~*~CHAPTER VIII : Drunk Is As Drunk Does~*~

"So you and Mr. Khalil looked awfully cozy last night," I announced slyly. "You were sleeping on him and holding his hand and everything. Kya style Mummy!"

Mum gasped, her hand flying to her mouth in a whirlwind of jingling glass bangles. Shocked, she managed to knock over a package of sev with her elbow, sending tiny fried sticks skittering across the counter like a handful of gold. "Navleen Neha Solanki!" And in her great distress, having no appropriate words with which to berate me, she was forced to resort to whacking me on the forehead with a serving spoon.

Of course that was the moment Auntie Shrimati Padma Chowdry chose to waddle in. "Ai-hai, Navleen being the naughty girl again, Kavita?"

I sulked. Naughty girl my arse. As though I was still a sticky-faced toddler and not a grown woman on the cusp of graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering. Christ above, some things never changed.

It was Sunday afternoon and Temple had just finished. As per her weekly tradition, Mum had invited any and all Uncles and Aunties in the vicinity to come over for a cup of chai. And as per her weekly tradition, Padma Auntie was the first to accept. Padma Auntie, who was of no relation to us other than having lived in the same Gujarati village as my Dad, some thousand years ago, was a spry sixty-three year old widower. Her husband had also died early on in her marriage and as a result, she and Mum had become good friends over the years. Unfortunately for me, she was as annoying as a recurrent yeast infection.

Padma Auntie yanked a handful of my cheek and twisted, as she had done ever since the day she'd met me...twenty-two years ago. "Bad girl, giving your Mummy the hard time."

I was unable to reply; Padma Auntie had a tenacious grip no matter what she maintained about having osteoarthritis in her digits.

"She know vhat she did," Mum muttered, shuffling sev pieces back into the package. She gave me that narrow-eyed, typical 'you-wait-until-we're-alone' look that all Mums possess.

"Remember Kavita, I take no sugar in my chai," Padma Auntie said, as though we'd just met her. "It's the diabet-us, you know."

The diabet-us however, didn't stop her from snatching up a handful of sev and shovelling it into her mouth. Obviously she didn't understand the numerous dangers that fried carbohydrates posed to the diabetic.

"So Navleen." Padma Auntie eased her substantial bulk into the chair across from mine and gave me the beady eye. "Chutki was downtown yesterday and she told her Mummy who told Bubbly Auntie who said to Neetu who passed the message to me that you were having the Juh-paan fishy lunch with a white fellow! And not just any white fellow, no, but one who was having all this tattooing on his body!"

I sipped at my orange juice, resigned. Indian Big Brother was at it again.

Mum whirled around from the stove. "Really Navleen? You had the lunch with the cha...with the that fellow? Why you didn't tell me this thing!"

Because you were too busy cuddling with Mr. Khalil, I wanted to retort but I held my tongue. "We live in Canada," I reminded Padma Auntie, striving for patience. "White people are everywhere; there's no escaping them. It's not like we live in Brampton where everyone is Gujarati. Why is it such a big deal that I had sushi with a friend? It's not like we're getting married tomorrow." The latter bit was said pointedly to my Mum. I couldn't stand the shining gleam in her eye.

Padma Auntie goggled at me, her countenance indicating that I had achieved the highest level of stupidity known to man. I may as well have asked her why Ganesh had an elephant head. "What rubbish you talking? This was not a regular white fellow, he was one having tattoos all over the body! What if he give you the bad idea, huuh? You think I don't see all the white girls with the tattoos everywhere? Twenty years ago was any decent woman having tattoos? I tell you, this deviant behaviour only comes from having the lunch with tattooed fellows!"

Jesus Christ above. Every molecule in me was instantly annoyed. I scowled. "I'm not about to let some white guy, or any other guy for that matter, tell me what I should or should not do. My body is my own and I make decisions about it, Auntie, not anyone else. That's not about to change just because I have lunch with someone."

She shook her head tragically. "Completely Westernized."

"Women in India have tattoos," I all but snarled. "It's traditional and my own grandma had a tattoo of Laxshmi Maa, didn't she Mum?"

"That kind of thing is different," Padma Auntie told me, condescension dripping from her every word. "Today one mickey mouse is here and then some rose on foot, a Chinese something and then some girls, every time they bend down, there is something tattoo on the backside! Why they do this thing? To titillate the men! Chee chee chee, is horrible and dirty. Why you want this kind of thing?"

Mum, detecting the way I was grinding my teeth, quickly served Padma Auntie some chai. "Now now, what talking is this? Navleen just has the lunch with one boy from school. She is smart, how she can get the tattoo from one lunch?"

"Men have the wiles and our Navleen is only so innocent yet." She patted my cheek with enough force to crack open a coconut. "They will take advantage of her, poor girl."

