Warning: if you haven't read the novella, these scenes contain spoilers.
Beautiful Mess was written as a novella, but for a while, I had a crack at turning it into a novel. It didn't work--I think these guys suit the shorter format better, and if I write about them again, it'll certainly be in novella form. I ended up with a fair bit of material though, and if you're hungry for more of Bailey and the boys, you might enjoy these four "deleted" scenes.
One: Three Men and a Baby
You know those couples you see on train platforms, or swinging hands in sunny parks? They’re cute and quirky rather than beautiful, but it makes their secret smiles and private jokes more loathsome than they already are. Sometimes you desperately want to be the girl in the crook of the tall boy’s arm; you watch how she leans in to smell his neck, or how he strokes her earlobe as he kisses her. Other times, you just want to punch her in the face.
I’ve been both of those girls. Then it happened, and Linc and I were one of those couples.
Or at least, we were until about two minutes ago.
“You’re right, Bails,” Tom said glumly. “You two just aren’t ready to be parents.”
I glanced between Tom and Linc--both on polar ends of the sofa--and put my head in my hands. Tom sat still in his scrubs and looked like he hadn’t slept for about two days; Linc had tucked his black hair behind his ears (he was growing out to look like a real vampire for his YouTube skits).
“I don’t even know how this happened,” I groaned.
Linc cocked his head at me. There were those lovely green eyes again, and the teasing grin which he kept for special occasions. “If we chucked Tom out, I could remind you.”
“Very funny. Besides.” I scowled. “This is all your fault.”
“How is it my fault, exactly?”
“You should have checked--”
“I did! The guy in the shop said--”
“Dude.” Tom held his hands up, brows twisted in disgust. “Nobody needs to hear about whatever went on in this shop.”
There was a low rumble in the corridor and then Olly came crashing through in all his creased, surfer-blonde glory.
“Fuck-a-doodle-doo, bitches!” He launched himself between Linc and Tom, throwing his arms round their shoulders and eliciting manly grunts. “Big news. Guess what?”
Tom rubbed his temples while he rolled his eyes. “Bailey’s pregnant.”
I’m not sure who’s jaw dropped first--Linc’s, Olly’s or mine.
“Fucking hell, Bailey,” Olly said. “You would have to spoil my moment, wouldn’t you?”
“Fortunately for you, you retard--” I leaned forward to smack his knee, “I’m not pregnant.”
“You’re not?” said Tom.
“No.” Linc glanced at me. “Or at least, not that I know of.”
“It’s Desmond,” I said. “Desmond is pregnant.”
Olly’s eyes darted back and forth. “As in, Desmond the pet rat? The boy rat?”
“Apparently the shop lied to Linc. Desmond has been getting down and dirty with Tarquin and Safety Dance,” I said dryly.
“Cocktards,” Linc muttered. “So what’s this news, then? Is it…?”
Olly took Linc’s hand and began to stroke it. A wide, melty smile engulfed his face while Linc sat, stiff and suspicious.
“Bails. Tom. There’s something you should know.” He took a deep breath. “Linc and I are having a baby.”
I blinked. “You are?”
“Oh.” Linc broke into an equally delighted grin. “We are!”
“We got the go-ahead from the producers.” Olly bounced on the creaky sofa. “Full budget! We’re making a film, shit-heads! Gay vamps the movie is go!”
“Oh my God.” I loved my boyfriend--and my two best friends--to pieces, but even I didn’t think MTV would cough up six figures for a film pitched as Twilight meets Jackass (although with their YouTube following, Olly and Linc’s act was rather famous). “So what…and when…?”
“Cheers for the congratulations, like.” Olly rubbed his nose. “Production meeting first thing in the morning, and then it’s all systems homo.”
“Do we need to do any prep?” said Linc.
“Nah…well. We need to spray-paint that dildo.”
“Er…awesome. So.” I tapped Linc’s knee. “What are we going to do about Desmond?”
Tom stood, stretching like an over-enthusiastic PE teacher.
“Change his bloody name, for starters.”
Two: Lazy Morning
Who doesn’t fantasise about having a famous boyfriend?
When I was about fourteen, I had a crush on a trendy film star. He was in his early twenties, had a super-cool swept-over fringe and he was in lots of ironic comedies where aging stars made cameos and he effortlessly took the pee. I had all sorts of indecent fantasies about him, but what I really wanted was for him to turn up at the end of school and kiss me in front of everyone. Then he’d proffer an expensive piece of jewellery--an obvious sign of commitment. Not grooming. Oh no-- and whisk me away in his sports car. I knew all this was never going to happen, but it didn’t stop the thought being a comfort on rough days.
