Date: 4th June 2022, Posted by mollie
As a friend of mine wrote to me, when times are tough, and you’re feeling depressed, you can’t concentrate on a heavy book. You need to read to take your mind off things.
Which is why I wrote Sex With Strangers, a comic and playful look at the world of dating follow betrayal and divorce As with all my books, it does portray serious themes, but it also shows the power of love, kindness, and compassion to heal the deepest wounds.
Recently I came across this unused scene. I thought you’d enjoy an inside scoop on characters and storylines from this book.
BACKING A WINNER
Fergus left Chanel’s apartment feeling confused. For the first time in his life, he cared about someone. Really cared. Only instead of feeling safe and warm, like he thought he would, he felt like an outsider. They’d made wild passionate love all night, sex too, and then she had the nerve, the balls, in fact, to get up and cool as a cucumber tell him to let himself out.
“I’ll call you,” Ruby said as she headed out the door to work.
Hey! That was his line. And had been for seventeen years. Ever since he first started to fool around with girls. First, there was Mabel, who he had his wicked way with behind the bike shed at school. Then Chrissie, once again behind the bike shed. And then…well let’s just say there were a lot of pretty girls who were keen on Fergus at school and none of them minded the bike shed, not one little bit.
When Fergus was old enough to drive he got a car and quickly started having his way in the back seat of his 1964 Ford Anglia, ‘Angie.’ *
It wasn’t a palace but at least it had a roof. None of the girls seemed to mind the split leather seating and the wire springs that popped up unexpectedly when the car jiggled too much. Boy did it jiggle. He gave that car a real run for his money.
Fergus smiled to himself as he remembered some of the innovative positions he’d tried out in Angie. He tried to figure out how many girls had begged and pleaded to go for a spin around the block with him. He soon gave up counting, there were just too many.
Fergus craved affection and the girls wanted to give it to him. So what was a young man just exploring his sexuality supposed to do? Say no? Not likely. Not unless you wanted to be called a faggot and a homo. That was the reality in the small town where he grew up. The first hug he’d ever had was from a prostitute. He revelled in that brief moment of affection. “When I got that hug, I wanted more and you know what can happen if you go looking for hugs,” he’d told his shrink years later.
For the first twelve years of his childhood, he had never spoken to a girl, never visited a shop, never even used a phone. He lived in five orphanages in nine years. He was addressed only as O’Farrell—rarely. More commonly he was known as a number in the system. In one institution, he was boy No. 33. Every time he shifted his number changed.
Then when he was fifteen a new teacher came to his local school. Miss Marples was from London and she was a knockout. She had hair the colour of gold that fell down her back in light waves which bounced up and down when she walked.
Her breasts bounced too. They were the biggest, roundest breasts Fergus had ever seen in his whole life. Much bigger than the young girls at school. Her eyes were green like the rich pasture surrounding the orphanage, and when she smiled they would glitter like diamonds. Fergus couldn’t believe his luck when she started asking him to stay back after school. She was different from all the adults that used to prey on him regularly. She was a woman. A real woman. With bits that fitted his parts perfectly.
It was wrong of course. She was twenty-eight and he was only fifteen. But for three years she was all he could think about. She gave him special tuition after school. Extra special tuition. Just for him. How he wished he could brag about her to all his mates.
“You can’t tell anyone, Fergus. Not a soul,” she said as she unbuttoned her blouse. “We’d get in trouble. Very serious trouble.”
“No Miss. I won’t tell a soul. Not a soul,“ he promised solemnly kicking off his regulation school shoes and peeling off his socks. He could still recall the embarrassment when she pointed to the holes in them. All his clothes were hand-me-downs—even, good lord, his underwear. Kids in orphanages were lucky if they ever got anything that was new.
Miss Marples took him under her wing. She fed him sweets and slipped him new clothes in return for his extracurricular activities. Fergus was an A student when it came to Miss Marples’ out of hours classes. An A+ student. Fergus never got A’s in anything else. She gave him hope.
He should have known that nothing good in his life ever stayed for long. His mother had only lasted five months. She’d died sweating like a pig and coughing up blood. TB they’d called it. He called it ‘TBOE—the beginning of the end’. His father buggered off and left Fergus and his seven siblings to fend for themselves. He was stupid to think Miss Marples would stick around either.
Fergus clenched his fists as he recalled how it all started to go sour. For three years, five months and 18 days no one knew. Until one night at the local, she had one drink too many and blabbed to several of her friends. Then the shit hit the fan. . . and the newspapers.
