Topsy Turvy Ch. 07byElleMunro78©
I'm one of those guilty writers who lets months and months pass in between chapters. I have to apologise profusely for that, my life has turned into a soap opera of its own.
Anywho, I hope that you enjoy this chapter.
If this is your first venture into Topsy Turvy, it might be an idea to read from the beginning.
Please do comment and vote and let me know your thoughts – chapter 8 is already partially written so I am hoping it won't take as long to post for next time.
Many thanks to those who sent emails and comments – I love hearing from you.
Hope you enjoy
Mike was the first to recover as he had no idea who Helena was.
"Hello. Um, it seems to be my night for beautiful women on my doorstep!"
Helena, whose gaze was fixed accusingly on Alanna's, whipped her honey coloured hair and flashed a beautiful smile at him. She stuck her hand out,
"You probably don't remember me do you? We met at the nightclub?"
Mike furrowed his brow. Huffing a sigh of annoyance, Alanna helped him remember,
"You didn't 'meet' in the nightclub, you 'met' in the back of my car when you" she pointed at Mike, "were passed out after drinking too much while feeling sorry for yourself, and you" she pointed back at Helena, "were sobbing in embarrassment over the child you'd been kissing."
Helena rolled her eyes while Mike grinned without a shred of embarrassment. Alanna huffed again.
Remembering his manners, Mike smiled at Helena,
"Well, now that we've been introduced, what can I do for you?"
Alanna looked from Mike to Helena wondering exactly the same thing and at the same time, dreading her friend's response.
Helena smiled up at him and leaned against the door frame causing Alanna to take a step back into the hallway and right into Mike. She felt his hands on her hips to steady her, which in turn caused her to jump. Righting herself quickly and admonishing herself for the tickle of delight that he had caused her, she channelled her attention to Helena, who was saying,
"Well, Tamara mentioned that you were going through a divorce, and I have been through the same thing. I know how difficult it can be and thought you might like to talk. I was in the area so thought I'd chance it and see if you were in, but," she flicked her eyes to her friend who was biting her lip guiltily, "I see you have company"
Alanna fought the urge to stick her tongue out at Helena. God, just how had this happened? All she had wanted to do was make an apology and then move on with her life. That was all. Now look at the mess she was in.
Mike furrowed his brow and shook his head in exasperation,
"Jesus, is there anyone she hasn't told? And how did you even get my address – or should I not ask?"
He failed to receive an answer as Helena had locked gazes with Alanna in a silent conversation that only the two women could hear and understand. The three of them stood in the doorway in what Mike felt was quite an awkward silence.
Feeling the undercurrent of something but not quite sure what it was, Mike was grateful to be saved by the sound of the telephone ringing. He said to no one in particular,
"Um, I should get that, it might be the kids. Do you ladies want to come in make yourselves comfortable in the living room – it's a little cold outside."
He was answered with unified,
Raising his hands in surrender, Michael backed away from the skirmish at the front door. As he made his way up the stairs, he shook his head at the madness of women. However, his concern soon turned to the kids and the chaos they were probably causing with their mother.
Watching him make his way up the stairs, both women ensured Mike was out of sight before speaking to one another.
"What are you doing here?" Helena hissed at Alanna, tightening the belt on her coat, "You said you didn't want him."
"I don't want him!" Alanna snapped, "I simply came here to apologise – you know so that me and Simon could get things better again."
Helena laughed at her friend, with very little humour,
"Oh please, pull the other one. Look at you. You haven't looked so turned on since Trevor Michelson invited you to the school dance in 1994 and kissed you on the dance floor for the whole of "End of the Road'"
Alanna harrumphed while patting her cheeks which were heating up beyond belief, and rallied with,
"Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but that is not the case now. I am not fourteen years old and Boyz II Men no longer bring out that reaction in me. More to the point, how did you get his address anyway?"
Helena had the decency to look sheepish, tightening her belt again.
"I stole it out of Tamara's blackberry."
"Yes, I know – but seriously look at him. He's like prime rib slathered in bbq sauce ready for licking and sucking – and you said that you didn't want him."
