Friday, March 9, 2012


   He’d found her in the 1960’s which was funny really because he certainly hadn’t been looking. Tim had been a dedicated fan of sowing his wild oats. It hadn’t been a roaring success to begin with but after a while, he got to know a few more people and the party invitations began to roll in; this helped.
   It was at one of those very parties when he saw her. She was a beauty like no other: blonde cropped hair, wide blue eyes decorated with thick, black eye liner and lashings of mascara, soft pink lips and that skirt. All the girls wore mini skirts then but those legs really were something else. He still remembers having to rearrange his trousers for comfort and gulping down a harsh shot of whisky to calm his nerves.
   Eva had been 19 then, full of confidence and free of care. For an hour he observed her; effortlessly mingling, laughing wholeheartedly with a troupe of awed friends. A piano played and she sang along, sweetly, like a nightingale. He was transfixed, as were the other guests.
   He tried to speak to her later but, by that point; she’d had rather too much to drink and wasn’t interested in anything anyone had to say. He scribbled a note with his phone number and slipped it into her hand. Upon waking she was the first thing he thought of and despite staring at the telephone, willing it to ring, she never did. He was crushed.
   It was on some other date with some other girl when he found Eva again, several months later. They’d gone to a club and there she was, one of the acts, singing her heart out in a tiny little gold dress. She was sensational; he applauded with gusto at the end of each song, six in all. He tried to get to her dressing room afterwards and although he caught a glimpse of her perched on a stool, nibbling on a chocolate, the door was soon closed.
   Tim dawdled home in a miserable sulk, quite forgetting about the quiet brunette he had arrived with. His mind was on Eva, beautiful songbird Eva, her coquettish eyes and stunning legs. At least he knew where to find her again, this notion slightly cheered him.
   He had a dream about her that night; she was wrapped around his body, eating chocolate and whispering erotic words into his ear. He bounded out of bed like an excitable puppy that morning, full of resolve and clarity. She would be his; he would make sure of it.
   After work, he returned to the club and slipped inside, ordered a drink and waited. A couple of mediocre comics later, there she was, taking his breath away and stirring his loins, in a long black dress with a split right up to her porcelain thigh. Her voice silenced the crowd and he could not drop his gaze.
   Before she had reached the end of her final song, he found his way to her dressing room and, heart thumping, opened the door. He quickly placed the miniature box by her mirror and scribbled on the tiny tag: Eva, the songbird, for your sweet tooth. Love from an admirer. He sneaked back out into the corridor.
   Only seconds later she sauntered by. Tim watched as she checked her reflection and noticed the pretty box. A lump formed in his throat as she read his words. She swung around to face the door and saw him. He smiled as she opened the lid and took out the small chocolate heart. She grinned, slipping it into her mouth in one go, oozing caramel on her bottom lip. His knees felt peculiar at this image, he could have done with a seat.
   Eva walked seductively towards him, positioned herself up close against his body and planted a soft slow kiss upon his mouth and left, again closing the door behind her. His tongue licked the delicious caramel she had left on his lips. He couldn’t quite believe this had happened. Dazed, Tim set off, with a silly smile upon his face all the way home.
   The next day at work was agonising. He answered the phone robotically and almost correctly filed some reports; he couldn’t get Eva out of his head. The second his shift was done he threw on his coat and walked briskly to his Sister’s shop. Stacked high with handmade chocolates, it was a dizzying sight. He wanted a new flavour but there were so many choose to from. Eventually he selected a dark chocolate bumble bee filled with honey and chose another gift box. This time he wrote: Eva, the songbird, thank you for the caramel kiss.
   Humming happily to himself, he made his way to the club. Eva was even more exquisite than before, she wore a silk red dress adorned with a large bow that made her look like a present to open. His mind wandered back to his dream and to their kiss.
   Again, he left halfway through her final number and the dainty parcel was situated in the same place. Back to the corridor, he stumbled, a laugh catching in his throat at the delectable game. He heard the clip-clop of her scarlet high heels and closed his eyes in anticipation.
   She brushed passed him, hesitating for a second but then continued to her room. He waited for her reaction. She grabbed the box, almost expecting it, and opened it up. He saw the smile spread across her face and she bit into the chocolate bee. A contented sigh left her sticky sweet lips as she popped the other half in. Her finger coaxed Tim over and his heavy feet shuffled towards her. Wasting no time, Eva kissed him hungrily, her tongue quickly finding his. The chocolate and honey tasted sublime and he rapidly became intensely aroused, a fact that did not go unnoticed.
   They left together that night, hand in hand, laughing about Eva’s sweet tooth and how perfect it was that Tim’s Sister owned the wonderful chocolate shop. He vowed to bring her a chocolate every single day and she liked that idea very much. She stayed over at Tim’s bed-sit and quite simply never left.
   They travelled around Europe, shared adventures, before returning home to marry and collapse into bliss and domesticity. They had a baby daughter in the spring; Honey, she had her mother’s large blue eyes, songbird voice and sweet tooth; they adored her. They discovered that what people say is true, that once you have a child time just flies. And it did. Before they knew it Honey was at school, leaving school, getting a job, moving out all the way to Australia. And then it was just the two of them again. Tim kept his promise and without fail continued to deliver the daily chocolate.
   Of all the days it was their fortieth wedding anniversary when the blood test results came back and Eva told him she had cancer. She was incredibly brave which, somehow, hurt all the more as his tears never dried. She was given eighteen months to live but as she was so sick, her slender frame couldn’t last quite that long.
   Every day he visited her in the hospice, chocolate in his pocket. He knew she couldn’t eat it, he assumed she gave it to a nurse once he left but a promise is a promise and Tim didn’t forget. Even during the darkest days when she was confused and not really the same Eva, he’d arrive with praline or hazelnut or toffee or fudge. Never honey again, that was just too sad.
   It was hell, watching her weaken and finally slip away, the curtain closing, the spotlight fading. It was pain and bitter torment carrying on, getting up in the morning and seeing her beautiful face smiling from the wedding photograph. Still he visited, every day, her ashes had been scattered in the crematorium gardens and he’d had a plaque attached to a wooden bench. Eva, my songbird of chocolate kisses. Keep singing. And he’d leave her a little chocolate.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

