She’s The One (School Teacher)

Aralık 5, 2018 0 Yazar:

June 1993 London

The Hammersmith Apollo Theatre

‘She’s the one, she’s the one,

she’s one that I want,

She’s the one, she’s the one

The one that I need,

She’s the one, she’s the one

The one that I choose

She’s the one, she’s the one

Baby come with me.’

Our song was roaring along. I was on the right of the stage playing my heart out. My candy apple red custom Fender Stratocaster seemed like a part of me as the music flowed from it. Nigel on the drums was laying out the now familiar beat to our hit song. Mick on the left of the stage was playing his bass in the measured way he always did, controlling the direction of our music. Pat was out front, singing the tune we wrote together some 20 months earlier in his parent’s garage.

The crowd were singing along and the place was rocking. Even though we were just the support act to the extremely famous, very notorious LA ‘hair metal’ rockers, our music had started to get some traction over here. We were finishing our set with our song ‘She’s the One’. This song was our second hit back home in Australia, and was starting to rise up the charts here. Even though the crowd weren’t there to ‘see us’, they were rocking along to our mixture of Aussie Pub rock sounds (think AC/DC, The Angels, Cold Chisel) and good times hair metal vibes.

I looked back at Nigel and he was starting to wrap the song up. I continued playing along, moving towards the centre of the stage. Nigel was now standing up behind the drums, playing slower, exaggerated beats bringing our music to a rapturous conclusion. As we hit the final chord, flash pots at the sides of the stage went off with a loud bang. The crowd roared their approval, clapping and cheering. Smoke moved across the stage as Mick picked up the microphone from Pat. Even though Pat was our front man, Mick did our onstage talking.

“Thank You London. You have been a great audience. The big boys will be out shortly. We are ‘Highly Zen’. Thank You. Good Night.”

We all waved to the crowd, accepting their cheers and headed off stage, with our roadies collecting our guitars off us to be packed away for the long trip back home. Tonight was the last night of the tour and we were having a couple of months off to recharge a little before getting back in the studio to do our second album.

Waiting near our dressing room were Nikki and Tommy from the headliners. They congratulated us on a great show and getting the crowd warmed up for them.

“We are having a party tonight at a club in town. You should come and hang out with us.” Nikki said to me.

“Yeah mate, we’d love too.” I replied still buzzing from our own performance.

“Just go and see Doc and he will organise to get you all in. Good show tonight guys. See you later on.” Tommy said, as he and Nikki headed back to their dressing room to get ready to go on stage shortly.

We were all still on the adrenaline high from our show as we got changed out of our sweat saturated stage clothes. Nige, Mick and I were talking excitedly, wondering if the parties our headliners had were as good as they were said to be. Pat was changing and he turned on our ghetto blaster. He was playing Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’. AGAIN!

“Turn that shit off Pat. It’s fucking depressing.” Mick shouted over the noise of Kurt Cobain living out his angst.

“You guys don’t know good music.” Pat shouted back. “This is genius. This is the future.”

“Doesn’t sound like he is having a good time to me. Unlike us tonight. How good was that crowd?” Nigel piped up.

“I have never heard a crowd go off like that, particular for an opening act. We really rocked tonight.” I said.

“Yes we did play well. In a couple of days we will be back home to normality.” Pat said, bringing everyone back to Earth slightly.

Mick grinned and grabbed a beer from the ice tub. “Well we have to make the most of tonight then.” He said popping the top off the bottle and proceeding to spray us all with his beer. Somehow we all managed to get beers and were doing the same to each other, having the time of our lives.

After the shenanigans, I quickly showered and got changed. I headed out backstage to see the headliners go on stage and play their opening few numbers. I was at the side of the stage when their manager, Doc, came over to me.

“You boys did a hell of a show tonight. Keep doing that and you won’t be an opening act for very long.”

“You think so Doc?”

“Hell yes. Keep doing what you are doing, you will be huge.”

Just then the curtain rose and the headliners began pounding out the first of their many hit songs. The roar of the crowd was incredible. You could feel it in your chest. The roar…

*************

January 2018

The noise of the waves crashing on the shore reminded me of something. What was it? Oh yes, that’s what it is. The roar of the crowd.

The weather was warm, the sun was shining and the beach was very inviting. It was summertime in Australia. As it was late in January most regular people had finished their holidays and were back to work. Some of us though were still on holidays. Being a primary school music teacher I was one of the lucky ones still enjoying my time off.

Even though I had lived only 15 minutes away from many beautiful beaches for nearly all my adult life, I didn’t go there very often. However, after I made a few ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ this year I decided to do a few things I normally didn’t do.

So I found myself this beautiful Tuesday morning floating in the cooling blue waters for the first time in a long time. It was so relaxing I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t done this more often. I was feeling very calm, very philosophical as the motion of the waves seemed to relax my soul. As I floated around memories of my life came into my mind; my son Andrew graduating high school and now in his second year at University, my daughter Gemma growing up and in her final year of school, the gradual decline of my marriage and our subsequent divorce, some of the classes and students I had taught while being the music teacher at the school. Thoughts about the band and our fast rise and even faster demise raced through my mind. Being in a band felt like a lifetime ago.

I stepped out of the surf feeling great. I felt refreshed, I felt relaxed, I felt revitalised, I felt… I felt sand in my crack. I laughed to myself as I headed up the beach to my towel.

As I dried myself I noticed that I was starting to get a bit of a ‘Dad-bod.’ Not surprising given that I was 45 years old and a Dad of 2 wonderful k**s. Well … actually a part time Dad given that I had been divorced from my ex for just over 2 years now. Apart from a bit of extra ‘insulation’ around my middle I wasn’t in too bad shape. 5’9″ tall, blue eyes, I still had my hair, and it was mostly dark, and I did have some added ‘character’ lines on my face. Not too bad I thought to myself. It might be time to get out there and start dating again. Hmmm…

Walking up the beach back to where I had parked the car, I felt great. This year was going to be good. Work was starting back in a few weeks and I still had some time to myself. Life was looking up…

**************

The first day of school is always a shock. Having to get up with the alarm, getting ready and heading to school for the first day of the year should be something I’m used to, particularly given that I have had 13 years practice as a student and now another 21 years as a teacher.

It was actually good returning to school, seeing my colleagues and friends, sharing stories of our holiday adventures. I was regarded as one of the ‘senior’ teachers as I had been teaching for 15 years at Smith Street Primary School, which is about 2 hours south of Sydney. As usual at the beginning of the year there were new teachers to meet and to get to know. Every year we seemed to get at least a couple of new teachers and they all seemed to be getting younger.

While catching up and meeting everyone in the staff room, there was an air of anticipation. The school was getting a new Principal as our previous principal retired at the end of last year. None of us had met the new Principal yet. Word around the traps was that she had come from one of the Sydney schools and this was her first time being Principal.

As usual in these situations, everyone was a little worried as to how this change would impact on their role at the school. I had concerns as a music program could be seen as a luxury for a school, and some overzealous ‘bean-counter’ types don’t always see the value in teaching ‘creative’ subjects.

I was chatting to a couple of my colleagues when the door to the staff room opened. The first thing that struck me was the way she walked into the room. She held her head high, smiling with a look of quiet confidence. She had stunning red hair that looked to be quite long, but she had it tied up. She was wearing a very smart blouse, which didn’t disguise that she was busty, and a black skirt which also didn’t hide that she was a curvy woman. She wasn’t tall, probably 5’4″ without the modest heels she had on.

Looking around at all of us she smiled. “Hello everyone, I’m Donna Silk and I’m the new Principal.” She said.

A round of applause came spontaneously from me and my colleagues. Donna blushed slightly as we did this.

“Thank you so much everyone. What a nice welcome.”

Donna had an English accent, from the south of England I thought. It wasn’t a posh accent, but you could tell she was a teacher from the way she spoke.

“I should let you all know a little about myself. I came from Bradford Primary in Sydney, where I was Vice Principal for the past 3 years. When the opportunity to become Principal here at Smith Street, a school with such a fine reputation, and a great standing in the community, well I jumped at the chance to come here.

“It will take me a little while to get used to how things work at a school outside the city, so please be patient with me as I ‘learn the ropes’ here.” She said with a smile. All my colleagues seemed to relax a little as she said this, realising that Donna was not going to tear the place apart.

“Over the next couple of days I will meet with you individually so I can get to know you all a little. You all know your room allocations for the year, so please keep an eye out on your emails today as I will send you a timetable of the meeting schedule. Please bring your planning for the year with you so I can have an idea of what is going to happen this year.” With that she called the vice principals in so they could have a meeting.

I headed out of the staff room, across the quad, to the music room. My room was away from the other class rooms, on the far side of the school hall. This was strategic so my classes could make noise and not disrupt the other classes, and it also allowed ease of transportation of instruments to the hall for performances.

Opening the room, I opened the windows to air it out and proceeded to do some checks of the instruments, making sure they were all still in working order. I was doing this when my computer ‘binged’ with an email. It was from Donna, with the timetable for the meetings. I was to meet her tomorrow after lunch.

Even when there are no students at school, every one still sticks to the routine of having recess and lunch breaks at the same time. Talking over lunch, some of my colleagues who had met with Donna all said how nice she was. They also stressed that she was very switched on, and wanted to know everything that was happening in the school.

**********

I met with Donna for the first time the following day. At my allotted time I arrived at her office. Her door was open and as I was about to knock she looked up from her computer and smiled at me.

“Please come in Jack. It is nice to finally meet you.” She said as she got up from behind her desk. Her smile was very genuine and she looked me in the eye as she shook my hand. I was smiling too. It was there that I noticed her eyes were a captivating greyish green colour and she had dimples when she smiled. As we sat down and exchanged pleasantries, Donna looked at me in a curious way.

“Jack have we met before? I get this feeling I know you from somewhere?”

Out of nowhere I replied “I don’t think so. I would definitely remember meeting you.” Smiling as I said this. This was entirely unlike me to be so ‘confident’ around someone new. There was just something about Donna that had struck something in me.

Donna giggled and smiled at my comment, before we got about the work at hand. I showed her my lesson plans for the year. As I taught all of the c***dren at the school, seeing the classes once a week, my plans were specific to each year; from teaching basic rhythms and songs to the Kindergarten class’s right through to teaching recorder and ukulele for the year 6 classes. I also looked after the 2 school bands, did the music for the school musical that we did each year, privately taught some k**s at the school, as well as all the other regular teacher activities like playground duty, helping on sports days etc., etc.

My colleagues were right. Donna did pay attention and wanted to know all the details. She had heard good things about my music program and definitely wanted it to continue to grow and flourish. I asked if she played an instrument and she didn’t but she said she really liked music.

As our meeting was coming to an end I noticed a picture on her desk of her and a girl. “Is that your daughter?” I asked.

Donna smiled as she looked at the picture. “Yes. That’s my daughter Mackenzie. She’s 13 and in Year 8 at Ravensfield, boarding there. She will be here every second weekend.”

“My daughter is in Year 12, doing the HSC this year.”

“You have a daughter?” Donna asked.

“Yes and a son who is going into his second year at University, studying Mechanical Engineering. He gets his brains from his mother.” I replied with a laugh.

“Is your wife an engineer?”

“No. My ex-wife is a school teacher, not a ‘creative arts’ teacher like me.” I said with a little self-deprecating humour. “We have been divorced for just over 2 years now. I have my daughter 3 weekends out of 4…”

Donna was looking at me with an empathetic smile, before she said quietly. “It is tough being a single parent…”

“Are you divorced too?” I asked, trying not to sound like I was prying.

Donna looked me straight in the eye. “No. My husband passed away 3 years ago. Cancer.”

“Oh Donna. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to pry or anything…”

She smiled and said “It’s ok Jack. It was a while ago now. But it was another reason why I wanted to take a job away from the city.”

“I can understand that.” I replied sympathetically.

We were looking at each other, when Donna’s office phone rang. She offered me her hand and we shook. “Thank you Jack. It was wonderful to meet you properly.”

“My sentiments exactly. Great to meet you too.”

She was smiling and I was smiling too, not really wanting to let go of her hand. I did eventually let go as Donna did have to answer the phone. I left her office as she took the call. Looking back as I left the room Donna looked at me and smiled too.

*********

The school year got under way and I was very busy with all the classes. Donna was warmly welcomed into the school community and her presence had a really positive effect on everyone. She was involved with everything and would often come into class and see what was going on. I found it very easy to talk with Donna, and we often chatted about many things, mostly about school, but also about our own k**s and how they were going. She also encouraged everyone at the school and it wasn’t a surprise to see an email from her thanking you for your efforts with a particular happening at the school.

One Monday evening as I was preparing my dinner at home I had the radio on. Out of the blue ‘She’s the One’ came out of the speakers. I hadn’t heard our song in ages and I found myself singing along. It still sounded fresh and alive. My already good mood was only improved hearing our song from all those years ago. Pat’s lyrics about the girl he was chasing and my music made me smile.

After dinner, I went into my office. My office was the only room in the house that indicated that I played music and was in a band previously. My gold record was on the wall for our album, there were a few pictures of us playing on stage, and a couple of old gig posters. My bookshelf was filled with tapes, CD’s and DVD’s of our performances, as well as a few demos of songs that never saw the light of day. I got my old Fender Strat out of its case. I hadn’t played it in ages but it felt good in my hands. I tuned it up and started to play ‘She’s the One’. It rocked along just like I wrote it.

