Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Thousand Word Thursday ficlet from Clare London


MAMIL* by Clare London


Frank looked at Vince and bit his lip. “I don’t know.”

“What do you mean, you don’t know?” Vince sounded belligerent. It was a difficult tone to carry off when clad neck to knee in yellow Lycra.

“I’m not sure.” Frank tilted his head and frowned. “You know I’ve always supported you.”

“But … what?”

“I didn’t say but.”

“Every damned mote of your being said but, Francis.”

Frank’s gaze ran over Vince’s form-fitting jersey, the slogan on his back from the local gay outreach scheme, the thigh-clinging leggings, the tight black fingerless gloves, then back up to his burly sideburns.

Vince pressed one of them against his cheek, a little defensively. “The sweat loosens the glue. All the Bradley Wiggins fans are wearing them.”

“I know,” Frank said gently.

“The right gear makes all the difference, you know.”

“I know,” Frank said again.

“I reckon twice around the park each morning and I’ll soon be fighting fit.”

“You’re pretty fit already.”

Vince scowled. “Finish it, Francis. Finish what you really want to say.”

“What?”

“Oh for God’s sake… you mean pretty fit for my age.”

Frank frowned. “Ever think that’s what you think, Vince, not me? You seem to go on about it a lot. We’re the same age, remember. But I don’t feel the need to wear Lycra and cycle with my arse off the seat and my head so far down on the handlebars I can barely see what I’m doing…”

“Just once,” Vince said, quickly. “Just once, I hit that lamppost. The bike was new, remember?”

Frank moved across the room to stand in front of Vince. He ran a hand almost aimlessly across Vince’s hip. Vince sucked in a breath.


“You must realise that Lycra is never going to be flattering,” Frank said softly.

“You mean my bum does look big?” A smile was tweaking the edge of Vince’s mouth. He’d turned his head so his temple rested on Frank’s forehead.

“Big and yellow, like a ripe quince.”

“Ouch.”

“And delicious.”

Slowly, a flush rose up Vince’s neck, peeking over the yellow turtle neck of his jersey. “Pervert.”
Frank chuckled. “Thank God.”

Vince sighed. His hand trailed over Frank’s as if considering whether to push it away or fold his fingers around it. “I should get going.”

“You should. If that’s your plan.”

Vince swallowed. “Is that bacon I can smell cooking?”

Frank nodded.

“And the new Italian coffee?”

Frank nodded again.

“I suppose I could delay this morning’s session–put in double work this afternoon.”

“Or not,” Frank said.

“Get thee behind me–”

“You want ketchup on your bacon bap?” Frank interrupted, apparently innocently.

Vince growled and started to peel off his gloves. Frank turned and walked slowly towards the kitchen. His hips sashayed very slightly, though he didn’t have the flexibility he used to.

Vince gave a little yelp. “Help.”

Frank turned, surprised. “What?”

“I can’t do this, Frank.”

Frank’s face twisted into a momentary expression of guilt. “I’m sorry. If you really want to exercise…”

“No, not that!”

“Huh?”

Vince grimaced, and tugged at the Lycra crotch of his leggings. “It took me 45 minutes to get this outfit on in the first place. Are you going to help me take it off again?”
-------------------------------------------------
*MAMIL = Middle-Aged Man in Lycra

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Clare London's done it again! What a cute story to go with our cyclist picture! And after that, you'll want to read more of her wonderful storytelling.  This little fic is also on Clare's website on the Free Fiction page. https://clarelondon.com/books/my-free-fiction/

 You can get a wonderful present from Clare this month: A Twist and Two Balls is free at Smashwords for July 2016!  This is the first in the With a Kick series, and I can already tell you it's a fun read.


Eduardo Mancini is going to be a star of the London stage and screen. Or that was the plan. His alter ego Eddy March hasn’t got further than the chorus and a bit part in a TV series. His parents aren’t supportive, his agent can’t place his particular skills, and he’s finding it hard to hang onto his young dreams. Things go from bad to worse when he’s late for an important audition, hasn’t got enough money to pay the taxi fare, and is chased across the streets of Soho by the irate driver.

Eddy reaches what he believes is sanctuary – With A Kick, a store where ice creams are blended with alcohol and imagination, and where his friends can help him. But Nuri the taxi driver is persistent in his steady pursuit, above and beyond the money he’s owed. Despite their very different characters and background, Eddy and Nuri’s relationship goes from a complete unknown to a wary balancing act. There are still mistakes to be made, and hurdles to clear. And both of them have to admit that their life so far hasn’t gone the way they planned.

But maybe being caught by Nuri was just what Eddy needed – both for his job and his heart.
Buy Links:  amazon.com / amazon.co.uk / allromance ebooks / smashwords
         
Follow the whole WITH A KICK series at Clare’s website: https://clarelondon.com/series/with-a-kick/


EXCERPT from A Twist and Two Balls
© Clare London


He thrust his handful of money at the driver with all the confidence he could muster, and scrambled out of the cab. The uneven cobbles tripped him, and he bumped into a couple of tourists as he tried to right himself. Now he needed to scarper, and fast, before the cash was counted and the shortfall discovered. In his mind, he saw himself turn and run like the wind, like the Chariots of Fire opening sequence, though not in slow motion, of course, and without the benefit of proper sports clothing because he was in his audition gear, that is, trousers a little too tight since Christmas, and his favourite jacket that was always going to be too hot for this time of year—

A hand landed on his arm before he’d taken the first leap forward from the imaginary sound of the starting pistol.

“It’s not enough,” the cabbie said. He’d followed Eduardo out of the cab.

Eduardo looked into deep, dark brown eyes set under heavy brows. The man’s skin was dark, his jaw line and upper lip covered by similarly dark hair. Eduardo couldn’t get away from the dark theme, and he wasn’t thinking of his preferred type of boyfriend. The grip on his arm was tight and the cabbie obviously wasn’t letting him go.

