonished courier. "Thank you, Miss. You are very generous! But ... you don't have to, you know. You really don't."

"Yes, I know. But I like spending money!"

Looking smilingly down on the carpet at all of the Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo shoe boxes and the clutter of smaller boxes of expensive nail polishes, the delivery driver said, "Yes, Miss ... so I can see!"

After Mitzi's first financial foray, how could he have been so lacking in foresight? Leaving his wallet, where Mitzi could get her thriftless, money-no-object, free spending hands on it?

Derek had just learned another expensive lesson, he mused self-admonishingly.

At the door, the delivery driver waved his 50 note at Mitzi in a cheery goodbye and a gesture of gratitude.

Letting himself out, he said to Derek, "Hey - great haircut, man!"

And Derek was left wondering, if he was 50 poorer, or 50 richer.

***


"I'll see you later, then, sweetheart," said Douglas Duncan to his wife, Doreen.

"All right, love. Enjoy your game of golf."

"If the rain holds off, we should be finished by about three o'clock, and I'll be back by about four."

"Okay. But don't forget, Dougie, that we're popping round to see Derek at tea-time. So don't be late getting back - I know what you boys are like when you get together."

"I've no idea what you mean, Dor," said Douglas in mock indignation.

And Doreen threw a tea-towel at his swiftly retreating back.

***


After Mitzi had tried on and paraded around the living room in each of her pairs of Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo shoes, at Derek's suggestion she'd finally settled on her pair of bright red Jimmy Choo five-inch heeled mules, to wear today.

Derek loved them.

The high heeled mules made Mitzi's already lovely shapely feet look sexy as hell. And he was crazy about the sound they made, slapping against the bottoms of Mitzi's bare heels as she walked around like a beauty queen. He'd been mesmerised, his eyes glued to them as Mitzi had modelled them for him. When viewed from behind, in split-second flashes the soles of her shapely sexy bare feet were deliciously and tantalisingly revealed to him with her each and every seductive step.

Mitzi's footwear for the day having been decided upon, Derek returned all of Mitzi's other new shoes to their respective boxes and put them away in the bedroom, while she went back to watching her 'programme' on TV.

Derek had then painted Mitzi's toes for her, in the colour of his own choice: A sort of fire-engine red, the shade that most closely matched her mules, and that also set off her short-hemmed red dress.

And Derek was loving Mitzi's high heeled mules and admiring her matching bright-red painted toes - the result of the efforts of his own reverent, painstaking service - now.

Sitting on the carpet, with Mitzi sitting right behind him on the settee, Mitzi was resting her legs on his shoulders and, ankles crossed, she was dangling her bright-red high heeled mules from her toes as she watched her TV 'programme'.

Derek didn't care, that there was nothing but an endless gobbledegook of unbroken white lines of numbers, symbols, and upper and lower case letters skittering across the black screen of his 50-inch Smart TV.

Because he had something more interesting to watch.

Something that, to him, was becoming infinitely fascinating.

And obsessing.

***


"What time do you call this, Douglas?" complained Doreen Duncan when her husband finally rolled up in their Land Rover Discovery.

She was standing outside the front door, coat on, all handbagged up and waiting impatiently to go. "It's nearly five o'clock. Where have you been?" she inquired crossly.

The prestige vehicle was very handy in Douglas Duncan's line of business. With its decent payload the sturdy but pleasing to the eye four-wheel drive Discovery could work as well as play.

Sometimes he trusted his son Derek with it to make local drop-offs of small deliveries. Or to go get a few things from Ken Sherwood's, when Ken's flatbed lorry was otherwise tied up.

He had an idea that Derek had his eye on Julie, Ken's twenty-year-old daughter, who worked at the customer service counter at Ken's commercial Building and DIY supplies warehouse/shop. He sometimes seemed to take an unaccountably long time in returning from Ken's ...

Ken had, in fact, confided to him on more than one occasion that he had the feeling his daughter Julie was waiting for Derek to say something. Maybe ask her out.

Ken said he thought they would make a lovely couple. And he agreed wholeheartedly, with his supplier and friend.

His boy loved to drive the Discovery, Douglas thought fondly. He felt like the Cock of the Walk, behind the wheel of that vehicle; though he knew his son was always careful and sensible in it. He was a good lad, his son Derek.

Derek was painfully shy, though, Douglas reflected. What he needed was a nice girl, to bring him out of himself ... maybe Julie?

Gradually he would allow Derek to take up the reins. And one day, he would take over the running of his business. And then, he thought, he would have a little more time to play golf with his bank manager friend Stuart and his other Rotary Club cronies. And ...

"Douglas? Did you hear what I just said?" said Doreen querulously, bringing him out of his reverie.

"Sorry, Dor ... I was miles away," said Douglas through the lowered driver's window. "Someone decided to get a puncture on the slip road leading off the M 25; must have been just a few minutes in front of me, and traffic was queuing to go by in single file."

"Oh," said Doreen, clearly sceptical.

"Hop in, Dor. It'll only take us five minutes to drive round to Derek's place."

"Yes, as long as no one in front of us is foolish enough to get a puncture," said Doreen sarcastically as she fastened her seatbelt and settled herself in the front passenger seat beside her errant husband. Doreen then pulled down the sun visor and used its small mirror to apply make-up.

The Discovery's engine idling, Douglas let more than a minute pass, then said, with studied casualness, "Um ... haven't you forgotten something, Dor?"

