Slut Detox – Free – Chapter 1 to 12 (over 18s) #tangygiggles

http://annieandersonauthor.wixsite.com/annieandersonauthor

SLUT DETOX  https://goo.gl/YHRkny

 

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BY  ANNIE ANDERSON

Disclaimer

All photocopying or free-sharing of this novel is forbidden and illegal. It is not permitted to given away free for email subscription lists either. Annie Anderson owns the full copyright for this book and will prosecute for copyright theft.

This is a fictional novel however there are a lot of real-life stories and emotions blended into this bitter-sweet story line.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 1

Seven hours had passed since I’d left my young family asleep in their beds. By now Jerrod would have realised, that I’d gone; and for once he couldn’t pin the blame onto me, because he’d always been the one who’d said, ‘keep moving forwards!’

I threw my coat onto the warmed wooden bench and suckled onto my ice-cream. For the first time my cold English bones soaked up hot February sun. I closed my eyes and tried to deny the guilt but was interrupted by a tall African’s man.  Zooming onto his arm I saw it was dressed with watches and sunglasses. I rattled my own shades over the bridge of my nose. He puffed his lips like Jerrod always did before sighing then slinked away towards a large shopping centre. Outside a huge poster advertised.

‘Building Boys – Tonight.’ A second or so later, he was back asking if I was alone.  He stank. I chewed my lip and said nothing.  ‘I’m Dube.’  He continued. ‘I friendly.’

‘Look mate, I don’t need a friend. I want to be alone. In fact, no I don’t. I want to be with myself!’

I lifted my handbag and went inside the shopping centre to buy myself clothes. I bought a lovely cerise strappy dress and matching platforms, flip flops and a pink sun dress. A bottle of Channel found its way into my handbag and I bought one of those funky, hairy, wind chimes; however at that time how was I to know the chaos that would cause, when I returned.  I walked outside into the blinding sun and it seemed a lot hotter. Hassling other people, that Dube’ waved to me. I ignored him and aimed for a row of white taxis. I threw my bags onto the back seat and asked, if he knew where I could get a room for a week. He thought for a second then replied.

‘Avoni – my friend – Head Bar Man. They got apartments, are empty. He do you a special deal.’ He stopped under a red sign and took five euros from my stash. I climbed the steps towards reception. For once, a receptionist smiled and asked if I was English. I nodded. ‘You got a reservation slip?’ She asked. I shook my head. She looked on the computer and said,

‘I have one, free, for six nights. Any good?’ I flashed my wad of Euros again.

‘Let me show you the apartment, first.’

In the darkened apartment it seemed cold but as she opened the curtains, the heat and bright afternoon sun flooded in.

‘It’s perfect.’ I squealed. I threw my thermal coat over the hard rectangular sofa and kicked my boots under the coffee table. Behind me there was a small kitchenette with a marbled worktop, sink and microwave. She counted my euros and left me a key card. Sliding the balcony doors open, I saw a huge vista of white apartments. They stretched to the right, to the left and below mine. I recognised the red roof of the shopping mall.  I felt guilt twirl along with the McDonalds sign. I ran the shower and swilled my mouth with its warm spray. A voice in my mind told me not to drink it.

I slipped into my pink sundress and flip flopped my way down the zig-zagged road in the direction of the beach. I could just about smell the sea when I turned and saw two African’s women, braiding little girl’s hair. In another world that couldn’t have been with my girls, but here alone, my flip flops began to rub my toe webbing and I needed plasters. I crossed the road and nearly stopped breathing as I got my first glimpse of Puerto Rico’s harbour. It was magnificent, like, out of a magazine. The white sands and crystal waters were cocooned by tall ripe palm trees. I’d never seen anything so perfect in my life.
Outside the harbour the water was a dark blue but coming back in, it went lighter and lighter until it frothed onto the sands and was as clear as bath water. Lots of people loitered in the shallow waters, kicking and splashing with their hands behind their backs.

It wasn’t like Fleetwood with grey crashing waves battering the sea walls and side stepping dog shit. All of a sudden a rush of childlike freedom, prickled my spine. I wanted to throw my bag down, rip my clothes off, run into the sea and never return. I kicked my painful flip-flops off and touched the sand with my bare foot. Its heat, zapped me. I pulled it back.  To my right, I found a wooden decking board path which lead towards the sea. Rows and rows of sun beds with charred brown bodies and parasols, read books and Kindles. Very soon I reached the water and it soothed my sore toe webbing. Then the waters licked at my dress hem. My toes looked tiny. This reminded me of bath times as a child. I lifted up my skirt and swirled my body from side to side. My heart felt warm. I felt safe. No one was watching so I went in deeper. Soon it was waist high.

I had a matching set of lingerie on, so I found an empty beach bed, stashed my bag underneath, and slipped my dress over my head and tip toed into the blue lagoon. But I wasn’t as brave as I thought because when the water touched my petals, I screamed like a pig. I turned around and everyone was looking so I took a huge breath, braised myself and immersed my whole body. Erect, I shivered and saw all eyes were on me, again.

Not only was my underwear see-through, but my wig had set sail. I yanked it down and planted it over my forehead then twisted it until my fringe was straight. I sat in the white waters holding onto my knees for what seemed ages. As my hair dried and tiny little waves lapped at my lady garden, I secretly begged the sands to scour out the floggings of my past; but as usual the only thing that came to mind, was David’s rugged physique.
I imagined kissing his dappled grey crown as he lapped at my juices. His confident tongue teasing where the waters now rushed. But, he was thousands of miles away and not in these life sparkling waters. I began to feel sad. I had an urgency for company. I needed to see him again, to feel his arms, to kiss his lips. But I had to pull myself together too, because officially these might be my last few days of freedom.

Like every girl, it had always been a dream to have a white wedding, a big dress and bridesmaids, but until Jerrod kneeled humbly before me, I thought it would never ever happen to a slut like me.
So what the hell was I doing in Gran Canaria?

Feeling sorry for myself.  Was the correct answer.  And even I knew that that wouldn’t make me understand this madness any better. I needed to separate Jerrod’s new faith in me, from Collette’s vicious attack two weeks ago, but that was easier said than done especially since that bitch ripped chunks of hair out of my head. I needed to stop drinking, that’s what I needed to do and ‘move on.’ But where do you begin?  Once a slut, always a slut! That’s what every ex-punters spouted.   Well fuck em all! I was here, and I was going to enjoy it too.  Just then I noticed how hot my head had become. I returned to my clothes then laid down for a moment. Next thing I heard was a Newcastle accent.

‘Hello lassie?’ I lifted my sunglasses and was blinded. ‘Six Euros Miss?’ His hand came towards me. Feeling lightheaded I grimaced with confusion. What the heck did he want? Was he offering me six Euros? I looked away, then back again. I got up from the deck chair and pushed him in the shoulder.

‘I wouldn’t do you for Six Euros, Laddy. Go away and play with yar’self.’ I shouted.

‘Six Euros for a sun bed Miss! That’s what I’m asking for.’ I noticed his little ticket machine and blushed alongside him. Marching away, I realised, I’d just grassed myself up.

I begged the universe to make him disappear. But by the time I reached the town, I couldn’t take it anymore. I found a hairdressers and begged the German woman to shave all my left-over hair off. Unlike McDonalds, she didn’t understand a word I said. So, I ripped off the blonde wig and her firm authoritive hand reached towards the red bald welts. A tear of pity hung in the corner of her eye as she began cutting. She showed me many different looks as she chopped at it, inch by inch; but I told her to stop faffing and just shave it all off. I waited for the ‘Wow’ moment to come, but it didn’t. Instead, I looked like a bald sphinx cat.  I looked pointed. Pointed head, pointed ears, pointed nose and pointed bloody chin. The hairdresser looked into the mirror then passed me a box of tissues.

‘Yessie Yey!’ She shouted and pointed to the CD player. I began to realise that she was telling me, that I looked like Jessie J.

‘You new?’ She affirmed.

I undid the hair catching cape and flung it over my shoulder. I jumped up from my seat giving her my right hand. She whacked up the volume.

‘You Jessie J?’ She repeated. I swirled on the slippery hair on the floor. Then I put a fifty Euro note on the glass side and went to leave, but as soon as my hand touched the handle, Collette’s vile face imprinted itself again on my mind.  However outside, my wow moment came. My head was cooler and the wig gripped tighter. I turned backwards and saw my German friend waving and calling Aufedersein.

It wasn’t long until my skin was prickling again. Looking up my side of the Valley I saw a walkway through the back of the shopping mall and a set of steps that wound up the hill towards my apartment.  By the time I got there I was struggling to breath. There must have been three hundred steps to climb. It was hotter, maybe 40 degrees. I hadn’t counted but I knew if I’d have had the girls with me, Hope would have counted every step.

My mind went back to Fleetwood, I needed to hug my girls and tell them that I was sorry for abandoning them; more so, than ever before.

2

For my daughters had seen me collapse to the floor, seconds after Collette had scalped me raw.  They had seen my clumps of hair on our hallway carpet and watch Jerrod slam the door and Collette out. His nicotine stained hands flapperd for ages as Deano, Collet’s partner screamed for her to get backto their side of the road. In between screams I heard the clank of their rusty gate. Hope and Tia were clinging onto each other in the doorway ahead of me.

The euphoria of only moments before, when the girls screamed as Jerrod proposed, was gone, Instead I was collapsed in excruciating pain guzzling his stale breath as little Tia latched onto his back.

‘Will we still be bridesmaids Daddy?’  She wailed.

‘Sure darling.  Ey Sam?’

‘Get them to watch the telly?’ I snapped.

‘Mummy needs me Tia.  Go on, be good girls.’  He pleaded. I watched Hope put her school uniform clad arm around her thumb sucking little sister.  They dawdled into the lounge staring backwards all the time.    My snot was blotted onto his shirt as pain soared through my scalp. I caught a glimpse of my blood in the mirror. In my mind I saw Collette’s wild eyes. He kissed the two bald patches on either side of my head then said, he was going to phone the police.  I begged him not too.

I couldn’t still my shaking. I slid my back onto the wall and he came down with me to the floor.  He wouldn’t release me. Puddled on the carpet I felt his kisses on my raw opened scalp. Instead of an engagement ring he went off and got me patches of wet toilet paper then packed them onto my wounds. He lifted me up a little and our cowering weights slammed, jamming the front door. There, we both heard Deano shouting.

‘It’s not her Collette.  You’ve got it all wrong.  Again!’

. ‘I need a drink Jerrod. Get me a drink.’ I spluttered between sobs

‘I’m phoning the police.’  He repeated.

‘You can’t.  Social Services?’

‘Ok, coffee.’

‘I need a – a proper fucking drink Jerrod.’  I was weak and vulnerable all over again like the unwanted foster child, with alopecia that nobody wanted however Hope and Tia came over to me and clamped themselves onto my side.  With their force they knocked the hall table and several letters fell to the floor. Jerrod grabbed them and stuffed them into his pockets.

‘Don’t cry Mummy.’  Someone said.

‘I’m happy girls, these are happy tears, because me and Daddy might be getting married!’  Hope moved away and stood on one of the stairs; she stared down at my head from above.

‘Why did Collette pull your hair out Mummy?’

‘Jealous.’ Jerrod spat. He moved me to one side, unblocked the doorway and went to buy the wine.

‘Because you’re getting married?’ Hope questioned.

‘Something like that Honey.’ I muttered. ‘Go get me Daddy’s winning scratch card Hope and we will put it somewhere safe, to pay for the wedding.’

Jerrod left the house and was back with a bottle of red wine. Shaking, I grabbed it from the blue bag and poured it into a pint glass. He glared as I glugged.

‘I can’t go out like this, Jerrod.’  I told him. ‘I need a wig.’

‘Sam. We need to phone the police?’

‘We can’t Jerrod – the Child Supervision Order!’

‘But you’ve been attacked Sam. We have to tell the police. She should pay for this?’ He looked concerned.

I lifted my glass and toasted the bitch.  ‘Your health Collette.’ Jerrod came closer and wiped mascara from my soiled cheeks. I backed away.  His voice was strangely calm, his face was square with determination.

‘Leave it to me. Trust me!  We are getting married and that’s that.’

‘You still fucking her?’ I interrogated.  ‘Is that why, or what this is about?’

‘What are you raking all that old shit up for? Didn’t you hear Deano?  It wasn’t her. It was him. He’s been with someone else Sam. That’s what this is all about. She thinks it’s you!’

I drained the last dregs of wine from my glass but it went down the wrong hole and made my body convulse. It sprayed red across the hallway. He yanked a white envelope from his pocket, checked it for a millisecond and blotted some of the spill. He patted the backs of my lungs.

‘Leave me alone, I need some space.’ I yelled and pushed past him to go upstairs.

From the wardrobe, his Super Eagles cap seemed to jump into my hand. I wrenched it hard over my head, went into the bedroom, found his trainers and ran down the stairs. Stopped at the kitchen sink and picked up the large kitchen scissors.  I caught my reflection in the mirror; I knew who I looked like.

At the front door I dug hard at its handle, but it was double locked. There was no key.  Wrestling with it, I broke a fingernail. I screamed for Jerrod to come and help me. But he didn’t. Kicking the door casing, nothing moved.

I felt his eyes burning into the back of my neck and saw him and the girls huddled together in the kitchen doorway behind. Tia was in his arms and Hope was holding onto his leg, sucking her thumb.  She knew she wasn’t allowed too.  Exhaustion must had taken over me because I fell down to the ground.  The scissors fell through my fingers.

‘Let’s get you a coffee.’ He placated.  Red rage blinded me. I picked them up and threw them at his ankles.

With my back to the front door, Jerrod brought me a steaming cup of coffee and put it on the carpet. He put his arm around my shoulder and whispered his theory,

‘Sounds like Deano’s been playing away Sam, did you hear him?’

‘As if, I would go off with that drug dealer.’ I spat.

‘What do you mean?  Dealer?’

‘He’s a dealer Jerrod. You never noticed? The cars…. Jerrod, you haven’t noticed?’ By the look on his face he hadn’t. ‘There’s always things’ going on over there, him swaggering, waving his hand at the neighbours like he’s the Pope.  Cars coming and scag heads hanging around the corner.  The guy in the black Audi!  You’ve never seen him?’ I asked. For once Jerrod was wordless.

‘Oh Yeah – Jerrod, he’s a bit of a lad all right! Told me, I could pop round whenever I felt like it. I could see his mind was racing then his face started to swell, he began shouting.

‘You’ve known this all along and you’ve never told me. What’s that all about? Is that – just in case?’

‘In case – what Jerrod? What the hell are you on about?’ His finger was near my nose.

‘Y- Want a fix, need some drugs?’

‘Don’t be such a prick. If I had of told you this that would have given you another reason not to let me out of your sight. It’s all about you isn’t it? Always about you! Have you got lumps missing out of your head?’ In that second, I hated him more than I’d ever hated him before.

‘Instead of congratulating me for being over seven years clean, you have a go at me at my lowest point. Look at me? What the!!!’ I charged at him. ‘Get out of my way Jerrod.’ I pushed him to the wall then I heard sniffling.

‘Oh Sam. I’m so sorry. You have to believe me. I don’t know anything about this.  This drug recovery shit.’

‘It’s not shit Jerrod. It’s life or death.’  I raged. ‘Stop putting on that poor me face. Look at me?’  I was howling.  ‘I’ve drunk again. I’ve failed again. Now she’s got the last laugh.  I’d sworn on the girls lives I’d never.’ Despair chocked me. He pulled me into his arms.

‘It’s a one off.’

**

The following morning my head was in agony. Jerrod must have put me to bed. I needed a medicinal drink. He took the girls to school as I scampered around and found his Super Eagles cap, leggings and trainers.  Inside the corner shop I bought myself some paracetemols and a cheap bottle of red wine. By ten o’clock I was safely dozing on the sofa.  Then in the distance I heard the telephone ringing. I picked up the receiver and heard Hope’s headmistress introducing herself as I struggled to sober my voice.

She said there had been an incident between Hope and Destiny Jenkins in assembly. She asked me to come to school and collect Hope. I rang Jerrod at work, he snapped and said I had to cover up my head and sort out the problems at school. I begged him, reiterating my pain. Eventually whining made him go.  Later, with a tear stained Hope tucked under his arm, he smelt the drink on me and exploded.

‘Where’s the lotto ticket?’   I pulled Hope into my side.

‘In the cupboard, isn’t it Hope?’ She nodded.

‘Did you think I’d cashed it Jerrod? I yelled. ‘You’re such a Tosser. I’m in agony here. Can’t you see that?’ I dived at his throat. ‘Are you that blind?’ His eyes bulged with blood then he pushed me away.

‘Sorry Sam, I’m just worried.’ I released him and grabbed the ticket and threw it at him. He picked it up off the floor and placed it inside his inner jacket pocket.

‘Drinking’s not going to solve anything – you know!’  He sniped.

‘It’s taking the ff..f..king pain away, Jerrod! ‘I looked at him for some sympathy but saw none.

‘What’s Hope been up too at school?’

A smirk crossed his lips.

‘She’s pulled a lump out of Collette’s daughter’s hair.  And got expelled for three days!’

‘Expelled!  She’s only six.’ I looked at my shaking daughter then chuckled under my hand. Jerrod had laughter behind his eyes, too.

I righted my voice as a serious headmasters would. ‘Hope, come here and tell Mummy what you have done at school today?’ I warned Jerrod with my fist to stop smirking. With her face down on her chest and right hand holding her swaying right foot, she stood in front of us in the lounge. She dropped her foot and started to suck her thumb.

‘Tell me what you did to Destiny.’

‘I pulled her fucking hair out Mum. Like her mum pulled yours.’

‘Who taught you to swear like that?’ I asked. ‘You’re only six?’ Tears spilled over her eyes.

‘Ok, ok Honey. I understand.’ She rolled herself into me and I hugged her tiny little frame. ‘You don’t need to get into fights because of me Love.  Leave all the fighting between us grownups. Daddy and I are going to sort out Destiny’s mummy. Not you Honey.’  I lifted her chin and tipped her blackened face backwards, I kissed her on the lips.

‘Promise me Hope, you won’t get into any trouble, or go near Destiny again.  Bridesmaids don’t fight. Do you know that?’ I gave her a big smile. She looked more like the hopeful Hope that we all knew and loved. Then she levered the cap off my head and saw the red oozing welts close up. She kissed my hand as Jerrod lifted her out of my arms.

‘Let’s go and put the TV on.  Mummy and I are going to buy some new hair off the computer.’

‘Will you buy Destiny some hair too?’

‘No way.’  We both echoed.

‘Come into the kitchen Sam. Do you want a laugh?’  His eyes were sparkling.  ‘I’ll tell you the real story.’ He was smirking.  In assembly, Hope had been sat in the row behind Destiny. The children were asked to stand and sing Our God is a great big God. It’s the schools favourite; it has lots of actions. They all get really excited, said the teacher. The words go – He is higher than a skyscraper and deeper than a submarine; he is wider than the universe and beyond our wildest dreams. As all the children reached high on tip toes and swirled their hands above their heads. Hope reached over and yanked Destiny’s hair out. She was lying on the floor kicking and screaming at the other children. The headmistress wondered why there was a gap in the line-up from the stage.  Then realised that someone was down. Hope stood above her, holding two long locks of the blonde hair, like two England flags.  Jerrod’s eyes were lit up like beacons.

‘Mr Ibori, do you know anything that could have provoked this attack from outside school?’  He said, he just shook his head.  Still laughing we switched our attention online.  There were an array of wigs to choose from. I settled for a long rich ruby red one and a blonde bobbed crop. I had no choice but to keep a low profile for the three to five days delivery time.

We were still giggling when we heard someone banging on our front door.  My stomach leadened.  It was Deano pacing from side to side, behind our lead encased glass.   Jerrod lunged at the handle, yanked the door open and grabbed him by the shoulders then booted him in the shins. Skilfully he used his hands as a vice and lifted him by the throat, up and off our property.  Jerrod growled.

‘Next time, I’ll use my gun.’

Collette fidgeted behind her net curtains across the road. I willed her to come out.  I wanted to stun the bitch with a brick, a chair, anything.

‘Calm down.’ my inner voice advised. I replenished my glass and for the first time in my life, prayed for the post-man to come.  By lunchtime Tia didn’t want to go to afternoon school either. She thought it unfair because Daddy and Hope and I, were all home.  Then Tia was screaming under her duvet.

