Ghost Writer

Blowjob

Hottest Day in June since records began.

That was what the papers were saying in one form or another. It was only the British that could have headlines about the weather when the world was going down the toilet. Jan Tanner shook her head and turned her attention away from the newspaper on the table, and back to her eBook. Fiction was better than real life any day.

She had no idea why she was even making this journey. She didn’t normally do socialising. She much preferred to live in the small world she had created in her small flat. A collection of several hundred books, nearly a thousand DVDs, and high speed internet that could provide instant streaming of just about any movie or TV series available on Netflix or Amazon Prime. It wasn’t that she was anti-social, although if pushed, she would admit she was a little agoraphobic. Mainly she just preferred her own company and wasn’t interested in the happenings of the outside world. Unfortunately, her publisher and best friend was holding a garden party for her clients and other contacts, and had been badgering Jan to attend for days.

“You should come.” Sara had told her. “There will be lots of useful contacts in the writing world there.”

Eventually, Jan had relented, not wanting to admit her failings to her friend, and knowing that she wouldn’t get any peace until she agreed. It had meant her catching the express from Euston, then changing trains at Chester then getting on the slow moving, local train, which stopped at every station in north Wales. All in all, a perfect storm for Jan.

After being sat on a stifling train for an hour, listening to a child constantly nagging its parents, and the tinny music that emanated from a teenagers iPod, Jan whished that she had been more resilient in her refusal to attend. As it was she could feel the beginnings of a headache building behind her eyes and she wished she was somewhere else. Travelling had never been one of her favourite pastimes. Going to somewhere was nice, getting there was a pain, in more ways than one.

It was just as Jan was debating getting out at the next station and heading back home, when the train intercom crackled and a nearly audible voice announced that hers was the next stop.

‘Finally’ she thought. Another five minutes on the train and she would have been tempted to open a door and jump for it.

She grabbed her case and exited the coach. Whenever she travelled on a train she made a point of sitting as close to the doors as possible. It made escape nearer, and therefore the journey a little more bearable.

A few minutes later she was walking down the platform and breathing in the warm fresh air that was tinged with a taste of the sea. It did feel good to be away from the hustle of the capital, but at the same time Jan was a little on edge being this far out of her comfort zone.

Sara had promised to pick her up from the station, but typically, the station carpark held nothing but empty cars, none of them Sara’s.

Swearing silently, Jan dragged her phone from her jacket pocket. This was typical Sara. Brilliant at organising things. Useless at actually carrying out her own plans.

As Jan waited for the call to connect, she absently glanced when the next train back to Chester was.

“High Jan, where are you?” Sara’s voice said after what felt like an eternity.

“Well I’m at the station waiting for my ex-publisher, who said she would meet me ten minutes ago.” Jan replied slightly impatiently.

“Crap. Sorry, I hadn’t noticed the time. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”

Fifteen minutes. Jan glanced at the timetable again. Half an hour until the next return train. She made her mind up that she would be on which ever form of transport arrived first.

“I’ll be in the bar by the station.” Jan said. “For the next half an hour.”

“On my way now. Sorry Jan.”

Another head shake as she crossed the road, suitcase trundling along behind her and the headache slowly developing in to a migraine. She seriously needed somewhere cool and shady to sit, and a cold drink.

The stubbled face of a twenty something young man greeted her cheerily, as she entered the trendy looking bar café.

“What can I get you?” The young man asked, his voice accented with an Eastern European tone.

“Something cold and a new publisher.” Jan answered, her irritation beginning to boiling over.

“Sorry?” The barkeep asked puzzled.

Jan waved her hand in apology. “Corona if you have it.”

The youngster nodded and pulled a bottle out of the cooler behind the bar and opened it.

Jan placed a ten pound note on the bar top and took a long pull on the bottle. Corona was her one real vice, apart from fiction that was. She had been planning to be a teacher and was practically tea total up to her twentieth birthday. Then she had watched The Fast and The Furious at the cinema. It is funny how the smallest things can change your life. Jan hadn’t really been one for films or poker oyna the cinema, but whilst watching the movie, something grabbed her attention, igniting a fire in her that had been burning brightly ever since. A love of fictional, make believe stories. That was also when she began drinking Corona. She had left the cinema with Sara and gone to a bar. Once there Sara had said to her ‘You can have any brew you want as long it is a Corona’ in a bad impersonation of Vin Diesel, and she had been enjoying the drink and writing fiction ever since.

