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Things I Have Discovered This Week


posted by Lucy V Morgan

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1) My four year-old believes "Daddy is my daddy, Grandma is my mummy...and you are the dog."

2) Amaretto is awesome in porridge. But possibly not at ten AM.

3) I can't make a sheep costume to save my life.

4) My characters get jealous of each other when I work on more than one project at once. The heroes, mainly. Tetchy pair of ingrates.

5) There is little quite as funny as a sock monster with a huge cock.

And that was some of the news.

Launch Day! BEAUTIFUL MESS


posted by Lucy V Morgan on

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Excuse me while I do the seahorse dance (it's not graceful; you don't need to see it). Yes, my debut novella is now live and ready to make a sticky mess of your e-reader--or maybe just turn it a bit glowy, if you want to be classier. And here is my official launch post: the article Honesty, Intimacy and Uncomfortable Truths: Why I Write Erotica, which is hosted by the lovely Kenny Wright (who also designed my pretty cover).

Beautiful Mess is an erotic romance novella starring the recently dumped Bailey and her YouTube celebrity room-mates. You can read the blurb here and the first chapter here.

What's more, you can now buy it! Squee! In fact you can download it for free at Smashwords, All Romance Ebooks and Goodreads, or if you'd like it sent to your Kindle via Amazon US or UK, it'll cost you very little.

I've been lucky enough to have two reviews through already, and you can see them over at Sizzling Hot Reviews and Scorching Reviews. And I'm only just started on the blog tour.

If you've already bought it, requested an arc, or written a review--thank you, thank you, thank you. Now, one more time: seahorse dance...

Beautiful Mess: Chapter One


posted by Lucy V Morgan on

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Coming November 25th

EXCERPT:
Chapter One


Four days, three hours and approximately forty-seven minutes. That was how long it’d been since I got dumped by Craig. 

It’s just not working anymore, he said.

I stuffed a teddy bear into the box--the one holding the red satin heart from our first month anniversary. Bleugh…dust. That’s right, you prick. I’m choking on the memories. They taste like your mother’s cooking, by the way.

I can’t give you what you want, he said.

How did he know, exactly? How did he know when he never even asked me? Smash! In went the painted glasses and the empty Champagne bottle from last Valentine’s Day. I never liked them anyway. They were tacky.

I’d really like for us to stay friends--

We were never friends in the first place. Opportunistic twat. Crack. There went the picture frames. Come to think of it, his face looked better like that--

No, no it didn’t. Oh fuck. He was out of my league from the beginning.

“Bailey!”
The door trembled as Tom thumped it, and I sprang up from the bed.

“Don’t come in yet!” I screeched, lunging for tissues. He wasn’t going to see me crying. Again. Nuh-uh.

“We know you’re mooning,” he called. “The pizzas just arrived and we bought Jägermeister.”

“I’m not hungry.”

The handle creaked, and his shaggy mop of hair appeared around the door. He spotted my wet cheeks immediately, and there it was, the sucka-punch combo of lip-pout and eye-roll. Pity and sympathy. Eugh.
“You can‘t mope about in here forever.”

“I’m not. Look.” I rattled the box full of broken crap. “I’m already on to the angry stage. I’m making good progress.”

“Still crying, though,” he said.

I made a sad attempt at a clawing motion. “They’re tears of…y’know, rage.”

“Hell hath no fury, eh?” He nudged a large, beheaded Winnie the Pooh with his foot. “What did this poor sod ever do to you?”

“It’s from our trip to Euro Disney. The one where I thought he was going to…you know…pro-propo…” No, it was no good. More tears. Possibly snot. This was just embarrassing. “I’m sorry!”

“Jesus, Bailey.” He passed me another tissue and then hauled me up. “I’d give you a hug, but we both know I’m shit with the comforting. Besides.” He looked shifty. “I’m on a new obstetrics rotation and I haven’t washed my hands yet.”

I winced in disgust. “Because nothing cheers a girl up like eau de split vag.”

“Precisely.”

“Pervert.” I sniffed. He went to tap my nose and I lunged away.

“Come and have a drink. You’ll feel better.”

“No, I won’t.”

He dragged me by the wrist. “Have one anyway.”

Tom deposited me in the kitchen next to a horrifically large pizza box and then wandered off to shower. I peeled the lid up with a fingertip; the rich, yeasty stench of it turned my stomach.