It was then that I just started to just play. When I usually played now it was always to work out things for musicals or for the school bands to play, but this was different. This was playing for me. I was just noodling, playing along when I began to play something. It sounded good. The chord patterns began to flow. My fingers felt alive.

Quickly I fired up my computer and started ‘AudioScore’, plugged my guitar in and started to play. After a couple of hours I had the bones of a song, the first song I had written in 25 years. I added a rudimentary drum track before swapping my guitar for a bass, and playing this to fill out the song. I was buzzing, feeling the excitement of creating something completely new for the first time in ages. I looked across at the clock and seeing it was 2:16am, I realised I had to go to bed.

I took the file with me to work the next day, and in breaks between classes I worked on the song. As I did, ideas for other songs started to flow, so I got these down as well. I was so busy but so happy. I had playground duty that lunchtime and it was difficult to concentrate with song ideas racing through my head. I kept thinking how the songs needed lyrics, but I had never been a lyricist.

As the bell went to go back into class, I stayed back a little, making sure all the stragglers headed back to their classes. I looked across the quad and I saw Donna talking to some students. She saw me and she smiled her gorgeous smile at me. She looked amazing, the sun beaming down turning her red hair an almost flaming red, her dark skirt blowing slightly in the breeze. She was smiling her full smile, dimples and all. I smiled back and waved, and she did the same.

Back in my classroom I began to write words to my song. The words initially didn’t really fit the song, but I liked them and I knew I could use them later. I did come up with some more lyrics, about rocking again after a long time away. Being a novice lyricist I could only write about what I knew.

By the end of the week I had 3 songs with lyrics and 3 further music tracks. My daughter Gemma was with me for the weekend and that Friday night I played her the songs. She was taken aback that I had written the songs and she liked them.

“Dad those sound great. A bit like your old band songs, but different. A bit more modern.”

“Thanks Gemma. I haven’t written anything for years.”

“You should play them for ‘Uncle’ Mick and ‘Uncle’ Nige when they come over on Sunday.”

I had forgotten all about that. I was still great friends with Mick and Nigel, even all these years later. We all grew up together in this area, went and played our music together, went through the breakup of the band, and still remained the closest of friends.

Mick had taken over his family’s car dealership and Nigel went back to University and became a successful Lawyer. Our families were all very good friends and we caught up regularly. It was my turn to host a Barbeque this weekend.

The barbeque on Sunday was great and it was wonderful to catch up with my oldest and closest friends and their families. We hadn’t seen each other since before Christmas so we caught up with all of what was happening. Our k**s had all grown up together and they all got along really well. Mick and Nige were happily married. I was the only one who was single. Their wives, Brooke and Cara, were both lovely, great friends and a great support to me during difficult times. During the afternoon they could apparently see a change in me and they started plotting to find a single friend for me to date.

As the afternoon wore on, I took the boys aside and asked them to come to my office as I wanted to chat to them. I was a little nervous as Mick and Nige had been there through all of our music, and the band break up.

“So Jack, what’s up? Why did you drag us into the ‘Highly Zen’ shrine?” Mick asked, laughing at his joke.

“Guys take a seat and have a listen to this and tell me what you think. Honestly.” I said, heading to the computer and playing the first song.

Nige and Mick sat there and after the initial shock of hearing me singing a song, they listened intently. Nige was moving his head along with the beat, getting into it. Mick was absorbed, almost taking the music in. I was watching their faces, but they weren’t giving anything away.

The song finished. “Well what do you think?” I asked, getting even more nervous as they hadn’t said anything.

They looked at each other and Nige smiled. Mick just slightly nodded his head, smiling as well. Nige stood up and came over to me. He wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tight. I hugged back, surprised. Nigel let go and said quietly “Welcome back Jack.”

Mick got up and hugged me too. “We have waited … 25 years … to hear you write again. We didn’t think it would happen, but it has. That is so good Jack. Really good. Did you write the lyrics too?”

Slightly embarrassed by the attention I replied “Yes I did. Is it really ‘good’?”

“Oh yes mate. It is a great song. It might need to be a little quicker in tempo, but it is great.” Nige replied

“Yeah and the bass line could do with a little working over, but it is good Jack.”

I sighed with relief as my oldest friends; my former band mates liked it. I went on and played the other tunes I had written. Again their enthusiasm for the tracks was infectious. The three of us in the little room, talking music, working on arrangements was just like old times. Mick had my bass and was playing along, adding his own touches like he always did. Nigel was tapping along, indicating flourishes and fills, suggesting tempo changes that always seemed to improve the songs.

Before we knew it Brooke and Cara were looking for their husbands and they came in and heard us working together. They dragged their reluctant husbands away as they did have to return to their homes for the working week to start the following day. As they were leaving the boys were excited to have a jam and play the songs I had written. So we teed up to have a play at school on Friday afternoon at 3:30pm for a couple of hours. We could play there and make some noise without disturbing too many people.

As they left I was as excited as I had been for a long time.

***********

The week at school was busy, and I had a lot on. After hours though I continued to write and I even made that staple of the metal industry, a power ballad. I didn’t have the lyrics for that but I kept the song as a work in progress.

Friday afternoon arrived and Gemma joined me after school finished. Her high school was not far away and as she usually did on a Friday she came to my school to meet me so we could travel home together. Today though, she was tasked with running the computer to record our music as we played. Mick and Nige both arrived a little early, Mick carrying his trusty Fender Precision Bass that had played on all of our tracks. Nige was carrying his favourite snare drum and a few sets of sticks. Always the perfectionist he spent the next few minutes manoeuvring the school’s drum kit to suit him, while Mick and I tuned up.

We started on the first of the new songs and after about an hour it was ready to get down. We ran through it a couple of times, mostly because of my vocals than anything else. After listening back to the results, feeling quite pleased with our efforts, we started to work on the second track. The great feeling of us all playing together was palpable. While we were more than a little rusty, the camaraderie we shared got us through.

We knew we had to wrap up by about 5:30, so we finished playing around with the new track. I said to the boys “Why don’t we play an old one, just to finish off?” before breaking into the opening chords of ‘She’s the One’.

Nige played the drum intro with a huge smile on his face, Mick and I both chimed in and the song began to rock. We were all facing each other, rocking out. When it came time for the lyrics, Mick and I looked at each other, before I stepped to the mike and sang our most famous tune. It was a little different singing and playing the song, but Mick helped out, backing my vocals up automatically, so the vocals kept going even when I was soloing. We rocked out like it was 1993 again, playing like we were back at the Hammersmith Apollo, our very last gig.

As we brought the song to its conclusion Nige was standing up behind the kit, I was soloing out facing him and Mick had his foot up on the bass drum. As we finished together we could hear clapping from the back of the room. Gemma was clapping happily and standing next to her was Donna, her face beaming with her beautiful smile.

“That was brilliant Jack. I haven’t heard that song in ages. You guys are good. Nearly as good as when I saw ‘Highly Zen’, when they played at the Hammersmith in ’93’.” Donna said with great excitement.

Hearing Donna say this Nige began playing a familiar drum beat and Mick played along. I spun around to face them and instinctively played along. It was the music we used when introducing ourselves individually to the audience.

Mick spoke into the mike, just like he always used to. “At the back, the engine room of the band and now very successful lawyer, Nigel Anderson.”

Nigel then spoke “On the bass keeping us locked in together, the ‘Rockingest’ car dealer I know Mick Hazelton.” He was now laughing at the introductions.

Mick laughed and spoke again “And on lead guitar and vocals now apparently, the music teacher extraordinaire, Jack Larson… And we are, or we used to be ‘Highly Zen'”.

The look on Donna’s face was priceless.

“Really!… ‘Highly Zen’ here at my school. My music teacher the lead guitarist… I knew I recognised you, but I couldn’t for the life of me work out from where.”

I had put my guitar down and walked over to Donna. “Yes Donna we used to be ‘Highly Zen’ and today was the first time we have played together since … when was it Mick?”

“October ’93 Jack, in the studio.” Mick said, with an ironic grin that said so much to me, but would have meant little to anyone else.

I took Donna and introduced her properly to Mick and Nigel. She had transformed over the space of a couple of minutes from ‘mild mannered Principal’ to ‘gushing fan girl’.

“I saw you play that night at the Hammersmith and you guys were brilliant. I hadn’t heard your music before but you blew me away. The songs were rocking, but catchy. ‘She’s the One’ was the perfect finishing song… Wow! I can’t believe it.”

We were talking about that show when Donna’s mobile phone rang. She looked at it and said “It’s Mackenzie. I have to go and get her from the train station. Jack we will need to talk more about this. See you next week?” Donna reached out and ran her hand down my arm, our fingers lightly touching as she moved away.

“Yes Donna. We will definitely catch up.”

“See you then. Bye Mick and Nigel. Nice to meet you too.”

“Bye Donna.” They both said.

As she headed out of the room she said goodbye to Gemma as well.

I watched Donna walk outside, past the windows in the music room when I noticed Mick and Nigel were laughing to themselves.

“What’s so funny? I asked

Nigel shook his head and said “We play together one time and you already have a ‘groupie’.”

“Just like the old days. The girls always go for the lead guitarist.” Mick said laughing.

I was about to respond when Gemma piped up. “That’s a good thing. The guitarist is single and you guys are married.”

We all laughed at Gemma’s comment before packing everything up to leave. I told the guys I would mix the song a little and send them copies during the week. They liked that and we agreed to have another jam next Friday.

As Gemma and I headed home, she was talking enthusiastically about our music. She had never heard us play together and couldn’t believe how good we were. I was listening to her speak, but my mind was on Donna.

“Gem, how long was Donna watching us play?” I asked.

“She came into the room just after you started playing ‘She’s the One’.” Gemma replied she looked across at me and smiled what I can only describe as a knowing smile.

“Did she speak to you? What did she say?”

Gemma had a big grin on her face now. “Well Donna came into the room with a … surprised look on her face. She saw me at the computer and said hello, saying how I must be your daughter and introduced herself. I introduced myself and Donna said how good you were playing. I said yes you were playing well. We listened along and you finished the song.”

My daughter knew me so well. She could see that I was fishing for information about Donna and she was making it as difficult as possible.

“The look on Donna’s face when Uncle Nige and Uncle Mick started to play your intro music and introduced themselves was hilarious. That was when she realised who you were Dad.”

I looked at Gemma and smiled, continuing our drive home. We drove in silence for a while as I was deep in thought about Donna. After a short while Gemma spoke up. This time she sounded serious. “Dad you SHOULD ask her out.”

“Really Gem? I… like Donna and I don’t want to make a fool of myself.” I confided.

“Dad, I think she likes you too.” Gemma said putting her hand on my shoulder.

As we had stopped at some traffic lights, I turned my head. Gemma had a beautiful look on her face. She just knew that I was interested in Donna and she was doing her best to reassure me it was the right thing. I leant my face down and kissed Gemma’s hand.

“Thank you sweetheart.” I said. Gemma squeezed my shoulder and we continued our journey home.

************

The following week at work was strange. I was on edge wanting to ask Donna out, but waiting for the right opportunity. I couldn’t just barge into her office and ask her. I also wanted to avoid scrutiny from our colleagues, because news of us going out, if she did want to go out with me, would spread like wild fire as gossip is like gold in workplaces like this. On Monday I was really busy and missed seeing her. On Tuesday and Wednesday Donna was away from the school at meetings with the two other schools in our region we worked really closely with, Lachlan Vale and the school where my ex-wife is the Principal, Roberts Park.

Thursday came and I only had 1 class after recess, so I headed to the offices and staff room to grab a coffee before heading back to my classroom to keep working on arrangements for the school musical. As I walked through the offices I noticed Donna’s door was open. I looked inside and Donna was typing on her computer. She looked so good. She was wearing glasses which I hadn’t seen her wear before, their red frames complementing her hair, and framing her face beautifully.

I knocked on the door and said “Hello Donna.”

She looked up from her computer with a little surprise, but her smile spread wide across her face. “Oh Jack hi how are you?” she gushed. “Come in, close the door and sit down.”

I did as she asked as Donna quickly finished typing.

“There… Done and sent. Wow Jack. How are you? I still can’t get over having a rock star at the school.”

“I’m good Donna. And you don’t have a ‘rock star’ at the school. You have a music teacher who played in a band over 25 years ago.”

Donna was reaching into her desk drawer and got something out. “When I got home on Friday afternoon I went looking and found this.” She handed me a CD. It was our ‘Highly Zen’ album with the UK cover. Just looking at the picture of us we looked so different. I looked so young and the long hair we had back then was hilarious. As I looked I could see my reflection on the CD case. I could see the last 25 years of my life right before my eyes.

“I played it and it still sounds great… Last Friday I could hear you playing after school and I didn’t recognise the song you were working on, but it sounded good. I went across to see you before I left and you started to play ‘She’s the One’ and I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t heard it in years… You all played it so well. I just didn’t realise that you wrote it and played it originally.’

“Yes that was us. Guilty as charged… Did you really see us at the Hammersmith?”