‘I want to be ‘spelled’ too. You gets everything. Hope.’

‘It’s not good to get spelled Tia.’ Hope replied.   ‘Witches get spelled. Like Collette, like Destiny.’

‘Will Collette turn people into spiders and frogs? Remember Daddy’s story.’

She walked past me and into the bathroom then came out asking to have her hair put into a plait with a bun on the top of her head. The next day Jerrod reminded me that I was on my fourth bottle of wine. But what he didn’t know was, that I’d got more wine than that. I’d had wine hidden all over the house; even in the utility room.

On day four, after another vacant exchange between the post-man and myself. I interrupted Jerrod’s work asked him to run a check on the eBay purchases. It turned out that the wig company had sent him an email on the first day, saying that the wigs I had ordered were ‘out of stock.’

I was furious with him for not checking. After all, he was the one who always labelled me ‘lazy’ for not opening the mail. I begged him to take me into Blackpool to buy a wig from a real shop, but in the blink of an eye he snapped from calm and professional businessman into a pumped up Nigerian bear, like the olden days.  It was only seconds and our house was rocking as he stomped around shouting for distracting him from the project that he was on a deadline for.

I was more important than his stupid project!

I was blazing. He grabbed my hands to stop me biting him then he tossed me into the doorway and slammed the office door in my face.

‘All you care about is what you fucking look like.’  He snarled.

‘And you don’t Jerrod?’ I thrust my plastic tits at the closed door.  ‘That’s all you fucking care about Jerrod fucking Ibori. Not me.  I’m just a fuck, on your arm. It’s all right for you, you’ve never had hair for years’………… I look like a fucking abortion.’ He came out of the office, went down to his knees and put his arms around my waist.

‘Sam, I’m sorry, but this contract is really important.’ He looked sad, then he smelt my breath. ‘You’ve been drinking – what the hell? Whatever!  I’m doing or not doing, drink isn’t helping us. Go and order a second lot of wigs. You saw me the other day.  You know what to do.’ He turned his back and slammed the door. But I went back for more.

‘What do you expect me to be – the dancing fucking fiancé?’ I pirouetted into the hallway and gyrated down his doorframe then punched it with my fist.

‘This ain’t No Mamma Mia Jerrod.’

‘I can’t take any more of your shit Samira.’  He stormed past me and out of the front door. I don’t know where the hell he went but as the girls were cosy in front of the TV, I drank the wine from under our bed. When he came back he was in a better mood.

I winked and said, I’d stop pestering him and repay him in kind later.’

A glint came into his eye as he licked his lips salaciously. Then he ran up the stairs back to his precious deadline. I heard him humming in the office. Downstairs I celebrated with another sneaky glass of red but when he came back down he was still roaring, saying he was hungry.

I was on the sofa drowsy and struggling to breathe. He yelled. I could hear his voice, but I couldn’t rouse. He was shaking and lifting me up, but still, I couldn’t move.  I tried to open my eyes bur the light blinded me. The room was spinning, I wretched and threw up everywhere. In a state of unconsciousness, I came too, then fainted and came too again, after a few moments, my neck felt like it was locked in a brace. I couldn’t move my head, my body and brain seemed like they were not connected anymore.

He was shouting at me, but the cloud that I was in wouldn’t release me. I swayed under his chest as he waved me around and slapped both sides of my face. I wanted to speak but no words would come out of my mouth. I was unconscious then conscious again. My mouth had swelled and as I gasped, I tried to swallow but couldn’t. Jerrod realised that something was not right. He yanked open my eyelids. They bulged.

He laid me down and reached for his mobile. As he talked, the back of my throat began swelling up, I felt like my head was about to choke me. An ambulance was on its way he said then took two pills out of a pack from his wallet and put them under my tongue.  I remember then a white envelope falling to the floor and him scampering to put it back in his jacket.

Very soon the swelling began to ease and the ambulance men injected me with more drugs. I was left at home to recover.

I realised, Jerrod had saved my life.

3

Sitting in this strange apartment in Puerto Rico the attack wouldn’t stop haunting.  Me, with missing hair and a swollen face from anaphylactic shock, Tia with sulking eyes like wet marbels, and Jerrod huffing and puffing two days later saying ‘Move on Samira – we’ve got bigger worries now.’

I didn’t want to carry on like nothing had happened, so as per usual, we ended up screaming at each other.  Then Tia started sucking her thumb.  I slapped her hand away from her face, so she went over to the sofa to sulk.   A couple of minutes later Jerrod left for work and I went to hurry her to get dressed and I noticed her eyes were worse than I’d thought.  I cuddles her but she wouldn’t stop rubbing her eyes.  I thought she was doing this to erase my awful swollen face, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Up close, her eyeballs were full of pus. Her skin looked white and sallow, she was burning up. I asked her to hold out her tongue and saw she had oozing cold sores all around her lips. Inside her mouth there were tiny blisters and her pyjama top was soaked with dribble.  She had to be taken to the doctors. I grabbed a pair of clean school socks, covered her little fingers and made her some gloves with them, plopped the football cap on my head and covered myself in Jerrod’s old anorak as I stepped outside the house. Outside it was icy on the path. When I got outside of our gate and reached the opposite pavement, I came face to face with Collette, again.  My heart sprinted. I glared and instantly she put her head down. Thankfully Tia was too irritated to acknowledge Destiny.

The doctor prescribed her some Acyclovir, eye drops and lip gel. He diagnosed, Primary Herpes and conjunctivitis. For some unknown reason, I couldn’t stop laughing. I knew it wasn’t funny.

‘Isn’t Herpes a sexually transmitted disease doctor?’ I asked nervously.

‘Sometimes it is, but it is not uncommon in children. Lots of children contract the herpes virus, it flares up from time to time, usually when they get run down. Is she run down Samira?’  I shook my head. ‘Come back in a week, if she’s no better.’

He slid his chair around the side of his desk and drew up closer to me.

‘What’s happened to your face?’

‘I’m allergic.’  I said.  ‘I had a flare up last night.’

‘Show me your tongue?’ I pulled Tia into me for protection. I wheeled my chair backwards. After I regained some distance from him, I refused to show him my tongue. I said I was too embarrassed as I hadn’t brushed my teeth that morning. Thankfully Tia’s head blocked out my breath. He said he would refer me to the allergies clinic.

‘How’s the drinking Samira?’ He asked, I ducked behind Tia’s head and nodded. He repeated himself.

‘Alright.’ I replied, my face turning crimson. ‘Jerrod and I are going through a bit of a bad patch Doctor? I admit. I had a little drink this morning. That is probably what you can smell. Just the one though!’ The lies stung.

‘Sometimes one drink is not enough and two’s too many?’

I pulled Tia into me again and squeezed her tummy tight. In seconds she was begging to go for a wee.

‘I have to go Doctor!’  I said as I stood up.

Back home, as I sat looking out of the lounge window awaiting the post man, a little yellow car parked outside. It was Grace, our bloody social worker. Spying on me again! No doubt the doctor had reported me.  I repeated the ins and outs of Tia’s Herpes but Grace’s eyes never left me. I averted my eyes from her stares by focusing on the peak of my cap. She took loads of notes but as she did I told her about Jerrod coming to my rescue and saving my life. She asked about my drinking.  Already prepared, she handed me a Drinks Diary!

I had to fill it in daily, stating, why I wanted to drink, how did I feel before I had a drink? How much did I drink and how did I feel after the drink? ‘Fucking papers!’ I wanted to scream and throw them at her but then she asked why, the football cap in the house. Flashing blue lights seemed to light up my ceiling. Our gate swung open then I heard the postman’s whistle. She watched me shuffle in my seat. He was walking down the path with a parcel with a POSHWIGS’ sparkling label on it. I squirmed. Tia tugged and pulled at my jeans pockets begging for me to open up the door, and see Postman Pat.

Grace chatted with Tia as I signed for the parcel. I stashed it away from her prying eyes in the hallway cupboard. I returned to the lounge to hear Tia telling Grace that Mummy’s hair got pulled out.  I had to own it. When finished, she sat upright all professional and said that I had to report this incident to the Police.

‘I can’t it’ll be on record, that I am in trouble again?’ I replied shyly.

‘It’s on record anyway because of me,’ She confessed ‘but Samira, you are not a criminal.  Your record has been wiped clean.  You have to protect yourself and the girls, you’re still under a supervision order.’

She shuffled the drinks diary towards me and reminded me of my homework. The second the door shut, I dragged the box out and ripped it open. Jerrod was in the office space in the loft. I heard him busily growling to himself. Ripping open the parcel my core sunk with relief when I saw the Ruby red wig.  It was beautiful.

‘Put it on Mummy. Put it on.’ Tia screamed through the still bungalow.  I found the fringe and scooped it up and over my own hair and forehead.  Its length straddled my shoulders. Then I scraped my fingers through the long strands and turned to see my image in the full-length mirror. I looked amazing. OK, a bit lumpy here and there but still, it looked real.

I took it off. Dug out the skull cap from the bottom of the box and fitted the blonde bobbed wig up and over.  I adored it. The shame of the past few days seemed to roll off me as I tingled.  I felt alive! Jerrod shouted downstairs for us to stop screaming, and shut up.

‘Daddy, come and look at Mummy.’  Tia reported. ‘Daddy, Daddy.’

Half way down the stairs, he was stopped in his tracks. I asked nervously if it looked real.

‘You’re beautiful in that.’ He said as I smiled grimacing in pain.

‘But does it look nice?’

‘I love it.’  He affirmed.

‘Mummy says I can have the red one?’

‘No, that’s for Mummy not you chicky egg.’  Her thumb went straight into her mouth.  Then her puppy dog eyes begged at him. He refocused on me.

‘What did the doctor say about her eyes Samira?’

‘She’s got Herpes.’

‘Oh. Oh.’ His skin turned a sallow grey. ‘What does that mean?’

‘Doctor says she’s got the virus and that’s that.’

‘How did she get it?  Did he tell you? What did he give her?’

‘He gave me a fucking lecture on drinking. He’s sending me – to the allergies clinic and sent bloody Grace round; all because he smelt drink on me… Oh, and this huge bag of medication for Tia.’

‘It’s always about you Samira, Isn’t it?’

‘What…What?’ I stammered. ‘It’s the f ff truth Jerrod.’ ……………’  I stomped off, he pulled me back.  I smelt his angry breath as he pushed by me, grabbed the bag of drugs for Tia, then clanked the metal kettle under the steel tap.  I ran upstairs, and dressed myself in my own clothes.  All I could hear was him crashing and banging in the kitchen.  I waited for him to finish his rant, but as I did, I spied on the comings and goings at the Jenkin’s.

Deano was in his driveway with a black Audi driver.  They were like lions, shifty eyed, chest to chest. Patting shoulders, puffed up, full of bravado.  Then Deano’s coffin grey hands passed over a tiny parcel.  I realised I was only a stone’s throw away from scoring heroin!  Fixated, my bones rattled.  They were too engrossed to even look up and see me watching. Collette carried out two cups of coffee, I made sure she saw me and she looked terrified.

I pulled away from the window and slammed my curtains tight. There was a bottle of wine hidden underneath our bed, I was desperate for a drink but I didn’t dare. My heart and hands were shaking. I needed something to take the edge off my nerves. I rummaged around on my dressing table and came across a small packet of Ibuprofen. I took a couple, then another couple. I don’t know if I was imagining it, but the shakes seemed to dissipate. I dressed in my long pencil skirt and put on my red wig, much tighter this time. Jerrod had calmed downstairs and when I looked in on him and Tia, he was engrossed on the laptop comparing medications.

**

With my arms swinging I marched up the Jenkins shingled path and stormed their front door.  I roared like a lion.  Upstairs the net curtains shuffled.  She’d seen me!

I slammed the letterbox. No answer. I hammered the brass knocker over and over. No answer. I knocked on the glass gently as not to upset the lead tracking. No one answered. I kicked the bottom of the door. Kicked it again. No one came. I saw a shadow move behind the arch of the stained glass. Something was moving at the top of the stairs!

‘I can see you?’ I shouted as I booted the door with my instep. I looked through the brushes in the letterbox and saw little Destiny scrunched into a ball, on the top stair.

Softly I asked. ‘Can you tell your Mummy to come out, Destiny?  Please?’ but nothing happened. I went back to knocking and called again.

‘Collette? It’s Samira. Can you come and have a chat with me ple e ee ase?’

Inside I saw Collette’s hand pass Destiny a white teddy bear, before she bolted down the stairs.  She ran past the letterbox and into the kitchen and out through the back of the house. She had her phone in her hand. I peeked through the letterbox and Destiny was still on the top stair, alone. Exasperated, a rock seemed to jump into my hand.  I lobbed it through the lounge window. It flew, as if in slow motion then thundered through the glass, and landed on their inside window ledge. Long stalactites of glass hung before me as I bellowed through the hole.

Pulling the net to one side I saw her pathetic Bettie Boop statues, silently laughing at me.  Then Destiny ran past the open doorway towards their kitchen.  The back door banged. I hadn’t felt this enraged since, Social Services took Christopher off me. I ran down the path, slammed the creaking gate, just in time to see their aluminium garage door, roll down. I aimed for it a kicked with all my might. It became dented.  This inspired me to kick it more. The door shook and rattled making the most deafening din. Then I heard Jerrod’s deep voice behind me. Screaming to get back indoors before the police came.

There was no way, I was going to give in first. But it was too late. Four uniformed gloves pulled me up and away from the door. They clung onto me and wouldn’t let me go, then I heard the sirens approaching and saw a white caged police van, grind to a halt by the kerb. It was like going back in time.  But this time I wouldn’t surrender.  I wrestled against the Community Police Officers hands. They wrenched my wrists behind my back and forcefully slammed my body into the reverberating corrugated door. My chin was raised so it slotted into its grooves. I felt the familiar clink of cold handcuffs as I continued to kick.  Then the officer’s foot tapped as my legs were spread wide.

‘Don’t even think about it?’ The male copper warned. I spat blood onto his shiny boot.   I started to shout out my side of the story but millions of words crashed with my tears. Jerrod intervened and asked if we could take this across the road. Tia sobbed inside his arms. I was powerless I couldn’t even reach out to my own daughter. Jerrod told the police that I was taking revenge for an incident that had happened earlier in the week.  As he was talking, my breathing began to calm. The policeman weighed up Jerrod’s offer then boomed at me.

‘Ok, we can talk across the road, or down at the station?’ ‘What do you want Miss Baxter?’ I silently thanked my higher power because the police didn’t have my new surname on record.

*

Safely in our house but still handcuffed, Jerrod removed my wig. The police woman gasped when she saw the red welts on my scalp as she scribbled notes about it. Sitting on the sofa they allowed me to tell them my back story, as Jerrod made himself scarce.  He was hovering outside the doorway because I heard Tia being bribed with chocolate, so he could listen in. Then the police woman allowed me to be un-cuffed.

‘Why did you not report this attack?’  She asked.

‘Everything goes back to Social Services and they’ll take my girls off me, just like my sons!’ She carried on scribbling.

‘Well, we’ve no record of you being a nuisance in Fleetwood Samira. You must report crime.’ She affirmed.  ‘Especially from people, like them who victimise.’

‘Did they phone you?’ I asked.

‘No, another neighbour did, for disturbing the peace.’

‘Has Collette pressed charges?’

‘No. Can’t imagine she will!  They don’t like us around their door. If you know what I mean.’  I nodded.

‘Stay Away? The male copper warned. ‘We might be in touch.  Leave the likes of the Jenkins’ to us!’  She nodded too.  He put his hat back on and left.  But going down the front path, they had to sidestep my friendly praying mantis – Grace.  She was back on our doorstep, again!

I wanted to shout at her to Fuck Off and leave us alone, but oh no, she’d forgotten her files. I could see them by the side of the sofa.  She said I had to be careful, I could mind read the script running through her brain.

‘Be a better role model to the girls Samira.  Don’t stoop to Collette’s level.’ As she turned she got my two fingers up at her back. She was so full of herself; she’d never had a marriage proposal one minute and her hair yanked out, the next. No bloody university degree would ever teach her how to deal with shit like that.  Fucking bitch, needed to stop poking her nose into my family. Jerrod saw my fury and held me back before I went after her.

The police had given me a verbal warning whilst I waited to hear if they were going to press charges. So, I decided, if I couldn’t go there, I could stake her out from my front doorstep. She couldn’t hide forever!

Even though it was January, it was feasible. At the weekend I put two chairs outside for Jerrod and me on our front step; got the toys and the tent from the back garden and erected them in our front. I put a portable radio on an extension lead and played it loud enough to block out the noise of the children who came to play.  For the first time the whole street seemed to come alive. Nice neighbours came out of their houses and chatted. New faces appeared that I’d never seen before.  There was one old lady, next door to Collette who stood at her gate frowning. But all in all, it was great entertainment watching Collette’s net curtains twitch.

Jerrod wouldn’t come out, he just huffed indoors, shouted out occasionally and begged me to come in and stop goading her.  On the third day I phoned and invited Janice and her kids over for the afternoon, not even contemplating that the kids would be nearly adults.

 

4

Early Saturday afternoon, Janice bristled high as she drove into the street in her pink Fiat 500, fluttering her false eyelashes.

‘Get you Foxy Lady!’  I squealed, as I rounded the driver’s door.

‘Get you Crystal Thistle.’   She rhymed giving me a big love grin.

‘Where have you been my friend?  Three years silence, or is it four? ………… I knew it was you…. answering our landlord’s phone that day Janice, I knew it! … Oh, let me see you. I’ve missed you so much.’  I searched her eyes for an apology, as we collapsed into each other’s arms.

When we pulled apart, she concentrated on her fingernails and with a cat like grace said,

‘Not too far – but far too long.’

‘What film did you get that from?’ Instead I asked then she complemented me on looking fantastic.

‘I’m not the one dressed in designer from car to toe.’

She held out her handbag. ‘Louis Vuitton.’ I clasped my mouth. I pointed at her matching shoes and tweed full-length coat.

‘Harrods.’ She whispered. ‘In London.’

‘Your landlord,’ she laughed. ‘Pete – spoils me with your rent money.  Boom Boom!  How ironic is that?’

‘It’s like we were meant to be brought back together.’  I said bravely avoiding her sick sense of humour.  ‘Anyhow! Where have you been? How come we lost touch?’

‘Just did, me old whistle.  But not anymore.’ Let’s leave the past in the past Samira.  Shame Tom can’t see us.’  Our heads dropped simultaneously.

‘Oh Samira let me look at you? Spin around.’   In the brisk February sunlight I noticed Collette’s net curtains twitch.

Sitting outside, re-fuelling ourselves with hot drinks we chatted for what seemed like moments, but in fact was two hours.  We had four years and hundreds of miles to cover. Jerrod didn’t come out and say hello, until after our second coffee. When he did his head hung low.  He didn’t even make eye contact with her, he just asked if she was all right, but even then Janice’s face turned sour.

She’d never liked him!  Well no one did, not even him, until he started counselling last year.  Janice’s talked of the nagging loneliness of being a single parent that was until she’d met Pete. At the sound of his name, her face lit up. We laughed at the power of Karma.

‘Must be our higher power, not finished with us yet!’ She laughed about the first time she’d seen Jerrod discussing renting the house, in a Skype conference with Pete.

‘Weird they work together ey. Jan?’

‘Anyone who is anyone – works at Microsoft.’ She replied.

‘That’s a new way of looking at Jerrod.’ I laughed, ‘just thought he earned enough to keep us and pay for the occasional hooker?’  She scoffed back laughter.

‘And the little implications!’ She pointed at the bulbous tent packed with children.

‘But the good thing nowadays is, they’re never with you.  They’re always stuck to a computer screen.’

‘That’s the bit, I hate Samira.’ She looked glum.

I smiled, ‘That’s the bit I love Jan.’

‘I met Pete,’ she continued ‘on the computer and that’s how I got this.’  She undid her coat and lit up like an expectant lamp.

‘Oh Sam, he’s everything.  Everything, I’ve ever dreamed of and more. Don’t get me wrong he’s not perfect.  But Sam, he’s my world.’  I put my hand on her pert tummy. Then I told her all about the roller coaster of years that Jerrod and I had just had. The lows of my isolation, but also the jubilation at being clean and drug free. I told her about going to college and qualifying as a nail technician. About Tia’s birth and the sad abortion, not long after. About, breaking my ankle on the ice and dragging Jerrod back from his one and only visit to see his mother and son in Nigeria. About the horror of having Hope taken into care whilst we waited for him to fly back.