"Forgotten something? Forgotten what?" said Doreen, her words indistinct from moving her cheeks this way and that as now she powdered them after having performed a quick application of her lipstick.

"Didn't you say something about bringing one of those walnut sponge cakes you baked yesterday? They're Derek's favourite."

Irritably, Doreen snapped closed her make-up compact, unfastened her seatbelt, threw her handbag to the floor well, flung open the door and got out of her seat.

Her body language emanating waves of annoyance, Doreen strode back to the house.

At the front door, Doreen looked back at her husband, who smiled.

Doreen threw him a look, and then went back inside to get one of her walnut sponge cakes.

***


"You've got such lovely feet, Mitzi. I just can't stop looking at them. All the time, I want to hold them. To kiss them," said Derek who, now sitting at the opposite end of the long settee to Mitzi, was doing exactly that.

Mitzi rewarded him with such a radiant, dazzling smile, as caused a tightening; a slightly alarming constriction in his chest, such was the intensity of his emotion.

To think that such a smile was for him!

Derek was still coming to terms with the fact of his deriving so much pleasure, so much excitement, and such a feeling of contentment - such blissful serenity - from holding, and smelling, and kissing, and from just merely looking at, Mitzi's feet.

And, the best part of all: Mitzi wanted him to love them.

Derek hadn't really paid much attention to girls' feet, before. He'd considered himself your traditional tits, legs, and ass, man.

Until Mitzi.

Now, he was wondering how he could have been so blind to their attraction: the shapeliness, the loveliness, the desirability - the sheer, alluring sexiness - of girls' feet.

Well, he would certainly not neglect Mitzi's feet.

But it wasn't just Mitzi's feet: it was her companionship.

Derek could still hardly believe that Mitzi was his.

He couldn't put into words, just how happy he was. Couldn't give expression, to just how changed, his life now was.

And to how changed, he was.

It had all happened so fast.

Ever since yesterday lunchtime, when he'd carried Mitzi over the threshold ... as it were, he'd been in an almost permanent state of arousal.

Just as he was now, as ...

Holding Mitzi's bare right foot in his hands, his eyes devoured the mesmerising view of the undersides of her slender toes as firmly he rotated the pads of his thumbs into the ball of her foot.

The sight of Mitzi's bare sole in his hands was all-consuming. Like a powerful, irresistible magnet, it drew his helpless eyes to it. And held them.

Mitzi suddenly pushed the sole of her foot right up to his face, the closed pocket of her slender toes cupping his nose, prompting Derek to bury his nostrils under her toes and inhale deeply ... And promptly his dick responded yet again to the erotic stimulus of Mitzi's in-between-the-toes aroma.

Yet again, at breathing in Mitzi's aphrodisiacal foot perfume, instantly he was delirious with desire. Insane, with undeniable need.

Crazy, with insatiable craving.

Heaven, help him, he just couldn't get enough of it. Just couldn't get enough, of Mitzi's intoxicating, pulse-quickening, pungent cheesy foot-stink.

And Mitzi knew it.

In reverent adoration, Derek pressed his lips into the slightly 'sweaty' sole of Mitzi's bare right foot.

Passionately he kissed the bottom of her heel - oh, such a sweet spot! Ardently he kissed her lovely arch, lingeringly he kissed the ball of her foot, and-

Upon hearing outside the distinctive squawky triple-blip blurt of his dad's Land Rover Discovery's central locking, Derek froze ... And then a moment later came his mum's unmistakable knock at his front door.

His mum and dad!

Oh no - what a time for them to visit! Just when ...

And how was he going to explain Mitzi ...?

She was supposed to be able to pass for human. To adapt to any given circumstances. To respond to the variable demands and the changing requirements of any occasion. To act 'normal'.

But still.

Swinging her legs from the settee and slipping her feet into her new Jimmy Choo bright red five-inch heeled mules, Mitzi said, "Shall I get it, Degsie?"

"Er, no, Mitzi. It's all right, I'll go. It's my mum and dad."

"Oh - how delightful!" said Mitzi.

Derek looked uncertainly at Mitzi.

But there was no putting it off.

He went and opened the front door and said, in as bright a voice as he could summon, "Hi, Mum! Hi, Dad! Come on in!"

"Good heavens above, Derek!" cried Doreen Duncan. "What on earth has happened to your hair?"

"Are you kidding, Dor?" said her husband, Douglas. "That's very with-it. Things are very different, these days. When I was a lad, my dad would only let me have a short back and sides at the local barbers - who always asked me if I wanted 'anything for the weekend', and I never understood why all the men in there laughed. A barnet like that must have set Derek back a hundred quid."

"The young, these days ..." said Doreen, tut-tutting at the casual and careless extravagances of today's feckless youth as she and her husband hung up their coats in the hallway.

Doreen went on, "I haven't seen you in a couple of weeks, Derek, and so your dad and I thought it would be lovely to call round. And I've brought one of my walnut sponge cakes - your favourite."

"Mr and Mrs Duncan, I'm so happy to meet you!" said Mitzi pleasantly as Derek's parents entered the living room, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, upon seeing her.

At the sight and sound of Mitzi, Derek's mum and dad were too stunned to speak.

Derek said, "Mum, Dad ... meet Mitzi. She cut my hair. She's great at lots of stuff."