That was when Fergus first got a taste of the fast and ready world of gossip journalism. Of course, he didn’t much like being on the receiving end…well…no that’s a lie…he liked it plenty. Suddenly he was somebody. Not number 33 or 235 or what other bloody number they hadn’t used yet. He was Fergus O’Farrell, the kid who’d banged the horny teacher for three years. He was famous.
No, make that infamous—the talk of the town. Everyone was talking about him. All the men were super jealous and wanted to know how he managed to bag gorgeous Miss Marples with the hourglass figure and the plump, rosy red lips. Fergus instantly became the local Cassanova. Girls herded to him. But none of them stacked up to Miss Marples. Not one.
You see Fergus had fallen in love with her. He hadn’t meant to. It just crept up on him like the Sting Ray crept up on that Australian crocodile lover, skewering him in the heart and making him delirious. Only not with pain, well not at first, but happiness.
For the first time in his life, he suddenly felt wanted. Miss Marples was the only one who had been kind to him. Really kind. Not just the sex, but the clothes, the food, and the nice words she said about him. Miss Marples told Fergus that he was the smartest kid in the school. So smart that she felt he was wasting his life in a small country like Ireland. She told him he should set his sights higher and branch out into the big world.
Then bang! The only good thing to happen in his life for a very long time was gone! Gone! Just like that. Just because other do-gooders took it upon themselves to decide what was proper and what wasn’t.
Fergus shuddered as he remembered the look of anguish on her face when the police came to the school that fateful summer’s day. The kids sat gobsmacked as the headmistress, a misshapen, damp dishrag of a woman marched primly to the front of the class and instructed them all to go and have an early lunch.
Fergus didn’t feel like eating. He only felt like puking. He sat at the window and watched the police bundle Miss Marples into the back of their car. His body began to tremble, then convulse. His chest felt like a jackhammer was stabbing angrily at his heart trying to wretch it free.
It was for his own good, the social worker had told him, the proper thing to do. What was proper about taking the woman he loved and making her sit out ten to fifteen years in prison?
“It’s not just sex outside of marriage”, they said, “which is a very terrible thing in itself, but it’s sexual assault on a child. Even worse it’s by a person in a position of trust. Things like this can make good kids go rotten by contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”
Lawyers always used big words that didn’t make sense.
The women in the town felt sorry for Fergus. They thought he’d been unfairly taken advantage off. Seduced and maybe even brainwashed.
He didn’t know about that. All he knew was the sex was better than great and he loved Miss Marples and he wanted to make her happy. He knew what she liked the most was Fergus mounting her and rogering her silly.
“You thrill me, Fergus,” she would say afterwards stroking his hair affectionately. Miss Marples was a knockout.
Fergus wanted to marry her.
Miss Marples promised that as soon as he turned eighteen and it was legal they would get married for sure. She told him that age didn’t matter. She told him that plenty of men hooked up with younger girls, so why did it matter if it went the other way. What she forgot to tell him, Fergus thought angrily, was that she was already married.
Harry Wessel, a two-bit investigative journalist found that out. Apparently, it wasn’t too hard to find skeletons in people’s cupboards. At first, Fergus was angry.
“Rot in hell” he cursed when Harry came to ask him for his comment.
He wished Harry had left the skeletons alone. Now he couldn’t even pretend Miss Marples had loved him. Now he had nothing to wait for. When she got out of prison she’d go straight back into the arms of her husband. Even if she didn’t she had ruined everything now.
Fergus wasn’t going to hang around waiting for her. Besides by the time she got out she’d be old and wrinkly. He tried to picture her at fifty-five. He screwed his face up, saggy breasts, wrinkles, ash-white thinning hair …awww not a pretty picture at all.
Stupid cow, why did she have to go and ruin everything?
“Look, kid, I feel bad about what happened,” Harry has said. “Blowing your hot thing like that. I’d like to make it up to you. There’s plenty of tits and arse in London…” he handed him his card. Look me up if you ever decide to cross the Atlantic. There’s some ready money for those willing to make the work their way up in the newspaper.”
Starting afresh, sounded good to Fergus, really good. Miss Marples might have stolen his trust, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to let that ruin his life. Hell, he’d endured more pain than her breaking his heart in his life. He shuddered as he recollected the unwanted advances of the older kids. He wouldn’t give her the satisfaction. He’d show her. He’d show them all, he vowed angrily.
