Topsy Turvy Ch. 06byElleMunro78©
Hi there, thanks for reading and apologies for the delay in providing this chapter. Please do vote and comment, constructive criticism is appreciated.
Hope you enjoy
A month had passed since the "Clash of the Titans", as Tamara had dubbed it, and the four friends had decided to have a bonding session with food, gossip and a healthy dose of wine. Lounging in Helena's lounge on sofas, armchairs, a foot stool and the floor respectively, the girls were now discussing "Poor Michael".
"Well I think the least you could do is apologise"
These words were followed by a crunch and a sound of delight as Tamara inhaled tortilla chips from the bowl which was laying gently cradled in her lap. Ignoring the scowl she received from Alanna, she dipped her hand back in the bowl happily whilst being watched by Helena with disgust who never let complex carbohydrates into her body. Helena couldn't help herself.
"Tam, do you know how many calories are in that?"
Tamara took the time to think about the question -- continuing to eat while doing so. Eventually she responded,
"It's not important how many calories are in it - it's good for my baby."
The friends exchanged puzzled glances, and then Isabella leaned forward to her friends remarking,
"She does realise that she's already had the baby doesn't she?"
Tamara threw a pillow at her friend,
"Ha ha ha, but I'll have you know that actually it's very good for him. I'm eating salsa, which has tomatoes in it, which are vegetables or fruits even, so then when Junior has Mum's milk, he's getting his recommended amount."
Helena furrowed her brow trying to make sense of the statement,
"But you're not breast feeding anymore."
Tamara turned back to her,
"Those are mere details!"
Helena took a breath to continue the argument, but Bella and Alanna both shook their heads vigorously -- it wasn't worth the bother. Tamara continued,
"Anyway La La, back to what I was saying -- I do think you owe Mike an apology. I mean, let's face it. He only got punched out because he was defending your honour,"
Alanna's eyes opened wide at her friend's cheek,
"Hey! He wouldn't have had to defend my honour if he hadn't ended up at my flat, and he wouldn't have ended up at my flat if you hadn't stuck your nose where it wasn't wanted in the first place. Did you ever think of that?"
Tamara dismissed her protests with the imperious wave of a hand,
"Well, that's neither here nor there -- the important thing is, he's furious with me, even though he says he isn't -- and it's making me a little uncomfortable. I don't like having to examine my conscience -- so can you fix it so I can go back to work with my head held high?"
She took another tortilla chip and munched on it thoughtfully.
"You could go and apologise at his house if you wanted to do it sooner rather than later."
Alanna was very well aware of what her friend was up to and made an effort to put a stop to it immediately.
"Alright there Cilla, no matchmaking for you my friend. I've already told you, I'm going to give things a go with Simon and see if we can make things better again."
The collective groan which resounded through the room was enough of a hint for Alanna to confirm the girls' feelings about her boyfriend.
She narrowed her eyes accusingly,
"Have you lot been discussing me? Have you broken the pact?"
Tamara took a breath to confirm that yes indeed they had been discussing her; discussing the fact that she had become entangled with an insecure giant with an anger management problem, and who was capable of who knew what. However, she was interrupted by Bella who unusually was sober, and therefore was that evening's voice of reason,
"Come on La La, you can't be surprised. Surely you have to understand that what happened at Tam's house wasn't normal behaviour. I completely get that he's a little insecure and that he worries that you're going to leave him, blah blah blah. But to get so possessive that he's violent -- well where's it going to stop? What would have happened if he had hit you? I mean, he took Mike down and look at the size of him. Now you're a hell of a lot smaller than Mike and imagine it had been you -- you could have or rather would have been hurt babe."
"Ok, ok, I hear what you're saying, but Simon would never --"
"Simon would never hurt me" Bella mimicked, "Is that what you were going to say? Even though we all saw him floor a man bigger than him because said man allegedly wants you?"
