Chapter 40: Penny – February 1978

Penny spent an odd week entertaining her husband’s best friend soon to be her best friend’s husband.  Penny kept thinking that she had probably seen more of Dylan than Rebecca had, certainly in the last few months.  Penny wanted very much to like Dylan and as was her usual way tried to find the best in him.  She observed Dylan with her husband and could not help but like Dylan for the loyalty of affection he showed.  Sometimes Penny felt that Dylan was rather jealous of her relationship with Charles, a distant reflection of how Jane had felt he had been with Jo.  Of course Dylan was now a man not a boy but nevertheless she saw the devotion for Charles in his eyes.

Dylan repaid Penny’s desire to get to know him with reciprocal warmth.  He liked Penny and didn’t feel threatened by her.  She was obviously devoted to Charles and she doted on her children.  That she was one of Rebecca’s closest friends also made it important for him to get along with her.  Seeing Charles with his children made Dylan think about his own role as a father and he found within himself a newfound desire to fulfil this role.  He observed Charles closely as he tended to the needs of the baby and the small boy and he even held Lucy for a while and played with Simon.  He couldn’t quite come to terms with the idea that he would be doing these things with a baby of his own in six months time.

By the time Saturday arrived Penny and Dylan had commenced what was to be a lifetime friendship.  Penny’s liking for Dylan was typical of her.  She was a nurturer by nature who was predisposed to collect waifs and strays.  She could see the good in Dylan that had been perverted by his hard and unloving existence.  She too, as had Suzanne, observed that he carried with him a lot of history that may be hard to circumvent.  She worried for Rebecca and Dylan’s relationship and thought that at the first signs of difficulty Dylan may disappear.

Possibly he would just return to the comfortable existence that he had with the older woman that Charles had told her about.  Penny wished she didn’t know about this.  The secret knowledge made her feel disloyal to Rebecca.  She had found the whole situation of Rebecca’s relationship with Dylan difficult.  Her husband had been torn emotionally and morally and she had often felt her loyalties split.

Getting to know and like Dylan better could be a mixed blessing in the future.  No one thought that Rebecca and Dylan’s marriage was going to be easy.  Penny understood that her and Charles’s interference in the affair may come back to haunt them.

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