Janice complimented me on the condition of my hair, again.  I blushed. I remembered Christopher’s last photograph. I ran indoors and came back with it. She asked if Leon’s adopted parents ever sent photos.  I said, only Christopher’s.

‘I don’t know what Leon even looks like!’ When I bit my lip, she reflected me.  She went back to my hair and asked how I kept it looking in such great condition.  I told her it was a wig. She coughed.

‘Why?’

Indoors, I offloaded about Collette and showed her my scaly blue and red scalp.  I saw her sinister eyebrows scrunch on her forehead.

‘When Pete moved in with me and rented their house out, he swore me to secrecy Cryst, sorry Samira. But when I saw Jerrod, as the potential new tenant on Skype and learnt that you two were still together, I felt it was fate for us all, to re-unite.

Especially for me, not to say anything about the Jenkins’s to you. See, I swore to Pete that I would never say anything about them because obviously you and Jerrod would never put up with their shit.’

‘So you put us in a lion’s den Jan?’ I half joked.

‘Hardly I knew you were seven years clean Samira. Deano’s little entrepreneurship, is no threat to you now. As for her, she’s just an old prossy, waiting to be exposed.’ I nodded and we hooked pinkie fingers.  Then she carried on talking about Collette.

‘You know she’s the street bully-right?’ She continued.  ‘She hasn’t grown up since she left school. Around here she’s bullied loads of families over the years, one after the other. Pete calls her ‘the squealing pig.’ Says that the last family she and her cronies harassed, had to leave. The majority of the neighbours around here, backed Collette up, but that’ll change now, you are in charge.

‘Do you think I am, Jan?’

‘You don’t look like you are backing down, sitting here!’

‘She’s sick in the head.’

‘Too right.’

‘She’s not going to get away with this.’

‘Sam, she’s worthless. What’s she got on you?’ I shrugged my shoulders.

**

Whilst we were chatting Tia and Hope had been busy playing with their new friends.   Bald Destiny shuffled behind their nets across the road, but as I told Janice.  She was more than welcome to come over and play.

Then we went back to the subject of our missing years and how we had met each other at Tom’s funeral, a few weeks earlier.

‘Tom’s picture would send Jerrod’s teeth grating.’  I detailed. Jerrod accused him of having an affair with me. Even after he died, Jerrod’s hackles go up.’  She didn’t reply but when she talked about Tom she said he was the bestest male friend, she had ever had.  A true gentleman, who was smitten with me. That he loved me enough – to let me go, to re-build my life in Scotland with the father of my children.  Even though, all he wanted was to do was rescue me from Jerrod’s cruel words and actions.  ‘The one he would always wait for.’  He’d said.  I was aghast.  I’d never known.

I felt it was time to ask Janice the question that was on the tip of my tongue for I needed to know, why she had blocked me on her phone and Face book.  She said she had too, because the night before we moved to Scotland Jerrod had threatened her off. I couldn’t work that one out, why?  Why would he?  I let her continue without challenging because all I could remember about that night was the smell of sex he returned with and our argument about prostitutes.

As her words began to sink in, my mind went back to Tom’s funeral.  Somehow we pulled the subject back to today and I spoke about Jerrod, and how he had changed since then.  She looked surprised and asked if a miracle had happened.

I told her about Jerrod’s guilt ridden life and how it had all come out last year.  Ending with Jerrod having to go into counselling therapy.

‘He’s a different man.’ I affirmed but she wasn’t convinced nor cared, by the scowl on her face. I quickly changed the subject over to Pete and their new baby.

‘Pete’s lovely,’ she purred. Even, being pregnant is perfect.’  We recalled Hope’s pregnancy and my waters breaking, and splashing all over Tom’s feet, the first time we’d met.  He’d screamed like a girl as he hid outside my front door waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

Then Janice’s demeanour turned serious. ‘I struggle Samira, being in a ‘real’ relationship, even after two years.  One that involves respect.  Allowing Pete to know my heart – pains me so.’

‘Jerrod reckons relationships, are like a set of scales. One side goes up whilst the other goes down.’  Something triggered But David’s image because it came back to my mind’s eye.  I wanted to boast about him and our time together in his four-poster bed. About our rapport in texts.  I wanted to tell her that he loved me, and my head was full of him, every minute of every day and that I saw him everywhere. I ached for him. I knew what it was like to feel such a deep love, but something stopped me, saying it out loud.

If I had of, she’d have known outright that I was settling for second best with Jerrod. I needed Janice’s respect and friendship, more than I did of boasting of a lost love.  She was that sarcastic, she’d say I was just a salesman’s free hooker anyway.

She shared that in the beginning she was a bit embarrassed that Pete was so much older that her.  Jerrod was twelve years older than me, I reminded her.  Then we got down to the nitty gritty of life. Drugs, drinking and relapsing. Janice hadn’t had a drink for over five years, drugs seemed a million miles away for her. We talked about Tom’s overdose and how he’d got sucked back into the madness after eight years of sobriety. She asked about my recovery. I cowered and blamed the cold. Then self-pitying tears drizzled off my chin. Janice held me in her arms as the nets across the road twitched.

‘I’m in trouble.  I’m drinking Jan.’ She stroked my wig. ‘I’m back in the darkness. It’s taking me back down with all this shit, with her.’  She listened and blotted my tears.

‘Drink’s not the answer. You need to get back to N.A. or A.A – it’ll take the sting out of that old black crow that haunts and wants to steal you back to addiction.’

‘But I gave up drugs five years ago and I don’t have a drink problem!’

‘If you carry on the way you are, you might not be here in a few weeks.’

‘You don’t understand do you?’  I snapped.  She grimaced and nodded her head.

‘I know that addiction crow, doesn’t leave the likes of you and me, alone, Sam.  It pesters and mythers us in many millions of different ways until we swap our addictions; whether it’s to fags, coffee, drugs, sex or alcohol.  It wants us back.’

‘This Collette business is taking me down Jan. Everything seems jumbled and black. I’m thinking such unspeakable things, I daren’t even say them out loud.  The only thing that stops me putting words into actions is drink. At least if I’m unconscious, I won’t put myself into prison. God forbid – lose Hope and Tia.’  Janice kept nodding, repeating the same message.

‘You need to go and talk to someone who understands.  Drink will only bring more chaos. Tom. Remember Tom – Samira. Don’t you dare make me come to your funeral too?’ I put my hand over hers and stood up tall, swearing that I would go and find a way out of this dark mind tunnel.

She said she wanted to believe me. I wanted to believe me too.  Anyhow talking had felt like a weight was being lifted off my shoulders; but not for long, as a scuffling noise came from over the road.  Collette and Deano were speeding out of their driveway.

‘Someone’s unhappy?’ Jerrod mocked.  We smirked alongside him. He asked Tia to come inside, to take her medication.

‘What’s the matter?’ Janice asked.

I spluttered out a laugh. ‘She’s got Herpes.’ Her face froze.  She glared in Jerrod’s direction.

‘And you’re laughing?  What’s Jerrod saying about this?’  She gave Jerrod another acid filled stare. They both looked at me like a bad taste was on the back of their tongues.

‘What Janice?’ I pleaded.  ‘It’s not sexual. The doctor says lots of children have it.  She’s got conjunctivitis too.’  Her mouth hung open.

Jerrod broke in and took Tia out of the tent.  ‘Come on Tia, before I get cross.’

‘Have you ever been checked for it? Like – S.T.D’s Sam?’

‘It’s not sexual Jan.  I guess I have. I’ve had two kids – dummy!’

‘No at the G.U.M. clinic?’ I shook my head. ‘I got checked out properly, A.I.D.s test and all, when I started sleeping with Pete.’

‘Well Tia’s, only got cold sores, it’s like the doctor says, some people just get it. Don’t look so worried Janice. You know worry is the brain meditating over shit.’ I giggled.  My giggles soon turned into laughter. I got up from my chair and dragged Tia out of the tent. I caught Janice in the corner of my eye frowning. ‘Crazy woman,’ I told myself.  Janice never used to worry about anything in the olden days.

I cuddled into Tia. ‘Come on Missy, Daddy wants to make you better.’

‘But I don’t like med-sin.’

‘Come, it will take the hurt away. Show Janice what a brave girl you are?’

When I turned around to standing, Janice and Jerrod were locked in an almighty hate filled stare. Had they got history because something was going on between them that I didn’t know about?  Surely she’s not suggesting that Tia has been touched? Nah, I must be imagining things.   By the time I’d shook off this thinking, Tia was screaming. I wrestled her into her doting daddy’s arms.  Then the pair of them disappeared back inside the house. Janice checked her phone.

‘Wow. Look at the time?  No wonder I’m cold. I’ve been here for nearly three hours.  Pete will be starving.’  She searched for her car keys in her hand bag and at the same time made me promise to go back to AA.

 

5

Janice disliked him that was obvious! However, he behaved impeccably towards her. Afterwards, for the first time in years, he bought me flowers. However, my new found adoration didn’t last long, because an hour later his finger was pointing at my nose and he was raging. I remember wobbling on the barstool as if I was in a cartoon. After he’d finished, I splodged onto the sofa and closed my eyes.

The morning after, I’d awoken at four o’clock, with a mouth as dry as a rapist’s tear.  I’d stumbled through our darkened house and everyone was still sleeping. I wall surfed my way outside and stood rigid, breathing in the morning dew.  In an instant a heavy rage ripped through my gut.  Thoughts of burning Collette’s house down, blinded my reasoning.  I went back inside and caught myself searching for matches, I was saved by my daughter’s tiny fingers on my jeaned calf. I took the slightly damp child back to her bed and looked in on Jerrod.  Snoring like a pig.

His jacket hung over the back of the chair so I thought I’d sneak some money. That was, until I saw the envelope inside with Christopher’s newest photograph smiling back at me.  I took out the £1000 winning scratch card and as blood pulsed hard through my veins, I climbed the stairs to the office. A sprinkling of light came through the skylight and I noticed all our passports were stacked by his computer.

I took my passport off the top of the pile and walked down the stairs. Still dressed from the day before, I picked up my coat and sat on the front wall outside. Janice’s nagging about meetings rattled around my ears. I started walking.

***

And here I still am, dozing in and out of sleep in hot sunny Puerto Rico surrounded by Palm Trees, sunshine and smiles.  If I closed my eyes, my other world might not exist.

I tried to switch on my phone. There was no signal, nor service. I decided to go for a walk around the apartments. A delicious aroma of steak and onions floated towards me. I looked around and couldn’t pin point where it was coming from. I was hungry.  I climbed a few stairs and was met by a grungy looking old man.

Kegged-belly Fabio, introduced himself proudly as head barman. He offered me a free welcome cocktail. How could I refuse?  He coated the edge of the glass with sugar. His strong yellow teeth opened bottle tops as he tossed them and poured copious amounts of vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice and orange juice over crushed ice. Lastly, he floated a sparkler inside its long slim tumbler and lit it. Out of sight of the manager, he whispered into my ear.

‘Sex on the Beach Miss!’

My mouth was over the straw before he backed away.

‘Ooh Fabio, this is sooo wet.  Oh man, this is, so, touching the right spot. Look at it Fabio, sliding down my throat.’ I fingered my neck and collarbone and stared salaciously at the dribbling, married waiter.

‘Sexy.’ He whispered.

I beckoned him in further, with my index finger. When he was close up, I whispered –

‘You’ve got no chance mate!’ I unlocked my hip from the bar stool and lifted my drink whilst I chuckled to myself. I looked around the valley and realised that the sun was closing in for the day. There must have been about thirty huge apartment blocks over there with pools. Maybe thousands of people were up there too. I’d only seen about twenty or so, and that included Dube’, two or three times. I needed to work out if he was just being nice or if he was another Steve.  One minute making me cringe and the next – smile. Oh!  The thought of those gym sessions last year made me shudder.  I sat by the pool and replayed the silly banter with the barman and laughed.

The word ‘Needy’ – popped into my head.  Over here I was independent not needy anymore. In that moment, I realised I had always been a needy person. I needed to drink. I needed to have sex. I needed to have people like Collette and Steve in my life, even though I hated them. I’d always been needy. I needed my mother and Jerrod, even though they had been the main source of all the trauma I’d ever encountered.  I even needed to run away.

An image of me doing sex acts at Hope’s age haunted me.  I drizzled with fear driven sweat, then I stood up and tried to take myself out of that dark headspace. I shook myself down and told the voices – ‘No More – It stops right here.’  I can cope on my own, if I have too.  A black charge rode over my gut. Then I realised that my mind was getting all jumbled up again. It was the drink. Evil, pure cocktailed evil.  The glass in my hand shook.   What the fuck was I doing sitting on a bar stool, with a cocktail, a dirty old man behind me, and my abandoned daughters, thousands of miles away.

A rush of homesickness engulfed me. I began to cry. I slammed down my drink and ran back to my apartment. I had to talk to Jerrod. I couldn’t stay here and pretend all three of them didn’t matter. I turned on my phone, it lit up but still, there was no signal or service. I looked in its address book and I could access everyone’s phone numbers, I grabbed my handbag and ran to reception.  There was a public phone there. I tried to dial Jerrod’s mobile number. It didn’t ring. I tried Janice’s number.  That didn’t work either. I tried April’s landline and I had no luck. Nearly in tears, I noticed a tiny sticker in the phone booth; it had a list of dialling codes for other countries. I tried the 00 in front of the mobile numbers and again they didn’t work. I was getting ready to slam the receiver into the wall, when I dialled April’s landline; it started ringing. The pay slot beeped so I put a few euros’ inside.  They plopped into the empty metal cashbox. I heard April’s smiling, Scottish accent.

‘Hi April, It’s Sam. I’m in Gran Canarias.’

‘Aw Hen. Thank God for that. Samira are you alright?’

‘I am. He proposed!  Then loads of stuff happened and I ran away.’

‘Tell me?’

‘I can’t. I just need to stay away. Not for good, but for a week or so. It’s lovely. Have you heard anything from Jerrod?’

‘Heard anything? He nearly kicked my door in this morning. I was on the toilet Samira.’

Beep, beep, beep – I fiddled for another euro.

‘April my money’s going ……!’

The line purred, dead.

I leaned my back against the wall.  A rush of relief flowed over me. April would phone him; I was sure of that.  Back at the apartment, I couldn’t relax; I fidgeted on the sofa. Doodling with the flight papers, I wondered whether I should just go back to the airport and get the next flight home. Lying on my single bed, I rocked from side to side. I wasn’t achieving anything. I looked at the time on my phone, it was 7pm. That was in England, so it was 8pm here. No wonder I was hungry! I’d been up since 4 am, and the only thing I’d eaten was an ice cream and a cocktail. As I got up to standing I wobbled.  The drink had gone straight to my head. I walked into the bathroom and flushed my face under the tap. Bald, I looked into the mirror.

‘Ok, Samira. If you look good, you’ll feel good!’

After showering, I put on my pink platforms and danced naked all over the apartment. For the first time in my life I was really free. No kids wanting to join in, no double checking if Jerrod was watching, no drugs and no pimps.

‘Come on baby; Come be my baby Oh, oh, oh.’ I sang at the top of my voice like Nicole Sherzinger.  ‘Come on baby, come feel my baby. Come be my baby oh, oh, oh. Right there, love it right there, come feel me there, Oh, Oh.’ I mounted the coffee table, gyrated and rocked my pelvis, circling it with the tune in my head. ‘Oh oh, keep it right there, love it right there, Oh oh oh.’ I was feeling hot, free and looked fantastic as my silhouette carved and created S’s in the patio as the sun was setting.

‘Come on baby Oh, ho ho.’

‘I like the way you touch my body, I like the way you see me Sonny, Oh ho ho! Oh oh oh!’ It was magical. I was released. I was Jessie J II. I began to feel happier and more in control of everything.  ‘Bollocks, it was only for a week!  He’ll manage.’ I shouted out to sea.

For the first time in years, I felt happy in the moment. I danced on the sofa and crawled towards the kitchen area on bent knees. I perked my bottom into the air still singing. ‘Love it right there, oh, oh, oh.’  If anyone could have seen me they’d have thought I was crazy.

I climbed onto the kitchen worktop and crawled along the marble like a kitten, reaching the sink in seconds. I turned the tap on and water clanked into the metal basin.  I tipped my bald head to one side and ran the water all over my head. Righting myself to squatting. The water dripped down my cleavage, over my bosom and trailed down towards my only hair. I smoothed my tummy down with my fingers, stopping luxuriously at my feathers and felt for my ripe bud. Swollen and bulging I massaged it with my nail-less index finger. Flicking and rubbing, over and under. Fluffing my feathers with my other hand I moaned with delight. My nipples engorged and I reached up to pull them down. This sent a tingle below.

‘Love it when you touch me right there, Oh oh oh.’  Within moments, I could feel my organs contracting, as my torso buckled in orgasm. With rasping wobbly legs, I rolled backwards onto the hard marble, underneath my back. My fingers rolled and probed, pleasuring myself, whilst bucking to the rhythms of desire.  I was coming as David’s highly endowed image flickered in my mind.  My heart swelled with love for him.  I imagined his large chiselled chin as it hovered over my face and his enlarged lips searching out mine, whilst his pure honest eyes looked into my heart.  I imagined last night’s stubble grazing my cheeks. I ached for his kisses. I nuzzled my lips onto my forearm and pacified myself with a lonely snog. My body wrenched, blood pushed at the top of my skull.  Mentally I left this planet for a few moments.  Wet and spent, I curled my exhausted body up from the floor. Laughing and trembling I made my way to the bedroom and collected my new strappy black dress. In the mirror, I was happily surprised to see how radiant and sparkling I was. Flushed with exertion and pink with the sun, I blew myself a kiss.  I took my blonde wig into the bathroom and smoothed down some of its splayed hair with warm water. I placed it over my white scalp and combed it over and over, until it shone like it had done when it came out of the box. Putting a drizzle of mascara over my eyelashes and lip gloss on my lips, I looked acceptable. My tummy growled.

Outside the apartment, I found the steps leading down towards the shopping centre.  It was well lit I didn’t pass anyone on my way down. I swung my arms in the air. My sun kissed shoulders felt a slight chill but once I’d got past the hundred and third step, I felt perspiration on my back. I was beginning to feel really hot again. By the time I reached the two hundred and eleventh steps, I felt triumphant. Even Jerrod would have been proud of me in these shoes.

The shops, which had been quiet and calm during the afternoon, were loud and bright. Everywhere was busy with clothes and trinket shops. It was bustling with crowds of people. The shopkeepers were sitting outside, inviting tourists to come in and have a look at their shops. The men gracefully checked behind me for a partner. I smiled at their humility.

The alleyway met the huge shopping centre.  There, I saw a small group of black men hustling and pestering shoppers with sunglasses and watches.  Luckily I saw Dube’ before he saw me. I shuffled inside a doorway to hide whilst I worked out how I was going to avoid him. Just then I noticed a middle aged couple finish paying for their items. Without being noticed by anyone, I tucked in and followed their path.  I managed to get past Dube’ and his friends and quickly hide inside a perfume store.

The perfume lady greeted me with a lovely tropical smile. I wandered around the magnificent glass filled perfumery and tested delicate perfumes on paper sticks. I was overcome with Obsession by Calvin Klein, I had to buy it.

Re-entering the shopping mall, I walked straight into Dube’.

‘Hey lady! ‘How’s it going? You want to buy some sunglasses?’

I laughed, ‘It’s night time Dube’.’

‘I know, I’m just a simple African’s man trying to send money home to mee’ family. Hey, do you want to come meet my friends? I’ve told them all about you. They will look out for you whilst your here. Come and meet them?’

His eyes pleaded for a ‘yes.’  Nerves bubbled in my tummy.

‘Come on lady, there’s no need to be afraid. We will all look out for you!’

If you don’t risk, you don’t live. My inner voice urged. From somewhere I saw a vein of honesty in his face and I decided, he wasn’t a mean guy, he was true to his word.

