Thursday, 27 December 2012

I'm having a Christmas giveaway.  Use the code JW43T to get your free download of Heaven Knows This Time from Smashwords.

This is a limited time offer, the code expires on 3rd January 2013 so hurry up and get your free copy now!

Smashwords - 
Heaven Knows This Time

Amazon reviewers say:

"You just cant help fall in love with the characters. A really really great read!"

"This book had me hooked from the first chapter and I was gutted when it finished."

"This is such a wonderful read, the characters had me gripped from the first page. Took me a day to read it all and I will probably read it again now."

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A taster of Being Isobel

Not content with rushing around the shops in the Christmas crowds, baking up a storm for school Christmas fair and wrapping the children's presents, this week I have also been editing my NaNoWriMo novella.

It's called Being Isobel and it follows the story of Tracey Smith,  a young erotic author who gets more than she bargained for when she comes face to face with the object of her desires.

Her fantasies are a million miles away from the reality of living in a Sheffield council flat with her young son and violent boyfriend.  They say be careful what you wish for and Tracey learns just how true the saying is!

Being Isobel will be avilable as a free download very soon.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Nearly Christmas!

It's chaos at our house as we're busy ready getting ready for Christmas, as you can tell by the state of my desk!  In between baking star shaped cookies for the cookie tree and writing Christmas cards I've been busy with my writing.

I'm currently editing the third novel in the Heaven Knows trilogy.  I still don't have a title for it yet - suggestions on a postcard please!  LOL!  It's a little different from the first two novels as some of the story is told from Miles's perspective.  It's very dark in places, I push the characters to their limits but it's not all doom and gloom, there is romance, humour and plenty of soppy bits.

If you can wait for the next novel I've been updating Lora's Secret Diary.  You can read the latest instalment here:

I'm very proud to announce that I successfully completed this years NaNoWriMo.  My novella, Being Isobel, was verified and I'm now a certified winner :)

The story changed a little from my original idea, sometimes my characters tell me what is going to happen next and who am I to argue?  It all worked out in the end and I'm currently working on publishing it for free on Kindle.  I'm aiming to have it out before Christmas as a little gift to say thanks for all the support you've given me this year.  I couldn't have done it without you!

Clair  xx

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

I've decided to give myself a bit of a challenge over the coming month.  I've signed up for NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month.  The challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  It's not going to be easy but as I tend to write quite fast it should be just about doable.

I've already have an idea for a story in the back of my head.  When I wrote Heaven Knows This Time I cast models and actors in the part of the characters and put them on a Pinterest board.  I soon discovered that I wasn't the only author who did this, and even readers cast their crushes as the leading character in their favourite novels.  I mean, just about everyone I know has an opinion on who should play Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades movie ;)

That gave me an idea for a story.  Picture a 20 something single mum who writes erotic novels in her spare time.  She drools over photographs of hot young men on the internet for inspiration for her steamy romances and she has a crush on one particular tall, dark handsome creature.  He's the lead in her latest novel, she's built him up to be this strong, romantic, totally perfect man and he's gone beyond being just a character, she's completely obsessed with him.  After a girls night in with her best friend (and a couple of bottles of wine) she sends him a message on Twitter, telling him he's the hero of her novel.  The next day she's shocked when he replies!

I won't spoil the story, you'll have to wait until the end of November to read it.

If you want to learn more about NaNoWriMo visit the website -

Saturday, 27 October 2012

It's official - it's a trilogy!

I'm having a little celebration.  I have just finished writing book three which means it's officially a trilogy!  Woo hoo!  I guess when I finally finish writing Lora's Secret Diary it will be a trilogy of four parts but who's counting?

The third book is as yet untitled.  I still haven't decided what to call it.  It's funny, I can write one hundred thousand words no problem, but I can't for the life of me write a title!

It continues the story of Angel and Miles, six months on from the end of Another Perfect Angel.  Unknown Pleasures have made the big time and have just returned from touring the USA but all is not well in Angel's world.  I won't go into details but the story is much darker than the other two, bad things happen, the characters have to deal with some very difficult situations and personal struggles.

It's not all doom and gloom though.  There is romance, humour, drama, a wedding and more than a few surprises!  The story introduces a few new characters and it's every bit as gripping as the previous two books.  I don't have any plans to continue writing about Angel, although I wrote an epilogue to book three that gives a snapshot of the future of her family.  I really enjoyed writing that so I may revisit them in the future.