Linc had yet to buy me any jewellery and he drove a VW Golf. Nobody screamed at him when he met me at the wedding cake shop, where I worked. Lately, though, there was often a gaggle of schoolgirls swinging off the park railings to cop an eyeful of…my famous boyfriend.
If somebody had told fourteen year-old Bailey that this would happen in a decade or so, she’d have spat out her Coke. Linc even made ironic comedy. He wasn’t so famous when we got together, though things had really sped up since they got their TV contract, and now he had thousands of followers on Twitter and the little fan-cult full of underage girls.
He also had a stalker.
“She’s made a Twitter account.” Linc tapped me on the shoulder with something mobile phone-shaped, and I wriggled against the bed sheets. “Look.”
“I don’t want to look. What time is it?”
“Half seven. See? She’s called it Mrs Linc‘s Bitch--”
“Half seven. On a Saturday. Linc…go back to sleep.” I rubbed sleep from my eyes. “The rats kept me up half the night with their squarky sex party.”
“And in a month or two…we’ll have like, three times as many rats. Think of the bow-chic-a-wow-wow going on then.”
I rolled over and pressed my face into his warm, naked shoulder. “You’re not about to shut up any time soon, are you?”
He tipped my chin up and kissed me lazily. “Nope. Too many ideas for the film floating around my head.”
“I changed my mind about your film. I mean, you know how I support your career and everything…your prancing around on the internet in plastic…fangs…but three weeks is a very long time to go away in Bailey time. So.” I chewed my bottom lip. “Please get a job at McDonalds instead.”
“It’s an inventive way to get rid of the stalker.” He trailed fingertips down my back, cupped my buttocks. Mashed them against his rather stiff-fronted boxers. “Like I said last night--you should talk to Mila, see if she’ll let you go on sabbatical. When else will you ever get chance to run riot around Slovenia with a film crew?”
“You couldn’t have picked New Zealand, or Florida…?”
“Give me the budget and I’ll film wherever you like. Well. Wherever you and Olly and our producer like.” He was grinning and glowing in the syrupy morning sun. “’Cause I’ve got a producer now, see.”
“Mmm. Apparently you’ve got castings, meetings and fittings, too.”
“Anyone would think I was a grown-up. We’re going to be rat parents and everything.”
Linc and I had been living together for two months, and waking up with him was still my favourite part of the day. The way he made space for me in the bedroom that was once just his; how he welcomed my mess of baking gear into his little kitchen and my girly cushions on the bed; it was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. None of that stopped the odd inkling that we were still just playing house, though.
“We’re not grown-up. We’re twenty-five. We have at least a year until we start lusting after commemorative tea towels and thinking that caravans are a good idea.”
“There will be caravans in Slovenia. They’ll be for make-up and costume, though.” He wriggled against me in excitement. “I get to storm back to my trailer!”
“You might want to work on your storming.” Linc was one of the most chilled-out people I knew. “Practise shouting I can’t work under these conditions! with a mouthful of false vamp teeth.”
He sat up and smoothed down his chin-length hair. “You’re right. I’ve only got three weeks to perfect being a melodramatic cock. It’ll be tough going.”
“Olly could probably teach you a thing or two.”
“Heh. Possibly.” He nudged me, gazing down with a sleepy smile. “Have we got time before you go to work?”
“Time for what?” I yawned.
“To help me forget about Mrs Linc’s Bitch.”
“Oh. I see. I see what you did there.” I climbed into his lap and wrapped my arms around his broad shoulders. “Will you talk dirty to me about spray-painted dildos?”
“I like ‘em better without the paint. When they’re all…naked.”
I loved the sucking little bites he put along my collarbone when he was in the mood, like he tried to get inside me, even with his teeth.
“Okay.” I giggled. “But I want the Transylvanian accent too…”
Flat to myself: check. Sad CGI film on the TV: check. Boyfriend pretending to be homosexual with Olly, on a webcam: probably. Slightly adventurous elderflower soft drink: hell yes.
I’m so rock’n’roll.
I realised that was weird, but this was my ideal Sunday night (well…there’s one other way I liked to spend it which involved Linc and some chocolate orange cupcakes, but now isn’t really the time). I liked my own company; I could get my sketchbook out and design sugar craft stuff, or sing loudly to the rats. Eat with my mouth open. Read dirty stories on the internet. If I felt especially patient, I'd blow-dry my hair straight and take pictures of myself pouting from a slightly upward angle.
Except tonight, that wouldn’t be happening.
Tom’s number flashed on my mobile. I winced as I grabbed it and the ring-tone filled my ears.
“It’s…erm.” He sighed. “We’ve got another ollisode on our hands.”
“A what now?”
“You know, Bails. Last time Olly had one of his…things…and we put Olly and episode together to --”
“Oh. Very clever.” I paused as I realised exactly what he meant. “Is he okay?”