Alanna bit her lip knowing there was nothing she could say to this because her friend was completely right. Not about him being violent to her -- that would never happen, but about his possessiveness and his insecurity. On that fact, Bella was right on the button. However, Alanna couldn't help but feel that she owed it to Simon to restore his faith in her. This time, she was the cause of his unhappiness and discomfort and she felt a true responsibility for it. They had been fine before Michael Collins had shown his very handsome face in her abode, well sort of fine, and she figured that if she and Simon could get back to sort of fine, then all would be well with the world. She just wanted them to start with a clean slate.
However, she was also honest enough, with herself at least, to admit that she had to put to bed whatever burgeoning desire it was that she felt for Michael and that she owed him an apology. She figured that the best way she could do this was by making an apology to him directly. Email would probably be the best bet. But then again she could just visit him and apologise at his front door as per Tamara's suggestion. She could make her apology at his house, where he would open the front door and would be in his underwear again like back at her flat with his beautiful brown skin gleaming. He could be just out of the shower and when he'd open the door, he could be delighted to see her and could hold out his hand to her and she could step in to him and then he could lean down to kiss her while she stroked his...
She was startled out of her thoughts by Helena's voice,
"So Mike is definitely getting divorced then?"
Alanna looked around the room to find Tamara and Isabella responding to Helena's question.
Tamara answered her, distracted by the sight of Isabella finishing off the bowl of tortilla chips. She was worried that there would be none left.
"Yeah, apparently that bitch of a wife of his sent through the papers to get it started. Greg was saying that they're with his lawyers now."
The girls shook their heads in disgust. Helena spoke out again,
"Poor love. So do you think he'd agree if I asked him out?"
The three shaking heads turned in shock to Helena. The room stood silent.
Tamara was the first to recover,
"Erm, I don't think he's in the market for that sweetie."
Helena pursed her lips and furrowed her brow,
"Why not, you're willing to set him up with La La. If he's on the market and Alanna doesn't want him as she's got Simon -- I'll give him a go."
Tamara scrabbled for a good reason and found none, short of the fact that she wanted Mike for Alanna, she rallied.
"To be honest, I didn't know you were interested in him -- what do you think Bells?"
Tamara looked to Bella for back up which for once she gave in spades,
"Are you kidding me -- we've just been talking about how awful the other week was for Mike and how crazy Simon is and you want to bring Mike into our social circle and watch him and Simon kill each other on a weekly basis? What's wrong with you?"
Helena shrugged her shoulders,
"Listen, I'm not asking for permission -- I was asking an opinion. La La doesn't want him -- do you?"
Alanna shook her head slowly trying to decide if that was actually true and wondering how she felt about the idea of her best friend dating the current star of her fantasies.
"Pah! Alanna doesn't know what she wants -- she currently thinks she wants a bad tempered colossus who just happens to be hot, but who I, sorry we, think is a psycho. She doesn't know her own mind!"
Helena heaved a deep breath and rolled her eyes.
"Look, I'm not saying I'm going to marry him or anything -- but come on, it makes sense. He's single, I'm single. He's hot and so am I and..."
She left a pregnant pause as she could see the girls hanging on her every word,
"It would probably make Simon take less notice of Alanna if he thinks Mike is dating one of her friends."
The tide turned in the room and the group split,
Tamara shook her head vehemently,
"Nope, no, no way! It won't work -- it's not a great idea at all." She was devastated as her visions of Mike and Alanna sailing into the sunset began to disappear right in front of her eyes,
"Now hang on, I think there may be some viability in this idea."
"No there isn't --"
Bella waved her hand at Tamara's protests
"I think there might. If Helena is dating Mike then obviously Mike doesn't want Alanna. And if Alanna is absolutely refusing to get rid of Simon -- which seems to be the case -- then this is a case for a win all around."
Helena sat back in her chair vindicated and delighted, while Tamara looked around for something else to put in her mouth for fear of biting Helena's head off. Bella, feeling that the discussion was finished with, got up to get a bottle of wine. Alanna's voice drew the attention back to the case in point,
"Hey, why don't we -- well maybe we should just let him be? As Tam said, he's obviously already had enough of his life being interfered with, his wife has left him and he has suffered something awful at our hands -- why can't we just let him pretend that he's never met us?"