“Oh yes. My boyfriend at the time wanted to see the headliners and he dragged me along. We were quite near the front. I remember seeing you play. You were so good that night… You could tell you were all playing … with real energy, trying to make it. The headliners were a bit blasé, just another gig. Was it really your last show?”

“Yep. We broke up trying to record our second album and we hadn’t played together till last Friday.” I replied. Looking at Donna she looked so happy talking with me, so relaxed with me. Now was the time.

“Donna, how long have you lived here since coming from Sydney?”

“Jack it would only be…ummmm… 6 weeks. I moved down here the week before we came back to work. Why do you ask?”

“Have you had much of a chance to have a look around the area yet?”

“No not really. I’m still trying to get my house set up and get my head around the job here.”

I took a deep breath. “Donna… Would you like to go out with me on Saturday? I could show you around the area, have lunch together, a nice day out.”

Donna bit her bottom lip and broke out her beautiful smile. “Jack Larson are you asking me on a date?”

With all the bravado of the ‘rock star’ I used to be I said “Yes Donna Silk I am.”

Donna was just beaming when she said “Oh Jack I’d love to. That sounds really good.”

We briefly arranged for me to pick her up from her house at 10am on Saturday. I then said “I had better get your number from you.” As I got my phone from my pocket. I set up to create a new contact when Donna took my phone.

“It will be quicker if I do it.” She said with a smile. When she finished her mobile rang. “And now I have your number too, as ‘you’ just rang me.” She said laughing.

Just then her office phone rang and Donna answered. She spoke briefly before excusing herself from the call. “Sorry Jack, but I have to take this… I can’t wait to see you on Saturday.”

“Neither can I. I’ll talk to you before then… Bye Donna.

“Bye Jack.”

As I left her office I was on cloud nine.

************

It was an overcast day with a cool wind blowing when I arrived at Donna’s house that Saturday morning. I was wearing my jeans, nice shirt and boots, wanting to look casually good. Our houses were only about 5 minutes apart, so it was easy to get to her place. We had been texting each other a little over the previous couple of days, and I was well and truly excited about going out with her. On my way there I took a slight detour to a florist and picked up a bunch of daisies to give to Donna. I remembered seeing that she had a daisy charm on a necklace she wore and I thought she might like them.

I knocked on her door and Donna answered straight away. She looked amazing. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful smile on her face as she looked happy to see me. Her stunning red hair was out and around her shoulders. She was wearing a black jacket over a white shirt, with tight black jeans and black knee high boots.

“Hi Jack.” Donna said, sounding both a little excited and nervous.

“Hi Donna. You look great.” I said at my eloquent best.

She giggled and moved her hair with her right hand. “Thanks Jack. You look great too.” She replied, seemingly a little embarrassed by my compliment.

I then pulled the flowers out from behind my back. “Oh these are for you. I hope you like them.”

“Oh Jack they’re gorgeous. Thank you so much. How did you know I liked daisies?”

“I remembered you had a necklace with a daisy charm on it, so I thought you must like them.”

“I do Jack, they are my favourite. Come in while I put these in some water.”

Going inside, Donna’s house looked really nice. It was quite new, bright and airy. “Sorry about the mess. I’m still getting everything where I want it.”

“It looks great Donna. I love the pictures.”

“Mackenzie painted them. She is so artistic, not like me, or her father either for that matter… There the daisies are done. Thank you again Jack.” She said as she put them in pride of place on the dining table.

We left her house and drove 20 minutes to a nice little beachside town. Our conversation in the car had been about work, nothing too deep. On arrival we found a little café and grabbed a couple of coffees. As we sat down I asked “Well Donna what brings a beautiful English woman out here to our little town?”

Donna blushed a little as I said this and laughed. I really liked that Donna is quick witted. She flicked her hair back with her hand and said “Hi I’m Donna. I’m 43, single and originally from Surrey.” Playing along like we were on a ‘speed date’ or something. She laughed as she said this and I was laughing too.

Calming down a little she said “I came out to Australia because my husband was from Sydney. We met at the school where I was teaching in London. James had just graduated over here and wanted to work in England… We met, started going out, fell in love…” she smiled.

“We got married in 2002, and I had Mackenzie in 2005. When Mackenzie was 3, we decided to move out here permanently. I had been here visiting his family before and thought it would be a good move. And it was. We love it in Australia…” Donna’s voice then changed a little.

“James and I wanted more c***dren and we weren’t having success. He was getting tired very easily and really bad migraines … we had tests to find out why we weren’t falling pregnant and found out that he had a brain tumour.”

I reached out and held Donna’s hand. “Oh Donna, that must have been terrible.” I said, not really knowing what to say. She smiled at me and then continued on.

“James had chemo and radiation, and it took ages, but he finally got the all clear. He was off work for nearly 12 months as he needed time to recuperate. I was working and Mackenzie was now at school. He was well for nearly 2 years before the tumour came back… This time his fight was just for time. He passed away in October 2014…”

I was still holding Donna’s hand and looking into her eyes. She was blinking a little more than usual, and a few tears were rolling down her cheeks. She let go of my hand, took a tissue from her handbag and dabbed her eyes dry.

Donna looked at me and sighed, a look of concern came across her face. “I struggled for a long while Jack… I knew he was going to ‘go’, but it was hard, really hard to keep it together, especially for Mackenzie… I looked after her and she looked after me… James’ family were really good, as were all my friends who I taught with, so that helped me greatly… I actually thought about going back to England, but decided against it as being out here felt like home.

“I buried myself in my work and looking after Mackenzie. These things kept me going… I worked hard and made Vice Principal at Bradford. I enjoyed it, but I was feeling… ‘Empty’ at home. Mackenzie and I talked so many times about moving away from the city, away from our old house and all the sadness in its walls… The job came up here and I am so glad I applied for it. A completely new start for Mackenzie and me.” Donna said, her face now back to its usual happy countenance.

“You have had so much happen Donna. How does Mackenzie feel about boarding school?” I asked.

“She actually wanted to stay at the school, as she has so many friends there. Her father went to the boy’s school associated with Ravensfield and he wanted Mackenzie to go to that school. She knows he wants her to be there and I think that is another reason why she chose to stay there.”

I smiled “Sounds to me that Mackenzie is a ‘mature’ 13 year old.”

“She is amazing Jack. So smart, and so wise for her age. But she is also cheeky and can be a pain too, but she is everything to me.”

“I can see that.” I said smiling at the pride Donna had for her daughter.

“You seem to have a good relationship with you daughter Jack?”

“Oh yes. Gemma and I are very close. Even though she lives with her mother, she talks to me regularly through the week and she spends 3 out of 4 weekends with me. We do have our ups and downs, but as she has grown up our relationship has only gotten better. My son Andrew and I have a great relationship too, but he now lives in Sydney, close to University. I don’t see him as much as I’d like to, but we do talk regularly and we do catch up when we can. ” I smiled thinking about my wonderful c***dren and how much they mean to me.

Donna could see the look of pride on my face and was smiling at me. I then realised I hadn’t told her anything about my past.

“I have been divorced for a little over 2 years now, when I found out my ex was cheating on me.”

“Jack that is awful. I’m so sorry.” Donna said, looking at me with concern written all over her face.

“Thank you Donna, but our relationship had been gradually declining for the previous few years… We met at Uni, in our final year. When we graduated we went out to the country to work, getting jobs in schools close to each other. We fell in love, got married in ’97, and had Andrew in ’98 and Gemma in 2000… In 2003 when we moved back here, she took a job at another school and I started at Smith Street, where I have been ever since.

“Our relationship broke down slowly, deteriorating in a way I didn’t even realise… Thinking back about it now, we got together when we were young and spent so much time together out in the country and when we moved back here. We were our first real boyfriend/girlfriend relationship and I think we stayed together longer than we should have because… We didn’t know how to express our negative feelings to each other… Anyway I learnt a lot about myself from that experience and I am now happier in my life than I have been for a long time.” As I said this I looked into Donna’s eyes.

Donna was smiling too as I said this. The look we exchanged together said so much, probably more than I think either of us wanted to share at that stage in our relationship.

The rest of our date went so well. We explored the beachside town, had a beautiful lunch and talked and talked, sharing stories about our lives, working, and our k**s. It felt so great to be with someone who actually wanted to be with me, who was interested in me and I was interested in her. I hadn’t laughed so much as I did that day for a long time. Donna and I seemed to ‘get’ each other and it felt to me like we couldn’t get enough of each other.

As the day turned into evening I held her hand for the first time. Donna giggled as we held hands, before she stopped walking and turned to face me. She placed her hands on my waist and looked up into my eyes, before leaning in towards me. I did the same and we kissed. The kiss lasted a few seconds before Donna leant back.

She bit her lip before breaking out into her beaming smile. “Sorry Jack, I just couldn’t help myself.” She giggled.

I placed my hands on her face, drawing her close and kissed her again. Our kiss soon turned passionate, her tongue dancing with mine. I slipped my hands down and we cuddled close as we kissed.

When we came up for air, I could see that Donna looked so happy. “Don’t ever be sorry for kissing me Donna… You can kiss me anytime you like.” I said laughing.

“Ok Jack… I think I might just have to take you up on that offer.” She said cheekily before we kissed again. I could feel Donna’s beautiful curves under my hands and against my body as we cuddled close. The little moans we shared indicated we both wanted to be together.

Breaking apart we continued to hold hands, walking close together. We ended up sharing a pizza at a little Italian place before we headed back to Donna’s house. Sitting in the car we kissed again, before heading to her door. Donna asked me to have lunch at her house the following day and I of course accepted the invitation.

Kissing goodnight at the door was so difficult. I had experienced the best day in a long time with a beautiful, intelligent, cheeky, funny woman and she liked me too. It was difficult because I was already falling for her and I really didn’t want to say goodnight.

We did eventually say goodnight and see you tomorrow, both with longing in our voices. As I got to my car I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I looked at her door and I could see Donna looking at me, smiling happily. She saw me looking and waved to me, before blowing me a kiss. I grinned and did the same, driving home as happy as I had ever been.

*************

Seeing Donna for the second time was even better. While our first date was amazing, seeing her at her house for lunch was so much more relaxed. Donna was wearing blue jeans and a very nice pale blue ‘bohemian’ style shirt. This shirt was very pretty and showed a very attractive amount of cleavage. I too had jeans on and a dark blue polo shirt.

After a very warm, cuddly and passionate greeting at the door, we moved into the kitchen. Donna cooked a beautiful lunch and as we ate we talked about many things. After lunch we cleaned up before moving to her lounge room, sitting close together on her large lounge. It was here that Donna wanted to talk about the band again.

“So Jack you have never said what happened when the band broke up? Was it like they said in the music papers at the time ‘creative differences’ between you and Pat???”

I laughed a little as Donna said this. “Shouting matches, pushing and shoving, throwing instruments… Yeah you could say ‘creative differences’.”

“Really?”

“Yes really. We fought so much in the studio trying to make that second album. Actually thinking about it, all our differences started when we began to have success…” I hadn’t spoken about this for a long time and I still found it a little difficult to talk about. Donna reached her hand over and held mine.

I took a deep breath. “Success came so quickly for us Donna. Pat was studying music and had studio session time as part of his course. We went in with him and recorded our songs… Well the first album really, over 3 weekends in the middle of ’91. Someone from Pat’s course heard the songs, then a record label then heard them and by the end of the year we had a manager and had signed a recording contract. I deferred Uni and we were out on the road. We played clubs, universities, were a support act many times, went anywhere to play our songs. By mid ’92 we were getting radio air play, recorded our video and were starting to ‘make it’.

“In the summer of ’92/93 we were headlining our own shows, working really hard. Other bands, established bands, were taking notice and we were becoming known to our peers. We played a couple of festivals that summer and while we were on minor stages, they were still by far the biggest crowds we ever played for…”

I sighed and looked at Donna and she looked into my eyes. I could see she was being supportive and wanted me to share.

“We were just suburban k**s Donna. We definitely were not prepared for the lifestyle and the journey we experienced. We had never had that much ‘attention’ before. Touring gave us a very strange lifestyle. We also had money like we never had before. We were drinking way too much and dabbling in other substances. We had girls chasing us, a record company pandering to our every need… We were in over our heads.” I shook my head as all of these memories came flooding back.

Donna moved closer and put her arm around me, holding me close, kissing me on the cheek in a really loving way, almost reassuring me it was ok.

I sighed and continued “Before we went on the England tour someone tipped Pat off to the ‘sound’ coming out of Seattle. He loved it and insisted we listen to the ‘grunge’ music that was coming out; Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Nirvana… I didn’t like the music at the time because I never felt that … Sad. The music initially made me feel down. I had no reason to feel down. I was living my dream. Nige and Mick didn’t like that music either at the time. I appreciate it now, some is pure genius, but it didn’t strike that chord with me at the time. Pat loved it though. He started to become very introspective and encouraged by some of his ‘entourage’ he started to write in this style.

“After the tour, we had some time off and being home was great. I wrote so much music. I even had ideas for lyrics to work on with Pat. Songs about girls wanting to be with us, being away from home, having a good time, all the things that we were experiencing in our lives. When we got to the studio to record, I came armed with these new tracks for us to record that were in our style…” I said with a big smile on my face. Donna was smiling too.

