AUTHORS NOTE: This was my attempt at Nanowrimo so I'm not promising wonders and anyone that writes knows the pressures but I must admit, it was fantastic taking part and it gave you readers a lovely new story. I hope you all enjoy!
[That First Night]
The pub that they sat in was your average "old man's" pub. It had homely decor in dark shades of red, green and brown. The interior was old and shabby from years of people sitting on them, the table tops chipped away from the constant scrubbing to remove the sticky alcohol stains and the carpeted floors hadn't probably been in their original state for many years. The walls were covered in shelves containing old Readers Digests and little knick knacks from the villages history. The bar was literally empty apart from the one old man slumped over the bar, his hand still holding onto his half empty pint pot despite the fact that he'd been sleeping for about an hour or so. The barmaid would move around the bar with heavy movements and she'd curse at the sound of anything dropping. It was fair to say, it was a safe place for anyone who was a regular here.
That was until the group of hens moved into the pub wearing practically nothing and bright pink sashes saying what their roles were in the ceremony. The man sat at the end of the bar woke up for a mere moment to check them out before taking a drink of his beer then lying his head back down on the bar. Leaning against the bar, their breasts pushed out, the hens ordered their drinks while some moved to the juke box to commandeer the music. Pop tunes blasted out into the normally quiet bar causing them to jump up on tables, their hips swaying to the beat of the tune and some of the girls even started grinding against each other.
Christy Mitchell, however, wasn't enjoying the party. She had tried her best to get out of the events but had been pointed out that the maid of honour always had to attend the bride's hen night especially as she'd been the one to organise it all. Despite arguing that she wanted them to go on without her, she was still stood there at the bar drinking a straight coca cola so that the team thought that she was drinking alcohol and having a good time but all she really wanted to do was curl up in her bed and cry but that was another reason why her friends had dragged her out.
The bed moved showing that someone had joined her and she just groaned. "I just want to stay here and be alone," she said from underneath her covers, her hands covering her face in case they decided to move her sheets so that they could look at her. That morning, her boyfriend of three years had finished her with the explanation that he'd found someone else and they were actually engaged. It had obviously been a powerful blow to her and she'd literally came home, taken a tub of ice cream out of her freezer that she'd had there for an occasion just like this and had climbed into her bed with the plan of not moving for the next couple of days.
"Well you can't. You're the maid of honour and it is your duty to be there for me," Marley said angrily as she dragged off the bed sheets, her hand taking hold of her wrists so that she could drag them away from her face. Marley was normally understanding to Christy's feelings but every bride-to-be has the right to be a selfish bitch when it comes to her special moments. Christy was trying to understand this but at the same time she just wanted to scream at her best friend to get out the room so that she could wallow in her own self-pity. "Darling, I know that he's really upset you and we all want to kill him for you but I really want you to be there for me tonight. Besides there might be some handsome men for you to pull," she promised and Christy cracked her first smile for the whole day since she'd left his town house. For three years, she'd been hitting the town with her university friends and would always have to avoid the attention that she received from the opposite sex knowing that she had him waiting at home for her. "Come on baby, you're a teacher. You know how to plaster a smile on your face and pretend that you're enjoying yourself even though you hate it." How come everyone believed that of her? It's not actually a lesson they teach you between the numeracy and literacy. She found herself smiling and looking at her Marley knowing deep down that she couldn't let her down.
"Fine," she sighed slightly sitting up in the bed, her hand running through her now greasy ginger locks as she grabbed a tissue to sort out her cheeks and nose. "I bet I look totally attractive," she lied forcing a smile and Marley just laughed before pointing towards the shower. Christy climbed out of the bed and moved towards the bathroom deciding that Marley totally owed her for the fact she was getting out of her bed today. She had walked into the bathroom, her hand reaching out to grab her hairbrush as she knew that she needed to untangle the bed head knots and she thought to herself that tonight she was going to have a good night even if it killed her.
