An Advent Short Story.
I try to refrain from biting my nails as I walk past the waiting queue of people and head into the Conference facilities. People were outside already? It was only seven am. The doors didn’t open until ten.
‘So what do we have to do then sis? I hope there’s some coffee provided.’ said Gina, my sister. G, as she was known to all around her, had agreed to accompany me on this, my first ever Author signing event, The Christmas Cracker.
I sweep my long brown fringe away from my eye so so I can look around properly. ‘I need the Events Co-ordinator, Miss L Toe. She’ll tell us what we need to do. I’ve seen her Facebook picture. She’s dead small with short, white-blonde spiky hair.’
‘That sounds very much like you’re talking about me,’ says the very person I was looking for. ‘Name? Surname first please.’
‘Saint, Nic.’ I tell her.
She flips pages on a clipboard. ‘Okay. You’re signed in. Here are your lanyards ladies. Here’s the seating plan, you are in the upper left hand corner. Anything you had delivered here, books etc, will be under your allocated table. Fire exit here,’ she points to the rear, ‘toilets in that corner, in the coffee bar. My name’s Laurel if you need anything else.’
‘Whoo hoo. Coffee. Thank God.’ G walks off.
‘Thank you,’ I say to Laurel. I take a deep breath.
‘You’ll be absolutely fine, don’t worry.’ Laurel tries to reassure me. ‘Anyway if you’re quiet, you’ll have plenty to look at.’
‘Yes I’m sure I can watch the other authors.’
Laurel looks at me strangely and walks off.
I head into the main hall and walk past many other authors setting up. I recognise some really big names among the Indie community and can’t believe I’m signing here with them today. I’m looking forward to meeting a couple of fellow newbies like myself who only started publishing early this year. I’m also dreading bumping into Abbey Christmas, someone who at the start of the year I had considered a friend.
As I’m looking at the plan, I’m tapped on the shoulder.
‘Excuse me. Have you seen the Organiser around?’
I look around for Laurel’s frame, but can’t spot her. ‘Erm, I could try and find her for you. Who wants her?’
‘I’m Phillipe Prince’s PA.’ The grey-haired gentleman tells me. ‘I need to know where he’s being seated.’
I look at my plan but can’t spot his name amongst the authors. Maybe he was a late sign-up? ‘I can’t see him on here. I’m sure Laurel will know. Let me go and find her.’
I walk back out of the reception, smack bang into Abbey.
‘Nic.’ She trills. ‘I’m so happy to see you.’
Abbey had started publishing at the same time as me. Where I had lacked confidence, she had it in overabundance. I naturally hesitated when chatting with other authors online, scared of seeming like I wanted to use people to get recognised. I kept to myself, other than my secret group of likeminded Indies. We supported each other, advised each other when things went well or, as usually happened went pear-shaped.
Abbey was rich; plainly obvious when you looked at her long blonde hair, perfect teeth, Dolce & Gabana handbag and Louis Vuitton shoes. She’d messaged me in the beginning. Pretended to be friendly. Asked me to review her book. Said she’d look at mine and share with her friends. She never did. She stalked my own reviewers. When my book took off and hers didn’t, I never heard from her again. She paid for lots of advertising. Gave away a mirror with each copy of her book The Beauty was Sleeping. She bought larger author’s gorgeous presents. Some of them started including her. She made it. Her book averaged three star ratings, but no-one cared. She’d hit the New York Times and USA Today lists due to being part of an anthology with some of the larger names. She’d been in OK magazine. Abbey’s star was in the ascendant. I tried not to mind, but to be honest I wanted to punch her in the throat.
‘Can’t stop to chat unfortunately,’ says Abbey. ‘I’ve got an amazing surprise planned for my readers today.’ She clasps her hands together and rolls her eyes upwards. ‘Isn’t it just fabulous being an Indie writer? Ciao.’
She flounces off. I go and find Laurel and tell her about the older gentleman.
I go and drag G from the coffee bar. ‘Come and help me set up. There are some really heavy boxes I need lifting.’
‘I’ll help you.’
I turn around and find the voice belongs to a guy just walking past us. He’s wearing a tracksuit and I figure is a member of Conference staff. ‘Ah, do you help with moving boxes and things?’
‘I can do,’ he says. His full mouth curves up at the side. I look up into deep blue eyes. God the guy is gorgeous. I want to work here. He runs a hand from his forehead through his wavy, dark hair.
‘So do you want to show me what you want doing?’ He pulls a cap on and pulls the front down and starts to follow me.
