Authors: Nicola Marsh
“What did you have in mind?”
“How about a ferry ride across to Manly? We could get a bite to eat, go for a stroll, whatever…”
entailed more of that amazing kissing he was so good at, I knew it was time to ditch Chandler & Co. for tonight. “Fine. Where shall I meet you?"
“I’ll come past your place and pick you up around nine?”
? I was in bed by nine on a Sunday. Like anyone under twenty-five, he believed the evening started around midnight.
I couldn’t say no; he’d think I was even more ancient than I felt.
“Sure, though how about I meet you at Circular Quay?”
I didn’t like guys seeing my place, at least until after the fourth date. Self-preservation syndrome. I may be old, but I’m not senile.
“Sounds good. See you then.”
I made some strange giggling sound in agreement and was about to hang up when he said, “Wear those tight pants again. You’ve got a hot ass, babe.”
He disconnected and I questioned the wisdom of going out with a young guy who called me
on a first call.
Then again, I had a Sunday date and that brought me one step closer to staying in Sydney and out of Love.
My cell rang again and Nat’s number flashed on the screen.
“Don’t you return your calls?”
Though Nat’s tone was cool, I knew she was dying for the usual Saturday night post-mortem.
"Sorry, hon. Have to get ready."
"You’re going out on a
I couldn’t fault her incredulity. The likelihood of me having a Sunday night date ranked up there with porcine air travel.
"You better believe it."
"Who’s having the party?"
"It’s a private party at Manly."
A sexy ass party. I stifled a giggle.
"Anyone I know?"
"Not unless you know a green-eyed hunk named James with a bod to die for."
Silence echoed down the line but not for long.
“You’ve got a
? On a
?” She punctuated each word with a high-pitched squeal. “Tell me everything.”
I wiggled my toes, admiring the fuchsia shade I’d painted last week. “Not much to tell. Though he does kiss like a dream.”
Nat chuckled. “What else does he do like a dream? It’s been ages since you’ve had any.”
"Do you mean did I shag him?"
It had been three hundred and twenty-one days since I’d had sex and I didn’t need my best friend reminding me of the sad fact. Especially when she had it on tap.
“So what did you do?”
“Ate a hot dog.” I sounded wistful.
“I bet you did.” Her raucous laughter had me inching the phone away from my ear. “Tasty?"
-ulent.” I joined in her laughter.
“Did you see Brody the Beautiful today?”
I hated it when she called him that. I’d been totally off my face one night and mentioned I had the hots for Brody. Nat never let me forget it.
“Yeah. I think he’s jealous, though.”
Oddly enough, I
. For one, insane moment earlier today I hoped he’d been attacked by the green-eyed monster. Instead, he’d been cranky because he didn’t get any last night. For once, the lucky bastard. How could I even be attracted to a guy who put out as often as he did?
"Are you two bitching about men again?" Marlon bellowed in the background before Nat could cover her cell with her hand.
"Tell Moonboy to give it a rest."
I never let Marlon forget that he used to hang his butt cheeks out my car window. He still thought it was hilarious whereas Nat acted appalled.
Nat relayed the message and I heard his response loud and clear.
"Tell Celibate Spice to get a man. About time she got rid of Blow-up Ken."
“Prick,” I muttered, loving every minute of our banter.
Marlon and I had been at each other like this for years, way before Nat came on the scene. Thankfully, she understood our warped relationship and wasn’t jealous.
“Wanna have a three way, Jaz?" he shouted down the phone.
Another norm; he always wanted to join in our girlie conversations. I gave him the usual response.
“In your dreams, sucker. Put my best friend back on the phone.”
“Up yours. Here she is.” He made a strange pucker-up sound before handing the phone over to Nat.
“How could you love him? He’s gross.”
“All your fault. You introduced us.” There was no blame in her voice, only happiness that made me turn a pale shade of green. Not over Marlon but the fact everyone around me had a happy, stable relationship and I didn’t. “Must dash. We’re going out to that new sushi joint in Paddington. Have a great night. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
Nat always gave me the brush off when Marlon interrupted our chats. I’m sure she felt guilty for spending time talking to me rather than pandering to that great oaf.
