Olivia paused in front of the mirror in the hall, checking her hair for the hundredth time. Ponytail central, clips straight, no bumps where her stubborn parting usually insisted on putting in an appearance… that’s what she liked to see.
But then her eyes were drawn down, and she frowned. God, if only a comb and a bit of hairspray could flatten that spare tyre as well as it did her hair. She’d been slogging away at New Life gym for three hours a week for almost six months and it was still there, making almost everything she wore look bizarrely out of shape.
But who did she have to impress? Rupert had left her almost a year ago and nobody had taken any real interest since. There had been a brief thing with the guy who ran on the treadmill beside hers on a Tuesday night, but he’d been looking for something she couldn’t give; a relationship.
Olivia sighed. She hated weekends. But before she could fall headlong into her usual Friday night melancholy, her mobile buzzed, reminding her that she was actually doing something tonight instead of sitting home alone. She didn’t have a clue exactly what it was she was doing, but she’d bet her last twenty it would be better than what she’d had planned.
Tapping in her four digit pass-code with the pad of her index finger, she pursed her lips at the small screen. Selma was being as textually loquacious as ever. Olivia had to read the message out loud to understand it.
“ETA 5 MINS, a stop sign, a pink heart and a dancing girl.”
She tapped in her reply slowly, muttering to herself as she typed. She hated mobile phones. “You’ll be here in five minutes and you don’t want me to wear a pink dress, right?”
A short buzz signalled another message, this time a thumbs up and nothing else.
“I’m wearing orange, Sel,” she typed. “You know I don’t do pink.” She mumbled each word out loud then hit send.
The next message said, ACK, followed closely by another stating, THAT MEANS ACKNOWLEDGED, DARLING.
“Why didn’t you just fucking say that instead of texting me twice?” She’d never understand the fascination with all this tech.
A car horn blared outside and Olivia peeked through the glass panel beside the front door. Selma. She must have been texting and driving at the same time. So much for cops not being above the law.
Taking another look at herself in the mirror, she tugged the hem of her dress down a little lower and dashed outside. It was spitting on to rain and the night had turned uncommonly cold for mid-August. The car door slammed behind her and Selma clapped her hands.
“Orange suits you, Livvi,” she said. “And short dresses are the way forward for you. Show off those legs and nobody will even notice the spare tyre.”
Olivia rolled her eyes. She did that a lot around Selma. “Thanks for that,” she said, whacking her oldest friend with her handbag. Selma didn’t often think before she spoke, so Olivia was used to it, but she wished she’d stop mentioning her flab. She considered telling her to stop, but she couldn’t. She didn’t want to ruin the night before it had even started.
“Are you going to tell me where we’re going?” she asked instead.
“Oh, you will not believe it! You know the After Dark Fair at Fellcross Park? The no kids allowed one? Well Matt won four tickets and he asked if I wanted to go. I said yes, obviously, but only if you could come too.”
Oh no. Four tickets to an adult fair, me, Selma, and Matt, Olivia thought. That left a spare ticket, and it was all too apparent what that meant. She looked at her friend, who kept her eyes fixed on the road ahead. “Please tell me you didn’t.”
“Didn’t what?” Selma’s innocent expression only confirmed her suspicions.
“For God’s sake, Selma! The last two blind dates you made me go on were –”
“With dickheads. Noah is a great guy, I’m sure you’ll get on like a house on fire.”
Olivia couldn’t find it in her to comment. Her heart had sunk to her toes and that’s where it would stay for the rest of the night. This Noah had better have low – or even no – expectations, because she was about as interested in this date as she was attractive.
** ** **
The car park at Fellcross Park was jam-packed with buses, bikes and cars. A few guys in hi-vis jackets were waving their arms this way and that, getting annoyed at the young guys who were ignoring their directions. Selma followed a snail trail of people carriers, coming to a stop surprisingly close to the gate.
Olivia grumbled all the way to the entrance, whacking Selma twice more with her bag when she turned her ankle on the gravel pathway. She wished she’d stayed home. She’d been looking forward to a night out with the girls, but what she was getting was far from it.
This Noah would be just like Hugh and Tanner before him. A greasy business man with no dress sense, a comb-over, and more amalgam in his mouth than teeth. All of Matt’s friends were the same. He was the only one out of them who was in any way attractive, but he’d been Selma’s ‘friend with benefits’ for so long they might as well be married, so he would forever be off-limits.