Maybe just a glass of water, then.

“Bailey! You’re alive!” Olly pulled me into a rough bear hug. “We thought you’d been eaten by the gnomes of self pity.”

“There are gnomes of self pity?”

“Mmph.” He chomped pepperoni. “They ride on owls of despair.”

“Are they from your videos?”

“No. But they should be.” He jabbed a finger at me. “Your grief is inspiring, Bails. I like that.”

I would have punched him, but it never seemed to do anything. He enjoyed it, actually. “Glad I could be of service.”

Olly and his friend Linc were internet heroes. They started doing paranormal parodies on YouTube just before I moved in--demons, vampires, that kind of thing. It blew up like crazy, and all of a sudden, they had advertising contracts and people made covers of their songs. They were currently designing a new line of metrosexual werewolves.

That’s right--my flatmate was a pseudo-bigot Z-list celebrity. This was possibly the only thing I had going for me. Must. Not. Cry. Again.

“Having a drink?” Olly waved the Jägermeister in my face. “We bought it just for you.”

“No, you didn’t,” I scoffed.

“Well…not the whole thing, okay? But it would have only been Jack if you weren’t so miserable. We upgraded to the ‘Meisty to cheer you up.”

“You know how poor my alcohol tolerance is.”

“Which is why it’ll be especially amusing.” He patted me on the shoulder. “Just one?”

I sighed. “Go on, then.”

He sloshed the brown liquor into a tumbler and I downed it in one burning, bitter gulp. My whole body shuddered.

“Are you sure I’m supposed to drink that straight?” I coughed.

His eyes darted about. “Nope.”

“I’m going to get a shower. Thanks for poisoning me.”

My head was fizzy already. When I said my alcohol tolerance was low, I wasn’t exaggerating. I smacked right into Tom as he emerged from the bathroom.

“Thinking of joining me?” His hips were towel-clad, damp hair swept back.

“Your manly manliness is difficult to resist.” I squeezed the bicep he offered, dutifully. “Is it safe to go in there?”

“Safe as it’ll ever be.”

Showers are supposed to make you feel better, aren’t they? You scrape off the day. Lather up your troubles. Wash that man right out of your hair (Oprah finger snap!). So why, after at least fourteen quid’s worth of Clinique, did I still feel like I was scraped off Craig’s shoe?

I slathered on coconut moisturizer, threw on satin pajamas, combed the curls out of my hair. The only thing the Jäger had done was give me a headache. What was that incessant --

-- oh, the doorbell. Great.

The boys never answered the door unless they were expecting food. It was an unwritten rule-- a bit like “Bailey always brings the cake off-cuts from work and we feed them to her rats when she’s not looking.”
I tucked my hair up into a bun and shuffled towards the groaning bell. I still wasn’t sure why we went for the musical one that plays the Phantom of the Opera. In the dark, it just got creepy.

Linc filled the doorway, all shoulders, dimples and ruffled black hair.

“Hi,” he said, looking awkwardly surprised. Not that it was personal. Linc(oln) always looked like that. It was his thing.

“You can come in, you know.” I stood aside and he nodded at me.

“Yeah. Okay.”

He practically lived with us, anyway--what with he and Olly’s website.

“Go on then,” I said.

He slid in and I put the latch on behind him.

“Good day?” I asked.

“I killed some servers. I was meant to do that, but then they wouldn’t come back online…and then…” He toyed with his hair. “Then we all snuck off for McDonald’s and came home.”

“Sounds eventful. Maybe if your gay poodles take off, you can quit the day job, like Olly.”

“They’re camp werewolves.” He grinned just slightly. It lit up his whole face. “But yeah. Paws crossed.”

I’d barely shut my door when I heard him talking to Olly in the kitchen.

“What’s wrong with Bailey? She’s all…sullen.”

“Oh.” Olly talked through a mouthful of pizza again. “That cunt dumped her.”

“Shit.” Air hissed through Linc’s teeth. “Is she okay?”

“They were together for like, two years. Do you think she’s okay? Still.” More chomping. “The dude’s done her a favor. I mean, he stayed over often enough and there was never much going on in the bow-chic-a-wow-wow department, eh?”

They guffawed with that manly, cringing laugh that they do when a footballer misses a goal.
They’d listened to me and Craig have sex? Was it even that loud? Why had this not been mentioned in a passive aggressive boy-pun?

