I don't really know what to say about the lateness, other than blatant excuses. Thanks to vanillalady56 for reminding me i have a duty
also, this chapter is just mostly fun, nothing too action-ey

Chapter 11: Bet

"Alors, Mesdames, you will be receiving your very simple words of the day tomorrow morning." Dave said, adding his odd way of including French vocabulary.

"How did Count say this worked again?" Molly asked.

"Each day, you get a word, and they get harder as the week goes by." The Count said from afar, startling us, because he was sitting across the room and we were speaking lowly, not really wanting to sound like amateurs. Which was pointless really, we hardly got any respect anyways.

We tried to look inconspicuous, but everyone was chuckling at our anxiety. The Count was a tough one to beat. Molly ended up leaving to record, and Dave followed, but only because you could really tell he wanted to bang her. Let's face it; she wouldn't be as resistant.

I was sitting by myself playing solitaire ironically, when Count came by with a cigarette and two full beers.

"Well hello mate!" I exclaimed, happy for the beer more than the company.

"God, I can't get over your stupid accents."

"They ain't stupid." I said in a decent western accent.

"Touché." He said, finally sitting beside me, and handed me the beer. "So, want to play fifty-two pick up?" He asked.

I eyed him lazily, "Dave already tried that one last week. Was not amused."

"Fair enough. So I heard about you and Mark."

I snorted, and put down my beer, almost knocking it over. Absolutely no subtlety, which is something I guess I could respect.

"What happened?"

"Nothing." I said simply.

"That's not what he said."

"It's hard to believe Mark would say anything." I mentioned with a smirk. I was not at all surprised that the boys would exaggerate something like this.

"Well?" He said expectantly. I was still a little iffy about him; he, after all, was the first to accept Gavin back into the crew. I mean, I'll live, but it was a little sore of a subject.

"I asked him if he would sleep with me." I said, trying to relax.

"Did you?" he leaned in, and he smelled of cigarettes and booze. Typical.

I started, "Well no, didn't he tell you that?" He paused, and smiled while looking away; obviously a different story was told. "No, of course not." I said, completing his thoughts.

He chuckled, and patted my shoulder, making me feel younger again. "So why would you do that?" he was still laughing.

"I just wanted to see what the big deal is."

It was his turn to give his snort of disbelief, and I lowered my head in mock shame. "And you were always this hotshot with the ladies?" I asked to bring him down to earth.

"If you really wanted to, you could've just asked me." He said, gesturing to himself, and completely ignoring my question. I shall assume he was once a loser.

"You're a couple pounds on the plus side, but definitely bangable." I assured him, patting his protruding stomach amicably. "Besides, Gavin's beat you to the punch line. But I'm going to have the last say in who..." I waved my hand for the evident continuation.

"Right, right. Well, if you ever need any help in that department, just remember: every other Saturday is open for you."

I laughed, "You're fucking disgusting."

"As well as every other night." He laughed it off too, even though we both knew he wasn't kidding. But I realized that this was the first time we've ever had a conversation alone in a while. Perhaps I'd better make the best of it.

"So what's your story?" I asked him. I remembered listening to him when he first started on Radio Rock, and he wasn't a disappointment.

"I'm not that interesting, trust me." I could tell though, that he was only egging me on.

"I'm sure. Just tell me!" I said, leaning into the crook of his arm.

"Okay, okay, if you insist." He started off comically by looking mystifyingly into some distance, "It all started when I was a kid, growing up in the states. You know back then I had an actual name. It was—"

"Well, well. Not a bad upkeep on your part Count." Gavin said loudly from the doorway, cutting off Count's surprisingly interesting backstory.

"What now?" I asked back, equally as loud, feeling a little stronger under the wing—however flabby—of the Count.

"Just remember what the you-know-what entails." He said while gallivanting away. I stood to follow him and question him, but he'd make some fuss about it. Besides, the Count was right on my doorstep, and a lot less… Gavin-ey. However, Gavin was being rather nice as of late. So I whipped around the face him, just as he was about to make a break for it. I pushed him back down with my toes, and crossed my arms. Sit-ups weren't his forte.

"God, I really gotta start working out." He muttered.

I started, "So."

"So." He said back, looking anywhere but me.



"What was that that Kavanagh brought up?" I asked sweetly. "Hmm?"

"Bet? What bet?" He questioned mischievously.

I sat on the arm of the couch, and said: "I know it has absolutely everything to do with me."

"Maybe." He leaned back, opening himself up.

"Just fucking tell me." I demanded.

He flinched, "Potty mouth." He sighed though, and continued, "Telling you would ruin the fun."

"Fine, just as long as it has nothing to do with sex, I'm over it." I said casually, but halted short, when I saw some guilty smile on his face. I smacked his arm.

"What?" He exclaimed, and retreated further into the couch.

"I wouldn't do it to you." I said, finally backing off, and turning. I looked back over my shoulder, and he looked put out.

"Look at me!" He said with a laugh. "I ain't no Mick Jagger." I winced at the mention of that name, but continued.

"You don't give yourself enough credit." I said, dropping back down to sit next to him. "I mean you do manage to keep yourself busy every other weekend."