So that's why she was now stood in a small pub dressed in a tartan mini skirt, a shirt that was possibly two sizes too small for her meaning that the first couple of buttons weren't fastened revealing the bright red lace bra that she'd chosen to wear and fishnet stockings with a pair of shoes that she could barely walk in. Her makeup was in your face including three identical freckles put onto each cheek with eyeliner. It was an outfit that she hated but once again, she had to go with the theme to make everything perfect for Marley and she had decided that this was the best theme out of all the proposed ideas.
She watched as the dance moves started to get more risqué and the barmaid had long since given up trying to convince them to get off of her tables due to focusing on how much business that they were providing her because more older gentleman had arrived since their arrival. Marley jumped down off the table, her arm wrapping around Christy's neck as she took hold of the glass and swigged it. "You're such a letdown," she said shaking her head as she indicated for the barmaid to come over. "Can we have a double vodka put into this?" She grimaced at the idea of having to down a double vodka from bad memories of waking up the next morning with pounding headache and the horrible stomach ache which you knew meant you'd be throwing your stomach contents up whether you liked the idea or not.
"Oh a single will suffice..." she stopped talking as she watched the barmaid put the two shots into the glass, a smile from Marley showed that Christy was being expected to down this drink. The song had come to an end and everyone had stopped dancing as they knew what was going on. "Guys I'm not..." but she was cut off by everyone starting to cheer and Marley's excessive giggling.
"Just do it! This is my last night of freedom and you're going to get wasted along with me because you can't look beautiful on my wedding day," she teased handing Christy the glass. Christy took hold of the glass and looked down at the brown liquid, her heart pounding as she realised that she hadn't got drunk in a long time. Hearing the chant of "down it, down it" from the rest of the hens, she found herself smiling before necking back the drink. Once the glass was empty, she put it down onto the table and shuddered as the vodka hit the back of her throat. Everyone cheered and it wasn't long before there was another one in her hand.
Looking down at the glass, tears stinging her eyes as she knew that if she drank too many she'd end up a mess, she found herself forcing a smile remembering what Marley had said back in the bedroom. She was good at pretending to be happy when her world was tumbling down. She'd had years of practice and now, for Marley, she was going to be the strongest she'd ever been. She downed the second drink, her body shuddering at the horrid taste of vodka before holding her glass up in the air so everyone could see that she was slowly on her way to being drunk. There was another round of applause and she turned round to order another drink but demanded that it was only a single because she'd still have to make sure Marley got home safe.
Taking hold of her drink, she moved over to wrap her arms around Marley's waist where they started to sing loudly along to the music that was blasting through the jukebox. She watched as Erica, one of the other bridesmaids, gave one of the older men a lap dance and despite the fact she was drunk, he really looked like he was enjoying it. Christy laughed happily as she realised that she should have known going out would have been the medicine she needed to mend a broken heart and at that moment, Cher's "Believe" came on and she couldn't help but laugh at the irony or that Marley also picked up on it and started to sing it in an exaggerated manner towards her. She smiled at her before joining in, not caring that she was now starting to be too drunk to carry a note.
The two men pulled up outside the pub in the taxi, they fought over who was going to pay before deciding that they'd go halves before the older one looked up at building. He didn't know why this was so daunting for him. He knew how to have a good time. Damn, he'd been well known for his partying ways back as a teenager but that seemed like years ago now. His head was pounding and he didn't know if it was his heart beating loudly or the actual fact a headache was starting to form because of his fear of this place. His brother took hold of his arm and led him into the pub, his fear being affirmed the minute they stepped inside.
"I don't want to be here," he said pausing as he grimaced the minute he noticed the hens dancing around on the tables, their constant drinking of shots or their vodka and dashes. He could see them dirty dancing on the tables, their flirty smiles to the congregation of old men that always just randomly sat around in the pub and whenever one bent over, you could see more than you bargained for. He suddenly felt like he was as old as the old men leering at the girls because he was literally wanting to wrap them up in his coat to keep them from waking up in the morning and being ashamed of what they'd done!