A day in the life of Josie Jeffries.

Sometimes entire weeks go by without anything exceptional happening. Sometimes people pack lifetimes into a single day. Take the case of Josie Jeffries.

Josie Jeffries woke up on Monday morning at , as she always did, resenting the alarm clock and the cold November air. But rather than hitting the usual snooze button, she accidentally turned the alarm off.

Josie knew that she was late the second her eyes opened; the immediate panic dragged her out of bed. It was . She was due at work in two minutes. She threw her make-up into her bag, picked up her heels, plotted her excuses and ran to the bus stop.

The bus driver was having a bad day, so although he had spotted the stressed young woman hurrying to make it to the stop, he wasn’t feeling charitable so he continued, refusing to stop, to change her luck and rescue an already bad day in the making.

Josie cursed him with several of her favourite expletives, even inventing some new ones in the process. A car pulled up beside her, the window lowered.

‘Hey, its Josie isn’t it? You work in my office don’t you? I’m Ryan. Do you need a lift?’

Josie leaned into the car and recognised the cute guy from marketing.

‘You’re a lifesaver. I’m running so late and my boss is going to freaking kill me. Thanks mate’, she said, slipping into the passenger seat.

‘She’s not so bad’, he disagreed, pulling out into the busy traffic.

‘You must be joking? I’ve had about a billion warnings. That old cow’s been breathing down my neck for months’, Josie groaned.

‘She’s my Mum’, he winced, scrunching up his face at the awkwardness of it all. Josie was horrified.

‘Are you freaking kidding me?’ Josie asked, very much hoping for this to be the case.

‘I’m afraid not. Just explain what happened. I’m sure it will be fine’, he tried to placate her.

It wasn’t fine, she got a mouthful the second she arrived at her desk, one which included the words final warning. Josie sloped off to the bathroom to calm down, collect her thoughts and apply her make-up. As she finished her mascara, in walked her boss who went absolutely ballistic that, after a final warning, Josie chose to immediately waste company time to paint her face. Could Josie please leave? Dismissed, sacked, get out, fired, so many words echoed around the cubicles.

A shocked Josie went to collect her belongings and shot an angry look at Ryan. He mouthed so sorry across the room and made a motion to suggest a drink. Josie nodded yes and five fingers to indicate the time. After a thumbs up and pointing downstairs, they had silently and successfully, planned a date. Josie was rather amused by this new development and stuck up two specific fingers to his mother, on her way out.

