“These things ride up my bum like a bloody gay cowboy.” she complained.
"Now my pants are chafing me.” he sighed, groaning as she turned and shuffled her damp behind against him, turquoise dye running from her sodden hair along her back and into the towel she wound around herself.
“And it’s cold as a witch’s tit.”
“That’s just an old wives' tale.” William smiled.
“Yes, well you’re the expert...” she conceded, frowning as she slumped down on the lounge beside him and accepted the blunt that he had almost finished, coughing at its egregious potency. “Since you are an expert, how do you rate my tits?”
“Oh no no no... there is not a thing you can do to make me compare any portion of your person to that of any other female creature, living, dead or imaginated."
"Come on... you must have seen a lot of boobs."
"And they are a great comfort to me, as are yours."
She coughed again and waved the smoke away, handing it back to him.
"All I want to kn..."
"More than a handful is a bonus, less is an opportunity for something else to shine. They are all more interesting than my own, and I am grateful for every pair that comes my way. That’s all I have to say on the fucking matter since the Count of Toulouse’s sister threw pot-au-feu at me for agreeing with her fuckbuddy that she had a third nipple.” he assured her bitterly. She chuckled and lay her head beside his.
"Am I cheering you up?"
"Does a hard-on count?"
"It might." she smirked, drawing the towel from the region in question and stroking it fondly, causing his eyes to roll slowly backward. “But if you don't get the hot water on in your bathroom we might never have sex again, because I don’t fancy mine any more.” He sighed at the unflagging nature of the insistence. “It is not unreasonable of me to not want to use a bath a vampyre's been lying in all day like Gary bloody Oldman." She scowled again. "Why does Lilian get hot water and I don't?” William pulled the towel over his head; she tugged it off him. "Who was that on the phone?"
"Fucking Auberjonois." he admitted. "He's in town for the Christie's."
"Really?" Her smile exacerbated his frown. "We should take him out to dinner. Oh come on... I've seen his picture... I know he's fit."
"That plouc salopard thinks I’m rough trade. Do you know how it feels to be thought of as rough trade by someone who eats fucking pigs' feet and loses their pants in the woods?”
“My nana used to eat pigs' feet.” she laughed, wiping at her eyes.
“Did she get pantsless amnesia twelve times a year?” Susan did not reply, her cheeks flushed as her mind’s eye was taken by a notion that aroused his suspicion. “I have this weird feeling, like somewhere, someone is abusing my personal history for their own unsavoury gratification.” he complained, at which she burst into unabashed laughter.
“Well if you weren’t such a horrible slapper it wouldn’t even occur to me to think about you getting off with hot French guys, in one of those shower rooms... with shiny black tiles... and those rails on the wall... to hold on to..." she admitted, picking at the nap of the towel. "I like how body oil looks, but it is slippery and I wouldn't want you to fall over or anything, because in my mind, you're standing up, and h...”
“You are so barred from that material from now on."
"I think you might still be a little bit into him." Susan suggested, inspecting her nails.
"You are..." she grinned. "Look at your face."
His phone began to vibrate again, scudding in a slow arc across the paver beside them; she picked up his hand and placed it on the neglected appliance, laughing as she tried to form his spastic white fingers into a grip, lifting them together and holding it up to his reluctant eyes.
“Fuck... it’s Siobhan.” he complained, scowling against the prospect, then hissing a private warning. “Christabel... psychokiller, qu’est-ce que c’est...”
She looked toward the house in time to see Edward step down onto the grass with a face that tightened her grasp on her towel, its perfect absence of expression somehow more terrible than any overt demonstration. William glanced at her as the sound of her pulse accelerated, his brother halting before them.
“Ms Christabel, I no longer require your services. I've deposited a severance into your account as compensation for the short notice.” Edward told her.
“You’re sacking me again?” she exclaimed, in spite of herself. He turned his vivid gaze on her, the colour shifting with their interest.
“Changing personal circumstances.” he replied.
“These personal fucking circumstances better involve smallpox or demonic possession.” William scowled. "And where the fuck is Frost? I haven’t seen her for days.” he demanded over Susan's attempt to quiet him. At her intervention Edward looked down again, her reaction attracting his instinctive scrutiny.
“She wants privacy. I am providing it.”
“If Christabel goes, I go with her, and that leaves Frost here on her own... if you don’t give a shit about that, I do.” William assured him.
As Edward returned to the house without addressing the concern she gasped a dyspeptic breath and pressed a hand to her chest.
“He knows... you saw his face..."
"He always looks like that."
"Fucking hell. Now I’m unemployed.” she hissed, hands on her hips.
“Christabel, just go on the game like everyone else... I don't mind. The Black Death was just a fucking marmot issue when I started paying for it. You'll never be hungry again." Though she swung a slap at his arm, her attention was claimed by the guard as the latter walked across the back of the house, raising a hand in a greeting she ignored until William picked up her arm and waved it for her. “You might not like him but you have to agree he is unfeasibly gifted in the arsal region.”
“You're not the one who has to sit there every morning while he makes one stupid cup of coffee last three quarters of a bloody hour and asks personal questions.”
"You never mentioned him fancying you..."
"He doesn't, at all. That's the creepy thing about it." she muttered.
“If Rana’s still around she’ll pop his clogs, if that’s any consolation.”
She shook her head to herself as she rolled the towel down around her waist, slapping his hand away.
CONTINUED NEXT WEEK
© céili o'keefe do not reproduce