“Tits and arse”, Harry told him, “tits and arse, more than you can shake a stick at.” That sounded good to him. Love was for mugs. And older woman? Well, they were just trouble. He fled the orphanage with a brown suitcase containing two pairs of pants, two shirts, a Bible, an identity card and one photograph of himself and headed for London.
Now nineteen years later it looked like history was about to repeat.
“You bloody fool,” Fergus cursed, “Don’t you ever learn?” He clenched his fists angrily. What had started out as a fun way to get intimate with New York had backfired. He had fallen for the funny girl with the crooked teeth and the silly seductive techniques that looked like they’d been learned from a magazine.
She’d fooled him and then again she hadn’t. She’d only managed in confusing him and snuck up on his blindside. But he should have seen it coming, he fumed. After all he knew every trick in the book. He was a pro. Only this time he’d been outsmarted. His damn stupid emotions had got in the way of his head, and his splintered heart.
He didn’t want to hang around in the apartment one second longer. It felt odd being left on his own. Normally he was the first to shoot the breeze the morning after shagging a girl. He looked grimly around the room.
Used condoms and the remnants of the chocolate flavoured underwear she’d playfully worn lay strewn on the floor. For an experienced pro, though, her room had a real girly feel.
Matching bedside tables were covered in a sheer white fabric which co-ordinated tastefully with her pure white sheets. At least they used to be pure white. Now they were a crumpled tangle stained with the night’s passion and remnants of the pre-sex feast they’d concocted up in the early hours of the morning.
Fergus picked up a champagne flute lying precariously close to the edge of the bed and placed it carefully on the table. Squashed beneath the glass lay a plump strawberry drowned in alcohol. A large red stain bled across the sheets.
She should have got red satin sheets he mused as he tried half-heartedly to remove the stain. From what he’d read on her Sex With Strangers blog he’d figured they would have been more her style. That and a mirrored ceiling and black shagpile carpet. But something about this girl didn’t add up.
Not at all. He looked across the room to the vase of spring flowers which sat on her dresser. A sweet floral fragrance intermingled with the sexual odours that lingered in the crevices of the room.
Beneath the bright yellow, pink and lavender blooms were fifteen or so framed photographs of Ruby and a young girl. They looked alike. He guessed the girl must be a niece. She’d never mentioned a daughter.
He lay back in the sheets and stretched his arms languidly out to the side and ran his fingers across the soft cotton sheets and burrowed them under the soft feather pillows. Ah, so that’s where they got to, he mused as he discovered the underwear she had tantalized him with in the early hours of the evening.
As he traced the delicate fushia-pink lace g-string and surveyed the room the silence engulfed him. Surrounded by the dying memory of a wonderful night he fought back the feelings of longing. But they fought even harder to remain.
He ran his fingers over the lace underwear and wondered if he would ever hear from Ruby again. She seemed so nonchalant. So detached when she left. “Thanks a lot” said with the same lack of feeling as a thanks uttered to a storekeeper that’s just sold you a packet of smokes.
‘Thanks…I’ll be seeing ya’.
You know you won’t, but you say it just the same.
Back in London the girls always called him, chased him until he responded. If he liked them and if they were persistent enough he might shag them again. But only for a quick one. He didn’t want to get attached. But this time he got the distinct impression that she wasn’t going to call.
He was like some sort of social experiment. Some sort of initiation prank into the halls of sexual conquest.
His mind flashed back over the last couple of days with Ruby. The blind date where she dressed like a femme fatale and had come on so strong. With her coy smile, fluttering eyelashes and the way, she played with her necklace, forcing, yes forcing, his eyes to wander to her breasts. Nice pert ones that squeezed their way out into the world. Push-up bras have an uncanny ability to do that. Especially black satin ones with diamante’s sprinkled on them.
But then she threw him totally by not being able to handle her liquor. But he’d thrown himself more. He should’ve taken advantage of her, had his way and then left. The normal routine. But he hadn’t been able to. He’d taken her back to his place and nursed her all night long as she threw up again and again.
He wasn’t kinky or anything but there was something cute about the way she looked legs splayed out on the cold tile floor, head hovered over the toilet bowl. He had to admit it now though, it was kind of odd how quickly she had come to mean more to him than life itself. How the hell did she manage to sneak his way into his heart and under his skin?
Rule number one, never mix business with red hot pleasure.
