A/N: I started this when extremely bored in study class, and finished this chapter in the hour I was waiting for my pizza last night with my mother in an absolutely stupid mood (I love her so much) playing obscene word games and throwing salami at the waiter, and let's not mention peeing ourselves in the movie theater because we could see spit flying from Ben Chaplin's mouth when he was giving Mark Anthony's balcony speech in Me and Orson Welles (brilliant movie. Love you forever, Mum.)
Anywho, those of you who only decided to read this story because you think Gavin is "so beautiful it's impossible to talk to him, you just want to have sex with him" (his words, not mine), I apologise; he's not actually here yet. He'll come along later, when he's needed to make the story flow. I also apologise for the chronic unoriginality of the events in this story: absolutey all of them except the Charades game (thanks again, Mum, for the stampede idea) and the one-on-one conversations with Courtenay were stolen from the deleted scenes on disc.
I own nothing, of course, except the clothes on my back, and Courtenay.
Updates should be reasonable; I'm managing to churn the stuff out quite fast. Anyway, I hope you enjoy... free cookie for each review!
-for youThey were sunbathing when I got there, twenty-two years old, broke and broken through too many cigarettes and late-night drinks and too much rock music. I'm still convinced that it was the rock music that did it, which makes ironic sense in ways Mum wouldn't even begin to understand. Sending me to the boat was her last resort, her 'oh-no-you-didn't' reaction to the final straw, that shout where her voice broke in anger: "Go live with your father!"
Sometimes I wonder if she even knew the man. Then I realise that if she did, she wouldn't have wasted years of my life trying to straighten me out. I was always more like Dad. I think that's what hurt her the most, that after twenty-two years of living with her, only her, day in and day out, I still turned out to be more like a man she'd known for a few hours, and the only thing he'd ever given her was his sperm.
I don't think she knew about the radio. I also think this was probably a good thing. If she'd known he was the one who gave me the means to play Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones at top volume twenty-four/seven she would have blown some kind of steam valve.
So, anyway, there they were, just lying there in the sun, doing nothing, looking like they'd been doing it for too long to mention stopping. I'd worn skimpy orange shorts because of the weather, and the moment I saw the assortment of bacheloresque males lying on Radio Rock's deck, I regretted the decision.
No, actually. It was the moment they saw me. The way they jumped up and ran to the railings like bulls in a farmer's paddock. I began to feel enormously intimidated.
Dad wasn't there. In fact, he hadn't even told them I was coming. As I climbed over the railing, feeling like I was about to be charged, a tubby blonde man with a generous covering of facial insulation took my hand and kissed it with a strongly American comment of "What can a bunch of guys like us do for a girl like you?"
I removed my hand from his reach and tried not to wipe it on my shorts. "I'm looking for Quentin? I'm Courtenay. Didn't he tell you I was coming?"
A man at he back of the crowd, wearing very square glasses and reminding me irresistibly of Kermit the Frog squeaked out "I'll go get him" and ran away.
"Well, Courtenay," the blonde man purred, "I'm the Count."
"Oh, you're the Count?" I repeated, suddenly excited. "I'd imagined you to be less… um…"
"Handsome?" he suggested, rubbing his beard. I shook my head, grinning.
"Pudgy," put in a thickset man with ginger hair and tartan shorts and an accent I couldn't place.
That was the word I'd been looking for, but I settled for "Hairy."
In the next few minutes, I was introduced to the people I'd been listening to for years: Angus 'the Nut' Nutsford, Simple Simon Swafford, Dr. Dave, Thick Kevin and even Midnight Mark lifted a cigarette at me from where he lay topside.
Then the door that led inside opened and out stepped an unnaturally thin and wiry man wearing a suit and scarf despite the weather. I knew him at once, even though I'd never met him. He looked exactly like he sounded on paper.
I would have hugged and probably even kissed him, despite not being a typically emotional person, but he didn't really seem the type.
"Hello, Darling," he said in that way he has, that I didn't know back then but now recognise faster than my face in the mirror. "I see you've been introduced to the crew."