“Pat then starts playing us the demos he had done that were all very ‘down’, minor key, very introspective. I thought they were depressing… We tried them out as a band and they sounded awful. I could not get my playing right to fit these songs… I actually don’t think I wanted to get them right. We tried the songs I did and they sounded like us. But Pat didn’t like them at all, saying they were juvenile.

“It was on. Pat and I shouted at each other like never before. … It was all too much. Pat complained about Nige and Mick’s playing, and my songs. I lost it, threw my guitar at Pat and left the studio, saying I was done. I wouldn’t play his ‘depressing grunge’ songs…

“That night I was at home, still living with my parents, when Mick rang and said he left the band too. We got together and commiserated over too many drinks. As we talked together he told me why he left. Apparently after I had stormed out, Mick went to talk with Pat to calm him down and talk sense with him. One of Pat’s ‘hangers on’ he had started to have around him said that it wasn’t a big deal that I had left as my guitar playing wasn’t that good. Mick then said that Pat agreed with the comment. Mick fired up about it, and Pat said ‘Well you can leave as well’. So he did.”

“Oh Jack that was awful. If it wasn’t for your songs together you wouldn’t have been there.” Donna said.

“Well at the time he didn’t think like that. His ‘people’ were trying to make Pat the next ‘Dylan’ or something. He wrote good lyrics, but only lyrics he knew about. He started to try and write these ‘meaningful’ songs and they were just rubbish…

“Nige called me the next day and said that he had left Pat as well. The three of us got together and got completely wasted… I woke up the next day, well after noon, feeling sicker than ever. I was so over music, the bullshit and fighting. Nige called and said he was done playing music as he didn’t want to fight with his best friends. I agreed saying I didn’t want to play music anymore. Mick went away for a month and when he returned he went to work for his family in their car dealership. He is still there, but now he owns it. Nige went back to Uni and finished his law degree, and I went back to finish my teaching. I cut my hair and was unrecognisable. Back at Uni I was just Jack Larson another aspiring teacher.”

“Umm Jack, did you ever speak to Pat again?”

“It wasn’t until… ummm … early ’97. He was touring country venues in his latest incarnation as a country singer. He was playing the town we lived in and my ex made me go to see him. I watched him play and it was ‘ok’. He was still trying to be the great singer songwriter and country did seem to suit him. But to me he wasn’t enjoying himself and to top it off he didn’t look well.

“After the show I waited and spoke to him. He was stand offish at first, but after a couple of minutes he was ok. He said he was sorry for what had happened and I believed he was sorry. We did make up somewhat that night, but we had both moved on. We were different people. … I never spoke to him again. He od’ed 18 months later in country Queensland after a show… We all went to his funeral and it was sad to say goodbye to my friend, but in all honesty I think I had actually said my goodbyes when I saw him play that last time. ”

Donna looked so sad as I said this and she wrapped her arms around me and held me tight. It felt so good to be cared for again. I cuddled Donna tight and we were really close, physically and more importantly, emotionally. Moving apart we kissed, briefly. Donna looked right into my eyes, and I got lost looking deeply into her beautiful grey green pools. She leaned forward and kissed me again.

“Umm Jack can I just ask you something else?”

“Of course Donna. What is it?” I replied feeling better.

“In all of the times you have mentioned your ex-wife you have never said her name? Why is that?”

I smiled. “There is a reason for that… She is still in Education and at one of our regional schools we work with. I won’t mention her name as you will probably have to work with her at some stage and I wouldn’t want my previous relationship with her to … ummm… Cloud your judgement of her. She is good at what she does for work, just not good at having a relationship with me.”

Donna’s curiosity seemed to be piqued with this information. “Have I met her already Jack?”

“You might have. But I’m not going to say anything more.”

“Ok Jack.” Donna replied, looking deep in thought, wondering who it could be.

We got comfortable on the lounge and Donna put on a movie. As we sat there, I had my arm around her and she was snuggled up close to me. I moved my hand along her arm, grazing my fingertips gently over her beautiful soft skin. Donna sighed a little, scrunching even closer to me.

I leant down and kissed her hair, smelling the flowery fragrance of her shampoo. Donna turned her face and kissed me.

“Jack, you make me feel like a ‘teenager’ again, holding hands, cuddling and kissing.” Donna said as her tongue snuck out and moistened her lips. She adjusted her position on the lounge and she was partly lying on top of me, her face really close to mine. Her gorgeous grey green eyes looked deep into mine as she said “I really like you Jack.”

I whispered my reply “And I really like you Donna.” Before leaning forward and kissing her.

She responded, kissing me with passion. Arms went around each other and we ‘made out’. Donna’s kisses were so intense, so filled with emotion. The chemistry between us was amazing, particularly for people who had only known each other for such a short time.

Donna’s soft curves felt amazing so close to me, under my hands. Her hands were wandering, feeling and exploring me. She squeezed my bum and pulled me close to her. I did the same, holding her full derriere in my hands.

Our actions began to get a little steamier. I slowly began to move against Donna, as my excitement was becoming more ‘prominent’. Donna groaned and began to do the same against me. Things were getting very hot and heavy when Donna broke away from my kisses sitting up a little.

“Jack…Jack please stop… Stop.”

“Are you ok Donna?” I asked, hoping I hadn’t upset her

Donna was looking flushed, her hair all over the place. “Jack this is great… amazing, but if we keep going I… I don’t think I would be able to stop. And I don’t want to do ‘that’. Not yet.” Donna replied looking coy. “Is that ok?”

“Of course it is. I don’t want to rush things either. I really like you Donna … And I never want to make you uncomfortable.”

“You are so wonderful Jack.” Donna said before she kissed me lightly, running her hand down my cheek. “It isn’t that I don’t want more. I definitely want more of you.” Donna said with a giggle, like I noticed she did when she was a little nervous.

“It’s just that… Rrrrgh… It has just been Mackenzie and I for so long and she means everything to me… I ummm… I think I would like her to meet you before we ‘go further’. I know she will like you, but I just want her to know you Jack. … Does that make sense?”

I moved my hand up and caressed her beautiful face. “It makes perfect sense to me. I would really like to meet her too.”

Donna smiled as I said this and she kissed me again.

The rest of the afternoon was great. We had set a boundary and while we both wanted more, we knew how far we could go. We relaxed and finished watching the movie, cuddling close on the lounge. We shared more stories about our lives. I could listen to Donna talk all day. I tried to take in every detail about her. It was the little things about Donna that I liked most; when she smiled how her dimples blossomed, the sparkle in her eyes when she looked at me, the way her hair fell down around her face, the softness of her womanly curves, the few lines around her eyes, the smattering of freckles on her arms. I loved feeling her soft hands on me and the way she bit her bottom lip when she was excited.

If it had been difficult leaving the previous night it was even worse now. I didn’t want to go, but we both knew it was the right thing to do. We arranged for Donna and Mackenzie to come over to my house for dinner the following Saturday night. Gemma was going to be with me for the weekend as well, so we thought this would be a great opportunity for our girls to meet and get to know each other, and for them to get to know us as well. We also agreed to keep quiet at school as we didn’t want word of our ‘going out’ to spread throughout the school.

We kissed passionately as we said goodbye. Driving back to my house I felt so happy. I hadn’t been with anyone since my divorce. Whether it was destiny, fate or just dumb luck, I felt I had found the woman for me. I had fallen for Donna and I was going to do everything to make sure I wasn’t going to lose her.

**********

The following week at school was the toughest I had ever experienced. Not because of the school work, the k**s or the parents. It was because the woman I had fallen for was so close to me and I couldn’t do anything about it. We did our best to keep our successful dates a secret, and to keep our relationship professional at school, but it was very difficult. I just wanted to go to Donna, hold her in my arms and kiss her. We messaged each other constantly after working hours, but we agreed not to see each other again until Saturday night.

Nige, Mick and I rehearsed again on Friday and we had now worked through 4 songs, getting them all recorded. All the excitement and ‘sexual tension’ with Donna did give me a lot of creative energy and I continued to write even more songs. We now had 15 song ideas to work on, and Mick and Nige liked working together again. We didn’t take my ideas as set in stone, but rather a template to begin and create from. They often changed things in the songs and helped to improve the lyrics as I was still very much a novice lyricist.

I loved having them help with the music. As we were all now ‘grown up’ the songs we created, while still being close to our style, were a lot more mature than just the ‘party and chase girls’ songs we used to play.

Saturday evening finally came around. Gemma had been such a great help in getting things ready for the dinner. She even gave up going out with her friends to stay in with us for the night. She too wanted the night to go well as she could see how happy I was with Donna.

Donna and Mackenzie arrived and both looked pleased to be there. Donna gave me a kiss as she came inside. Oh how nice it felt to kiss her again. Mackenzie surprised me with her confidence. She is a beautiful girl, dark hair like her father, and a slimmer build than her mother. But she did have her mother’s captivating eyes. After introductions and a tour around my house we sat down and began to get acquainted. We talked school, work, boarding school, exams; all the things the girls were into.

It was all going very well when Mackenzie then asked me “Jack, Mum said she saw you play with your band years ago in England? Do you remember the show?”

“I sure do Mackenzie. It was the last gig we played together before we split up… Actually I was going to show you all this later, but now seems to be a good time. Just give me a second.”

I raced to my office and picked up a DVD from my desk. Coming back to the living room the ladies were all talking together and I went over and put the DVD on.

“Donna, Mackenzie you are about to see something that hasn’t ever been shown before. I don’t think you have seen this one either Gemma. … I found this in my office. We had that show at the Hammersmith filmed for the potential live release at a later date. Here is our set from that night.”

I pressed play and we watched as ‘Highly Zen’ played our set. I watched with great interest as the ladies saw me playing in full flight. Thankfully the show was as good as I remembered. Donna was smiling and enjoying it, making comments here and there. Mackenzie and Gemma liked it, but had giggles as our ‘rock star poses and moves’ were very 90’s and not like anything today, apparently.

About half way through the show the camera panned around showing the audience. Donna yelled “Stop it Jack, stop it there.” I did and we backed it up a little. “Oh my god Jack! That’s me, right there.” Donna was pointing at the screen at a young woman with dark hair. Freezing the picture you could see her face and yes it was Donna.

“Mum you had dark hair then.” Mackenzie said, sounding surprised.

Donna laughed “Yes sweetheart. I was going through my ‘rebellious rocker’ stage and I dyed my hair. I look a bit like you don’t you think.” Donna laughed.

Mackenzie, who has dark hair like her father had, laughed too.

“See Jack, I told you I was there.” Donna said, in a sort of mocking way, like I hadn’t believed her.

“I never doubted you for a second. You knew too much about us to have not been there.” I replied smiling happily at her. Donna was smiling back at me.

We watched the rest of the show and then had a very nice dinner together. We were all getting along very well. Gemma and Mackenzie got along like a house on fire, and even exchanged phone numbers to keep in touch.

As the night drew to a close, we all said our goodbyes. As I said goodbye to Mackenzie I thanked her for coming over and how pleased I was to have finally met her. She smiled and said “It’s great to meet you Jack too. I can now see how come Mum likes you so much.”

“I like her very much too.” I said.

Mackenzie said “I’m glad.”

Donna and I kissed goodbye, both of us very happy with how the night went. We promised to call and talk as soon as we could.

**********

We spoke briefly the next day and Donna was very excited. She and Mackenzie had talked about me and apparently Mackenzie liked me and thought I’d be a good boyfriend for her mother. Donna was very pleased to have her daughter’s approval. We couldn’t catch up as she was driving Mackenzie back to school that day and wanted to spend time with her.

On Monday I couldn’t speak to Donna in person as she wasn’t at school, but out at Roberts Park school for meetings. I finished work and headed home. After a shower I changed into my usual home attire of sneakers, shorts, T-shirt and training jacket. It was about 5pm when I decided to message Donna to see how her day had been.

‘Just got home from yoga. How was your day Jack?’ she replied.

‘It’s good now that I can catch up with you ;)’

‘I wish you were here in my arms’

‘I wish that too. That’s my favourite place cuddled up with you’

‘It’s my favourite too’

An idea sprung into my head.

‘My home phone is ringing. Will be back in a minute’

‘Ok Jack. I’ll be waiting’.

I quickly grabbed my keys, locked the house and ran to my car. It was only 5 minutes to Donna’s house and I drove as quickly as I could to get there. I stopped in front of her neighbours so as she wouldn’t see me. Sitting there in the car I rang her number.

“Hi Jack. It’s great to hear your voice. Much better than just texting each other.” She answered.

“Yes it is. I miss you so much Donna.”

“Ohhh Jack I miss you too. I really wish you were here.”

“I wish you were here too… Ummm Donna, what are you wearing?” I replied with a giggle. I was asking her the classic, clichéd phone flirting question.

Donna giggled too. She put on a seductive voice “Well Jack, as I have just got back from yoga I am wearing tight yoga pants. Black, shiny and silky to touch, they show off my bum beautifully. You like my bum don’t you Jack?”

I had gotten out of the car and was heading slowly towards her front door. “Oh yes I do Donna. You have a gorgeous bum! What else are you wearing? Or is that it?”

Donna giggled “Well I’m also wearing my red and blue sports bra, white singlet top and blue Lonsdale jacket, with a pink and white pattern on the front. What are you wearing Jack?” Donna purred. Just then I knocked on her front door.