Derek's parents were still too taken aback to speak. Especially his dad.

Indicating the walnut sponge cake, Mitzi said, "Shall I take that, Mrs Duncan? And I'll bring some plates and forks. I've already put the kettle on for a pot of tea."

Still wide-eyed and open-mouthed with astonishment, Doreen wordlessly handed her prized confection over to the stunningly beautiful, long wavy blonde-haired Mitzi, who then headed towards the kitchen with it.

Eyes bulging, Derek's dad ogled Mitzi's glamour-model figured, red short-hem dressed back, and stared rapturously down at her five-inch heeled bright-red mules, listening with obvious appreciation as he watched them slapping against the bottoms of her bare heels.

Douglas Duncan leant in towards Derek and said, low-voiced, "Jeepers - heh heh heh. You've kept her quiet, haven't you, son?"

"Mitzi and me only got together yesterday, Dad."

Mitzi then spoke pleasantly from the kitchen doorway. "The kettle's boiled. I'll be through with a tray in a minute."

Her hands on the door jambs, Mitzi was looking over her shoulder with her right leg bent at the knee and, with the tops of her toes resting on the heel of her five-inch heeled red mule, arcing the sole of her foot.

Derek's dad's eyes were almost out on their stalks. Noticing the direction of his avid gaze, his wife Doreen warningly elbowed him in the ribs.

Derek now wondered if his dad was a 'foot man'.

And, now that he came to think of it, his father did spend rather a lot of time massaging Mum's feet ... who seemed to enjoy the attention.

"Well, let's sit down then," said Derek, taking up his now accustomed position at the left arm of his long settee. His mum sat next to him, and his dad sat next to his mum - which happily left vacant Mitzi's accustomed position by the right arm of the settee.

Douglas then said, in some surprise, "Aren't you watching the pre-season friendly match, son? It's Chelsea v Spurs. The game will be well under way by now. I thought you'd have had it on."

"What's this you're watching anyway, Derek?" said his mum, indicating the TV with a puzzled frown.

If anything, what was now featuring on the screen of his 50-inch widescreen Smart TV was even more boring than usual - just an endless parade of unbroken white lines of random 1s and 0s flitting across a black background.

"It's, um ... Mitzi's favourite programme, Mum."

Derek's mum and dad exchanged a look.

Mitzi, now returning to the living room with a heavy-looking tray and apparently having overheard, said pleasantly, "Of course, you can have the football on, Mr Duncan."

Doreen thought that the big tray - loaded up with the substantial triple-layer walnut sponge cake, plates and forks, and with a pot of tea, cups and saucers and milk and sugar - looked very burdensome ... yet the girl seemed to carry and manage it effortlessly and with aplomb.

Mitzi put the well-laden tray of cake and tea things down on the large rectangular glass-topped coffee table in front of the settee, and then said, picking up the TV remote, "I can catch up on this later."

And Derek's mum and dad exchanged another look.

Mitzi pointed the remote at the TV, pressed some buttons, and on came Chelsea v Spurs. The match was ten minutes in, and the score was 0-0.

Derek wondered how Mitzi had known the Sky channel number. But Mitzi knew lots of stuff.

"So, Mr Duncan ..." said Mitzi, cutting the walnut sponge cake and putting thick wedges onto three plates ... "what do you reckon of Chelsea's title chances this season? Do you think they can win the Premiership? With the 'Special One' Jose Mourinho gone to arch rivals Man Utd? And the legendary rearguard of Frank Lampard and John Terry, broken up? And, if close-season rumours are to be believed, star striker Diego Costa wants to return to Athletico Madrid?"

"Call me Dougie, love," said Derek's dad, smiling widely. Which earned him another meaningful elbow in the ribs from lovely wife, Doreen.

"Aren't you, having any cake, dear?" said Doreen, when Mitzi had placed a generous plate of the walnut sponge cake before everyone but herself on the glass-topped coffee table. "I can promise you it's very nice. In fact, it's Derek's favourite."

Pouring tea into three cups, Mitzi said, "Oh, no thank you, Mrs Duncan. I-"

"Mitzi's on a diet, Mum," interjected Derek.

"Ha ha - Degsie!" laughed Mitzi.

Derek's mum and dad exchanged another, raised-eyebrowed look, and silently they simultaneously mouthed: 'Degsie'?!

"So, Mitzi," said Doreen smilingly when Mitzi placed a cup of tea before her, "do you have a second name?"

"No, Mrs Duncan," said Mitzi, smiling pleasantly back. "Just Mitzi."

Doreen's smile cracked a little.

Mitzi further informed Doreen, "I'm Degsie's Intimate Friend, Mrs Duncan."

Doreen's already brittle smile cracked a little more.

And then Doreen, already slightly unnerved from a disquieting onset of vague misgivings, spilt her tea on herself when her husband, sitting right beside her suddenly roared "Penalty!" at the top of his lungs.

Rattling in its saucer, the disquieted Doreen returned her now almost empty tea cup to the glass-topped table in front of her.

"Did you see that, Derek? That has to be a penalty to Chelsea! Clearcut!" yelled Douglas again, just a decibel or two less loudly.

Doreen could pleasurably have throttled her husband.

"Er, no, Dad. I didn't," replied Derek, who was far too preoccupied with the drama taking place with Mitzi and his mum to take on board what was happening on the telly.