Josie stomped to the job centre, she couldn’t afford to hang around, and she needed another job right away. Perhaps early morning office vacancies were something she ought to avoid, she thought.

She called one of the telephone numbers which turned out to be the swingers club, just out of town, they were looking to hire a bar assistant. Josie resisted the urge to laugh and she took the job right there and then, on the premise of how funny it would be, from now on, when anyone asked what she did for a living.

With so much time still to spare, she sauntered around the shops. Despite repeatedly telling herself to behave and not to buy anything, she had soon maxed out the remaining balance of her credit card with a little black dress and a pair of skyscraper heels.

She ducked into a restaurant and changed into her new purchases in a toilet cubicle, she was pleased with her reflection in the mirror. She settled in the bar, below the office and waited for Ryan.

She tried to make her drinks last but she’d had three glasses of wine by the time he turned up and she was feeling quite tipsy.

‘Ryan!’ she hollered excitedly as he entered the bar.

‘Don’t tell me you’ve been here since this morning?’ he questioned, noticing her self-made merriment.

‘Of course not. I had a very productive day after your mother cruelly fired my ass. I landed a new job. I’m working at the swingers bar now’, Josie guffawed, loud enough for the next table to hear all her revelations. Ryan laughed.

‘Well that’s different. Listen, I am so sorry about what happened. I feel terrible’.

‘Not your fault is it? It doesn’t matter now. Buy me a drink and we’ll call it quits’. She flirted with him, making sure he got an eyeful of thigh and leg. He wasted no time in lining up the beverages.

‘You are totally crazy, Josie Jeffries’, he sniggered as she recounted her bizarre day.

‘Maybe’, she said, knocking back another glass of wine.

‘How often do you have zany days like this?’ he quizzed, drinking more quickly as he was aware that she’d had quite a head start.

‘It happens every now and again. I have had a few first experiences today though’, she giggled, ‘so, anyway, please tell me you don’t still live at home with Mummy dearest?’

He blushed scarlet, she’d clearly hit a nerve. She groaned, pouring another chardonnay into her surprisingly empty glass.

‘I’m saving up, I’ve almost got a deposit’, he offered sheepishly.

‘Well, we’ll just have to go back to my place then, won’t we?’ she slurred, taking another gulp. Ryan was shocked; he’d never met someone so forward. He was still a virgin so tonight looked to be a first experience for him too.

‘Come on then Ryan, let’s get a taxi’, she stood up and swayed, off-kilter and Ryan helped to steer her out without mishap.

Josie kissed him in the back of the cab, and made a point in making sure he saw her slip off her knickers. The taxi driver noisily cleared his throat and raised his eyebrows at Ryan in the mirror. Part of him was mortified but mostly he found himself aroused beyond all belief at the exciting antics of Josie Jeffries.

They’d barely got through the door when she pounced, her fingers fiddled with his zip, she kissed his neck, placed his hand up her dress which all gave him several electrifying jolts.

She pulled him up the stairs to her unmade bed and removed her clothing, revealing her naked body to him. Ryan couldn’t undress quickly enough. They fell into bed where Josie was ardent yet clumsy. Ryan didn’t last very long, forgivable as this was his very first endeavour. She didn’t mind, she tired quickly and told him to stay, to go to sleep.

So they did. His arms held her all night long and his seed make secret contact with her egg. Another brand new first experience for Josie Jeffries on this action packed one day.


One day, thought Helen, she would give it one more day. This time, she really would try. They owed it themselves, one another and thirteen years of marriage to attempt to salvage something from this mess and rekindle a love lost. The trip had been her idea, which had surprised him. They’d struggled to find their way back after Daniel’s infidelity. It had shocked Helen to her core that he’d been capable of such a torrid love affair and it had left her bruised and broken that it hadn’t been with her: his wife.

Helen’s mother had said that it was good that, at least, Daniel had admitted to it, ended it and apologised. Helen often wondered if she’d prefer to have never known about it. But, she must put this to the back of her mind, now, if she really was going to endeavour to move forward and try to love him again.

