His Scent Lingers

“No, you tidy the house. I’ve got to go and buy food for dinner, which I expect I will be making again,” I shout as I slam our front door.

Is this what love means? Unreasonable levels of patience just to get through the day. It’s his friends, Harry and Chris, who are visiting and yet I’m doing all the work. My heels clack against the concrete as I storm down the steps.

It’s not enough that I’ve been to work and back by bus. No one gets the bus in my village except Herbert with the false teeth that fall out every time the bus goes around a corner. It’s like the movie Speed, but with the threat of getting slapped across the face by a pair of gnashers. Then there’s the Karen who I overheard on the phone this morning. She loudly told the caller about her latest wax appointment. Apparently the hair round her “vag”, her words, was as stubborn as her orgasm the other night. She used every toy known to man, including “the one that does both my holes” and still couldn’t get there. What with Herbert and Karen on both my journeys I should be horizontal in a hot bath with a large glass of something red right now.

But we promised Harry and Chris dinner so here I am.

I reach for the handle and offer a silent prayer to no one in particular. He promised he fixed my car today and that was why he hasn’t cooked dinner. If it’s still making that rattling noise I’ll be sneering through a night of social platitudes.

I yank open the door and suddenly I’m hit with his scent. A musky vanilla saturates the inside. With a deep breath I fill my lungs with him. I can taste him on my tongue. My anger flows out of my body and is replaced with something that makes my pulse race. I shiver as my skin tingles. The effect is immediate and so quick it nearly floors me.

Sliding into the driver’s seat I get highlights of our times together. His lips brushing against my neck, his fingertips grazing my inner thighs. Flashes of him tease me as notes of sandalwood and vanilla climb into body easing any remaining tightness in my shoulders. I swallow loudly as I recall the last time we were together; his naked body beneath me as I straddled in him in bed. He’s the perfect stress reliever.

He must have been working on my car all day, maybe he was inside it immediately after his shower. A wisp of memory fools me into thinking he’s sitting beside me. I turn to the passenger seat, but he’s not there. My car radiates with his presence. I start the engine and drive slowly down the road, my thoughts a blur as I head towards the shops.

I regret saying goodbye without kissing him hard enough to leave him thinking of me and what we might do when his friends leave. Why didn’t I stroke him slowly over his jeans or run my hands under his t-shirt? He’s been training a lot recently in preparation for a 10k. His body is tight enough to kiss each ab. The reminder of his endurance when he had me bent over his desk last week sends shivers down my spine.

A trickle of sweat runs down my chest when I remember his hands gripping my hips as he thrust inside me, but I don’t want to open the window to cool down. The air doesn’t deserve the heady smells fanning my lust. The scent of him fuels fantasies of going down on him as he pulls into a layby. His cock in my mouth as the lights from other cars flash by us, strangers oblivious to the agonising need in his eyes as he cums in my mouth.

I slam on my brakes, grateful that no one is behind me. Scrolling through my console I find the name he used when he put his number in my phone a couple of years ago. We met in a club, both of us merry. The number for Sexy Lobster starts ringing and I bite back a smile. The only thing sexy about his lobster costume that night was the body beneath it.

“What now?” he says gruffly, his voice on speaker throughout my car.

“I’m picking you up, meet me outside the house,” I respond without hint of my plans. “I need you in the car with me.”

“It can’t still be broken. There was no noise when I tested it,” he replies, mistaking the reason for my call. “It was the air con. I fixed it.”

I hang up without revealing my intentions.

Without delay I reverse back up the street. I stop so suddenly outside the house that my seatbelt yanks me into my seat. Impatiently I honk the horn.

He strides out, his brows furrowed. I breathe deeply again as he saunters towards the car. He’s only wearing jeans and a t-shirt and yet I’m salivating at the sight of my sexy lobster. I wriggle in my seat, my knickers tight against me reminding me how much I want him inside me. He rolls his eyes when I nod towards the passenger door. Knowing he’s annoyed turns me on more. I want him frustrated and taking me hard.

Thank god I wearing a floaty dress. I had no idea how easy it would make my evening adventure. The soft cotton rests against my naked thighs and I part them slowly while offering him a smile.

He sits down and slams my door. “What-”

I’m kissing him hard before he finishes his question. It’s barely a beat before he responds.  His hands fist my hair as my tongue parts his lips. I’m pulling at his t-shirt desperately dragging him closer. A moan vibrates the back of my throat and my thighs tremble against the leather seat. The gearstick bars my access to him.

Suddenly I pull back. He’s panting hard and his eyes are wide. The last time I caught him wild like this it was at his parent’s house and I surprised him coming out the bathroom. We had sex on the edge of the cabinet while everyone was downstairs playing Christmas games. His brother winked at us when we returned, and the wild look remained on my sexy lobster’s face all night.

I breathe in the lingering smell on his neck. It’s the same smell as the car, but at his natural musk combined with it my guttural moan is released.

“I want you inside me,” I whisper in his ear slipping my hand to his crotch.

His cock twitches against my hand and he licks his lip with the tip of his tongue. “Let’s go inside.”

“No, I want you in the car,” I reply reaching for his hand and sliding it up my thigh. “But not here. I know the best place. Are you up for it?”

I continue to slide his hand higher until it’s against the wetness that has seeped through my knickers. At his barest touch I whimper.