Mitzi, having now dispensed tea and cake, stood off to the right of the TV to watch, as the action-replay was shown.

"I agree, Dougie," said Mitzi, giving her verdict on the referee's decision to award a penalty to Chelsea. "The ref's right. That was an all-day penalty. Just typical, of Jan Vertonghen's reckless challenges in the box. How many times a season, does he do that? You don't see Danny Rose or Kyle Walker lunging in like that, do you?"

Douglas beamed at Mitzi.

"Sit down, Mitzi," said Douglas, patting the settee next to him, his voice full of respectful affection. "Sit down, and enjoy the match. The penalty's about to be taken."

And Doreen Douglas, the front of her dress all soaked through with her spilt tea, glared at the back of her husband's averted, Mitzi-praising head.

"I will, in a second, Dougie. I'll just get a cloth for Mrs Duncan - she's had a little accident with her tea."

Derek gave a huge, mental sigh of relief.

Mitzi was the perfect hostess.

As it turned out, he needn't have worried about a thing.

Mitzi was full of surprises.

***


Later that Sunday evening ...

Relaxing together at home in front of the TV, Douglas Duncan asked his wife, who for some reason hadn't yet voiced her opinion on the matter, "So, Doreen ... what did you think of Derek's new girlfriend, Mitzi?"

"Mitzi seemed very nice, Dougie. But ..."

"But ...?"

"Well ... I don't know, Dougie. Didn't you notice anything, well ... odd, about Mitzi?"

"What? That she knew so much about football, you mean?"

Sighing, Doreen said, "No, Dougie. I do not mean that."

"Well, what then?"

"Something. There's just something. I just can't put my finger on it, Dougie, but ..."

"Didn't you notice how chipper Derek was, Dor? How confident? How happy? I didn't hear him stutter a single time today."

"Yes, Dougie, I know. I did notice. But ..."

"You could see how Derek was, with Mitzi, Dor. I think she's just what he needs. She brings Derek out of himself."

"Yes. Maybe it's just me, Dougie. Maybe it's just me. A mother worries, you know ...?"

"Relax, Dor. Derek will be just fine, with Mitzi."

***


The following Monday morning ...


Hugging Derek tight, Mitzi said, "Have a good day at work."

"Oh, I will, Mitzi. Thinking about you, all day."

"Oh - Degsie!"

"And about coming home - to you."

That earned Derek another tight hug.

"Well, I'd best be going. Dad won't be happy if I'm late. It doesn't help that I'm his son - quite the opposite ... You going to be okay, Mitzi?"

Nodding, Mitzi said, "I've got the TV."

Derek felt a faint stirring of unease. Of disquiet.

Yes, thought Derek, getting into his car. She's got the TV ... and he knew what Mitzi would be watching.

Something unpleasant began nagging at him. Something he didn't want to take any notice of.

Monday mornings at work were always busy first thing, thought Derek as now he turned the ignition key of his recently bought Vauxhall Corsa ... and nothing happened. Well, the starter motor turned okay, but the engine didn't come to life. He looked at the fuel gauge: about a quarter-full. So it wasn't that.

Ah, hell, thought Derek, picking up his mobile phone from the hands-free holder where he'd just put it. He'd have to call the Auto Club.

He was bound to be late for work now, and-

"Flip the catch for the bonnet, Degsie!" said Mitzi, who'd come outside again at hearing his car fail to start.

Derek didn't stop to debate with himself what on earth Mitzi might meddle about with in the engine compartment, he just put his mobile phone back in the hands-free holder, leant down, and pulled the lever to spring the latch to the Corsa's bonnet.

Less than a minute later - less than the time she'd taken to give him his "100-haircut" yesterday - Mitzi confidently closed the bonnet again. "Try it now, Degsie!"

Derek turned the ignition key again ... and the Corsa's engine erupted to life.

"It'll be all right now, Degsie!" Mitzi assured him. She came out with a load of technical stuff as to why his car hadn't started, and what she'd done to fix it, which he barely understood a word of.

Smiling, Mitzi waved at him and then went back inside the flat.

Well, I'll be damned, thought Derek admiringly. Now I won't be late for work after all.

Mitzi was full of surprises.

***


Doreen Duncan got off the bus at the bus station and began walking towards High St.

Her dry-cleaning ticket said that her items would be ready for collection on Monday at 9:15 am. A glance at her wristwatch told her it was 09:05.

Her items would probably be ready now, she thought. But, what the hell, it was an excuse to pop along the road to her favourite High St cafe and have a coffee and a pastry. A bit of a treat.

A skinny latte would be nice, thought Doreen, and maybe one of their naughty cream ...

Behind a shop's plate-glass window a sign had caught Doreen's eye. The sign read: Find your Intimate Friend here!

Doreen had never taken much notice of the Sex Doll For U boutique before. But now, the words 'Intimate Friend' had stopped her right in her tracks.

Doreen thought back to what Derek's new girlfriend Mitzi had said to her, at Derek's place yesterday tea-time: "I'm Degsie's Intimate Friend."

And Mitzi had also told her when she'd asked, in trying to wheedle out a little background information on her, that she didn't have a second name: "No, Mrs Duncan. Just Mitzi."

At the time, though she'd felt unaccountably unsettled, she'd just thought the remark odd. Both remarks.

But now ...

With a feeling of deep dread, Doreen pushed open the glass door and entered the Sex Doll For U boutique.

