Stewart, Daisy’s soon-to-be ex-lover—even if he wasn’t aware of it—came with a groan and a shudder that Daisy swore shifted the bed three inches.
Outside rain splattered on the window, and the wind crept in around the sash and stirred the curtains.
Welcome to spring in Scotland. Where was the sunshine and warm balmy days?
Not here for sure.
Unsatisfied—not only by the weather—and not anywhere near sated, Daisy muttered something unrepeatable and thought, Sod it, I’m not faking again. Faking an orgasm was about as fulfilling as eating four-day-old pizza that no one had thought to cover and the mice had nibbled. She didn’t even like fresh pizza. Her Italian food of choice was spaghetti with clams and a bottle of Gavi.
That was a good topic for her weekly newspaper column. She’d need to make a note of it later. Not the wine, but the yawn-a-gasm. ‘To fake or not to fake, that is the question’.
She wasn’t doing it. Enough was enough. Time for a shake-up. She was in a rut, and was sick of the view.
That summed up her life, and not just with Stewart, although that—and he—were the catalyst.
Three months previously, they had met at a pre-Christmas party and had appeared to connect. How wrong could she be? One month of skirting around each other, two of having sex—piss-poor sex, if she were honest—and Daisy knew their relationship was doomed. Should she tell him now or later?
The insistent buzz of her mobile phone answered that.
She hefted Stewart to one side, ignored his incoherent mumble, picked up the phone and squinted at the caller’s name.
Oh shit, what now. She flicked it on. Stewart grunted contentedly. “Glad it wasn’t a second earlier. Great, eh?”
Oh how she’d like to say, ‘no, you selfish shit, it wasn’t’. Daisy ignored him and spoke into the phone. “Hi, Ma, what’s up?”
The voice on the other end of the phone was nigh on incoherent. But as ever, Daisy got the gist of it. “Arrested? What the hell for?” She listened for a moment more as Stewart got up, scratched his cock and balls and wandered in the direction of the bathroom, as uninterested as ever in her family and their goings-ons.
“You did what? Oh for f…flip’s sake, Ma, how many more times? No, I’m not bailing you out this time. Ask Pete the…” Just in time she stopped herself from calling him ‘the plonker’. Her mum got really agitated when she did, and she supposed she couldn’t blame her. “The guy you’re ah…seeing.” Better than saying ‘screwing’ to your mum. Not that it would faze her mum, but it just didn’t feel right.
Her mother’s diction became clear. “I’ve ditched him, Daisy. He wanted me to wear a bra.” Her voice rose. “Can you believe it? The controlling bastard. A bra.” She sounded as if she’d been asked to eat meat and she was a card-holding vegetarian. “I mean, where would I get one? What a waste of money. And if that wasn’t enough, he thinks I should call myself Priscilla. I am not a Priscilla, am I? Prissy Pris. So not me. It was the last straw, Daisy, it really was. Pr…isss…illa.” If you could hear a shudder, Daisy heard it.
However, Daisy could agree with that statement. Prickly Pris maybe, not prissy, anything but. Her hippy mum, who thought free love should include condoms on the NHS, had called herself Plum ever since she’d snuck into one of the early Isle of Wight music festivals, met Gregory, a.k.a. Leaf, Daisy’s dad, and gone to live in a tepee on the edge of a Scottish loch. There they’d communed with nature by picking wild fruit and berries, had a lot of dodgy tummy upsets when they didn’t know what they’d picked, swam naked and ate guddled fish. Not, Daisy devoutly hoped, all at the same time.
Even now, Plum mostly lived there. Leaf, a reasonably successful musician, was as he said, like his name, still blowing in the wind. Daisy met him a few times a year and suspected he and her mum did the ex-with-benefits meetups slightly more often. She chose not to ask. Her mum could be a bit too graphic at times. Enough to scar a person for life. After all, who needed to know just how her dad turned her mum on? When Plum had started going on about erogenous zones, ice cubes and pressure points, Daisy had zoned out. It was bad enough seeing her mum’s peek-a-boo scanties on the washing line. She didn’t want—or need—any more information.
Unless it was for her column of course, but nobody knew about that except the editor of the paper and herself. Sexpert Sadie, the lady with all the answers. Except, it seemed, with regards to her own sex life.