He looked over at his brother and his eyes rolled at the fact his brother was literally drooling over the girls. "You're a pig." He pointed out moving to the bar and asking for two pints of lager. This was his brother's scene. He was your average Casanova. He couldn't keep a relationship going longer than a couple of dates. Once he slept with them, he ditched them and didn't even care that there were probably mini-Lucas' all over the country. He just wanted to party and sleep with every woman with a pulse.
"Hey, they're here to be looked at. One of them women wants a last night of passion and I am more than happy to provide that," he said moving towards the woman wearing the veil, his usual charming smile on his face as he leant on the bar next to her. Logan rolled his eyes before sitting up on the stool, paying for the two lagers and asked for the barmaid to hand one to his brother. He took a sip and wished, once again, that he wasn't here and that was even more of a feeling now that it was obvious that the bride-to-be was definitely interested in his brother. He knew that he'd be drinking alone.
"You haven't been out since Raquel died," his sister, Louisa, pointed out as she watched him move around the living room, her hands hooking into her jean pockets as she swung forward and backwards on her heels. He knew that was her nervous stance because even after eight years, no one enjoyed talking about his dead wife even though he was okay with her death now. He needed to be okay for his daughter. It would be no good for her to see her dad a crumbling mess at every mention of her name.
"I haven't had time to go out, Lou. I'm a single father to an eight year old daughter. Sure if she was sixteen then I would go out more but she's not so I have to be at home for her." He pointed out as he folded up her school trousers neatly so that there wouldn't be any extra creases before placing it on the back of the leather couch. Moving into the kitchen, he stroked his daughter's hair before leaning down and pressing a kiss to the top of her head. "How are you getting on with your homework, Flissy?" He asked opening the back door so that their black Labrador would stop scratching at the door and howling. If it wasn't for the fact that Flissy loved the dog, he would seriously give it to the old man that had always asked for him to keep him company now that his wife was dead.
"It's okay daddy. I really understand it," she promised not looking up from her jotter, her teeth chewing on the tip of her pencil and he couldn't help but smile at how much of a mother trait that was. He'd watched Raquel do that so many times back in high school. It was probably one of the reasons he'd fallen for her. "You should listen to Auntie Lou, daddy." She said suddenly causing him to look over from where he was washing the dinner plates, his eyebrows raised in confusion.
"How do you mean, sweetie?" He asked grabbing hold of a tea towel and drying his hands before moving to sit next to her, his hand resting on her shoulder as he teased one of her blonde plaits around his finger. Logan always tried his best with Flissy but he could see that someone had re-done the plaits he'd done that morning because they were much tidier. It was probably her teacher that Flissy seemed to actually adore seeing as she spoke about her at any chance that she got. Plaits definitely weren't his forte but he was glad that someone was there for her.
"You should go out. Uncle Lucas keeps saying that you're becoming a recluse," she paused for a moment, her concentration on her jotter as if she was thinking about something before looking at him, "I don't know what that words means but it didn't sound good. I don't mind Auntie Louisa looking after me." She promised standing up and moving around to wrap her arms around his neck, her lips pressing a kiss to his cheek before she ran into the living room and told her Auntie that she was spending the night with her. Logan found himself laughing. He hadn't even agreed to go out and yet she had decided for him. He stood up and reached for his mobile. He sighed at the fact that the only male friend he had left was his younger brother.
"You look like you're having a good time," a pretty ginger woman sarcastically mentioned with a wide smile as she stood next to him on the bar, her hand holding onto the empty glass that she had as she waved her hand at the barmaid to attract her attention. He found himself smiling at her despite the fact that he had been previously thinking of reasons to leave the place. He wasn't even sure Lucas would notice his disappearance!
"Not everyone can be as wild as a group of women celebrating a last night of freedom," he pointed out as she leant in and ordered a single vodka and coke. She pointed her finger at him and smiled causing him to grin. He also picked up that that was the first time he'd smiled so often in such a short time when Flissy wasn't involved. "You're not on doubles?" He asked as he'd heard some of them order their drinks and had found himself wondering what was the point of adding dash to a double vodka seeing as it didn't leave much room in the glass. She looked down at the glass and smiled.