Olivia was thinking about the night she’d found out exactly what a FWB was, when a low wolf-whistle broke her concentration. She didn’t have to look up to know it was Matt, not with the way Selma squealed.
They hurried over to the ticket booth to join him. Olivia cast her gaze around, but Noah was nowhere in sight. If there was a God he wouldn’t show at all. Being stood up wouldn’t bother her in the least. It wouldn’t be the first time it had happened, and odds were it wouldn’t be the last either.
“Liv,” Matt said, taking her elbow and leaning in to kiss her cheek. “You look amazing. I don’t know who’s luckier, you or Noah.”
Noah, she thought, because he isn’t here. “Is he late?” she asked, not bothering to fight her smirk. Even if he’d been there, he’d have his attention on the group of just-turned-twenty, bubbly blondes who were engrossed in comparing waists over by a lime green camper van.
“No, I’m not late,” a voice said behind her.
She looked over her shoulder and coughed in shock. This was Noah? There had to be a mistake. “Where’s the punchline?” she said dryly.
Noah pushed his floppy blonde hair off his forehead and shrugged. “I don’t follow.”
“How old are you, Noah?”
“Do you know how old I am?”
He opened his mouth in a soft ‘oh’ and nodded knowingly. “I get it. Yes, I do know how old you are, Liv. May I call you Liv?”
You can call me a taxi, she thought. This is a disaster waiting to happen, I don’t know what they were thinking.
“Of course you can,” she said.
Noah smiled and, despite her best efforts, Olivia couldn’t stop her stomach doing a little flip. That smile was something else. It showed two rows of perfect white teeth, and the way his eyes crinkled at the corners aged him. Not by much, but he looked a few years closer to her forty-five than he had before.
Matt grinned, giving Noah a wink. Olivia didn’t comment, opting to shuffle forward in the prepaid queue with Selma instead. She’d readily believe her oldest friend would be more than capable of playing a prank on her, but never Matt. Matt was quiet, conservative and, if she dared think it, kind of boring.
Selma was chattering happily in Olivia’s ear as their turn at the booth rolled around. Matt stepped forward, brandishing the tickets, just as the girl in the hi-vis jacket and flashing deely bobbers gave them her attention.
Oh God, kill me now, Olivia thought. She opened and closed her mouth, but words escaped her. As far as awkward situations went, this had to be high on the list of her top ten most recent ones.
“Darlene,” Selma said coolly.
Darlene regarded the small group carefully, and Olivia cringed at her open hostility. The girl was so much like her father, even looking into her green eyes was like looking right at Rupert. The disdain was there, as was the superiority-over-all-mankind smirk that gave an air of cruelty her fresh face. She’d never had much to say to Selma, but her dislike of Olivia had been apparent since the day she met Rupert.
“How have you been, Darlene?” Olivia finally said. She was a woman in her forties, she didn’t need to feel intimidated by a twenty-two year old girl.
“Dad has a new girlfriend.”
Olivia rolled her eyes. That would be the first thing the little witch said. Olivia knew all about Donna of course. She’d known about her long before Rupert even considered packing a bag, though she’d never let on. No, Donna wasn’t new, she was just newly divorced and safely in possession of half of her ex-husband’s assets. That was the only reason Rupert had gone public with their relationship.
“I’ve met Donna on a few occasions, actually. She’s a lovely woman, I hope your father is happy with her.”
Darlene’s smirk deepened. “Dad says you’re still single. He says you can’t get a man.”
And now she’s for it, Olivia thought with a sigh. She didn’t even attempt to speak, because Selma was already sucking in an outraged breath.
“Your Dad is an ass who has no control over his cock. He may be all lovey dovey with Donna to her face, but he doesn’t give two fucks about her when his face is buried in Gwen Fenwick’s crotch every Friday. Guy’s night at the pool hall my ass!”
Matt barked out a quiet laugh and fixed Olivia in his knowing, brown-eyed gaze. He was aware she’d known about Rupert’s affair with Gwen for around three years, but he had never let on to Selma. He inclined his head at her, expecting her to say something to defuse the situation. But she couldn’t. Not when she could feel the comforting, if a little distracting, heat of Noah’s fingers on her back.
Once she was over her shock, Darlene’s expression morphed to anger on her father’s behalf. She glared at Noah, noticing how close to Olivia he was standing, but before she could say anything, Selma snagged the tickets from Matt’s hand and held them out.
“Stamp us in or lose your job. Your choice, little girl.”