He turned to the rest of them in a matter-of-fact way. "Crew, this is my daughter Courtenay. I probably should have mentioned it earlier, but she'll be living with us until she gets bored." He looked at me sideways. "Or until her mother claims her back." I shared his grin.
"Daughter?" came the loud question from Dr. Dave, the fat bloke in the thick glasses. "Quentin, how did you make something that gorgeous?" I would have blushed if I'd found him even remotely attractive.
"I assure you it was accidental," Dad replied airily. "Now. I'd just like to make it clear to all of you that there are some rules around this arrangement." He said it in a way that from anyone else would have seemed businesslike, but from him made me want to laugh. "Number One: on no account is she to fall in love with any of you. That means hands will need to be kept in pockets," he looked pointedly at Dr. Dave. "Number Two: her gender does not automatically put her ahead of you when it comes to cooking and dishes and all that stuff. Got it?" I grinned as they all nodded obediently. "Good. Well then, Courtenay," he said, turning to me and opening his arms quirkily, "Welcome aboard."
I hugged him, albeit gently; he was so skinny I thought he might break.
I hadn't expected him to be so fatherly. I mean, he was, and all, but I'd never met the guy before. That first day he treated me like I'd just come back from spending a year at my mother's, not a lifetime. But I wasn't complaining; that day, a month before the Christmas leading up to my twenty-third birthday, heralded the coming of the best years of my life.
For a while, Dad was a bit over-protective. He'd stop the boys from playing pratical jokes on me and make sure I was first in the bathroom in the morning. Then he realised that I'd rather make my own way and earn my place with them, put up with the whoopee-cushions on my seat and fight my way into the bathroom queue rather than have their affection forced by his hand.
That Christmas he hired a cook, Felicity; he said he was sick of the quality of food on the boat, but I think he did it to give me some female company. Felicity was bubbly and bright, although a little meek and timid, and I loved her assortment of bright knitted jerseys and hats.
Then, for my twenty-third birthday in April, the boys banded together and shifted room for me on the air; soon I was broadcasting with the others. It was the best thing in the world, knowing that ninety-three million people were listening to me and my music and loving me for exactly who I was, which I'd never had before. The DJs on Radio Rock didn't care if I smoked too many cigarettes or played too much Jimi Hendrix. They, too, loved me for who I was, not who they wanted me to be.
I wouldn't have gone back to Mum for the world. Dad knew that, too, and it was funny to watch his face every time he mentioned her, which he did compulsively at first, then relaxed and started to let it go.
Today he seemed nervous somehow, and I considered the fact that I could tell some sort of momentous induction into the tribe of Radio Rock. Quentin had this air of ease and class about him, an impeccable calm that was impossible to shake.
"Court," he said casually, the two of us ensconced cosily in his cabin drinking Cognac, "how would you feel if my godson Carl came to live with us?"
"Do I know Carl?" I asked; he was asking as though I might object.
"So why are you asking me? You didn't ask everyone if it was all right when I turned up, did you? You didn't even tell them I was coming!"
"No," he replied. "But you're my daughter and I felt like I should ask you first."
I smiled. "Would now be an appropriate time to tell you that I love you?"
He smiled back and patted my hand assuredly. "I wanted so badly to make a good impression on you. I wanted to be a real father to you, you know?"
"Well, you succeeded," I replied lightly. The rush of affection I was feeling for my old man spilled out of my mouth cheesily. "You're the best father I could ever imagine. Honest, Dad. So, what's Carl like?"
"I don't know," he said, chuckling. "I've never met him."
I left twenty minutes later feeling thoroughly touched. I'd never felt like Mum thought I was anything more than a burden, but Dad treated me like a princess even before we met. And even though I was twenty-five years old now, it still felt good to be somebody's angel. Daddy's girl through and through, I turned out to be.
Outside the cabin, I walked straight into the Count. "Whoa, watch it, girlie," he said, picking me up and putting me back on my feet. I don't know why he called me girlie; an American thing, I guess. "So, what's going on?"