Inside, the Intimate Friends displayed to best effect on tasteful sofas and elegant chaise longues, thought Doreen, were incredibly life like. She could hardly believe that they weren't real, flesh and blood, young women. Very beautiful, young women. With personalities. And-

"Hello, madam!" said the young salesgirl brightly from behind the counter ... or was she another Intimate Friend? Doreen honestly didn't know.

"I'm Cindy! How may I help you?"

"Um ... I've come about an Intimate Friend."

"Well, madam, of course! It's not only gentlemen, who-"

"No! Um ... Cindy. You don't understand."

"Oh," said Cindy.

"I want to know, if you sold an Intimate Friend on Saturday, called Mitzi?"

"I can tell you that, madam, without looking in the ledger: Yes, madam, we did. In fact, I made the sale. Mitzi is up-to-the-minute, latest generation. She sold for twenty thousand pounds."

Doreen's face paled - and it wasn't just at the size of Mitzi's price tag.

"Cindy ... who bought Mitzi? What was his name?"

"Oh. That, I'm afraid I can't tell you. We keep that information confidential. As I'm sure you will understand, madam, client confidentiality is of paramount importance to us. We are not at liberty, to divulge such sensitive-"

"Was his name Mr Derek Duncan?" Doreen interjected.

And the look on Cindy's face told Doreen all she needed to know.

*


As soon as Doreen Duncan arrived back home, just after ten o'clock, she just dropped the dry-cleaning items she'd hurriedly picked up and snatched up the phone. Frantically she jabbed at the numbers to reach her husband's mobile - not the shop's phone; she didn't want Derek picking up.

As soon as her husband answered and before he'd hardly got a word out, Doreen blurted, "Douglas, I need you to come home!"

"Come home? Doreen, you know how busy the place is on Monday mornings. Can't it wait? Me and Derek are up to our necks, and-"

"Douglas! Tell Derek to mind the shop for half an hour. I need you to come home - and now!"

The obvious concern in his wife's voice now had Douglas worried. She sounded really shaken. What the hell was up?

"Okay, Dor. Okay, I'm on my way as we speak. But, can you at least tell me what this is about?"

"Douglas ... it's about Mitzi."

*


When Douglas pulled up outside the house in his Land Rover Discovery, his wife, her face etched with worry, was standing at the open door. Without waiting for him, she turned and went back inside.

Douglas central-locked the Discovery and hurried in after her.

"What the hell's up, Dor? It sounded as if there's some trouble with Mitzi."

Getting straight to the point, Doreen said, "Yes, Douglas. There's some trouble with Mitzi. The trouble with Mitzi, Douglas, is that 'she', isn't a she."

"Doreen, what sort of-"

"That's what Mitzi meant, Douglas. When she said that she was Derek's 'Intimate Friend'. She was actually telling us, that 'she', isn't a she."

"Dor, what-"

"Mitzi is a sex doll."

"She's a ..."

"Derek paid twenty thousand pounds for her - if I can call her, 'her'. I've already called in on Stuart, our bank manager, and when I pressed him, he confirmed Derek's cheque: payable to Sex Doll For U."

"I can't believe it, Dor. Mitzi, a ... sex doll?"

"Yes."

"But, she looks ... she seemed ..."

"Sex Doll For U's Intimate Friends are supposed to be able to pass for human. And now we know, Dougie, that they can. I went into their ... boutique this morning, and I got it out of the counter-girl that they'd sold Mitzi to Derek on Saturday. That's how I know all of this."

"This is unbelievable, Dor. Just incredible. There should be a ... a goddamned law against it!"

"Douglas, not to put too fine a point on it, our son is living with a sex doll. You are going to have to go to their so-called boutique and speak to the manager at Sex Doll For U. And go now - I don't care how busy you are at the shop. It might be the girl Cindy I spoke to - I don't know. For all I could tell, she might be one of the Intimate Friends. They all look so ... so real, Dougie!"

"Yes, Dor. I'll go and sort something out with them. Agree to pay whatever sum of compensation they ask, for taking Mitzi back. Ah ... Jesus in a golf buggy. And as you say, Doreen, I'd better go now, to get this thing sorted out. The sooner, the better."

"And then you'll have to speak to Derek."

"Yes, Dor ... And I'm not looking forward to that."

***


Derek had been concerned, earlier, at hearing a snatch of his dad's side of the short, urgent-sounding phone conversation with Mum.

And at seeing the expression on his father's face, after the call had ended.

His concern had then crystallised, at the way his dad didn't look at him when he'd asked him to hold the fort for half an hour.

After he'd felt those faint stirrings of unease, just before leaving Mitzi to come to work, as he drove to work those first troubling feelings had taken root, and started to gain a firmer, tenacious hold on his thoughts.

He'd tried to shrug off and wave away the persistent, invasive feelings. As if the intrusive, disquieting thoughts now plaguing his mind were nothing more disconcerting and threatening than just a few bothersome buzzing midgets trying to take the gloss off his day.

But he couldn't.

And in his dad's absence, a sense of fear, a feeling of dread, had grown.

A foreboding.

A presentiment of impending catastrophe.

And now, more than an hour later, upon seeing the grim look on his dad's face upon his return to the now quiet shop, Derek knew that things weren't good.

"Derek, son. We ... we need to have a talk."

"A talk, Dad?"

"Yes ... About Mitzi."