Linc tittered. “Oh man. That’s low.”

“It’s true though! Come on, you were here enough times. Creak…creak…creak…sorry, baby.”

Oh God. As if things weren’t bad enough.

“If my girlfriend looked like Bailey then I’d want her to at least, you know, realize that I’m fucking her,” said Olly.

Linc cleared his throat. “Your girlfriend looks like Lucy Liu.”

“I know. I got some sauce with my awesome! Let’s eat.”

I couldn’t sit down. Couldn’t think. I was just so mortified, and so…rage-y.

I put music on so I wouldn’t hear anything else they said; it was so hard not to listen. I splayed my sketchbooks out on the floor and tried to come up with some new designs for the ridiculous wedding cake one of our clients wanted, but it wasn’t happening. In the end, I hugged headless Pooh to my chest and had another good sob into his bulging neck cavity.

Had Craig really been that bad in bed? So he didn’t last that long, but that was a compliment, right? He was generous with foreplay…sometimes. And I’d never been a screamer. It wasn’t his fault--
-- argh. No. Too annoyed. I couldn’t stay in here.

I sauntered out and poured myself a large Jäger and lemonade. Then I found the boys in the living room, claimed the last slice of pizza and wedged myself between Linc and Tom.

“You decided to grace us with your presence, then?” said Tom.

“I would have stayed in my room if I realized you were playing this shoddy game again.” I nodded towards the huge TV. “You know that Glee is on, right?”

Linc elbowed me. “If you insult Assassin’s Creed again then I may be forced to tickle you.”

“I’m about to down a pint of disgusting alcohol. If you tickle me, I will vomit.”

Olly laughed. “Classy words from a classy lady.”

“Sod off,” I grumbled.

In the end, it took me the best part of an hour to finish my drink--it was either pace myself, or pass out. In the meantime, I made short work of the pizza. It was cold and not as nice as it looked, but cheese is one of a girl’s greatest comforts during a break-up. I thrashed Tom and Linc on the Tekken game until they tasted my pain, and got slowly, steadily drunk.

I’ve said it before, but my body doesn’t know what to do with booze. As the alcohol seeped into my veins, there were moments that I not only thought, just for a second, that gnomes of self pity existed, but was actually afraid of them and thus kept delaying going to bed.

If I didn’t know the boys better, I would’ve suspected that they drugged my drink. Fortunately, they knew me even better and realized I didn’t need more than a few short measures to fall out of my tree.

At one point, I tried to stand up and crumpled at the knees. “I feel weird.”

“Shush,” said Olly. “It’s therapeutic. Trust me, you’ll feel all purged in the morning.”

“Is that another way of saying that I’m going to be date raped?”

Tom grinned. “It’s a good idea. But no.”

“Well maybe you should.” I sighed. “Then Linc and Olly can stand outside and listen.”

Silence.

Oopsie.

“Oh.” Linc shifted about, folding his thick forearms. “You heard us earlier, then.”

“I heard you slagging off my ex, yep.”

“We’re your friends,” Olly protested. “We’re supposed to slag him off.”

“Yes, but, but --”

“But nothing. Admit it. Craig was crap in bed.”

The blood sloshed in my ears as I glanced from Olly to Linc, and back to Tom.

“She’s got that look again,” said Tom.

I blinked. “What look?”

“The one where you’re wishing you had some pissy girlfriends to whinge to, and do face masks and shit,” said Tom.

“I do not.”
True--the boys were my closest friends. I met Tom and Olly during our first week at uni and we just kind of clicked in that comfy, mellow way. Linc got dragged home from the pub one night and became an honorary by association. I got enough pink frippery at work, and having girlfriends just never seemed that important.
Over the past few days, though, I might have had fantasies about going shopping with some cool blonde girl who helped me pick shoes, and we got our nails done, and then we came home and burned Winnie the Pooh while deciding which member of the Twilight cast we’d like to do bad things to with a tube of--

“See,” said Tom. “I was right.”

“I don’t need girlfriends to cheer me up,” I insisted.

Olly swapped his PlayStation controller for a bottle of beer. “So talk to us, you retard.”

I hunched my shoulders. “I don’t know what I’m meant to talk about.”

“We can start with how shit he was in the sack. Because you know he was, right? Never heard you make a peep.”

