Pouring another glass of gin I sit beside Anna’s grave, the birds singing, the smell of cut grass in the air, I can almost forget everything that has happened. Taking a sip, I lie back and look up at the clouds rolling by; one looks like an elephant riding a bicycle, another a squirrel pushing a lawnmower, a third looks like a monkey playing the banjo. Rubbing my eyes and blinking hard they look like regular old clouds now. “That was weird.” I say out loud, sitting up I notice a figure walking across the field their face is blurry in the sunshine, but there is no mistaking that fiery red hair, the sun bouncing off it. As he gets closer, I can see he is wearing his black Armani suit. It’s business, Joey; he’s so unlike everyday Joey who is more at home in a pair of old combat trousers, plain t-shirt and army boots. This Joey with his shirt and tie on, shoes all shone up strikes a very handsome figure, his broad shoulders filling every inch of that jacket.
“So this is where you’re hiding at you any plans on joining the land of the living again?”
“I’m not hiding.”
“So you are going to rejoin us?”
“No, I am not.”
“So you are hiding?”
“No, oh where are my manners, would you like some?” I ask, holding up the half-empty bottle.
“Why the hell not after the morning I’ve had. So if you aren’t hiding what exactly do you call all this?”
“I’m simply taking a break from it all.”
“Livi you’ve consumed three bottles of gin, are in your nightshirt lying beside Anna’s grave.” He comments, kicking the empty bottles out of the way he sits down. “If that’s not hiding or running away from life I don’t know what is.”
“What possible reason could I have for doing that?”
“This is me you’re talking to Olivia; you don’t have to play the ice queen around me.”
“How did you know I was here?” He takes a sip from my glass.
“Would you believe it, Esther of all people?” Step mummy Esther, no I would not believe it, she probably thought I was going to embarrass her in some way.
“Is she expecting company?”
“Not that I know of.”
“Oh.” Well, colour me surprised that she would show concern for someone other than herself.
“Maybe she’s not such a bad old bird after all.” He says, taking another sip of gin.
“Maybe you need to shut up.” Leaning over, I kiss him on the mouth. His aftershave is so pungent it’s making the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. All my senses are going wild how he does this to me I don’t know. Reaching out, I slip his jacket off, undoing his tie, I automatically move over to his buttons the whole time our lips intertwined. Slipping his shirt off, revealing his muscular body all toned and bronzed like some Greek statue; I pull my nightshirt up not once thinking about what we are doing or where we were doing it. Those thoughts don’t even enter my head I’m way too preoccupied unzipping his trousers thinking in a few moments we would be one. A few more sweaty moments pass being with Joey feels like the most natural thing in the world.
“No Livi we can’t do this.” He says pulling back from me; lifting his shirt off the ground sliding it back over his body like it was a second skin, I can see his shape beneath the cotton cloth, the ripples of his muscles alluring and oh so enticing.
“Why Joey, you can’t do this to me, get me all worked up and then just stop?”
“Come on Livi look where we are, this is wrong.” He says fixing his tie; he looks so good his hair all tousled and his lips smudged with lipstick. I want to take him right now. “Let’s get you home.”
Dancing on stage in my bra and pants along with male strippers is rather exhilarating. I’m not entirely sure how much gin I have consumed, let’s say it’s enough for all my inhibitions to have flown out the window. Not that I’ve ever had that many, to begin with, compared to some. Swinging my blouse around my head, I throw it at one of the ladies sitting in front of the stage, she smiles, leaning down, I kiss her on the mouth. Something I never let the boys do, physical contact is strictly forbidden. Vodka drinker she is I can still taste it on her lips. “You’re way hotter than they are.” She whispers in my ear; it’s oddly flattering I can feel my cheeks flush, although it could be due to the gin or the spinning around on stage.
“Why thank you.” She stuffs a £50 note in my bra, not bad for a single kiss. Extracting it from my cleavage, I smile, blow her a kiss and go back to dancing with Max one of the strippers. His firm body pressed up against mine, beads of sweat running down our bodies we move together in time to the dance beat. My hands glide up and down his taut calf muscles, I know I should stop but I can’t. Turning around I reach up, cupping his face in my hands; I pull his lips to mine. The music stops, the lights go up squinting in the bright lights I vaguely make out two figures one taller than everyone else the other of average height. Blinking a few times my eyes finally focus, I wish they hadn’t.
“Shows over.” Joey says, climbing onto the stage, boos and hisses emit from the audience, “You can all shut up too.” He says as he drapes his jacket on my shoulders.
“What no, we were just getting started.”
“Come on dude she’s just having some fun.” Max comments, the others have already cleared the stage.
“Yeah, you tell him, Max.” I say stumbling on my way too high heels.
“I’m taking you home,” Joey says, leading me off the stage. “Help her out to the car.” Handing me over to Pearse like I’m some piece of luggage. “There’s something I need to do.” Stumbling to the car, Pearse deposits me in the back seat.
“Oli a striptease, what were you thinking?” Silence, I’m almost positive I wasn’t thinking anything. “You did look hot up there though; I’d have swapped places with Max any day.”
“It was fun. Oh, I’m hungry. Got any food?”
“I think I have a granola bar if that’s any use to you.”
“Vile, but it’ll do.” He hands me the bird food mushed into a bar, “Thanks.” Opening it, the chocolate chips look like mouse pooh, baffles me why he likes them so much. Taking a bite, it tastes every bit as vile as it seems. “What’s that face for? Don’t you like my delicious granola bar?”
“You’re a terrible liar.”
“What the hell was that all about?” Joey asks as he gets into the car slamming the door behind him. “You’ve done some stupid things, Olivia but that was just.”
“Fun, exhilarating, liberating,” I interject.
“No, it was foolish, degrading and downright embarrassing.”
“Come on, Joey, that’s a bit harsh.” Pearse comments, Joey glares at him and says,
“Don’t you take her side on this Pearse.”
“I’m not taking sides I’m just stating a fact you’re overreacting, so she did a striptease, so she kissed Max, so bloody what!”
“For someone who says he’s not taking sides you sure sound like one who is.”
“You’re starting to sound like my mother Joe and yours too.”
“Well maybe they are right sometimes, maybe we should show a bit more restraint.”
Who is this and what have they done with my Red, he has always been the one with more of a devil may care attitude than the rest of us.
“You are kidding, right?”
“No, Olivia, I’m not.”