Innocent enough to blow the tattooed fellow in a fucking elevator, I thought savagely. I could handle Mum's senseless talks of fate and marriage and her incessant badgering about Lucan. I could handle Radha Auntie's attempts at finding me the perfect husband and her constant barbed praise of me. I could even handle Shetal's perverted texts. But what I absolutely could not handle, and never had been able to, was Padma Auntie's patronising insults to my intellect and independence. She set women back about one hundred years and she never failed to make the feminist in me fly into a towering rage.

"Did I lock the door?" Mum wondered, seeing the way I was fuming. "Navleen, you go check for me, there's the good girl."

I stormed off, my cheek still stinging.

Radha Auntie, Jeet Uncle and Arjit arrived about forty minutes later, bearing with them half of the food that had been served at the temple. It didn't matter how rich you were or how much food you already had at your home, temple food was free therefore you took as much of it home as was physically able. Such were the ways of the cheap Indians and being Gujarati, we were the cheapest of the lot.

"Temple sucks," Arjit muttered, flopping down on the sofa next to me. "All the Uncles around me smelled like aloo ghobi and none of them could sing for shit."

"At least you didn't have Bhini Auntie practically sitting on your lap and playing the manjiras right in your face. She needs to lay off the ladoos, if you ask me."

Arjit tried to usurp the remote from me so I was forced to unleash the full extent of my socked foot onto his face.

He grabbed my ankle and twisted until I managed to kick him in the ribs. "OWW you skank!"

I gave his cheek the Padma Auntie to vent my anger. "Is that how you talk to your elders, dickhead?"

Glaring, he rubbed at his face. "Dried up ho-bag."

"Green penile exudate from the Clap."

Arjit gagged. I smirked.

"When will you ever learn doofus? You can never beat me."

"Oh yeah?" Smug, he whacked my shoulder. "There, I just did."

Calmly, I mashed my the heel of my hand into his nose.

"Oww! Shit Navleen!" Tears streamed out of his eyes. "You're such a bitch!"

I smirked some more and resumed flipping channels at the speed of light.

Radha Auntie marched into the room as Arjit and I fell into a dazed stupor while watching the Canadians play Toronto. She shoved a styrofoam plate at me filled with an oily scoop of halvah, half a banana and two pieces of green pistachio burfee. "Eat. It's prasad," she ordered, shoving a similar plate at Arjit.

"What do we gotta eat this junk for?" Arjit whined, poking at the halvah dubiously."We just ate like ten minutes ago!"

But Radha Auntie wasn't paying attention to her son. I was still clad in the yellow and blue salwar kameez I'd worn to temple, only I'd tossed the scarf aside. Radha Auntie's eagle-eyed vision had zeroed onto my bare neck like a homing beacon. "Navleen, what has happened to your neck?"

A horrible sinking feeling slid into the pit of my stomach. I clamped a hand to the hickey Lucan had given me in the elevator and thought fast. "Oh yeah. That." Unfortunately, nothing of substance was coming through. "Err actually..."

"I did it," Arjit piped up once it was obvious that I was drawing a blank. "She kept bugging me and annoying me so I pinched her."

Scowling, Radha Auntie cuffed the side of his head. "Bad monkey, you disrespect your own elder sister?"

Arjit made a great show of hanging his head in shame. "Sorry Navleen," he mumbled into his knees.

I sighed in a resigned sort of fashion. "Just don't do it again, you bad monkey."

"Don't know why I decided to have the childrens," Radha Auntie lamented, flinging herself onto the loveseat. "What has he brought me besides all these grey hairs?"

"At least you have me to temper the pain with," I said, thumbing my nose at Arjit when his Mum wasn't looking.

"You are my most good daughter." Fondly, she patted my hand. "So tell me, what you think of Shetal? Very dashing no?"

Arjit snorted with laughter. "He needs to step out of the 70's and hack that fro."

"What do you know of this kind of thing?" she demanded, narrowing her eyes at him. "If you didn't keep festooning your God-given natural hairs with all this gels and mousse business then you too could have a nice style like Shetal!"

"Says the women who dyes her hair practically every week," Arjit muttered under his breath, pouting.

How could I tell Radha Auntie that Shetal was a 5'7 perverted sleezebag? How could I show her the variety of increasingly dirty text messages he'd been bombarding me with? How could I regale her with how he'd treated my own mother? How could I convey to her that I was more attracted to her than I was to the likes of Shetal Vaanavaraayar?

"He sure likes disco," was all I could come up with after a lengthy pause.

"Navleen's too cool for that loser," Arjit put in, much to my surprise. We weren't the sort of family who went around complementing each other; that shit was for white people on TV. We mostly just showed our affection through verbal insults and mild physical violence.

I was touched. "Thanks kiddo. Punch it."

We punched fists. Radha Auntie huffed.

"Well at least you can give him one chance, he is very smart. This is all I ask of you. You can do this one small thing for me, am I right? You're my best daughter afterall. I am only thinking of your happiness."