Bless him, he’s really shy. Who’d have thought it? He keeps his head down all the time we’re in the room and helps me move the boxes containing my novels, so that I can put them on display.
‘Thanks so much.’ I tell him.
‘You’re welcome. Hopefully I’ll catch you later?’
It sounds like an invitation but I’m sure he’s just being friendly so I nod. ‘Definitely. You’re a star, thanks so much again.’
Head back down he leaves the room.
G helps me set up the table and then we decided to take our own books around the other authors before the public are allowed in. I’m really nervous and not many of the others know who I am, but I’m pleased to get their signatures and they wish me luck with my first signing. One, Tamara Cellon, even gives me a signed copy of one of her novels. G insists on having her picture taken with them all, even though she hardly reads.
Where I’m positioned at the back corner there’s a large space between me and the next author, a real household name. I assume it’s because Sophia Charles will have a large queue. I’m therefore surprised when the old man comes back, followed by Laurel and the sexy guy who helped me, who is now carrying two chairs.
‘I bet it keeps you fit, moving all that furniture around,’ I tell him as he walks past me. He looks up and smiles. Fuck me, between my legs has got wet from that look alone.
He stands next to the chair and I look at the older guy and smile. They must be setting up a table for that Prince guy he was on about.
I therefore become rather flummoxed when who I’ve believed to be a porter, draws the zip down on his tracksuit top to reveal an eight pack. Next down come his tracksuit bottoms, revealing a pair of tight ice blue shorts with snowflakes on them. I can’t take my eyes from the V above his shorts and a trail of hair snaking upwards makes me feel very happy. I try and fail not to look at the package wrapped in those shorts.
My Indie friend Hermione comes running up to me. We’ve never previously met in person, but chatted so much online we’re like best friends.
‘Oh my God. It’s so nice to see you in real life.’ She screams. ‘Now tell me how the fuck you managed to get put next to Phillipe Prince.’
‘Who?’ I ask her.
She tilts her head and brow furrowed, says ‘Are you kidding me?’
‘No. I’ve never seen him before. Who is he?’
‘Phillipe Prince.’ She says it slowly, like I have hearing difficulties. ‘Cover model for the Extreme Bad Boy series. Ringing any bells yet?’
‘No. I’ve heard of those books, but I haven’t had chance to read them yet. Which is embarrassing because Sophia Charles is really near to me.’
‘Well she paid for him to be here, as a treat for all the readers as they queue. Speaking of which, they’re just starting to come through, so I’d better get back to my table. Good luck.’
I am so much busier signing than I ever thought I would be, as the queue of people from both Sophia and Phillipe extend past me. While people are waiting they chat to me and a few buy my books. I keep looking over to Phillipe and every time I do, he’s either looking at me, or he senses I’m watching him and looks back. He’s being manhandled and pawed by an assortment of women and seems to be enjoying himself.
‘Nic. Earth to Nic,’ says G.
‘You were signing? You know, that book in your hand.’
‘Oh my God. I am so sorry.’ I say to the person whose book it is.
‘No worries,’ she replies. ‘It’s hard not to stare isn’t it?’
There doesn’t seem to be an official lunch time so as soon as a break in my queue appears, I rush off to the loos as I’m bursting for a pee.
On my way out of the bathroom Phillipe’s PA is waiting outside the toilets. ‘He wants to invite you for lunch. He points in the direction of a corridor. ‘Room 1.’
‘Thanks.’ I tell him and stomach fizzing with both excitement and hunger, I head off to find Room 1.
I push open the door. Phillipe is sitting at a table in front of a large enclosed sleigh. The sleigh is enormous, white and festooned with glitter, tinsel, baubles and twinkling lights.
‘Who vomited Christmas?’ I ask.
‘It’s one of the attendees apparently. A surprise for later this afternoon.’
I raise an eyebrow.
‘I know. It’s a bit much isn’t it?’
Like you, nibbling on that sandwich I think. I imagine it’s one of my nipples.
‘So. Would you like something to eat?’
Yes, your dick.
Fuck did I say that out loud?
‘Some picnic. Yes, some picnic food. Please.’
He smiles and winks at me. ‘I think I have just what you’re after.’ He hands me a hot dog.
I blush. Then I eat it in about three seconds flat as I realise how hungry I am.
We eat lunch and have a laugh talking about the strange habits of Indie authors and readers.
‘I have to go back now,’ I say. ‘Everyone will be wondering where I am.’