"Four years of university can put you off alcohol forever," she assured him as she took a sip of her drink and looked over at him. "So why aren't you enjoying your night out apart from your wingman has ditched you to chat up my bride-to-be?" He found himself wanting to blow her off despite the fact that she had indeed made him smile and slightly enjoy his night. He'd not spoken to a woman apart from Louisa and the odd teacher from Flissy's school since Raquel had passed away but yet he knew this was the reason he was out and he could see Lucas looking over at him so he decided to keep talking to her even if he thought she might give up on him first.
"This is my first night out in eight years," he admitted looking down at his beer glass and sighed. "I'm not a party animal at all." He said thinking back to how she had said that she'd been at university for four years. "I suppose you're used to scenes like this?" He said indicating to the women that had climbed back up onto the table, the bride now holding onto Lucas' tie as she leant back on the bar and looked up at him as if she was going to eat him alive. He found himself feeling bad for the man that was going to be married to her. She looked like she could control her men well. He was ripped out of his assessment by her answering his question.
"I wasn't really a party animal back at university but I went out the occasional night. I much preferred quiet nights in watching a DVD with my boyfriend or just the girls I lived with," she said looking over at him. "And at university, you don't hang out in old man pubs. You hit nightclubs so you have no choice but to be in a drunk and dancing state. In this kind of atmosphere, you're supposed to have a civil chat with people and just enjoy the alcohol you're drinking like you are." She pointed out as she finished her drink and ordered another one. He didn't want to comment on how fast she was drinking them for someone that didn't want to get drunk or that wasn't a party animal. She looked at him and smiled as if she'd read what his look had said. "It's been a tough day," she promised laughing as she looked down at the glass.
She should have known that coming out and drinking wasn't a good idea. Everyone knows that the minute you add alcohol to someone who is in a bad place it can only lead to disaster. Christy was aware that if she didn't slow it down, she'd be a crumbling mess before she even got home and that was never a good thing. Running the pad of her thumb around the rim of her glass, she sighed. She should probably make her excuses to leave the party soon and return the sanctuary that was her bedroom.
"I can imagine," he said sarcastically thinking that the worst thing that could happen to the beautiful woman standing in front of him was that she could break a nail or something. He knew that was an awful stereotype of him but it was how he felt. She sensed the sarcasm and simply smiled before picking up her glass to take a sip. "I'm sorry. That was wrong of me. I'm not used to social situations. The only person I normally talk to is my eight year old daughter."
"Oh you have a daughter?" She said smiling at him and he could see that she now looked comfortable when talking about her daughter.
"Yes. She's a little piece of dynamite, always on the go and she's so mature for her age. I swear at times she's the one that takes care of me rather than the other way round," he laughed happily and she noticed that it was the first genuine laugh he'd shared with her since their conversation had started. Due to her profession, she loved meeting parents that had a real love for their kids. She knew that all parents did but there was that one parent where you could see that they'd sacrifice everything for their child and this man was obviously one of them. "I'm sorry. You probably don't want to hear about me talking about my daughter." The sheepish tone in his voice and the warm blush that spread across his cheeks made her heart skip a beat and she shook her head.
"No." She promised reaching over and squeezing his hand, smiling. "I think it's refreshing to have actual conversation with someone who actually has sustenance to their chat. Do you know how many guys in a university just want to tell you how they're some sort of sex god?" She shook her head thinking of how thankful she'd been to having her boyfriend so that she didn't have to feel bad about pushing all the guys away. However Marley and the other girls had had great fun with all the guys back at university. He found himself smiling for the first time in a long time. He didn't think he had it in him anymore to be told by a woman that she was happy to be talking to him. Finishing her drink, she smiled at him. "Thank you for the lovely conversation but I must excuse myself," and he watched her walk away and head into the ladies.
