Jodie Maine is just an ordinary girl trying to make it as an author when she unexpectedly finds herself on a date with her high school history teacher. No longer teaching, he is now in a band and wastes no time in introducing Jodie to his bandmates.
In almost no time, her humdrum life becomes a tangle of love and loss, friends, family and a roller-coaster of emotion. Join Jodie in a tale of old friends, new friends, relationships, music, literature and an awful lot of coffee.
“Hey Dougie, have you seen my blue Ben Sherman blouse anywhere?” Jodie yelled as she rummaged around in the bottom of her laundry basket. “I know I had it yesterday, and now I can’t find it. I have to leave in two hours and this is just ridiculous. Where the hell has it got to?”
“No, I haven’t seen it,” Dougie replied, walking into the room. “Why are you wearing it today if you wore it yesterday?”
Jodie turned and glared at her older brother. “What? Was everybody on stupid pills six years before I was born?” she sneered. “I didn’t say I wore it yesterday, I said I had it yesterday. I want to wear it because it makes my boobs look smaller.”
“Yeah, that’s true!” laughed Nic as he appeared in the doorway. “The last thing our dear little Jodie needs is to make her date think that she’s a bimbo. Well, at least no more of a bimbo than she’s making herself look right now anyway, because what intelligent person would forget where she put her favourite blouse?”
“Nic, did you just come in here to make fun or are you here to help?”
“Well if the truth be told, I came in here to tell you I have this for you,” Nic smiled, holding up the blouse on a coat hanger. “I figured you’d be wearing it tonight, so I washed and ironed it for you.”
Jodie skipped over and hugged Nic. “How could I survive without you?” she laughed, kissing him on the cheek. “Why can’t I take you with me tonight?”
“Because, my dear, men tend not to like it when their dates bring other men along with them.”
“But you’re gay, so why would it matter?” Jodie grinned.
“They also don’t tend to like having gay men around them in a romantic atmosphere. Remember when we went out with you and that Keith bloke?” Dougie put in. “And would you stop hugging my boyfriend?”
“First of all, his name was Kevin, and he was OK about it when he realized that you were both messing about, and that neither of you were really hitting on him,” Jodie smiled. “And secondly, I’m not going to stop hugging Nicholas until he agrees to come with me tonight.”
Nic put his arms around Jodie’s waist and hugged her back. “Isn’t it so sweet that our little girl’s all grown up, but still can’t face being on her own on a date,” he laughed. “How’s this? Douglas and I will come to the restaurant and sit at a table nearby. If I think you look like you’re in over your head, I’ll come and rescue you. Does that sound OK to you?”
Jodie looked pleadingly to her brother, who sighed dramatically and nodded. “What’s a big brother for, if not to look after his little sister?”
“Thank you!” Jodie squealed. “I love you both so much. It’s just a shame that you’re my brother and you’re both gay, otherwise I’d marry you both.”
“That’s called bigamy, and it’s illegal,” Dougie said with a raise of his eyebrow.
“Pfft. In this country,” Nic laughed as he and Jodie walked arm in arm to the living room with Dougie trailing behind them, and they sat down on the sofa by the window. “I would marry you in a second if only you would ask me.”
“Will you marry me?” Jodie asked.
“Absolutely darling. Just don’t expect a lot of sex.”
“There won’t be any sex,” Dougie scowled. “You’re not getting married either.”
“Douglas Andrew Maine, you are quite possibly the silliest person on the planet.” Jodie threw a cushion at her sullen brother’s head. “We’re just messing about. Lighten up, would you?”
Dougie threw the cushion back at Jodie. “So who are you off out with tonight anyway?”
“He’s called Ben.”
“And what does he do?”
“He’s a history teacher.”
“Where did you meet him?”
“What is this, twenty questions?” Jodie laughed. “Like I said, he’s a history teacher.”
“Yeah, you said that, but where did you meet him?”
“Dougie, think it through. He’s a history teacher. Where else would she have met him?” Nic grinned. Suddenly he looked at Jodie inquisitively, noticing the crimson flush that was spreading across her cheeks. “Wait, you don’t mean Ben Caspian?”
“Yes, I mean Ben Caspian. How many history teachers do you think I know?”
“Hang on a second,” Dougie interrupted. “Who is Ben Caspian, and how does Nic know him?”
“Does blissful ignorance run in your family or something?” Nic asked. “Dougie, why did you never pay attention to your little sister when she was in school? Ben Caspian was our history teacher. He actually taught Jodie and me. We both fancied him then, and it looks like our little Jodie is living the dream.”
“What the hell do you mean, he was your teacher? How the hell old is this guy?” Dougie fumed.
“Chill out, Dougie,” Jodie told him, casually turning to the side and resting her feet on Nic’s leg. “He was my teacher in my final year, and was just out of university, so he’s the same age as you or something. You never had a problem with me going out with any of the guys you went to school with.”
“Still, I’m not sure about this.”
“Well I do have to mention that it’s not actually up to you,” Jodie told him. “I don’t care if you don’t approve of it right now, because you’ll meet him tonight anyway. She chewed on a nail. “It’s not like anything ever happened when he was my teacher.”