The truth was Fergus knew why knew why she’d managed to pierce through all his armour. She was funny, cute, intelligent, caring. Not like the blonde bimbo’s he normally picked up for a quick shag. After a hard day at work, the last thing he felt like doing was talking. Dealing with maggots, and the scourge of society, digging up gossip and writing slanderous copy for the paper really took a toll.
At the end of the day, all he wanted to do was get pissed and get laid. Both of those things helped in their own unique way to get rid of the memories, the horrible taint of what he did for a living day in day out.
It paid well, but it sucked. Being in New York away from all that was like a breath of fresh air. One last job and he could ditch it all. The money sure would come in handy. He yearned to grab himself a patch of land and really make a go of his passion for sculpture. He dabbled a bit in London and people said he had real talent.
“Oh shit. The job.” Fergus glanced at his watch. “Shit. Look at the time. 10am. I’m supposed to have emailed an update by now. Five days and still nothing.,” he cursed. But he was getting closer, he might not have anything hard, but something told him he was really close to cracking it.
“Cripes where’s my underwear.” He looked around the bedroom. It looked like a bomb had gone off. Where the hell were his boxers? Brand new ones too.
He always wore his best boxers when he was seeing a girl. Calvin Kleins—one of the first things he’d brought when he got to New York. A bargain they were not. But now a short-lived expense, he cursed.
Ahh, then he remembered, they’d started unpeeling their clothes in the lounge. Against his will, he smiled, as his mind flashed back. He walked down the stairs. The bowl of radishes, lettuce, and asparagus and other supposed aphrodisiac lay on the plate largely untouched.
He laughed. He’d never see such a collection of completely undesirable food. He wanted to be sore at her but he couldn’t. The simple fact was she made him laugh like no other girl ever had, and he missed her. She’d only been gone two hours and he missed her like mad.
They’d lain in bed and talked about everything from politics to religion to the credit card debt and New York’s aggressive stance toward policing the way people ate food.
“Did you know that there is even going to be a law to make people chew their food at least seven times?” Ruby had informed him.
“Sometimes you have to help people to help themselves. Make it a law and people start taking sensible things more seriously. Where would we be if everyone could choose whether they wore their seatbelt or not?” He laughed.
“Buckle up, I’m taking you on a ride,” she cried as she mounted him, her hair flying around her face, and her breasts jiggling like two bowls of jelly as he thrust his hips up and down.
“Where are we going?”
“To the moon and back.”
“What say I don’t want to go there?” he teased, placing his hands firmly on her hips and rocking her body back and forth.
“It’s my way or the highway,” she laughed.
Such a change from the woman who had looked so uncomfortable in her slinky outfits and siren red lipstick. He knew a fake when he met one. She was faking it. Up until then, she’d been faking it. Pretending to be some hot sex goddess.
He seen enough phoneys, interviewed enough con’s, to know when someone was the real deal. Ruby may have a name like a prostitute, but that girl sure as hell wasn’t one. So he thought. But the casual way she had got up, showered and left had him wondering. Not so much as a kiss. I’ll be back after to tidy up. Let yourself out… I’ll call you…”
Just like Miss Marples.
“When you’re eighteen we’ll get married.”
“I’m sick of being someone’s plaything. I’m sick of spying on people, I’m sick of making my living airing people dirty laundry. Just got this one job to do and then that should set me up. Give me the leg up I want to make a go of being a serious reporter. A war correspondent or …”
Fergus paused for a moment, recollecting his thoughts. When he was younger, before Miss Marples came and ruined everything he’d dreamed of becoming a sculptor. Or, if that didn’t work out, a scriptwriter. When he felt really confident he thought maybe he could do both.
The last thing he’d created before Miss Marples got locked up was a life-size torso of then together. When she betrayed him he’d destroyed it. He tried to sculpt again. He’d set up his own flat to a be a studio but he just couldn’t do it for some reason he just couldn’t fire up his creative juices in that way. But writing…now that came easily.
And now it looked like he was onto a winner.
Fergus pulled on his underwear and forced his legs through his jeans. “Damn her,” he cursed, “damn Ruby Evans.”
His legs got tangled in the foot of his jean. He kicked his legs wildly in the air trying to dislodge them. Then when that failed he ripped them angrily off this feet, screwed the jeans into a ball and threw them across the floor. They landed with a thud on a computer table, hidden in the corner of the room.
Fergus glanced at the computer and then at his watch. He was late. Really late. If he didn’t come up with something he really was going to get a bollicking. His dreams of making some money and exiting the seedy world of investigative journalism were disappearing fast. He’d have to come up with something and soon. Damn, why was this woman so elusive?
