WHEN LOVE MEETS LUST
Thank you for taking the time to visit my website. Please feel free to check out the first two chapters of my debut novel ‘When Love Meets Lust’ below. If you like what you have read then click on the picture of the book at the bottom of the site for information as to how to purchase the full novel. 🙂
Love. Simple and pure. And unobtainable. For me anyway. Any potential Prince Charming within a 30 mile radius is either gay or spoken for. Only the frogs are left. The slimy, creepy frogs.
One-eyed Bill, the postman, is starting to look like a potential catch, even with his Captain Pugwash features and his Cornish accent. I don’t know where the accent comes from. I don’t think he has been any further than Epping Forest.
But needs must. Perhaps if I fake a peg-leg and get a parrot Bill will start finding me attractive too. Christ, I really am desperate. Fortunately, my twin sister Martha chooses this moment of deliberation to shout into my face.
‘Stop staring into space you doughnut and just get up and dance.’ She pulls at my arms, forcing me to my feet. ‘Oh come on, this is our leaving party before we head Down Under…In the words of Prince…let’s party like its 1999.’
I can’t be bothered to tell her that in 1999, when we were nine, partying consisted of eating jam sandwiches and drinking fizzy pop. This particular party is definitely not like that. As I shuffle from foot to foot, trying to engage with the music, I look around at our collective and sigh. I love them all. But they make the Addams Family look normal.
At the far end of the living room, Mum and Dad are serving pina colada, in the belief that it is as popular a cocktail in 2016 as it was in 1986. They are working from a makeshift bar, and Grandad Shane is sitting just to the left of it sucking sherbet lemons and looking miserable. Next to him is Grandma Betsy, with her pencilled eyebrows drawn in so high she looks in a state of permanent shock. She also has quite a severe blue rinse, reminiscent of Dame Edna Everage.
Aunty Libby, my Mum’s sister, is waving her arms around in the middle of the room. At 53 she’s two years older than Mum, but as a reaction to her divorce from Uncle Kevin, who ran off with a younger woman, she has taken to dressing like a 23 year old, with peroxide-blonde hair and so much make-up she makes Chuckie the Clown look pasty. Ageing does not look like much fun to me.
Our old school friends are here too. Dave, Rosie, Si and Mel. We all went to the same primary school and all our parents are a little on the crazy side. I remember when we all went to Si’s 14th birthday party and his parents thought it would be a good idea for us to sing ‘Kumbaya’ several times to him in the voice of David Beckham as an alternative to singing ‘Happy Birthday.’
I’ll miss these guys. We have lots of shared memories. Lovely memories. Memories of graduating university, spending long summer holidays cycling around Epping Forest and enjoying the sunshine on our backs as we whizzed through the green leafy landscape. Days of just being free and enjoying each other’s company. Not so carefree now. Time changes things, and we all have responsibilities: Dave and Rosie are now engaged, Mel is currently saving for a house, Rosie is just about to start her role as a junior doctor at Romford General Hospital and Si is about to embark on a PhD on the use of mummification during the Egyptian period. Creepy. But at least he is following his interests.
And then there is Martha. They say twins are supposed to be similar in characteristics and personality, but even though we both have wavy blonde hair and blue eyes, and are both five feet seven and three quarters (to be precise), that’s where the similarity stops. Martha is more outgoing than I am. If you see a crowd of people, Martha is bound to be at the centre of it. I prefer my own company. Someone has to be the quiet, sensible on. Two crazies together don’t equal sanity.
Sadly, despite being the sensible one, I seem to be the drifter, with no idea of what I want to be or do. Martha already has a job lined up in Australia as an IT consultant. I am tagging along in the hope that I will find more to life than watching a photocopier churn out another 100 pages of ‘blue sky thinking’ or answering the telephone to another imbecile who doesn’t know how to switch on a computer. But mostly, I am hoping that this trip will bring me Love.
As ‘Land Down Under’ by Men at Work starts to blare through the lounge speakers and Martha drags me into the centre of our circle of friends, everybody in the room gets up to dance. Even Granddad Shane has a go, clearly hyperactive after too many lemon sherbets. As I look around the room I realise, not for the first time, that I am so lucky to have these people on my side. Even if they are all weird. I love them and I will miss them, but tomorrow I am going to fly to the other side of the world and a whole new chapter of my life will begin.