She was good, that Radha Auntie. She laid on the guilt like 1 in 5 people laid on the Herpes cream.

"She gets you every time," Arjit said, kicking the door shut after her.

"That Shetal's a real bastardo," I grumbled. "He said I was a bottle of Limca and he wanted to drink me up. He said he wanted to ride my disco stick. I don't even have a fucking disco stick!"

"That is gross to the max."

"How'm I supposed to get rid of him? He's a lot more aggressive than Dikshit. He's a horny little squirrel."


We both had our obligatory snigger at Dikshit's name, God love him.

"Why don't you get that Italian guy to beat him up?" Arjit waggled his eyebrows. "He's the one chewing on your neck, right?"

I flicked his face. "That's none of your business, fuckface."

Arjit, being the annoying little rash that he was, flung himself on me and shoved my head into the couch cushions. "Leenie's got a boooyyyfriend! She want to boooooooone him!"

Grunting as dust and sofa-shit flew up my nose, I kneed Arjit in the kidneys. With a howl, he crashed off the sofa.

"Lil' fucker." I sneezed over the side of the sofa, making sure to douse him in sinus juices.

"You're the fucker!" Outraged, Arjit wiped his messy face on my leg and then punched it. "And after I just covered for your sorry ass!"

"Excuse me?" I grabbed him by his temple-polo shirt and hauled him up to my eye level. "Underage drinking, getting busted by the cops, lying to the 'rents and having oral sex. Sound familiar there genius?"

Arjit jerked away. "So what," he muttered sullenly.

"You owe me for the next thousand years so quit it with the bitching, punkass."


"Yeasty vaginal discharge."

Arjit gagged some more. "You're such a nasty-ass!"

I shook my head. Sometimes it was just too easy.

Mum cornered me when I went to take a bathroom break. She dragged me to my room and shut the door. "Why you didn't tell me that..." Her dark, liquidy eyes grew huge. A wide smile lit up her face. "A bouquet!"

I pursed my lips to halt the giggle that wanted to bubble out of me. She'd pronounced the 't' in 'bouquet'.

"Chap-vitch buy for you this thing?"

I debated on lying.

"You lie to me, you'll get the grounded!"

I rolled my eyes. Mum had no clue of what grounded meant, other than that it was a form of punishment white parents meted out to their bad kids. "Alright, alright, he gave me flowers yesterday. It doesn't mean anything. Probably he gives flowers to lots of girls. Hundreds of them, in fact. His cousin Marco owns a flower shop."

Mum stuck her face into the bouquet and inhaled. "Is beautiful! It brings to the mind Brindavan gardens in Mysore. Remember we had the picnics there? Batata vadas, dhana chutney and Miranda soda pops. Vas top-class business, no?"

My memories of Brindavan gardens weren't as whimsical as Mum's. "I remember taking my sandals off for one second and getting bitten by a million red ants."

"Oh that thing, hah hah! Always getting the bite by animals, isn't it! Recall that cheeky goat in Baroda?"

I folded my arms across my chest and sulked. "You promised you'd never mention that incident again."

"Oh. I frogotted this thing." Mum arched an eyebrow at me. "Chap-vitch was calling me yesterday you know. He vas vanting to know vhere my Navleen vas. He also did the shameless flattering to me, rascal boy!"

Mum was giggling. "Yeah, clearly his behaviour was highly disturbing to you ."

"So he bring for you the flowers and then take you for the shushis."

"Sushi Mum. Sss. Not shhh."

"Oh-fo. I did say this thing. Shushis!"

I hooted uproariously.

Mum pinched my cheek. Compared to Padma Auntie's nonsense, it felt like a summer breeze. "Listen naughty girl, we having the grammar lesson or we talking about the chap-vitch, hehn?"

"I don't know about you but I was trying to watch the hockey game."

"Game-fame, vhat game! You think I vas born on yesterday? You and chap-vitch are doing this Canadian dating business!"

That shut me up. I had nothing to say to that because given the way we were hanging out and going at it all the time it felt like we were dating. A talk with Lucan about my expectations was in my near future; I didn't need the likes of Kaala Maa to tell me that.

"We're just friends," I said lamely. "Uh, and we're hanging out tonight. But totally as friends."

Mum squealed as though she was a teenager and hugged me hard. "You are charming him! Soon we can announce a shaadi for you!"

Obviously this wasn't a good time to let her know that I was going to be Lucan's date at his brother's wedding. I went with another tactic. "I highly doubt that. For one, Radha Auntie's head will explode if I don't marry a Hindu boy."

"You don't vorry about this thing, I vill take care of it vhen time comes." But still a frown creased her forehead and she looked troubled.

"Mum. You need to listen to me." I took her face in my hands and leaned down to peer into her eyes. "I like Lucan, okay? He's funny, he's sweet and he's smart. I like hanging out with him but I'm not going to marry him just because some old bat in India said I should. I make my own fate. I'm not a leaf, letting the wind blow me wherever it wants. I'm the captain of my own ship and until I sort things out with Spencer, I can't be with anyone, Lucan or otherwise. And so you know, Spencer's coming here to see me graduate and I can't wait to see him again."