“Not for a lack of trying,” Nic laughed. “You should have seen her, waiting behind after school for him to leave, joining every club he was involved in.”
“Yeah, I always wondered why you were in the history club,” Dougie recalled, still scowling. “It’s not as though you were a big fan of learning history. What did you do at that club anyway?”
“History stuff. Coursework, research, the odd groping encounter at the back of the classroom where no-one else could see.” Dougie opened his mouth to protest, but Jodie cut in before he could say anything. “I’m joking, you banana brain.”
“Not exactly though,” Nic said. “There was that time with Rob.”
“You mean you let my little sister get up to God only knows what with some grubby teenage boy in a classroom?” Dougie exploded at Nic. “How could you possibly have let that happen? You were supposed to look out for her!”
“Robyn was a girl.” Jodie put in, remembering that particular afternoon. It had been warm, and they had been listening to Mr. Caspian, who was describing the execution of Charles I, with the sun beating down on their backs. Jodie had taken off her jumper, exposing her midriff as she did so. Suddenly, she had felt a hand on her thigh, pulling up her skirt and exploring, a finger tracing the line of her underwear, slipping underneath the elastic and eventually arriving at its destination. Jodie had tried to sit still, but had squirmed in her seat a little too obviously and caused Mr. Caspian to gaze at her knowingly and give her a smile that no one else seemed to notice. Jodie had let herself enjoy the experience, imagining Mr. Caspian that was doing those things to her.
“Didn’t Robyn turn out to be a bit on the kinky side?” Nic asked, rousing Jodie from her memories.
“Uh, yeah, I’d definitely say so,” Jodie laughed. “I think she was getting turned on by the blood and gore of King Charles being beheaded. She told me once that she’s into erotic asphyxiation.”
“And you wouldn’t think it to look at her either,” Nic told Dougie. “She has that proper ‘girl next door’ look about her. Blonde hair, cute little dimples when she smiles. You know her actually.”
“Do I? When did I meet her?” Dougie asked. “What, you mean my little sweet pea from the library?” he gasped. “You’re telling me she likes it kinky? I don’t believe you.”
“That’s up to you,” Jodie chuckled. “But that little sweet pea gave me my first orgasm.”
“What complete bull,” Dougie scoffed. “I happen to know that you were playing with yourself from about fourteen.”
“That was for fun, not for pleasure, and how the hell do you know that anyway?”
“You never put a lock on that diary you used to write in as a kid,” Dougie intoned. “I had to make sure you weren’t on drugs or anything, so I had to read it.”
“Then you should know that I was about eleven, and that it helped me to get over my growing pains. I went through hell to look this good, you know.” Jodie said with mock sincerity. “Where did you get the idea I was on drugs?”
“You seemed excessively happy all the time,” Dougie shrugged. “Of course it all came clear, if you pardon the expression, after I read your diary.” They all laughed.
“Wait, what time is it?” Jodie asked.
“It’s six o’clock,” Nic replied, gazing at the clock on the table beside him.
“Shit, I’ve got to go and get showered and changed.”
“You need an hour and a half to get ready?” Dougie asked.
“Dougie, when your hair is down to your backside, then ask me that question,” Jodie said, pushing on Nic’s leg to propel herself to a standing position.
“How much does it cost you to dye your hair these days?” Nic asked, laughing.
“Four bottles at six fifty-eight a bottle. Do the math yourself,” Jodie replied as she left the room. She walked into the bathroom and stared at herself in the mirror. She was enough, and she had a good body, but the shocking pink hair that reached down her back was definitely her most breath-taking feature. It was in your face as soon as you looked at her, and it was starting to bug her. She rummaged through the drawer next to the sink and pulled out a pair of scissors. Within five minutes, she had sheared her hair to just below her ears. It was a bit scruffy, but some of Nic’s sculpting wax tonight and a trip to the hairdresser tomorrow would sort that out. She picked up the hair that was scattered all over the floor and shoved it in the bin. Admiring her hew shorter hairstyle in the three-way mirrors she undressed and ran her hand over her shoulders to brush away some of the straggling strands of hair that had been left there in her frenzy with the scissors. She caught sight of herself in the mirror behind her, and had to admit that she looked stunning. “If you don’t get some tonight,” she told her mirror self, “there’s something seriously wrong with your karma.”
She turned to see herself from the front. A small turquoise and silver belly bar drew the eye to her navel; just the thing in the cropped shirt she would be wearing tonight. Her breasts were a little larger than she would have liked, but pert and alluring. Long, slender legs with a hint of a tan, slightly scuffed on the right knee from abseiling down the apartment block the previous week.
Overall, for an adrenaline junkie she had very few injuries. Of course, there was that time that she had jumped off the garage roof and broken her leg in three places. She had been twelve, and Nic had dared her to do it. For fifty pounds, nobody could stop her from doing it, and she ended up with a full-length cast and two months of physical therapy. When she jumped again after her last physiotherapy session she had only twisted her ankle and scraped her elbow. Anyway, that was then, this was now and Jodie was going hell for leather to get her man tonight.
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