Proudly he walked me towards his friends. They all held out their hands and welcomed me into their fold. They asked if I had children, I nodded -yes, and every one of them took it in turn to show me their dancing miniature cows, or singing toy dogs, or gyrating toy monkeys. I loved them all.  I wanted to buy them all, but told them, not on my first day. Dube’ protectively stood beside me.

‘I’m starving Dube’.  Where is a good place to eat?’

‘I will take you……’ His eyes probed me for my name.

‘Jessie’ I replied.

‘Jessie, I will take you to my friend Alexander’s Restaurant. It is the finest steak house in the whole of Gran Canarias. Come take my arm!’ He started to slide his watches off placing them into his friend’s basket.

‘No Dube’, point me in the right direction and I will find it myself. I want to do things alone!  Understand me?’ He stepped back and nodded his head. I smiled and said thank you and maybe I would see him later.  He wasn’t a nasty guy who used women to satisfy his needs.  He was just a poor worker, like I used to be, trying to build a life up for himself on the streets. I could have kicked myself for being so judgemental.

Within moments I was disturbed from my own disciplining, by a new voice. I guessed it was Polish or Russian. A man invited me to look at the menu board by his side. He told me that they did the best steaks on the island. I asked if this was Alexander’s restaurant, he shook his head.  Starving, I followed him.  He showed me to a seat alongside the bar, slightly hidden, but with a great view of the shopping mall. I ordered a diet coke and a steak sandwich. When it arrived it looked so much better than the picture.

My confidence lifted after I’d eaten, I felt alive and up for anything. The restaurant manager asked if I would like a cheeky little brandy. He held out a shot glass.  I slammed the sweet liquid down my throat. Burning, it felt divine. I waved him a fond goodbye, saw some stairs going upwards and realised there was another floor to the shopping mall. Up there I saw restaurants, cafes, clothes shops, tourist gift shops, perfume shops and lastly, I found the Irish bar. It was banging in there. A drunken crowd of ladies were singing, ‘Oh Sandy Baby,’ from Grease. Their singing was really slurred with drink. I felt a touch on my elbow,

‘Its happy hour. Fancy a drink? Two for the price of One?’ The tout offered.  I ordered myself a vodka and coke and within seconds, I had two half pints of it sitting in front of me for only eight euros. The karaoke was booming and the Irish bar man invited me on stage to belt out a tune.

‘No Way’ – I told him firmly. He laughed and returned, serving drinks to the other girls. By which time, the girls had gone back to the boys and were wriggling around each other laughing and dancing. One of them, a blonde older man gave me a nod and raised his glass. I focused on my vodka and glanced up occasionally, but every time I looked up the guy with the blonde hair was looking straight at me.  It began to make me feel a little bit naughty and prayed on. Cheating on Jerrod was not on my agenda, but being friendly would do no harm.  I slid off the barstool and took my drink over to the entrance of the mall. The bright lights and music of Harley’s boomed across to me, from behind the youthful touts.  I saw a huge Harley Davidson motorbike parked half way up a wall. I was intrigued. As I got closer, someone passed me a shot of peach rum and I gulped it back. Then a bare chested man with a muscle filled six pack, touched me on the arm and asked if I was alone. The rum made me giggle.

‘No’s with myself.’ I replied.

‘Would you like me to show you to a table and I will look after you all night!’

‘W W Why not!’ I slurred.

I ordered another vodka and coke from him.  Shortly thereafter he returned looking even more handsome.  He had his tray pivoted on four fingers by his shoulder. He placed two drinks on the round table in from of me and he asked for ten euros.   After I paid him I thought he would have left me alone, but he didn’t. He introduced himself as, Pierre. A French language student who was working part time in Harley’s as a table dancer. Playfully, he pulled me off my bar stool and escorted me onto the dance floor. First dancing at a distance, then he moved closer and we began to chat again. For him it was a job, getting the whole place up and partying. For me, it was better than chocolate and wine on the back of my throat.

When the first track finished, four buff shirtless men climbed up onto a metal walkway. It was about a metre high and maybe five metres long. They clung onto handles screwed into the ceiling, whilst they rotated and swivelled their hips and loose arms to the music. Pierre took my hand and pulled me up onto the runway. He lifted me up, then joined me there. He twirled and ground into me for what seemed like seconds, but realistically it was two music tracks long. Beads of sweat rippled down his torso. When he eventually gave me the nod, we climbed down and re-joined my drinks.  He shouted over the music into my ear that I was good fun.  I was shocked.

‘I need to go and get some other girls up dancing, will you stay?’

As I finished my drink, my breathing calmed and I noticed that the bar had become really crowded. There were hordes of men and women all around me. All the younger girls were gawping upwards at the male dancers so the atmosphere was highly charged. I could feel the oestrogen oozing from every female pore. I looked to my side, wondering what time it was and saw a male arm with a watch on it. I tipsily rocked back on my bar stool and took his arm. Slurring I asked.

‘Nearly one.’ He replied. I thought maybe I should finish this drink then make a move, but the guy with the watch on, touched my wrist and asked if I would like to dance. I realised it was the blonde guy from the Irish bar.

I slid down and took his hand. At first we danced like long lost friends then went back to the sides. I took my drink and he introduced himself as Stefan from Norway.  He looked like the man off the Heineken adverts. He introduced me to his group of friends, highlighting them with his hand. There was about thirty of them. I asked what they were all doing here. He told me that they had been on the island for three weeks, on a health programme. Their government in Norway had sent them here to get better. I didn’t understand, because they all looked radiantly healthy to me. It must be drugs and alcohol, I thought, but he said that they were all life-long sufferers of psoriasis.

‘In Norway there is no sunshine so the government had paid and sent us all here to get some UV rays and to eat properly.  Also to learn about exercise, stress management and life skills, in order to help us cope with this life-long illness.’ I noticed my tongue slur as I told him that he was really handsome.

‘I am now.’ He said. ‘But I wasn’t when I arrived.  I was covered in it. It was in my eyes, in my hair and all over my body.’ His hands pointed from head to toe. A flood of feeling poured towards him.

‘I’ve lost my wife, my kids, through the depression I was locked into.’ I knew depression all too well. He said ‘everyone he was with had not been allowed to drink on the programme, but it was their last night so they’d all escaped.’  I patted his shoulder.

Pierre came over and introduced himself.  He took the tiny dark haired girl, with a shy smile out of the group, up for a dance. He lifted her onto the decking and began rolling his pecks up and around her slim waistline.  They looked magnificent together.  At the end of the dance, she stepped down. Stefan put a fatherly hand out to her, but no sooner had she sheltered inside the group of Norwegians but another dancer came and jostled her back up onto the walkway.

As Stefan and I chatted about his time in Gran Canarias, we watched the young girl being rotated and returned by the dancers who were all squabbling over her. Then the dance floor was cleared and a rope sealed it off from the audience. The young girl pulled me over to her side and told me to come and watch the male strippers that were coming on. The music crashed, the speakers boomed and a loud deep voice introduced the ‘Builder Boys from the Balearics.’

Three muscle pumped male stunners, strutted onto the dance floor.  They were dressed in yellow hard hats, open chequered shirts, braces, jeans and black steel toe capped boots. Screams came from the women all around. The normal men sheltered in their shadows as the Builder Boys danced provocatively, thrusting their oiled tanned bodies over and around the three chairs in the centre of the spotlighted dance floor. ‘I want to be that chair.’  I screamed.

‘Me too.’ screamed the young Norwegian girl.  Dribbling we watched as they began to remove their work clothes.

‘Let me.’ I yelled.

‘Me, me, me,’ echoed the crowd. I turned to talk into the girl’s ear and I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder. The best looking blonde one from the poster outside, was reaching for my hand.  I put it into his. He clamped on, then lifted the rope and fed me underneath it. My tongue seemed to become erect in my mouth begging to taste his oily body. I could feel his waxen skin next to mine as he sat me on the middle chair alongside two other ladies. He thrust his leg over my head and rested his foot on my knee with his groin facing my face. I sat motionless as he pumped his hips in and out, in and out. He took my hand and I followed his lead and ran my fingers up and down his inner thigh. He returned his foot to the floor.  Like icing a cake he walked around me then from the other side, he straddled. Chest to chest he put my hands up to grasp his spine and shoulders. Then stood again and waggled his sex in my face. I was damping, the crowd was squealing. He turned around, closed my legs together tight, took a few steps forward then returned to me and sat on my knees, with his back, to my breasts. I licked his salty shoulder. The crowd screamed.

With his right hand he took hold of my left, and put it under his. He fed my hand over his right shoulder and gracefully it mounted his pecks. I stretched as my hand slid over his six-pack but he quickly veered it off to the right. I missed going inside his thong. He took over and smoothed my hand over his salty inner thigh. He felt firm.

He lifted up an inch and continued swirling his hips around then he danced out towards the audience whilst I took in his rear view, then back to me. He straddled me again and rode me hard as my nine and a half fingernails ground into his oiled back. But it all ended too soon. He lifted my hand and kissed the back of it and returned me back into the crowd.

Rubber kneed I watched as the audience roared and clapped as the Building Boys bowed and thanked their ladies for making this show ‘their greatest ever.’ When I eventually stopped shaking, I realised the young Norwegian girl was already up on the walkway, dancing with Pierre again.  Stefan came over with a fresh vodka and coke and told me to drink up. My heart smiled in response.

Out of breath and covered with perspiration, the young girl came back to the group. She tucked herself into me and asked if she could have a little of my drink. I passed her the glass.

‘Enjoying yourself?’  I asked.

Trying to catch her breath she replied. ‘Why me, why are they always dragging me up?’

‘Cause you’re beautiful.’  I replied.

She scrunched up her nose. ‘I’m not, I’m just me.’

In a motherly way I took her by the shoulders and went eyeball to eyeball.

‘You are astonishingly beautiful!’

‘But I can’t be. I’m covered in psoriasis!’

‘Not anymore you’re now. You’re brand new. If you ever get it again all you have to do is, come back here.  This is your recovery centre.’

Open mouthed and listening hard she tried to take in my words. Then she was spun by Pierre and dragged back up to dance again. Stefan re-joined me and we danced and drank more vodka where we stood.  He began grinding his bottom half and I started to feel a bit skewwhiff. I was saved by the pretty girl when she spun me around.

‘Lady,’ she slurred.  ‘You know what? I am beautiful. I am!’ Tears of abundance welled up and blinkered me, as I replied.

‘You are girl.  You are.’ We fell into each other’s arms and gushed fresh tears into each other’s hair.

‘You too.’ She replied. ‘You too!’

Stefan wrapped his arms around the two of us. Then there seemed to be arms and legs coming from everywhere, as the whole group joined in. When we escaped for air, I noticed that the crowds in the club had dispersed and what had been an erotica paradise of muscle and brawn, a few moments before, was now a deserted bar. I caught my long drained face in one of the mirrors. I was hanging! I looked at Stefan’s watch and it was 4.30am. I tried to sober myself up in the Ladies. Then I remembered where the taxi rank was, and imagined myself walking towards it.  However as soon as I came back into the club, Stefan was massaging my hip and asking if I was Ok!  I told him I was, but I was thinking of going back to my apartment.  He asked if I needed an escort. I puffed out a laugh.  Had I heard him right!

‘I’ll be ok’ I hugged him maternally but when I was ready to let go, he didn’t release. He held onto me, pressing himself into my bosom. I released my arms as they floated by his sides, I repeated that I needed to go.

He said, ‘I can’t let you go!’ His bottom lip curled down. ‘Let me walk you home?’

‘No way!  Its miles up that hill. I’m getting a taxi.’

‘Ok, I’ll walk you.’

He fumbled for my hand. I tried to pretend I hadn’t felt him trying, but he managed to find it.  Oh, what the heck! I was on holiday! We left the others without saying goodbye.

My ears were throbbing with the bass from the club and we were still swaying like we had with the crowd. I could feel myself staggering and my thick tongue could not pronounce the words that I wanted it to. It felt strange, weird, walking hand in hand with Stefan, in the full lights of the shopping mall. We rode the escalator down to the ground floor and I staggered with my gold shoes swinging off my fingers. His arm was around my waist as we came into daybreak and headed towards the rank. He asked where my apartments was, I pointed up my side of the valley. He said his was too and he would drop me off on the way. We slid along the leather back seat and I told the driver, ‘Avoni.’

Within a minute the taxi was idling outside. Stefan leaned in for a peck on the cheek and I leaned in to accept it.

‘You both getting out here?’  The driver asked.

Stefan looked at me. I looked at him. We both nodded – ‘Yes.’

 

6

Wobbling on the steps Stefan fed me backwards into a doorway. I righted myself against the window frame.  I began to feel tingles. I rose up high on tip-toes, opened my mouth and I was wanting more. Aimlessly his hands travelled over my breasts then my waist, then my hips, then my thighs then up again to my breasts. I pushed my hips forward and felt his point inside his jeans. Firmly, his hands slid over my bra. I clung onto his mouth and pointed my fingers to meet his. Roaming my chest I felt him probe the sides of my bra again. Breathing heavy he whispered that he wanted me. I wriggled free, took his hand and directed him towards my apartment. As I rummaged inside the bottom of my handbag for my key-card, we staggered, then a light came on from another apartment along the opened corridor. Someone shouted something in German.

He took my key-card them aimed it at the lock’s slot. He missed. He tried again. I hung around his neck and positioned myself between him and the door.  Somehow he curled his hand around me and released the lock. The door slammed backwards and walloped the wall. An echoing din shook the whole block of apartments. We fell in through the doorway. Someone, somewhere shouted something.

He fell on top of me and the tiles were icy to my bare back.  My lips met his and I felt him harden as my hand burrowed into his groin. My hunger grew. I wanted him and started kneading his zip then flicking his belt and digging him my finger nails. His sex throbbed into my flat tummy as he began rocking. Our kisses intensified, I fumbled for the front of his belt. But I had no chance – not with these nails. So I yanked at his hair and pulled his head towards my breasts. Instantly he began kissing my cleavage. I tightened my legs around his back and rocked back with my ripened bud.  We struggled for air between kisses, as we hungrily wrestled me on the floor. I couldn’t get enough of his mouth, his body or his tongue. He took the lead and lifted his shirt straight up and over his head. I gasped, wide mouthed with appreciation.  He was divine, beautiful, like David, but younger. I needed him. Trembling I pushed him away.  He sat up high above me. I looked lovingly into his eyes as my hips bucked up to meet his. I reached up to stroke his face and I noticed his confused stare. He looked like he’d seen a ghost.

‘What’s the matter?’  I asked. Then my hands reached up to my head and my brain came into land. I felt for the wig, but it had gone. Embarrassed beyond reason, I tried to hide my scalp with my hands.  Then I saw it and quickly lifted it up and off the floor.  I replaced it back on my head. All he said was,

‘Fuck that frightened me.’ Then gently, ever so gently he raised my mouth to his, and told me that I was more beautiful without it and to leave it off. He locked me inside his arms. Our tongues began to lash at each other’s, once again.

‘Take your clothes off?’ I commanded.  He rose to standing, lifting me up with him and held me tight. With needy fingers I fumbled at his tight trouser button.

‘Stefan, you have a body made for magazines.’  He looked embarrassed.  I bent over to kiss his mouth.  Then his neck.  Then my hands began to blaze a trail all over his body.  I stroked, kneaded and relished his untouched skin.  I moved my lips to his pecks.  I could feel slight ripples on his ripped tummy.  Like a melting iceberg under my lips, he began to relax.  Taking my time, I traced my lips and fingers all around his delicious tanned body.  He tingled under my touch. His breathing relaxed and quietened.  I remembered this feeling from back in the hotel with David when he had savoured my skin like I was savouring Stefan’s. It was an honour and a great gift to give.

‘No one has ever kissed my whole body Jessie.’  He said softly.

‘I know. I know, Stefan.’ I began to kiss again. When I withdrew from his torso and looked up to find his lips, I saw a single tear hanging on his jaw line. I traced the trail of wetness up to his eye then my hand traced its way down his torso, cupping, I began to rub, up and down at his groin. I began passionately stroking the bulge that strongly protruded through his jeans. He fumbled for his belt and popped his jeans button open.

He pulled back, looked at my profile in the morning light and asked me to remove my wig. It was such a relief to be freed.

‘Why – no hair?’ He asked.

‘I just don’t like hair.’ I prayed he wouldn’t see my wounds.

‘You’re even sexier without it.

‘Shut up Stefan and just fuck me, for God’s sake?’

‘I’ve wanted you since the first time I see you. You been teasing me all night, yar?’

I moved him towards the sofa and pointed my toes as I straddled him.  I sat on top of his six pack. Lifted my dress above my head and showed him my undies.  Immediately his lips sucked through the silk of my bra, then his hands wrapped around my back and he fumbled at its catch. I sat up tall and put my hand up behind my back to help him; he was definitely out of practise. Freed, his hands instantly grasped at both my breasts as he suckled on like a new-born. I felt his desire rising up to meet mine. Wet and mounting him, I rocked back and forth imagining him inside.  My hands sought his, I wanted him to touch me inside my panties, but he was absorbed.

‘I need your tits, Oh, I need your tits.’ He said.

I reached down and began to pleasure myself but he never noticed.  He carried on grabbing, rubbing, flicking and pulling at my nipples. Don’t get me wrong it was nice, but I needed a good seeing too, not a titty work out. He was obsessed. I fiddled and rubbed against him, I started to get annoyed. This was taking too long. I needed to tell him what to do.

‘Stefan, look at what I’m doing, stroke me here?’

He watched as I rubbed my pink bits with my fingers, I asked him to take over.  Righting himself to standing he tossed me around in the air and landed on my thighs on the sofa.  Instantly his mouth landed on my tits and he started juggling them about.

‘Stefan.’ I snapped.

‘Yar.’

‘You’re like a new-born nursing. Can’t you just take me?’ I whined ‘before this starts to make sense?’

‘Sorry, I just love your tits.’ His hands traced my sides for my panties and with urgency I helped him rip them down my legs, then he laid on top of me. I ground into his erection but all I felt was a soft layer of skin. His head moved down my torso and began lapping at my oval then he moved upwards and suckled at my tits again. I bucked and bucked my hips into his, but his hips had softened. I raised my legs and wrapped them around his back but he flopped like a Norwegian sleeping bag.  Soft whimpering snores came from his body.  I shook underneath him.  When I called his name he roused a little and slobbered.

‘Urgh.’

Impatiently I asked. ‘What if I blow you?’

‘Try?’

So I tried. I tried with my mouth, my hand, even my finger up his Jacksy, but he was useless. I left him wheezing and disappeared into the bathroom. When I returned he was lying there, useless, with a limp seahorse in his lap, snoring!

‘Oy useless.’  I shouted at him but he didn’t stir. I went right up to his ear and shouted down his eardrum and told him that he had to go, but he was out for the count. With my bald head and perfect breasts, I walked over to the patio window and went to close the curtains. In the daybreak, I saw a shadow move in the ginnel at the top of the almighty steps. Spontaneously it disappeared down below. I double bolted the door, locking Stefan inside. Then went into my bedroom and shivered under the cotton sheet.

7

I heard was the outside door slam. Through a throbbing migraine I remembered I was in Gran Canarias. I’d been out drinking and I’d brought back Stefan the Seahorse. Wrapping myself in the sheet, I looked at my wrought face in the mirror and levered on my auburn wig. Slowly I opened up the bedroom door. On tiptoe I peeked around the corner. I whispered into the lounge but he was gone. I checked the bathroom, it was empty. I remembered that he was going back to Norway, so the bang must have been him. I looked for a clock, but there wasn’t one in the apartment. I went for a pee then searched for my phone. It lit up and told me that the time was one – thirty two.  I pulled back the curtains and a blade of light almost blinded me. Gasping for water, I put my apartment door on the latch and staggered towards the swimming pool bar. The yellow-mouthed sleaze bag, crooned at me. I just stared at him and said

‘Aqua.’

He passed me a bottle and asked for a euro. I snatched it and said that I’d give him the money later. It was hot out there, hotter than the day before. People were swimming in the pool and sunbathing.  Children walked around with armbands and rubber swimming rings, I watched for a moment but the sun blinded me. I needed to take shade. When I got back to the apartment the bloody door had bolted behind me. I had to go and ask Fabio to help me.