Standing in front of the mirror, she wiped underneath her eyes as she looked at her reflection. She didn't know why she'd felt like she needed to make a quick escape but she'd seen the mocking in his eyes when she'd said that she'd had a rough day and she'd felt bad. Sure finding out that your boyfriend had been cheating on you was tough but she'd be able to move on from this and be stronger from it. Besides, in a year she'd be out of here. She wanted to go abroad to teach and after this year of probation was up she had nothing to keep her here anymore and that was how she wanted it to be. He'd saved her from causing more heart pain than she'd wanted and for that, she should be grateful. She moved into the toilet to get some tissue.
"Way to go!" Lucas said coming over and clapping his brother on the shoulder. He sat down on the stool as he waved over at the bride before turning his attention back to his brother. "You picked a good one. She's in a vulnerable state," he said and Logan rolled his eyes. It was apparent that his brother had used his connection with the bride to find out information about the woman that he'd just been talking to.
"Lucas, you realise the girl you've been talking to has..." he was cut off by his brother continuing with his information.
"This morning she found out her boyfriend of three years finished her because he's engaged to some other chick." He said clicking his fingers for the barmaid and Logan watched as she came over, a huge smile on her face. She was just another woman to fall for her brother's charms. "Do you want anything?" Lucas asked and Logan shook his head as he slipped off his stool, heading into the woman's toilets.
She gasped as she turned from the mirror to see him standing there, a sheepish smile on her face as she pointed at the door. "You've came into the wrong ones," she said not wanting to laugh at him because it was a mistake most people made when they were out drinking. However he didn't seem to be listening to her as he moved towards her, his hand taking hold of her wrist as he teased the piece of tissue out of her hands and wiped at her eyes gently for her.
"I'm sorry for what I said in there," he whispered screwing the tissue up and throwing it into the bin before turning his attention back onto her. He found himself attracted to her despite the fact that her cheeks now had tear tracks down them and her eye makeup was smudged really badly. He cupped her cheek with his hand and found his gaze moving down to her lips. How had he not noticed that that was the only part of her face not plastered in makeup? Her lips were naturally that shade of pink and they were beautiful. He couldn't resist as he leant in and pressed a kiss to her lips, his eyes closing as he knew that he should be a gentleman and pull away. She'd had a drink and she was heartbroken so she wouldn't be thinking straight whereas he'd had one drink and was definitely thinking straight but all he wanted was her. It was as if she'd cast a spell on him with her charm, her smile and even more importantly by the fact that she'd bothered to sit and talk to him despite the fact he looked so down in the dumps.
When they broke off, he watched as she nibbled on her bottom lip. "I'm sorry," she whispered and he couldn't help but laugh. How the hell had she managed to come to the conclusion that that was her fault? He'd been the one to start everything and he sure as hell wasn't feeling guilty at all.
"I should be the one that's sorry. I took advantage..." he was cut off by her stealing his lips again, her hands fisting into the material of his shirt as she kept him close to her. He ran his hands through her hair before breaking away to look at her. He was slightly breathless just from the intensity of the kiss and he'd firmly made his mind up of what the next step should be. "Are you obliged to stay?" He asked pecking her lips and she smiled as she shook her head, her teeth lightly nipping his bottom lip before she stepped back and released the hold she had on his shirt.
"I didn't really want to be here in the first place so an excuse to leave would be much appreciated," she said in a teasing voice and he found himself laughing as he held out his hand to her. She looked at it nervously for a nanosecond before linking her fingers through his and allowing him to lead her out of the toilets, passed her friends and outside where they started walking down the street because his house wasn't too far from there he insisted.
She didn't know when she'd got so trusting of strangers but she found herself following him, her laugher happy as he told her silly little things to keep her mind off the cold despite the fact he'd already wrapped her up in his coat like a gentleman would. Christy knew that even if this was just a one night stand when she woke up there would be no regrets because the guy was simply a breath of fresh air and that was all she needed right now to take her mind off everything.