She replied “Urrgh.. Jack someone’s at my door… Wait there I will be back in a second ok?”

“Ok Donna. I’ll be waiting.” I said, trying not to give the game away.

I could hear her coming through the house and getting to the door. She opened it and I was standing there with my phone up to my ear.

“Ohhhhhh Jack!!” Donna squealed as she saw me.

“I told you I’d be waiting.” I replied as I wrapped my arms around her. We kissed. Deeply, passionately. I could feel Donna all against me as we held each other tight.

As we moved apart for air Donna said “I can’t believe you’re here.”

“I can’t believe how good you look in your yoga gear” I replied. Donna blushed before taking my hand and leading me inside. We kept kissing, cuddling and caressing our way through to her lounge room.

We tumbled down onto her lounge still wrapped in each other’s arms. Our kisses became more urgent as the tension that had built up during the previous week was being released. Moans and groans increased as we kissed more and more.

I remembered Donna loved being kissed on the neck so I moved down and began to nibble and kiss her silky soft skin.

“Mmmmmm Jack. Neck kisses… Muunnnhg… You are making me melt.” Donna purred into my ear.

Hands began to wander. Somehow Donna had managed to get my jacket off and she had slipped her hand under my t-shirt. Her soft hand ran down my chest and around to my back pulling me even closer to her. I managed to undo Donna’s jacket and ran my hands over her body. I could feel her beautiful, full, large breasts through her sports bra, the softness of her tummy and her gorgeous bum.

We had manoeuvred ourselves so that Donna was lying on top of me. I could feel her grinding her hips against me, pleasing herself on my ever more prominent excitement.

“Donna mmmmungh …you feel amazing Honey.”

“Ohhh Jack… I want you Jack… I want you now.” Donna said. She had propped herself up and was looking straight into my eyes. Her hair was all messed up, her face blushing. I don’t think I had ever seen a more beautiful woman ever.

I placed my hand on her face and drew her down to kiss her again. “Donna I want you too… I have wanted you since I met you.” I said before kissing her again. I reached around and held onto her bum, pulling her close to me and moving against her.

Donna kissed me, groaning with pleasure into my mouth. She broke the kiss by sitting up off me and getting off the lounge. She held her hand out and sitting up I took it. “Let’s go Sweetheart.” She said.

Entering her bedroom we kissed again. Somehow we managed to take most of our clothes off, fumbling and twisting but trying to keep kissing. We were both giggling as we did this. I was excited as I had ever been.

We fell onto Donna’s bed, still cuddled close. It felt so good to feel her against me. She was still wearing her sports bra and a tiny pair of panties, and I was just in my boxers that were struggling to hold me in. Donna undid the clip on the front of her bra and her breasts came tumbling out as she slithered out of it.

I always suspected Donna had large breasts, but they still surprised me a little when I did actually get to see them. They were large, with very pale, almost imperceptible, pink nipples. They were only visible as they were all crinkled up in excitement. Leaning down I kissed my way down her breasts, tasting her beautiful soft skin, before playing with her nipples with my lips, tongue and teeth.

“Mmmmunnghh Jack. Oh my nipples are so sensitive. … Yes do that… Oh yess Jack … Mmmmmm… Yes …ooohhhh” she squeaked in delight at my explorations.

I returned to kiss her again, before tasting her neck. Again she nearly melted in my arms as I did this. I felt her hand slither into my boxers and begin to stroke me.

“Ohhh Jack, you are so hard for me.”

“I’ve been like that every time I see you Gorgeous.” I moaned in her ear.

I could feel her trying to push my boxers down, so I propped myself up and slipped out of them and Donna flicked her little panties off. This time we cuddled up close, feeling each other ‘skin to skin’. I had somehow managed to be on top of Donna and it was so good.

Between kisses Donna groaned into my ear “Jack, your skin is so warm. And you are so hard against my belly.”

“You feel amazing Honey.” I replied, before starting to kiss my way down her body again. I was so excited, but I wanted to explore this beautiful woman, and experience everything with her.

I had slid down and was kissing Donna’s very erect nipples.

“Sweetheart that is so good… I have been thinking about you and me like this for so long… Now it is really happening … I can’t quite believe it.” Donna groaned.

I looked up from her breasts and smiled. “I have wanted this too Donna, so much… I can’t believe how gorgeous you are.” I replied, kissing her nipples again.

Donna giggled a little, before moaning with pleasure at what I was doing. I kissed and caressed my way down her soft tummy to Donna’s increasing pleasure. Reaching her silky soft legs, I kissed my way down the sensitive skin on inside of her left thigh.

“Uh …oh…oh …oh inside thigh kisses, uhh…uhhh… Jack yesssss.” Donna groaned as her legs open up, exposing her womanhood. I kissed my way back up before gently tasting her saturated loins with my tongue.

Popping my head up from between her thighs, I looked up at Donna and could see her face between her splayed out breasts. She was biting her lip in excitement. I had never seen a more beautiful sight than that in my entire life.

“You are so wet for me Donna.” I giggled.

“You make me wet Jack… ohhhh …All the time Honey…” Donna panted, smiling looking down at me. Our eyes met in this glance and electricity flew between us. The connection we had was so strong and was only getting stronger.

I continued to pay my attentions to Donna’s intimate anatomy, teasing and playing with her excitement as best I could. Tasting her and pleasing her was exquisite. Her hips began to move of their own accord as she gyrated under the motion of my tongue and lips.

Donna began grunting slightly. “Uh…uh…uh Jack… Yes …uh … Oh Honey…I’m close baby… Jack give me your hand…uh uh uh… Lace your fingers in mine… Hold me.”

I did as she asked and held her hand as I continued to pleasure her.

“mmm…mmmm…mmm… oh Jack, yes,… mmm… Ohhh…ohhh…ohhh, cumming Jack yes …ohhhh Yes…unnnnghhh”. Donna squealed and groaned as she came, her hips bucking involuntarily against me, and she squeezed my hand, holding me tight. Her orgasm was sudden and intense. Her legs clamped around my head as the waves of ecstasy travelled through Donna and her face showed just how much she enjoyed it.

She looked down at me as her orgasm began to subside, with a look of immense pleasure on her face, but also a look of wanting more.

“Jack, please I need to feel you inside me. Please Jack.”

I moved from between her legs back up her body, positioning my erection where she wanted me. Leaning down we kissed again and I slowly moved my hips, just brushing my excitement against her saturated womanhood.

Donna giggled and groaned. “Oh Jack you are a tease.” As we kept kissing deeply and passionately.

She wrapped her arms around me and I did the same and we tumbled over. Donna giggled as we did and she ended up on top of me.

“Mmmm that’s better.” she said. “You’re mine to do whatever I want with.” Donna said with a giggle, before grasping my rock hard erection and guiding me where she wanted me.

Slowly she lowered herself down on me and I was enveloped by her. Donna was unbelievably hot and extremely slippery. I groaned and slightly bucked as I was fully immersed inside her.

“Ohhh god Jack… From the first time we kissed I just wanted to… I wanted to feel you this close… Ohhh… ohhhh … The chemistry between us Jack is amazing… Ohhh ohhhh.” Donna said as we began to move together at our closest.

I was so excited and aroused that I was struggling to not explode inside Donna. Seeing her on top of me, her face blushed with arousal, her breasts bouncing with our motions was a beautiful sight. I reached up and pulled her down onto me so we could kiss, while at our most intimate. Donna moaned into my mouth as we did, our tongues dancing as we were ‘one’.

Donna sat back up and was moving on top of me, her hands running over my chest, feeling my not quite as muscular as it be could be torso. I had my hands around Donna’s hips, feeling her gorgeous bum as she rode me.

“Oh god Jack, I can feel you everywhere.” Donna moaned in pleasure

“Donna … Honey please stop, stop for just a second.” I groaned.

“What… Umm why?”

“I just want to look at you Donna, to take you all in.” I replied.

Donna giggled a little and slowed her movements to just a subtle movement of her hips on me. She looked at me, while I took the sight of her all in. Her hair still in the pony tail from her workout, her face flushed, her chest blushed red with excitement, her magnificent breasts and very erects nipples, her tummy going down and then me appearing right against her.

Looking back up Donna catching her gaze, I could see her biting her lip.

“Oh yes I’m biting my lip… I’m just a little self-conscious …”

“You don’t need to be self-conscious. You are so beautiful Donna.”

She grinned and looked very coy as I said this.

I then began to move my hips thrust a little. Donna’s coyness quickly turned to excitement as she quickly began to move with me. I continued like this for a little while, running my hands down her breasts and teasing her nipples.

“Yessss Jack,… my nipples have been so hard since you arrived…mmmmm play with my breasts… yes do that again… Unnnnugh… Yes Jack.”

We were moving together and it was great, but I wanted to be close to Donna. I dropped my hands from her breasts and propped myself up.

“What…what are you doing Jack?”

I moved myself so that I was sitting up, while still deep inside Donna. She moved her legs, almost wrapping them around me, while I held her close. We kissed and as we moved apart Donna looked straight into my eyes.

Our faces were so close together and she just said with her lovely British/Australian accent “Hello”. We then kissed again, sharing so much passion.

Donna groaned “I like this… so close. I can wrap my arms around you… Uuunnnn… My breast’s squished against your chest…ummm…uuuunnnnngh.”

“I just …urrghh uh uh… Wanted to be closer to you.” I said.

Donna kissed me again, before we really started to move. I could feel Donna everywhere and I couldn’t get enough of her. She was rocking against me, and I was getting closer.

“Mmmmm…unnngh Donna… I’m close… Oh Honey I’m close”

“Yes Jack… Cum in me… fill me Sweetheart… Oh baby… I’m gonna cum too… Oh Jack… unurrrgh”

Donna squealed and came again all over me. This set me off and I exploded deep inside her, filling her with my essence. As we came we held each other tight, rolling with the orgasmic motions flowing through us. I was panting and groaning and Donna was doing the same. Gradually our orgasm’s subsided and I gradually leaned back a little.

I looked into Donna’s eyes and she looked back at me. The chemistry, the connection between us was immense, and the look we exchanged said so much. With my right hand I caressed Donna’s face and kissed her again. She leant her face into my hand.

When our kiss moved apart, I moved back slightly and collapsed back onto the bed, physically and emotionally spent. Donna giggled as I did this. “Did you just collapse Jack?”

I laughed. “Yes Honey. You have worn me out.”

Donna leant down and kissed me again. “I hope I wore you out in a good way?” she asked.

“Oh yes Donna. In the best way possible.” I replied as I held her close and kissed her again.

Donna was now lying on my chest, getting her breath back. “Oh Jack, you made me come all undone.” She said before kissing me again.

“I hope that is a good thing?” I replied, knowing the answer already.

Donna giggled “Yes honey. It is a very good thing… I feel so … contented in your arms Jack. It is the only place I want to be.”

“It is the only place I want to be too… With you.” I replied.

Donna shuffled up me a little, kissing me again, and lying on me. We stayed close like this for a few minutes, luxuriating in being physically and emotionally close.

Donna rolled off me and lay on the pillow next to me. She looked so contented and I must have had the happiest look on my face. I was feeling so happy and all the feelings I had for Donna were multiplied a thousand times after this amazing experience with her.

We were dreamily looking into each other’s eyes when I noticed Donna was bitting her lip a little. “Umm Jack, I know that this is our ‘first time’ together and … What we have is amazing… I don’t want you to go. Do you want to stay the night?” she asked. Donna did look apprehensive as she asked this.

“Sweetheart, I would love to stay the night.” I replied. Donna grinned and kissed me again. “What we have between us is … unbelievable. I have never felt like this with anyone, ever.” I moved some hair from her face “I mean it Donna. You make me feel things I never thought I’d feel. And I want to keep being with you too.”

“Jack… I always want to be with you.” Donna said quietly, looking down out of my gaze.

“Me too.” I said leaning forward, kissing Donna.

*************

Over the next month our relationship continued to blossom. Work was difficult, trying not to show we were together, but we kept our relationship professional. Out of work it definitely wasn’t professional. We stayed at each other’s houses when we could, and when we had our girls we all spent time together.

I implored Gemma to keep my relationship with Donna quiet from her mother. As my ex, Angela, was principal at Roberts Park Primary school, I didn’t want my burgeoning relationship with Donna to affect her relationship with Angela, as they did have to work together a lot.

About a month into our relationship I was at work when I returned to the staff room after lunch. I noticed Angela was there, washing her cup in the sink. I hadn’t realised it, but she was at my school for a meeting. I went over and said hello and we had a conversation about Andrew’s new flat he was sharing at University, and how well Gemma did in her last exam.

“Jack, has Gem mentioned a new boyfriend to you?” Angela asked.

“No she hasn’t. Why?”

“Well she was texting someone the other night and I asked who it was and she just said ‘Oh it’s just Mac.’ Have you heard her mention ‘Mac’ before?”

I immediately realised Gemma was talking about Mackenzie. “Yes Angela. I think Mac is Mackenzie. Gemma had mentioned her new friend. I think that she is a friend of Nigel’s daughter Alexandra.” I replied making up the story quickly.

“Oh… ok.” Angela replied, content with my response.