“Not all women moan the house down,” I retorted.

“So what was your shag-to-orgasm ratio?” he said. “Go on.”

Linc winced. “Olly!”

“What? If I was a girl, I could totally ask that! Because it’d be ‘for the sisterhood.’ Gah.”

I’d had way too much Jäger to be answering such dodgy questions.

“Go on,” said Tom. “Indulge Olly. He thinks he’s doing you a favor…and I’m nosy.”

“Me too.” Linc gave a single nod.

“Really?” I stole a gulp of Olly’s beer for composure. It didn’t come. “I…um…”

“Like you don’t know.” Olly laughed.

A wide, warm hand covered my eyes. “It’s alright,” Linc whispered. His breath was all hot on my neck. “Now you don’t have to look at him while you’re saying it.”

How did he know I was so embarrassed?

“Zero,” I squeaked.

“Like…zero orgasms?” said Tom.

I nodded, and with the admission over, I peeled Linc’s palm away with a grateful attempt at a smile.

“He never made you come, not even once?” Olly stared at me as if I’d morphed into a cucumber.

“No.” I blame you, Jäger. You and your fizzy drunkenness. “Why’re you looking at me like that?”

“Not once?”

“That’s what I said!”

“But…but…” Olly shrugged. “You know that’s not fair, right?”

“It’s normal. “ I’d read about this on the internet--I knew what I was on about. “I mean, for some girls, it just doesn’t happen…”

“Okay. Back up a minute.” He leaned forward, elbows welded to knees. “You mean you’ve never had one at all?”

“Not with a bloke,” I mumbled.

“Want me to do the blindfold thing again?” Linc whispered.

“No. This is just as mortifying in the dark, actually.” I bit my lip. “Thanks for offering, though.”

Now Tom had the she’s-a-cucumber look going on as well. “So just, you know, out of interest, how many guys have there been?”

What did I have to lose now? “Four.”

Olly grinned. “You sly minx!”

“What? I’m twenty-four. That’s a good number.”

“This is true. Still.” Olly shook his head. “I can’t believe you never just turned round to one of them and said they weren’t doing the business.”

How hard was I blushing right now? Somewhere between Coke can red and Laura Ashley fuchsia? “I didn’t realize they were supposed to.” I glanced around at them. “Come on. They can’t all have been doing it wrong. Your girlfriends always…?”

“Not that I want to boast about my hit rate, or anything.” Olly meshed his fingers before flexing them. “But I can’t say I’m quite at Craig’s level of disappointment.”

“Olly Harris, the cunt whisperer.” Tom started to snigger and Linc crumpled on to his shoulder, joining him.

“I’ve got the moves.” Olly blew on his fist. “What can I say?”

“What moves? What’s this wonderful trick you’re all using that I’m so blatantly unaware of?”

Tom took a swig of beer to compose himself. “Honestly? In my experience? I mean I’m not a doctor--yet--but I think it just takes a bit of perseverance.”

Oh. That might explain a few things. Maybe.

“It does take a while sometimes,” said Olly. “But you have to find the buttons before you can push them, so to speak. Preferably before you get a hand cramp.”

“Or neck cramp,” said Tom.

“It’s better if you get some feedback. It’s like the videos me and Ol make.” Linc paused. “The better a reaction you get for the first bit, the more you enjoy doing the second bit, and then…”

“It does get dull if she’s not doing anything,” Olly cut in. “You’re like, ‘fucking hell, we‘re not doing the ironing!’”

Yeah, because this was totally building my confidence.

Tom tittered again. “You know what you need, Bailey?”

“Go on.”

“A montage.”

All three boys collapsed in crooning laughter then, and I couldn’t help it; I started giggling with them. Fuck the sisterhood. I liked my cozy brotherhood, even if they did get me drunk and force out embarrassing confessions.

“You should have another drink, Bails,” said Olly. “If you’re finding us amusing, then it’s obviously wearing off.”

“No, I just…if I don’t laugh, I might cry again. I feel like such a sad case.”

“You’re not sad. You got dumped, and it turns out your sex life is sorely lacking. But you’ve still got all your awesome cakes.” Olly gave me a valiant wink.

“And a great rack,” Tom added.

“And nice legs.” Linc looked almost as embarrassed saying that as I did hearing it.

