“What does she have that I don’t?” Mother asks in a somewhat cryptic way. For a moment, I’m not sure who she is talking about until I notice her death ray is pointed in the direction of Esther. Oh am I supposed to answer that or is it a rhetorical question. Hopefully, it is the latter. In the looks department, Esther couldn’t hold a candle to mother, but there seems to be something about her that appeals to my father. “Perhaps she’s an animal in bed.” As soon as the words leave my lips, I can’t believe I’ve just said them, thinking out loud is never a good idea. Mother spins around and looks at me with a massive grin on her face.
“That’s it, sweetie, she’s a dirty slut. You always know how to make mummy feel better.” She beams, kissing me on the forehead. Oh, dear God, what have I done? It was a sarcastic thought that wasn’t meant to be heard by anyone, especially not by my mother. She’s still sore even after all these years that plain boring Esther was the one who managed to keep dad on the straight and narrow, a thing she could only do for a short time. No doubt it bruises her ego every time she sees them together. “Probably does things I would never do. Yes, mealy-mouthed little bird brain with her twinset and pearls on the outside, probably wearing Ann Summers underneath.” The thought of Esther wearing racy underwear is as alien a concept as Joey’s mother Ria having a human heart or any heart at all for that matter. I can almost hear the cogs whirling in her head as she processes the thought of Esther as a dirty strumpet. I almost wreck my brain, trying to imagine Esther as anything other than what she is, a dull middle-aged socialite. There is no way she is secretly a sex kitten.
“I wasn’t serious mother.” Trying to quell some of the enthusiasm she has for the ridiculous notion I have planted in her head, me and my big mouth. She glowers at me; I say nothing more. I know my mother well enough to see that any more attempts to kill her now firmly planted idea of Esther as some wild sex addict would be futile. She has that look she gets when she is allowing her mind to convince her she is right.
“So tell mummy what’s going on between you and those two.” She probes pointing at Joey and Pearse who are hovering around the buffet table hoping no-one notices them pinching food from the plates. “I heard about the little incident the other morning.”
“Who told you?”
“Your father.” Since when did they communicate in anything other than grunts and glares.
“Nothing is going on mother.” Why does she always pick the worst possible time to get into this? She has a who are you kidding look on her face. I feel like telling her to mind her own bloody business, but that would add more fuel to her fire.
“Mummy’s not judging you, sweetie; I’m not exactly convent material myself now am I.” Indeed not she’d probably burst into flames if she stepped through the doors of a convent much like the rest of my family. “I’m just wondering what on earth you could be thinking when you have that nice young man over there.” She comments, pointing this time at Ryan, who has finally arrived. Being rude to my mother is the last thing I want to be, but this is too much. “I need a drink.” Getting up from the table and heading towards the bar. “Gin and tonic; with lots of gin and almost no tonic.” The barman pours my drink with a raised eyebrow, wow him too. “On second thoughts, just leave the bottle.” The eyebrow rises even further any higher, and it’ll be stuck in his hairline. Taking the bottle and a glass, I sneak off to the crypt; it’s where I used to always go when I needed peace and quiet.
“So what do you guys think I should do?” I ask plonking down on the dusty floor, gin bottle in one hand glass in the other. “Now now don’t all speak at once. The night is young; you can all have your say. What was that Lucius, love them the world be damned. I like your spirit, you to Henry, you chaps are my kind of fellows. Tell my mother to go to hell, now, now Vincent that is not very gentlemanly of you. Esther too, now Philippe that is taking it too far, baby steps remember.” Sighing I pour another glass of gin. “God, I’ve missed you guys.”
A breaking twig, the faint sound of my name and the pleasant scent of aftershave break through the fog. Blinking I look up to see Joey peeking in the door a crooked grin on his face the fading sunlight dancing on his fiery hair his bow tie loosely hanging around his neck. “Hey mind if I join you?” He asks, waving his glass in the air; I pat the ground to my left, a little plume of dust rises into the air. “So these guys are hogging all your attention again. You could have told me you were bailing on the fun I’d have joined you.”
“Sorry mother was doing her best impression of a mother and well it was every lush for them self.” He giggles, his laugh is so infectious. “Lily get her claws into you.”
“No, though not from the lack of trying. She’s like an octopus that woman.”
“It’s that allure of yours Red; she can’t resist it.”
“I’m not trying to be funny; I find you extremely alluring.” Leaning over I kiss him on the mouth, the taste of gin still on his lips. Sliding my hand inside his shirt, I trace the muscles of his six-pack with my finger. His warm hand runs up my leg, teasingly stroking my inner thigh. “Been a long time since we did it in her.” I whisper in his ear, a huge grin forms on his face.
“What about Ryan?”
“Who?” I ask, climbing onto his lap, my glass clinks onto the stone floor. He pushes my dress up, grinning when he finds no knickers. Can’t wear knickers in a body con. I fumble to find his zipper. We continue to kiss; my hands run through his soft hair. My boobs vibrate, he looks at me with a what the hell expression. “Sorry,” I say extracting my phone from my cleavage. A message from Ryan lighting up the screen. Of all the inopportune moments for him to send a text, it would have to be now.
“Ryan?” Joey asks I nod my head. Oh, bugger nothing like spoiling the mood. Ignoring the message, I shove my phone back between my boobs.
“Where were we?” I say leaning in to kiss him, again the phone buzzes. I try to ignore it and continue to kiss Joey, my tongue playing with his as his hands stroke my thighs. This time it rings, the theme tune from the A-team blasting from my boobs. Joey laughs, extracting the phone once again I switch it off. “Stupid thing.” Sighing, I lean my head against his chest.
“Not the right time Livi.” He comments a deflated look on his face.
“Can we stay like this for a bit?” I ask, pulling his zipper up; he nods his head. “I hate mobile phones.” My head still resting on his chest, I fiddle with the buttons on his shirt.
“Quite the buzz kill.”
“You’re telling me.” In the silence, a very faint hum of music coming from the marquee can be heard floating on the wind. “Wonder how Pearse is? I still can't believe he swiped that brandy. Such an idiot.”
“You know what he's like, always takes everything seriously. Great news about Anna, if you need any help moving just let me know I’ll make sure I have something else to do at the time.” He says, wrapping his arm around me. “Oddly cosy this place.”
“I’ve always loved it, the stillness and the serenity.”
“I can see the appeal of that.”
“So you’ve had your first run-in with the women’s league.”
“How long do they usually stick around for?” He asks.
“All depends on how dedicated they are to disrupting things. We’re unlucky there aren’t any major holidays coming up soon they’ll have all the free time in the world.”
“Oh, it’s like that.”
“Very much so.”