Alanna frowned at the analogy while storing that picture in her mind for later and then shaking her head to restore her to the land of normality, she narrowed her eyes at her friend,
"You don't know what you're talking about – you've never eaten ribs in your life."
"I know, but I was trying to describe him in a way you'd understand!"
Their eyes held and they both started laughing. Helena leaned forward and hugged her friend,
"Seriously, why didn't you say you wanted him?"
"You definitely do!"
Alanna shook her head avoiding her friend's stare and continued to shake her head through Helena's words,
"Why can't you just face what everyone else knows? There is something between you and the bronco. I can feel it just from standing here with the two of you."
Helena tightened her belt yet again and it was the final straw for Alanna,
"There is nothing between me and the bronco – as you like to call him. And for the love of God will you stop tightening your belt – what's wrong with you?
"There's nothing wrong with me, I just think you should have a think about it – and on that note, I'm going to leave because I'm freezing."
"Ok, I think I'll leave with – wait a second, why are you freezing?"
"Yeah it's cold, but it's not that cold, you would only be cold if you were wearing nothing under that – "
Alanna stopped and widened her eyes at her friend,
"You little hussy," she whispered, eyes wide. Helena backed away from the doorstep realising she'd been rumbled,
"I don't know what you're talking about," she feigned, looking everywhere but at the friend who knew her almost better than anyone.
"Come here Hels."
Helena shook her head and Alanna checked over her shoulder to ensure that Mike was still upstairs – no sign. Alanna made her way down the step and said,
"If you don't come to me now, I'm coming to you, and we both know that the alternative is a much much worse scenario don't we?"
Helena ran to her friend, "ok, ok ok and would you just shush?"
"I'm right aren't I?"
Helena swore under her breath and undid her raincoat, "Fine!"
Alanna didn't know whether she should laugh or cry. Her friend was kitted out in the most delicate lace teddy, salmon coloured with transparent lace panels which showed off her honey toned skin. Her large breasts were barely covered by the balconette bra which she wore, and her stockings were held up by a lace garter belt. Alanna's heart sank – she looked beautiful. God she felt sick at the idea of Michael even looking at her like that. Rousing herself out of her mini depression, she tuned back into what Helena was saying,
"And I was going to do my best Marilyn Monroe impression, which has never failed – well hasn't failed since shithead decided he didn't want to be married anymore - but I can't because I wasn't counting on the sparks that come off the two of you, hence the reason for my being cold. Can I close my coat now?"
Alanna nodded distractedly whilst feeling the overwhelming urge to stamp her feet. She was in a quandary. She had the option of doing the right thing or the wrong thing. In her heart, she knew that the right thing to do would be to say to Helena that the field was absolutely free for her to do what she wanted with Mike; that they were both free agents and therefore she didn't need her permission for anything. That was the right thing to do. But, Alanna couldn't help but notice that the more she thought about it, the more comfortable she was with the idea of Helena and her beauty being far far away from Mike. That was not right. And she had to rectify it. Deciding she was going to do what was best for all concerned, she turned to her friend,
"Hels, I wish you would listen to me. I've told you there's nothing there. And for the purpose of this conversation, I'm going to say it again, Mike's a nice enough man – if you like that sort of thing, but I have Simon. Simon and I are happy. I'm just closing a silly little blip so that I can start again – with Simon. Come on Hels, what would I do with a damaged divorcé with two kids? It's hard enough looking after myself why would I want to saddle myself with – why are you shaking your head like that – Oh no."
Alanna knew that she didn't even need to look over her shoulder to know that Mike had finished his phone call and had ventured back down the stairs. She closed her eyes and heaved a deep breath. Opening one eye she leaned forward and whispered to an aghast Helena,
"He heard me didn't he?"
"Every word" Helena whispered back.
Feeling her heart plunge into her stomach and losing what little courage she had left, Alanna called a hasty goodbye, pushed her way past her friend and made her way into the night, jamming her hat heavily on her head and muttering about Gods playing tricks and bloody bbq sauce.