After a tense pause, Darlene snatched the tickets, tore them in half and handed back the stubs, then stamped the back of each of their right hands as they passed through the turnstile. Olivia could feel her hateful stare burning holes in her back, but she didn’t turn around. Darlene wasn’t her problem anymore, though even if she was, she had a bigger problem walking right beside her, and his hand was still on the small of her back.
“Ex’s daughter?” Noah asked casually.
Olivia nodded, considering her – ugh – her date out of the corner of her eye. Discomfort bubbled in her belly. Noah was only two years older than her ex-stepdaughter. She must be crazy even thinking about going through with it.
“What a little bitch she is,” Noah laughed. “If she gets that God-complex from her father you’re better off without him.”
It was Olivia’s turn to chuckle. “Oh, she’s like her father alright, though unlike her father, I think she knows what fidelity means.”
Matt whistled quietly and the four of them came to a stop by a cart selling all manner of sweet things. Selma pointed to one of the masses of pink fluff that hung in bags over their heads, Matt ordered a bag of fresh doughnuts, and Noah picked up a multi-coloured spiral lollipop. They all looked at Olivia and she blushed, reaching for a glistening red candy apple. Surely it wouldn’t break her diet too much. It was more than half fruit, after all.
Matt waved away Noah’s offer of money, so he took Olivia’s hand and led her away. She looked over her shoulder at Selma, who waved a hand to urge her on.
They walked in silence, looking at the shooting galleries and hook-a-duck stalls. Olivia exploded into laughter when she spied a duck hanging on the end of a long pole. The two guys who had snagged it were pointing and laughing too.
“I’ve seen it all now,” Noah chuckled. “A duck with a dick. If that was the lure I wonder what the prize is.”
He was squeezing her hand, and her constricting chest was squeezing her heart. Her mother had always said her nerves would give her a heart attack, and it was looking like today would be the day she was proven right.
But Selma fell into step beside her, saving the day. “I have a question,” she said. “Is the ghost train mandatory? Because I don’t like all that jump out at you and make you lose your shit, shit.”
“You’re a chicken shit,” Olivia sniggered. “But no, I don’t fancy the ghost train either, not after I saw the news last week.”
Selma wrinkled her nose. “What’s this? You know me and the news do not get along.”
“There was a story about the ghost train in a fairground in Wales. One of the cars derailed, and some poor cow crashed into some guy with a chainsaw.”
Selma was suitably horrified, but Olivia’s comment seemed to amuse the guys. “It was a waxwork, Liv,” Matt said. “And the chainsaw was wax too.”
“I bet it still hurt when it landed on the poor woman’s head though,” Selma pouted. “Anyway, I don’t want to talk about wax and chainsaws. I want to talk about lurve.”
Don’t you always, Olivia thought.
For a woman who didn’t ever want to have a serious relationship, Selma was all about the hearts and flowers. She was always the one to arrange Valentine discos at work, and she was always the one to walk around with a mistletoe sprig tucked into her bun for the whole of December.
Selma tugged Olivia’s arm, pointing at a towering white arch with her bag of pink fluff. It was the Tunnel of Love. She wanted her to go through the Tunnel of Love with a twenty-four year old man she’d known for fifteen minutes.
Olivia shook her off and held up one finger. “Not in this lifetime, Sel,” she said. “I’m not going in there with you two, not after what you guys did in the one at the Apple Festival last year.”
The swan boats had been dangerously close together at the festival, and though they couldn’t see anything, Olivia had found out later that the sounds she and Rupert had blushed all the way through were the results of Matt giving Selma a good fingering. It had all become clear exactly why Selma had insisted they waited until there was no under twenties in the queue before going for a ride.
Selma tried her best to sway her to join them, but Olivia remained stead fast. She stayed put beside Noah, watching Selma dragging Matt toward the short queue that led into the tunnels entrance. She could still hear him laughing, and it made her smile. Matt was definitely a bore, but whenever anyone managed to drag a laugh out of him it was always lovely to hear.
“So I guess it’s just you and me,” Noah said. He tilted his head, drawing Olivia’s attention to the Fun House. “What do you say? Want to give it a shot?”
“Sure,” she answered.
On the way to the big yellow and blue wooden building, Olivia dropped her unopened candy apple in the bin. There was no point carrying it around with her, she was never going to eat it, especially not when she was willingly walking into the open mouth of a maniacally laughing clown. Clowns were the real reason she didn’t want to go on the ghost train. The psycho one at the Apple Festival had been one clown too many that day.