I find it difficult to believe I've written three full length novels in less than twelve months, but I have, thanks in no small part to the support of my family and friends.  Writing has become my little obsession and I hope to continue.  I already have an idea for a story, I'm not sure if it will be a novel or a short story, I'll have to start writing and see what happens.  In the meantime I've got book three to edit and proof read and hopefully publish some time in 2013.  No rest for the wicked ; )

Friday, 28 September 2012

Another Perfect Angel - Out Now!


It's been a lot of hard work, there have been tears, laughter (mostly at my stupid typos) but finally it's finished!

I'm pleased to announce that Another Perfect Angel is now available to purchase from Amazon and Smashwords.  It's the sequel to my debut novel, Heaven Knows This Time, and it continues the story of Angel and Miles as they embark on their relationship together.

Nothing ever seems to go to plan in Angel's life.  She discovers that Miles has been hiding a secret from his past and she struggles with the physical and emotional challenges when she discovers she is unexpectedly pregnant with his child.

It's another emotional roller coaster of a book, with an ex trying to stir things up for them and a stranger who is trying to steal Angel's inheritance.  Is their love strong enough to carry them through?

I hope you enjoy the book and I'd really love to know what you think.  Post a message here or better still write a review.  Your comments are very much appreciated.



Sunday, 26 August 2012

A busy week!


This week has been pretty busy.  We celebrated my daughter's 8th birthday with a visit to Yorkshire Wildlife Park.  The highlight was seeing a tiger from about 2 yards away.  It was totally amazing!

In other news I've just finished proof reading Another Perfect Angel.  Hopefully I'll make my self imposed deadline of publishing in August but in the mean time I've posted the second chapter as a taster on the Another Perfect Angel blog.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Lora's Secret Diary


I've been working on a little side project recently - Lora's Secret Diary.  I love Lora's character and wanted to do more with her so I thought why not let her tell her own story in the form of a diary.  It starts with Lora aged 17, before she met Spyder, and it introduces Simon as he was before he met Angel.

Lora's Secret Diary

I had a lot of fun writing and I'm not finished yet.  The plan is to serialise the diary on a blog and then publish it as an eBook.

I've put the first 3 entries up on the blog and there will me more posted soon so be sure to follow it to keep update with Lora's antics!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Something FREE for the Weekend?


How is the weather where you are?  I think the summer has passed us by, we've got rain, rain and more rain!  All I want to do is curl up with a good book, a nice cup of tea and a big plate of chocolate biscuits.

So, for this weekend only I have decided to offer 'Heaven Knows This Time' for free!  Yes, you can download a full copy of the book and not have to pay a penny for it.

To get your free copy of the book go to:

and use the coupon


The book is available in various formats.  You don't need a Kindle to read it, you can download free software so you can read it on your PC, laptop, tablet PC or your smart phone.  

The coupon expires 23/7/2012 so hurry!

I hope you enjoy it!  If you do tell your friends, or even better write a review!  I'd love to know what you think.  Thanks!


Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Another Perfect Angel - Synopsis


I'm so busy at the moment editting and proof reading Another Perfect Angel, the sequel to Heaven Knows This Time.  I've just written a brief synopsis and posted it on the microsite blog.

It's going very well, I've designed the cover and hopefully it will be ready for release in August :)


Thursday, 5 July 2012

Coming soon: Another Perfect Angel


I've capped my fountain pen, saved the Word document and I am very pleased to announce I have finished writing the sequel to Heaven Knows This Time.  Yay!

The novel is called 'Another Perfect Angel' and it continues the story of Miles and Angel as they embark on their relationship together.  Nothing ever goes smoothly for Angel, there are a few ups, downs and major events on the rollercoaster that is her life.  There are surprises, new characters and happy events too as you get to the know the characters more intimately.

Angel is pushed to her limits, her strength is tested as she tries to hold it all together but with Miles and her unconventional family by her side she finds a way to make it through.

If you just can't wait to read it I have posted a draft of the first chapter here:

I've still got a lot of work to do, editting, proof reading and designing a cover for the book, so I'm afraid you'll have to wait a few weeks for the finished book, but in the mean time I hope you enjoy chapter 1 and I'd love to know what you think.

Oh yeah, I have been asked if there will be a 3rd book in the series (what is it about trilogies?).  I didn't have any plans for one but an idea struck me the other day.  I'm still trying to figure out the details but I've been well and truly bitten by this writing bug and I can't seem to stop!  If I do ever write the 3rd book it will be much darker, quite challenging but hopefully it will be as gripping as ever.


