Megan visits an ex to pick up something precious

‘She should purr like a cat on catnip now,’ El said, polishing a smudge from the metallic red paint of Bessie the bike, so named by my niblings.

I climbed on and started the engine and she definitely purred. ‘Aw, Baby’s happy to see me.’

El laughed. ‘I swear that bike is the longest, most sexual relationship you’ve ever had.’

I perched my helmet on top of my head. ‘I never heard any complaints from you.’

When we were still together El used to say Bessie and I were a lot alike; rough and functional beauty with a shiny heart that showed the scratches. I was sure the first part was very complimentary, if you were a mechanic.

‘Speaking of getting sexual, how did your date with Mark from Marketing go?’ She rested her hands on the handlebars.

‘Things will not be getting sexual with him.’ I grimaced. ‘He was one of those.’

She put her hand on my arm. ‘You should’ve called me to come get you.’

I squeezed her hand. ‘And ruin story time for nephews? I think not. It was fine, Jimmy gave me a lift.’

She grinned. ‘Speaking as a gay woman, therefore an objective perspective, that’s one man whose dick you should ride like an express train.’

I laughed.

‘I’m serious, he’d be good for you.’

‘So people keep telling me.’

She slapped my bicep. ‘Which should tell you something.’

‘Aye, but people thought I’d hit the jackpot with Rick.’

She went quiet and still for a moment then forced a smile. ‘Maybe your mother will see sense and pick a pretty lady for you to corrupt or does she still think it was your vagina phase?’

I put my hand on my heart. ‘Denial so deep it makes The Nile look shallow.’ It cut pretty deep too but as her response to me breaking up with Rick was I should go back to him because ‘boys will be boys’ my wounds were vying for space.

‘Up should tell her we can get married and have babies now.’

I chuckled and shook my head. ‘For the good it would do her.’

‘I count myself very lucky you weren’t the marrying type and I’m sure Jimmy would too. Especially when you shove his head down there and teach him to eat pussy properly, you’ll be doing womankind a favour.’

Once upon a time I would’ve clicked my tongue and said ‘Well…’ and she would’ve replied, ‘You didn’t!’

Once upon a time. The thought of saying it now made it seem more real, more committed, more… everything. The staples in my wounds tugged and the shadow of pain kept me quiet, the scar tissue was forming but it was going slow and deep. I wasn’t the same Megan I’d been in our little flat at university who brushed El’s thick, black curls and made muffins on Sundays. I wasn’t sure I’d ever find that Megan again.

‘You should wear one of those helmet cams.’ El tapped the top of my helmet rousing me from my thoughts.

I smiled at the distraction. ‘It makes me paranoid it’ll catch me making a mistake.’

She straightened and gave me the same Mum look she used on her kids. ‘Remember that when your head goes under a wheel.’

‘I don’t suppose I’ll be remembering long,’ I said.

She sighed and shook her head. ‘I worry about you sometimes.’

I smiled. ‘You worry about me all the time.’

‘Hey, don’t do that.’

I gave her an innocent look. ‘What?’

‘That sexy little smile you used to do when we were together because you knew it would get you out of trouble.’ She shook her head and collected the quote from the printer behind the counter. ‘I should warn that fella you work with about it. Bloody lethal that thing is.’

I shrugged. ‘It’s not at full potency without the kiss that goes with it.’

Abi stuck her head out of the back office. ‘Hey, stop flirting with my wife and get your own.’

‘I tried, none would have me,’ I called.

‘They call that taste,’ Abi said and grinned.

‘Aw, a lady might be flattered by the attention,’ El said.

I rested my elbows on the handle bars.

‘Don’t say it,’ she added.

I raised my eyebrows. ‘Didn’t say a word.’

She thrust the bill at me. ‘I don’t think my wifeling would approve.’

Abi scowled at her, she was smaller than me but her scowl wasn’t one to trifle with. ‘Who are you calling “wifeling”, are you saying I have hairy feet?’

El gave her a long appreciative look. ‘Hobbit jokes… Sweet Jesus, you’re perfect.’

‘Speaking of which, we need to stop off and pay the deposit for Tommy’s Tauriel cake later.’ She flicked her blonde hair over her should with deliberate drama and went back into the office.

El sighed. ‘I’d eat her any day.’ She looked at me. ‘Pay up, my baby needs his birthday cake.’ She fluttered her eyelashes. ‘Be a good godmother now.’

I laughed, checked the amount and got the cash out my wallet. ‘I’m surprised God didn’t strike me down the moment my foot touched the front step.’

She took the money and flicked through it or tried to, the plastic notes had a tendency to stick together. ‘The Church is very open minded now.’

‘Hmmm, only voted against women bishops once. Amazing.’

She shook her head. ‘Cynicism is the work of the devil.’

‘I’m not cynical, I have a healthy dose of scepticism.’

Her lips pursed and I felt the tension in the air as she resisted the urge to say after my last relationship she wasn’t surprised. ‘Well, you be careful that scepticism doesn’t graduate to a full dose of cock block.’

‘Not everyone is a Rick,’ I murmured.

She tucked the cash into one back pocket and got her receipt book out the other. ‘No, and fuck ups shouldn’t follow you forever.’ She looked at me with silent judgement or I read it wrong. It was difficult not to blame myself for sticking with Rick for so long even though I knew he’d used my own instincts against me, whether he meant to or not.

No. I wasn’t letting ifs and maybes back into my head. I had every right to be angry at him, I couldn’t forget it.

El passed me a receipt with a little smiley face drawn in the bottom corner. ‘If you ever see him again punch him in the face from me.’

I smiled faintly. ‘Right after one from me.’

She squeezed my hand.

‘Don’t worry about me.’ I rapped my knuckles against my chest plate.

Her smile turned sad.

Feature image by Sourav Mishra from Pexels

For more episodes of Take a Bite Cafe click here.

Published by Jesse

I'm a writer and academic specialising in fantasy fiction and creative writing theory. I'm allergic to pretentiously talking about fiction and aim to be unashamedly ‘commercial’. Surely all fiction is commercial anyway, or what’s the point in publishing it?

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