I kissed Mum's cheek and made tracks for the rest of the hockey game before she could resurface from her astonishment and badger me into oblivion.


The house was finally empty, thank the Lords. Mum, Radha Auntie and Padma Auntie had all taken off to Ram Navmi bhajans at Seema Auntie's house. Knowing I was going out with Lucan, Mum hadn't pestered me into attending. Arjit, who'd made the mistake of bragging that he had no homework, hadn't been so lucky.

I was currently going through my going-out-glam routine. I straightened my hair and pulled it back into a long ponytail. My MAC eyeliner was midnight blue, my eyeshadow was pinky-purple fading into peacock blue with saffron highlight and I was rocking some serious Urban Decay maroon lipstick. I poured myself into a little slate-grey dress that had a square-neckline, tiny short sleeves that had edgy zippers running up the shoulders and was accessorized with a wide yellow belt. It was short, it was tight, it was slightly preppy and it showed off a touch of cleavage. I punched it up with some yellow heels and booked it to my secret liquor stash, hidden in my underwear drawer.

I chugged down two and a half glasses of a local Riesling while I waited for Shalini to pick me up. Could never get too shit-faced too early, I always said.

"You're wearing your fuck-me heels!" Shalini screeched as I slid into her car some twenty minutes later. "You planning on getting busy with that Italian hottie or what?"

"I don't have fuck-me heels," I retorted, flicking her. "Not everyone's a trollop like you."

"Jeeze, been hitting the wine much?" She waved by breath away as she reversed out of the driveway at the speed limit. "You wore those heels when you hooked up with that Irish buddy."

I looked down at my shoes. "I did? How did you know that? I didn't know that."

Shalini rolled her eyes. "You drank that much rum that night you could barely remember how to walk, let alone what was on your feet."

"I was depressed. It was three months since Spencer left me. You know he's coming up for my graduation? Isn't that sweet?"

"Yeah precious." Shalini's voice was laden with sarcasm. She hated Spencer for having the audacity to leave me in order to pursue his dreams. "Your Italian stallion know about this?"

I scowled. "What does he have to know for? Is he the boss of me all of a sudden?"

"Well aren't you guys dating? Bubbly Auntie told Prem who told that glasses guy who told Priyanka who told me that you guys went out for sushi yesterday. And you were looking real cozy too. He kept touching you, I heard."

"Christ above. Is there anyone in the city who doesn't know that we went out? Is the mayor gonna mention it next? I already got flak about it from Padma Auntie; she thinks hanging out with a tattooed dude will give me the idea to get a tattoo myself and then titillate men with it."

Shalini guffawed. "Guess she doesn't know what a tart you already are. You don't need any tattoos to titillate men ho-bag!"

"Oh shut up piss-breath."

Shalini brought the car to a screeching halt at a red light. "So did you guys screw already or what? Was he able to find that mythical g-spot?"

Oh God, didn't I hope so. Settling back in my seat, I filled her in on recent activities. I watched as her eyes get bigger and bigger and her eyebrows rose higher and higher.

"You gave the guy head in the elevator." She blew her bangs from her eyes. "Shit girl, it's like I don't even know you anymore."

"Well he owes me now and tonight I intend to collect." A wave of heat twisted inside my stomach. I couldn't wait. "I totally deserve it after the crap week I had. He's awesome."

"I can't believe you did that. This from the girl who used to give me fucking discourses on how blowjobs are degrading to women, how it put them into positions of submission and turns men into ravaging, power-hungry pigs."

"If you had Jiten as a boyfriend then you'd know where I was coming from," I retorted, cringing at the memories. "Not everyone likes having their face stuffed you know."

Scowling, Shalini punched me in the arm. "All I said was that it's different when you find a guy that you really care about. And you, my Queen of Denial, have totally found a guy that you care about."

"He was fucking spazzing," I cried. "I had to do something before he passed out from lack of oxygen. I didn't wanna have to deal with that shit alone in a stuck elevator."

"It's fate," she intoned dramatically. "Fate brought you and the chap-vitch together and then led you to the elevator so you could knock boots."

"Who the fuck says 'knock boots' anymore?" Annoyed, I slid down in my seat and ignored her sheer stupidity.

"You can pout all you want but you're annoyed because I'm right. Spencer's coming back for like five minutes before he's back to his white bread, preppy-ass life. He already left you once; why're you wasting your time with him when you got the chap-vitch at your beck and call? Why not give him a chance?"

"Because I don't believe in fate."

"Oh God, here we go again."

I warmed to the theme. "I think that we all have a destination that we have to get to but we make our own path to get there. Why should I date a guy just because some delusional hack in India said I should? And especially, why should I date him if I'm still hung up on Spencer? How is that fair?"