Women. I love them. As long as they are naked and don’t mention the ‘R’ or ‘B’ word. ‘R’ for Relationship and ‘B’ for Boyfriend. There are too many women in the world to experience to be tied down to one. I want to be free and have fun.
Miss Wednesday mutters something from under the duvet, something about not being able to find her bra.
‘It’s under the bed,’ I reply, trying to remember if her name is Laura or Lauren or something else entirely. Still, it doesn’t really matter. Time for her to leave. Time to kick her out. In a nice way of course – I am not a complete bastard.
‘Thanks for a great night Ryan,’ says Miss Wednesday, as she slips her boobs into her bra and reaches behind her to do it up at the back. ‘We will have to meet up again some time.’ Her boobs look very tempting, and she is looking up at me seductively. But her panda eyes from not taking off last night’s make-up, and the orange streaks left by the fake tan on the bedsheets bring me back to earth and I mumble: ‘Sure we can meet up again. On the 12th of Never’.
‘What did you say?’ she replies, pulling her dress over her head.
‘I said just send me a text and we can meet up whenever.’ A good save. Once she has finished dressing I lead her to the door and tell her that I am going to be late for work. She gives a fake pout, and then blows me a kiss as she leaves. I breathe a sigh of relief when the door closes behind her. At least she left before she had the chance to eye me up as her potential Prince Charming as I am anything but. I’m just the King of Toads in the virtual pond of internet dating, where you take your pick, have your fill, and then go back to fish out another to satisfy those mid-week urges.
One woman I definitely won’t be hooking up with today is my mother. She has left me a text saying ‘Call me’. Most people know of her. She is Doctor Lara Turner, the relationship guru, Australia’s answer to Dr. Phil. There’s isn’t a billboard in sight that isn’t emblazoned with her name and details of her talk show and the column in Cosmopolitanmagazine that gives advice on how to get the love life you deserve.
She first came to fame 12 years ago after divorcing my Dad. She was 43 and wrote a book called ‘How to be a Cougar’. How to entice that youthful man using just a smile and your well-earned wisdom.Or, as I like to call it, ‘how to grow old disgracefully.’
Before the divorce andthatbook she was just an average psychology lecturer at the University of Sydney, as was my Dad, but then she suddenly decided she wanted more from life. She’s currently dating a guy a year younger than me. He’s called Larry and she is apparently having the best sex of her whole life. These are things a son never wants to hear about from his own mother.
Meanwhile, my Dad took the divorce in his stride. He said that he totally understood mum’s desire to follow her own path, and he agreed that he should follow his. And I should follow mine. Sometimes I think spending too much time studying psychology has done their brains no good at all.
Dad is now living in Perth in a permanent state of mid-life crisis. His latest idea is to train as a surf instructor. He is dating a woman who looks like Madge Bishop from Neighbours. ‘Madge’s’ current obsession is knitting tea cosies. I have received several. They are decorating the inside of my bin.
So, not difficult to see why I prefer to lead a single life. I’m damaged.
En route to the train station from my apartment in Bondi, with another day of number-crunching in the CBD on Martin’s Place ahead of me, I decide to give Mum a call. After three rings she picks up.
‘Hi Darling. Mummy wants to know if you’d like to join her and her fluff ball of fun for dinner tonight as it would be lovely to catch up and see how my little boy is growing up.’
I’d rather eat dog food on my own in a broom cupboard than have dinner with ‘fluff ball’. Mum on her own I can handle. But with Larry? God, it is just unbearable. Last time I went to dinner with them he insisted on calling me ‘son’, even though it’s not even biologically possible, while continually stroking my Mum’s leg. Awkward doesn’t even begin to cover it.
I give my excuses to Mum, narrowly avoiding a night of sheer hell with her and her peculiar lover, and then I decide to text Pete to arrange drinks after work tonight. That will ensure a much better night of entertainment and will give me a chance to find my next catch. Miss Thursday.