******** As Michael watched Alanna depart hastily in a flourish of red, he wondered if at some point in his life someone had nipped into his room while he had been sleeping, had inscribed "MUG" in indelible invisible ink and hadn't told him. His feelings were hurt, there, he admitted it. He had thought that he and Alanna had had a lovely evening, had shared something special and were kind of on the same page, but apparently not. Apparently, while he had been having a lovely evening; she had been closing the door on the little "blip" that had been blotting the perfect landscape that was Alanna and Simon. He had watched her embarrassment at being caught and then he had watched her leave the house without even looking back. Mike wondered if he would ever get used to being left by beautiful women.
Wondering if he still had that bottle of Scotch that he had been saving for a celebratory occasion, he made his way down to the hallway and was surprised by the little hand which stopped his arm.
Turning back, he was surprised to find Helena still there, smiling up at him hopefully and he furrowed his brow to remember what she was even doing there.
Realising that she had lost her quarry, Helena patted his arm twice and said, "I'll leave my number here for you, just in case you do want to talk – or anything."
Mike nodded distractedly, wondering once again why this woman was in his house, and then made his way to the kitchen to drown his sorrows. It was Friday night; he could make another mix tape probably, this time the theme could be falling for the same trick over and over again.
****** Six weeks later
"So what do you want to do then? You don't want to go out, you don't want to stay in, you don't want to watch TV and the music irritates your ears."
"Actually, it's your voice that irritates my ears" Alanna wasn't sure if she'd said that out loud. She wanted to but just didn't have the guts. Drawing on her best acting skills, she managed to convince Simon that it was the music that was the problem. Noting his nod of reassurance, she turned back to smoothing the frosting on the cake.
"If I were an honest human being," she thought to herself, "I would say that what I really want is for him to go home so that I could wallow in my misery and try and get the courage to ring Mike and apologise – again - and to see if anything could be salvaged."
But I'm not an honest human being, I'm a cowardly girl who has avoided having sex with her boyfriend since that lovely night with Michael and yet I don't have the guts yet to finish things definitively with Simon. She watched as Simon left kitchen and made his way back to the living room, flinging himself on her sofa, and winced as she realised he still had his shoes on. Alanna felt the hairs on the back of her neck rise and wondered what kind of damage she could do him with the knife she was using to cut the cake.
And then she had to remind herself that she was actually doing penance because she was trying to get forgiveness, unbeknownst to Simon, for her behaviour with Michael a few weeks earlier. But nothing seemed to work. She had tried to channel her inner housewife and been the best girlfriend known to man. But all she had been able to think of was Michael and his botched pasta. She had tried seduction 101 but each time she closed her eyes, she pictured Michael pushing her against the kitchen counter and their kisses going much much further. She had tried distracting herself with his pastimes – watching his favourite sports and helping him to fix his car but because she had found these exceptionally boring, she found that her mind turned to Michael all the time. She wondered what he was doing, if his children were ok, she wondered if she had hurt him by her words and wondered if there was any room for forgiveness. She wondered if there would ever be a time when she wouldn't have to be asking for forgiveness from him and if ever there would be a time again when he smiled at her and made her feel like she was the only person in the universe.
She looked at Simon, comfortable on the sofa. He really was everything she wanted – or everything she should have wanted but actually in trying to save him and make him feel better about his life, she had forsaken hers and therefore lost the real sense of who she was. It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair on him, and it wasn't fair on her, and she knew now that even if nothing ever happened between her and Michael (she was certain she had burnt all bridges on that one), at least she would have the clear conscience to know that she had done the right thing by Simon.
Looking down, she saw that she had cut her upside down cake into shreds. Salvaging a piece, she slid it onto the tea plate with a fork and made her way to the living room where he lay. Tapping his feet to allow her some space to sit down, she offered the cake to him wordlessly. He looked from the cake to her and back to the cake again. He took a breath to speak, but she held her hand up, it was now or never.
"This isn't working."