"Spencer's a snob and you're gonna date Lucan because he's smart, funny and sexy," Shalini explained exaggerated patience. "It has nothing to do with that Kaala Maa character. And anyway, if she's such a hack then how'd she know about his name and all his tattoos and shit?"

"Probably she saw the name in a magazine or on TV or something." I shrugged, not really caring. Coincidences were known to happen. "How should I know how she scams people? There's probably thousands of tattooed Lucan Morettis out there. The name's probably the equivalent to Bob Smith or Gopal Patel."

Shalini made a face. "Gopal is such an unsexy name."

"You know what's an even worse name? Shetal Vaanavaraayar."

And I proceeded to regale her on that disaster.

It was about eleven by the time we got to the Fresh Mermaid and we were forced to wait in the line for about fifteen minutes. We met Shalini's boyfriend near the coat check and he bought us each a Smirinoff Ice.

I slung my arm around Afshar's shoulder and kissed his cheek. "If it doesn't work out with that skank there, you'll marry me right?"

Afshar smirked at his fiancé. "That goes without saying."

Shalini hip-checked me off her boyfriend. "You got your own hottie so hands off mine, punkass."

The dance floor in front of the band was packed. We managed to find a little round table on edge of the dance floor and we crowded around it. The table was littered with beer bottles. empty glasses and wedges of lime.

Afshar examined the beer bottles. "Moosehead light? Budweiser? Ten Penny ? These people must be American, drinking this piss beer."

Shalini and I were otherwise occupied. Fractured Glass was playing Guns and Roses' 'Sweet Child of Mine' and not doing a bad job of it. Lucan was shirtless, his tattoos gleaming scarlet under the glittering stage lights.

"Holy fuck," Shalini gasped, her jaw dropping. "No wonder you went down on him...I would too, in a fucking nanosecond!"

I slugged my drink, roasting all of a sudden. "He's big too; the biggest I ever saw in real life."

"How many inches?" Shalini demanded, still gawking at the sight of a half-naked Lucan pounding the crap out of his drums.

"Oh hell you guys." Afshar was not looking amused. "I changed my mind; I need a drink afterall."

We barely noticed him leave. "Eight maybe?"

"Get out. Holy fuck!" She grabbed my hand. "If you value our five-year friendship then you'll get pictures!"

We both burst into giggles.

I dragged her away from the table. "Let's get groovy."

I shoved my way through the crowds and we tore up the dance floor. Lucan saw me at one point and I blew him a kiss. The grin that lit up his face went straight to my heart and flipped it over.

"I'm in big trouble," I shouted before guzzling down my third Smirinoff Ice.

"Who fumbled?" Shalini shouted back over the noise, her henna-ed hair flying around her.

When the band took a break, I bought a Rickard's Red and took it up to the stage. Lucan was glistening under the lights, beads of sweat dotting his inked skin like dew. He looked amazing and lust coiled in the pit of my stomach at the sight of him.

I shakily climbed up onto the stage, the combination of booze and heels making it a tricky task.

One of the guitarists caught me by the shoulder. "Whoa there cutie, you can't come up here."

"Got a present for Lucan." I saluted him with the beer bottle.

"And you didn't bring some for the rest of us?"

I made Bambi eyes at the guy. "I'm a broke-ass student."

"And I'm a broke-ass musician."

"Life is total shit my friend." I scooted around him and carefully stepped over cords and musical crap.

Lucan watched me with those dark blue eyes, his expression all hot and smouldering. He checked me out, lingering on my cleavage and my legs.

I knew I was flushed and not just from dancing. "Hi friend! I owe you a drink, remember?"

"Yeah. You look amazing." He lightly tugged on my long ponytail. "I like your hair like this. It's sexy."

I beamed. "You look sexy too! Most especially 'cause you ain't got a shirt on. I wanna lick you all over and twice on your tattoos." And then I burst into giggles at my own audacity.

Lucan nodded to the Smirinoff Ice clutched in my hand. "How many of those have you had?"

"What, are you taking a survey or something?" I giggled some more. Actually, I could be so bloody hilarious!

Lucan smile, slow and dangerous. He took a slug of his beer and the way his lips covered his bottle made my box throb. "What're you doing after this?"

Coyly, I slid a finger down his bicep, over chains and galaxies that surrounded his mother's name. "Free are you?"

He watched me touch him with dark eyes. He was red in the spotlight and glowed like sparking embers. "Do you have to work tomorrow?"

"I can be a little late." I stepped up close to him, my breasts barely skimming his bare chest. My nipples hardened. "Especially if I have a late night." I scraped my nails down the hard planes of his chest and leaned in. My lips hovered over his moist ones, not touching but just tantalizing. "Come find me when you're finished, sweetheart."

I fluttered my fingers at him as I stumbled off the stage. Shalini and Afshar were making out in the corner so I left them to it. I downed the rest of my drink and marched up to the bar in search of something new.