“Not really, no. Linc’s on his way to fetch you.”
I stared forlornly at the actually-rather-nice elderflower fizz. “I’ll see you in a bit, then. Try and keep him calm, yeah?”
When Linc arrived about ten minutes later, I’d changed out of my candyfloss print pyjamas and scraped back my hair. He was wearing some very smudged eyeliner, a little neck scarf, and his cheekbones were streaked with silver glitter. His eyes flashed behind extra-green contacts.
“Argh!” I tried not to laugh at him. “It’s a scary vampire!”
“I was on a roll, damn it.” He pulled me into the crook of his arm. “Come on. Car. I’ll explain while we go.”
The blurry lights of suburban Wokingham streaked past as Linc drove. Groups of teenagers whooped on their bikes and skateboards; men in leather blazers were off to the pub for the last few rounds. The sky was painted in early summer twilight, with shades of blue sandwiched in buttery ink and a dusty crescent moon.
I fiddled with my seatbelt nervously. “Has Ol been drinking?”
“No. He’s messed up about Chan again.”
“I don’t get it. He was the one who dumped her. She was the wounded party. She--” I couldn’t help it. Olly was one of my best friends, but Chan was the closest thing I’d had to a girly mate, and I knew what it was like to be dumped when you least expected it.
“Yeah, but he won’t say why, will he?”
“Not even during special man-bonding moments?” I said.
“He’s not really in the mood. Apparently.”
I chewed my lip. “So…what am I meant to be doing?”
“He wanted you. He’s out on the balcony in his werewolf gear--he’ll be scaring the neighbours.”
Normally, I loved going back to Tom and Olly’s high-ceilinged flat. I used to live there--we’d moved in together straight out of uni--and though I’d been gone for two months, you could still smell my herbs in the kitchen (probably because all they had cooked was Pot Noodle). My room had since been filled with props for Bite Club’s videos, but it didn’t trump the fact that I had some awesome memories of the place.
There was one particular low point, but I didn’t dredge up evil Craig unless I had to.
Shower-fresh hair framed Tom’s face. He caught my eye as we came in--they’d insisted that I kept my key--and he cocked his head towards the glass doors in the kitchen. The atmosphere was unsettling, unusual; Tom’s arms were folded and he sat straight up on the kitchen table.
“Good luck,” he muttered. “You’ll bloody need it.”
“I’m going to wash off the slap,” said Linc. He squeezed me around the waist and then wandering off to the bathroom. I helped myself to a Coke from the fridge before I slipped out into the cool air.
In his hairy suit, Olly hunched over on a deckchair with his elbows balanced on knees. He glanced at me and a faint, rueful smile flicked across his lips. “All right, Bails?”
I sat down on the decking and crossed my legs. “I hear you’ve had an ollisode.”
“I fucking hate that word.” He eased the Coke from my hands and slurped noisily. “I just…you know.”
“Nope, I don’t. I’ve yet to witness the majestic glory of the Olly strop. Do you throw plates? Slam doors? Punch walls, that kind of thing?”
“There might have been some wall punching,” he confessed.
“Linc said it was to do with Chan.” I inched closer and leant against his leg. “You know how when Craig dumped me, you were all like, Bails, talk to us, you retard?”
He rolled his eyes, though there was good nature behind it. “I’ve calmed down now. I don’t need to talk it out, or whatever. I’m a man. A pork sword chevalier. We don’t need to share our feelings and all that crap.”
“We both know you’re talking arse.” I prodded him in the ribs. “Why’d you do it? You were all comfy and lovely together. She’s really cut up.”
“I know.” His bottom lip trembled, just for a second. “It wasn’t her, Bails. I didn’t want to hurt her at all. I just…I’m a cock.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
He snorted. “You don’t know what I’ve done though, do you? I’m a tosspot wank-bastard fucktarded nonce captain.”
He’d whacked out the four-pronged cuss. Olly was in a bad way.
“So when you’re getting angry…you’re angry at you?” I said.
“I fucked up, so I did right by her and called it all off. I wish I could…I dunno. I don’t want to talk about it, but I do. Does that make any sense?”
I patted his knee. “Yep.”
“She came to pick up her stuff earlier and started crying. It was horrible. She thinks I want to go out and shag a bunch of groupies.”
I took back the Coke. “Do you?”
“No.” He jerked with incredulous laughter. “It’s not like that at all.”
“She’s going to be angry, no matter what you tell her. I…I remember.” The sweet taste of the fizz was cloying in my mouth.
“I know you do, Bails. I’m sorry. I’m not like that shit though. Really. I’m not.”