He chuckled, letting me sweet-talk him.

"And I have been thinking… it would be nice to be with someone with experience." I said. He wasn't looking at me, but I could see his eyes bug out a bit. "The others wouldn't mind, would they?" I leaned into his shoulder, and I could feel goose bumps raise on his upper arm. After all, when was the last time he's ever been romanced by someone my age?

"Well, they always wanted to know who the heck you were interested in." He said.

"I was never very sure."

He paused.

"But, there is something I need from you." I said making sure to ooze sexuality, and his eyebrows raised higher, "My first word of the week." I snapped upwards, bolting for the door, while he groaned in defeat.

"Tease!" He shouted as I stuck my tongue out on my way back to my room.

I sniggered silently, happy for the relief of tension. The boys and I were on equal playing grounds, because I had all the power, it seemed. And hey, I probably wouldn't sleep with any of them, but it was oh so satisfying to see them squirm. Serves the idiots right. Two sides can play their stupid game.

Much later, I was on my way to my next show with Gavin, eager to start, and for my regular banter with him. He was already set, telling me to hurry, as Dave had already finished up, only his last song remaining. I slid into my swivel chair seamlessly, and winked at Gavin.

"Busy today, aren't we?" He asked harmlessly. I was all ready to play dumb, since I figured Count was too proud to admit that he gave their fun away, at least not yet.

"Hmm?" I asked, with just the right amount of innocence.

"You were all over him." He muttered.

"What I do with my body is absolutely none of your business. Do we need to have this discussion again?"

"Perhaps. As I recall, you seemed to enjoy our last discussion." I faintly saw the red on air light flicker on.

Damn. That was a good one. "Alright, but jeez Gav, no one says anything about your taste in women."

"Uh, Meryl, we're live."

I paused, but then smirked at Gavin. It had been on long enough to hear me insult him, thank god. Maybe my sister was somehow listening, and took hint to the jab.

"Well played." He said good-naturedly. He's in a rather upbeat mood today.

"I try. Anyways, audience you are back to the best show on air," I glanced up and winked at Dave, "and we've got a pretty good show lined up, especially since you sent in your polls, we'll be discussing the top ten things you hate in a partner."

"Yes, and I think you'll find out which ones Meryl is guilty of." Gavin turned on the tunes, and we had a good-hearted laugh. Though, I couldn't help but feel wary.

It had been getting better between us, and if he hadn't been apart of that stupid bet thing, I'd say we were close to being friends. But I can't say I'm surprised at his participation. The record was mid-play, and we were in the midst of getting Harold to set up our playlist, and when he returned with a few more selections, he slipped a paper onto my desk.

I looked at the small inoffensive paper slip. So, finally, I was in on the joke. Dave said earlier that the words were supposed to be easy this early in the week, so I was prepared.

I opened it up, and in his messy scrawl was written: whore. I sniggered. If this is some sort of message, then it's not very good.

"Well, easy enough." I stated. Gavin looked over in interest, and I showed him, and he wrinkled his nose.

"Rather interesting as a first." He nodded, but smirked.

Carefully, we ran down the chosen topic for our show.

"And one of the last things to hate in a partner… Drumroll." Gavin said. Harold had come in with his little snare.

I pulled a paper out of the hat we had arranged, and read it. "Immaturity. Good pick, dear listeners, and what a ghastly trait it is to have. This could very well be something your sweet someone could be doing. Do you find them shouting at you for nonsensical reasons? Or, maybe they are a bit too interested in the childrens' books lying around, like the classic Dr. Suess book, Hor…ton Hears A Who. If this is the case, a short goodbye is in order, unless you plan on babying him until you're both eighty."

I cringed at the execution perhaps being a tad too direct, but I got Simon to spit his tea back into his cup, so I must have done something right.

I smirked, when I saw Count next after my show, letting him know I was game for anything.

"That was too easy." He muttered, but nonetheless patted my shoulder on the way by.

Close to supper, I was sitting in my room with Carl and Molly, laughing at Count's easy test.

"My word was easy, I can't wait for the end of the week. What a softy." I said.

"What was your word?" Justice asked.

"Whore." I said simply.

"Wait, wait, you had whore?" Molly asked while breaking into a fit of giggles.

"What?" I asked, still not done insulting Count in the most amicable way possible.

"Sorry to say, but you had it way worse. I just had to say pickle." She snorted, and nudged my arm.

"Good luck the rest of the week." Carl said, while biting into his shepherd's pie.

"Ah heck." I said in a hick accent. I also internally cursed myself for running my mouth. "Well, I won't give up without the last laugh."

"We never had the impression you would." Carl said, patting my shoulder. Carl was an interesting subject lately. He seemed to be nice to me, even now. But I could see some sort of mistrust. It frustrated me to no end. But I guess I'd forget about it as long as he didn't start any weird conversations like all those weeks ago.

"Good." I said, eager for second helpings.