I pulled my knees up to my chin and buried my face. You might think that in the five odd years I’d been close to these guys, something sexual would have happened. It’d be logical since they all had penises and I had girl parts. But it just…no. It was never that way. Not that they treated me like a fellow pork sword chevalier; they referred to my feeble female status at least twice a day. But that sort of thing never really came up, for whatever reason. And I was so not in the right head space to take a compliment.

Stupid, donkey-raping, substituting-a-diamond-for-Pooh Craig.

“So what do you suggest I do, then?” I said finally. “Go out and molest men until I find one with your sexual prowess, Ol?”

“Oh God, I don’t know.” He rolled his eyes at me. “I mean, you might do all sorts of weird things like not let them go down on you, or you might not actually know where your clit is.”

“Or sometimes it’s just too hairy and you wish that she’d wouldn’t let you,” Tom said glumly.

“I’m not a freak,” I muttered. “And I’m not that hairy either.”

“Not that hair is bad,” said Olly quickly, “just that nobody wants friction burns. Or to suddenly be transported to the Mongolian wilderness when she takes her knickers off.”

“You know, I think I’m going to go to bed before you depress me any further.”

Tom jumped up in front of me. “Hold on to my arm,” he said. “You don’t want a twisted ankle to add to your list of girly whinges.”

“I can walk, you moron.”

I gave all the boys a rather woozy hug goodnight and stopped off in the hall to feed the rats. Bruce, the fat, fluffy brown one, sidled up my arm and sat on my shoulder.

“You need to go on a diet,” I told him sagely. “No more fromage pour Bruce.”

Tarquin, the skinny white one, looked up from his crossed paws and then pretended he wasn’t excited while I refilled their bowl. He always had this sniffy nonchalance about him; I knew he’d be cartwheeling with joy when I left the room and he found the dog biscuits.

“See, Bruce,” I said, “I’m not going to be the lonely cat lady on the veranda with her shotgun. I’ll be half covered in royal icing and sawdust, instead.”

He chattered his teeth into my ear and I nudged him with my nose. Then I lowered him into the cage, slid it shut, and wandered off to bed.

I put Pooh--and the box of stupid Craig--outside my door before I closed it.

Tomorrow, I’m going to work on being Angry with a capital A.

Beautiful Mess: Deleted Scenes


posted by Lucy V Morgan on

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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? Theyre 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 boys 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.

Ive 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.

Youre right, Bails, Tom said glumly. You two just arent 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 hadnt 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 dont 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. Baileys pregnant.

Im not sure whos jaw dropped first--Lincs, Ollys or mine.

Fucking hell, Bailey, Olly said. You would have to spoil my moment, wouldnt you?

Fortunately for you, you retard-- I leaned forward to smack his knee, Im not pregnant.

Youre not? said Tom.

No. Linc glanced at me. Or at least, not that I know of.

Its Desmond, I said. Desmond is pregnant.

Ollys 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 whats this news, then? Is it?

Olly took Lincs hand and began to stroke it. A wide, melty smile engulfed his face while Linc sat, stiff and suspicious.

Bails. Tom. Theres 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! Were 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 didnt think MTV would cough up six figures for a film pitched as Twilight meets Jackass (although with their YouTube following, Olly and Lincs act was rather famous). So whatand when?

Cheers for the congratulations, like. Olly rubbed his nose. Production meeting first thing in the morning, and then its all systems homo.

Do we need to do any prep? said Linc.

Nahwell. We need to spray-paint that dildo.

Erawesome. So. I tapped Lincs 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 doesnt 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 hed 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 didnt 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 ofmy famous boyfriend.

If somebody had told fourteen year-old Bailey that this would happen in a decade or so, shed have spat out her Coke. Linc even made ironic comedy. He wasnt 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.

Shes made a Twitter account. Linc tapped me on the shoulder with something mobile phone-shaped, and I wriggled against the bed sheets. Look.

I dont want to look. What time is it?

Half seven. See? Shes called it Mrs Lincs Bitch--

Half seven. On a Saturday. Lincgo 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 twowell 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. Youre 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 everythingyour prancing around on the internet in plasticfangsbut 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.

Its 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 shell let you go on sabbatical. When else will you ever get chance to run riot around Slovenia with a film crew?

You couldnt have picked New Zealand, or Florida?