Tamara and Helena jumped in response to Alanna for very different reasons. Tamara got there first,
"Because babe, I want to make things better, and I feel bad and I think he's a nice guy." She looked pointedly at Helena, "For the right girl."
Alanna sighed, realising that the scene was already set and there was no room for manoeuvre. Helena's response was a lot simpler,
"Because honey, while you're saving your relationship with the crazy one -- I wanna have a go on that big bucking chocolate bronco."
A mix tape. That's what his life had come to. And to make matters worse, it wasn't even a tape, it was a CD. He was a thirty four year old man sitting on the sofa listening to a self compiled mix tape of rejection and he was crying. Crying because his wife had left him, crying because she had found someone else better than him, crying because he wasn't sure what he wanted out of life anymore, and crying because during said crying session, he had forgotten the pasta on the stove and had burnt another pot. This in turn meant that he would now have to go to the superstore with the kids again which he had sworn he would never do again due to the stressful nature of the experience last time.
He looked to the floor where the pile of photos of his soon to be ex wife sat at his feet. The top one was Roni smiling to the camera just before she did her bungee jump in New Zealand. He leant down and rifled through the others. It struck him as he looked through the pile that there were not very many photos of them together. In fact, he barely registered in any of them at all. He had paid for each amazing experience, but hadn't been deemed worthy enough to share the limelight with Veronica Collins nee Grayson. He wondered how he had never noticed that before - that his wife was happier to be in a photograph by herself and for him to be her photographer and cheerleader. Looking back over the time they had spent together, she had always been the centre of attention and he merely a spectator. He had just wanted her to be happy and now he realised that her happiness had been to his cost.
Mike sat back on the sofa knocked out by the revelation and felt tears well up again. This time his sadness was due to his idiocy. He couldn't believe he had spent so much of his life with someone who so patently didn't want him. His sobs intensified as he noticed the photo of Ava and Sebastian grinning at him from on top of the piano and he felt his heart break for them.
The sound of the doorbell jolted Mike out of his sobbing session. Sitting up and removing the tissue which was stuck to his face, he tried to decide whether he actually wanted to answer it. It couldn't have been the kids as they had left him very happily two hours ago when their mother had arrived bearing gifts and promises of a wonderful weekend. The only other person it was likely to be was Tori, Roni's sister, who was prone to checking up on him after hearing about his drunken endeavour and flashing to his neighbours. But given that it was Friday night, Mike was also aware that Greg would currently be convincing Tori to try position number whatever of the Karma Sutra as he did every Friday. So Mike was rather puzzled as to who could have been at the door.
Curiosity getting the better of him, Mike got up from the sofa and made his way to the hallway, stopping to shut the kitchen door firmly and wincing again at the smell. He checked his reflection before opening the door hoping that it wasn't Mrs Ramsbottom who had become quite a frequent visitor since he had made his semi naked appearance at the bottom of his drive a few weeks earlier.
***** Alanna was sure that the surprise she could see on Mike's face as he opened the door was probably mirrored on her own. Now that she was here, she wasn't sure if this was indeed the best idea. If she were honest with herself, the whole time she had been talking herself into making this visit she had changed her mind constantly. She'd decided to go as she'd changed out of her baking clothes and found her good jeans. She'd decided not to go as she found her comfortable boots and decided she'd prefer to go shopping. However, as she had wrapped her scarf around her neck and put on her earrings, she had decided that actually she should make this journey as she really did owe Mike the apology and it would be the best for everyone, especially so that she and Simon could start their new leaf or life or whatever over together.
But as she jammed her hat very heavily on her head, she had resolved that as there was a really good film showing at the local cinema (French, subtitles, death and love) she would much rather go there than have to face Mike again and that was the end decision. The fact that she was now on his doorstep worried her; especially as she didn't even remember travelling there or ringing the doorbell.