She fastened the zip of her suitcase and checked the booking details again. They hadn’t had a holiday for a long time and although it was for only one night, she felt excited. She’d never been to Whitby before, the book on loan from the library made it look and sound beautiful. There were so many things that she hoped to do there, if it would be possible to cram them into just one day.

The journey was awkward, quiet, she tried to fill it with chatter but neither of them could quite pull it off, so he concentrated on the unfamiliar roads and she immersed herself in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, in anticipation of the Abbey and the history of Whitby.

They found the hotel, on the sea front; they had a large room, a balcony and a breathtaking view. They unpacked, in silence, each nervously taking it in turns to look at the freshly made king size bed, with both terror and a curious wonder of what could potentially happen in there. Now, the last time they had shared a bed was a long eleven months ago, and it was a guilt-ridden, frosty, back-to-back awfulness that she didn’t ever wish to repeat. He’d moved into the spare bedroom the following night. The last time they had actually made love was back when Helen still had no idea that Daniel was sneaking away to also bed another. No, she mustn’t think about this now.

‘Shall we go for a walk?’ Helen asked, eager to vacate this room and busy her mind with this scenic postcard place. He nodded, with a forced smile, and off they went. She briefly considered holding his hand, but she didn’t have the confidence to do it, and it felt like too much too soon. So she didn’t, and they walked side by side, down the street.

They bought ice-creams and took off their shoes, finding a patch of warm sand to sit on. Helen felt happier already, the sunshine blazed upon her back and the blue sea glistened before her eyes.

‘Isn’t it pretty?’ she enthused, squinting to see his face.

‘It’s very nice’, he offered.

She couldn’t think of anything else to say and after an uncomfortable quarter of an hour, he took out his mobile phone, fingers gliding over the screen. So she fished the Dracula book bag out of her bag and began to read.

‘It’s getting too hot, just sitting here’ he complained, breaking the silence and ending the fictional world her head was in.

‘Shall we go to the Abbey? I’ve read about it and I’d really like to go’ she said.

‘Do you know how to get there?’ he asked, a hint of boredom in his voice which Helen refused to acknowledge (she really was trying very, very hard indeed).

She pulled out the map and they dusted off the sand, setting off. They stopped at a cosy tea room for cream teas and cherry scones (her idea). Their hands accidentally met as they both went to pour, instantly they flew away from the touch, as if scalded. A palpable disappointment sighed through her body but she maintained a smile, still trying hard and refusing to give up her sense of hope.

‘There’s 199 steps’, she read from the guide, as they stood at the bottom. She looked around, liking this old side of Whitby even more, with its cobbled streets and tiny shops.

‘You really want to go?’ he asked, trying not to show the fact that, in this June heat, he really didn’t want to. Of course, Helen picked up on his lack of interest, but again the smile didn’t waiver and she simply nodded enthusiastically.

And so up the steps they went, all 199 of them, never speaking a word. Occasionally, she would stop to admire the sea. He’d clamber on, treating this as a task with a box to tick, noticing nothing. But she didn’t nag him; no acrid comment left her lips. (She was still trying ever so hard).

The Abbey was awe-inspiring, such a tremendous, prolific building, owning the skyline for miles around. She read all the information, took photographs, and absorbed the gothic atmosphere. He pressed buttons on his phone and began to descend the steep steps before she had quite finished.

The first flash of anger hit her like a lightning bolt. What was Daniels problem? She’d booked this trip to help swallow down his massive betrayal. No, she mustn’t think of this now. She took a long, deep breath, quashed her ire and joined him at the bottom.

‘Where next?’ he asked, smiling a little now, which warmed her.

‘We could have a look around the shops? They sell Whitby Jet and I might like a piece of jewellery’, she said, wondering if he would buy it for her, simultaneously buying them some more time to rescue this empty day.

She wished she could live here and felt a pang of jealousy towards the lucky locals who woke up to all these beautiful and quaint things every morning.

Helen perused the stores and found an intricate silver ring with Whitby Jet in the centre. She remembered her wedding ring. Daniel caught her flash of dismay and turned his own ring on his finger, nervously. He paid for her new piece of jewellery and she slipped it on, it felt odd to feel a ring there after all this time, wrong somehow, and irritating. She thanked him graciously and tried to forget about it during the long stroll back to the hotel.

‘Are you hungry?’ he enquired.