"Long Island ice tea," I demanded, shoving a skinny blond girl out of my way.

The bartender was a dark-eyed Latino beauty. "How do you know the drummer?" she demanded, grabbing a quart from the mirrored wall behind her. "That guy is fine!"

"You could say it was fate," I declared and laughed uproariously. Fate my brown ass!

A great hulking presence settled next to me and he slid a twenty across the bar when it was time for me to pay.

I blinked up at him. "Hey there buddy, I know how to pay for my drinks anyhow!"

The guy studied me. I studied him back with wide eyes. He was the size of an SUV on crack!

He held out a hand that was bigger than my own head. His knuckles, my keen eye noticed, were bruised to shit. "Guido Moretti."

"Oh!" I shook his hand enthusiastically. "Navleen Solanki. Lucan's right...you are built like an army bunker. I say holy crap man!"

"Come on." His full, thick lips twitched. He shoved my drink at me and gestured. "We'll sit up front where it's not so loud."

I followed him through the crowds, wobbling slightly in my not-fuck-me pumps. For an army bunker, the guy moved real fast. I got to wondering if this was some kind a family interrogation, like maybe Mrs. Moretti had sent Guido out to check me out and see if I was worthy enough to attend his wedding. I imagined Radha Auntie sending Arjit in to interview Lucan and snorted with laughter; that little dipshit couldn't interview his ass out of McDonald's!

"I'm real funny!" I told three cool guys who were leaning against the railing , watching a pack of girls dance it up. "You wouldn't even know, your head's so stupid!"

Guido led me to a wooden booth near the patio where it was quieter and lights from the street made it brighter. He stuffed himself into the booth and practically filled the entire side. I chugged at my drink, studying him some more. He was swarthy like Lucan but that was where the similarities ended. They didn't look a thing alike. Guido's eyes were dark, not blue like Lucan and Rafe's and his face shape was broader, rougher. His nose had obviously seen violent times and his thick bottom lip was split. His head was shaved.

"Lucan mentioned you." He spoke in a slow, deep voice.

Naturally this news had me highly interested. "Say what now? For real? What'd he say?"

Guido took a sip of his Heineken. "Said he met a sexy Indian engineer. Said you got him through a rough patch yesterday."

"Non-fictitious story right there, pal." While I was relieved that Lucan hadn't disclosed more intimate details of yesterday's rough patch, I was a tad disappointed. "That's it?"

Guido rolled his eyes. "What, you think we were on Oprah? We don't talk about our feelings all day. We got other shit to do."

I looked down at his bruised fist. "Like beat up the juvies?"

He grinned. He looked mean as a scorpion when he did it.

"Oh you got all your teeth," I said, leaning forward and peering. "I thought you'd have a few knocked out."

"My girl's Dad is a dentist. He'd have my balls if I let anything happen to them before the wedding."

"I'm coming to your wedding," I told him, just to keep him in the loop. I quaffed loudly at my drink. "Did Lucan tell you? He invited me; hope you don't mind. I'm super excited. I never went to a white wedding before. As to that, I never even went in a church before. Well except when I visited Notre Dame in Montreal but that didn't count; I was a tourist."

"Well I never went to an Indian wedding so we're even." He studied me like he was an ethnographer and I was a rare tribal member. "You're not like Luc's usual chicks."

"Yeah yeah. Blah blah. Heard it all before." I cast a glance back up at the stage. The band was playing again and Lucan was rocking out hardcore. "Believe me, he's not like my usual either. My first boyfriend was nerdy with a touch of prep. My second boyfriend was preppy with a touch of nerd. See a theme there, my friend?"

"Yeah I do." Smirking, he took another sip of his beer. "Luc doesn't usually talk about his girls."

"Well why would he? It's not like you guys are on Oprah or something." I smirked back at him, pleased by my own cleverness. "Probably he got other shit to do."


"I was always the smart little samosa. That's what my Mum always said anyhow. Do you like samosas? I do, they're de-lish!" I sighed as I watched Lucan take a quick drink of his beer between sets. "I never thought any boy could look so hot drinking beer. It's a bleeding good show, is what that is."

Guido laughed. It was a low, rusty sound that reminded me of when my car had muffler problems. "Got any tattoos? Luc's girls are always covered in 'em."

"Hey." Indignant, I leaned over and poked Guido in his massive arm. It was like poking an eighteen wheeler with your pinky. "First off, I'm not Lucan's girl because actually I'm no one's girl. Second off, I'm not into tattoos. Well okay, I am on Lucan but not on me. I don't play that shit."


"Why? Do you got any tattoos?"

"That's for my girl to know, not you."

My eyes widened. I goggled at him, wishing that I had the x-ray vision. "You got some on your butt?"

He shook his head. "You're gonna fit right in with my family."