Friday, 15 June 2012

Shameless Self Promotion

If I thought writing a novel was challenging, it's nothing compared to promoting one!  I'm sure all my friends and family are fed up with me spamming Facebook and Twitter with links to where they can buy my book from (and many thanks to all of you who did!) but it's very difficult trying to reach the wider audience.  People have to know about a book before they can buy it and with thousands to choose from it's difficult to get your book noticed. 

Why should you buy an ebook from an unknown author?  It's a risk, the book could be awful, unreadable, the self righteous rantings of a lunatic who has nothing better than to put every thought onto paper, or worse!!!  But in reality it's not a very big risk, I mean, you spend a couple of quid on a cup of coffee without thinking about it, so why not give an indie author a go?  You never know it might just discover the next big thing.  I've been pleasantly surprised at the high quality of work produced by indie authors and with books for under £1 buy an ebook is cheaper than your bus fare to the library!  It's certainly worth a go.

I don't have a budget for advertising so I've had to be clever with my tactics when it comes to book promotion.  I've used Pinterest to good effect and I've just made my own ecard which I hope you enjoy and will share with your friends. - 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is so overrated! The book everyone is raving about now is 'Heaven Knows This Time'

Reviews are always helpful in selling books so if have a blog and you'd like to review my novel please email me at with a link to your blog and I'll send you a free electronic copy of Heaven Knows This Time.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

...and the story continues...

When I started writing Heaven Knows This Time I didn't really expect to write a novel, but the experience was exhilerating and I just couldn't stop writing.  I found myself living in  two worlds, my real life and the story.  I'd laze in the bath thinking about what the characters would do next, I'd lay in bed at night wondering how they'd deal with the situations I put them in.  The scary part is they became so real in my head that they almost wrote the story themselves!

I left the novel opened ended, it kind of started at the end anyway but the feedback I got from early reviewers was they all wanted to know what happened next.  It's just the beginning for Angel and Miles and they wanted to know what do they do?  Where do they go?  What course does their relationship take?  I started to wonder myself, so one quiet afternoon I found myself starting the sequel to Heaven Knows This Time.

The story picks up from where it left off, Miles and Angel at the beginning of their relationship, that wonderful honeymoon period where all you can think about is the other person, but I couldn't make it too easy for them.  They discover secrets about their past, hit a few stumbling blocks along the way and of course there is an event which could change everything, but I won't spoil it for you.

I've written 3/4 of the book already, not quite got the ending sussed but it's going to be every bit as gripping as Heaven Knows This Time.  I wrote most of it by hand in notebooks, which meant I didn't spend too much time deliberating and editting which kept the story flowing pretty well.  I was unwell and spent a few days in hospital which gave me the peace and quiet to get a lot of writing done, although some of the stuff I wrote on strong painkillers was probably not my most coherent work!

Writing with my new fountain pen was a joy.  I always loved using a fountain pen at school but after leaving I never did enough regular writing to warrant using one.  I just love the way the ink flows effortlessly from the nib and how quickly I can write.  There are some little frustrations, the ink drying up if I pause for too long and always having to keep a supply of cartiridges with me for when I run out, but it's worth it.

I hope to have the writing finished in the next month and the proof reading done the month after, all being well.  I haven't set myself a deadline (I'll only miss it if I do) but I aim to release the book before the year is out so watch this space!


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Something for the weekend?


Fancy a little light reading for the bank holiday weekend?  I'm offering a free copy of Heaven Knows This Time to the first 5 people to correctly answer the following question:

What is Simon's surname?

(Hint: read Chapter 1 to find out!)

Email your answer to with the subject "Weekend Competition".

Winners will receive a eBook copy of Heaven Knows This Time in Kindle format (.mobi file) via email.  You don't need a Kindle to read it, you can download a free Kindle reader for your PC, tablet or android phone.

Competition closes  Friday 1st June 12 noon GMT.

Good luck!


Monday, 14 May 2012

The Story Behind The Story

Sometimes when you get hit by inspiration, you just have to run with it.

I've been a fan of the band Joy Division for more years than I care to mention.  I was too young to be into them at the time, but when I was about 15 years old I was introduced to their records and I fell in love.  There was something so unique about the music, it was so different, so deep, so edgy.  I loved the way it fitted together and the way it made me feel.  Over 20 years later it still has that same magic, but there was more to Joy Division than just the music, there was also the tragic story of Ian Curtis.


