Playlist: Ooh, you've got to find Mojo by Peeping Tom. Trust me. The chorus is perfect for this. Really.
Kirsten was up early the next morning. Climbing out of bed, she could still feel the faint buzz from the night before. Sandy was soundly asleep. She pulled on underwear and her robe and slipped out of the room. The sun had already made an entrance to the day but hadn't managed to dispel the chill from the night before and the tiles were cool under her bare feet. The kitchen was still a mess. Wine bottles littered the countertop and the dirty dishes were piled in the sink. She adeptly avoided looking at the spice jar as she put the dishwasher on and wiped down all the surfaces before picking up her and Sandy's clothes from the floor where they'd dropped. She found her shoes on the steps to the patio and remembered, after the kitchen chair, the kitchen table, the floor and the spa. Kirsten smiled and tried to imagine a suitably disgusted face for Seth to adopt if he were ever to find out. She couldn't do it, and surmised it would kill him. He knew they had a sex life, but she was willing to bet he didn't think it was this healthy.
Kirsten put on a load of washing before carrying their shoes back to their room. Sandy had turned on his side, a hand over her side of the bed as if seeking her in sleep. Walking over to kiss him gently on the forehead, Kirsten sighed and went into the bathroom to shower.
Sandy woke slowly, savouring the last moments of sleep before the hangover abruptly settled in, searing his brain and making his eyeballs ache. He sat up and groaned, cradling his head in his hands. He had drank a lot, but he'd done a lot of exercise to work it off… Despite the pain in his head, Sandy managed a smile. What he remembered of last night was worth keeping in his mind.
He stumbled through to the shower, finding it still damp. Obviously Kirsten had been in already. He could smell her shampoo faintly, and he almost had to turn the spray on cold when he started remembering more of what they'd done last night.
She was in the kitchen when he came out, looking effortless in a pair of faded jeans and white singlet. He'd shaved and cleaned his teeth after the shower and he still felt less than human. Then again, she hadn't consumed the hideous amount of alcohol he had.
"Morning," she said brightly, handing him a cup of coffee and two nurofen. He took them, gulped the tablets down quickly. The kitchen was clean, the table cleared, the wine bottles vanished. Sandy looked out on the bright Saturday morning and sighed. He should be out surfing, but he didn't think he could face it.
"So…" Kirsten said, grinning. Sandy leant on the counter across from her and looked over to the table.
"If Seth knew…" He said, getting a giggle from her.
"I know. I think it'd put him in therapy for life." Kirsten refilled her coffee cup and smiled down into it.
They had a quiet day. After a late lunch Sandy lay on a lounger and filled out a crossword puzzle and Kirsten ended up doing some laps in the pool, trying to get the last of the cocaine to leave her system. She pulled over a floating chair and laid on it, soaking in the sun which quickly dried her skin. Looking over, she could see Sandy had put down the pen, was watching her.
She slowly paddled her way to the edge of the pool and propped her feet on the side so she wouldn't float away.
"Ready for round two?" She teased. Sandy twisted his lips into a smile and set the crossword aside.
"Well, my headache is feeling better. And I do remember someone mentioning something about a garter belt…" Kirsten rolled into the water, gasping at the coldness after the warmth of the sun. She walked up the steps, water streaming off her. She'd found the white bikini in a Versace catalogue and had ordered it, ignoring the price. Seeing Sandy's eyes take it in, she was glad she had.
Kirsten lowered herself onto him, keeping her eyes on him. He tried to move away from her, from her damp bikini but Kirsten trapped him with her arms and legs and looked him in the eyes. She lowered her face down close enough to almost touch his lips with hers.
"Kiks!" Julie's voice echoed through the house and Kirsten sat up, smirking at the wet patches on Sandy's shirt and pants. She yelled out to Julie before wringing her hair out onto Sandy's toes. Julie stepped onto the patio and lifted her glasses. Kirsten walked to the table and grabbed a towel to wrap herself.
"Hi, Sandy" Julie's eyes took in Sandy's wet clothes and raised an eyebrow before dismissing him.
"Kiks, you've got to come to dinner tonight. Neil has another of those hospital things, and it's at our house. The caterers are booked, there's plenty of mineral water but absolutely no one I want to make conversation with." Julie followed Kirsten through to the kitchen where she put the kettle on the stove and tea leaves into the teapot.
"So you want me to be bored with you?" Kirsten asked wryly, vaguely amused.
"Exactly! Besides, it might be a chance to get some gossip on who's had a facelift. Not that you gossip or anything…" Kirsten smiled as she poured the tea. Sandy came in from outside, grabbing a cup of coffee.