Oh, he loved it!  White woman, red wig, white sheet, I must have looked like a used tampon all vulnerable and confused. He touched my bum as I fed myself between his sweaty armpit and beer kegged belly whilst he held the door open. Gurning, he asked if there was anything else he could help me with. I slammed the door in his face. After dressing I dawdled down the 211 steps, aimed for the delicatessen counter in the supermarket and managed to avoid Dube’ and his mates.

Again they were busy loitering at the entrance.  In the distance I saw a bus. The sign above the windscreen read – Maspalomas. I jogged over as best as I could in my flip-flops and jumped on board. Dip and Dot, from the plane, were on the fifth row of seats wearing matching beige clothes, straw sun hats and backpacks. They invited me to sit with them. I shuddered under my sunglasses and sat behind the driver.

This wriggly ride around the cliff sides took about twenty minutes before the driver shouted out Maspalomas. I ambled down a wide, sparkling white marbled boulevard. Above me palm trees swayed in the breeze.  I loved them. Occasionally, sky blue fountains in the middle of the pavement, sprayed streams of water – as if to music.

All around were five star hotels which had massive grounds containing swimming pools, bathers and squealing children. Different palm trees sprang up every time I looked in a different direction. Wispy ones, spiky ones, fat and thin ones. There were even palm trees with baby palm trees growing out of their tops. I was rudely interrupted by a French accent.  He asked, what I was looking at. When I told him he laughed,

‘You should come and look at my apartments – They’re better than trees.’  He took his lanyard into his right hand and flashed it in front of my face. It had ‘Time Share’ typed on it. Then he asked me to come and look at his apartments, again. I told him to piss off and walked away but he chased after me.

‘Mademoiselle.  You don’t understand. I sell apartments.’ I quickened my step. How could anyone sell apartments from the street?  That was crazy.  He brushed my arm with a gentle hand and told me, that he didn’t want to frighten me and that he was doing his job.

Oh Yeah, like the deckchair man!  I thought.

He begged me to listen whilst he explained. I wasn’t interested.  Above me I noticed long dark brown rectangular things hanging off the tree. I asked him what they were. He shook his shoulders and in the next moment he threw his backpack to the floor and started scaling the tree. I begged him to come down. When he did, he had one of the long brown, dried out pod thingies, in his mouth. He bowed and offered it to me. With battered nails I took the four inch thingy from his mouth.

‘Merci’.’  He said as Dip and Dot neared. I backed away from him and said I needed to go. I leaned forwards to thank him, and he kissed me, peck – peck, on my cheeks. Dot nudged Dip’s arm as she watched the scene ahead.  The French guy smiled and walked towards them, holding out his lanyard.

‘You’ve got no chance.’ I cackled. ‘Try selling them one of those brown things, it’ll match their beige?’ I started to hear heavy rushing waves. A sea wall hid their splendour but as I neared, the white waters began to spray over the walls edge. It was like Fleetwood without the grey. There was a windmill turning its arms and crowds of people were walking along the esplanade where rocks capped off the ocean.  The yellow sands appeared. A bit further along the shore I saw someone had created a sand statue. It was of twelve people sitting on the floor, eating dinner, at a really low table. Holidaymakers were chucking euros into the sand artists bowl.

‘It’s the last supper.’ I heard said. I remembered Jesus had one of them and his best friend betrayed him too!

**

Along the esplanade there were gift shops, cafes and bars; all covered by sunshades. Men stood outside every one, asking pedestrians to come in and have a cup of coffee or maybe something to eat. I didn’t stop; I kept on walking. When I was clear of the marquee’s area, I saw the bright blue sky again and felt the heat cut on my skin. Light headed, I recognised that the alcohol from the night before was draining out of every pore. I was really dehydrated. I needed to get water and have a lie down.

I slouched on to the sands and nestled my head into my squelchy handbag.  I must have fallen to sleep. I came too when I heard an English woman say.

‘It’s that woman snoring!’

Bolt upright, I felt the sniggers of people around me. One of them was a naked old man with his long German sausage hanging out.  It tightened as he stared at me. Then he put his hands on his hips. My eyes swirled. Feeling really dizzy and even drier, I grabbed my bag and Christopher’s now creased and sweat covered photograph.  I ran beyond the crowds up to a less crowded part of the beach. I saw a wide shallow stream. There was a queue of sunbathers waiting to cross it. I placed my bag on my head and paddled through the warm water.  Then a sign appeared. I scanned it for the English interpretation. It read – Nudist Beach.

I couldn’t go back so I walked on and saw one of the funniest scenes, I had ever seen in my life. Gangs of naked adults patrolling the white waters of the ocean, hanging, sagging and pert. I asked my inner self, what the hell was I supposed to do?

‘Should’ve brought a camera Sam!’

There were couples, singles and gangs of gay men, everywhere.  All checking each other out. Long ones, thin ones, short stubby fat ones. Yeah, I’d seen them all before, but not like this, not outwardly flirting in broad day-light. I was desperate to laugh, but I daren’t. Groups of naked pensioners played boules with sagging bum cheeks and swinging testicles. It made me cower, then a single man tried to steal the show, by doing yoga.

The backs of my legs ached from walking through the hot sands, I sat down and took a rest. Within moments an old German man came over, naked of course and asked if I’d take a few photographs. He passed me his camera.  I stood up in my summer dress and instructed him to pose like a muscle man; the stupid man did it, with a semi on. How I stopped myself laughing was unreal.  He wanted to chat but I made my excuses and trudged on, up the beach.

Set back from the sea there were a few humps of sand dunes. I started to climb one, but as I padded my way up, the sand seemed to slide from underneath me.  It was hard and gritty.  Pushing on, I wanted to reach the top of a higher sand dune. As I crowned its peak, hundreds of sand dunes splayed out before me. In the distance I saw a huge white hotel. I decided I would head towards it.  But I had to get down one sand dune first to get back up the next. Sod it, I’m going to roll, I thought.  I made sure my wig was secured to my scalp.  I cocooned my bag into my chest, laid my side on the burning sands and tipped my weight forwards. The sand slid from underneath and formed a landslide, but I only rolled once then came to a halt. It wasn’t like in the movies, it was hard and it grated. Wriggling myself up to standing, I ran down the dune into the valley as I tried removing the gritty sand from my sweaty hot body. I looked around and could not see another person. Climbing the next sand dune I realised I was alone in a small desert.

Tingling with excitement, I removed my dress, wig and underwear and swayed naked over the next few acres. A plane flew overhead trailing an advertisement for Harley’s Night club.  It was the only sign of human life I saw before the white Rui hotel came into view.

As I scaled the last sand dune and looked below, I saw a camel, a photographer, a slim gorgeous model, a huge white umbrella and an Evian water dispenser powered by a rumbling generator. I could have lunged for it! They were taking photographs with the dunes in the background. Quickly I took a few steps back and dressed. I approached the camera crew who smiled at me, like they had a secret. My hands quickly went to my wig. I decided to push on and get one at the Rui instead.  That was if I was allowed because the dark feelings from years before, when Jerrod had took my addicted carcass through his hotels reception, came back to haunt.

After double-checking my wig was straight in my tiny hand mirror, I brushed off all the remaining sand. Slowly I padded over the Rui’s black marble tiles. No one even looked up!  I was just another person. Nothing special nor grimy – anymore. I walked past the reception and followed the signs to the pool. The blue sun beds were all swathed with clean white towels and waiters dressed in black and white, they took orders from guests with tea towels slung over their arms.

There were two beautiful blue swimming pools with crystal sparkles coming from them through my sun glasses. Three fat palm trees were planted in an island in the middle of the pool adding green to the scene, it looked like it was 5*.

I focused on a sunbed away from the crowds and spread out, whilst a waiter opened up a parasol to shade me. I thanked him and ordered some water and a coffee. Within moments he was back, smiling and placing my drinks on the white table to my side. He asked me for a room number, but I got out my purse instead. He never even blinked. He took the ten-euro note and smiled, as I told him to keep the change. After a while, I could feel my eyelids starting to close. My weary burnt body needed rest. I didn’t dare nod off, in case I snored, so I packed my things together and left through reception.

Luckily the bus stop for Puerto Rico was outside the front of the hotel. When the bus reached Puerto Rico, the sun was setting and the hotels were all turning a shade of purple. Starving, I grabbed a kiddie’s meal from McDonalds and sat in a taxi.  It made its way back up the hill but outside on the steps, a crumpled Stefan sheltered from the sun behind a suitcase.  He searched for my eyes and looked like he’d lost a fiver and found a penny. The idiot had missed his flight and there wasn’t another till the next day. He asked if he could stay for the night.

‘Only if you’ve remembered my name?’ I asked coyly. His hand went over his mouth and his eyes brightened. I ticked the air.

‘Correct. You never asked!’  His body slumped back into the wall.

‘I’m Jessie, pleased to meet you Stefan.’ I took hold of his hand. ‘Come on, one night only!’  He leaned forward to take me in his arms. I threatened him with my kiddie’s meal. Picking up his suitcase he flashed me a white smile of gratitude.  I thought he had the innocence of the untouched. Inside the apartment, within nanoseconds, we were eating the faces off each other. Hands clawed everywhere, as our bodies pushed and crashed against walls and kitchen worktops. Ripping off clothes we became enraptured with deep throat lashing tongues. Stripped to my knickers. I pushed him away and told him that I needed to shower.

‘Me too.’

We ripped the remainder of our clothing off and edged into the bathroom. He turned on the taps then kindly signalled with his eyes for me to remove my wig. I peeled it off my head and he lifted my whole body off the tiled floor and doused me under the waters. I screamed under its cold blast. He climbed into the bath so I turned and sprayed him with the shower head. He screamed like a girl. After readjusting the taps, heat started to come through. He pulled the shower nozzle out of my hand and blasted my crown, then rested its nozzle above my breasts.  He began to squeeze and fondle them with his spare hand.

‘Oy, I told you, I’m more, than a pair of tits!”

‘Sorry, Jessie. Come here!’ He pulled me to him and replaced the nozzle before he aimed his lips at mine. I could hardly breathe as the water gushed into our faces. His erection began probing my tummy. I wanted to straddle it whilst I got the chance but I was still covered in sand. I reached for the gel and filled my hand. He held his hand out too. I traced his glistening wet skin with soap; he did the same with me. Tenderly we slid against each other. Then he turned me around and washed my back and bottom, sliding his hand in between the crack.  I backed in towards him. He positioned my butt under the shower nozzle and watched as it blasted the bubbles down my legs. I guessed he was cleaning himself off as he edged me forwards. I attempted to come out of my right angle and stand, but he told me to wait there. There was a distance between us.  Then I felt his chest suckle onto my back.  One hand found its way on top of my left breast. His other hand traced my tummy and came to rest over my curls.

His lubricated fingers began rubbing and roaming around my ripeness.  Tingles began racing through my body as I arched into him. I felt a warm weight resting on my butt cheeks, I wanted him to ram me from behind.  I backed into him as my back end came under the waters. Still twiddling at my crouch, he inserted himself behind me slowly, gently, backing in and out a millimetre at a time. I manoeuvred up to the other end of the bath and pressed my hand on the tiled wall.  I wanted him to thrust me hard, but he simply probed at his leisure. With me secured to the wall he began to step up the pace and thrust harder. At forty five degrees, he pounded and fucked me until I began to howl.

Everything was going well, until one foot slipped and I buckled underneath him. He came down with me and banged his chin on the baths handle. Blood splattered everywhere.  I turned around to look and it was running down his chin.

‘Knulle –Fuck. Fuck. Fuck’ He yelped, then jumped out of the bath and grabbed a wad of toilet paper and packed his mouth. I climbed out, turned the taps off and bent to my knees. Taking him in my mouth, I don’t know if he was whimpering in pleasure of pain but soon strength came back into his manhood and he began to grind his hips then go deep, down the back of my throat. Yet again I had to think quickly. I withdrew him and stood up and turned towards the bath and positioned my butt into the air. Slap. He swiped me across my butt cheek.  It was my turn to yelp as my butt tingled, he mounted me. Within moments he was riding me bareback up and down, up and down.  His hands gripping my breasts as he emptied himself within me. Panting, we found our way out of the bathroom and onto the sofa. Very soon our bodies were nearly dry and our moisture mixed in with a mist of sweat.

With firm experienced fingers he divided my legs and began to lick at my bud. He engulfed it with his mouth and told me I tasted divine. I writhed and ground my hips deeper up and down across his mouth, enveloping his head with my thighs. I soon began to feel like I was outside myself and floating above, watching. I reached around his body to claim his manhood and wasn’t disappointed, he had another stonker. I wanted him. I wanted his body inside mine but he had no plans on moving, he was having too much of a good time.  All the skin on my body trembled as bubbles of pleasure popped undermine, trance like I relished his every motion. I heard strange noises coming from my voice box.  I was feeling pleasure for the first time since David!   It felt delicious. I eventually yanked his head and body above me and begged him to put himself in. He got hold of his thickness and rubbed it up and over my throbbing bud.  He kept teasing me. Threatening to insert it but not until I begged loud enough for him. Little howls rasped from me.  I told him that what he was doing was amazing that I loved it, that I ached for him. I arched my hips whilst begging, but he just rubbed his cock up and over.

‘Seahorse,’ came out of my mouth.  I covered my mouth with my hand. Then he claimed me as his own. I howled and howled. I must have said Stefan a hundred times.  My cleft had swelled like a big balloon of pleasure riding waves into orgasm. He released me then massaged my dilated bud as I lay with my back on the sofa. He leaned back onto his knees whilst still inside me, fucking me gently. Then his hands went up for my breasts. Instantly I was on alert.  He growled with pleasure. I moaned that I was coming too, even though I wasn’t. I felt him gush, deep inside me. But, I needed more.

I grabbed his hand and made him press hard and vibrate me. He was good.  As my heart slowed out of euphoria I realised that I’d just had my first un-mechanical orgasm for ages. Tenderly my lips sought his.

‘You’re so beautiful Stefan.’  I watched as he accepted my words with a lip chewing nod.  I felt enriched too because moments like that don’t happen to us girls.

He pulled me back into him and his hardness welcomed my hand.  Then he pushed me into the beige painted wall. Passionately he began kissing me all over again. It was pitch black outside. As we moved along the wall he bent me over the back of the sofa and told me that he wanted to fuck me over it, and watch us in the glass doors.

I revelled in his naughtiness and turned around instantly. The sun was setting so we watched our reflections pound and shake. He rode me like a rodeo rider, fucking me for what seemed ages.  I loved watching. But as he brought me to another amazing shudder, my legs collapsed.  He picked me up and strung my weakened body over the back of the sofa. Swearing, he brought himself off and spurted his juices all over my butt.  I rolled round to face him and apologised before kissing me. Laughing, he collapsed on top of me.  Our joint weights must have flicked a switch because the sofa snapped into a double bed.  Sweaty and exhausted, we lay there a while until I heard his soft whimpers, I thought he’d shut up shop for the night but how wrong could I have been? Maybe ten minutes later he was pert as Postman Pat, knocking on my moulded door but I was knackered.

‘I’m crazy for you Jessie!’

‘How about you do these instead?’ He stared at my breasts like a virgin. I juggled them in my hands and I didn’t have to ask twice. Whilst he stood – I rested.  Then I turned all his fantasies into reality.

I was ravenous so whilst he snored softly on the sofa, I dug into the dried, cold kiddie’s meal and watched him. He was perfect. Throughout his life he must have been through hell and back and he hadn’t done one thing to deserve it.

When he heard the shower running he woke up and wanted to go for a drink in Harley’s, but I needed to sleep. He must have laid by my side all night because in the morning, I was awakened by a hand shaking my shoulder and an erection in my back, but I feigned sleep and must have drifted off.

When I eventually woke, he had gone and left me a short message.

‘En Engels hand. Xx Stefan’

Chapter Eight.

I woke up around 4pm and strolled down to the poolside bar. Fabio was busy padding his brow when he saw me immediately, he licked his lips like a hungry pig. I ordered an alcohol free cocktail, found a spot away from his prying eyes and spent the rest of afternoon relaxing by the pool. I listened to the sounds all around. There were lots of different languages being spoken, I tried to guess what they were, but really I didn’t have a clue. Some were harsh and abrupt, like Stefan but louder.  Some had lots of throat gurgling -ughs, like the Welsh. Some voices seemed to sing like trickling rain water in the sunshine, I guessed they were Italians.

The manager of the apartments came out and mingled with the guests.  He fired up the barbecue and invited everyone to join him for dinner.  I guessed this had happened on Monday night when I’d arrived, but I was too embarrassed to join in.  Looking around, I felt silly about my nervousness because I was safe here – alone.  I paid three euros and was served a bread roll from Fabio’s grubby hand.  He’d stared down my top as he slid the quarter pounder between the bun.

In the distance, there was a loud cackle of Scouse women’s accents.  It turned out to be a hen weekend for fifteen excited Liverpublian ladies.  They walked past me yelping and giggling with each other, dragging their huge suitcases behind them. I smiled and the tall blonde androgynous one scowled, then smiled back a bitter ‘hello.’ Even when they were out of sight, I could still hear their loud accents tinkering around the apartment blocks.

After eating, I laid on my cool cotton sheets and felt gratitude for such a perfect day by the pool.  But upstairs there was a party going on.  Shoes clacked on my ceiling, laughter and alcohol fuelled shouting reverberated around the normally quiet block.  Doors were slammed and I loved it.  It reminded me of the brothel. I guessed the girls had taken over the floor upstairs. I felt a strange connection with them, maybe it was because they were northerners or maybe because I was a Hen-Nighter too.

My mind went back to last night’s fun and our graphic images in the patio windows.  I began to feel aroused so I slid back between the sheets.  Next thing I could hear was the dawn chorus.  When I woke the clock told me that it was just after 5 am.  I tried to roll back to sleep but however many times I tried, sleep didn’t come. I decided to go for a walk instead.  Boy! Was I in for a surprise?  The streets were busy.  Strutting couples, with walking sticks, pounded the pavements.

‘Good- un- tard,’ or something’ they said, I just nodded.  In town for once, I didn’t see Dube’.  I walked out to the harbour’s wall and saw many sun beds already coated with beach towels.  The flashing temperature reader told me it was twenty degrees at 5.40am.  It was still February!

Already, this was day four.  I realised I had to be out of the apartment in two days.  I sat on the sands and watched the pole walkers stalk the beach.  I needed to call home, I decided to ring April. Guilt for abandoning them, found me again. Then I remembered Stefan had had a phone, I could have used it!

I ran back to the apartments and made my call.  Although shocked at how early I’d phoned, April talked at me at a hundred miles an hour.  Her clunky sentences had me struggling to understand her fast Scottish blurb.

‘Jerrod’s gone!’

‘What do you mean he’s gone?’  I asked.

‘Went yesterday, took the girls out of school and disappeared.’

‘Did he tell you where he was going?’

‘No, just said, that that was the last time you’d take the piss ‘oot of him.’

‘He’ll have gone to Nigeria to his mothers.’  I laughed nervously.

‘I don’t know.  All I know is he was irate Samira.’

‘When’s he coming back?’

‘He said he’d might, never be back!  ’

‘Have you seen the girls?  Did they look ok?’

‘Yes, they’re fine.  Hope told me they were going to a disco and a pool.  Does that sound like Nigeria?’

‘Sounds like here.’  I saw the passports all stacked up in my mind.

‘I think he’s gone to Spain or somewhere.’  April submitted.

‘How do you know that?’

‘Because Hope said in class, that she wouldn’t practise for the Easter play because she was going to Spain. Now everyone is talking about you all.  You’re getting fined £500.’

‘No.’ My head began spinning.

‘Are you Ok Samira?’

‘Yeah, fine.  Just processing what you’ve said. I need to go.’  I wondered if he was going to take us all away with the scratch card winnings.

‘Before you go.’  She continued.  ‘I drove past your ‘hoose and there’s a huge dent in the side of Collette’s car across the road.’

‘I need to go April.  I will call you in a couple of days.’  I slammed down the receiver and propped myself up against a wall.  Fabio walked past and winked at me.

‘Urgh,’ He reminded me of a Spanish Les Dawson.  I ran back to my apartment, got Jerrod’s mothers phone number and rang Nigeria.  The coins passed through the slot like a dripping tap but the only information I managed to glean from the old bag, was what April had said about a hotel and pool. Sarcastically, I thanked her for her input into our family and wished her a good day.’

‘You’ll need me, before I need you.’  I shouted at the phone as I hung up.  The blonde Liverpublian laughed behind me.