If you haven't read the book look away now!  Or better still go buy it ;)

I wanted to write a story about a creative and passionate young man who was driven to suicide.  I didn't want it to be a depressing story and I didn't want him to be a copy cat of Ian, but I did want to draw some paralells, and luckily coincidence gave me more than I bargained for!

It was a very difficult subject to approach.  I wanted to make his life as worthwhile and fulfilling as possible but I had to give him a pretty big reason to end his life.  I didn't want to glamourise suicide so I made him suffer from a genetic and ultimately terminal health condition, Huntington's disease.  It wasn't until I started researching the Huntington's that I discovered it could cause seizures, similar to Ian Curtis's eplilepsy.  That was just another fluke but it fitted well with the story.

I involved Joy Division's music in the story by making the main characters Angela and Simon fans of the band, it's what brings them together in the first place and they find new friends following Unknown Pleasures, a Joy Division tribute band.

As I wrote the story I drew what I knew about Joy Division, adding little jokes about signing the contracts in blood and I also used a Joy Division song in the last chapter, when Miles sings 'Ceremony' for Angel.  The fact that the song 'Ceremony' was recorded and released by New Order and that the song in the book signified the characters moving on from the past just seemed to work so well.  I took the book title from the lyric 'Heaven knows it's got to be this time' because it just seemed to fit so perfectly.

You don't have to be a fan of Joy Division to enjoy the book, but I hope that knowing the songs and a little about the history of the band will help to enrich the story.  If you're not familiar with their music take a listen to the soundtrack.


Friday, 4 May 2012

The Reviews

Here's what people have to say about Heaven Knows This Time:

"Heaven Knows This Time is a fantastic book I couldn’t stop reading it, it took me a full day but was well worth not getting anything done. You get absorbed in the characters and feel all their emotions you laugh and you cry. I would highly recommend it. FANTASTIC book Clair"  Lisa

"I LOVED it. I really really enjoyed it. I fell in love with the characters completely.  Brilliant, brilliant brilliant. I cant wait for you to do the sequel!"  Victoria

 "Wow! It was really good. I thought the characters were great and their actions made sense.  You've got a real talent for writing :-)"  Evelyn

Check out the reviews on too!

 I'd love to hear what you think.  Please feel free to leave a comment.  Thanks!

The Cast

Want to meet the virtual cast of Heaven Knows This Time?

When I was writing  the story I had a pretty good idea of what everyone looked like in my head but I also found it  useful to cast the parts of the characters for visual reference.  I've already blogged about  the character Miles (Caleb Lane) but I thought I'd share the images of the other characters too.  I set up a Pinterest board with their pictures.

The only main character that's missing is Spyder.  I know exactly what he looks like but I couldn't find a picture that was quite right, so if you know anyone that looks like Spyder or happen to find a picture please let me know :)  Cheers!


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Now Available To Purchase from Amazon

I'm very pleased to announce that Heaven Knows This Time has now been published and is available to buy from Amazon's Kindle store:

Heaven Knows This Time by Clair Louise Coult

When the shy and quiet, 15 year old Angela Blackman is sent to the head teacher's office she doesn't expect to find love in the form of the 17 year old eccentric millionaire, Simon Wetherall. Upon discovering a shared love for the post punk band Joy Division, Simon sweeps Angela off her feet and they embark on a rather unusual affair, but the course of true love runs anything but smoothly. Angela discovers a whole new circle of friends within the alternative music scene but she finds herself having to grow up fast to deal with trials and tragedies that fate brings her.

Contains adult themes, strong language and scenes of a sexual nature.

It's been an exciting and nerve wracking journey to get this far and I'm very grateful for the help and support of my friends and family for encouraging me to persue my dream of publishing my own book. Special thanks to my husband Trevor for taking the time to proof read the book for me.  So if you find any typos it's his fault :P

I hope you enjoy the story.  I'd love to hear your feedback, please feel free to leave your comments or email me at


Monday, 30 April 2012

Gadget Geek

OK, I'll admit it, I'm a bit of a gadget geek.  I'm not one of those people who have to have the latest of everything the very second it comes out, but I do like my electronic gadgets.  Some of them even helped me to write my novel.