Noah ditched his lollipop too, and once they’d passed through the toothy jaws of the clown, he walked Olivia over a checkered floor that seemed higher in some places and lower in others, laughing every time she lost her footing. It was obvious that the floor was completely flat, but her brain wouldn’t accept it. She didn’t mind stumbling so often though, not when Noah was there to catch her.
They walked through a low tunnel, which made up of two separate parts that spun two ways, they clambered up through a series of holes and shorter tunnels, and giggled their way around a mini-maze. Olivia spotted a corridor full of clowns in one direction, and what looked like the exit in another. She made straight for the outdoors, only to come to a mortified stop in the room of her nightmares.
The Hall of Mirrors.
She tried to back out, but Noah nudged her further in. “How bad can it be?” he said reasonably. “I mean, where else are you going to see me looking so fine?” He thumbed toward the closest mirror, and Olivia spluttered a laugh. The warped surface reduced his almost six-foot height to less than two, and he looked as fat as two barrels.
“Wow,” she giggled. “How do I keep my hands off you after that?”
“You don’t.” His reply wasn’t accompanied by as much as a smile.
Woah, that was a bit full on, Olivia thought.
But her date was right, how bad could this be? None of these silly mirrors were going to show her true self, so why not make the most of it and have some fun?
Olivia took Noah’s hand and drew him around each of the mirrors. In one they were matchstick thin with beach ball sized heads, in another they were both tiny and fat, and others made them look tiny and skinny… each one was funnier than the next, and Olivia realised that despite her earlier misgivings, she was having a blast.
“Wanna see my favourite?” Noah asked.
He drew her toward what she assumed was the exit, but it wasn’t. It was another mirror. A standard mirror, just like the one in her hall at home. She looked like Olivia, and Noah looked like Noah.
“You’re very beautiful, Liv,” he said quietly. “I’ve seen you with Selma so many times over the past year, and I wanted to meet you, but Matt always told me to leave you be. I finally plucked up the courage and told him to arrange it, and here we are. The question now is, are you going to tell me no?”
“What do you mean?” she whispered. She wasn’t doing it for effect, it was her throat closing up on her that had stolen her voice.
Noah shifted slightly behind her, and she held her breath as his warm fingers skimmed the skin just below the hem of her dress. His reflection was staring into her eyes, asking for permission.
Olivia didn’t say yes, but the absence of a no was deafeningly loud. Maybe she could. Maybe she should. He clearly wanted to, and it had been a while…
When those silent seconds stretched past a minute, Noah’s hands began to wander. The orange cotton felt rough against Olivia’s thighs compared to his soft fingers, each brush making tiny bumps of sensitivity race across her skin. He squeezed the fleshy parts of her ass, leaning in to kiss her throat, making her so aware of every inch of herself.
“Do you know your hair is beautiful?” he murmured. He was biting her earlobe, now sucking, and she couldn’t remember the question. “Such a fiery red.”
His fingers were hooked into her knickers, and he was drawing them ever so slowly down her thighs. They dropped at her feet, and she gasped. Was she really doing this? She wasn’t sure of the exact point she’d lost her mind, but she knew it had gone. That was the only reason she wasn’t running out of there screaming for her mother.
But Noah was massaging her ass now, and when he gently slapped her right cheek she surprised herself. She moaned. I’d forgotten what that sounded like, she thought, parting her thighs just like Noah’s hands were coaxing her to.
He lifted her skirt, exposing more fiery red, but he didn’t do what she expected. He hadn’t magically pulled his cock out and slipped a condom on while he was groping her. No, what he did was very different from what she expected. He dropped to his knees and bit her ass.
“Oh God!” she cried, and not for the last time.
Every nip, every bite brought him closer, and Olivia parted her legs further, letting him go where he wanted to. That first brush of his tongue was feather light, but it sent jolts skittering through her. He licked and sucked, moaning softly, digging his hands into her ass so he could pull her cheeks apart to get that tongue as far inside her as it would go.
And she watched it all in the mirror. She could see his jaw straining against her, see her juices and his saliva dripping from his chin. His tongue lapped slowly at her clit, and without warning he sprung another surprise.
“Jesus, what are you doing?” Olivia gasped.
Noah just laughed and carried on, and she was so glad he did. He was still licking her, but not her pussy. His tongue was tracing tiny flicks around the tight pucker of her ass. She’d never felt anything like it in her life.