‘Starving after all that walking’, she admitted, ‘Shall we go out for dinner? I spotted a restaurant nearby’.

‘Good idea. Are you ready?’ he asked, picking up his wallet.

‘I’d like to get changed. It might be nice to get all dressed up, she confessed, scooping up her things and heading to the bathroom.

Helen had treated herself to new lingerie, a dress and a pair of shoes for this dinner, in the hope that if everything was brand new, then that’s how she would feel. None of these recently purchased items reminded her of what he did and the hurt that had ensued. No, she mustn’t think of this now.

She stood in front of the mirror and studied her profile in the red lace bra and knickers. It had been an age since she had worn something so overtly sexual and provocative. She slipped on the figure hugging black dress and the red stilettos, feeling transformed. She brushed her long brown hair, applied mascara and a little lipstick. She looked beautiful, and at long last, felt it too.

Happy and confident, she stepped out of the bathroom and awaited his response. He had his back to her, ending a phone call.

‘Who was that?’ she snapped, without thinking. He span around to face her.

‘Work. Just a minor problem. I told them to sort it out themselves and reminded them I’m away. Bloody cheek’, he explained, rolling his eyes.

‘You’d think they could hold the fort for one day. Well, I’m ready’, she announced, twirling around to display her attractive new look. He beamed at her.

‘Wow. You look amazing, Helen’, he said, admiring the bare legs he hadn’t seen for quite some time. Their eyes darted to the bed, wondering, hoping, and wondering a little more.

Thy left for the restaurant and the aroma of the spiced food had them in knots of hunger. There was just one available table, a table for two by the window. It felt as though it had sat there waiting for them. Helen smiled at the thought, maybe everything would work out?

Their conversation flowed with more ease, along with the wine. The menu allowed rambling talk about decisions, portions, ingredients, appetite. The young, handsome waiter took their order and gazed at Helen’s cleavage, then at her long legs in the high heels. She beamed with delight; she hadn’t felt this desirable before in her life. It all helped her to relax and enjoy the present moment, a skill she had seemingly lost over the past year.

The food was sublime, so many textures and flavours. Every mouthful captured her senses. As the glass of wine disappeared, another was poured. She felt warm and a little tipsy which made her giggle. Daniel hadn’t seen her like this since … no, he mustn’t think of this now. She really was trying very hard.

He excused himself, snaking around the tables, heading for the bathroom. His phone vibrated on the candle-lit table. On the verge of giving his place of employment a frank piece of her mind, Helen picked it up and read the message:

I hope you’re not too bored. I’ll liven you up when you get back tomorrow. Love you xxx

Helen thought she might throw up, her heart galloped in her chest and her whole world became dizzy and small. She placed his phone back down and tried to decide what to do. The waiter came over to offer dessert.

‘Are you okay?’ he asked, concerned, she looked as though she had seen a ghost, and the colour had completely drained from her face.

‘No. I’ve really been trying very hard but my husband is having another affair and I wish I hadn’t bothered with any of this’, she spoke quickly, tears racing down her cheeks. He watched her husband saunter towards them, looking confused.

‘What’s going on?’ he asked, suspicious of the loitering waiter. Had he upset Helen?

‘Oh I’m fine. I was just telling this young man about the red lace lingerie I am wearing underneath this dress and that, as you are certainly not ever going to see it, you cheating bastard, that it’s a shame, as someone should. So, my next question was to ask this waiter if he would like to bed your wife tonight and show me the real secrets of Whitby.’ Her mouth stopped moving and let her head catch up with her words. All three of them were left reeling. Daniel checked his phone and realised that Helen had read his last message. Helen smiled apologetically at the waiter with sad, pretty eyes. The waiter wiped away her tears with a napkin and invited her to his cottage.

Daniel walked out, angry and baffled that he wanted his wife more than ever before but he couldn’t have her. He slept in the king size bed alone, sorrowful and frustrated.

The waiter got off work early and studied Helen’s red lingerie briefly, before ripping it off to hungrily explore every inch of her naked body.

Helen screamed out from her first almighty orgasm in far too long a time. She thought she may extend her holiday.


‘I see surprise’, the fortune teller almost whispered. I was surprised I was actually here. How had I let my sister talk me into this nonsense? I nodded, mutely, in her direction.