But she must have done both because here she was and there he was. While he greeted her, she found herself distracted by just how attractive he was. She tilted her head to look up at him, charmed by the dimple in his chin, and the way his smile revealed white straight teeth. He was smiling with curiosity as if perplexed to find her standing on his doorstep. She, in the meantime, was wondering just why her heart was pounding so quickly and if it was ok to be so utterly beguiled by someone your friend had publicly set their sights on -- let alone the fact that she already had a boyfriend of her own.
Best to be formal, "Hello Michael."
Alanna bit her lip, and started again,
"Look I know this is out of the ordinary, me showing up on your doorstep without calling first, but I just wanted to come by and apologise for what happened at Tamara's. It shouldn't have and I'm sorry that it happened to you."
She listened to him growl and watched as he grasped the top of the door, leaning his body weight against it, noticing for the first time just how tall he was and wondering what he was wearing under his t-shirt and then she promptly lost her train of thought. The sound of his voice brought her back
"I'm sorry, I missed that -- what did you say?"
"I said, that as polite as your apology is, you have nothing to apologise for. Unless, you're some sort of shapeshifter, as I recall it wasn't you that hit me."
She took a breath to apologise again but he held up his hand.
"Hey, don't worry about it. I'm sure that if you were my girl and I came home and found a half naked man in your hall cupboard, I'd have tried to kill me too."
She barked out a surprised laugh and covered her mouth in embarrassment,
"Oh God, and I'm sorry about that too -- I don't know what came over me ---- I've never done anything like that - I think I just panicked."
He nodded once,
"Yes, it seemed you did. Look, do you want to come in rather than loitering on my doorstep -- I've given the neighbours enough to talk about in the past couple of months -- Mrs Ramsbottom needs no fuel to add to her fire at the moment."
He pushed himself off the front door and opened it wider welcoming her into his home. As Alanna looked past him into a wide lobby painted sage green, she inhaled the scent of pine needles and something else, and wondered just how wise an idea this was. She had made her apology and he had accepted it. So really, now, she should just say "no, I won't come in thank you very much", she should step back from the front door, turn on her heel and make her way home, ready to start afresh with Simon and at peace for having done the right thing. And yet, what was her body doing? Her feet were taking a step forward to the door which had opened further, her hand was taking her bag from her shoulder, and she was smiling and saying,
"Sure, thanks." Traitor!
Before she knew it, she was in the rather large and bright hallway inhaling his musky aftershave as she followed his beautifully broad back along to what she supposed to be the living room. She sniffed. Something didn't smell right -- in fact, something smelt burnt.
"Do you want a coffee?" he asked over his shoulder.
She nodded mutely as he put her to sit on the large cream sofa and made his way to the kitchen. She took a moment to look around the room which was decorated in a pale cream. Lavish was how she was going to describe it to Tamara who she knew would be desperate to hear about it as she hadn't made it that far during her visit. Heavy olive green silken curtains hung at the wide sash windows, facing into a large room. The large marble fireplace was the feature of the room surrounded by two large spotless cream sofas, and was peppered with empty photo frames. There was a large flat screen TV hanging over the fireplace and a writing desk with a chair was pushed up against the wall parallel to where she sat. Along the wall behind her stood a mahogany upright piano with two little stools which stood in front of it. On top of the piano stood a couple of photo frames. One was filled with a childlike drawing detailing "Daddy, Ava and me" and the other was of Ava and Sebastian grinning down at her surrounded by bubbles. It made Alanna smile.
Getting up to take a closer look at the photo, Alanna looked down as her foot slid on something slippery. She looked down on the carpet and found a pile of photos which it seemed had previously inhabited the now empty frames. There were a pair of scissors on the top of the pile glinting in the sunlight, and Alanna began to wonder just what she had interrupted.
His voice brought her back,
"If you were wondering if I was about to cut up some photos - the answer is yes. I was about to cull all of the photos of my soon to be ex wife as long as there were no photos of my kids in there. Well, at least that is what I was going to do once I had finished feeling sorry for myself."
She looked over to find him standing by the sofa holding two mugs of what seemed to be fresh steaming coffee. She closed her eyes inhaling the smell and wondered just how much better it could get; hot man, hot coffee -- she opened her eyes quickly berating her libido for its lasciviousness.