The shit called Craig. I shuddered. It has been six months since my ex revealed that he’d been cheating on me with a girl from work. On the plus side, Linc took the opportunity to sweep in and tell me how he felt. On the downside, an aching segment of my brain always whispered that I was inadequate.
I hoped Chan was stronger than me. She swore a lot more--surely that counted for something?
“You need to perk up,” I said. “You’ve got a film to make. Slutty girls to cast. Vampires to molest.”
“I should be more grateful, eh?”
“Too right.” I grinned up at him. “You’re Olly Harris. The Cunt Whisperer. You won’t be single for long.”
“I don’t like my boys being all sullen, anyway. You’re bringing us all down.”
“When you were down, I bought you pizza and Jägermeister,” he retorted. “Where’s my booze and lard?”
“Want to go get some?”
He swallowed. “Yeah, actually. Let’s get wrecked. And chubby.”
I hopped up, balancing my can on the railing. “One condition, though.”
“Go on,” he said.
“You have to keep the werewolf suit on for the pizza place. And howl at the moon.”
“You drive a mean bargain, Bailey Frost.” He stood and wrapped me in a big bear hug, squidging me against rough synthetic fur. “Goodbye, gnomes of self-pity. Hello, smarmy Ol.”
“I’d forgotten about the gnomes.” I laughed.
“They ride on owls of despair, remember?”
“I do.” I tugged him back through into the kitchen, where Tom and a freshly-scrubbed Linc were nursing coffees. “Hustle, you pair--we’re going out for pizza.”
“And beer! Muchos beer. Or liquor. Or…something.” Olly did a little tap dance while Linc and Tom watched with glazed eyes and twitching upper lips.
“Dude,” said Linc, “you know we have to be in London at ten in the morning, right?”
“I know.” Olly punctuated the words with a hand-jive.
“And I have to be out on ward rounds at eight,” groaned Tom.
“I’m not at work,” I said. “I’ll be on ollisode watch.”
Olly pawed at Linc’s hair, pouting. “You washed it off! Can’t you at least put your teeth back in? I’m not going to Pizza Hut dressed up on my todd.”
Huge Hawaiian pizza purchased by leery werewolf? Check. Embarrassment as the boys were mobbed by students in street? Check. Three tipsy boys singing Bonjovi songs on the balcony at midnight? Possibly. Happy Bailey…? Hell yes.
Four: Poor Hairy Fangy
“The boys suck blood while the girls are gawking
At a butt-plug shaped like Stephen Hawking
He’s gonna get owned when the lights go out
Gonna get boned like a rainbow trout…”
Why go out on a Friday night when you can sprawl out in a messy lounge next to farting Tom, and listen to your boyfriend’s weird rap from the next room?
It had been a wrist-splitting day of slicing, dicing and icing. My fingers were sore from ever-washing and I had a headache from squinting at silver confectionary balls in various twee formations. All I wanted was --
“Full moons, show tunes, spunk and sequins
His jumpsuit’s tight and he’s got to breathe in
Fashion over function, it’s the werewolf way
Choir boy cock for luncheon on an average day…”
“Gah!” I elbowed Tom in the ribs. “I don’t know what’s worse--how they sing, or how you smell.”
“I love you too. Cow.”
“What crawled up your arse and died? Seriously. I don’t remember it being this bad since the night of the Bulgarian red wine.” I stole a handful of popcorn from his bag. “And that was bad.”
“Hey! You try eating in the hospital canteen twice a day. The food is designed to blow infections of epidemic proportions out of your jacksey. I’m halting the spread of disease, Bails. I’m a one-man airborne vaccination.”
I went to grab more popcorn and he tugged the bag away with an evil cackle.
“And if you’re going to be mean, you can get your own munchies.”
“Thomas. You big woman.” The doorbell rang--still the Phantom of the Opera tone from when I’d lived there - and I hauled myself up to answer. “Did you order food?”
“Nope. But Chan’s due to pick up some more stuff.”
Oh. This wasn’t going to be awkward at all…
I opened the door to a rather tired-looking Chan. The girl Olly once called his Hentai princess still had her bright pink pigtails and lined, sparkly eyes, but the mascara was tear-smudged and her normally glossy mouth was drawn.
A beat passed. Then I wrapped her into a tight hug and she pressed her face into my shoulder.
“I’m really fucking sorry.” She sniffed against my t-shirt. “I was doing all right, y’know. It’s just, coming back here…”
“I know. I know what it’s like.” I took her hand and led her through to the kitchen. “Do you want a drink?”
“No. I only popped in to get my Firefly box set.” She stepped from foot to foot, folding her arms. “Is he…?”
I eased the door open with a finger and the synth-tastic rap flooded through over the sound of the TV.
“…poor hairy Fangy, he was a late bloomer
Then he realised he liked pork, not tuna…"