Give me the budget and Ill film wherever you like. Well. Wherever you and Olly and our producer like. He was grinning and glowing in the syrupy morning sun. “’Cause Ive got a producer now, see.

Mmm. Apparently youve got castings, meetings and fittings, too.

Anyone would think I was a grown-up. Were 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.

Were not grown-up. Were 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. Theyll 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 cant work under these conditions! with a mouthful of false vamp teeth.

He sat up and smoothed down his chin-length hair. Youre right. Ive only got three weeks to perfect being a melodramatic cock. Itll 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 Lincs 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 theyre allnaked.

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…”


Three: Ollisode

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.

Im so rocknroll.

I realised that was weird, but this was my ideal Sunday night (welltheres one other way I liked to spend it which involved Linc and some chocolate orange cupcakes, but now isnt 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 wouldnt be happening.

Toms number flashed on my mobile. I winced as I grabbed it and the ring-tone filled my ears.

“’Sup biatch?

Itserm. He sighed. Weve got another ollisode on our hands.

A what now?

You know, Bails. Last time Olly had one of histhingsand 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. Lincs on his way to fetch you.

I stared forlornly at the actually-rather-nice elderflower fizz. Ill see you in a bit, then. Try and keep him calm, yeah?

When Linc arrived about ten minutes later, Id 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. Its a scary vampire!

I was on a roll, damn it. He pulled me into the crook of his arm. Come on. Car. Ill 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. Hes messed up about Chan again.

I dont get it. He was the one who dumped her. She was the wounded party. She--I couldnt help it. Olly was one of my best friends, but Chan was the closest thing Id had to a girly mate, and I knew what it was like to be dumped when you least expected it.

Yeah, but he wont say why, will he?

Not even during special man-bonding moments? I said.

Hes not really in the mood. Apparently.

I chewed my lip. Sowhat am I meant to be doing?

He wanted you. Hes out on the balcony in his werewolf gear--hell be scaring the neighbours.

Normally, I loved going back to Tom and Ollys high-ceilinged flat. I used to live there--wed moved in together straight out of uni--and though Id 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 Clubs videos, but it didnt trump the fact that I had some awesome memories of the place.

There was one particular low point, but I didnt dredge up evil Craig unless I had to.

Shower-fresh hair framed Toms face. He caught my eye as we came in--theyd insisted that I kept my key--and he cocked his head towards the glass doors in the kitchen. The atmosphere was unsettling, unusual; Toms arms were folded and he sat straight up on the kitchen table.

Good luck, he muttered. Youll bloody need it.

Im 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 youve had an ollisode.

I fucking hate that word. He eased the Coke from my hands and slurped noisily. I justyou know.

Nope, I dont. Ive 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. Ive calmed down now. I dont need to talk it out, or whatever. Im a man. A pork sword chevalier. We dont need to share our feelings and all that crap.

We both know youre talking arse. I prodded him in the ribs. Whyd you do it? You were all comfy and lovely together. Shes really cut up.

I know. His bottom lip trembled, just for a second. It wasnt her, Bails. I didnt want to hurt her at all. I justIm a cock.

Dont be so hard on yourself.

He snorted. You dont know what Ive done though, do you? Im a tosspot wank-bastard fucktarded nonce captain.

Hed whacked out the four-pronged cuss. Olly was in a bad way.

So when youre getting angryyoure angry at you? I said.

I fucked up, so I did right by her and called it all off. I wish I couldI dunno. I dont 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. Its not like that at all.

Shes going to be angry, no matter what you tell her. II remember. The sweet taste of the fizz was cloying in my mouth.

I know you do, Bails. Im sorry. Im not like that shit though. Really. Im not.

The shit called Craig. I shuddered. It has been six months since my ex revealed that hed 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. Youve 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. Youre Olly Harris. The Cunt Whisperer. You wont be single for long.

Huh.

I dont like my boys being all sullen, anyway. Youre bringing us all down.

When you were down, I bought you pizza and Jägermeister, he retorted. Wheres my booze and lard?

Want to go get some?

He swallowed. Yeah, actually. Lets 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.

Id 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--were going out for pizza.

And beer! Muchos beer. Or liquor. Orsomething. 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.

Im not at work, I said. Ill be on ollisode watch.

Olly pawed at Lincs hair, pouting. You washed it off! Cant you at least put your teeth back in? Im 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…"

"Oh...he's in."