“Fuck yes,” he replies as he dips his hand inside my knickers. “But I get to do what I want with you.”

He fingers me gently, no doubt aware of our neighbour’s security cameras. Will any of them watch it back and enjoy what we’re doing? I’d love to give them a show one night, maybe next time.

His finger moves deeper. “Poppy, I get to do what I want,” he says again adding his thumb to stroke my clit. I can’t deny him anything when he rubs me there, not that I would deny him. His skills, especially with my body, are never ending.

I nod as he takes his finger out and pops it in his mouth. He sucks it hard before pulling it out with a pop. My heart thumps in my chest.

“Come on then, let’s get going. By the way, Harry and Chris cancelled as you left. We have all night.” His grin is broad as he secures his seatbelt.

His musky vanilla scent is everywhere as I speed back down the road.

Rebellion in Black and White

black and white

This is the day.

It’s not fitting weather for losing one’s identity. Non-descript. It wouldn’t be featured on a postcard showcasing sandy beaches adorned with red and yellow umbrellas. The sky is a baby-powder white. It’s a blanket of bland. Black clouds have threatened to roll over but I haven’t seen them yet.

It suits my purpose. Today is my rebellion.

Most rebellions are born in flashes of scarlet red and golden yellows. Bras enflamed, effigies burning. The raging fire silencing the loudest roars of a frenzied crowd. Yet here I am in ivory white. Still, silent and ready to take the most important step in my life.

This is my freedom. Black and white with nothing in between.


“Do you know how much shame you’ve brought on me? Do you have any idea what people are saying about us? Why are you running away?” mum screeches, throwing her arms to the ceiling. The peacock blue of her dress shimmers as sun streams through the window. The magenta scarf cascading down from her shoulders reminds me of the market in Marrakesh she dragged me around when I was supposed to be finishing my last year of primary school.

Quiet fills my heart. I’m not angry or upset by the past. I am at peace.

“Why aren’t you saying anything, River? You need to tell me why you’re doing this. Why me?” she rants. Our ginger cat, Nivana, runs from the room, his nails scratching the surface of the beech flooring because the tattered violet mat doesn’t reach the edges.

But my rebellion is in silence. It’s not the roar of armies, led by an auburn-haired warrior, charging down mountains. There is no crimson blood splattering faces or silver glinting off daggers that pierce pink flesh.

“You can’t leave me,” she wails.

It’s not the emerald greens dripping from her bohemian lifestyle that catch my eye as she howls in anguish. No, I am drawn to the white of the china plate smashing against the wall, thrown in her fury. My grandma left the plate in her will. I’m surprised we still have it. It doesn’t fit the décor.

Still I say nothing. I don’t need to explain my rebellion.


The buzz of the clippers fills the room. I kneel to ease my elder’s aching limbs. Am I scared? No. When I’d struggled to sleep, caught in a tangle with my mulberry sheets, I’d wept at the prospect of losing my hair.

But as the raven clumps drop beside my knees stress flows from my body. Relief fills my heart.

Is this what coming home feels like?


“They’re going to chop off your hair? Are you kidding me? You’re going to be bald by choice?” Chantelle, my best friend, asks. Every aspect of my future leads to a lecture I have no hope of escaping.

The alabaster white gum rolling around her mouth has turned into the colour of old lace.

This is exactly the conversation I expected during my leaving party.

Bright orange, cerise and evergreen balloons surround me. The tablecloth reminds me of the night I drank my first alcoholic drink. My vomit, expelled on the floor of the club Chantelle had illegally dragged me into after we finished our GCSEs, was the same turquoise.

Something else grabs my attention. It’s the whites of my father’s teeth as he gnashes them in my direction, they glint in the candlelight. They’re framed by his lips curling around them. He grinds as he glowers.

This isn’t what he wanted from his only daughter. I’ve overhead him say it to mum. He refuses to talk to me anymore. He thinks his rejection will force me to stay.

“You’re running away from your problems. Why are you running away from life?” Chantelle continues. But as my gaze drops from my father’s eyes, I’m transfixed by her white patent stilettoes, shining as they catch the light.


I’m not giving up on life, or anything else.

As I make my vows and release control over my spirit I meditate on all I am gaining; security, resilience and peace. It’s eluded me from the day I was born when my mum dragged me into her world and forced me to confront it. On bended knees I gulp in the air. Gratitude flows through my limbs. I’m being given an opportunity that was stolen from me at birth.

But there is one chink in my joyous experience. It repeats like bad tasting bloody meat.


“You’re leaving? I won’t see you for at least another year?” my little brother asks. The whites of his sunken eyes stare me down.

“It will be okay,” I tell him. “I’ll write you letters.”

“You can’t call or text? What about email?” The pinpricks of his pupils remind me of opals.

I shake my head. “No emails. Only letters are allowed once I live there.”

He clasps my hands tightly. His knuckles turn white as snow. “I won’t let you go. You’ve never been religious. You can’t leave me.”

That’s when the tears start. They flow from his face before staining his crisp white school shirt. He looks like a boy in the baggy black blazer and trousers. He will become a man while I’m gone.

But I can’t explain myself to him. I drop my head. They warned me rebellion would involve sacrifice.


“You’re one of us now,” the abbess tells me before I take the silent walk to my dormitory.

I’m not River, the bohemian mistake, anymore.

I have no identity.

I am free.