‘And rain, lots of rain,’ she dramatically announced, gasping, and using pitter-patter hand gestures. I bit my bottom lip, wishing I’d checked the weather report. I was wearing my new suede boots.

‘I see a large vehicle. It’s hazy but I sense danger’, she shrieked, with a horror stricken face.

This was ridiculous and I’d had more than enough. I, begrudgingly, threw her a note of far more value than she deserved and stomped out. The sunshine of ten minutes ago had been replaced with a miserable downpour. I was surprised, and rummaged in my handbag for my umbrella. I put it up and tried to shield myself from the harsh rain. I hurried across the road, slipping as the heel of my boot snapped and saw the truck hurtling towards me.


Jack goes through the nightly motions: he folds his clothes neatly on the back of the chair, brushes his teeth, checks his alarm clock’s set for the rude early awakening, and sighs. What sort of life is this for a young man of just 24? Working, working, working, rushing home to a meal for one, tedious television until his eyes begin to droop. He knows the answer, of course, this is no life and he also knows that this will not change until; at the very least, the ‘trainee’ is dropped from his title of ‘trainee chef’.

It isn’t long until Jack falls asleep and, after a while, his breathing becomes shallow, his heart rate increases and his eyes move rapidly as his mind wanders into a dream. At first, it’s more a case of moving images, rather than a story playing out. A montage, a collage of orange and red; dots, joining up to form a faint pattern which his brain dares him to figure out. A woman with long red hair, titillating, exposed breasts. His body reacts accordingly, stiffening and tingling. It’s hot; Jack senses a source of heat, like fire. Flames flicker and cast the redhead’s naked silhouette on to a dark back-drop. A groan leaves his sleeping lips as he watches her shadow, hips sway, fingers explore, and her lust reaches a euphoric climax. And then he wakes up to his nocturnal explosion, wetting the sheets with his pleasure as he had done so many times as a teenager. He rolls over, seeking a dry patch and falls into a deeper slumber.

Morning arrives with the usual manic hurry and snooze button regrets as he has to run around, squeezing too many activities into the too short space of time. He thinks of his boss and resents his probable lie-in as he rushes to prepare for this evening’s service at the restaurant. But, somehow, with damp hair, a certain degree of stress and a forgotten wallet, he arrives on time.

Deluged with numerous tasks, it isn’t until he lights the oven that, immediately, the instant flame reminds him of last night’s dream and he blushes scarlet. He makes a mental note to change the sheets later, and vividly pictures the red haired siren that gave him the, somewhat surprising and unexpected, happy ending. He attempts to brush away the beginnings of a new excitement and is left feeling flustered and distracted.

The Friday night shift is brutal; orders come thick and fast all night long. As soon as a table clears, new bodies slip into chairs, hew hands pick up a menu. Despite several flattering compliments regarding his pleasing Tarte Tatin, he feels like crawling back home on his knees after the exhaustion of it all.

Even the walk does little to clear his head. He yawns loudly into the night air and wastes no time in climbing into the hastily made bed. Feeling cold, he pulls the quilt up to his chin and, within five minutes, he drifts from the chill into the delicious heat once more.

Without hesitation, he conjures up the redhead, who reveals her alluring nudity. She leans over him; her long copper locks tickle the bare flesh of his torso. Temperature rising, the licks of the flames illuminate her creamy breasts and sultry mouth. As she coils her hand into a beckoning finger, her emerald eyes never leave his awed gaze, the dream ends with a crash. Beyond arousal, he spills his lust on to the crisp white sheets. His eyes open, he reaches the bedside cabinet and scribbles a word on to the top envelope of his yet unopened mail.   

As the alarm incessantly beeps into the bedroom, he spots his scrawled handwriting. He recalls the erotic dream, although he can’t remember how the word Fever relates to it, nor does he understand why he’d been compelled to make a note of it in the dark, early hours.

He rips the sheets from the bed and stuffs his embarrassment into the washing machine and heads out. And as it so happens when you think of a word, it starts to pop up everywhere, on his route to work. ‘Fever’ pops up in so many places, the pharmacy window, a neon pink billboard poster, the too tight t-shirt of a young girl, in the pocket of his jacket. His fingers feel the rectangle object and he pulls it out to take a look. A business card, which he has no memory of being handed. It’s white with a blazing red font. It reads FEVER. Unleash your fantasy in our hot private club. You have selected Adena. Follow the signs to follow your dreams.

