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PART 6 of 7: Here is Noelle's story.
My body felt agile and feline as I twisted my hips in time with the music. Linking arms with my friend, Kerry, I tipped my cowboy hat and let out a "woo-hoo".
Kez and I were wives of army blokes and we left our kids at their grandparents' to go line dancing at the local pub each week. With our fellas away, it helped quash our loneliness.
Before long, I was parched. "Blow me down, I need a drink," I gasped.
We made our way through the crowd of dancing cowboys towards the bar. Then, just as I was going to order, a tall man stepped in front of me. "I'll have a beer," he said in a thick German accent.
"And a Southern comfort and lemonade for this beautiful woman." I was stunned when he gestured to me. Surely it wasn't right to let this stranger buy me a drink, but then... Southo was my favourite!
"Um... Jeez, thanks," I said, smiling. Kez had always been an advocate for a bit of harmless flirting, so she shuffled down the bar and got chatting to a bunch of locals.
A blush crept up my neck as I gazed up at this mysterious man. He was older than any man I'd been with and his head was covered in a thick mop of white hair. Behind his wire-rimmed glasses were a pair of stunning blue eyes.
But he seemed so self assured and assertive I couldn't ignore the butterflies in my tummy. Plus, his accent made me weak at the knees. I loved my hubby, Norm, but life was complicated.
He'd been serving overseas for nearly two years and was due to return in one month. I knew it was wrong to even contemplate a fling, but I couldn't handle another night in that lonely, cold bed.
As we got chatting, the man introduced himself as Hans. He was so charismatic and charming, I found myself drawn to him.
"We should go back to my place," he suggested.
I hesitated for a second, then nodded. Maybe the booze had gone to my head. I followed him to his car without saying goodbye to Kerry but it wasn't because I was avoiding her.
Of all people she'd understand how hard it was being a soldier's wife. I craved the company of a man.
When I walked into Hans's house, I was met with a scrumptious, sweet smell. "I baked strudel," he explained. "It will be good with whipped cream."
My knees buckled as he gazed at me longingly. His eyes were filled with promises of pleasure and fulfillment.
Hans was so sensual and it had been such a long time since I'd been with a man. How could I resist?
He embraced me, holding me tightly to his chest. I allowed myself to give everything up in this moment of pure indulgence.
Later, Hans held me as I slept. It felt so good to have a warm body against mine again. But the next morning, when I left, I was horrified by my actions. There was no way I could ever tell Norm. He was off defending our country and I was betraying him in the worst way possible.
One month later, I started to feel bloated and couldn't stomach my morning coffee. A doctor confirmed I was pregnant and already two months along. The baby was Hans's.
Norm was so excited about the news, I couldn't ruin his happiness so I kept the secret. I didn't even tell Kez.
When our daughter, Tahlia, was born at full-term, Norm thought she was a month early. "She might be premmie, but she's a whopper," he beamed with pride.
Now I have three kids and Norm still doesn't know he's only the father of two. Every day I'm terrified he'll look at our girl's blue eyes and realise the truth.
I can't regret my fling, since it gave me Tahlia. I just hope and pray Norm never finds out I betrayed him.
*Noelle is 41 years old and lives in Bundaberg, Queensland.
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SOURCES: CEN/MAGAZINE FEATURES
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