“I’m late for an appointment,” Eduardo said. That wasn’t a tremble in his voice, was it? “You must let me go. At once.”

“No,” the cabbie said. His voice was strangely calm, but the deep tone made him sound so much more assertive than Eduardo. Eduardo felt a warm, roiling feeling in his gut. He was trapped! It was like one of the new breed of police thrillers, the hero chased to the end of a dank, pitch black alley, then turning to face his erstwhile attacker with nothing to defend himself except…

Eduardo tightened his grip on his messenger bag. As if that were going to protect him, as if his copy of The Complete Stanislavsky Toolkit could be used as a club, as if a selection of emery boards or his smartphone stylus could possibly morph into his own personal lightsaber. No, he was trapped, alone, defenceless, and hidden in the depths of gangland—

Except, actually, he was pressed back against the side of a London black cab in broad daylight in one of the most populated tourist areas. Even so, the trapped feeling persisted. The cabbie’s chest was broad and his biceps bulged out from under a tee shirt that had presumably shrunk in the wash. His throat was sinewy, and hair from his chest curled up and over his low neckline. With a further frisson of shock, Eduardo realised he was forced back against a flat surface by a positive bear of a man. 

Delicious. His libido was liable to wake up and lick its lips, although Eddy would have kicked himself at this inappropriate reaction if he thought his legs could work normally. Instead, his whole body was shaking and he felt more than a tad nauseous.

“Please,” he said. “I must go.” How long did he have until the audition closed its doors? Would they still see him if he were beaten and bruised, maybe even bleeding? He wasn’t sure that was acceptable for a revival of one of Noel Coward’s mannered social commentaries.

“What’s your name?” The cabbie’s voice was a soft growl in the back of his throat.

“Eduardo Mancini.”

“Spanish?”

“Excuse me?”

The cabbie frowned. “You’re Spanish?”

What? “No.”

“Yet you have a Spanish name.”

Eduardo tried bluster. “I hardly see why it’s any business of yours what my name is.”

“I will need it for the police,” the cabbie said, quite coolly.

Eduardo gaped. “You’re calling the police?”

“You owe me my fare. I cannot allow passengers to cheat me.”

“I’m not cheating you! I mean, I know I’m a little short of funds right at this exact moment, but I assure you I can find you fair recompense if you give me a little time.” Eduardo wondered why, when he needed to blush to order for a particular role, he always found it so bloody difficult. Right now, he felt as hot as if he’d stepped into the Sahara. Lawrence of Arabia, anyone? He must salt this ghastly experience away for future reference on the stage.

“Fair recompense?”

There was a strange rumble underlying the cabbie’s reply. Eduardo took a moment to recognise what the noise was, drowning out the ticking of the cab’s engine and a screech of chatter from a passing group of teenagers. He was laughing. Laughing at Eduardo!

“You are an actor, yes?”

Eduardo blinked. “Yes. I mean, how—? But yes, I am.” For a brief, bemused moment, his courage returned. He wasn’t above using his public exposure for private gain, let alone defence. “Maybe you’ve seen me act? I was in the chorus of Blood Brothers for a few weeks.” Until the proper cast member returned from his drying-out spell, that was. “What about TV? I was in an episode of Casualty last year.” He felt his head go up, instinctively showing his better profile. “And that advert for toothpaste? I’m the man who crunches the apple at the end.”

“I have not seen you on TV.” The cabbie leaned in harder, his arm across Eduardo’s chest, effectively cutting off his words. All Eduardo could do was take shallow gasps, breathing in the aroma of warm skin mixed with the hint of spicy flavoured breath. “I don’t watch TV. I work.”

Eduardo suspected that criticism was aimed at him, but was damned if he was in any position to complain. He huffed and pushed ineffectually at the strong arms, and rather surprisingly, the cabbie let him go and stepped back. But only one step.

“You hurt me,” Eduardo croaked. “That’s assault!”

The cabbie started to laugh again. The sound was loud and uninhibited, his chest shaking with it. “But yes, of course you’re an actor! You are so melodramatic.”

Well, duh. But Eduardo didn’t explain that came with the territory. He didn’t say anything, in fact, just started to back into the busy street behind him. He could cut across into Charing Cross Road and then sprint up to Shaftesbury Circus, and just maybe he’d be in time to catch the tail end of the audition and no one would know he’d only just arrived. He turned and started walking briskly away.

Two streets later, he was starting to wheeze with the effort of rushing but trying to look as if he wasn’t, when a warm, cumin-flavoured smell wafted across his senses again. He whirled around and found himself nose to nose with the cabbie. “What the hell? Why are you following me?”

The cabbie raised his eyebrows. “What do you expect me to do? Not only do you not pay the fare, but now you try to run away.”

“Of course I’m not trying to run away!” A young couple on the pavement glanced quickly over at the two men arguing, and a rickshaw cyclist wobbled on his seat as he passed. Eduardo knew his voice was too loud. He sounded borderline hysterical, too, as if he were in the last act of a Tennessee Williams play. Well, any act, to be honest: he’d always played them at drama school rather close to the emotional edge.

He turned abruptly, deciding to cut through Chinatown, but the cabbie still followed. Eduardo imagined he could hear the steady footsteps on the pavement behind him, despite the babble of other street noises. He swerved around two more corners and suddenly lost his already precarious sense of direction. Bloody hell. He realised he was heading back towards the original place where he got out of the cab. Yes, there it was, parked neatly at the kerb, lights and engine off as if there’d never been any problem at all.

And his pursuer was still behind him.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now I have to read the rest of the story!  Buy Links:  amazon.com / amazon.co.uk allromance ebooks / smashwords




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