‘You tell them – La.  Don’t take no shit off no one – I don’t!’

‘Bet you don’t!’ I moved out of the way so she could use the phone.

I needed to get some headspace, I decided to go and have a coffee. I walked past the Angry Bird’s play area and through the palm covered gardens. I sensed someone behind me. When I turned around, I saw a sweat stained Fabio trying to catch up with me.  I quickened my step, but he started jogging. After a few metres, I turned again and he was closer.  I jogged, he started to pant, calling me.

There was no one else around. I looked for an escape route but he pounced on me and pushed me up against a spiky palm tree.  I tried digging into him with my nails, but he just added more weight to his clamp.  I tried to kick him but his feet were too far away.  With my back up against the bark, I screamed.  Then his hand covered my mouth.  His eyes were as wild as forest fire. I begged him to let go of my fingers but he wouldn’t, he just moved his bottom half in closer.  I felt his erection pushing into my tummy.  I went to knee him in the groin, but he stopped me with his knee.

Paralysed with fear I looked behind him.  Then with one almighty gust of energy, I pushed him hard at right angles.  Unprepared, he moved a step backwards.  My knee came up and I walloped him hard in the goolies.  He swayed.  I screamed.

‘You bastard,’ I made a run for freedom.

‘Cock teaser?’  He screeched into the morning air.

‘You’ve had it mate!’  I shouted back. I looked a few metres ahead and Dube’ was running towards me. He engulfed me into his arms whilst I trembled. I told him what had just happened and he went over to the scrunched up Fabio, and booted him in the arse.  He lifted his fat frame up off the ground, pummelled his fists and feet into him and pushed him back down into the dirt.  All the time shouting strange African chants.  Fabio rolled over and over in the dusty earth clumsily crashing into the pink Hibiscus that was growing everywhere. Open mouthed I stared then started to taste blood.  Wiping my mouth, I found that the blood we could see had come from my lips. I thanked my higher power, at least my veneers were intact.

Dube’ walked back a few steps from Fabio’s bruised carcass.  He reached his hand to me and tucked me under his armpit as he led me away.  Still shaking, I put my arm around Dube’s backpack and walked with him to a bench.  Fabio wrestled his own body as he was in too much pain to scurry away.

‘Are you Ok?’ Dube’?’ I asked. ‘He’s the barman from my apartment.’

‘I will call the police.’

‘No.’ I panted. ‘No police!’  He took me into his arms and comforted me.  We must have sat there for quite a while, because my skin began prickling with the early sun.  As I was thinking of a way to make my excuses. I noticed Dip and Dot walking towards us, in matching white outfits.  I huddled in further to Dube’s side, why – I don’t know why?  But as they passed I heard Dip mutter under his breath.

‘Look. She’s with one of those black men now!’

‘Oy Grandad.’  I shouted.  ‘I have two children to a black man back home and when I tell him what you’ve just said, he’ll get his gun and find you.’  Dip put his head down and they aimed in the opposite direction.  The horror of a few minutes ago turned into laughter, as they scuttled away like morning rats, numbers – two and three.  Dube’ stayed with me for a while until I felt safe enough to go back up the hill.  He promised me that, Fabio would be the one who was frightened now, because no one messes with ‘the Blacks.’  I leaned up and kissed him on the cheek.

Back at the apartments, I pulled the manager to one side and told him about the attack.  He was horrified.  He asked if I wanted him, to get the police.  I said no, but if I ever had a sniff of him, I would.  His stern face reassured me, that I would never see him again.  He reiterated that he would be sorting this little problem out, personally.  A picture of our smashed up car back home, came into my mind.

I told him that I’d been lucky, that my friend Dube’ had rescued me.  He said that he’d noticed a black guy hanging around the apartments and warned me to be careful around those ‘black men!  Maybe it’s not such a good idea to trust them too much?’   He continued.

‘Not from where I am standing!’ I went back to my apartment and laid on my bed.  Poor Dube’ hadn’t done anything wrong, apart from being born black.  He was judged by his skin colour just like Jerrod. Stefan was condemned for the disease on his skin.  Me, I was judged because of my skin rubbing up and down other people’s skin.  Why was the world so fickle?  People like David and Dube’ were rare!

I remembered my first night here and I’d seen someone hanging around on the darkened street outside but I hadn’t paid attention.  When I was fucking Stefan, I’d seen someone that morning too. In fact wherever I seemed to go, Dube’ was always close by.  The safety that I’d felt earlier was beginning to gripe in my stomach, as I recognised that Dube’ had been watching me since I’d arrived.  A moment later, another thought came to mind.   He could have been filming me too!  I pulled my curtains together and put on the Canary Islands TV. I lay there thinking for a while and realised that I was talking myself into being scared of a couple of men on a packed holiday island.  What the fuck was that all about?  Dube’ had never harmed me and that was a fact. The manager had badmouthed him.  He was a racist and he was the one who employed bullies, like Fabio.  His superior voice had no value with me.  Dube’ was no mass murderer or terrorist, surely, he would have been exposed in the ten years he had lived on this tiny island.  If anyone knew him – It was me!

I didn’t feel like dancing on the table but I wanted to get rid of this confused energy that I had.  I was going to go down to the bar and have a little chat with that racist runt.   After I’d done that, I would go and find Dube’ and maybe take him out for dinner.  After all, it would be a night out.  He was alone and so was I.  I gathered my clothes and make up from my untidy apartment.  Upstairs, I heard the cackle of Scouse girl’s on their balcony.  I could hear the clicking of their heels through my ceiling above. With the balcony doors open I ached to join in with them.  I decided to act on my earlier idea. I looked across the road, there was no one there.  I combed through my wig, squelched it onto my head, checked my make-up was perfect and put on my silky pink dress and platforms, before making my way out of the door.  Outside a fat, dark haired Scouse girl, was walking by, she shouted that she liked my dress.

‘Going anywhere nice?’  She asked, slurring.

‘Not really, I’m here on my own.  I just thought I’d walk into town.’

‘On your own Girl!’  She shrieked like a seagull.  I nodded.  ‘Well la’, we won’t be having any of that.  You come out with the girls!  Come ‘a head la.  Come up and meet my girls.’  By the time I’d computed her Scouse accent.  She’d pulled me from my doorway, up the staircase and into her peeling pink arms.

‘What’s your name Girl?’  She asked with her vodka breath puffing straight at me.

‘Jessie.’

‘Here girls,’ she hollered into their apartment. ‘We’ve got a new friend.’

Sixteen orange faces with false eyelashes fluttered back at me.  She barged her way into the crowded apartment dragging me along with her.   Long legs shuffled and short skirts ruffled as one by one, they  came over and asked me where I was from, and how did I get my hair so shiny.

The androgynous looking blonde questioned. ‘Why are you here, alone?’

‘I just needed to sort my head out.’

‘Spill. Girls honour?’  She held out her pinky.  I backed away and never took it.

‘Just stuff.  Ok, my boyfriend proposed, which was perfect but something happened and now I don’t know what to think.  So I came here to think.’

‘Good for you.  A hen party for one girls, let’s salute Jessie!’

If only she knew the truth!

I backed onto the safety of the fat girl and heard another voice.

‘Here Jessie, come and have a slurp of peach schnapps.’  A beautiful brunette with her fringe in a huge white curler called.  She held up her bottle at head height and gave me a twirl.  Then another hand was thrust close by my face, from a dumpy thickly made-up girl, with a head full of blue curlers.

‘Drink this, its vodka?’  I took the glass from her hand and downed it.  Then I drank the shot of peach schnapps too.  Another girl passed me some white wine.  As the minutes turned into hours and all the false nails and eyelashes were re-applied, I began to feel drunk to the point of being sick. Without being noticed, I went to the toilet and put my fingers down the back of my throat. I purged like a pro.  Then I heard an echo.

‘You alright in there, Jess la? We’re going in a minute.’  It was the fat dumpy girl who now had a bun on the top of her head.

‘Woof this down la!’  She passed me a glass of water.  We re-joined the others and promised each other that that we’d all stick together, no matter what!

We staggered down the concrete steps, as one big girly gang. This was more like it!

It was late. Maybe 11.30pm.  Most of the restaurants were closing.  There was a huddle of African men packing up their sunglasses and wind-up toys.  They stared at us all as we walked by.  Late night drinkers were all around us, being harassed by touts who were begging them to go into their bars and clubs.   Gangs of local men were out calling to us wanting us to join them, or to kiss them, or to show them our tits. It was hilarious.

The girls in the gang were really friendly and loved stroking my hair.  It was as if they’d known me all their lives.  I wanted this magnetic, euphoric feeling of belonging to last forever.

That was until we went into Harley’s. Pierre practically jumped on me.  He begged me for information of the young Norwegian girl from Monday night.  When I told him that she’d left, his face dropped. We danced and gyrated on the floor but I couldn’t help but notice that I was being watched by the tall blonde hen. This made me feel a bit boastful.  Shimmying, I gyrated and ground my arse into him as my audience stood speechless.

‘Work it Jesse –work that bootie?’ The fat girl squealed.   But the tall blondes scowl, cast a shadow that caused a tornado of fear to bubble inside me. She bolstered up to her hen party and ordered fatty to ‘shut the fuck up.’  Wide eyed, my legs turned to jelly.  Next I saw blondey pointing and giving me evil stares.  A packed thrust of hate sped towards me from all of them.  I felt really threatened.  I tried to ignore them and carry on dancing but when I looked back, it was obvious – this was real!  I asked Pierre if he had noticed them.

‘She’s jealous. It happens all the time in here.’ He sniggered.

Those filthy looks were more than jealousy – even I knew that!    She had history with this man, and I was dancing with him.  My insides ground with fear.  I asked him if he knew her, he gave me a smug look and said he needed to dance with someone else.  Standing on my own, with banging nerves rising from my belly. I didn’t know what to do.  I saw the blonde coming towards me with a stretched jaw.   I pushed through the crowds, past the walkway and into the safety of the ladies toilets.

After I checked that I hadn’t been followed, I pee’d, then leaned over one of the grimy sinks and began to wash my hands.  A cubicle door opened and a long muscly arm reached over my shoulder and yanked at my hair.  Instead of freezing, like I had done with Collette and Fabio.  I swung for her with all my might.  Knocking the blonde back into the emptied cubicle. She landed skew whiff with her head banging on the toilet seat.  She slid down to the floor to where the toilet brush reigned over her.  I dived on top and started pummelling her face. She was wet with piss from the floor and was screaming some Scouse shit at me.  All I could see were her spiky eyelashes turning her face black as she wriggled underneath. Yanking at her hair, I pulled and pulled, but it wouldn’t come out.  There were hands everywhere, screams echoing around the walls.  Then my straps were ripped from my shoulders, I turned around and my gaze was met by two burly bouncers.

I grabbed hold of her black dress straps and tried to rip it off but the men lifted me up and pushed me out through the toilet door.  My freaking body hit the hot air inside the night club.  Bald, the bouncers pushed me through the swaying crowds and into the kitchens.  Some of the male dancers who leaned on the kitchen worktops, glared at me as they hurled me through the pre-opened fire door.  It slammed like a cell.  Then it opened again and someone hurled my wig at me.  I stared at the starlit sky.  The palm trees had turned black.

I grovelled around on the metal staircase with only a red fire door light for company.  My nerves wouldn’t stop jangling, I looked around to get my bearings.  A cold frost lay on me as the adrenaline began to simmer. I was saturated in piss and blood.  What the fuck had I just done?  Why had that girl attacked me?  Where was my handbag?  I couldn’t go back home now. I was shaking from head to toe.  What the crap was I going to do now? I began crying then remembered, my bag was in the toilets.

I banged and banged on the fire escape door.  No one came.  I curled up into a foetal ball, then started to whack it again with my heel. After a few minutes one of the dancers came out and asked me what I wanted.  He went back inside the bar and returned with my little black bag.  I thanked him but he didn’t want to listen.  He told me to naff off and never come near Harley’s – ever again!

Quickly, I ran down the metal steps and sped towards the taxi rank.  I was about twenty metres away when I heard the gang of girls coming after me.  They must have been chucked out too.   I began praying.  Just as I was about to reach for the taxi door.  Dube’s arm slid over mine.  He asked if I was ok. I looked into his soft brown eyes and said, ‘fight.’  He burled me into a taxi and we sped away. The pack of girls came to a halt but carried on shouting at the departing taxi. I stank.

The taxi went up the other side of the valley and started to wind around its narrow streets. I began to feel sick on the bendy roads and reached for the window.  Dube’ took my hand and told me that he would look after me.  It stopped at a patch of wasteland where a couple of tiny huts made out of pallets and metal cladding, stood.

I saw a campfire.  I recognised a couple of the men who were sitting around, toking on a bong. What the fuck was I doing here, this was worse than a squat?  How could I get away? Was I going to be gang raped and left for dead?

I looked around and all I could see was pallets, stars, and strings with crisped laundry hanging on them.  Dube’ told me that I was to sit by the fire. He found me a blanket and wrapped it around my shoulders.  Still drunk and shaking, I was too feared up to look away from the flames.  I could smell hashish.  I remembered my panicked recovery, seven years earlier as I sipped a warm cola and thanked God, that he’d come into my life.

At first Dube’ was talking in Africans to his friends – then slowly he began to list by my side.  As I watched the flames, a vision of Collette appeared. She should have got that kicking last night, not that Scouse girl.

How the hell was I going to get myself out of this mess?

Chapter Nine.

Dube’ listened intently as I gave him instructions as to where my belongings were in the apartment.  His friend was a cleaner in a large hotel in Playa de Ingles, five miles away. They had spare rooms, I would be safe there.   He set off in a battered grey van.  When he returned with the microwave and pans I pretended not to see. He handed me a carrier bag full of clothes and my blonde wig. He’d even managed to remember where Christopher was.

After showering under a barrel of water masked by a carpet on the side of a cliff, I slid into some cleaner clothes. There was three hundred and thirty two euros in my purse. I only had two days left.  I gave Dube’ one hundred for rescuing me. Humbly he tried to refuse but when I told him that I’d pinched Jerrod’s scratch card winnings and it wasn’t officially mine, he took it and promised to send it home to his family.

I asked if he thought Jerrod would forgive me.

‘Come back here for me if he can’t.’

‘But sir, you’re a married man’. I joked.

‘I’m a salesman.’

He escorted me to the bus station and instructed the bus driver on where to drop me.  I thanked him again for being my knight in shining armour and invited him to the new hotel but he declined saying he needed to work in Puerto. I waved through the tinted windows but he kept his eyes down and never looked back.

‘Hey lassie. What are ‘ya greeting at?’ A Newcastle accent chirruped in my ear, followed by a hand on my shoulder.

‘It’s got nothing to do with you?’ I snapped not knowing the speaker. As quick as flash, my brain told me it was that idiot with the sunbeds and the six euros. I wanted to curl up and die.

‘Still blonde then!’  He stated. ‘I could have sworn I saw you red headed, the other night in Harleys?’

‘Piss off.’ I spat.

‘Only being friendly lassie.’

‘Go and be friendly with your hand. Leave me alone.’ Crystal was back and wanted to scrape his eyes out. I yanked my bag from the seat and walked to the back of the bus. He watched from a lower level. I stared through the window for what seemed like an eternity, then we reached a built up town. Hundreds upon hundreds of hotels, shops and people meshed into one another.

The bus driver called out ‘Lady.’ I realised he was calling me. I hastily collected my belongings walked past that Geordie Dick and thanked the driver. He pointed at the hotel to my right. I walked down the stairs onto the sunlit pavement and watched the bus depart.

But to my left stood a familiar face.

‘You following me?’  He teased, from two metres away.

‘You’d be lucky.  Wouldn’t share mine with you, even if you were begging.’

‘Well, I’ll just sit here.’ He parked his backside on the wall ‘and watch you on your merry way, or are you going to charge me for sitting here?’ He jested.

‘I don’t charge!’ I cited.

‘Come on lady. I’m harmless. We’ve just got off on the wrong foot…Ian, Ian’s my name.’

‘Piss off Ian.’  I replied.

‘No, just Ian.’ He chuckled at his own joke. ‘I’m friendly honest?’

‘Ok, friendly Ian. I want to be alone! I don’t need a friend or puppy dog eyes. I need to be with myself?’ I made my voice sound calmer, I was five metres away from him then.

‘All right. What do they call you lassie?’

‘Please, Nice Ian.’  I sighed. ‘I don’t want any friends.’ He shook his head and righted himself off the wall and started to walk away. After a couple of steps, he began to swagger. I didn’t want to give him any clues as to my whereabouts. He whistled.  I turned then he tipped his baseball cap and hung his bottom lip and begged open handed.

‘Love me lady?’  I couldn’t help but laugh.

What was this all about? I asked above. Why couldn’t I be left alone, just for one day?

‘With those tits you’ll always have a man on his knees.’  My mind replied.

I saw the Oasis Hotel sign.  It was a huge hotel, spread out on a big patch of land. It had a long driveway sheltered by enormous Palm Trees.  The reception staff welcomed me and my large carrier bag full of clothes.

My room on the fifth floor overlooked the ocean. It had twin single beds with fresh clean towels fanned out, on top. Thick white cotton dressing gowns, in plastic covered packs sat on a bedroom chair. Inside the bathroom, there was a triple spa shower. This was the kind of luxury for Princess Kate, not me. But here I stood, pink and tanned, plastic wigged and for the first time in my life. My shoulders relaxed.

I stood inside my own personal car wash, relaxed on the clean linen bedding then made up my face until I appeared like a newer version of Samira. After five minutes on the balcony I was bored. Maybe I had been wrong dissing that Ian, maybe he was a nice guy and he’d caught me at a bad time, but yet again. Maybe I was the dick. Who did I think I was trying to be? I was a loner. Always had been and always will be. My brain started going into dark analysis mode, I decided I’d had enough time on my own and needed some company.

I walked in between the crowds in Playa de Ingles. Everyone around me had someone, a hand to hold, another to share a smile or a moan with. I had no one. I decided to phone April. But there was no reply. I tried Janice’s mobile, putting a 00 at the front of her number, but that didn’t connect. I walked into a bar and bought a Tequila Sunrise.  On my second cocktail, a group of pink vested Brighton chaps suckled alongside me on the barstools. Within moments they had introduced themselves as Jim and Gareth, a romantic couple of three and a half days.

Calvin was Jim’s brother and single. One drink later we had become lifelong friends. Calvin was desperate to know about my perfect hair, tits and teeth.  He knew they weren’t real, for crying out loud he was a hairdresser!  I played him at his own game telling him that they were eau naturelle but every so often, he would lean in and take another peek.  Twice, I told him to back off.

He asked why, I was in Playa de Ingles all alone?  I told him my partner hated flying.

He and I flirted outrageously.  There was no harm in it; he was gay.

‘You’re such a waste to the female race.’  I told him.

‘Have you looked around lately, and seen the competition?  That’d turn anybody queer!’

Meanwhile, the other two snogged the faces of each other as they luxuriated in each other’s crotches. No one seemed to care.

‘I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours?’ I joked as I sneaked a peek inside his shirt buttons.  By my forth cocktail I wanted to totally undress him.  Being gay didn’t seem to matter.  He grilled me with more questions about my home life and to his obvious delight, I confessed about the scratch card and my estranged family.

‘Wow, – you’ve got balls.’ He stated.

‘I’ve got boobs -not balls.  You’d fancy me then!’

‘I may be swayed!’

He took me into his arms and told me not to sulk. Then his snogging counterparts decided they had had enough and needed to get back to the hotel. Calvin invited me to go for a walk down the hillside to the beach and check out the talent. We linked arms and set off.  Half way down, I began to tease him about his Southern accent. The look he gave me told me to shut up but nerves made me carry on.

‘It’s not your fault you’re a Southerner and talk all la di da.’  I said.

‘And I’m not gay either.’  He snapped.

‘No. You touched my melons, you liar.’

‘You thought I was gay, so you let me Jessy, I’m as straight as a dye. I’m a hairdresser that’s all and I’m getting sick of the likes of you stereotyping me.’ He reached for my hand and yanked me round and round, until I was dizzy. When I squealed at him to stop, he lifted me and our faces met. His lips pushed on top of mine and his tongue probed deep between my teeth. His hands squeezed my back. Then someone shouted.