She had to be very careful in some of her replies, in case anyone recognised them as similar to something they had said or done that she knew about. It was a pity because some things she’d been told about were doozies. The cock ring someone had put in the freezer before using it and getting ice burns just where you didn’t want them, or the time someone had got caught out having sex in a hut they’d thought was derelict but had turned out to be used by the local coalman for storage. They’d been locked in behind two dozen full coal bags. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except they were married, and not to each other. The excuse that the man had been trying to help the woman rejuvenate her marriage by giving her some sex tips hadn’t quite rung true. Daisy could have achieved more than one week’s column about the ecstasy and pitfalls of that.
The joys of having a sideline you didn’t tell anyone about.
“Anyway, I don’t need bailing out, just picking up,” Plum went on robustly. “Just at the local nick, as ever. They’re getting a bit too zealous these days. And some of them are hardly old enough to be my grandkids. That is, they would be if I had any.”
Daisy ignored that. She’d have had to have been very precocious for offspring old enough to be policemen to be realistic.
“Get real, Mum.”
“Thank you, dear, I am. Just not a granny yet. Oh, hello, Sarge, how’s the bunion?”
Daisy sighed, accepted the last question wasn’t directed at her and got out of bed, careful not to roll onto the icky sticky bit Stewart had left behind. Why did he always do that? She knew it could be an occasional hazard, but every time? It was…disgusting, she decided and showed no respect for her or her belongings.
Enough, other things to think about.
“Give me time to get washed and dressed.”
“Of course, dear. If they’ve let me go I’ll wait in Prunes and Pastry.”
Which was one of the weirdest names for a café Daisy ever knew, but then that was her mum. Grab a placard from some bloke who protested her café was unethical—reason unspecified—hit him on the head with it and get arrested for her pains—again. Then offer him a half-price prune-and-jackfruit pastry. Get accused of bribery and be cautioned yet again.
Plum was a champion of so many causes, often supporting them in what even she admitted could be called an overzealous way, such that she knew most of her local policemen by name. Half of them used the café, the other half wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole and went pale whenever she was anywhere near.
Daisy reckoned they cussed when they saw her mum’s name on a charge sheet, and drew straws to see who was the unlucky one who had to deal with her. Plum would no doubt listen intently, nod and say yes, she was so sorry, wasn’t whatever she’d done a silly thing to do and of course, officer, she realised A or B and she wouldn’t do it again. Then comment that whoever was admonishing her appeared grey, or liverish, and ask how their diet—or worse, bowels—were.
It was no wonder the local policemen did their best not to be the one to deal with Priscilla Rosemarie Imogen Spring.
Daisy loved her mum, but honestly sometimes, she just wanted a break from all the drama. Now she would have to go out without having had at least three cups of coffee. And it was raining. Not her idea of heaven.
At least it isn’t freezing.
However, needs must, and she knew her mum would do the same for her. Not that she intended to get into the same situation, but even so.
Stewart still occupied the en suite. His out-of-tune singing could be heard above the noise of the shower. If you went by the amount of time he spent there—and hot water he used—he either had a hot water fetish or was the cleanest bloke for miles around. Daisy was used to showering in lukewarm water when he’d got in there first.
Daisy grabbed some clothes and headed to the main bathroom, where she had the fastest wash—in lukewarm water—ever, dressed in jeans and an ancient sweatshirt with ‘Geologists do it with hammers’ printed on the front, shoved her feet into fleecy boots, then headed back to the bedroom to let Stewart know what was going on. Not that he’d be interested, apart from saying something disparaging about her mum and her dysfunctional family, but it was only polite.
He looked up from packing his sports bag, and reddened.
Daisy blinked. Why did he appear embarrassed? What was he up to? He hadn’t looked like that since he’d accidentally nuked a plastic bag of non-microwaveable popcorn and exploded the microwave. “Hello, what’s going on, and why do you have my Bluetooth speaker in your bag?”
He picked the speaker up and held it close to his chest. “I bought it.”
Sneaky, cheating bugger.
“As a present to me,” she pointed out. “For Christmas.” She didn’t add, ‘and you used my PayPal and never paid me back’. It had been her own fault for letting him buy something through it a few days before he’d purchased the speaker, and not changing her password immediately. She’d changed it once the notification had come in. “Which you couldn’t be arsed to wrap.” He’d put in in a supermarket carrier. One of the cheap disposable ones.
“Wrapping paper is a waste of money. I’m sensible with money.”
“Oh yeah, aren’t you just. You used my money to buy me a present which I never ever get to see, let alone use anyway!”
He scowled. “You don’t use it.” Sulky was an understatement. “I wasted my money.”
Your money? That’ll be right.
