Not been reading this? Have a glance at the reviews on the 'My Books' tab. They may persuade you to give it a try.
On the other hand, if you're still with me, I assume you’re still enjoying this story.
I posted Chapter 1 way back on 13 January. Subsequent chapters have appeared each Friday, and will continue to be posted until all 50 have appeared here. You can find those already posted via the archive; just search for the chapter you want to read.
Missed the start? Find it here: http://stuartaken.blogspot.com/2012/01/read-free-my-novel-here.html
Read, enjoy, invite your friends to join us.
Saturday 8th May
What a party!
Ma outdid herself in the food department. Old Hodge set up lights and organized the cars on the gravel forecourt. And some of the girls arrived early to surprise me with an unexpected present.
Faith led me blindfold into the studio and left me wondering; anticipating some wicked trick but totally unprepared for what they had planned. Female hands slowly caressed me and removed my clothes. I played along and let them strip me.
Last to come off was my blindfold, to reveal nine naked women circling me with promise in their eyes. Amongst them Netta, Abby and Zizi. Standing by the wall, watching side by side, were Matilda and Faith. Their expressions couldn’t have been more different. Matilda looked on enviously, wanting to join in. Faith was shocked, perhaps even hurt. I gave her what I hoped was a reassuring smile and Matilda whispered to her. She left quickly. At my invitation, Matilda shed her clothes and joined the gang.
They posed and played for me, each insisting on a separate photograph with me. All deliciously rude and saucy in their groups and pairs and trios. I had a brilliant idea for a satire on nudity; a pair of pictures I might publish. As soon as I’d outlined it, the girls agreed wholeheartedly.
I dressed and we arranged the shot with the women, still nude, surrounding me and pretending to hide me from their gaze, their hands feigning censorship of their eyes. As a pair to this picture, I stripped again and the women dressed and took up the same positions around me but with their eyes uncovered and their body language expressing lust. Brilliant satire on society’s dual standards regarding nudity.
Eventually, we made our way into the house. Faith was in the sitting room, playing hostess to the admiring men friends of the girls but utterly blind to her effect on them. The women joined their current partners and I crossed to Faith to hug her for her loyalty and patience. ‘Thanks for being hostess for me.’ I lowered my voice to a whisper. ‘I’d no idea they were going to do that, and I know you were innocent. Sorry it distressed you.’
She looked as if something unbelievable had occurred and she was trying to find an explanation. I kissed her and fell to serving drinks and organising music and food for everyone.
Ma’s buffet was superb. Faith astounded and delighted me with a present of a new record deck, amp and speakers and we played Abba, Santana, The Beatles, Donna Summer and all the favourites that were easy to dance to. Again, her resourcefulness impressed me as I compared her generous and appropriate gift with the inevitable bottles of Glenmorangie, Old Spice, Hai Karate, ties and socks.
Faith watched the cavorting dancers with bewilderment and fascination. Netta let me share my time with all the other women who wanted to dance, talk and smooch with me.
I forced Faith onto the dance floor at one point, only to regret embarrassing her, as she became the centre of attention. Her movements were naturally graceful and she had the good sense to dance minimally. But she couldn’t leave the arena quickly enough. Her simple lilac cotton dress, shorter than usual, emphasized her femininity without advertising her sex. She managed to look demure and attractive at the same time, in contrast to Netta’s blatant display of skin beneath a sheath of purple tie-dyed muslin.
Zizi, Charlotte, Abby and her jazz freak pothead escaped into the garden a few times to indulge in both types of weed, poor fools. Netta and Matilda’s double-act lured a couple of the men away from the party, as the evening became late night. They were absent for long enough to cause dismay to the women who’d arrived with them.
Well past midnight, Netta threw open the French windows and stuck her new forty-five on the turntable. Everyone watched her saunter to the place on the lawn where Old Hodge’s lights would best illuminate her. There, she peeled off her flimsy covering and danced to the Time Warp. I’d taken her to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show only a couple of weeks previously. Her pelvic thrusts were spectacular. Before long, most of the partygoers had joined her, in varying degrees of undress, and she played the track six times in a row. I, however, was absorbed in Zizi, who’d washed the ash from her mouth with some of my best malt and was giving me a guided tour of her lips and tongue in preparation for a bit of al fresco in the shadows.
Later, when those who weren’t staying the night had departed, we all sat around listening to soft, low music, drinking wine, coffee and liqueurs and lazily chatting. Matilda and Netta had procured other partners for the night and Netta had taken hers to bed. Charlotte and Lucy had gone home alone by taxi, in tears. Inevitably, we discussed politics, religion, sex, the cold war and the bomb, setting everything to rights in that post party fashion that is so strangely satisfying.
Faith, her social antennae still incompletely tuned, chose the occasion to ask Matilda a personal question.
‘Tell me more about my father, Mum.’
Alcohol had loosened Matilda’s tongue; otherwise, she would have been more circumspect. She spoke to Faith as though they were alone and I tried to leave them to it, but Zizi wanted to hear.
‘David was a gentleman, a lecturer in my first year at uni; taught English literature. God, he’ll be coming up to sixty now, lovely man. His eyes were the colour of an English sky on a cloudless November day and his eyebrows met across the bridge of his nose so that he looked perpetually angry, which was funny because he was never, ever cross. He seduced me, saucy old bugger. He told me, as he undressed me the first time, he’d fallen in love with me as soon as I walked into the lecture hall. I believed him and he never gave me cause to doubt him. I loved David. Still do, wherever he is. He went to America, but you know that.
‘I’m sure you were conceived on our very last day. We went to a bonfire party together… God, it’s hard to believe I only knew him for a few short weeks. He went out to replace another lecturer who’d fallen sick and it all happened really quickly. When we made love that night, I saw real fireworks amongst the imaginary ones he always fired for me. It must’ve been freezing under that cloudless sky but we didn’t notice.
‘I think he might’ve become a great writer, given the chance. Brilliant mind, wonderful hands. Never known a man like him.’
Anxiety clouded the face of her chosen partner for the night. ‘Don’t worry, love, I’m not into comparisons. You’ll do fine for tonight.’ She stood up and offered her hand. He took it cautiously. ‘Come on; let’s see what we can do for each other.’
It was a timely departure and one that seemed to signal the end of the party. Faith caught my eye and I knew she’d do the honours around the house and gardens. I noticed again, how lovely she was in her lilac cotton; how it hugged her curves.
Zizi took my hand and whispered in my ear. ‘Tonight, Leighton Longshaw, you’re mine. You can play with that little angel any time. She’s willing enough, even if she doesn’t know it. But not tonight. Come and show me again that you haven’t lost your touch.’
It was an odd way to refer to my resident virgin, bastion of chastity. I put it down to her ignorance of Faith’s real personality and shrugged it off as I took Zizi upstairs to demonstrate how much I adored her body.
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