He furrowed his brow, "What's not working?" He looked at the TV and shook the remote control in his hand noting that it still seemed to be blaring,
Alanna could feel her stomach start to churn. Have to soldier on, she coached herself,
"You and me – we're not working. I think maybe we need to spend some – "
She stopped talking as she watched him take a deep breath and then was horrified as he started to sob. Through his tears she could hear,
"I knew this was going to happen. I knew you were going to leave me."
"But Simon, can't you see – "
"See what? I love you. I know I haven't said it before, and I know that I can be a little possessive and silly sometimes but you have to understand it's only because I love you so much."
Alanna was horrified, she had wanted to hear him say these words for so long and now that he was saying what she wanted, all she could think was that she just wanted him to shut up. However, he continued,
"Look, how about this. If I do some work on myself and try and get over whatever it is that you dislike about me, and then we can start again."
She stared at him trying to find the words and wishing she wouldn't fall back on a cliché – but she did.
"Simon, it's not you – it's me."
He rolled his eyes and slammed the plate onto the coffee table, cracking the glass. Alanna winced.
"It's him isn't it? It's that pussy from your flat."
She shook her head,
"It isn't anyone. This – "she gestured between the two of them, "This just isn't working."
Glad that it wasn't someone else, he dropped to his knees and leaned forward to grab her hands,
"Please just think about it. Please just take some time. If I leave you alone to think things through, just think about it and then let me know. Don't throw this away now. Please?"
Although Alanna's gut was telling her to take the out and just deliver the final blow, her conscience just couldn't.
"Ok," she whispered. "Give me a couple of weeks to think things through."
Simon nodded and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. He stood up and put on a smile,
"I'm going to go – give you some space" she nodded, unable to look at him, completely ashamed of her cowardice.
"I'll speak to you soon then?"
She nodded again and kept her head down until she heard the front door slam. Heaving a great sigh, she closed her eyes and then groaned.
He had the hang of it now, this shopping lark. This shopping lark which previously had been the bane of his existence because the kids were well aware that it scared the living shit out of him was now his bitch. Now he was the alpha male in the household and was no longer a prisoner of the tantrums and manipulations of a six year old and a three year old. He had to say it, he was feeling pretty smug. He saw the adoring looks he received from the ladies in the supermarket as he pushed Sebastian in his trolley, who was cute as a button, listening to Dora the Explorer count to him in Spanish, and Mike heard the sighs of delight at his beautiful little girl who was currently passing the beans to him so that he could put them in the trolley. Yep, feeling pretty good. It was progress. He wasn't crying all the time anymore, and he even managed to sleep a full night without rolling over looking for Roni's warmth. He had negotiated with work renewed working hours so that he could spend enough time looking after the kids; the divorce was going through slowly but surely. Sure, he still wanted to punch the living daylights out of Luke Harris for breaking up his family, but he had now come to terms with the fact that it took two to tango and all that jazz. And the ultimate fact that Roni, the mother of his children was a selfish so and so.
The only problem was that when he wasn't celebrating the fact that Sebastian had eaten his peas, or that Ava hadn't told the dog to fuck off (Uncle Greg needed to mind his language), he was wondering what Alanna was doing. Or he was remembering how lovely her hair smelt and the feel of her against him and then it would lead him to wonder if she was happy with Simon, and what did Simon have that he didn't – well apart from a broken marriage, two kids, a mausoleum of a house and a lousy left hook. This would lead him right back into his depression. And it was this train of thought which had distracted him from the fact that Ava was no longer musing on which brand of olive oil they should get due to which bottle was prettier and the fact that she was no longer anywhere near.
Mike called for her over his shoulder, wondering why she had fallen silent. He felt the panic grip his heart as he looked over his left and right shoulders, and then inexplicably in the actual shopping trolley which made Sebastian laugh.
"It's not funny mate, I've lost your sister."
This made Sebastian laugh even harder and positively beam at the idea of being an only child – he wouldn't have to share the TV time anymore. However, it had the opposite effect on his father who could feel the cold hand of panic clutch his heart a little tighter. Where was she? Pushing the trolley to the end of the aisle, he prayed for divine intervention to show him just where his little angel was. Shit! he couldn't even remember what she was wearing. He felt his throat close and felt the tears start to fill his eyes until he heard,