NOTE: Welcome to part 3. Writing fiction is very different to the ghostwriting I did, it’s freer and yet I’m more nervous in a way. Yeah, because I’m putting this first draft out there for the world to see, but also because I’m using my imagination and not holding back a single idea. Fiction first drafts are for exploration and the expression of whatever the hell I want to add, given that future drafts and editing will save my readers from poorly written sentences and unnecessary paragraphs. I’m writing everything I think needs to be in my book, to drive the story forward, but I know from experience that some of this stuff is headed for deletion at some point. I hope you’re having fun on this journey with me.
Alice went inside, shuffling between people, holding her drink above her head. She didn’t need to listen to Ruby and she definitely didn’t need to be where she wasn’t wanted. There was only one reason she’d bothered to kick on to Riv’s place and there were ninety nine percent more people at this party than she wanted to see.
“Seen River?” She asked a guy dressed in orange from head to toe.
“No, sorry,” he said. “I only just arrived.” and he turned his back on her.
Typical, Alice thought. She got to the front door, which was wide open and letting in even more random people. Alice waited for a gap and slipped outside. She went over to a low garden wall and sat, placing her drink on the wall. I am a bit sloshed, she admitted to herself, but Ruby was out of order treating her like that in front of everyone. Alice ran her fingers through a grassy plant nearby.
“Are you okay, Ali?”
Alice looked up and was shocked to see River standing there in front of her, looking down with kind eyes. She went to say something like I’m okay or I’m alright, and it came out garbled like I’m ok right.
“I didn’t think anyone had noticed me come outside.” She said.
“I was worried you were going to leave before the cake,” River said.
“Cake,” Alice said, nodding. “Can’t have the big girl missing out on the cake. Oh sorry, that sounds so, sorry.”
River shook his head, smiled and held a hand out to her. “Come on, let’s get the music turned up and start the dancing,”
“Riv, you are so nice,” Alice said. “So, so nice,” she stood up and enjoyed the way his hand felt holding hers as he led her back inside. He waved at the DJ in the corner of the vast living room and the music went from a good background mix to some serious beats.
Alice danced with Riv, then everyone was dancing together, one big jumping, swirling mass mingling. Hands were in the air or on someone else’s body. Alice was just drunk enough to enjoy the dance floor, shaking her soft curves, moving her feet in the high black boots that had seemed like a good idea when she’d thrown them into the car to wear tonight.
“Ali,” Fia shouted over the music. “You got the moves, girl.”
“You know it,” Alice said.
River moved closer to Fia and took her left hand in his right, pulling her up against him. Fia arched her back and shook her head so her long blonde hair flew about. She smiled at Riv, grabbed Ali’s hand so they were three people dancing in the room, and in spite of the crush of bodies, and the volume in the room, Fia felt fine.
Alice pulled her hands away and Fia couldn’t read the expression on her face as Alice slipped backwards between dancers and disappeared. River put his free arm around Fia’s waist and swept her up and around, a strangely waltz-like move considering the music pulsing through their bodies. Fia held onto his shoulder and went with the flow, being dipped and swung and finally back up on both feet. River chose that moment to swoop down for a soft, long kiss on the lips and Fia was too shocked to respond.
What is that supposed to mean? She thought, as she kept dancing. Then pushed the thought aside, imagining it for a simple spur of the moment thing. A really nice spur of the moment thing.
Alice was watching from the other side of the room. She stood and observed the actions and interactions between River and Sofia. She judged the movements as intimate but more friendly and fun than passionate, until that damn kiss. A stumbling dancer bumped into her, face to face and she laughed as he gyrated and threw himself in circles with his face just centimetres from her own. She let go of her thoughts, bouncing and thrusting to the beat. She let go of her worries and danced.
Cake time happened much later than anyone expected. River stopped the music and got the DJ to start packing up. He went around the house, corralling people, moving all to the back patio, stopping everything else that was on the go. Ashleigh was stood behind the table with everyone around, waiting on the cake. Ryan, who had ordered the cake and wanted to do the honours, walked out of the house with the creation, fizzling with sparklers. People made way and he placed it in front of his wife with a smile and obvious pride.
Ashleigh laughed loudly, smacking her hips. “You didn’t!” She said.
“Oh he did,” River said.
Everyone was craning their necks to see what was up with the black and white cake.
“What is it?” Mia said.
“It’s a Frenchie!” Ashleigh said.
“A what?” Mia said.
“A French Bulldog,” Ryan said. He was standing next to Ashleigh grinning like a fool. “She loves them.”
“But she doesn’t have a dog,” Mia said.
Ryan made his way through friends, back into the neat garden that surrounded the patio, and picked up a large carry case.
“Happy Birthday, Ash,” he said, putting the case beside the birthday cake. “Sorry it’s not wrapped,”
“Typical,” she said, rolling her eyes. “What do I do first? Cut the cake or open my present?”
“Open the present,” Ruby said. “Hurry up,”
“Okay,” Ashleigh said. She found a zipper on the top of the case and pulled it all the way open. The outside lights cast a mottled view of whatever was in the bag and Ashleigh stuck her hand in.
“Oh god, what is it?” She said, then “Oh my god Ryan, oh my god.”
She lifted a soft mound out and held it to her face.
“It’s a dog,” Ruby said. “A puppy, worse than a dog, worse than a kid,”
“He, she, it, it’s perfect!” Ashleigh said, her eyes shining with tears.
“It’s a girl,” Ryan said. “You have to name her,”
“Black and white,” Ruby said. “Call it Cruella,”
“Domino,” someone else said.
“No, I know what I’ll call her,” Ashleigh said, holding the pup up and looking into its eyes. “I will call you,…
NOTE: I don’t have a name ready for Ashleighs new puppy. Help, please suggest a name, so I can choose one and get on with the story. Thanks for reading.