I went to the dining room-ish place and the only thing stopping me from getting me to the tray of food were four conniving boys; they could hardly be called men if you took into account their actions. I guess the same view could be used on me. Anyways, the moment I walked in, it was silent, and Dave, Mark, Gavin and Count rounded their heads to glance. Angus was sitting with them too, but in terms of this little bet they had going, he didn't seem to be in the running. Though of course why Dave would be there too is beyond me.

"Hello." I said slowly.

"Hey." Dave said, trying his best to appear seductive. I can't see why that Marianne girl would have done anything with him.

I cleared my throat, and slipped behind Gavin's chair, but he slid out, and his chair pinned my trailing leg.

I snorted. "Nice try." On try, I shoved his chair back easily enough, especially since he was rather thin.

They just sniggered. I shook my head and grabbed another plateful, when they poked at my appetite. "That's going straight to your hips, you know that." Dave said.

"And you're one to talk, Dave." I said, though I don't think he minded all that much.

"Ow." He pretended to be shot.

"Please," I said, while grinning at his antics. I gathered my food, and turned to leave, getting past Gavin again, this time he didn't try to stop me. When I reached the door, I turned around to face them and opened my mouth, but I didn't say anything for some reason. It suddenly bothered me that they were sitting together. I cleared my throat and left abruptly.

I mentally slapped myself for letting them get to me. I guess I'll soon make quick work of them and them that their tricks won't bother me.

Over and over that night, I chastised myself, criticizing every single detail I remember myself doing in the past few weeks. If I wasn't so damn slutty, this might not have happened. Or, pretend-slutty. This probably resulted from me fake-throwing my cat around and they were fed up.

Maybe I should just pick one of them, and be done with it. The chase won't be all that fun after, if I'm just like Molly or Justice. Then it will get back to competing for airtime.

After much debate, it was early enough to go see Bob, since it was clear I was not going to sleep a wink.

"Bob I have a problem."

"More so than usual?" He asked, adjusting his mike, and setting down his first few records.

"I guess you could say that. It's about sex."

He paused shortly before setting down his things, "And what have you to worry about that?"

"Do you live under a rock?" I asked, before remembering whom I was talking to. "Right, well more specifically a first time."

"Well, its not so bad, just stick it in and—"

"Bob, female here."

"Oh, right yes, well I suppose it's a bit different then," He said thoughtfully. I was glad he didn't seem too embarrassed about the subject, but from what he's said from back in his day, I didn't really expect that.

"I could give you a whole speech, about abstinence, and some fifties' values crap, but what would that do? Look at you. The most I can say is that you got to make sure it's with someone you tolerate." His voice rose at the end, in a way he probably didn't realize, but it made my stomach feel weird. I didn't really love anyone here, and I was looking for sex. I mean, some people were barely tolerable, but I didn't actually love them.

But I can't help but wonder how much more different this conversation would have gone if I were a boy. The thought made me chuckle uneasily. Well, I can't see Mark's father telling him to hold back. Hell, I'm slightly impressed by him, if I'm in a good mood, and I forget that I almost got it on with him.

"I didn't peg you as someone who would say that, no offence." I managed.

"None taken." He hummed to himself, and went back to selecting him music.

Once again, I woke early in the morning, finding myself alone after dozing during Bob's show. He had gotten used to leaving a lot, and me, leaving. I was lazily rising from my comfortable couch, when Simon came in. He didn't see me right away, and gave a jump when I said "Hi."

"Oh, hello." His voice was cheery, yet relieved; I could tell he had had his morning cup of tea.

"Where's Bob?" He asked.

I sat up. "Well, he's probably left already, it must be the last song." I tried to fix my hopeless hair so I would at least look presentable, but gave up as usual. "It's a long one," As it usually is. Bob sometimes likes to leave enough time for Simon to come down. I was a bit sceptical, since Simon knew this. Well, I couldn't blame him for attempting to make conversation. I was never usually here long enough to meet up with Simon a whole lot.

It got quiet again, while Simon got ready for his set, but he spoke again. "It's Christmas soon."

"Yeah, yeah, I'm pretty excited about that." I stood to stretch.

"Are ya going ashore?" He asked nonchalant.

I hesitated. I hadn't exactly tried to make plans. "I dunno, I figure I'll try and fudge things up with Marlow and her boyfriend. To be honest, I'm surprised they've lasted."

"Yeah…" He smiled in concurrence, but I didn't expect that he fully followed my distress. Given the chance, every man on this ship would risk pushing my sister off of Big Ben to have a chance by Mick Jagger's side. I wouldn't blame them. It wouldn't hurt my opinion of them either.

"Well, it's been fun, but I'm off to bed."

"Oh, hold on, I'm supposed to give you this." A hand pulled me back by my wrist, but the meagre contact made me stop anyways. I flickered my gaze to his hand, but paid my best attention to his other hand, which held a white slip. Damn.

I took it and went to turn, but Simon had this half-expectant look on his face. I sighed, unfolded the small piece of paper, and read "Intercourse."

Well played.

Hopefully the next one comes quicker folks, sorry. and by quicker, i mean slightly less than last time. Well, in the meantime, youz could readz my chapters over, because its been so long you've most likely forgotten the happenings