“Enjoy your raw fish. Personally, I prefer a man in the raw.” Preferably medium rare rump. Something I could really sink my teeth into.
She made some weird sound as if Marlon had attacked her neck and hung up. God, didn’t those two know when to quit?
With a few hours to kill before the inaugural Sunday night date I decided to catch a few z’s. With a little luck I’d be up all night? I could live in hope.
I snuggled under the duvet, ticking off a mental checklist of things to do at work tomorrow, guaranteed snooze material.
When I kicked the duvet off and curled into a cold ball hours later, my eyelids cranked open and I glanced at the clock. Shit. I had less than hour to make myself beautiful, drive into the city and find that elusive quantity known as a parking space in inner Sydney.
I made it with a minute to spare. The only time I ever made an effort to be punctual was when it involved a man. Okay, I still thought of James as a boy-a toy boy-but nonetheless, he qualified.
I checked my teeth for lip-gloss in a mirror one last time, locked the car and strolled down to the ferry.
“Guess who?” A pair of warm hands slid over my eyes as a male body pressed against my back.
“You’re hot. Want to skip the ferry and go to my place?” He whispered in my ear, grinding against me for effect.
Considering my sex drought coincided with my man drought, I was sorely tempted and madly in lust. But I’d never been the quickie type with a virtual stranger—hence the sex drought.
“Maybe later? I’m starving and haven’t been on a ferry for ages.”
He dropped his hands and turned me around to face him. “Bet I could fill you up and give you a better ride at the same time.”
Barf. Were young guys using lines like that these days? Feeling incredibly old and foolish—and shallow for finding him attractive, all cocky attitude and black denim—I shook my head. “Let’s go.”
“Tonight’s on me.” He delved into his jean pocket and pulled out a wallet, buying our tickets before I could reach for my bag. Fair enough. I’d sprung for the hot dogs last night.
Maybe the chivalry could make up for his lame-assed lines?
We boarded the ferry and found seats at the bow.
“Where do you live?” I asked, wondering how we hadn’t covered the basics last night. Oh, that’s right, we’d been too busy swapping spit.
“Kings Cross.” He sat close, his thigh plastered to mine as he laid his arm across the back of the seat. The rocking motion of the ferry pushed us together occasionally. Nice.
“Do you live alone?”
I should’ve asked him last night. What if he lived with a psycho rabbit-cooker? I’d had enough of married/attached men to last me a lifetime.
He snuggled up to me, licking my ear and blowing the damp skin as goosebumps broke out over my arms.
“What’s with the twenty questions?” He started to seriously nibble my ear lobe.
“Just curious.” I shoved him away under the disapproving glare of the granny opposite. She reminded me of Aunt Flo. She’d look like that—mouth pursed tighter than a cat’s ass—if she caught me with some guy’s tongue stuck half way in my ear. Then she’d book me a one-way ticket to Love.
He pretended to pout. God, he had great lips. “I live with a couple of guys. Helps pay the rent. You know how it is.”
Actually, I didn’t. I had a sudden image of what it would be like living in the confined space of an apartment with three or four young, virile, hormone-crazy guys. Mmm …
He’d given up on my ear in favor of my hand. He kissed the palm before his tongue licked in slow, concentric circles.
I didn’t dare look up. Flo’s doppelganger would be apoplectic with this turn of events.
Heck, if his tongue worked magic like this on my ear and hand, imagine the possibilities when we did finally make it to the privacy of his place or mine.
“What do you do for kicks?”
Kicks? Did I actually get any these days? Apart from getting drunk with the girls from work, chatting with Nat or market-day with Brody, I didn’t do a heck of a lot else. I had to come up with something fast before he thought I was a total loser.
“I go clubbing.”
The last time I’d been to a nightclub was eons ago for a bachelorette party. The blaring techno music, strobe lights and kids out of high school waving their arms about while guzzling water to feed their Ecstasy frenzy wasn’t my scene.
Not that James had to know that. Clubbing sounded cool. No harm done.
