Following on from the runaway success* of my first attempt at geriatric erotic fiction (‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is here) I decided to try my hand at Mills & Boon style romantic fiction. I’m not entirely sure that it quite followed the path that I intended. It’s not altogether easy to get to grips with this world of masterful men and passive women. Especially when you’re a fairly passive man…
The space between them crackled. The air was alive. Atom by atom the ether became electricity. His skin bristled with energy. He felt as though his whole body might be glowing, alive with a vigour that was not his own. The weight of all that surrounded him crowded in on him, until he feared he would no longer be able to breathe; as though he might drown in the nothingness that enveloped him.
From the moment he had first encountered her, rinsing her underwear in the village stream, she had fascinated him. Not least for the fact that she had a perfectly good washing machine at home. Her hair flowed down her back in luxurious blonde waves. Unfortunately, despite having an extraordinarily hirsute back, she had a totally bald head. She wore the kind of clothes that all serving girls wore when you’re looking to sell the film rights: riding britches and a blouse that appeared to be made from tracing paper. Her eyes betrayed a total innocence – or at least they lied about it very well. Her lips were full and red, the colour of blood. It was the third time that week that she had walked into the stable door. She refused to wear her spectacles because they hid the limpid nature of her eyes – and also because they were the kind that you get from the joke shop, with a plastic moustache fixed underneath them.
She looked at him now, stripped to his braces, and she couldn’t help but wonder why he was so keen to get his teeth straightened. They’d be alright if he didn’t keep taking them out and putting them in his back pocket every time somebody gave him a balloon to inflate. Her heart burned every time she heard his voice – especially if she had been eating onions. When they first met, he had swept her off her feet. He apologised at once; it was his first day driving the road sweeper. Mind you, it wasn’t his fault that she was lying in the gutter under the remnants of a whole flock of Kentucky pullets. He was everything she had ever wanted from a man. Well, he was a man. Rich, handsome, charming – he was none of those things, but he did have his own transport, even if it did have the council’s name stencilled on the side of it. He had the air of a Lord about him, although the nearest he actually came was drinking at The Nelson on a Saturday night. His yearning body told the tale of several hundred too many fried poultry dinners and his skin had the pallor and sheen of a pound of lard. He glistened with perspiration at the thought of having to blink. It was unlikely that he would ever make the Earth move for her – unless he sat down very sharply. He could not have ripped her bodice without becoming seriously short of breath. If he had thrown himself at her feet, it would have taken a crane to lift him. He was what her mother would have described as ‘wet’ – less Colin Firth, more Moray Firth – and his small-talk had the habit of bordering on the microscopic, which was fitting, as his breath resembled some kind of fungal growth and his brain was reminiscent of a single-celled organism.
They lay side by side on dew-fresh grass, dappled in the sunlight that filtered down through the woodland canopy, surrounded by the scent of dog-rose, bluebell and fox shit. She had seldom felt such a gathering storm within her since the day of her sexual awakening – watching the bare-chested farmhand scrub down the Hereford bull to prepare him for the market. The smell of Dettol, the memory of his muscular body made her glow even today. If only the stupid farmhand hadn’t kept getting in the way. Absent-mindedly he toyed with her nipple (She had only one? Ed.) which bloomed, like a rose, beneath its sheath of silk. She did the same with a boil in the middle of his chest. Only one of them burst.
He half opened his mouth to speak, uncertain of what he was to ask her; uncertain if to ask her. In his life, nothing was certain – except for the odd horse that his father swore must have been got at. “What did you say?” he sighed at last.
“When?” she asked, distracted momentarily from the search for her other nipple. (Hah!)
“At the top of the page.”
“Oh, I said ‘…’” she replied.
“No,” he whispered. “I meant before the ellipsis.”
“Before the what?”
“Before the three dots that you left at the end of the sentence, indicating that it… Oh, it doesn’t matter.”
“Three dots… Are you sure?”
“You just did it again!”
“I did? I don’t know. I…”
“You seem to finish most of your sentences that way.”
“Well, it’s that kind of book isn’t it? What’s left to the imagination is so much more important than what is said.”
“Oh, I see,” he said. “I suppose that explains the plot then…”
“Plot? I shouldn’t think so,” she said. “Anyway, it’s getting late. Shall we…?” she breathed – she had to, she would have died otherwise.
“Be a shame not to,” he said.
“…” she sighed…
*If ten people had read it (which I don’t think they did) nine out of that ten of them would happily have fed it to their cat.