"No, Dad. Please."

"Son, you know it can't go on."

"Why, can't it?"

"Son, you know why."

"Dad! I can't do this now! Okay?"

"Your mother's worried, Derek. We both are."

"Dad-"

"They ... they'll take her back, Derek. They'll take Mitzi back. They'll cancel the sale. I've been and sorted it all out with ... You don't have to worry about a thing, son. You can leave it all to me. They just need to know they have your consent, and they'll-"

"No, Dad! No!"

And with that, Derek was out through the shop's door, into his Corsa, and away.

*


"You're back early, Degsie!" said Mitzi with a radiant smile when Derek barrelled breathlessly into the living room of his flat.

Derek's heart lurched in his chest at the very sight of her.

It was barely a couple of hours since he'd last seen her, yet she seemed to have grown even more beautiful. Even more desirable.

Stretched out on the long settee, barefoot, she was watching her usual 'programme' on the TV.

"Can you ... can you finish up there, Mitzi? We have to leave. Right away."

"We have to leave right away? That sounds exciting, Degsie! Where are we going?"

"I ... I don't know, Mitzi. We'll see when we get there."

"Well, hadn't we better go and fetch all of my shoes, and my nail polishes?"

"Yes, Mitzi. Let's get them, and put them in the car."

"And soon we'll have to go shopping for more dresses, Degsie. I've only got the one I'm wearing."

"I know, Mitzi. I want to see you in a different dress every day. Beautiful, elegant dresses. To go with your gorgeous sexy shoes, and your lovely nail polishes. Nothing but the best."

That earned Derek Mitzi's biggest hug so far today.

When all of the boxes of Mitzi's Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo shoes and her expensive nail polishes had been put in the back of the Corsa, Mitzi said, laughing, "I think we'd better get a bigger car, Degsie!"

"Yeah!" said Derek, doing his best to join in with Mitzi's merriment.

But it wasn't easy.

And his laugh sounded half-hysterical to his ears.

*


It was true that Derek didn't know where he was going.

He just drove on auto-pilot, with no destination in mind, and Mitzi appeared content to just enjoy the view out the window. It seemed that she didn't want to distract him while he was driving.

About ten minutes in, Derek's mobile rang. The display read: 'Dad'.

Derek was on hands-free, but he didn't answer. He couldn't.

After about an hour and a half of driving, anti-clockwise around the M 25, through the tolls at the Dartford tunnel and then joining the M11 Northbound, Derek found himself indicating to exit at the turnoff for Stansted Airport.

Ten minutes later he was parking the Corsa in the car park of one of the airport's budget hotels.

"I'll take that if you like, mate. Save you taking it back," Derek said as cheerily as he could through his wound-down driver's window to a man who was about to return a luggage cage to its perspex housing after loading up his car to leave.

"Okay," said the man, smiling, who then got into his car.

Mitzi helped Derek load her boxes of shoes and nail polishes into the luggage cage and, it was only then, as they headed towards the hotel entrance doors, that Derek realised he hadn't brought a damn thing with him.

In his haste - his frantic, panicky, headlong rush to leave (to elope with Mitzi?) - he had not brought a change of clothes, any clean underwear - not even his toothbrush.

But at least Mitzi was okay ...

"Mr and Mrs ...?" said the hotel receptionist brightly when Derek and Mitzi presented themselves at the Reception Desk with their luggage cage full of Designer-shoe boxes.

Derek said, "Um ... it's Duncan. But I haven't reserved a room."

"Oh," said the receptionist, who's name tag declared her to be Fiona. "Well," she said, checking her wristwatch, "it's only just gone half-past twelve, and normally check-in isn't until three o'clock ... But nevermind. I'll check with Housekeeping to see if any rooms are available yet. I'm sure there will be - a lot of residents leave very early for their flight departures. I'll be back in a min."

"Thank you ... Fiona. You are very helpful. And kind."

With a genial smile, Fiona turned away to check with Housekeeping. And as she'd said, she was back within a minute.

Mitzi didn't say anything. She just smiled at Derek and held his hand.

"Sorry to keep you ... Yes, we have a vacant room for you," said the returning receptionist Fiona with her engaging smile. "But I hope you aren't going to make a habit of this, Mr Duncan," she said mock chidingly. "Housekeeping staff always shout at us receptionists when we ask about room availability before time. They say we are the bane of their lives. You'd think that would be the residents, wouldn't you? Ha ha ha!"

Somehow Derek managed a weak smile of his own. "No. I won't make a habit of it. And here's my debit card, I expect you'll want to take an imprint of it. Although I'll be paying in cash."

Fiona thanked him, and then did the necessary, finalising his booking. While doing so, she did the usual receptionist's thing about telling residents about their room's mini-bar, tea and coffee making facilities and the free Wi-Fi.

"Here's your key card then, Mr and Mrs Duncan," said Fiona Brightly. "The lift's over there. You are on the first floor: room 110."

*


Fortunately, no one else wanted to use the small lift at the moment so Derek and Mitzi had it to themselves with the luggage cage. Derek pressed the elevator's '1' button, and up they went.

Their room, 110, was to the right and at the end of the corridor, the last door on the left.

Upon Derek inserting his key card into the slot, the green light came on, and Mitzi went in first, holding the door open wide so that Derek could guide the luggage cage full of her shoe and nail polish boxes into the room.