Jack shakes his head in confusion. How has this ended up in his pocket? Who’s Adena? What signs? He doesn’t have time to mull over this nonsense, he decides, and promptly discards it into the rubbish bin, arriving at the restaurant. Over the course of the evening, Jack was correct, there isn’t time to think at all, unless it revolves around tickets and ingredients and customers. He bursts out of the back door as soon as everything is cleaned and tidied away. He could kiss the sky with relief as he has the whole of tomorrow off work and there will be no alarm clock or rush to keep him busy.

His feet turn the final corner, his fingers rummage for his keys when he finds the familiar card, again. He is sure that he’d thrown it away. If someone at the restaurant is playing a joke he isn’t going to be happy. With a frown, he re-read the words. FEVER. Unleash your fantasy in our hot private club. You have selected Adena. Follow the signs to follow your dreams. Nobody can actually put fiery redhead dreams into his head though, can they? He feels ludicrous here, in the dead of night, but he can’t help himself and his eyes survey the street for some sort of clue. A fox scurries from one alley to another and he laughs. The foxy redhead? It has to better than that, he thinks.

In spite of himself, his feet sidle back up the street he has just walked down, just to double-check that he hasn’t missed anything. The sound of a match strike turns him around. A hooded figure drops the tiny flame to the floor and with a crackle, it’s aflame. The figure flees to leave an F shape on fire, on the pavement. Without thinking, he hurriedly follows the figure down the same alley way he had spotted the fox. There are no lights and his eyes struggle to adjust to the emphatic darkness surrounding him. He can’t hear a sound and there is no sign of movement or a presence. Gingerly, he proceeds down the thin alley, keeping his hands by his side and his breathing as calm as he can. 

A few footsteps later and it’s the end. He pats the wall in front of him and feels a door, a large steel opening. He hesitates; he has no notion of what is happening and what he should do next. It seems it isn’t his decision to make as the door slowly opens and, at last, he can see inside the crimson room. A plaque on the wall reads Welcome to Fever. Jack stumbles in, bumping into an exotic looking tanned woman with ebony hair.

“Your card, Sir”, she asks, holding out a hand.

“My card?” he stammers. Does she mean his credit card? What is this place?

“You have a card in your pocket”, she asserts, with raised eyebrows. He pulls it out and offers it to her. She doesn’t take it, she merely leans her head to read the text.

“Adena’s been waiting for you. Please take a seat and I shall inform her that you have finally arrived” she replies before walking down the corridor.

Is he supposed to know Adena? Why has she been waiting for him? Jack is troubled by this odd turn of events yet this place looks familiar. .

“Please follow me”, utters a voice. He doesn’t noticed her approach. His heart beats wildly, he worries she can hear it.

“Relax”, coaxes the woman, “Adena will see you shortly. Disrobe and make yourself comfortable”, she points to a bed, surrounded by candles, all flickering and twinkling. Jack is speechless; this is the room from his dream. He looks across and sees the screen; the redhead had teased him from behind there. The candles explain the heat he’d felt, the flames he had seen. Before he can utter a word, she’s gone, and he is left alone.

He can’t believe it, every exact detail is correct, the reds and oranges of the walls. It doesn’t make sense, any of it. If Adena turns out to be the erotic redhead in his dreams, he imagines he’ll be a mixture of deeply afraid and deeply aroused. Hoping for the latter, he strips off his clothes and hops into the bed, covering himself up below his chest.

A door opens, behind the screen the lights lower further. He sees her feminine outline behind the screen and barely dares to breathe. She turns to the side and he can make out every curve of her naked shape, her pert breasts, and the roundness of her buttocks. Just the shadow of her profile is enough to make him hard.

“Did you dream of me?” Her voice was like a velvet song with a beautiful Irish lilt, it has always been his favourite accent.

“Are you Adena?” he manages, his voice cracking.

“I am. Do you know what my name means?” she asks.

“No” he replies, still hypnotised by her swaying body.

“It means fire. Do you like a bit of heat, Jack?”

“I don’t know. How do you know my name?” he stutters.

Finally she reveals herself and steals his breath away. Her bare form in front of him is torture; the arousal causes him to shiver. His eyes dart from one delectable part of her to another, his body aches to be touched. She smiles at him and perches on the bed; noticing the large bulge underneath the sheet.