"Dinner at the Roberts' tonight." Kirsten said. Sandy nodded slowly, knowing how well the last dinner involving Neil Roberts had gone. Kirsten gave him a quick kiss and he took it to mean she was happy with it now the hospital wasn't hanging over their heads. Sandy shrugged at his defeat before leaving the kitchen.
"I've got to get in a nap beforehand." He and Kirsten shared a smile as he left the room.
"What's that all about?" Julie asked, sitting at the table. Kirsten slid into a seat across from her, the seat they'd been on last night, and smiled.
"We had some friends over last night. Sandy got a little tipsy. He's still recovering." Julie's eyes probed Kirsten's, and Kirsten sighed.
"I'm feeling fine. Mineral water all night." Julie nodded, satisfied. Kirsten neglected to mention the cocaine that she'd only just stopped feeling and the baggie hidden in the spice jar.
"So I thought I'd wear my new Gucci dress… Although I'm not sure what Neil's wearing, and orange doesn't go with everything…" Kirsten listened to Julie's fashion related ramble for the rest of the afternoon until she finally left with an admonishment for Kirsten to make sure she didn't wear pink so they couldn't clash if Julie did decide to go with orange.
Kirsten closed the door behind Julie and walked down to their room. Sandy had pulled half of the blinds down so the room was darkened. She turned the closet light on and started shuffling through dress choices. Since rehab, they hadn't been to as many functions as they used to go through, which was sensible on Sandy's part. Don't let the alcoholic near a place where drinks are free, and the newpsies are out to attack. She'd still been buying dresses at the same rate, and she had a few which hadn't been separated from their tags yet. Sandy moved his legs and watched as she put a few out. There was a Dolce and Gabbana dress that she'd only just bought. It was black silk, cut elegantly at the front and swooping low at the back. Kirsten bit her lip as she looked between it and a red Versace dress. She put the red dress back and kept the black out. She wasn't sure red would look so great with orange, and she didn't want to stand out too much. It was Julie's night to be hostess and show up any Newpsies who decided to make an appearance.
"But, honey…" Sandy said as she pulled his tux out of his row of clothes. Kirsten smiled over it at him.
"You don't have to wear a tie." She said, finding a freshly dry cleaned white shirt for him. He smiled, satisfied. Kirsten finished setting out their clothes and curled up beside him.
"Do you remember much of last night?" She asked. Sandy slowly shook his head.
"I do remember talking to Louise about torts. Then there was more wine and Will and Louise left. And the chair… And the table… And I think the floor." Kirsten moved closer to him, rested a hand on his chest, hoping he wouldn't remember Will kissing her.
"The spa?" She asked. She felt Sandy move to look at her and glanced up to meet his eyes.
"The spa," he repeated softly, settling back down. "Hm."
Kirsten finally got up around six and, with much insisting, managed to get Sandy up to have a shower after her. Leaving her dress until after her makeup was done, Kirsten sat herself at the table in their room, a mirror in front of her, applying makeup. She'd just finished outlining her lips and was painting them deep red when she heard Sandy come into the room. His stillness made her glance over and follow his gaze down to her crossed, stocking clad legs and the garter belt she wore over lacy underwear. She'd left her bra off, deciding it would be visible with the backless dress. She figured it was cut well enough that it wouldn't gape at the front. Kirsten smiled and, coyly covering her breasts with her hands, walked around to her side of the bed and grabbed her dress. She turned around and slowly slid into it before sidling over to Sandy. There was a small zip at the back and she turned, sweeping her hair back.
"Zip me up?" She asked. Sandy fumbled with the zip before he could do it up and Kirsten turned back to him.
"I'm going to have that image in my head all night. You, under that dress." Kirsten laughed, started picking out jewellery. She had a long diamond necklace she hadn't had the chance to wear in a while.
"Well, we'll have to try and leave early, won't we." She put in diamond studs and looked over her shoulder in the mirror. Sandy had pulled on his pants and was buttoning up his shirt. Kirsten wrapped the strands around her neck and let her hair fall back down. She threw lipstick and mascara in her purse and sat on the side of the bed to put on her heels. Sandy shrugged into his jacket and she stood to fix his collar.
"Hm." She said with satisfaction when it was done. Sandy followed her through from the bedroom, and Kirsten swiped the keys off the bench in the kitchen, handed them to him.
"I'll lock the house up," she said, "and meet you in the car." He nodded and she closed the kitchen doors, locking the patio out. As soon as she heard the front door bang behind him, she hurried to the spice jar and pulled out the powder. She shoved it in the side pocket of her purse, promising herself it would be just in case. Just in case the party was unbearable. Just in case she was boring. Checking there was no bulge where it was concealed, Kirsten hurried out after Sandy.