Mitzi put the TV on and did something with the remote control. She then kicked off her shoes - today, a pair of dark blue Manolo Blahnik slingbacks - and sat up at the headboard of the room's double-size bed to watch it.

Derek went over to the window and looked out. It was a cheerless sight.

A jetliner had just taken off, one of Easy Jet's 737s, Derek noticed. It climbed steeply, and he watched as soon it disappeared from sight, above the low ceiling of roiling grey-black clouds that reflected the bleakness of his mood.

Derek now wondered why he had, seemingly aimlessly, come here. It seemed like a metaphor for his flight of fancy.

Because that's what it was, Derek now, finally, admitted to himself.

He and Mitzi weren't going anywhere. In any sense.

No longer, could he deny it.

It couldn't be.

The thought - the terrible, grievous acceptance - caused an awful tightening in his chest. Such a horrible, anguishing feeling.

In his jacket's inside pocket, he felt his mobile vibrating on Silent and he knew who would be calling.

He looked over at Mitzi ... she was engrossed in the TV.

Ostensibly to fill it with water to make a cup of tea he picked up the kettle and took it into the bathroom. He then took out his phone, pressed the Answer button and said, quietly, "Dad."

"Derek, your mum is worried about you, very worried. And so am I."

"I'm sorry."

"Come home, son. We won't make a fuss. Just come home."

"Soon, Dad."

"We know where you are, Derek. I'm in touch with ... those people. They know where Mitzi is. Exactly. All of their ... they are all locatable on their GPS system, to within inches."

"Dad, I-"

"Transport and personnel are standing by - an unmarked fully-equipped van and technicians. I have their mobile number. If I can assure them that I have your consent, they say they can shut down Mitzi remotely. You don't have to do a thing. Not a thing. Then you can leave, Derek. And they'll send their people in, to ... collect her."

Shut Down.

Shut down, his Mitzi.

A desolate chill ran through Derek.

"Can I give them the word, son? To go ahead? Shall we say, at ... two 'clock?"

So little time ...

Derek thought of asking for longer. Until tomorrow. Or even just a few more hours.

To give him a chance to come to terms.

With losing Mitzi.

But he couldn't bear to prolong the agony.

The anguish of knowing what was to come.

Of knowing what was going to happen, and when.

And ... just waiting.

"Son ...?"

"All right, Dad. Two o'clock. Tell Mum."

"I will, son. And then you'll ... come home to us?"

"Yes, Dad. I'll come home."

So little time ...

*


"Aren't you going to unpack my shoes for me, Degsie darling?" said Mitzi when Derek finally emerged from the bathroom with the still empty kettle.

"Can I do it later, Mitzi? I want to sit with you for a bit."

"Of course!" said Mitzi, propping up the other two pillows against the headboard and patting the bed beside her invitingly.

Derek saw that on the TV, Mitzi was watching her usual 'programme'. The by now familiar but unfathomable endless unbroken white lines of 1s and 0s.

"Have you decided which colour you are going to paint my toes today, Degsie?"

"Not yet, Mitzi."

"Did you want to watch something, Degsie? I can find you some football if you like. I can catch up on this later."

"No, sweetheart. It's ... it's alright. It's ... it's ..."

"Why are you crying, Degsie?"

Such wracking, anguishing sobs began tearing through Derek, as left him unable to speak. His throat became raw and painful. He could barely breathe at all.

"Degsie, don't cry. What's the matter?"

Derek fought to get the words out: "I love you, Mitzi."

"Oh - Degsie! I know that - silly!"

Derek cried harder.

"Don't cry, Degsie. Come to Mitzi. Mitzi will make it better."

Derek went to Mitzi.

And he stayed there.

In her arms.

Until the end.

*


Derek knew when it was two o'clock.

Because of the change in Mitzi.

She became quiet. Still. Her eyes were closed ... she was no longer watching her 'programme' on the TV.

As gently as he could, Derek released himself from Mitzi's embrace. It wasn't easy ... on many levels.

He got up off the bed and turned off the TV. The endless lines of 1s and 0s disappeared.

For all the world, Mitzi seemed to be asleep. Just asleep.

But he knew she wasn't.

She'd been ...

Derek leant over, and kissed Mitzi for the last time, on her forehead.

He knew that someone would be along for Mitzi soon. And that she'd be taken care of. Possibly, they were already here, and just waiting for him to leave.

It was time to go.

He retrieved the pair of Manolo Blahnik slingbacks that Mitzi had kicked off. He put them back in their box and returned them to the still unloaded luggage cage.

Leaving the door wedged wide open, he took the luggage cage out into the corridor.

At the open doorway, Derek looked back at Mitzi.

"Goodbye, Mitzi."

Derek removed the wedge from under the door.

"I'll never forget you."

Derek felt the tears, such unstoppable tears, coming to his eyes again.

"You were ... Just great."

*


It was only when Derek gently and quietly closed the door behind him that the ... awful aptness of the hotel room number registered with him.

Room 110.

*


Derek felt somewhat grateful to find, as he handed in his key card, that the helpful and kind receptionist Fiona was no longer at the Reception Desk. He assumed she must have gone off-duty after working the 06:00 - 14:00 shift.

He felt that, albeit well-meaning, Fiona was bound to have asked some awkward questions ...