“Like I said, I don’t get a chance to even touch it let alone use it. You nigh on have it strapped to you. Best take it out and put it back on the shelf. Stealing is an offence.” She rarely used it because it had crap sound quality and made strange whistling noises, but it was the principle of the thing. “Why were you packing it, anyway?” She suspected she might know the answer, wouldn’t be upset by it, but oh boy, she intended to make him say it. She’d had enough of him and his ways.
When had she become so vindictive?
When the bugger tried to keep on using my PayPal.
He stood in front of her and pursed his lips.
Like an old woman.
”Well?” she prompted. “I’m waiting.”
“Because I won’t be back.” He scowled and handed her the speaker. “I need more than you’re prepared to give. You don’t appreciate me. I’m just…here.”
He made it sound so impersonal. Though, wasn’t that what she’d thought lately? She was handy, and nothing else? An easy alternative to him having to make an effort.
Dare she fist pump the air? Maybe not yet. “Really? As in what? Apart from my speaker and access to PayPal?”
“You aren’t invested in me.” He made it sound like he was on the Footsie 100. “Everything has to be two-way.”
So why isn’t it? “Your point is?” Daisy asked silkily. It was that or box his ears and tell him to listen to himself. The trouble with that would be he would only hear what he wanted to, and put the slant on it that suited him.
“I’m a convenience,” he said. “Even that woman in the paper, that Sexpert Sadie person, says a couple need to invest in each other.”
Daisy wasn’t sure she’d heard aright. Her lips twitched. She knew all about Sadie saying invest in each other. But him a convenience? The other way around, surely?
“A bit of the pot, kettle and black there, mate,” she said flatly. “In each other are the operative words. I don’t turn up and ask why the footie isn’t on, when I weren’t expected. Ask why my favourite beer isn’t on hand, or think that I should be waited on hand and foot.”
That would be the day. The fact she refused to do such a thing had been another bone of contention between them. His mum accepted it, he said. Why didn’t she? Daisy couldn’t be bothered to do the different generations, different attitudes, and she wasn’t his slave thing. She’d just told him to suck it up.
“Phil couldn’t make it,” he went on. “I didn’t want to sit in the pub by myself. Anyway, your TV is bigger than mine.”
Dare she say ‘and my tits are bigger than your tits’? Just. Daisy ignored that thought and concentrated on another point.
“How can anyone invest in someone who thinks hot sex is putting the electric blanket on?”
“I don’t like cold feet,” he said with a snap. “You and your keeping the windows open.”
“It gets rids of the smell of your farts.”
Oh for God’s sake, I’ve reverted to the schoolroom.
“Window open and so much more,” he went on as if she hadn’t spoken. “I suffer from chilblains if I get cold. I don’t like to be cold. I mean, who on earth wants to make love under the stars at midnight? It’s unnatural.”
“I bloody do,” Daisy said. “And in the sea, the woods and on the kitchen table if that’s what takes me. Not in bed, sweating buckets for all the wrong reasons. If that makes me an alien so be it. You know, you’ve done me a favour, Stewart. So, now bye-bye, and don’t let the doorknob hit your ass on the way out.”
He appeared dumbfounded. “That’s all you can say?”
She stared at him for a second then moved. “I could say good riddance to bad rubbish with a dick like a gherkin, but I’m not so crass.”
He took a step back.
“Here.” She picked up the Bluetooth speaker and held it out to him. “Have it with my compliments.” Just before he reached for it, she dropped it.
“Oh dear, my bad, what a waste of a fiver.”
“It was a tenner, you bitch.”
Now she knew what was meant by flaring nostrils. Weird.
“Woof, woof. Wow de wow. And it was my money not yours, so what’s your point?”
That shut him up. With what Daisy supposed he thought was dignity, but she saw as childishness, he sighed very ostentatiously, stood on the bits of speaker, picked up his bag and headed for the door.
“Key please,” she said as she followed him downstairs.
“What?” He tried for outrage and just about managed a pet lip and a pathetic hard-done-to tone.
She held her hand out. “Door key. Hand it over, or do I tell the cops you’ve pocketed it?”
He took the key out of his pocket and dropped it pointy end first into her palm.
Daisy bit back the temptation to cuss as she caught it. “Thank you.”
“Glad to be shot of you.” He stalked out.
“Ditto and goodbye.” Daisy slammed the door shut on him and leaned on it. When would she stop being a sucker?
Like, not yet. I reckon it’s time to go on a sex-and stupid-men break. It would make for a good blog if nothing else.
First though, I’d better get a move on and go and pick up Mum.
Do I have enough petrol?