‘Get a room!’

Slowly he slid me down his length until my feet touched the ground. I looked up from below him and with my mouth firmly closed he told me to look the other way because he was going to fuck me in the alley. He slammed into me with even rougher kisses. I became wedged. I was trapped, I began to feel terror run through my veins. A deep chasm engulfed me. I was struggling to breathe.

It was like I was back in the shower cubicle with Steve at the gym.  I pulled myself away from Calvin’s clutches and screamed at him – to leave me alone. He looked at me as if he was about to be hit by a train. I bent over and tried to regain my breath then sprinted as hard as I could, back up the hillside.  Fear pulled hard at my tendons weighing down my drunken legs. After a few metres I could hardly get air into my lungs. I hid in a tiled alleyway that led towards more hotels and apartments. Still in the midst of a panic attack I looked down the hill. Calvin was leaning up against the wall, looking embarrassed as walkers stared at his red face. He saw me look, but just shook his head from side to side.

I followed the alleyway and turned right, up towards the town area. Took another left, then a right. I sat on a shaded step and leaned against a hotels sub-station. I could still feel his huge hands.  I could smell rape. It’d felt like it was Steve’s tongue that had just rammed my mouth. Huddled in that alley way and catching my breath, suddenly I vomited.

*

Remembering last year, I’d thought going to the gym was the answer to getting away from Jerrod. It was an escape route from the daily madness I lived in under his name calling and ugly ways. I’d needed to try something new. I decided perfecting my body image would kill off some of his labels and the ones I’d attached. My social worker – Grace, managed to get me a reduced daytime membership whilst the girls were in school and Jerrod was at work.

My three times a week soon became a daily event and my face became known with the regular’s users. Steve, a personal trainer watched me like a vulture. At the time, it excited me. But after a couple of weeks our personal training sessions coincided and we began to share the odd glare in the mirrors. He introduced himself and after a brief workout that day, we met in the changing area.

He was tanned and ripped, just like Calvin, but aloof. His Cockney accent had me giggling like a schoolgirl. He was probably aged around thirty. He said that he had moved up north, many years ago, to start a new life.  He had been a Royal Marine and managed to wangle his way into a job on the Fleetwood fishing boats. He had a partner and a young son who went to the same school as Hope.  Our short conversations was breathy and hungry; our behaviour was spontaneous and magnetic. Inside the changing rooms our moistened bodies found each other in seconds. Looking back it was so premeditated, but I didn’t guess at the time.  It was just seemed like a breath of fresh air.

The first time there was only one middle-aged man in the changing area and he had his headset on. He was busy clearing away his belongings and about ready to leave. Steve put his hand around the back of my waist, pulled me into him.  I felt his desire as my unwashed body was locked inside a cubicle.

Out of sight from the world our lips met and our hands raced each other as we began to rip each other’s gym clothes off. His hungry kisses awakened the drought in my groin, my nipples pulsated, but more than anything I needed to feel his mouth. I pushed into him begging him to take me. With my sweat vest out of the way, he raised the cup of my bra. His mouth was on my left nipple whilst his other hand cupped and squeezed my silicone insert tight. I began to fret, fearing it bursting, but a moment later his hands moved and grappled for my backside.  He slammed me up against the wall. Down the front of my panties his hand dived roughly, stopping under my crotch as his teeth latched on to my right nipple. I nearly screamed with painful pleasure.  Pulling my hair away to one side of my neck, he whispered.

‘Having fun?’ I shuddered from head to toe.

‘You’re a trembler.  I like … a trembler.’ He asserted.

‘Don’t stop.  I replied.

My crotch reached forwards in search of his manhood. He pressed it up against my lower abdomen, but I wanted to feel it inside my mouth. For a brief second I wriggled myself free of his needy hands and tried to gain some space.  He looked surprised and pushed me back again.  He told me he was in charge.  Roughly, I yanked my vest over my head; I undid the clasp on my bra as he slid out of his shorts and boxers. Wriggling them over his trainers, he wobbled and thumped himself into the wall. He winced with pain, and I revelled in being Crystal again.

He held my hands above my head and bit my nipple hard. It really hurt. I squirmed as he pinioned me back to the wall. I was too alarmed to move or call out.  My wanting got confused with sober dread.

‘You’re hurting me.’ I told him

‘You’ve asked for this.  Now you’re getting it.’ He looked right through me.

A bolt of terror ran up my spine but I wanted sex. I needed him to be fucked senseless. He was harmless, I told myself.  A gorgeous hunk who wanted me more than anything else in the world. I sought his mouth, and latched onto his shoulder, I suckled hard and filled my mouth with his skin. He pushed me back and told me not to mark him. Then he re-pinned me to the wall with his strong hands on my hips. I could not move or get away. Blood was rushing through my body, thrilling me. Part of me wanted to kick him and run, but we’d become Siamese. Everything about him was bad, raw and delicious and I couldn’t stop myself from claiming him as my own. He rammed his bulging shaft into me as his hips clamped me into the wall. His spare hand dived into my vulva and lunged at my wetness.

I heard his voice return and tell me that I was wet. I rotated my pelvis so his rock hard fingers found my centre.  Quickly I rocked as he probed them deep within. I let out a moan, but his hand covered my mouth. He yanked my panties down to my ankles then spun me around so my back was facing him. Again, I moaned as I tried to wriggle them over my trainers but quickly he told me that he was going to fuck me so hard, as a punishment for teasing him.  Wild sensational bubbles rippled all over my body whilst I relished in the power I had over him. I felt his stumpy thickness on the cheeks of my bum, as his knee separated my legs. Two of his fingers entered me making a path before I felt his girth follow through and crown me. His hand came back to my mouth as I ached with his flesh stretching, banging thrusts.  Hard – he pounded, whilst I was whimpered in ecstasy. I stood on tiptoes and backed onto him, hoping to relieve the pain; it worked.

He slapped my arse until I squealed with his third stinger and squeezed onto my left breast. I had to peel his hand off and tell him to be gentle, by then he’d was shuddering and was clutching me so hard. I felt him explode deep inside. Withdrawing straight away he pushed my quivering body to one side.  No sooner had I moved towards him for some compassion to finish things off, but he was stood in front of me, bending over and yanking his gym shorts back up. My backside stung as his sperm drizzled down my inner thigh.  He smiled and said,

‘That was nice,’ and left me alone in the cubicle.

My mind was a blur of adrenaline, euphoria and unrequited orgasm. I replayed the whole interaction, over and over in my mind as I stood under the shower replacing his hands with my own.  As the waters ran away I was in such a confused state of mind. I reasoned that I’d had a great tantric fuck this afternoon.

The following Tuesday, Steve and I were back at the gym together, glaring at each other in the mirrors. He had such a wicked glint in his eye. He beckoned me over to the weight lifting area. I tried to ignore him as I kept my pace on the treadmill.

Silently, I decided to keep myself to myself and turned up my iPod.  I tried to blank out his eyes but it was like he was a hoover, sucking me in, making me want him. When he was working out on the heavier weights, I made a quick exit down the corridor towards the changing rooms. It was deserted.  Then I overheard one lady singing to herself in the distance.  I put my key into my locker door; opened it and bundled my collection of clothes to my chest. I turned to face an empty cubicle but was blocked by Steve and his sweat covered torso.

‘You showering today?’ He asked.

‘No, I need to rush, get my girls and the shopping.’ Instantaneously bubbles of naughtiness began to froth inside my tummy. He placed one hand on the locker behind me so his forearm was leaning on top of mine. His heavy breath warmed my rosy cheeks as his gentle finger traced soft lines over the outline of my jaw. My tongue elongated and tried to lick his finger as his hip bones massaged my garden. I was intoxicated.

‘I missed you.’ He whispered. ‘You are so fucking… horny.’  His fingers began tickling me below. I could feel myself moisten and swell. ‘Want Stevie boy to show you what he’s got for you?’ He pushed my hand down over his girth. I couldn’t help myself from rubbing it up and down. Ripened like a moist fig he stopped my breathing with his lips. For a moment I gagged.  I coughed then turned back to clasp onto his mouth with mine. It felt good because he needed me. He desired me. Our hips joined in to a dirty dance.  He held onto me much tighter then fed me into a changing cubicle.  Overpowering me he lifted me up and kicked my clothing in as well. I glared wide-eyed at the man who was about to take me.

‘I don’t think this is right in here Steve,’ I voiced intrepidly. ‘We should go somewhere else!’ He just turned and locked the door shut.

‘It’s all right. I’ve got friends. No one will come.’ A shock of disgust skewered me on the back of my throat, I gagged and wanted to reply, but no words came. His large left hand clasped my neck and moved my head towards his then his mouth gripped mine.  His tongue pushed hard, filling my mouth. Then his head went to my gym vest and he bit onto my erect nipple through the material. I wanted to reverse but decided I had to surrender and get this over and done with, as quick as possible.

His other hand tore my gym-shorts free.  They slide down my sweaty body. His mouth moved back to my breasts and he bit hard then he pulled them long with his teeth. Painful, yet the sting transcended into my clitoris. With my hands on his shoulders, he yanked at his shorts and pulled them down at the front. His pounding erection was exposed and aimed at me. I was turned around and made to bend over onto all fours.  A hand covered my mouth as his cock thundered into my tight mound. The pain was excruciating. I bit hard onto the fleshy part of his hand, it turned into a fist. I longed to free myself to beg him to lubricate the area more and to give me a fucking chance to enjoy it. But, I couldn’t.  I was clamped like a mating cat, into the best position to be ridden. Within seconds he exploded within me, slapped my arse and said,

‘Quick, get yourself together.’ Then he was gone.

He left an air of shame all over me. I felt like an electrified patient, rousing back to reality.  Alone, I wanted my mum to come and rescue me! As I scrunched my knees in tight, I began rocking on the bench. Tears travelled down the fronts of my legs. A young mum from the school fiddled with her locker key in front of me. I bargained with God, not to let her see me. But she did. Her eyebrows were set in a frown.

‘You alright?’ She asked.  From somewhere I found a smile.

‘Yeah, exhausted, think I’ve done too much today.’

‘Me – never.’ She joked. ‘I hate the gym, I just like the coffee and not to mention, watching the men!’  She grabbed her things and went into the cubicle next to mine. As the plastic door slammed into place, the nerves in my teeth stood on end.  Slowly I managed to pull myself together, get out of the building and put some distance between Steve and me. I arrived outside the school gates – early.  April was there, her questioning smile begged me to spill the beans.

‘Ha – ha.  Have you been checking out the talent at the gym Hen?’ She grinned at me like a cow. ‘Wanna talk to your old Aunty April?’ I tried to reflect her smile back, but even with great bravado, I could only give her a lip chew.

‘Cor, that face could tell a million tales!’   She winked.  If only she knew!!

Even though I knew that what had happened in the changing rooms was wrong and that there was a 99% chance that I had been raped again that day, there was that 1% of me which had really enjoyed it. I told myself it was safely erotic as it kept flashing back at me.

The following Tuesday I had to pray for the guts to go back to the gym. Steve was not anywhere to be seen. I secretly wanted him to be, but I was a bit miffed that he wasn’t. My workout dragged. Sluggishly I traversed to the changing room. I collected my belongings, placed them on the bench with my towel and shower gel, went back to the shower area and found an empty cubicle. I turned to slide the lock shut but the door opened on its own. I pushed it back but it was being pushed from the other side. Steve’s thick hand connected with mine.  He was dressed in a dark pinstriped suit.  He was breath-takingly handsome. I wanted to tell him to go away but I was trapped with his hand clasped over my face.  His hungry eyes bored mine. I stood rigid.

‘You’re not pleased to see me, Sammy?’ He released his hand and carried on looking longingly at me.

‘I don’t want this?’ I stuttered.

He locked the door behind him. ‘Shush, you know you love it.  I know you do.’

I wanted to spit in his face as his teeth bit and his tongue probed deep into my mouth. Inside my head, my inner voice was screaming, I don’t want this!  His hands found my petals and he swirled my clitoris with his skilled fingers. My body bent into his as he tore my top off then I curled my finger up to his nose.

‘Ok, let’s get this over and done with!’ His eyes sparkled at my disgust in him.  He clenched my breasts hard and ripped my bra above them. I wobbled by accident and pressed the shower control button on the wall, it spurted out at us. He quickly undid his jacket and flung it over the dry wall, his shirt became translucent, and his pectoral muscles glistened. I grasped his muscles and tried my darnedest to undo the buttons. I wanted to feel his chest on mine, yet my nails became hurdles to my wantonness. He moved in towards me and uncovered his throbbing dorsal vein. Still holding onto my breasts he gruffly pushed my head down towards his groin.

In the rush of water, I bent over and took him into my mouth. He sighed with relief as he slowly began to fuck my face. His hand pulled my hair to one side. He enjoyed watched every mouthful I took. My hands travelled to my groin and I began to finger myself. He watched as I rubbed and twirled under his power. His grasp on my head was tight as he pulsated deeper into my mouth. I wretched as I gagged for air. He withdrew and released me. The water was still lashing over us. My gym shorts had now stuck to me as if vacuumed. I peeled myself free and chest-to-chest, he rode me up against the wall as I fought for air.

A deep voice came from outside. ‘Anyone in there?’

‘Yeah, mate, what you want?” Steve replied.

‘Everything alright?’

‘Yeah mate.’  Steve answered.

‘Alright mate!’ Echoed the attendant.

As there were only two legs visible from under the shower cubicle, the attendant must have thought Steve was alone and left, pronto.  Steve, pulled his wet trousers up onto his waist and buckled himself in.  As I rushed to the changing area, I could hear the hum of the hand dryers where he stood drying his suit. I couldn’t stop chuckling to myself.

It took me ages to get myself back together before walking past him with his creased white rag of a shirt blowing.

‘You alright, Steve?’ I asked.

‘Yeah, got a bit wet in the shower,’ he smiled as if it was the first time he had seen me that day.  I left the gym feeling elated, sexy and free. For once, it wasn’t rape.  I’d been in charge!

I was looking really healthy, said April before she begged me for saucy details, but I could never have told her that things had gone this far.   It was so confusing. All I knew was that once a week, I was having sex with someone who enjoyed being with me.  It wasn’t a chore and it made me feel like a woman.  Good or bad, his cock became my drug of choice.

As the weeks went by, I was convinced that Steve was at this all the time. I began to guess that all the attendants were in on it, too. They had never blinked an eye at us when we went into the shower blocks separately and used the same shower. One day I was passing through the turnstile in the reception area and the Manager called me over.

‘Please Miss, may I have a word?’ I looked around, but there was no one else there. I smiled, followed him behind the counter and took a seat opposite, in his office.  From under my false eyelashes, I recognised him.  He gave me that evil, cockroach under a plate, look. My heart shook.

‘I will say this once and once only. I know your type.’ I sat up tall in my seat.

‘To put it bluntly – you are not welcome anymore in this establishment. Don’t you ever cross the doorway of MY leisure centre ever again? OR I… I will report you’re…Ur… Ur… soliciting to the police!’ He stood up and ushered me out of his office and watched me through the glass window with his hands on his hips. I left the building furious.  Sitting outside in my car, I watched Steve walk past swinging his gym bag without a care in the world. Then terror gripped, because I would have to explain to Grace why I couldn’t go to the gym anymore.  In my lap my phone began ringing. It was April asking a favour.

Chapter Ten

When I dropped Lucy at their front door; April’s eyes bulged at the sight of my white face. She plied me with coffee until I opened up. When I had finished reeling off my fitness regime story, she was horrified.  Eventually when words formulated she told me I had to go to the police. She told me that what I’d been having wasn’t consenting sex; it was aggravated assault. I argued, that it was amazing, exhilarating, mind blowing. She put her hands over her ears.
‘Honey, call it what you want, but if I was you, I would be phoning the police, not phoning a friend – or even asking the audience!’ I tried to laugh alongside her, but she knew all too well that I was vulnerable. She gave me an ultimatum.‘Leave Jerrod and find a new man or tell him how starved of affection, he makes you feel?’
**When Jerrod came home he looked at me all suspicious and asked, if I had been crying. I couldn’t hold back any longer.  He propped himself up against a wall just like that saddo, Calvin, in the alleyway, as I began to stammer.  Then he said he was hungry but I told him, I needed to chat now or I was going to ask him to leave.  Sarcastically, he bowed as I told him, I was at my wits end and that I couldn’t live in such a toxic relationship.‘Do we have to do this now?  It’s not toxic.  Let me eat first?’
‘You’re always calling me names, belittling me every chance you get.  Starving me of money or affection.  I’m your prisoner Jerrod.’‘I’ve paid for you.’  He snapped.I went for him with my nails, but as I got close a smell of perfume and sex wafted up my nose.‘You bastard, you’ve been out there again, haven’t you?’ He pushed my fists away. ‘Prostitutes?’  I yelled.
‘My business’ He growled.  ‘What do you want from me?’‘To stop being such  …. We’re a family and we need to be there for each other, not at war all the time.’
‘Ok, I won’t go back anymore.’
‘So, just like that.  You’re not even going to apologise then?’‘I have nothing to apologise for.’‘Oh yes you have you bastard, for years and years of using me, lying to me, ruining everything, I have ever tried to achieve.’‘You don’t need to destroy anything, you do all right on your own. You think you know it all but you just don’t know anything Samira.’‘Know what Tuntface?’‘You don’t know anything about me?’‘I know everything and more.’‘No you don’t.’  He began swelling up, tears filled his eyes.  His face reddened and he dropped his chin.‘So what are you going to tell me now Jerrod.  That you are some kind of super hero.’‘No Mouth Piece.  That I’m……………I’m.’‘Spit it out Gob shite.’‘I’m a murderer.’  He confessed.‘Oh yeah and I am royalty, Jerrod.’‘Listen…..sit and listen.’ I told him to stand still and listen to me; that this discussion was about me, not him. He began to blubber as words fell from him like black raindrops. ‘Sorry, Samira. Sorry, I can’t show you that I love you. Sorry for everything.’ He clutched his ankles and curled into a ball on the sofa. I waited for more but he just told me to go and put the kettle on. I lit up a cigarette.  He shouted at me for smoking inside the house.
‘Once, Jerrod. Once. It won’t kill anyone.’‘We promised, we’d do everything to protect the children.’My voice was gruff. ‘We are Jerrod, that’s why I’m going to listen to you first, now spill.’
‘Well us two breaking up, isn’t going to do us any good.  I know that?’ He dragged Hope and Tia by their wrists and shooed them into their bedroom to play. As they jangled with their dolls and toys, I was swollen with my dirty secrets but instead of confessing I sat shtum and listened. His throat was dry and his voice vulnerable.
‘When we had first met, I lied to you.  He began I told you I was an only child.’*** He’d once had a brother and he’d died. His name was Ade and they had the same age difference between them as Hope and Tia. When they were seven and eight, Ade and Jerrod lived on a ranch in Nigeria with their mother. His father had died fighting to save their land when he was five.  He said he didn’t want to talk about that, but wanted to talk about Ade. They were the best of friends, always getting into no end of trouble. Climbing trees, digging holes, raiding neighbour’s gardens, even teasing the dogs and cats in his mother’s kennels. They loved hanging off trees, building make shift ramps and ramming their bikes over them.  Every now and then their mother would allow them to build a supervised bonfire at night, which either turned into a barbecue or a nightly beating before bedtime.In the bedroom our girls were getting fractious. I told him to hurry up.  His face froze, he was too upset to face them. I told him that just this once, I would go and put the girls to sleep, and then come back. He told me he was too upset to face them.In their room the girls asked why Daddy wasn’t putting them to bed.  They didn’t like me putting them to sleep because I told stupid stories.
‘Well tough,’ I said. ‘Daddy’s having a night off and telling me a story instead.’  I left them to cry themselves to sleep, Jerrod didn’t laugh.He just passed me another coffee and began his story again.**One day they had been playing in the tree house out-back, swinging like baboons off the Pon Tree. The harvest crops had been ploughed and everyone was in a holiday mood. Their Ma was busy in the cattery, feeding the kittens that wouldn’t latch onto their mothers.  Ade had sneaked into the house and stole a box of matches. High on adrenaline they thought they’d got the biggest secret in the world.  Ade decided that he would build a bonfire and Ma wouldn’t see it for ages.  Before long, they were down to their last few matches. Jerrod had an idea. There was a bottle of firelighter in the garage.  He’d seen his mother make amazing fires with that.They collected some dried hay and paper.  When the firelighter got on it, it was supposed to roar into life. But when Jerrod saw the bottle, it had all evaporated. Not leaving empty-handed, he found some aerosol cans of paint. Jerrod and Ade lobbed them onto the little fire. Some fizzed but some exploded and whirred like rockets, banging and flying high. His face opened up with wonder as he remembered jumping and screaming with delight.  Then he got serious and glared through the wall of our house.  Ma had shouted out of the barred window to stop fooling around. Ade had gone to get more cans, but came back with their father’s old petrol canister instead. He threw it onto the weakening flames.  Caboom!
‘We have lift off!’  He’d shouted and they were his last words.  For the petrol, touched the flames and a flash of fire surrounded Ade. It covered his hair – his clothes – and his face. He let out a loud piercing scream and Ma came running out shouting.’Roll him!  Roll him.’Jerrod bit into his knuckles as he continued talking.
Ade ran round in circles, shrieking. He was engulfed in flames, gurgling pain.  Jerrod just stood and watched. He said he could hear his mother’s voice reverberating in his ears, but couldn’t move. Eventually her words made sense, and he dived on top of Ade and pushed him to the ground. He rolled and rolled him on the grass, until the red flames turned into thick black smoke.  Jerrod watched as Ade’s skin bubbled into watery blisters. Then Ade’s charred body lay still on top of the sooty earth.  His mother’s glued back face screamed out to God to help. Jerrod was sent to get the fire bucket and emptied the water all over Ade but Ade’s eyes were fixated on the sun.Jerrod and his Ma watched as Ade’s breathing began to fade.  He ran off and returned with a second bucket of water by then his  Ma was lifting his brother’s charred body like a half emptied sack of grain up to the sun. She gave him the kiss of life in between howls, but it didn’t work. Nothing could force life back into him. Ade died in her arms.  Jerrod knew it was all his fault.  He finished, stating that he would never forgive himself and explained that ever since then, he had never got close to anyone. Never trusted, liked or loved anyone.
‘Even the girls,’ he admitted. He said, he knew how to be kind, but no one could ever penetrate the reinforced wall that he had built around his heart. He apologised again.‘I know I switched off and I need to switch my heart back on again, especially now I’m losing you. You are the only thing that really matters.’  I was aghast, I couldn’t help myself.‘You’ve got a funny way of showing it!  You’ve never loved me Jerrod Ibori.  You’ve used me like all the other hookers you’ve been with?’‘I’m so sorry.  I need you. I need you and the girls.’‘Actions speak louder than words.’  I stated firmly.‘Hell Samira.  How?  How can I change?  It’s hell inside my head.’‘I don’t know, counselling. How am I to know? I’m not the right person to ask. A few hours ago, I couldn’t stand you…… Bereavement counselling maybe. You need help Jerrod.  So do I………. I can’t feel love either?’‘Why?’ I told him that my mother had sold me into prostitution at the age of twelve and he’d thought all this time that I’d chosen to be a hooker.**Back in Playa de Ingles in the late afternoon’s sun, I got a glimpse of myself squatted at the hotels sub generator. I needed to take those horrible memories and get my arse moving out of here before trouble found me.  My head was throbbing. I needed to lie down. In fact I needed to find out where the hell I was?
Chapter Eleven.