I grinned; the Count knew that the best way to get the latest news was to ask me. "Daddy's godson Carl's mother apparently had the same idea as mine, so he's coming to live on the boat… hey," I said suddenly as the thought struck me, "is there enough room?"
"Yeah, he can bunk with Thick Kevin." I smiled, imagining what bunking with Thick Kevin would be like. "I actually came down here to let you guys know dinner's up."
"Wow," I said. "You came all this way just to tell us that there was food where you came from? Talk about a workout." I poked his expanse of stomach. He chuckled dryly.
"Well, you don't eat enough," he replied, poking my stomach in turn. I tensed. "Jesus, that's hard. Do you do sit-,ups in your room or something?"
I snorted. "Hardly. I swim, you know that. It's really not that hard," I teased. He looked down at himself ruefully. "And I don't think you thought it over when you came down."
"Getting down the stairs is the easy part. It's going back up." He looked back up the stairs and I could see my friendly jibe reflected in his lively eyes.
I liked the Count; he had an easy, laid-back manner and was extremely easy to wind up. He'd been new on the boat when I was, a replacement for the great Gavin Kavanagh that I'd been so desperate to meet. He teased me flirtatiously, but I always knew he wasn't the slightest bit serious about wanting to screw me. I slapped his stomach again and darted up the stairs; his surprised laugh followed me eerily, but he didn't take the bait.
Back on deck, the nightly game, Charades tonight, was in full swing. Everyone held plates laden with bacon butties, the oil seeping quietly through the bread. I could have kissed Felicity. Her bacon sandwiches were to die for. I grabbed the Count's plate off the benchtop. "I love you, Felicity," I told her earnestly. She smiled meekly, noticing that I hadn't taken my usual plate but saying nothing.
I sat down between Dave and Simon. Dave ignored me; Simon took one look at my plate and laughed. "Can you fit all that in your little stomach?" he asked.
"I don't know," I replied truthfully, "but I'm going to try." He grinned. "And besides, I always know you'll carry me to bed if I eat so much I can't move."
"All right!" Dave cried exuberantly. "My turn!" He bounced up and took a card.
The floor shook as he jumped up and landed heavily. "Earthquake," I guessed. He gave me a scathing look and repeated the gesture with one foot.
"Stamp." I looked up as the Count walked in with Quentin. I shrank back in my seat and took a huge bite of my sandwich, trying not to sigh with pleasure.
The Count noticed straightaway. "Courtenay," he said, picking up the larger of the two plates and advancing on me threateningly "I believe you have something that belongs to me."
I shook my head, my mouth full. "Nope." I fully expected him to retaliate, but to my surprise, he laughed and went to sit in an armchair.
Dave had stopped his jumping at the Count's 'stamp' guess and now had his hand curled around his groin as though relieving himself, exaggerating the gesture until all of us immature people were nearly doing it ourselves with laughter.
"Pee," the Count suggested calmly. It was a clear sign that our conversation was over, which left me defeated and put out with the mother of all bacon sandwiches on my knee. I took another bite happily and let the taste smother my tongue; it wouldn't be the mother of all bacon sandwiches for long.
Dave was motioning for more with one hand while still gripping his imaginary penis with the other. "Peeing?" Simon tried hopefully. Dave mime-zipped his fly.
"Peed!" Angus cried.
I jumped up. "Stampede!"
"Yes!" I triumphantly minced to the scoreboard and drew up points under mine and Dave's name.
Much later, Angus, Simon and Dave carried me to bed, and life on Radio Rock progressed as normal.
A/N: Yes? Working? Next chapter I'm taking the idea from the deleted scene 'Eggs' from the movie and I'll steadily work my way through all 12 or so of the ones I can incorporate in, somehow or another. No, I'm not just going to re-tell the story of the film with an extra character added in; the only event I think I'll go over in any detail is Simon and Elenor's marriage and split etc, and that just to build Gavin's character. I don't foresee any slash or pairings of any kind, really. Just platonic. Review with feedback/suggestions and I will send a picture of a cookie or a cake to you; if you give a really detailed review I'll send both. OK? See you next time!