"God, I said don't wear pink. That translated to don't stand out too much. Look at that dress. If I didn't get over hating you a long time ago, I'd really hate you right now." Julie's greeting at the door was typical, and Kirsten kissed her cheek, gave Sandy's hand a squeeze as he was greeted by Neil and quickly engulfed in a group of half pissed surgeons.
"Seriously, that dress is gorgeous. And look at you. Have you been doing more yogalates than me? Because my arms don't look that fabulous." Julie held Kirsten at arms length and appraised her.
"It's the tan, probably. I was out in the sun today." She shrugged, started towards the drinks table with Julie at her side.
"I know. Don't think I didn't notice that fabulous bikini. Versace, yes? Now I have a pool that doesn't have dead animals floating in it…" Julie ordered two waters from the barman and handed one to Kirsten.
"See that man over there? Grey suit, ugly tie? Well, I heard he did Taryn's breasts- the second time around. And that one there. Red shirt, 80s cufflinks? He…" Kirsten listened to Julie as she pointed out most of the men in the room and highlighted who they'd worked on. Finishing her water, she excused herself and found the nearest bathroom. Closing the solid door behind her, shutting out the sounds of the party, Kirsten looked at herself in the mirror. The dress was great, she had to admit. It had just come in from Italy, the salesgirl unwrapping it as she walked into the boutique. She'd felt the fabric, admired the unusual cut and pulled out her gold credit card. She missed shopping for business suits, missed picking out satin singlets and designer cut suits to present the image of a professional woman. Now, she usually wore jeans around the house. She missed dressing every day with a mission in mind. She missed having something important to do, missed the thrill of pulling in investors and marking blueprints and handling budgets. She missed the stress and the exhilaration of working with clients and construction firms.
"Kiks, Wensley is headed my way. Hurry up!" Julie's voice held a note of urgency about it from the other side of the door and Kirsten could imagine Julie trying to hide behind a pot plant to keep Wensley King, possibly the most unattractive, but highest paid plastic surgeon from trapping her in conversation.
"Coming." Kirsten called back. She quickly shook out a small amount of coke and sniffed quickly, rubbing her nose as it was irritated immediately. She stuffed the bag back in her purse and gave the counter top a cursory swipe before opening the bathroom door. With a swirl of orange, Julie almost fell in on her. Kirsten stepped forward, smoothly meeting Wensley.
"Wensley. Lovely to see you." She accepted his kiss on the cheek and allowed herself to be led off. She could feel her pulse increasing and knew she'd enjoy the feeling of the hit too much to be bored by whatever Wensley talked about.
Fifteen minutes later, they had a crowd around them and were talking about the state of politics in Southern Iraq. Kirsten found herself arguing for less ground troops with vehemence and wondered when she'd found time to watch all those news reports, let alone remember the statistics. Wensley conceded defeat and the subject was changed to the proliferation of implants among young, Hollywood starlets. Again, Kirsten could offer names of starlets and surgeons, amazed that she could remember what had been in the trashy magazines she'd devoured through the week after she ran out of novels to read. She made a witty joke without realising, and everyone around her laughed. Drinks were thrust at her, all of which she refused. She excused herself on that high note, to the disappointment of everyone, and came to stand by Julie who was at the drinks table. She'd moved on from water, apparently declaring her loyalty to Kirsten over, and was making short work of a cosmopolitan.
"Looks like you're a hit." Julie said, animosity barely concealed. Kirsten smiled, ordered a water.
"Trade secret amongst plastic surgeons; read trashy magazines." Julie looked back at her from under her eyelashes and finally relented.
"Fine, I suppose I can do more of that." They drank in silence for a moment, looking and refusing each food tray as it passed.
"I don't know whose doing the catering, but food should at least be recognizable for what it is." Julie said to Kirsten as another round of mushy looking appetisers passed them.
"Mm. You're right, it's fucking ridiculous." Kirsten looked at Julie's eyes, recognising the swear word once it had passed her lips. She shrugged, ordered another water.
"Want to get some fresh air?" She asked. Julie nodded, followed her out to the pool. There were chairs and tables set on the wide pavers and guests too tipsy to stay inside had drifted outside, settling themselves in small groups. Cigarettes flared red in the half light and wine glasses clinked quietly.
"So, how have you been? Everything's been hectic here… Getting Kaitlin settled into Harbour. I thought Marissa was a little me." Julie shook her head, threw back the last of her cosmopolitan.
"Hmm…" Kirsten said, not really paying attention. She was watching a moth, fluttering at the light. Fighting the glass surrounding the globe to get to the very centre, the white pulse. Fluttering uselessly…
"Kiks?" Julie asked. Kirsten tore her eyes away from the moth.
