BOOK 1 – Playing With Fire
My name is Ally Bradshaw. Some of you might read this and think I’m arrogant, self-absorbed, lecherous and even a little heartless. I’m not. Not really. I am the woman that you pass on the street in broad daylight, and don’t look twice at.
I am the type you’d never even glance at for a second longer than is necessary. There is nothing special about me. There is nothing that sets me apart from the rest. I am not a golden girl; I don’t shine or turn heads when I walk into a room. I am certainly not the kind of woman you’d find on the front page of magazines, not even in a corner on page 89. I am a Celeste Barber.
Until now, I have dressed as and looked like an older, sadder, lonelier, depraved version of my 31-year-old self. I was married to a jackass who wasn’t much to look at either. Not much of a man actually, and even less of a personality.
My story begins on the day of my divorce from Michael, the man I had married almost twelve years ago when I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed 19-year-old fresh-out-of-school teenager. Back then, I believed in love, fairy tales and all the happily ever-after’s I used to read and hear so much about. It was everywhere. Love was real; the movies said so and songs promised eternal, true love for all. It turns out, just not for me. They say there is a great power in love and that it’s free from possession or jealousy. Love is supposedly kind and beautiful. Love is everything, they say. I am yet to love or be loved. Love simply teased and taunted me by sending my ex-husband into my life. It was false. Manufactured. Artificial. It was what I call the universe’s greatest trickery on me.
Michael was never particularly attractive, but he was my first love and the man who eased me out of my innocence on our wedding night. Yes. I waited. At his insistence. I thought we had a good life, but sex with Michael just never really appealed to me. It was a scatter and a scamper. Selfish. Unpleasant. Cold. Sex made no sense to me. What was lust? The dictionary defines it as sexual desire, appetite, longing and passion. Not me. No sir. It was none of the above. In some fancy magazine somewhere I read that lust and passion were entirely different, yet, they were the same. ‘What does that even mean? What am I missing and how uninformed am I really?’
I would often look over at Michael while he was sleeping and watch the rhythmic way in which he breathed. Another human being who breathed the air as I did, found me and made me his wife. He was sort of fun, but as hard as I tried, I could never begin to connect the dots when it came to lust or passion. Sex. It was not for me. I went through our marriage committed to Michael even though sex was more to please him, than me.
I grew up a good girl, from a good home, with parents who were sure they raised an exemplary daughter. And I was. All of that. I was quiet. Obedient. Dutiful. From early on, I had learnt by example to translate behavior in the right way. I was by design. My family were by design. I didn’t know much of anything else and was regularly overlooked by most everyone in our little town, even strangers that would pass through.
I was almost, just almost, invisible in my classrooms and amongst the beautiful girls and the good looking boys. Imponderable, until Michael found me and made me someone.
I used to cater to all his needs; I kept a beautiful home and I spent my days serving his every need, just like the sex-hating, dutiful wife I had evolved into. I thought I was doing right by him. I thought he had everything he needed. I listened to him, I respected him and I never said no. Ever. For anything. Not even sex.
Then one day, I walked in on Michael in our bed with my best friend, Lily. I could never really understand why he didn’t seem too phased by my walking in on them, or why it bothered me more than it did him. There they were; in my bed and in my home, underneath my sheets. I will never forget his words when I told him I wanted out of the marriage, “I’m sorry Ally, but you know this isn’t me …” Probably so. Maybe not.
Much to my parents’ disapproval, I left and filed for a divorce, ending my union with the only man that had ever given me the time of day. The only man who looked at me once, and decided to give me another look. The only man who made me think I was someone.
But, I was hungry for life. I was feeling trapped in my marriage. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was my way out. I secretly wanted to be rescued from the prison I found myself in during my years with Michael; I wanted space and I wanted freedom. There was something out there but I just could never find it between the suffocating walls of my three-bedroomed home. Little did I know that I was about to discover things about myself that I never knew. I was about to discover a part of life that I never knew even existed. From the comfort and trappings of my four walls, a brand-new world was bustling around me and I just couldn’t see it. Until now.
On the day that my divorce was finalized, I met Daniel, the man I would later refer to as my fireman. Another man who looked twice at me. Heck, another man that looked at me and he was everything Michael wasn’t. I was what most people considered strange. I did nothing more than work, eat and sleep. I spoke when I needed to, and barely drank a sip of wine. My habits were ordinary and I barely drew attention to myself, no matter where I went.
Daniel was young! His scent was intoxicating, and he was beautiful. In a manly way, he was oh so beautiful. Within hours of meeting him, I had forgotten all about my ethics, my standards, my morals, and more importantly, my husband. Ex-husband. Never would I ever have imagined that I would refer to Michael as my ex. Past. Previous. Over. Gone. Done.
I saw the world from an entirely different perspective the moment Daniel swept me up and placed me on one high after another. He was fireworks. Fresh. New. Not Michael. Oh, he was so not Michael. He was not the roses or butterflies kind of guy. Wait. I thought he wasn’t, and that suited me just fine. I didn’t want romance. I didn’t want to jump into the scary world of dating. I didn’t want movies or dinners. I didn’t want to fall into feelings again.
The emotionally vulnerably thing … that was no longer on the cards for me. My heart was closed and my old insecurities were locked away. I wanted to be someone’s leading lady, just not his princess or his queen. Just for a while. Just for a bit.
Daniel ignited a different sort of excitement that came from a place I had never known before and I was about to jump into the only thing that could rescue me from my life with Michael.
He was my one-afternoon stand, and then he turned into a many-night-stand here and a hook-up there. He was my sex with a stranger. The kind I’ve heard women secretly long for. The stranger I had been secretly waiting for, for most of my life. He introduced me to a world of lust, unimaginable pleasure and erotic liberation. He released a kind of a tension I never knew I had. Lust. Finally.
I slowly began evolving from the drab, dull woman I was into a sensual, promiscuous thirty-one-year-old he quickly turned me into. He handed me a scepter and turned me into a queen. Daniel swept me up higher and higher and for the first time since, well … forever, I discovered more about myself in a few short weeks than I had after what felt like a lifetime with Michael.
This is how it all began and how I will never truly forget my fireman. He would be the first of a string of lewd encounters that would lead me to new horizons, and brand-new confrontations in my whole new world of casual dating … because, I am Ally Bradshaw, newly single and ready to take my next step into this new world of a whole lot of unchartered territories.
They said it’s all fun and games, until feelings get involved. They say that there is no such thing as casual sex, or is there? I am pretty sure I am about to discover a whole lot more about feelings; only this time, in all the right places.
So, call me arrogant, self-absorbed and promiscuous if you like. Just don’t call me drab. Or boring. Or ugly. Ever again.
Page 2/ Book 2 – On Ice