Angela and I then chatted briefly about Mick and Nigel and their families. Even though we weren’t together and there was still some animosity between us, we did share a lot of history, and we did try to be civil to each other.

I then asked Angela what she thought of Donna. “Jack she is very good. She is the breath of fresh air we needed around here. She’s good to work with, flexible where needed, but firm in her ideas. A very smart woman.”

“That’s good to hear. The staff here all like her.”

We then said our goodbyes as she headed back into the meeting.

That afternoon I was giving a music lesson after school for a student. As we wrapped up and the c***d left, Donna came into my classroom.

“Hello gorgeous. How has your day been?” I asked, feeling very happy to see her.

Donna didn’t look as happy. She came over to me and said “You were married to Angela weren’t you Jack?”

“Yes I was Donna.” I replied. Donna looked a little sad as I said this. “How did you find out?”

“I saw you two talking in the staff room, and I asked Angela how she knew you and she said that you were married previously.” Donna said, getting a bit more upset as she spoke.

I put my arm around Donna and she tensed up a little as I did this which was totally unlike her.

“What’s wrong Honey?” I asked.

Donna began to sniffle. “Jack how can I compete against her. She’s so attractive. Slim, tanned, dark hair…”

I turned and faced her. I couldn’t believe Donna felt threatened by Angela. “Donna she cheated on me, with her current husband… I don’t love her. I haven’t loved her for years… You’re the woman I love.”

Donna’s sniffling stopped and she looked at me. “What did you just say?”

I just smiled. I hadn’t meant to say I loved her, but I did truly love her. Putting my arms around her I moved close to her.

“I love you Donna.” I said smiling.

“Oh ‘my’ Jack, I love you too.” Donna said, with more tears running down her face. We hugged tight and kissed. Moving our faces apart I ran my hand down her cheek, gently wiping her tears.

“I love you so much Donna. You are everything to me.”

“I love you Jack, more than you can imagine.”

We cuddled and kissed again. Holding her tight I looked around and it dawned on me we were still in my classroom. I began to giggle slightly.

“What is it Sweetheart?” Donna asked.

“Well I was kind of hoping we were in a bit more of a romantic setting when I told you I loved you.”

Donna melted into me even more. “It doesn’t matter where we are… I love you Jack…”

“I love you too.”

***************

We headed towards the end of the term and Donna and I planned to get away together during the school holidays. We still hadn’t told anyone at work we were in a relationship and thankfully for us no one had twigged that we were together.

It was funny at work as the teachers seemed to fall into three distinct groups. There were the young, inexperienced and generally single teachers starting out their careers. Then there were the more experienced teachers who were in relationships and had young families. Then finally there were the more experienced of us. As I was experienced, but single, I didn’t seem to fit into any of the groups.

At lunch one day, I was talking to my good friend Chris. She was the ‘senior’ teacher at the school having been there the longest. She was in her last year of teaching before retiring, as she wanted to spend more time with her c***dren and grandc***dren. She had always taught the younger k**s in Year 1 and 2, and had even taught Gemma when she was at the school.

The k**s at school all loved Chris as she made learning fun. We had always had a good relationship, as she was a straight talker and didn’t listen to gossip. As we chatted Chris mentioned that I seemed happier than I had been for a while. I told her I was in a good place at the moment.

Talking together over lunch I was in a great mood as we talked about her grandk**s and our respective c***dren. I was teaching Chris’s class after lunch, and she and I were talking a little about what I was going to be doing with her pupils.

While we were talking I noticed that Donna had walked into the room and proceeded to chat with other colleagues and get her lunch from the fridge. I was still talking to Chris but I must admit I was a little distracted by Donna coming into the room.

As we finished lunch and were about to head over to Chris’s classroom to get her class, Chris wrapped her arm into mine and just held me back a little, so we were the last to leave the staff room. We then walked out towards her class when she asked “Jack what is going on with you and Donna?”

“What… what do you mean?” I babbled in response.

“Come on Jack. I know you too well. I can see the way you look at her and the way she looks at you. Something is going on.”

“Chris please promise me, promise me you won’t tell anyone.”

“I won’t Jack. I’m right though aren’t I? Something is going on isn’t it?” she said now grinning.

I took a deep breath “We have been going out for 2 months now Chris.” I replied a little relieved I had finally told someone.

“Jack that is great. She is really nice. Is it serious between you two?”

“Well I love her and she loves me so … Yes it is serious.”

“Oh Jack that’s wonderful, you two would be… Actually are good together. Donna is smart, sweet, funny but serious when she has to be. And Jack you are just the sweetest man I know… I’m so happy for you, for you both.”

Chris wrapped her arm around my waist and squeezed me. I had my arm around her shoulders and hugged her too.

“Don’t tell anyone. Please Chris. You know what gossip like that would be like around ‘here’.”

Chris laughed. “Don’t worry Jack. I wouldn’t want some of the ‘gossip vultures’ to ruin what you two have… Just remember though, if you get married I want an invitation.”

“You will be the first I invite.”

************

On our holidays Donna, Mackenzie and I went up to the Gold Coast. While Mackenzie wasn’t fully thrilled to be going away with her mother and her new boyfriend, she did have a good time. The best thing was that Donna and I were able to be out together as a couple without the fear of bumping into anyone we knew.

We enjoyed the sun and the surf, as well as a few theme parks Mackenzie wanted to visit. Mackenzie enjoyed going on some of the more ‘extreme rides’ with me, as her mother was a bit ‘chicken’. As we walked around Surfers Paradise I pointed out a few clubs where the band had played back in our early touring days.

While on the Gold Coast we went and visited my parents so they could meet Donna. They had moved up there about 5 years earlier when the retired. They immediately loved Donna and Mackenzie, and both Mum and Dad took me aside during our visit to say how great Donna was, and that I should do everything to look after her.

One night when we were in bed, Donna cuddled into me, laying her head on my shoulder.

“Umm Jack… It might be a little late to ask now… But just how … rrrrr… ‘Wild’ were you with the band? Was it really ‘sex, d**gs and rock and roll’?” she asked looking up at me, the curiosity written all over her face.

I shifted in the bed, out from under Donna and rolled onto my side so I could face her. “Yes we… I was a little wild, but probably not as bad as you might think.”

“What was the craziest thing you did then?”

I thought briefly before answering. “I would say it was when I did ‘lines’ off a stripper’s stomach.”

Donna seemed taken aback. “What?… When was that?”

“That was after the Hammersmith gig, at the party the headliners threw. Nikki dragged me over and we both did this. … About 10 minutes later I was violently ill.” I laughed remembering Mick helping me.

Donna was looking at me curiously.

“We were so out of our depth at that party Honey… When we were touring we drank a bit and yes, had girls chasing us. In the beginning when we started touring as a band, our schedule was so jammed packed that we were either playing or travelling to the next gig. Our management organised it so that as we finished one gig, we left straight away for the next, travelling to the next town. So we didn’t really have time for ‘groupies’. We did drink a fair bit though.

“d**gs really only came on the scene when we were more successful and were playing festivals with other bands. I only ever dabbled a little with ‘coke’. The others did a few different things… I don’t think, actually I know Pat never stopped doing them…

“Anyway in terms of groupies, I was still shy around girls.” I laughed. Donna laughed too, looking at me in such a loving way.

I continued “Yes I know that’s not very ‘rock star’ like, but I never felt like a rock star, just me. I can only ever recall being with 2 girls, and one of these was a girl I knew from school who came to see us play. It was funny but at school she didn’t want to know me, but as a musician… Well you know what I mean. The other was at a festival and was more of a … Well a more typical ‘groupie’ experience. This lady showed her appreciation for my playing … While she was ‘down on her knees’ so to speak. And that was that. I didn’t have a real girlfriend until at Uni. I was shy and got tongue tied with girls until I became friends with them and got to know them.”

Donna was smiling “So if I had come up to you after the show what would you have done?”

“Back then I would have thanked you for being a fan, signed an autograph and probably not a lot more.” Donna was frowning at my answer. “And that would have been because I didn’t know you… If I had of had the chance to get to know you, well look at us now. I’m with the woman I love more than anything in the world.”

“And I love you more than anything.”

We kissed a little before Donna asked “Well what was that party like, you know in London?”

I laughed and shook my head a little “I had never seen anything like it, and I doubt I ever will again. They had a whole club for themselves. Music was playing and the place was packed with so many girls, models, stunning looking women. No one paid any attention to 4 young Aussie guys there. I was only 20 at the time and I had never seen anything like it. The drinks were flowing and we all got stuck in.

“The place livened up when the headliners walked in. The girls flocked to them and they proceeded to have their own brand of fun. The night went on and I was… Ummm… ‘Very merry’ by the time Nikki found me at the bar. I thanked him for inviting us and he said he liked our playing. He then dragged me over to where the rest of his band was sitting, and they were … It was a very hedonistic scene, models, strippers all there. Mick came with me, and their band all greeted us warmly. Nikki then got one of the strippers to lie down on the table and he put the coke on her stomach and he did some and insisted that I do some too. I did it and… Well what we had dabbled a little with was nothing like what I had then.

“We apparently all talked for a few minutes before Mick and I went to get another drink. It then all hit me all at once and I was so sick. I only just made it to the bathroom before being violently ill. Mick came and found me, and even though he was quite drunk, he managed to look after me, getting me out of there and back to our hotel. We were rooming together and he looked after me… Waking the next morning I swore I’d never do any d**gs again and I haven’t. And, to be honest, after the band broke up I haven’t had much to drink either. … In fact before I had a couple of beers with Andrew on his 18th, I had only had some champagne at my wedding since the band breakup.”

“So all you didn’t drink at all though Uni? That would have been tough knowing the parties we used to have back then?”

“Yes and no.” I laughed saying “Drinking beers and cheap spirits at a Uni party didn’t really compare with what I had experienced previously. So it wasn’t too hard to say no.”

Donna seemed happier now that all my ‘sordid’ past was out in the open. I then realised I had never seen Donna drink.

“You don’t drink either do you Donna?”

She smiled a bit and said “No I don’t. I ummm had a ‘bad’ experience in my last year of university.”

“What happened?”

“I was out with my best friend Lily and we were clubbing in London and I had my drink spiked.”

“That’s terrible Donna.”

“Yes thankfully Lily rescued me and got us back to our flat. I’m so glad she was there. I hate to think what might have happened if she hadn’t been there.”

Looking at Donna I could see even the thoughts of this were shaking her up. I reached out and held her close, cuddling her to comfort her.

**************

Donna and I were in love and getting closer every day. She met my friends and became great friends with Nigel and Mick’s wives. We had travelled to Sydney a few times and I was introduced to her friends she worked with previously. They were very protective of Donna, but seemed to like me all the same. We finally got to catch up with my son Andrew and he liked Donna too.

I was still playing music with Nige and Mick. By the middle of the year we had recorded 18 tracks, mostly rockers, a couple of slower ones and the last one was an acoustic love song. The boys gave me a ribbing about this one when I brought it in and played it for the first time, but they liked it. It was the only track that they didn’t want to change in any way.

“That song is perfect Jack. We will just accompany you.” Mick said.

At our next gathering with all our families in attendance, we played them the recorded tracks, except the love song, as I was saving that for a more special moment. Donna, Mackenzie and Gemma loved the music, as did everyone else. Brooke asked us what we were going to do with the songs. The boys and I looked at each other. We had never really considered what would happen next; we just loved the process of playing together again.

A week or so later Nige arranged for Mick and me to meet him in his office after work. He had been looking at our original management and recording contracts and he said he had found something interesting. We had been signed to record 2 albums, but there was a clause in the contract that insisted that there were 3 members of the original signed contract to be in the band that recorded the albums. As Pat recorded by himself and didn’t use the ‘Highly Zen’ name, we still ‘needed’ to record the second album. While we hadn’t been paid any advances for the second album, we still legally had the opportunity to record this.

We sat around Nige’s desk and talked about what we should do. We all had jobs we liked, and were relatively financially secure, but the buzz we felt when playing together was great. Mick chipped in wondering if anyone would still want to listen to us, or to buy our music. I said only one person could tell us if there was still going to be demand for ‘Highly Zen’ and that was our old manager. Nige got his secretary to contact him and arrange a meeting.

Our meeting with Mark Masterton was nearly a month later when we could finally get in to see him. He did indeed remember us, and even though we broke up very quickly after our success, he continued handling our music affairs for a few years after, especially with royalties and the like from our songs. The meeting was quite productive. After a catch up, Nigel presented our contracts and we played our demos for him. He took a copy of the demos and would get back in touch with us.

When he did get back in touch Mark was pleased with the response our demos had received. Not only were the record company happy to record them, but he had interest in us playing live again, on one of the summer tours that bands from the 90’s were now doing. These shows were over about 6 weeks during summer and there were 6 to 8 other bands on the bill, playing in vineyards and the like to ‘well-heeled’ punters who were there when we played originally and wanted to relive the experience. It was arranged that we would record our album over a couple of weeks of the September school holidays, and if it was a good record, we might tour.

Hearing all this had me very excited, but also a little nervous. Donna and I were planning to move in together and I wasn’t sure how she would react to me having a music career again.

Donna and I had been going out for about 8 months now. She had been renting her house and we were spending time at each other’s house. One night at my house we were cuddling on the lounge when Donna mentioned how much she liked my house and how warm and ‘cosy’ it felt.