I love my Sony Tablet S.  It was a Christmas gift and I don't think I've put it down since I got it.  I'm always on my computer so this allows me to be away from my desktop but still able to surf, network and write.  Oh yeah, and play Angry Birds :)  When I'm feeling ill or tired I take my tablet up to bed with me and just read, watch videos or play games.  It's so versatile I don't know how I lived without it.

I love my little android phone.  It's a little known Huawei Blaze and for a budget phone it's pretty good, my husband rates it more highly than his HTC!  The camera isn't so great but it does everything I ask of it, including running a word processor so I can write on those rare occasions I'm away from both my desktop PC and my tablet.

I love my iPod.  Music is my escape, it helps motivate me when I need to get things done and it helps calm me when I need to rest.  I listened to a lot of music when I was writing my novel.  The House of Love's "A Spy In The House of Love" is always a favourite of mine for background music.

I love my Canon EOS 450D DSLR camera.  I've had it just over a year now and I think I've used it practically every day.  I'm always taking photographs of everything, from my children and pets to the food I've cooked and all those quirky little things that catch my attention like the ladybird on a stone by my front door or the pigeons perched on the fence.

My Kindle Touch is my newest electronic gadget.  I have the Kindle app on my tablet but this is so much easier to hold and to read.  I used it a lot when proof reading my novel.  All the typos I missed on the computer screen seemed to jump out at me on the Kindle (althought I'm sure some have still escaped my attention).

As with everything in life, there has to be a balance.  As much as I love my electronic gadgets I'm also a lover of old fashioned tools as well.  I will take a break from writing and sit down with my acousitc guitar, writing lyrics on paper with my fountain pen, and I'm a strong believer in keeping traditional crafts alive so I will spin yarn with my spinning wheel, skein it on a niddy noddy and then knit the yarn by hand.

So I guess there is no denying it, whether it's electronic or not, I really do love my gadgets!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Quantum Butterfly of Creativity

I didn't mean to write a novel.  It sort of happened by accident.  People laugh when I tell them but honestly it's true.

Out of the blue I was hit by an idea for a story.  I'd recently rediscovered my love for creative writing so I decided to work on the idea and see what would happen.  That idea grew, the characters developed and they practically started writing the story for me, but I guess the whole thing started long before that.  The quantum butterfly of creativity flapped it's wings the moment that a male model called Caleb Lane had his photograph taken.  What does that have to do with my novel? Let me explain.

As I started to write the story I kept notes about the characters, a sort of crib sheet of all their personal details.  I had a pretty good idea in my head what everyone looked like but I wanted a visual reference too so I did a Google image search and basically cast the parts of all the characters using models and actors who matched the images in my head.

Caleb Lane
I envisaged the character Miles to be tall and muscular with dirty blonde hair and brown eyes.  He had to be absolutely gorgeous but not untouchable, just a genuine, approachable, really handsome guy.  I typed 'blonde male model' into Google and there on the first page I found my Miles.  His name was Caleb Lane and he looked exactly how I imagined Miles to be, apart from the colour of his eyes, but everything else was just perfect.  I copied the image into my notes and as with the other characters I referred to it every now and then when I needed inspiration.

I wrote the novel relatively quickly, it took about 2 months of casual writing for me to finish the story and another month of tweaking and editting to get it all finished.  It was during this time that I got a bit bored one afternoon and out of curiosity I decided to Google Caleb to see who he was and what he did.

I discovered he was much more than just a pretty face!  Not only was he a very successful model, he was an expert at martial arts, he'd written a book about the modelling industry, he was an actor and, this is the bit that freaked me out, he was a musician, singer and songwriter - just like Miles!!!

I couldn't believe it when I found his videos on Youtube - it was like watching Miles come to life before my very eyes!  I was literally dumbstruck!

So here is Caleb, singing one of his cover versions.  Check out his other videos too on his Youtube Chanel The Moon Tower Sessions.  He has a lovely voice and plays beautifully.  Well worth a listen!

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Soundtrack

Heaven Knows This Time is a novel that revolves around the music of Joy Division and alternative music scene, so for a bit of fun I put together a youtube playlist of some of the songs features in the story.  Enjoy!