Dolores, the receptionist who now took his money and gave him his receipt, while pleasant and polite, she wasn't as engaging and gregarious as her colleague Fiona. While preparing Derek's bill, she probably just assumed that Mrs Duncan would be following her husband down shortly.

Dolores gave no indication she thought it odd that residents were checking out at 2:15 in the afternoon. After all, this was an airport hotel, and if people wanted to pay to stay for so short a duration, it was their business.

Dolores did look oddly, though, and with big eyes, at Derek's luggage cage full of Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo shoe boxes, and the other, smaller, nail polish boxes placed on top.

Derek almost asked Dolores her shoe size - but no.

Mitzi's shoes were destined elsewhere.

Derek thanked Dolores for his receipt and said goodbye.

Dolores said goodbye, and then did the receptionist's usual thing of wishing him an enjoyable trip and saying she hoped he would stay with them again, the next time he flew from Stansted.

But Derek knew he would never set foot in the hotel ever again.

And whenever possible, he would fly from other airports.

He trundled the luggage cage out through the hotel's front doors and headed for his Corsa.

*


After paying his hotel bill, Derek was down to the last 20 in his wallet, and he spent it at the airport's service station on petrol for the Corsa.

He was now left with about 10 in coins in his pocket. Some of which he would need on his return for the Dartford toll bridge.

Heading back down the M11 towards the M25, Derek exited at the junction for Harlow, the first big town on his route. He wanted to find a Charity shop.

He navigated the streets, looking for a Charity shop where he was able to park right outside. He didn't really mind, who were to be the fortunate recipients.

When he found one, he parked at the kerb and went inside. He told the two ladies at the counter what he had, and asked did they want them? They said, "Yes, please!"

They both came outside with Derek to the Corsa, and helped him bring in his 'donation'.

Back inside the Charity shop, the two profusely thankful volunteers lifted the lids on the shoe boxes and oohed and aahed over the valuable high-quality contents.

"Goodness me, Phylis! These shoes are all in superb condition."

"Yes, Constance, indeed they are!" the other lady agreed. "In fact, they look as if they've never been worn!"

Derek left Phylis and Constance to it.

He said goodbye and headed back outside to his Corsa.

***


As promised, his parents didn't make a fuss.

Well, not much of one.

His dad just insisted he took a few days off work, and to stay at home with his mum and him for a bit. Or for as long as he wanted.

Which was okay with Derek.

He couldn't go back to his flat. Not to live. Not now.

He'd ask his dad to give him a lift with his stuff. Then he would inform his landlord that he was giving up his flat with immediate effect.

In a week or two, he would start looking for another one.

Maybe.

After all, his mum did make an exceedingly good walnut sponge cake.

And right now, he could use a little comfort food.

***


Saturday afternoon, one month later ...


Derek and Julie walked along High St, hand in hand.

They were going to the pictures. And then this evening they would see each other again; they were going to a trendy bistro where Derek had phoned a couple of days ago to reserve a table for them. And, after that ... maybe back to Derek's new flat for a coffee.

The pair of them had hit it right off.

Just as their dads had confided to each other that they'd thought they would ... when Derek finally got around to asking.

A week ago, during one of his errands driving his dad's Land Rover Discovery to Sherwood's wholesale place, Derek had finally plucked up the courage to ask Julie out.

And Ken Sherwood's twenty-year-old daughter had said: "Yes, Derek - I thought you were never going to ask!"

It was the first time Derek had been in town, in some weeks ...

And now, in High St, on their way to the cinema, Derek and Julie were suddenly standing in front of Sex Doll For U boutique's plate-glass window, and looking in ... at Mitzi.

Mitzi, still wearing the same red dress he'd last seen her in, rose from her chaise longue, and smiled at Derek.

Julie said, her admiration evident in her voice, "She's breathtakingly beautiful. Just look at her golden hair. Absolutely stunning. All of them are. In a way, it's quite eerie. These dolls are incredibly life like. They say they can pass for human. But it seems, somehow ... wrong. Don't you think?"

"Yes," said Derek.

Mitzi continued to smile at Derek. Pleasantly, engagingly, charmingly - flirtatiously, even. But not, with ... recognition.

Mitzi had been reprogrammed, he realised. Installed with another new, individual and unique 'personality'.

She was Mitzi.

But she wasn't.

Derek felt that terrible aching sense of loss he'd felt, back in the airport hotel room, trying to come flooding back.

But now he knew that Mitzi - his Mitzi - was gone.

And so was he, to her.

Mitzi then disconcerted Derek even further by coming right up to the window and waving at him invitingly to enter the boutique.

"I think she's taken a fancy to you, Derek," said Julie, elbowing him in the ribs playfully.

Derek was too choked up to reply.

Derek looked at Mitzi one last time. Soon, he thought, she would be sold to another owner.

He hoped Mitzi's new owner would look after her. And love her, the way he had.

Derek cleared his throat. And he somehow managed to say, without betraying his acute discomfiture, "We should be getting along, Julie. Or we might miss the start of the film."

Julie then said, hanging onto his arm for support and slipping her right, dark-hosed foot from her high heeled white pump and flexing and scrunching her toes in momentary relief, "Ah ... these shoes! I knew I shouldn't have worn them! They are new on, today ... I hope you are good at foot massage, Derek!"

As if she'd heard Julie's words, Mitzi smiled more widely.


The End.

This story is written by David, please send comments and appreciation to voondave@yahoo.co.uk