Reality however, wasn’t always as simple as fiction, her first book was awful, the second not much better. They would never have been published if it hadn’t been for Sara, who had staked everything she had on starting a publishing house. At the half serious suggestion of Sara’s boyfriend, she tried her hand at Gothic Romance. Something clicked in to place and her next book flew like an eagle. Now half a dozen years later, Sara’s company was doing well, and most of Jan’s books hit the best seller lists.

The empty bottle went back on the bar, and Jan indicated that she wanted another. Sara had been her best friend all the way through school, then university, and she had felt a little betrayed when Sara had moved out of London to move in with her partner James. If she was total honest with herself, she would have admitted she’d always had a crush on Sara, and never really been attracted to anyone else.

As Jan took a pull on her second bottle, she sensed she someone was watching her. Thinking it was Sara, Jan glanced round, expecting to see her friend and publisher standing behind her.

The bar was just as empty as it was when she walking in. Just her the barman, and a feint aroma that hinted of exotic flowers.

Jan shook her head. “I’m so losing the plot.” She admonished as she checked the time once more. Unsurprisingly Sara was late.

The second bottle joined the empty first bottle, and Jan had just begun to make head way in to the third when Sara finally arrived. Whilst she wanted to be angry with Sara, the innocent enthusiasm the shorter woman carried with her quickly smoothed the edges off Jan’s irritation.

“Sorry Jan.” Sara opened with. “You wouldn’t believe the time it takes to organise a garden party correctly.”

“Hey half pint.” Jan greeted cheekily. “Glad you got here eventually, I was just debating asking Luka for a date.” She joked indicating the barman.

“Yeah, because he’s your type.” Sara retorted with a half-smile.

“At least he was here on time.”

“Touché, I missed you too, sour faced, grumpy git.” Sara told her, and the pair of women shared a laugh as they embraced warmly.

“You to.” Jan replied. “Now is there any chance we can go? I want to get a shower before the queen arrives to open your gathering.”

Sara’s pink tongue poked out at Jan in a gesture of impudence as she led Jan out of the bar and to the waiting car.

The stark heat of the outside pummelled in to Jan after the coolness of the bar, and she immediately regretted drinking on an empty stomach.

“I have to say, I am surprised you actually made it.” Sara told her when they had clambered in to Sara’s BMW. “We were taking bets that you would come up with a reason not to bother.”

“You have no idea how close I came to heading back.” Jan said as her head throbbed once more. “Does this thing have air conditioning? I have a migraine that could floor an elephant.”

Sara started the car and turned the air-con up to cool the interior of the car. “There’s aspirin in the glove box.” She said passing a bottle of water over. “Maybe if you drank water instead of beer you wouldn’t get headaches.”

Jan swallowed two tablets with a mouthful of water. “Maybe if I hadn’t spent hours on a train full of screaming kids and rap music and been met as I got off the train. I wouldn’t have needed to drink beer.” Jan replied, wincing as spots of light danced around her vision.

“Yeah okay, point taken.” Sara agreed. “It’s only five minutes to the house. Soon have you feeling better.”

“If it’s only five minutes, why did it take you forty to get here?” Jan asked, unable to resist ribbing her friend once more.

***

After a nice cool shower, Jan felt a hundred times better. The migraine had faded away and with it her irritable mood. She still wasn’t overjoyed about having to socialise with a group of Sara’s clients, but at the same time she was fully aware that she was one of her friend’s biggest sellers, and would be key in Sara retaining and attracting new clients. Taking in to account Sara had taken a punt and published Jan’s first novel when her company was just starting out, Jan felt like she owed her closest friend a little favour now and then.

Once she was dressed in her ‘normal’ meet and greet attire, clothing with a slight Goth style. That was a black lace dress that if you looked closely showed her black underwear below. The dress was cinched at the waist by a canlı poker oyna black leather belt, decorated with studs, black stockings and a pair of black ankle boots with a short heel completed the outfit. Dark makeup added the icing to the pseudo image she had shed when she was younger, but as an author known for dark Gothic vampire tales, people wanted her to look the part.