Saturday, 7 April 2012

Chapter 2

I met Miles the day Simon took me to the gig at The Old Ship.  It was a chance meeting but one that would have more influence over my future than I ever expected it to have. Of course I wasn't to know that back then.
Simon and I had kept our relationship secret from our friends and families.  We stole moments together at school and I spent long afternoons at his house, telling my mum I was at the library studying.  The more time I spent with him, the more I got to like him and the more I began to fall in love with him. 
On my 16th birthday my parents threw a small party for me and a few friends at home.  I had a nice time, watching a couple of DVDs and eating takeaway pizza but all I could think about was Simon.  I didn't see him on my birthday but he sent me a text that said, "You'll get your present on Friday.  Love you x"
I didn't see Simon at all at school on Friday either.  I wanted to check that everything was still on but he was nowhere to be seen.  I texted him and called him but he never replied.  I just hoped that he hadn't changed his mind.
My mum was fine about me staying at Alisha's.  I'd known her since primary school and she only lived three streets away.  I packed my backpack with a few things for an overnight stay but I had no idea what to wear for the gig.  If I got all dressed up then my mum would get suspicious so I went for a casual look with my jeggings and a long black tunic top.  I packed my makeup bag in my backpack, it was going to take a lot of lipstick and mascara to make me look old enough to get in the pub.
I sat in my room as nervous as hell.  I'd never been out to the pub before on my own, I'd never been to a gig before and I'd certainly never spent the night with a boyfriend before.  I tried to chill but I was so restless.  I tried to relax in the bath, I shaved my legs, I straightened my hair but I still couldn't calm my nerves.  Just before 6 o'clock I opened the front door to find it was chucking it down with rain.  My dad asked if I wanted a lift.  I panicked that my cover would be blown before I'd even got out the door, but I waved my brolly at him and said I'd be fine.  I put my coat on, said goodbye to my parents and set off to the end of the street.
I stood under the street light on the corner waiting for Simon.  He was late, it was 10 past 6 already and he hadn't shown up.  What was I going to do if he stood me up?  My parents weren't expecting me back until tomorrow afternoon.  Where would I go?  Just as I was starting to get worried a silver Bentley pulled up and the rear passenger door opened.  Simon jumped out, took my bag from me and I climbed in the back seat next to him.
"Hello Angel," he said brushing the rain from his hair and giving me a kiss on the cheek.  "I've got a quite a surprise for you.  Home please, Bailey."
When we arrived at the house Simon took me into his room, I was quite surprised to find he'd tidied up and the place actually looked quite presentable.  The ashtrays were empty, the books were back on the shelves and there were even clean white sheets on the bed.  I went to sit down in the tub chair but he stood me back up again.
"No time for relaxing, Angel, we have to get you ready."  He practically danced over to the mahogany wardrobe in the corner of the room.  "I can't wait to see you in this, I just hope it fits!"  He opened the wardrobe and took out a knee length black tea dress.  It was stunning, it had the tiniest white polka dots and the fabric draped so well, it must have cost a fortune.
"Vintage Laura Ashley, it was my mother's.  I guess an eye for fashion was her only saving grace, it was much better than her taste in men!  Anyway, I had it dry cleaned and taken in so it would fit you.  Happy birthday, Angel!"
"This is for me?"
"Yes, well I'm not wearing it!  Go ahead, try it on."
"Ok, but..." I bit my lip.
"Oh God I'm sorry, of course!" he handed me the dress and turned his back to me.  "I promise not to peek until you're ready."
Nervously I undressed and laid my clothes on the chaise longue, then I slipped on the dress.  Everything about it was perfect from the way the scoop neckline accentuated my modest bust and the way the fabric shifted over my hips.  I coughed and Simon turned around.  I looked like a totally different girl.
"Oh Angel!  You look fabulous, but wait I almost forgot the shoes!"  He opened the trunk at the bottom of his bed and dusted off a blue shoe box handing it to me.  Carefully I lifted the lid and there, carefully wrapped in pale pink tissue paper were a pair of black Italian leather kitten heels.  I kicked my cheap Primark boots out of the way and tried them on.  I wasn't used to wearing heels and I tottered around for a moment trying to get used to them.  Simon took my hands and smiled.
"Angel, I love you!"  He kissed me softly on the cheek and then dashed off to the wardrobe again.  "I'll leave you to powder your nose, while I change my shirt then we'd better be heading off if we want to catch the support band."
