I sit at the foot of my garden, a plastic cup of dubious looking punch clasped in one hand. I can hear faint music and laughter emanating from my house. The rusted green bench I sit on is my hiding place. My solace from the multitude of faces crowding my home. A firework fizzes through the air and explodes, lighting up the bench. In the few seconds of visibility, I spot the peeling paint at its corners before the cloak of night reclaims its hold. The sound of rustling makes me glance up momentarily and I see a shadowy shape drawing closer. Another firework explodes, revealing the mysterious figure. A curvy woman, wearing a checkered shirt and jeans approaches.
‘Mind if I sit?’ she purrs, lighting a cigarette.
I nod silently, brushing at the layer of autumnal leaves covering the bench. She gingerly sits on the edge of the seat, her back straight and chest out. I feel my gaze drawn to her breasts and look away hurriedly, sensing detection. She crosses one leg over the other and takes a drag from her cigarette. We both sit in silence, watching the procession of fireworks streak and scream their way through the sky.
‘That one looks just like an eagle.’ She exclaims in a high-pitched giggle.
I follow her gaze and my lip curves into a slight smile. In the half-light of the fading firework I get my first proper look at the woman. She has curly, brown hair down to her shoulders and full ruby red lips. Her eyes are a deep hazel, surrounded by long eyelashes. She catches sight of me and smiles, flashing a set of neat white teeth. There is something oddly familiar about her but I have no memory of ever meeting her before.
‘Not enjoying the party?’ She queries.
‘It’s not bad. Just not the social type.’
She nods understandably.
‘And you?’ I ask and take a sip from my punch.
‘It’s okay I guess.’ She shrugs.
‘I’m intrigued by the mysterious host of the party.’ She continues in a low whisper and leans in closer.
‘Pray tell?’ I enquire, pretending to play along.
‘Well, apparently he doesn’t like to attend his own parties as he finds the act of socializing a bore.’
‘Is that so?’ I say with raised eyebrows.
She places a hand on my knee and I feel a hot tingle flush my body.
‘Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.’ She winks, the glare of a firework lighting up her features once more.
‘Much obliged.’ I grin and raise my cup to her.
She takes one last toke of her cigarette and stubs it out on the edge of the bench. I watch her intensely, studying ever movement and motion with minute detail. She alights from the bench and turns to face me.
‘Well its been a pleasure talking to you but now I must return to the party. I hope that at some point this mysterious host might make an appearance.’
As she talks she plays with one of her curls and I find myself drawn to the small action. How can such a tiny habit fill me with such desire and want.
‘You never know.’ I reply mysteriously and salute her.
She replies with a wave and turning on her heels, slowly meanders her way back to the house. I watch entranced as her curvy silhouette disappears into the night, her wide hips rocking back and forth hypnotically. I remain there for some time, replaying the conversation in my head. Then I do something that I have never done before. I remove myself from the bench and go to join the party.
I push my way through a large crowd of people, huddled closely together on my veranda like penguins looking for warmth. I slip inside and am instantly hit by a wall of noise. Loud music and laughter assaults me from all directions and taking a deep breath I plunge into the mass of bodies. I slide and weave between the intoxicated party guests, feeling the creeping fingers of claustrophobia beginning to set in. An extremely drunk girl stumbles into my path and grabs hold of my shoulder to keep herself upright, spilling punch down my shirt.
‘Sorry. I’m a teensy bit drunk.’ She hiccups.
I ignore her and peer into the living room, searching desperately for the curvy woman. She is nowhere in sight.
‘There you are Sandy.’
A tall broad shouldered man appears and puts an arm round the woman’s waist.
‘Sorry about that.’ He says in a sincere tone and guides her back in to the living room.
I manage to make it to upstairs without further incident and carry out a search of the three bedrooms and bathroom. In my master bedroom I am appalled to find a man and a woman writhing like snakes on the sheets. I can barely see the woman underneath as most of her body is wrapped around the man on top but I manage to glimpse her hair from the landing light. It is curly and brown. I creep forwards silently and the woman’s face appears over the man’s shoulder and cries out in alarm. It’s not her. I breathe a sigh of relief.
‘Hey man what’s your problem?’ the man says pulling himself out of the tight embrace and staggering to his feet.
I raise my hands apologetically and back out on to the landing. As I descend the stairs to return to the party the man watches me from the landing, his fists clenching the bannister. I ignore the fact that this man just kicked me out of my own bedroom, as I am more concerned with the task at hand. Finding the curly haired enchantress. I swing open the downstairs bathroom door and am met with the sight of a skinny woman throwing up in my sink. She is wearing a mini skirt and boots.
‘Shut the door.’ She gasps and clutches the sink in both hands, preparing herself for another bout.
I grimace and close the door. I’ll deal with that later. With nowhere left in the house to look I step outside onto my front door porch and scan the driveway for signs of life. An assortment of expensive looking cars are dotted about, parked in a variety of positions. A set of headlights spark into life, blinding me. I shield my face momentarily. When I’ve recovered I squint forwards in the dark and make out an open top convertible pulling out of the driveway. In the porch light I make out a dark haired woman behind the wheel. I dash after it.
‘STOP’ I shout after the car but its not use.
The car is too far ahead so I give up and stop running and watch as the red backlights of the car disappear around the corner. I bend over, holding on to my knees, my lungs aching. On my way back to the house I kick up the driveway, spraying gravel in front of me. I lower myself onto the porch step and stare into the darkness, wondering if I will ever see the mysterious woman again.
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