"Gee pal, thanks!" I was so thrilled I grabbed his hand and planted a loud smooth on those discoloured knuckles. "Don't get too excited though; I'm not letting the 'vinds of fate' blow me to your brother. I do the blowing around here, not the bloody vind, got it?"

Guido squinted at his hand and then at me. "Is that a come-on? 'Cause Jen gets real jealous when-"

I huffed. The sheer arrogance of men!"Listen oolu, can't you think of anything other than your own consequence? I'm saying that I can't marry your brother chump!"

"Okay." He stared at me for a beat or five. "Uh, why not?"

I downed the rest of my drink. "You may be cute in a thug-like way but you're not too smart are you? Well Christ, I can't sit here and expound on the subject all day, I need more drink." I slid out of the booth and smacked into a tall Asian guy whose hair was copper and whose pink, white and green clothes belonged on a golf course.

"Whoa there drunkie."

"Move aside golfie."I thrust his scrawny chest out of my orbit and trotted my ass back to the bar. I got myself another Long Island Ice Tea and then, as an afterthought, I bought Guido a beer.

"I have an inquiry to make of you," I stated as I mostly fell into the booth. Some of the beer sloshed out of the bottle but as long as it wasn't my drink, what damn did I give? I shoved the green bottle across the table, leaving behind a wet trial. If I would've known Guido for more than fifteen minutes, I would've lapped that trail up. Even one spilt drop of beer was a terrible, terrible waste. "Beer my good man?"

Guido toasted me with his half-full beer bottle. "Still workin' on this one."

I pooh-poohed the very idea. "Pomp and nonsense my friend! How you can have too much beers I ask you?"

He laughed that rusty, grating laugh again. "Not a lot of drunk chicks can use words like 'expound' and 'pomp' correctly."

I set down my glass with a loud thunk, highly affronted. "Drunk? Who's drunk, eh? Maybe your head is, taking crap like that. Or should I say expounding crap like that."

"Your hair's in your drink."

So it was. I flung my ponytail over my shoulder. "If I knew you better, I'd suck my hair," I confessed, wiping cocktail droplets from my cheek. "I'm Indian, I don't waste."

"Can see why Luc's into you."

"Did Lucan really steal cars and vandalize crap when he was younger? Your cousin Adel said he did."

"Yeah. He was a real shit. Got a temper."

"Yeah, that's for sure."

"He'd never hurt you." Guido drained his beer and started on the one I'd got him. "He was a real pissy kid. Drank a lot. Smoked a lot, of everything. Tore shit up. Fucked a lot of chicks and fucked up a lot of guys. Got fucked up in turn."

"Holy crap." I was blinking a lot. I could believe it of the tattooed guy drumming his brains out but the math TA who had a soft spot for him Mum? No chance. "How'd he get sorted out?"

"Mom was terrified he'd end up in jail or dead or even worse, knocking up some chick. She got my uncle Nic to move up here from Cali. He's a tattoo artist. Took Luc on as an apprentice. Got him straightened out."

"Guess it all worked out eh? Otherwise you'd be bruising your knuckles on his face at work."

"S'what I always told him."

I chugged down a bunch of my drink and wiped my mouth on my arm. "I like you. There's something that I just like about you. I don't know if it's the jack-o-lantern grin or the way you don't mince around words but it's all marvy."


"Yeah marvy. Short for marvellous. Didn't you ever read Archie comics when you were a wee army bunker?"

He snorted. "I read Playboy."

I snorted back. "Lemme guess, for the thought-provoking articles right?"

"No, for the big boobs and beaver shots."

I burst out laughing. "Beaver shots!"Hooting, I hitched my bag onto my shoulder and grabbed my drink. "Okay, I have to go put more lipsticks on now. I'll talk to you some other time." I tripped out of the booth and had to grab the edge of the table to keep the world from tilting. "Whoa mama, that was almost like plate tectonics."

"Yeah, you're different alright."

I patted the top of his shaved head. It was stubbly. "I like your head, he's fuzzy."

I made it to the bathroom in one piece and smashed down on the toilet with my drink in hand. I pondered the ramifications of drinking and leaking at the same time. On the one hand it was unhygienic and disgusting. On the other, I'd paid $7.75 for my drink and I wasn't about to leave it unattended so some punkass perv like Shetal could drug it up.

I finished my drink, finished my business and loaded on the lipstick. I was a bit wobbly in the mirror but everything seemed to be in the right place; I was still working it.

There was a tall black girl fixing her hair in the mirror next to mine.

"Did I put this lipstick on okay or is it clown-town?"

She squinted at me, giggling. "I think it's okay. There's none on your nose anyway."

Good enough for me.

I trotted back outside to the action. Shalini and Afshar were on the dance floor, grinding to Fractured Glass' cover of Hawksley Workman's 'I'm Jealous of Your Cigarette.' I sulked, wishing that I had someone, namely a hot Italian buff the stuff, to grind around with. But since I didn't, I was going to be a third wheel of an annoying variety. I slid onto the dance floor and shoved my way into the happy couple's order.