He stopped nibbling for a second. “Fantastic. I know a place we can stop on the way home. You’ll love it.”
Great. Now he thought I was a raver. I had no desire to check out a nightclub. Should’ve known this date would end up like the rest and I’d be back in man drought territory.
Thankfully, we disembarked the ferry shortly after. I couldn’t take much more of the silent treatment. We’d run out of things to say after he asked me what I did for a good time. And the small talk continued as he held my hand and we strolled along the beach. I could make excuses: conversation was highly over-rated. I’d take a skilled kisser any day. Who needed to talk anyway when the lights went out?
But an hour later, even the excuses were wearing thin. After eating fish and chips on the beach in relative silence, sharing a sundae that also involved little talking and riding back on the ferry where he snoozed with his head leaning on my shoulder, I was ready to ditch him. Who cared about his talented tongue if he impersonated a mime the rest of the time?
The age difference didn’t help either; we had nothing in common. I liked Star Wars; he liked Transformers. I grew up with Barbie; he had no idea who GI Joe was. He’d heard of the Wiggles but didn’t know Play School. As for music, Eminem didn’t do it for me like Abba did.
As the ferry docked at Circular Quay, he grabbed my hand and tugged me toward the taxi rank.
“I know a great club where the party should be starting about now.”
I glanced at my watch; almost midnight on a Sunday night was not party time for me, unless it involved Mr. Sandman under the covers of my bed.
“I can’t. Big day tomorrow at work.”
He pulled me flush against his body, stared into my eyes and kissed me, long and slow. “Just for a while? For me?”
Damn, I’d always been a sucker for green eyes. That and the whole lean bod, tight black T-shirt and poured-on jeans look. Oh, and did I mention the kissing part?
I broke the kiss, reluctantly. “Okay, but I’ll drive.”
“But what if you get smashed?”
Kudos, a boy with a conscience. “No chance. It’s Sunday.” Great, now I sounded like Flo.
“Are you sure you go clubbing?” His eyes clouded with doubt. “The day doesn’t matter when it’s time to par-ty.”
Not wanting to appear a liar on the first Sunday date I’d had in a decade, I capitulated. “Let’s go.”
I let him fiddle with the tuner in my car. Unfortunately, his selection of radio station increased my trepidation. Why was I going to a club to hear more trashy music that made my Ford bunny-hop at the traffic lights?
When I finally pulled over somewhere near Watson’s Bay, we weren’t at a club. He’d directed me to a rundown mansion not far from my place.
“It’s all happening here.” His eyes glittered with excitement in the dim streetlights.
I glanced at the dilapidated building. Think I’d rather not know what happened here.
“Come on, you should know the drill.”
Once we got out of the car, he grabbed my hand and almost dragged me through the garden to the rear entrance.
Now I was slightly pissed off. Going clubbing had been bad enough but what was with the Addams family ambience? And what did this grungy mausoleum have to do with dancing to techno music?
James knocked on the door, some weird rapping password thing. I half expected Lurch to welcome us but some teenybopper bimbo wearing a silver halter-top and matching hot pants opened the door.
“James!” she squealed, flinging her arms around
He swayed with her for a moment, doing some strange ritualistic dance move while I waited in the background like an overdressed granny at a kindergarten reunion.
When Hi-Ho Silver finally disengaged from James, she waved us in.
He took my hand again and squeezed it as we stumbled through the candle-lit hallway and into the kitchen. “She likes you.”
I could’ve sworn my eyebrows touched my hairline. But I didn’t have a chance to answer as a cellar door creaked open, a thunderous bass beat reverberated through the kitchen and an Amazonian woman, clad in head to toe skin-tight black leather including scary facemask, crooked a finger at us.
“What’s your pleasure tonight?”
I gulped as she stared straight at me, her eyes glowing like a feral cat through the slits of her mask.
Right then, I knew I’d stick to the Friends’ fellas for future Sunday night dates.
Aunt Flo’s tips to be lucky in love.
Slutty clothes don’t work. Unless you’re auditioning for a reality show