I rummaged through my backpack to find my makeup bag whilst Simon tried to choose a shirt.  I didn't know what took him so long, his wardrobe was full of plain black shirts.  They all looked the same to me but he obviously wanted to find just the right one.  As I was applying my mascara I glanced up and caught a glimpse of Simon's bare chest and I almost dropped my makeup mirror when I saw the tattoo.  Across the left hand side of his chest in Gothic lettering was the word ANGEL.
"Simon?  What's that?" I asked, my curiosity getting the better of me.
"Ah, you weren't supposed to see that until later."
"Is that a tattoo?"
"Yes," he nodded.  He came over to where I was sitting, letting the shirt fall from his shoulders revealing the tattoo on his smooth chest.  "I had this done the day I met you.  I wanted it to be healed by the time you saw it.  You're in my heart, Angel, and I'm a creature of impulse.  I know I won't regret it."  I couldn't tell Simon but at first it kind of freaked me out.  How could he have been so sure about me from the moment we first met?  I had to remind myself that Simon was an extraordinary person, even if he was more than a little bit eccentric.
"You did that for me?"
"In a way, yes.  Do you like it?"
"Yes, it's...  It's wonderful!"  Simon smiled.  He buttoned his shirt and grabbed his coat from the stand by the door.
"Let's go, I have a feeling you're going to enjoy this."
I felt slightly overdressed at the pub.  It was nothing like the family restaurant type places I'd been to before, this was a proper spit and sawdust bar.  My heels were loud on the bare wooden floor and I could see the stage for the band was no more than a small raised platform in the corner of the main room.  I followed Simon to the bar where he ordered 2 bottles of Stella.  I took a swig from the bottle and pulled a face at the bitter taste.  I wasn't used to drinking beer, I wasn't used to drinking at all but Simon didn't seem to notice.  He was too busy scanning the room looking for his friends. 
A crowd of old school Goths walked in, all dressed in black with their pale faces, dark eyes and backcombed hair.  They called Simon's name as they spotted him at the bar.  He introduced me to them in such a rush that I couldn't remember anyone's name, then we all went and sat down at a table near the stage.
I don't know where he knew them from, I'd never seen them at school before but they all seemed very well acquainted.  I started to feel a little left out but Simon tried to keep me involved in the conversation.  They talked about bands I'd never heard of, told stories of wild parties full of excessive drinking and drug taking.  I guess I was a little shocked to be honest, but I couldn't help being slightly envious of the way they lived.
I think my nerves and the cold beer went straight to my bladder so I made my excuses and left to try and find the toilets. I followed a sign down a dark corridor and eventually found the ladies loo but on my way back I must have taken a wrong turning because I couldn't find my way back to the bar.  I thought I was heading the right way but then I noticed the door at the end of the corridor opened onto the fire escape.  This wasn't the right way at all.
Through the open door I could see a figure there standing in the rain, leaning over the railing.  He was tall and well built with blonde spiky hair.  I was going to ask him the way back to the bar but as I approached him I noticed he was gasping for breath.
"Hey!  You OK?"  I called.  The man turned around and I could see his hand on his chest as he gasped and wheezed. He shook his head in answer to my question.  "Asthma?"  I asked.  This time he nodded.  I pulled him in out of the rain and he sat down on the floor in the corridor. 
I knew all the signs, I'd been asthmatic when I was a kid and even though I hadn't had an attack in years, I still carried my reliever inhaler out of habit.  Thankfully I had it in my handbag so I offered it to him.  He almost snatched it out of my hand and pumping the canister twice in quick succession and breathing the vapour in as deeply as he could.  I sat with him a minute until his breathing got easier and less laboured.  He offered me the inhaler back but I told him to keep it. 
"Cheers.  I'm Miles, by the way."
"I'm Angel," I replied.
"You sure are," he said smiling at me.  I blushed.
"Are you going to be OK now?" I asked.  Miles nodded.  "Then I'd best be getting back to my boyfriend.  Do you know which way is back to the bar?"
"Yeah, left here, keep going and the door is on your right."
"Thanks,"  I said turning to leave.
"No, thank you!" he called after me.  "I owe you one!"
Walking back down the corridor I became conscious of how my hips wiggled as I walked in the new shoes Simon have given me.  As I turned the corner I was almost knocked over by a tall blonde girl in a cloud of cheap perfume wearing far too much makeup.  She shrieked, "Miles?  Where the fuck are you?" at the top of her lungs.  I later found out that she was Cassandra Jade Harrison, Miles's girlfriend.
Finally I found my way back to Simon and his friends.  I don't think he'd even noticed I'd gone.  I sipped at my beer and listened to the conversation then the lights went down and the first band came on.  They were OK I guess, they played old punk covers, some I knew, some I didn't.  I just snuggled up to Simon and took it all in. 