"We need Jager Bombs!" I shouted.

Afshar caught my flailing arm before I could smack a redheaded frat boy straight in the face. Judging by the way he had zeroed in on my cleavage, he could've really used a smack. "The last thing you need is any more liquor! You smell like a stag party."

That was a mortal offense! "Oh yeah tough guy? Well you look like a stag party!"

"We always need more liquor!" Shalini slung her arm around me and scowled at her fiancé. "Monday's are always shit anyway so what difference would it make if we wake up hung over or what."

"I decided I'm calling in sick tomorrow," I announced. "I never took one sick day yet and I'm gonna do the nasty with Lucan tonight but actually, I bet it won't be nasty at all. I'll probably implode, he's so hot, he'll be on fire! I bet I'll sleep like the dead once he finds my g-spot."

"Lucky bitch!"Shalini whacked Afshar. "Ain't she a lucky bitch?"

Afshar was frowning at me. "Why would you implode? Wouldn't you explode near a combustible source?"

Huffing, I rolled my eyes. "What damn do you give of it? Whatever it is, I'll do it!"

"Yeah, she'll do it! Now let's get drinks skank." Shalini grabbed my hand and led my tottering ass back to the bar.

"That's Lucan's brother," I hollered into Shalini's ear as we waited at the bar.

"Who, that bowling ball head?"

"Yeah! Only it's stubby!"

We laughed like loons for no apparent reason. We did Jager bombs at the bar, gagged at each other at how utterly gross the Red Bull made it and then did another round for shits and giggles. We danced our hearts out on the dance floor with me bellowing Lucan's name and then blowing him kisses at random intervals. I was drunk, horny and wanted Lucan to be done his drumming shit so we could head to his house and get busy. It didn't help that Shalini and Afshar kept making out all over the place, leaving me to dance with a gaggle of Filipino nursing students that I'd made fast friends with. However it wasn't a total loss; I learned how to say 'fuck you' in Tagalog.

"Putang ina mo!" I shouted when a heavy set blond smashed into me, spilling my drink.

Mercinelli, Jakiri, Carmencita and Chewy were all so proud of me. What could I say? I was a woman of many talents.

And then, after a Mesozoic Age had passed, Fractured Glass finally wrapped shit up. Tripping out of the bathroom, I was never so thrilled to hear the misogynistic bullshit of T-Pain. I found Lucan leaning against the bar with the rest of his band mates, chatting with a chesty blond. She was practically smeared over him, caressing his bicep and giggling.

Well I wasn't going to stand for that shite; it had been six fucking months since I'd been laid! Blondie wasn't going to ruin this for me; I'd tear out her kidneys first.

I marched over breathlessly; it seemed that my shoes arrived at the scene before I did. There was some dizziness but that was to be expected; T-Pain always brought out the worst in me.

"Excuse me but you're oozing all over my man," I declared, slapping my hands on my hips. "You can ooze on that guy there." I jerked my chin in the direction of the lead singer and nearly fell over. "He looks like he's a connoi...connis...like he likes the girl ooze."

The blond scowled at me. "I don't ooze on the first date!"

"Well I don't give much damn if you ooze next Ram Navmi so long as it's outta my atmosphere."I seized Lucan's wrist and dragged him away from the bar.

"I'm your man?" He was laughing. "I thought you weren't the jealous type."

"I'm not but Christ don't I need an orgasm." I pushed him up against the metal railing that separated the dance floor from the bar and booths and sort of fell on him. "And I only want it from you, sweetheart."

Lucan interjected me from the bar so quickly I lost my shadow.

I couldn't wait to get to his place!

Author's Note

Dedicated to all my Filipino nursing friends who have made my first year in TO amazing...even though you'll never read this.

Wow guys, this has been a long time coming! I've been super busy here in Toronto, what with nursing school and all the crap that entails. Ughs! I apologize for leaving on a cliffhanger but this chapter would be way too long unless split in two. Also, thanks to everyone who voted in the SKOW awards...'Marrying the Vitch' won for Best Kiss and 'Most Creative Plot: Incomplete'...that is awesome! Also, SKOW inducted me into the Author's Hall of Fame, which is also highly awesome. So again, thanks guys! Your continue support and encouragement means a heck of a lot to me.

Next chapter...steamy steamy!


Kya - what

Sev – fried yellow sticks made from chickpea flour

Aloo Ghobi – potato cauliflower curry

Manjiras –little hand-held cymbals

Ladoos – dessert of sweetened balls

Halvah – dessert made of cream of wheat

Salwar Kameez – traditional outfit consisting of a long tunic and matching baggy pants

Burfee – dessert squares

Prasad – offering of food

Batata Vadas – fried spicy potato balls

Dhana – coriander in Gujarati

Shaadi – marriage in Hindi

Bhajans – religious prayers and songs

Oolu – literally an 'owl' in Hindi; meaning a stupid person