"I'm fine, Julie. I've cut back on AA meetings. One a month. Sandy's back at the DA's office. The boys are coming back next week for a few days and I've finally mastered the art of soufflé." Kirsten shook her head slowly.
"Did I really say that last part? Fuck…" She turned, not noticing Julie's furrowed brows at the use of another swear word. The Kirsten she knew didn't swear much.
"Kirsten, can we interest you in some healthy debate over the assumed communication between Dali and Poe? Sandy tells us you've studied art history." Kirsten was grabbed by Dr Phillips and led back inside before she could protest. She took a place next to Sandy and immediately caught the thread of discussion. In a spare moment of her time, she felt Sandy's hand run up her back while his voice tickled at her ear.
"Truth is, I just got you in here so you'd be next to me. I'm ready for that dress to be on the floor." Kirsten looked up at him, put a hand behind her back to clasp his fingers.
"When you recover from your glittering social performance, call me. I feel like a frothy coffee and some truffles." Kirsten deleted Julie's message off the answering machine and poured herself a chai tea before settling at the table. She and Sandy had finally managed to get away from the party towards midnight, and they'd made it into the entrance way before Kirsten's dress was on the floor. She'd picked it up this morning, put it in a dry cleaner's bag. She'd also utilised the time that Sandy was out surfing to move the baggie from her bag back to the spice tin. She'd debated whether to flush it or not, write it off as a mistake that could be bigger than the alcohol had been. Instead, it was burning a hole in the back of her mind with its presence, its ability to change her from a boring, sober housewife to a charming social butterfly, like she had been in days past.
"Hey." Kirsten leant back in her chair to see Sandy walk down the hallway. His Berkeley pullover was wet on the shoulders from his hair and his feet were bare. He had the morning paper in his hand, and he dropped it on the table in front of her before pouring himself a coffee.
"How was the surf?" Kirsten picked up her tea and took a sip.
"Brilliant. Waves were peaking at five foot, breeze was mild and the sand bar was mildly deserted. Just me and the ocean, honey." Sandy smiled, remembering, as he took a sip of his coffee. Kirsten nodded, turned to the paper. The phone rang and she turned a page as Sandy picked it up.
"Hey, Ryan! How're things down there… Good, good…. I did. Five footers. You wouldn't believe…" His voice drifted off as he exchanged the kitchen for the dining room, and Kirsten allowed herself a wry smile. She wondered when Ryan would learn to stop asking about surfing; Sandy would always talk his ear off. He kept the details with Kirsten to a minimum, having learnt from her eye rolling and sighing when he was trying to explain how he'd ridden right through a barrel that she really wasn't interested. Ryan, meanwhile, hadn't managed to get past his innate politeness yet, even after the years he'd spent with them. Kirsten flicked past more news stories before coming across the crossword puzzle. She found a pen in the sideboard and started filling it in.
"Great news, honey." Kirsten was stuck on 19 down when Sandy came back to the kitchen.
"Hmm?" She said as Sandy sank into the chair beside her. He looked over her shoulder.
"Knight. Gladys Knight. Singer." Kirsten shook her head at the way Sandy would know the name of a singer and wrote the word in.
"We're going to Washington." Kirsten looked at Sandy, wondering where this had come from. Last she'd heard, there was no trip to Washington in the pipeline.
"Why?" She asked, the crossword abandoned.
"Well, Ryan told me he might have to talk to you about a construction company in Washington for a project he's doing at college. Meanwhile, I've got some time off coming up and we haven't been there since Seth was a kid. I rang him and he said he's got a week off coming up so we can work around that. I'll book the tickets today." Sandy looked excited and Kirsten nodded slowly. She'd liked Washington; the art galleries, the history. She wanted to see the boys again, too.
"Is that the time already?" Sandy caught sight of his watch and his eyebrows drew together briefly in a frown as he got up.
"I thought you got all weekend off?" Kirsten said. Sandy paused at the sink as he set his coffee cup down.
"If I'm going to take some time off, I'd better get some brownie points." He disappeared down the hallway, and, turning the paper over to the political section, Kirsten used her pen and some space on the forehead of Arnold Schwarzenegger; the man did have a large forehead, to start a list of what they should see while they were down there.
I think there might be a GMP forming here (what we fic writers – or maybe only I like to call a Grand Master Plan). Not everyone starts off with a storyline embedded. I rarely do. As you may be able to tell. Lol. But this could be heading somewhere… And who is Jambled if she doesn't have angst? (hint, hint). PS I'd just like to take a moment to buff my nails and point out that this… This is quite a sizeable update and I'm feelin' a little proud. Heh. Reviews; good or bad