Jan briefly glanced at her reflection in the mirror, and chuckled as she did so. She was sure the people that purchased her books thought she dressed like this all the time, and no doubt sat in a dark gothic mansion and wrote her stories by candle light, dipping a quill in a pot of ink to do so. Instead she normally wore baggy jeans and t shirts and wrote looking out over the Battersea Park from her light modern flat.

“Time to meet the public.” She announced to herself as she opened the door to the garden and stepped outside.

The one good point about James and Sara’s house, was the self-contained flat at ground level to the rear of the property. This gave Jan privacy and importantly with its door to the garden, a bolt hole in case the party got too much for her to cope with.

“Hi James.” Jan greeted as she stepped out in to the early afternoon sun.

Sara’s partner turned away from the small group he was passing out drinks to, and an easy grin cracked his face.

“Hey, it’s the Gothic Lesbian of Death.” He welcomed as he wrapped his arms around Jan. “How’ve you been Jan?”

Unable to keep the smile from her lips, Jan grinned back and returned the hug. James had been the captain of the university rugby team and all round athlete. All the girls had wanted to date him, but the tiny five foot six Sara had captured his attention early on, and he had remained a solid to her all through the years. James was everyone’s friend and nothing was too much trouble for him to help them out.

“Hey Stinky.” Jan retorted. Referring back to his nickname from when he seemed to be constantly in need of a shower due to his sports pursuits.

“Are you feeling okay?” James asked. “You look a little pale.”

Jan waved a hand to dismiss the question. “Yeah, just got a bad head from the train journey. Nothing a cold drink won’t cure.”

The warm easy smile returned. “Well, I’ve got just the thing for you.” He said as he took Jan by the arm and half dragged her over to a shady side of the patio. A plastic barrel was filled with ice and bottles of Corona. A sign was taped to the side of the barrel saying, ‘Jan’s don’t touch’.

“James.” Jan stated smiling. “You may well have just made this party bearable.”

Armed with an ice cold bottle of beer, Jan wandered around the garden, taking in all the work that her friends had put in since she last saw it. Which to be fair was in a recorded video message, so the comparison was interesting. The borders were well stocked and hedges neatly trimmed. What had been an untidy lawn was well tended and would have looked at home on a golf course. The far end of the garden ran in to a small copse of trees that looked cool and inviting.

She briefly passed by the BBQ, which was being tended to by a friend of James’s, a large Australian who everyone called Cob, but the crowd around the food put her off actually getting any. She had never really been one to eat standing up, and detested things like buffets where you shuffled along a line to select what food you wanted. To be fair, eating out anywhere was an experience she always tried to avoid.

In short, Jan was a solitary animal. A lone wolf.

A few of the guests approached Jan and made the normal, how are you, it’s been so long, we must get together sometime, conversation that Jan despised. She wouldn’t have minded if a single word had been spoked with an ounce of feeling. The majority of people just wanted to brag they had spoken to her, or just simply, see if was anything like the characters in her books.

After an hour of trying to mingle without actually mingling, Jan was debating retreating to her room for a while, Jan glanced around the groups of party goers, trying to discern if she could quietly slip away.

One person caught her eye as she scanned around.

She was stood off to one side, not like she was avoiding everyone, more like they were avoiding her. To Jan this woman looked very different from the rest of the gathered crowd. Less of an admirer, more like one to be admired.

The first thing that caught Jan’s eye was her hair. It was so blonde it was nearly white. Just under shoulder length and tousled in an unkempt, but styled way. It looked super casual, but at the same time extremely stylish, and made Jan a little envious as her raven black hair was short and shapless. The blonde’s eyes were obscured by wrap-around sunglasses with ruby red lenses, giving her an air of singularity, and like she was observing without being observed. A collarless white linen shirt, open at the neck and buttoned at the cuffs augmented the blonde hair and contrasted internet casino starkly against the blue denim jeans that hugged her figure perfectly and carried the eye down to a pair of simple, but stylish Cuban heeled boots.

The blonde glanced towards Jan, and even though Jan couldn’t see past those red lenses, she knew they made eye contact. Natural, pale lips curled in to a slight smile, as if she was expecting Jan to be watching her. It was like she was a bright flame, burning in the night, and Jan was a hapless moth drawn towards her, Jan took a step forwards.