He went over to the computer desk and sat down, and flicked open the laptop. He logged into ‘sexwithlotsofstrangers’ and waited for the latest posting to come up on the screen.
July 16, 9:12 am Sex between the sheets
I’ve never done it in my house with a stranger but this is the next best thing. No quickies in the toilet, no shagging in the alleys, no quick gropes at the bus stop but full-on, wild, horny passionate sex. All night long, between the sheets in a downtown Manhattan apartment. Am I losing my mind you may ask? Taking a stranger back to my apartment, but I haven’t lost my mind and the apartment wasn’t mine. Let’s just say it was a friends…
Fergus smiled at the similarity between his night of passion and the words that appeared on the screen. He’d had sex between the sheets at some friend’s apartment too. I should start a blog, he thought wryly, I’m sure It would be a best seller too. His throat was dry and he reached over to the bedside table and grabbed a glass of water. Gulped it down and then returned to the screen.
He was horny for me. I could tell. Dressed in a frog suit…
Fergus’s heart began to race. He scrolled quickly down the screen
I peeled off his clothes until he stood naked, only the moonlight illuminating the muscular curves of his body. I ran my finger down the length of the scar on his right arm.
Fergus leaned forward. He held his breath. Adrenaline raced in his body. “My scar. . .my underwear…the way I orgasmed, licking the chocolate from her butt . . .everything! She’s written about everything!”
He could feel his heart rise in his chest and then sink with a thud. He clenched his fists and unclenched them then clenched them again. Anger welled inside him, then rose to his face, stabbing his eyes like pinpricks!
“That bitch!” he cried, scrolling through the rest of the post. “That bitch had me for dinner.” Just another sexual conquest for her pleasure. No wonder she was so noncommittal. Shag them and run. He knew the drill. He’d practically invented it. He’d done it enough in his time. How could he have been taken for such a fool, he fumed.
He stared briefly at the computer screen. His mind blank and his body numb. Then teh cogs in his brain began to race. He’d show her. This time she would pay big time and Fergus would end up getting the story of his life. No one would have a scoop like his.
He knew the true identity of the blogger and what’s more, he’d got upfront and personal. His mind flashed back to Miss Marples and the media frenzy which had followed their discovery.
Déjà vu. Snap! Karma….how ever he framed it history had repeated. This time, he vowed angrily, this time he’d make it work in his favour.
He snapped the laptop shut and untangled his jeans before putting them on. He walked over to the bed, gathered up his shirt lying creased on the floor, found his socks and shoes and headed for the door.
He walked west toward Central Park. He needed time to think. To cool down. To digest the significance of everything that had just happened. As he sat down on a park bench his phone rang. Fergus took a deep breath. Calm. Stay calm. Ruby Evans’ name flashed up on caller ID. The phone rang several times before switching to voice mail. Fergus didn’t feel like talking with Ruby Evans right now. He still felt sore at her. He’d talk to her when he was good and ready.
He dialled his manager in London. “I’ve cracked it, boss. Really Cracked it. You’ll have a report on your table…er email…tomorrow. Guaranteed. What’s an exclusive worth to you? The inside scoop? $75K? Wow! That much? Yeah, I’m sure…really sure. You’ll be surprised. Really surprised. Wait ’til you hear what this girl does for a living! Gotta go. Talk tomorrow. Don’t worry…sure you can trust me…I learned from a pro…see ya.”
Fergus snapped the phone shut. His eyes wandered momentarily to a couple walking through Central Park hand in hand around the water’s edge, near the boathouse. The man stopped, raised his hand tenderly to the woman’s face and lifted a stray piece of hair that had fallen across her eyes. She smiled, and lifted her head to his, her eyes locked with his. The man lent down his lips slightly parted. Fergus looked away abruptly and stood up from the bench and walked briskly through the park.
Did you enjoy this inside scoop on characters and storylines from Sex With Strangers? I know you’ll love Sex With Strangers.
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(The Ford Anglia is a rarity among classic cars – it’s immediately recognised all over the world by children and young people, even if it’s as “the Harry Potter car” and not by its given name, writes Adrian Flux on this interesting blog>>https://www.adrianflux.co.uk/cult-classics/ford-anglia-life-before-harry-potter/ I still haven’t read JK Rowling’s books and didn’t know she used this car in her stories. But I do agree, it does have magical powers!).
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