Her hands stroke his chest, gently, tentatively. He melts under her touch, desperately hoping there is more to come. Adena stretches to take hold of a candle; he watches the flesh of her breast and bites his bottom lip.

Suddenly he feels a hot splash on his skin and yelps. Looking down, he sees a patch of red candle wax, already solidifying. Her eyes are wild and a less than angelic look paints her face. He begins to peel off the wax but she pours more. He cries out in an enthralling mixture of satisfaction and pain. Clearly Adena’s enjoying herself as her free hand had slips between her shapely legs. Jack fears he can’t handle much more of her teasing, this provocative display before his eyes. He can’t drop his gaze from her busy hand and its activities now bring soft whimpers to her lips. As her moans increase in volume, she falls into her own magical rhythm. He tries counting, mentally chanting football songs but the dizzying sight of Adena and this spellbinding candle-lit room leave him more excited than he can ever remember being in his life.

Adena’s legs buckle, she falls on top of him, one long, loud groan escapes before she turns her attention back to him. Jack has never experienced anything like this before, none of his girlfriends had ever been so sexually confident. With both hands, Adena grasps an enormous orange candle. She holds it over his torso with a defiant, mischievous glint in her eye. He feels slightly afraid; the adrenaline buzzes around his body, meeting the testosterone along the way, leaving him teetering on the brink of his own much needed release.

He closes his eyes, inhales deeply and feels the scalding hot wax trickle on to his sensitive skin; pain, sensuality and an electrifying exhilaration. He can’t stand this any longer and off he soars, his mind in a fiery bliss, his body doing exactly what it had done whilst dreaming of this bizarre place and this coquettish woman.

Adena vanishes; the intoxicating aromas of the scented candles leave him content and sleepy. He forces himself up to dress. Jack slips out of the room, offering a furtive glance at the attractive receptionist. Back out into the alley, he pulls his jacket closely around his face and walks home. A return to normality, he muses, slipping into bed, his eyes shutting. He smiles as sleep greets him; he wonders what his next dream will entail.

As the night progresses, he catches hold of a dream, he groans into his pillow as he senses the familiar candles. But, disappointingly, Adena never arrives. Resourcefully, his mind even attempts to add the dark haired receptionist as a crafty replacement but it just cannot be done. He can smell the scents, they waft by his nostrils. But no Adena.

He feels rather sad in the morning; he missed dreaming of her outrageous antics, the nightly emissions. Distraction doesn’t come easily, no amount of watching the football can retain his thoughts for long enough. He can’t shake it off. He wants to see Adena again, to feel the spill of the hot wax set on his flesh, the pleasure and the pain.

He throws on his jacket and leaves the house, his heart pounds quickly in his chest; he licks dry lips with anticipation and desire. He bangs upon the steel door that he had warily entered on the previous night. Now he can’t wait. Mentally, he is already inside, stripped, naked and waiting for Adena. No answer. He bangs again.

Finally the door opens and there stands an old woman in a floral smock.

“Is Adena here?” Jack asks, baffled and confused. The woman returns his ponderous expression, shrugs her shoulders and leads him inside.

The shock is incredible. The changes to the interior almost bring him to his knees with incredulity. The walls are painted lemon; there isn’t a corridor, no sign of the rooms, the receptionist, and no sign of Adena. It’s a shop. He follows the old woman around the mess of boxes, around to the counter and into the front. Candles. A shop selling candles. Jack is flabbergasted.

“But where’s Adena?” his meek voice asks. The woman points to a shelf of red and orange votive candles, just like the ones Adena had used last night. He picks one up and read the label: Adena Candle. Exotic, erotic, tempting scents of Patchouli, Orange and Lemongrass.

Tears threaten to exit Jack’s eyes as he wonders if he is going mad. There had been dreams, yes, but surely last night had been real? He had felt the hot wax stick to his chest? How has everything changed so quickly?

He feels his pocket; his fingers grab the card, his one chance to prove that he hasn’t lost his very mind. Aroma. Sumptuous Candles for your every need. He weeps into his hands.

“Are you alright?” asks the old woman, in an attempt to soothe him, “My word, you’re burning up, you feel as though you have a fever.”