Lauren stared at him rather amused. A scarf wrapped tightly around her neck.
Green, are the fields of Heaven.
Soft, with lush, long grass.
Glistening, with the morning dew.
“Cockfoster’s housewives only serve Piccalilli” Martin proclaimed one Wednesday night in June. His voice, both Bold and Italic, sounded defiant, sensual, like one of those elaborate fonts that writers are not ordinarily allowed to use.
Lauren glanced up from her plate, her blue eyes flashing under her scowling brow.
“Writing competition?” she asked unsure if his self-esteem could take another disappointment.
He shook his head.
“Short story then?”
“Nope. It’s the prequel to May-fair Lady” he explained, her frown deepening pleased him.
“I’m going to write a collection of erotic novels set at each stop of the Tube. I’m going to title it Deeply Underground”. Bold Italic tone, again.
The husky chuckle turned his stomach into knots.
“Mayfair is not an Underground station, darling…” she told him spearing a carrot with her fork. Her voice was vaguely condescending but she was a proper Londoner, she knew what’s what. “I get the pun, though” she conceded.
She nodded a yes as she chewed.
“It’s very British” she warned him unsure if that was a good thing.
“I know, it’s intentional”
“So? What’s it for? Tell me”
She had plenty, he had none.
“Success. Glory. You name it. I’m tired of writing literature no one reads…”
Holding the green bottle by the neck with three fingers, he took a swig of beer, slammed the bottle down.
The table shook under the blow. She waited for the rest to come out.
“…but most of all, I want the cash. Sex sells; metaphors don’t pay the bills”
“We don’t need the money, darling”
She took his hands in hers. Missed the point.
“I love you penniless”
Easy for her to say.
“I think your stories are brilliant’
“People aren’t buying them”
“Idiots” she declared.
Maid Available on the Bakerloo Line.
My birthday party last night was lovely but turning forty still sucks.
Everyone knows, no one told me.
I stomp to the window of my converted two bed flat and yell:
“Turning forty sucks!”
“Shut up!” someone heckles from the road.
“I hate you, London!” I grunt slamming the window, then resting my forehead against the cold glass that separates me from the grey of the city, I let the tears fall down my cheeks.
I dry my face with the back of my hand when I hear the soft patting of his feet approaching.
“Babe?” I’m not his teenage housemaid anymore, his exciting indiscretion, but he still calls me ‘babe’.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath.
“Hey, beautiful” he says in a soft whisper.
I don’t want him to see me cry, so I swallow whatever is wrong with me, and press my body against his…
Martin sighs watching the cursor caught at the end of the ellipsis flashing with an insistent rhythm. He reads the chapter back aloud with a slight sense of nausea.
How many erogenous books has he written? He thinks it’s twenty-two altogether but he hasn’t published anything since “Victoria and her Seven Sisters”.
That was two years ago.
He lost his wife around that time.
He lost his mind, his heart and his freedom too.
It’s hard to write in such conditions.
He shakes his head and scratches his stubble, then thinks back to when he wrote the very first novel of his successful collection.
It was just for a laugh.
Just for a laugh.
He knocked out the entire first book in four days, cried over the printout of the final edits for an hour, then self-published it.
Sales spiked almost immediately. Success at last.
He couldn’t believe it was finally happening.
The exhilarating feeling of the cash rolling in melted the initial bitterness about writing crap.
By the time his third manuscript was in first draft, he had an agent, a publisher, an editor, and an advance for his next two books.
What a change from the insurmountable wall of rejections he was used to.
He quit his old job and split his time between researching and writing.
He wanted his stories painfully authentic, powerfully erotic, and deeply toxic.
He was penniless no more, but even after he made enough money to be content, again, and again, he found himself in bed with other men’s wives.
This sinfully poisonous existence inspired his writing, and the accolades kept coming.
Victoria and her Seven Sisters
She had been shy all her life but when he tied a silk scarf around her neck, she unleashed her sexuality and turned into a temptress.
She dared him with a passion that burned.
Her innocence forgotten, he couldn’t get enough of her scalding lust. Her hunger for danger, her fearless desire to push the boundaries.
She would be the death of him if he didn’t kill her first.
“I could be one of your ladies” Lauren had said looking up at him from under her thick dark eyelashes as he was getting ready to go hunting for his next heroin somewhere outside his own home.
“I’m from Seven Sisters, remember? You haven’t written that one yet” she blushed.
He felt his body responding to the idea with a primordial need. He snipped it.
She wasn’t going to be his muse for this trash.
Standing up, he kissed her brow. Shook his head.
‘You don’t belong in this genre, my Angel’ he had whispered in reply, then brushed her innocent mouth with a kiss. In return, she nipped at his lower lip and made him bleed.
He stared at her in astonishment.
Beyond the innocence, he tasted the burning fire.
Twenty to life in Hollow Way Prison
Every night, lying awake in his cell, on the top metal bunk, Martin missed her innocence more than her burning heat.
Laura was born and raised in Italy, and studied Classics in Milan and Professional Communication at the London Metropolitan. She is a Business Strategy and Transformation Consultant for mark-tech start-ups and has a novel published by HQDigital which royalty she is donating to the Stroke Foundation UK.