“Well why don’t you move in with me?” I asked on the spur of the moment.

“Unm ahhh … Really Jack? You want us to live together?”

“Of course Donna. I love you and would love to share my life fully with you.”

Donna bit her lip, before breaking into her beautiful smile. “Yes Jack. Let’s do that. I love you and want to spend all my time with you too.”

So it was settled. We worked out the logistics, with Mackenzie having Andrew’s old room as he didn’t stay with me anymore, cancelled Donna’s lease and told all our c***dren. It was very exciting beginning the next chapter of our life together.

Strangely though, as the time to move in together got closer we started to argue. We seemed to disagree on lots of things, how I did something, why Donna did things her way. It was just nit picking, but it did bring a lot of tension to our relationship.

On the week of the move I couldn’t see Donna as the band was recording our album. It was a hectic time in the studio, but as we had been playing the songs for the best part of 6 months they came together quickly. The producer was very experienced and as we were a more ‘mature’ band he didn’t have any problems getting us to work hard and get our songs recorded. The songs sounded great and thankfully didn’t require a lot of extra work.

The vocals took a while to record as I hadn’t been the lead singer before, and the producer cleverly used Mick’s backing vocals to fill the sound out, so the songs really worked. We also changed a few songs so that Mick would sing lead vocals on a couple of tracks, particularly on songs that had more complicated guitar parts. Listening to the mixes, we also decided to get Nige to sing a song on the album. His voice was a little more ‘bluesier’ then either I or Mick and one track really suited him.

After finishing at the studio, I managed to catch up with Donna the day before our move and she was strangely subdued. We talked and Donna just didn’t seem herself. She insisted everything was alright, but I could tell something was wrong. I suggested that we take some boxes over to my house to get an early start and Donna went really quiet.

“Donna Honey, are you worried about moving in with me?”

As I asked this she burst into tears. I wrapped my arms around her and held Donna close. She looked at me with tear filled eyes and said “Jack… What happens if we … Don’t get along and break up? I’m scared Jack.”

“Donna my love, I’m scared too. But I’m excited as well. You are the best thing that has happened to me and I want to share everything with you. Do you want ‘us’ to be together?”

“Yes Jack more than anything. I just hope we don’t fight all the time?” Donna replied.

“I don’t think we will. We will work out how to live together I just know it. We are both easy going people and love each other, so I know it will work out.”

“Oh darling I love you.”

The move went well over the weekend, with all the k**s, including Andrew helping. The first night altogether in ‘our house’ we had Take-away for dinner as we were all too tired to cook. I was in the kitchen tidying up after dinner and I looked across into the lounge room. I could see all of my ‘family’ together. Gemma and Mackenzie were chatting away, and Donna was talking with Andrew. I had the biggest smile on my face, I couldn’t have been happier.

The Monday was the first day Donna and I went to work from the same house. We decided we were going to tell everyone at work about our relationship and living together. This plan was spoilt when one of the other teachers announced that she was pregnant. We didn’t want to spoil her moment, so we kept the news quiet. Funnily enough after this, we just didn’t bother to tell everyone.

I finished work earlier than Donna and raced home. I wanted our first night together, alone, in ‘our’ house to be memorable. I knew I had about an hour before Donna got home, so I quickly arranged our room the way I wanted it. I then organised our dinner and was finishing setting the table when I heard Donna’s car pull up in the driveway and go into the garage.

She came into the house and I said “Welcome home Gorgeous.”

“Thank you Sweetheart, it is great to be home.” Donna replied with a sigh, relaxing being home. We kissed and then Donna said “Mmmmm it’s good to be home in more ways than one.”

We kissed and cuddled as Donna relaxed in my arms. She sniffed the air and said “Jack what smells so nice? Have you been cooking?” Donna said with a cheeky giggle.

“Yes my love. I know you had a hard day at work, so I have cooked dinner for us and I have organised a little surprise for you in my, whoops sorry, our room.”

“Ooooh what is it?”

I took her hand and we walked to our room. The room was nice and warm, there were some candles lit and I had towels laid out on the bed. “I remember that you mentioned how you liked massages, so I figured after your hard day I would give you a massage to make you feel a little more relaxed.”

Donna kissed me again. “I feel so relaxed already because we are finally together. You are so wonderful to me Jack. I love you so much”

Donna had tied her hair back in a ponytail and she looked so beautiful. She took off her clothes and she was wearing a stunning black bra and panties set under her clothes I didn’t realise she put on that morning.

“I only just got these Jack. I wanted to look ‘special’ for you, for our first night alone together in ‘our’ house.”

“Donna you look amazing, but you always look amazing no matter what you wear.” I replied as we kissed again.

I undid her bra and took off her panties and helped her down onto the bed. She lay down on her tummy, with her arms tucked up under her chin. She rested her head on them as she looked at me getting ready.

“I didn’t know you were a masseuse?” Donna asked.

“I am an enthusiastic beginner. But I really like making you, only you Donna, feel good.” I replied as Donna giggled.

I too disrobed and Donna could easily see how I excited I was to be with her and how much I was enjoying doing this with her.

“Umm Jack… I don’t think the masseuse is supposed to be naked too?” Donna asked with a giggle.

“I’m a bit clumsy. Ha ha ha. Anyway I don’t want to get oil on my clothes” I replied, trying to sound professional.

I started massaging Donna’s back, her shoulders, then down her legs and her feet. Her moans showed me I was doing the right things for her.

I squatted over her legs and massaged her beautiful bum. Donna’s hips began to roll a little as I did this as she looked like she was enjoying the massage on a ‘different level’ too. I resisted the temptation to massage a little further down and hopped off the bed moving back to near Donna’s head.

“Where, where are you going Jack? That was really nice.” Donna said, protesting a little.

“I’m just moving to do your shoulders and arms Sweetheart”

“Mnnnugh fine.” She replied, annoyed that I wasn’t continuing where I was before.

I was standing in front of Donna as I started to massage her arms and hands.

“Ohhh Jack. That feeeellls amazing. You seem to know just how to make me feel good.”

“Thank you Gorgeous.”

I was concentrating on massaging her shoulders when I sensed Donna rolling her head over. Just then I felt a very soft, wet tongue licking my erection.

Looking down I could see Donna with a really cheeky grin looking back up at me. She licked her lips like the cat that got the cream. Sounding all incredulous she said “What? I couldn’t help myself. You were in front of me and I just had to.” She grinned before licking me a second time.

I squatted down and kissed her, deeply, passionately. Looking into Donna’s beautiful green eyes I then said “I think I need to do your front now… Before this degenerates any further.”

“Ok Jack. If you insist” Donna purred as she rolled over onto her back, looking very wanton and willing.

Rubbing more oil on my hands I began massaging her chest and down her body. I strictly avoided massaging her breasts or between her legs, much to Donna’s ongoing frustration. I took my time, enjoying the feeling of her silky soft skin under my hands.

Donna was biting her lip and rolling her hips a little, feeling excited, but not being taken to the next level. She was moaning, enjoying the massage but not voicing her frustration. The sexual tension that was always there between us was now at fever pitch.

I too was very aroused, but I wanted to extend our playtime. I oiled my hands again and began to gently massage Donna’s bountiful breasts.

“Yes Jack. That is so good. Your hands on my breasts are exquisite. Yes Honey keep doing that.”

Her moans and encouragements increased as I did this. She took this to mean massage time was over and she slithered her hand between my legs and began to massage my rock solid erection. It was becoming a bit overwhelming.

I leant down and kissed Donna and she wrapped her arms around me and held me close. I looked into her eyes and said quietly “I love you Donna.”

“I love you Jack.”

And we reunited physically and emotionally…

************

Back in the real world our album was recorded and there was a real buzz about our comeback. Donna and I had discussed my returning to music and she was really supportive. The plan was outlined that our album would be released in January in time to coincide with the ‘All Summer Long’ tour in January and February.

I was a little worried because our relationship was going so well and I didn’t want to spoil it by going away. Donna only thought this would make us stronger. She wasn’t worried about being alone, because we were always together emotionally. Her greatest concern was professionally as she was losing a teacher. I decided to take 6 months off work (long service leave) to pursue our comeback. This would give me until July, before I had to make a decision about my working future.

Gemma had now finished her final exams and was about to go away on ‘schoolies’ as they are known here- a party holiday with her friends to celebrate finishing school. Before she left I caught up with her and we talked about her upcoming trip and my plans. When I told her of my plans she was so happy and encouraged me to follow them through.

With Gemma away and Mackenzie still at school, Donna and I went away to the Blue Mountains for the weekend. We had been there earlier in our relationship, having a lovely weekend away. Thankfully this time, now in November the weather was much warmer than last time.

We had a picnic one evening at our resort, sitting looking at the view back towards Sydney, the lights of the evening beginning to illuminate the setting. I held Donna’s hand and kissed her and she kissed me, so happy with being together.

“Donna do you know how much I love you?” I asked.

She grinned and replied “I think I know and it is a lot. But it cannot be as much as I love you.” Then she kissed me.

When we moved apart, I reached into my pocket and made sure I had what I wanted there. “Donna I love you so much. You make me so happy. You are the most encouraging, beautiful, happy and considerate, and amazing person I have ever known. These last 9 months together have been amazing and I never ever want to be without you. So…” I propped myself up onto one knee and looked at Donna. She had begun to giggle nervously, and tears were starting to form in the corners of her eyes.

“So Donna will you marry me?” I said, with my heart pounding in my chest.

The tears had now started to roll down Donna’s face as her smile filled her face.

“Yes, yes, yes Jack. I would love to marry you!!” she said. Her arms flew around me and she kissed me really hard. Moving our faces apart, I wiped the tears off her face.

“I love you so much Jack. And I never want to be without you. You mean everything to me.” she said before we kissed again.

I reached into my pocket and lifted out the ring box I picked up earlier that week. Donna giggled excitedly as I opened the box.

“Ohhh Jack it is so beautiful.” She said as I slipped it onto her finger. It fitted perfectly and Donna gazed at it. “It’s stunning Jack. I love it and I love you.” She kissed me again.

We let our c***dren all know and they were very excited and pleased for us, as were both our sets of parents. My family was so happy, and we ‘Skyped’ Donna’s parents and they too were ecstatic. We still hadn’t told anyone at work about our relationship, and as there was only 2 weeks of school left, we decided to let everyone know at our work Christmas party that was the following Friday night.

This night was going to be a big night in many ways. Not only was our engagement being brought up, but ‘Highly Zen’ were making their first public performance in over 25 years.

The night of our work Christmas party finally arrived. We shared this night with the 2 other schools we worked with. It was held in the ballroom of the local major resort. Everyone was dressed up and looking forward to a big night out.

Donna and I travelled separately as I was there early to set up with Mick and Nige, and to do a sound check to ensure we didn’t blow the roof off the building when we played. When I made my entrance from backstage there were already a good number of people there. I said hello to many colleagues from my school and the other schools. As I moved around the room I said hello to my good friend Chris. She was in the final countdown to retirement and she was enjoying herself. She cornered me aside and asked how Donna and I were going. I winked and said “Just wait and see.”

With the 3 schools there, there would have been 300 people in the room. I eventually caught up with Donna, and remarkably she was talking to my ex Angela. Donna looked great in her ‘little black dress’, so gorgeous and curvy. I so wanted to kiss her right there, but that would have to wait. I noticed she was wearing her engagement ring for the first time at work. I congratulated her on her engagement and Angela asked when her fiancé was arriving. Donna said he was part of the entertainment for tonight and would catch up with her then.

I took my leave and continued to move about the room, saying hello to everyone before returning backstage to change into my band clothes- tight black jeans, boots, a ‘Foo Fighters’ tee shirt that Gemma had given me with the sleeves cut off. Mick and Nige were dressed similarly, like we used to be back in the day, but we didn’t have the long hair from way back then.

A short while later, the Principals from the three took to the front of the stage. The curtain was down, hiding the main part of the stage. They individually thanked people from their own schools, acknowledging retirements, births, and people moving to other schools, all the things that happen during a school year.

Donna in particular thanked Chris in her speech, acknowledging her many years wonderful work at the school and wishing her a wonderful retirement, spending more time with her grandk**s.

Donna then continued “Now that all the formalities are out of the way, it is time for some entertainment. When I took the job at Smith Street I was told I had to organise entertainment for our Christmas party tonight. I had been told of past years when there were DJ’s and the like. Well I for one like my music being played by a band and tonight I have organised just that.” There was a round of applause through the room.

“The band I have organised for tonight had a couple of big hits back in the 90’s. They retired from music and went on to have other careers. This year they have gotten back together, recorded an album which is being released in January and are about to head off on the ‘All Summer Long Tour’ where they will be playing with other bands throughout January and February 2019, including a show at the nearby Hilltop Estate winery on Saturday 2nd February.” The murmurs around the room were getting bigger and more excited.

“So without further ado please welcome to the stage… my fiancé’s band ‘Highly Zen’.”