My woozy eyes refocused. I tried to zoom in between the darkness and the clutter in what used to be ‘a beautiful hotel room.’ I couldn’t stop myself from rubbing my eyes. I was like Tia the week before. In the distance I heard that stupid tune – Hey Macarena. As I furniture surfed my way into the bathroom, guilt yapped at my heart again. Cursed, I shouted at what looked like my mother in the smog of the mirror.‘What have I done to deserve this? Tia hadn’t felt as awful as this had she mother?’
Laughter and squealing from the disco below boomed up into my room. I splashed handfuls of water at my eyes but the pain didn’t soothe.
‘Of course it hurt her,’ the voice in my head whispered, ‘she has feelings too.’ Was that my dead mother’s voice?‘Well why didn’t I Mother?  Why didn’t you see my pain?  You sold me to that dirty old pimp.  That was painful, so fucking painful.’ She disappeared. Padding my eyes with wet toilet roll, I went over to the balcony. Through the shadows below I could make out mothers and children twirling and dancing. Swan like shadows synchronised, forming matching lines and twirling mirrored hands to that stupid bloody tune.
‘Why wasn’t it like this for me Mother when I was young?’  I shouted out. ‘You and I dancing and playing? Why isn’t it like this for me with my kids?’ The sky seemed to bounce my words around the hotels balconies.
‘See this is how mother‘s act – like them.  Look – this is fucking motherhood. You fucking old bag. You never wanted me, you sold me out and stopped me loving my own. You were a fucking whore of a drunk. I was just whisky money for you. You hear me.’  My voice echoed. ‘You fucking sleeping bag mouth.  Listen.  My fucking eyes are killing me and you are nowhere?   My life is screwed to fuck, because of you. Everything today is because of you. You’re still poisoning my mind and it’s poisoning my fucking kids too. You hear me!’  I hollered and slammed the plastic patio chairs into their table.A chair shuffled on the balcony above mine. My mind turned from black to red and I stared at the handrail.   For the briefest of seconds, I considered jumping, but turned and ran indoors, slamming the balcony doors behind me. As my heart slowed from the adrenaline, I slid into my flip-flops, grabbed my bag and bolted out of the hotel. My steps began to slow and my internal dialogue began again. I sat down on a wall and carried on this conversation.
This is how I should be with my kids. Doing the Macarena. Not me over here – and them in another country.  I saw myself back home slobbering on the sofa, passing them off to Jerrod like a joint.  Keeping them at arm’s length whilst Jerrod did the cooking, story times, bath times and appeared to everyone, as if he was a reincarnated God. As clear as day, I was outside myself. I was the mirror image of my dead mother – avoidant, keeping everyone at arm’s length, defending myself from imagined enemies. The more honest I dug within myself, the heavier the dark weight inside me, became. The eye itching intensified, but I needed to stay in this moment and see myself as others did.In Fleetwood I was a drunk, lethargic woman who lived in a deep paranoid world. I lived to feel sorry for myself.  I was a vulnerable child in a woman’s body. I behaved like a foster mother, present, yet disconnected.
Right there and then, I knew I had to grow up. I had to be the one who made changes when I went home. I decided I was going to be an all dancing, all talking Macarena Mummy. I would go back to AA meetings. I would unblock this bastard heart. Tia’s whimpering image came into my mind’s eye and a grey pin stripped suit came into my present view. I bowed my head.It was the man I’d seen from my hotel.  He chewed his lip smugly and nodded as he walked by singing to himself. He reminded me a lot of David. I waited till he was a hundred metres away then weaved my way through the streets to find a chemist. Tia’s cherubic face consumed me as I searched. Nearly an hour later, a chemist gave me eye drops and diagnosed me with conjunctivitis.  Avoiding the touts, crowds and bars, I made my way back to my room. Inside I picked up the white telephone by the side of my bed and spoke to April.  It was good to hear her cheery voice yodel in my ear. She told me that Jerrod had taken the girls to Tenerife for a week. She’d done a drive-by on the house, and everything looked ok. Destiny Jenkins had returned to school and there were rumours that Hope was going to be moved into another classroom when she returned. She said that she missed me and asked if I was ok. I told her about the island, the people and that I had a lot of thinking going through my head. She offered me a lift from the airport, but I said I’d make my own way back.
I’d thought about visiting Janice on my way through Manchester because I needed a push and an escort to go back to N.A. or AA. But what if I met her precious Pete? Jerrod had told me, that he’d thought I was a drunk. Just then, heavy footsteps trod over my gut as a realisation jumped within. Maybe it wasn’t my neighbour who had told tales to Pete.  Maybe it was Janice?
As my tummy grumbled, I looked outside and it was getting dark. It was probably dinnertime. I showered, medicated and made my way to the lift.It stopped and I entered. I pressed the already lit ‘G’ spotted button. Inside there was that guy I’d seen earlier wearing the grey suit? He looked casual in his long shorts and white V necked t-shirt. I smiled – he blushed. As the lift descended I smelt his aftershave, and the more like David – he became. Ok, a bit older but similar. I flicked my ruby red behind my right ear and looked him in the eye. I wanted to tell him that he had a double and touch the V around his tanned chest. I wanted to turn away, but then I wanted to take another look. I turned my back and faced the door. Watching him slyly in the lifts silver coating I saw his eyes holding me, begging me to turn. The lift pinged.
He came alongside me and whispered one word, ‘Cigarette?’
I shook my head and faced the restaurant sign not daring to look back.  I tiptoed over the marbled flooring feeling his ravenous eyes on my butt. My mound was pulsing with desire and tickling pinpricks ran up and down my spine. But when I did a ten-metre check back, he was gone.  Should I have gone for a cigarette with him?
I’d done that once with Jerrod on the same night I had met David.  For it had only taken two operations and six years for Jerrod to take me out for dinner.  No not for dinner, but to show off his super embossed ego, as he paraded me on his arm.  However, between the prawn cocktail and the main course, I went outside for a cigarette.As I rustled around in my bottomless handbag, a pair of shiny black brogues came into view. Then a cigarette appeared, followed by a flame. Defensively, I pulled my long hair back away from its warmth.’Sorry. Hello, I’m David.’ I took in his musky scent. He pushed the cigarette in his hand towards me. I took it between my long gold painted fingernails and looked back up into his gentle grey/blue eyes. Without causing a fire, he fed me his flame. I couldn’t look away, he was stunning. He held me in his gaze and smiled then led me under the shelters roof.’I haven’t been able to take my eyes off you all night.’ He said, I blushed then wiggled in my midnight blue cocktail dress. He rambled on, as I drew deeply on the cigarette. He was an IT consultant based in Brighton and was on a business dinner.  He was working in the North of England for just a few weeks. As he chatted, I started to want to get closer to him. He handed me a business card and asked me to give him a call.  Then stumped out his cigarette and leaned into me, to ask me a question.‘Excuse me for being blunt, but I have to ask?’ I knew what he was going to ask, are your tits false?
‘What the hell are you doing with that walrus?’ A huge gasp exploded from me.  He looked shocked. ‘Have I offended you?’ I shook my head. ‘What’s that clown got, that I haven’t?’ I couldn’t stop giggling. Unable to answer, he walked back indoors and left me with that thought. I decided to finish my cigarette and hid his card at the bottom of my bag.  I returned to Jerrod’s black smile. Millions of sexy thoughts came into my mind as I looked through Jerrod to David.
‘Where the fuck have you been?  You’ve been gone ages!’  Whispering, I told him to shut up and not ruin tonight.  ‘Tell me, about your work Jerrod?’
Wittering on, he lost all sense of place and time. The main course arrived and as he scoffed on his pizza, I glistened my lip-gloss with my tongue and stared secretly over to David. I wanted to overtake Jerrod’s gabbling mouth and pass right through him but the more I looked the more David’s words were confirmed. Jerrod did look like a walrus and as he spoke, his lips seemed to travel along invisible waves; he was so futilely engrossed in his own conversation, he didn’t even notice he was amongst enemy fire.
At that time my life with Jerrod was an act. I tried – I tried really hard – to like him and act as if we were the ‘happy couple’ but I wanted more. I longed for passion and orgasms. After my boobs healed I was feeling really feminine. I wanted to show myself off to someone, to anyone. Someone that appreciated me. I wanted to feel someone else’s kiss on my smile. I wanted to sing and to dance. It was that bad, I even thought about paying for a male escort.Sex with Jerrod was cringe worthy ugly. He reminded me of the streets. I wanted to feel like a princess not a hooker. I still had David’s card in my bag and twiddled it every day. I began to fantasise about what he would look like naked. I imagined being up close to him, rubbing my naked breasts against his firm bare chest. His eyes wanting mine: being desired. I wouldn’t be cheating.  I just needed to be needed, I needed some love. I wanted to meet David. I became obsessed.  All I could think about was him and having him.
I tried to distract myself with housework, laundry and submerging myself in making friends on Facebook. But nothing could distract me from David’s image imprinted on my heart. One day I posted a photo that we’d taken that night of the restaurant in my cocktail dress on Facebook.  I got six ‘likes’.When Jerrod came home from work I was bursting to tell him about what had happened.  But as always, his news was more important. Edinburgh was having IT problems and he had been asked to go up there for a few days to sort them out. He had to leave that night. I did my amateur dramatics bit, staring at him like he was an elephant in the Co-op.
‘Go.’ I said. ‘Don’t worry about us. I will cope.’  Inside I was fluttering with scarlet red wings. ‘I’ve got April to help, if needs be.”They could send someone else Samira?”Go!’No sooner had his car turned the corner, my fingers were tapping in David’s phone number.
‘Hi – guess who?”Umm.”Samira. We met at the restaurant two weeks ago?’ I jabbered.’Wow, Samira, how? Is you? Wow!”Good, You?”Me too.”Would you like to meet for a coffee David? Maybe tomorrow?’ I asked nervously.’How about a glass of wine tonight?’
‘No, it will have to be during the day… whilst my girls are in school’ I colluded.’Ok. I can be free around 1pm. Is that any good?”That’ll be amazing!’
I found myself kneading my tingling breasts for the first time in years. My popping ears and tight neck yearned for more. I tossed all night as I planned my movements. I had to be careful.  I couldn’t afford to cock up.  At twelve thirty pm, I parked a few metres away from his hotel, in Aldi’s car park. After checking my blusher and rouging my lips, I smoothed up my stockings and walked calmly, breasts first, through the rich mahogany doors of his hotel.He was waiting by the bar and without asking had ordered me a large glass of Pinot Grigio Blush. As the pink liquid bubbled inside my mouth, my nerves began to calm. He moved in closer to me, our fingers touched. He kissed me on either side of my cheeks – I smelt Joop. He looked longingly into my eyes and mine locked onto his as we made small talk.  He took sly glances at my bronzed breasts.  The air was magnetic.
‘Do you want to take your drink somewhere private?’ He asked looking towards the lift.As the lift doors closed, he pulled me in towards him. I could see our reflections in the mirrors briefly before his lips touched mine. His wine-coated tongue entered my mouth. I took a step back to rebalance in the centre of the lift. He leaned into me with his firm body and pressed himself into my black-laced groin.  Then bent his knees and lifted me higher up the wall, as the lift vibrated in its shaft. We suckled onto each other.Elevated, our lips wrestled each other’s. His tongue probed my mouth and I sucked at it, in tight clenches. I wanted this man, all of him. He held me tight as my breasts pushed up against his chest. He rotated his groin into my body. I curled my legs around his waist and clung onto him for dear life.  The elevator bell pinged. The doors opened. We had reached the second floor. Carrying me out of the lift he headed towards his bedroom door. I saw the chambermaid hide behind her trolley of cleaning products and blush as she watched us rush.  His magnetic key card unlocked the door and he fed me in through the doorway. I was carried over to the four poster bed and gently placed me on its white cotton duvet cover.His hands travelled all over my body, stopping and grasping at my breasts. I was tingling from head to toe as he gripped me firmly over my dress and bit lightly over my bra and nipples. My body arched and bucked, urging him on. I yearned for more of him. I was desperate for him to take off my dress and touch my skin. I wanted to take it off myself, but his firm hands stopped me. I was beginning to hunger under his touch. He was a master, a professional.  Then his hands travelled down to my knees and dress hem. I bent my knees up high to meet his roaming hand. His fingers slipped inside my dress and I glowed as he stroked the gap between the top of my stockings and my panties.  He pinged the elastic strap of the black suspender belt then spoke.’Stockings – Delicious!’ He returned to my breasts and started to knead them, they swelled in approval. My hands tried to feel other parts of his body, but he was overwhelmingly masterful, he pushed me away. His fingers pulled at the sides of my panties and my hips rotated as he kissed my moist rose. Not once did his fingers enter me as I arched to receive him.  His body levitated above mine as he pulled my dress above my panty line.  He stayed outside.
I felt his head move down towards my tummy.  His hands sought out my hips.  Yet again he nuzzled at my panties.  He pushed them to one side then his tongue found my garden. I squirmed with delight as it flicked. My hands travelled to my breasts. I was dying to get out of the dress and to strip but he was in charge. His tongue lashed at my bud and I responded by bucking my pelvis to meet his stroke. He slipped his tongue from top to bottom and I rocked with need. Throbbing and trembling, my legs began to shake. I felt his manhood with my stockinged toes. He was warm, firm and hard. It was becoming unbearable to hold myself back.
He crawled back onto all fours and began to remove his shirt and tie. I sat up on my elbows, heart palpitating, as I watched. Panting, my hands reached for his buttons revealing a fine covering of light hair over his suntanned pecks. I fingered his belt. ‘You work out?’ I questioned. He nodded but he didn’t want to talk!  My nails mounted his belt as again I felt his probing manhood. I fumbled at his buttons but he stopped me in my tracks and undid them himself. I was gagging to see him naked, to taste him in my mouth, to be naked alongside him.  Slowly he undressed himself. Standing erect at the end of the bed he shuffled from foot to foot.  His trousers rolled down to his feet. Unlike Jerrod, he crawled out of his socks.I lay on the bed with my dress up and over my waist, covering my chest, exposing a black silk G-string and trimmings.  His sleek tanned arms and rib cage made me growl with need. I needed to hold onto him and to be held by him, I needed to be pressed against him and fucked by him. I needed more. Every ounce of my being was crushing me. Waiting, waiting.
Slowly, he crawled back onto the bed and lay against me. I arched into him but he held back. Skin to skin, my soul begged him to love me, but his sparkly eyes told me that he was loving this tease.
‘I’ve dreamed about you, Samira.’I lay there in silence, starving. He moved towards me and kissed me gently, then began covering my face and neck with a gentle stroke of his fingers. He lifted up my hair and licked at my warm sweat.’You are delectable – I want to taste every part of your body. I want to lick you, to remember you.’ My hands went to undo the zip on the side of my dress. He stopped me again.‘I want to savour every millisecond around you!’  I specified. Every part of my body wants you.  Do you know that?  David, I’m a female erection here, hurry up man.’
His hand travelled to my zip.  Slowly he pulled the zipper down. Relieved for just a moment he started to take his time again. I started to feel like I was going to squeal with frustration.  I began to think, if I don’t kiss him back, he will hurry up and do me quickly. For a brief second I regressed to my old self.  Defiantly I switched off that shit in my head and began playing his game.  He repositioned my body to sitting, then lifted my arms above my head.  Slowly he pulled my dress up and over. My hands clamped the sides of his face. He removed them and gently relaxed,
‘I want to look at you. Get up so I can see all of you?’ A loud gasp of frustration left my lungs.  He pushed me away.I’d never felt such vulnerable sensations ever. He rolled onto his side and rested his head onto his elbow.  I righted myself to standing. I flicked my hair back over my shoulder and stared glassy eyed.  I felt beautiful but embarrassed.
The voice came into my head.  ‘He’s savouring you.’
David interrupted my internal conversation.  He moved off the bed and came to stand. Hair to hair, he peeled back my bra and held onto my breasts with his fingers and lips. He kissed from one breast to the other. I kissed the top of his spikey hair. His roaming hands went over my back and tummy and fiddled with my panties. Again, he pulled them to one side, but this time he inserted his fingers, deep, up inside me. I stood on tiptoe and rocked. His hard manhood was begging to be held. I rolled it between my fingers and stroked its length.’Uum,’ he moaned between kisses as he held me tighter, lifted and carried me over to the awaiting bed. Above me he pulled my panties to one side as he fed his hard shaft inside.  Time stopped moving as I clenched onto him. Slowly he pulled back and re-inserted himself, deeper, slower. I heard him groaning with pleasure then he began to pound me deeper and deeper. My legs shimmied and tightened around him. He bore down on me as his hands reached for my breasts, pinching my nipples and licking them long. In silence we were caught in the rhythm of our bodies moving. I responded to his thrust, meeting him half way. Sweat was building up between our bodies. My hands searched every inch of him, finally resting and clenching on his pert bottom. I bucked higher to go deeper. Clinging to each other, my body swelled from the inside, gripping his manhood deep, thundering up: Boom-boom-boom. Higher and higher. Boom-boom-boom.  Raw, we exploded into the same incredible orgasm as our bodies became one.

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