He puts a hand across mine. His massive palm and fingers dwarf my own. ‘Don’t. Not yet.’ He says huskily.
He walks over and bolts the door. Then he grabs my hand and drags me into the covered sleigh. Inside is full of soft blankets. He pulls them across the floor of the sleigh. Then lies down and pats the side of it.
I stand and hesitate until he unzips his top and strips it off. Then I launch like an unfed lion spying a deer.
He pulls my clothes off and has me lie beneath him. His hard torso and pecs crush against my chest. He moves himself down my body. The oil that he rubbed on his physique earlier helps him glide. His breath is warm against my inner thigh. Then he flicks his tongue across my clit. My nerve endings go off like a party popper.
He continues to tease me there for minutes, licking, biting, sucking until I can take no more and come into his mouth.
‘Oh my God.’
‘You are so fucking beautiful when you come.’ He tells me. ‘And you weren’t half bad to start with.’
Then he nudges his rock hard cock against my pussy and pushes in.
‘Jeezzz.’ Just after my orgasm this is like someone gave me Chocolate fudge cake to eat and then followed it with Tiramisu. The pleasure is unending.
My pussy is rocketing me out of orbit. Come in Saint, prepare for launch.
I meet his thrusts with my own until we both crash out of the stratosphere.
He turns and pulls me on top of him. My heartbeat thuds against his chest.
‘I suppose we’d better hurry back. Promise me you’ll meet me after.’
‘Why? Why do you want to meet me? I’m nothing special. You have your pick of all those women out there.’ I sigh.
He tips me up to look at him by my chin. ‘You, are fucking amazing. Don’t forget it. I don’t want them. I want you. I wanted you the minute I met you this morning. I want you again.’
I see the clock at the back of the room. ‘Shit. I’ve been gone ages. G. will have a fit.’
‘You’re fine. They called a lunch break just after you went to visit the ladies. We have to be back in ten minutes.’
‘Oh, alright.’ I say to him.
He looks at me and again raises an eyebrow.
You can do a lot in ten minutes.
The throw we used is bundled into a black sack left on the floor and Philippe throws it into a large refuse bin on his way back. We return to the room separately.
‘Where have you been?’ asks G, her arms folded and her face as puce as her purple hair. ‘I was getting worried.’
‘I got a bit hot and bothered.’
‘Well, start getting ready for the afternoon crowd. I’ll go and get you some water.’
Phillipe returns at the side of me and winks.
As the afternoon session starts, Laurel comes up onto a small stage and talks into a microphone.
‘As a special surprise this afternoon Readers, I would like to announce Abbey Christmas.’
Walking in a Winter Wonderland starts blaring from the speakers and Abbey is brought into the room in her sleigh. The one I had fun in earlier. They position it near the stage and Laurel passes Abbey the microphone.
‘Hi sweeties.’ She trills. I want all the readers to have a good Christmas and I know that money is tight at this time of year, so if you gather around, I have a copy of my book for everyone, for FREE.
The crowds move towards her and away from everyone else.
‘That fucking idiot woman,’ Sophia is next to me. ‘Why does she think we do book signings? It’s to earn some fucking wages from people buying our books. Sod this,’ she spits. ‘I’m going back to my hotel. Phillipe,’ she shouts. ‘You can go when you’re ready.’
Gina comes over with my water. ‘Fucking hell. Abbey’s created anarchy. It’s time to get out of here.’
I look over at Phillipe.
‘God you two need to get a room,’ says Gina. Then she has a lightbulb moment. ‘You fucking jammy cow.’
‘He wants to meet me afterwards,’ I tell her. ‘But we had plans.’
‘Hey,’ G says to me, ‘I have four children. My plan if you’re out is the hotel room to myself, with a book, bath, and unlimited hot drinks that won’t go cold.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Bloody hell yes.’
I kiss her cheek. ‘You’re the best sister ever.’
‘I know. My present this year better be huge.’ She looks at Philippe again. ‘I’m guessing yours is.’
Abbey is at the front of her extremely long line, watching all the other authors leave. Every one giving her a death stare as they walk out. Her face creases with confusion and she looks stressed, despite the huge crowd waiting for her.
‘Looks like Abbey needs a screw, G.’ I say.
We giggle as we leave.
Merry Christmas to all Readers. I hope you enjoyed this story, created especially for this advent event. With thanks to Arden for the invite. Andie xxx
Keep in contact at www.facebook.com/andiemlong and on Twitter @andiemichelle.
My first novel The Alphabet Game is currently on sale at 99p/99c.
Until 24 December.