Applause rang out as the curtain rose and we began to play our music. As I started playing I looked across and could see Donna off to the side of the stage beaming her smile towards me. We played our old, first hit ‘Coast Party’ and the audience was getting into the music. I was nervous but the music took over. I came up to the microphone to sing, and I closed my eyes and sang our song. Looking down after the first verse I could see my colleagues and friends moving along to our music. My ex caught my eye and she was shaking her head, but had a smile on her face, not really believing I was back on stage, or that I was going to marry Donna.

After our first couple of songs Mick introduced us to the crowd in our usual way. There was good applause for both he and Nige. He then said “And on lead guitar and vocals, yes all you teachers out there, he is one of your own, the man who is marrying his boss, the one and only Jack Larson.” There was a big cheer for me and I waved to everyone.

We played our 40 minute set, like we would during the tour next year. It was a mix of old and new songs, with Mick and Nigel both singing as well. For the second last song, I put my Fender Strat down and picked up an acoustic guitar, and Mick got his acoustic bass guitar and we sat down on stools at the front of the stage.

I spoke into the microphone “If you had told me at the beginning of the year I would be here, with my best mates, playing our music again, I wouldn’t have believed you. But a lot of things have happened this year that I wouldn’t have believed… Especially one very special thing… We have never played this next song to an audience before and it is about the best thing to happen in my life for a long time… This song is called ‘My Flame Haired Love’.”

Apparently the audience all ‘ooohed and ahhed’ while clapping my introduction. I didn’t notice as I tried to focus and sing the song I had written especially for Donna, a song she had never heard before.

It was the most emotional song I had ever sung, so personal to me, but I wanted the whole world to know how much this beautiful creature meant to me and how much I loved her.

As I finished the song I took a deep breath and applause and cheers rang out. It was an amazing response. I glanced across at Mick and he was smiling, before looking down to the audience. There I could see Donna with tears pouring down her face, but smiling looking so happy. She mouthed to me ‘I love you Jack’. I blew her a kiss and she smiled even more.

Mick took over the microphone. “Well I think we all know who that song was about don’t we? … Thank you everyone, this night has meant so much to all of us. It is the first time ‘Highly Zen’ has played to an audience since 1993. … And it is also the first time we have played as a trio. Those of you old enough to remember us from the first time around would know that our former lead singer Pat is no longer with us. But thankfully we still have his songs from back then to remember him by… So thank you once again, we hope you enjoyed our music and we will finish with our big song from way back then… ‘She’s the One’.”

We played our tune and the audience clapped, cheered and danced along, enjoying the good time vibes that our song always seemed to bring out in people.

As we finished the song Mick, Nige and I stood at the front of the stage arm in arm and bowed to the applauding audience, before stepping back and the curtain came down. As it did I turned to the guys and we hugged again, all together. What an amazing feeling it was to have finally played together again.

We headed backstage and there waiting for us were Brooke, Cara and Donna. There were hugs and kisses for everyone as we all celebrated together. Donna was hugging me tight telling me how much she loved me, before getting ‘annoyed’ with me about the song I had written for her.

Cara thought the song was beautiful and then harassed Nige as to why he hadn’t written a song for her. Everyone was so happy.

The ladies headed back out to the party, with the Brooke and Cara saying that there were a lot of people who were wanting to talk Donna and me. I quickly got changed out of my stage clothes and joined my beautiful fiancé.

The rest of the night was a blur as we spoke with so many colleagues about our engagement and the bands performance. Having Donna by my side was the best part as we could finally be together. Everyone was pleased for us.

As the evening was drawing to a close we had the chance to speak to my ex. Angela said she was pleased for us and she enjoyed the music. She did seem a little bit annoyed that she hadn’t known about our relationship, especially when I told her that both Gemma and Andrew knew and were very happy for us.

After the party finished, Mick, Nige and I packed up our gear and organised to rehearse a couple of times that coming week. We said our good nights as we all went our separate ways. I stood behind Donna and wrapped my arms around her and held her close.

“I love when you do that Jack. Makes me feel all safe and loved.” She said before turning her face and kissing my cheek.

“It’s going to be so hard Honey to say goodbye when we go on tour. I’m going to miss you.”

Donna turned and faced me. “I’m going to miss you too. But I love you so much my fiancé that I will be there with you in spirit… It is going to be a great adventure.”

“Yes it will Donna. It will be a great adventure.”

************************

Epilogue

June 2019

I’m here in my hotel room, writing all of this down so I don’t forget it. It has been an adventure in so many ways.

Saying good bye was hard when we left for the ‘All Summer Long’ tour. Once away however this was a great experience. To be on tour with other bands we had been contemporaries with back then was great. Catching up with the various members of the bands, renewing friendships and playing some great music meant that this tour was a great success. We became great friends with the headliners ‘The Roaring Motors’.

As we were the last band to join the tour, we were tasked with opening the show. This was fun as Mick, Nige and I took this as an opportunity to rip in and play our songs. The audiences seemed to enjoy our performances. When we got to the show in the area where we lived, we were moved up the bill to play third last. This was the best show for us because looking out into the audience we could see so many familiar faces, friends, colleagues, students I had taught, as well as our families.

After the summer tour, sales of the album, titled ‘Reincarnation’, were doing well, so it was decided that we would tour down the eastern seaboard, from Brisbane down to Melbourne and then back to Sydney. This was to be like our old tours, 5 or 6 shows a week in clubs and theatres, and would last a couple of months during March and April.

The three of us travelling together in close proximity was good as we still set up our own gear and dismantled it after every show. Initially the tour was great, but after about a month we were all getting a bit tired. Calls home were becoming more frequent and I was even surprised at how much I was asking Donna about life at school.

Talking with the boys we were all missing our old lives more than we thought. Playing the shows was great, but the relentless schedule and the distances we travelled were taking its toll. We were not ‘young’ and I think it began to dawn on us that perhaps we were not a touring band anymore.

When we played in Sydney we were scheduled to have a meeting with our manager Mark. As a group we decided that we would finish this tour and that would be it for ‘Highly Zen’. At the meeting I think Mark realised what we were going to say, so he started the meeting by saying that sales of the album were slowing.

“Now fellows before yesterday there only 2 options available, but I now have a third for you to consider. The first is to finish this tour, maybe go off and write some more music, and perhaps play another ‘summer tour’. Pretty much back to your old lives.

“Option 2 is that we organise a new leg of this tour, through Victoria, South Australia and WA, to try and fire the album up again. Looking at you I think I know which option you would choose. But there is another option. The ‘Roaring Motors’ are touring the UK in June for a 3 week series of gigs. Their original support act has pulled out and they asked if you would be interested.”

This piqued our interest so Mark continued “It is a theatre type tour in 2-3000 seat venues, playing 16 shows in 23 nights, finishing in London. Your gear would be all set up, dismantled and transported by their road crew. You would have your own car to get yourselves to the gigs and hotels.”

Mark gave us a few minutes to discuss this offer and we were all excited. Talking together we basically decided to treat these shows as a ‘farewell’ tour and return to normality after this. We went and spoke to our families before giving our answer to Mark.

Donna was very excited to hear we were going to play in her homeland. She was more excited however that we would be finishing after this tour. We had planned to get married at the end of May and with this final tour coming up, we decided to keep to this plan, but to celebrate our honeymoon after the tour, when we could totally relax together.

We did get married in a lovely ceremony down by the beach where we had our first date. I had my son Andrew as best man and Donna had Mackenzie as her bridesmaid. Her parents flew out from London and it was great to meet them in person at last. It wasn’t a large ceremony with close friends and family in attendance, including my teacher friend Chris and her new boyfriend.

The band arrived in the UK on the 6th June, and we travelled to Bristol for our first gig. Unlike in Australia, where we were the main act, as the opening act we didn’t feel the pressure on us as much. Our shows went well and the boys and I were all relaxed enjoying ourselves. There was a great feeling amongst us, as we knew this was nearly the end of the road for us.

The camaraderie between ourselves and the headliners was great, and we even played a couple of songs with them at some of the bigger venues we played. I was in touch with Donna all the time and she loved hearing about our exploits. She was following the tour on line, reading reviews of the shows and watching YouTube clips of the shows.

We played the second last show in Newcastle, and were to head back to London for the final show in 4 days’ time (our longest break in the tour schedule). As we were about to leave the hotel, the tour manager Clint caught us in the foyer and told us that due to great demand the show in London was being moved to another venue.

“Where are we playing then?” Mick asked.

“The ‘Eventim Apollo’, in Hammersmith.” Clint replied.

We all looked at each other. The Hammersmith Apollo. We just laughed to each other and thanked Clint for the news. I couldn’t believe it. Our last gig was going to be at the venue where we finished the first time. This trip was definitely meant to happen.

As we travelled down the M1, we all tried to contact our families to let them know we were playing at the Hammersmith. But none of us could reach our wives or c***dren. Being a Monday it took us a little over 6 hours to get to London. We followed the directions our manager had given us to our hotel in London. We were very surprised to see he had organised for us to stay at the London Hilton on Park Lane. This was so much better than the accommodation he had organised during the rest of the tour.

We were all suitable impressed and we had our car parked by the valet and went inside to check in. Mark had left a message for us as we checked in “Enjoy your last gig.” As we got the keys to our rooms, the staff asked us to follow them so they could take us to our rooms. We went past the elevators and headed towards the bar. Mick, Nige and I were all looking at each other, wondering what was going on.

We rounded a corner into the bar and there waiting for us was our families. The next few minutes were a blur as Donna raced over and hugged me tight, kissing me constantly. Then Gemma and Mackenzie came over and both gave me hugs, while Andrew and his girlfriend Simone both greeted me warmly when their turn came.

Mick and Nige both experienced similar greetings from their wives and c***dren. I was wondering how they all got there, when I heard Cara talking.

“When you said you were doing your last tour, Brooke, Donna and I all decided that we wanted to be at your last show. The k**s all agreed and so, with a little help from Mark, we are all here…”

Donna then chimed in “and to find out that your last show will be at the Hammersmith was the icing on the cake.”

“We hope you don’t mind… And that we aren’t spoiling the ‘what happens on tour stays on tour vibe’.” Brooke said with a laugh. We all laughed as the girls all knew we were well and truly over the ‘sex, d**gs and rock and roll’ lifestyle.

“No babe. This is the best thing ever.” Mick replied.

We spent the next 3 days before the show with our families exploring London. Donna took our family to see her parents and it was great to catch up with them again. She also showed us all the important places from her c***dhood; her schools, where she went to Uni, where she lived in London. It was great to be able to see all more of the little things that made my beautiful wife the gorgeous person she is today.

When the night of the show arrived our families let us prepare for the show how we usually would, saying they would see us afterwards. Getting dressed and ready to play I wasn’t nervous at all, but excited. When we were ready to go stage it was just the just the usual talk amongst ourselves, no hyping ourselves up, just wanting to play the best show possible.

We hit the stage and the venue was packed. ‘The Motors’ had a big following in London and the crowd were in fine voice. Our set went well as Mick, Nige and I all rocked out to our songs, old and new, songs we had written, and developed together. Looking across to the right of the stage, we could see our families all there, rocking out to our music and really enjoying seeing their husbands and fathers playing.

When we finished our set the applause was rapturous. Mick, Nige and I stood arm in arm at the front of the stage and bowed, taking this all in. I blew a kiss to Donna in the crowd and she blew one back as we left the stage.

Backstage there were hugs between us as the realisation that we had finished playing really struck home. We were in the dressing room by ourselves getting changed when I started to thank Mick and Nige for wanting to play again and they thanked me for writing good songs again.

Nige then said “And we should thank Donna too.”

“Yes we should thank Donna.” Mick replied.

“Ummm why?” I said, not really sure where they were going with this.

“Well since you met her Jack you have been so happy, like the Jack we knew back as k**s.” Mick said.

“Yes and you wrote the new songs because you are so happy. So really if it wasn’t for you meeting Donna we wouldn’t be here now.” Nige said.

It was the first time I had ever thought about it like that. Yes I had been happier since Donna came into my life. She truly was the love of my life.

*********

“Sweetheart, what are you doing out of bed so early?” Donna said sounding a little sleepy.

Turning around from the desk I could see Donna all tucked up under the covers, her red hair spread all out over the pillow. She had the dreamiest look on her face as she was smiling at me.

“Honey I was just writing some things down from last night, so I didn’t forget them.” I replied.

Donna moved so that she propped herself up on the pillows. She was still naked from our fun earlier this morning when we returned from the show. She looked a little more awake now as she was biting her lip a little before beaming her beautiful smile towards me.

“Jack my love. Come back to bed.” She purred with a grin.

I went back and got under the covers, reaching across to kiss my wonderful wife.

With a cheeky grin I asked her “I didn’t think you’d want me back in here seeing as I am now a ‘former rock star’?”

Donna kissed me again, her tongue snaking to join mine as we teased and tasted each other. She gently held my bottom lip with her teeth as she slowly moved away from me.

“Mmmmm Jack. I love that you are a ‘former rock star’.” She said as her hand snuck down under the covers and found my rapidly hardening member. “I love it because I don’t have to share you with anyone else anymore.” She said looking deep into my eyes.

I began to sing quietly to her.

‘You’re the one, you’re the one,

The one that I want

You’re the one, you’re the one

The one that I need,

You’re the one, you’re the one

The one that I choose

Donna you’re the one I want

To always be with me.’

“Ohhh Jack. I love you so much”

“I love you so much Donna.”