“There she is.” A loud Australian voice said. “I brought you some grub over.” Cob half shouted at Jan as he blocked Jan’s view of the blonde woman.

The spell broken, Jan dragged her attention over to the muscular Cob, who was thrusting a plate of cooked meat under Jan’s nose.

Jan had to admit, the assorted meats did smell nice and her stomach rumbled in reminder that she hadn’t eaten all day, although now she was faced with the eternal question of, how to eat off a plate while holding a drink.

“Thanks.” She said trying to smile pleasantly. “Just what I needed.”

Cob beamed happily. “Jamie said you might want some company.”

Jan settled for gripping the neck of her bottle and the plate with one hand while picking at morsels of beef. “Did he now?” Jan muttered. “Did he also mention that I was single by any chance?”

“Funny you say that. He did say that you needed someone to look after you.”

Jan shook her head slowly. “Did he also mention that I prefer women to men?”

Cob froze for a second, his mouth open as he processed the new information. “Bugger.” He said eventually. “Oh well, no worries. Could you take a look at my truck? It’s got a bad clunk when you change gear.”

The sudden change of direction in conversation threw Jan totally. “Sorry?” She asked.

“My truck.” Cob said as if that explained everything. “Back home we take our cars to Bobby. She’s a lesbo and really good with cars. I thought seeing as you were the same, you could take a look at my truck.”

Briefly Jan thought that Cob was being deliberately insulting, but his face shone with boyish innocence.

Jan sighed and once again wondered why she had left the safety of her flat. “Sorry Cob, I was never much of a mechanic. I guess Australian lesbians are different.”

“Worth asking though.” The over friendly man said happily. “Give me a shout if you want more grub.”

The headache began its dull throb again as Cob moved away and Jan scanned the party goers for the blonde woman. Annoyingly there was no sign of her.

The feeling of being watched returned, similar to the feeling she had in the bar, and Jan turned sharply. The only thing behind her was an oddly familiar scent of Jasmine and Patchouli.

A frown creased her brow, which succeeded in making her headache worse. “So losing it.” She muttered as she rubbed her temple. “Must be too much sun. I need to sit down somewhere cool.”

“I can recommend the bench under the trees.” A smooth voice said.

“Fuck!” Jan jumped at how close the voice was.

The blonde woman smiled politely. “Sorry didn’t mean to startle you.”

“No problem.” Jan replied as she regained her composure. “I didn’t notice you there.”

The smile faded then returned again. “I saw you talking to the antipodean, and thought you may need rescuing.”

“Oh he was no bother.” Jan replied as she tried to stare past her own reflection in the ruby sunglasses.

“You do look a little pale. Do you want to take a seat?”

“That would be nice, I have a banging headache.” Jan agreed. “Do you want a drink?” She indicated the Corona in her hand.

“Why don’t you go and sit in the shade, and I’ll get you one.” The blonde offered.

Feeling suddenly light-headed, Jan nodded in thanks and edged her way past the groups of people towards the small cluster of trees in the far corner of the garden. As she stepped in to the shade the weariness and throbbing in her head eased off, and she sank gratefully on to the wooden bench.

The area around the trees was infused with the scent of wild flowers and with the dappled shade Jan found it extremely relaxing. For the first time since she had left her flat that morning, Jan began to relax. Her eyes closed for a second, then she heard the chink of glass against glass.

“Any beer you want, as long as it’s a Corona.” The blonde woman’s voice said.

Jan’s eyes popped open again. She was stood before her offering a bottle that dripped condensation.

“Life saver.” Jan said with a genuine smile. “And it’s any brew you want as long as it’s Corona.”

“I wasn’t far wrong.” The blonde said with a shrug then dropped on to the bench next to her. “I like sitting here, I find it so comforting, and it is far from the madding crowds.”

“Likewise.” Jan agreed as she let her gaze drift over the blonde’s long lean legs.

“So you’re the famous Jan Tanner.” The blonde stated.

Jan gave a snort of laughter. “I would hardly say famous, but yes I’m Jan Tanner.”

“Odd.” The blonde said. “I had you pictured as looking more normal and less clichéd.”

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