I wonder what Rupert would have said if I’d asked him to do this to me, she mused, unable to stop her strangled yelp when Noah’s tongue pushed inside, thrusting in and out a few times before going back to its teasing.
Rupert would have had a stroke of the medical kind, she thought with a breathless laugh.
But she didn’t think of Rupert for long, because Noah was back at her clit. His tongue brushed over a spot that made her cry out, and his attention zoomed in on it, staying right where she needed him. Olivia could feel herself starting to shake, she could feel her muscles tensing, ready to spring. Noah let go of a noisy moan and finally, Olivia came.
Her entire body tingled in time with her pulsing clit, and Noah laughed delightedly when she shrieked at what he did next. Rupert had always wanted a blow job after making her come, and she’d assumed Noah would be the same. But he wasn’t done with her yet, and his fingers were making so much noise, sinking in and out of her so quickly, she could barely think.
“Oh fuck, oh fuck…” Olivia whispered.
She tilted her hips, held up her own dress do she could watch his fingers fuck her. On and on he went, changing one hand for the other every other minute. Olivia moaned, rocking her hips, whimpering at Noah’s growl when her pussy clamped down on his fingers.
“Fuck yes!” he hissed.
He pulled her to her knees, and she heard his zip lowering through the harsh sound of her panting. He tore a foil packet with his teeth, and a few seconds later he was sliding into her, holding her gaze, his face tightening with desire.
“You feel so good,” he whispered. He pushed her forward until her hands hit the mirror, pulled her dress down at the front and pinched her nipples, holding on tightly.
Olivia watched his lovely face contort, watched him bite his lip, and listened to the squelching sound of his cock drilling her pussy, the slap of his skin against hers. She could barely believe this was even her. But she could feel that it was, and staring at the fiery redhead with the red cheeks and dopey eyes in front of her… it changed her.
She started rocking back, meeting Noah’s every thrust, making him go harder and faster. He ripped the band from her hair, digging his hand right to the roots. Then he yanked hard and Olivia’s back arched. She’d never been fucked this brutally before, and she wouldn’t accept anything less ever again.
Noah was leaning over her now, his arms wrapped around her waist as she came around his cock. She didn’t give her spare tyre a thought, all she could think of was how good he was. And not only that, but how good she was too.
Noah let go of her and stretched out on the floor with his back to the mirror. “Fuck me,” he whispered.
Olivia wasted no time. Closing her eyes, she turned away from him and straddled his thighs, sinking straight onto the cock he had ready and waiting for her. His knuckles dug into her pussy, only giving her the tip, but once he moved his hand she took the rest of him in with a loud groan.
Noah held her hips, whispering to her as she rode him. “You’re so good, Livvi” he said. “Your pussy feels so good. Fuck that cock just like that… if you want me to come you’re gonna have to fuck it out of me.”
The things he was saying! Olivia opened her eyes and gazed around the hall, and a dozen reflections of her stared back. Most of them were comically squat at this angle, but a few of them were long and thin, others short and fat, and one or two were relatively normal. And Olivia didn’t care. It had taken a long time, but she felt different. She felt like she did before Rupert, before all of his years of neglect and deceit. She felt like a beautiful woman, which was fine by her, because that’s exactly what she was.
Noah cried out and held her still. He lifted his hips, dropped, then lifted again, and she could feel his cock throbbing inside of her. As soon as he stopped, he pushed her forward onto her knees, and though she was surprised, all she did was smile and moan as he licked her pussy clean of every last drop of her juices.
Once they were on their feet, Noah dangled Olivia’s knickers from one finger. “Want them back?” he asked cheekily.
Olivia laughed and shook her head. “Keep them. You deserve a trophy for that performance.”
They found the exit and left the funhouse hand-in-hand. Selma and Matt were waiting for them by the coconut shy, and Matt was smirking. Olivia stole a glance at Noah, who just shrugged and hid a smile.
Something dawned on her, and then she really knew shock. Matt set me up, not Selma, she thought. What a sneaky bastard.
The night wore on and Olivia laughed more than she had in a long time. Selma tried to wheedle what had happened in the Hall of Mirrors out of her, but Olivia wasn’t talking. She knew she wouldn’t be seeing Noah again, but she didn’t mind. She was more than capable of finding her own lover, and it all it had taken for her to remember that was a little bit of fun at the fair.