By 9 o'clock I was feeling a little tipsy.  Simon had bought me another beer but I just held it in my hand, not wanting to seem ungrateful.  I didn't want to get drunk and spoil things later. 
The house lights dimmed again and someone turned a smoke machine on.  As the room filled with clouds of dry ice Simon held my hand and whispered in my ear, "You're really going to love this."
Shadows appeared through the smoke as the members of the band took to the stage.  My heart skipped a beat when I heard the thumbing bass line of Joy Division's 'Transmission'.  I should have guessed from the name Unknown Pleasures that they were a Joy Division tribute band.  That wasn't the only surprise though, as the smoke cleared I noticed that the tall, blonde bass player was none other than Miles! 
I sat back in awe, listening to song after song.  Simon was right, this was the best night of my life!  Some of Simon's friends got up to dance and I could see he was eager to go too so I gestured for him to join them.  He tried to drag me along too but there was no way I could dance in these shoes, so I sat and watched my boyfriend throwing shapes in the strobe lights to the wonderful music.  I could have listened forever but the set finished, the lights came up and Simon put my coat around my shoulders and said, "Angel, it's time to go."
Bailey was waiting in the car outside.  The music had been so loud my ears were ringing and I found it hard not to shout when I spoke.  I snuggled up to Simon and put my head on his shoulder as we travelled back to the house.  Bailey got out and opened the door for us and Simon took my hand as we walked up the stone steps and through the grand front door into the house.
Just before we got to Simon's bedroom door he stopped.  He sat me down in a chair in the corridor and whispered, "Wait right there," then he disappeared into his room closing the door behind him.  I felt a little nervous and I wondered what he was doing, but I found out soon enough.
When he opened the door again I was greeted by the soft glow of a hundred candles and the haunting melodies of Sigur Ros.  Simon took my hand and lead me along a trail of red rose petals that were scattered across the floor and over the crisp white bed sheets.  He slid my coat off my shoulders and carefully set it down on the chair.
I stared deep into his eyes, intoxicated by the alcohol and the love I felt for him.  I tried to speak but he silenced me placing his finger on my lips.  He brushed my hair from my face and he kissed me, softly at first then harder and more passionately.  This time there was no holding back.  He held me close to his body as he moved his hands all over me.  It was bliss, I'd never been touched like this before and I didn't want him to stop.
Simon's hands moved to the nape of my neck, he undid the hook and eye and slowly unzipped my dress.  He kissed my neck as he gently slid the dress down from my shoulders and over my hips letting it fall to the floor.  There I was standing before Simon dressed in nothing but my while lace bra and knickers.  Nervous I bit my lip, I wasn't quite sure what to do next.  I pushed my inhibitions aside, I stepped out of my shoes and putting my hands on Simon's chest I started to unbutton his shirt.
I ran my fingers over his tattoo, I couldn't believe he'd done it just for me.  His level of commitment scared me, but at the same time it was so exciting to think that he loved me enough to make such a permanent statement like that. 
He sent shivers down my spine as he ran his fingers over my bare flesh.  My pulse quickened in anticipation of his touch and I couldn't keep my hands off his soft, smooth skin.  I felt such an intense passion as I almost raced to undress him, pulling his shirt over his shoulders and fumbling with the button of his jeans. 
I sat down on the bed as Simon took off his jeans.  He unfastened my bra and kissed every inch of my body.  Slowly I laid back on the rose petals and he slid down my knickers.  I thought I'd feel vulnerable being naked in front of him but I felt so safe and so loved.  I slid his boxer shorts over his hips and was almost shocked to see his large, erect penis.  I was even more shocked when realised I could barely wait to feel it inside me.
Simon continued to stroke and kiss my body as he moved himself on top of me.  My nipples hardened as they brushed against his skin and I opened my legs wide as he stroked me and slipped his fingers inside me. 
I never imagined it would be like this, it was too wonderful for words.  Simon kissed my breasts, then my neck and the next moment he entered me, slowly, with each gentle thrust pushing deeper and deeper inside me.  My whole body was tingling as I pushed against him and felt the pleasure flowing through my veins.  I wrapped my legs around him as he thrust harder and faster.  I let out a moan of pleasure as I climaxed then with one final thrust he called out, "Angel," as he came too.
Simon lay on my naked chest for a moment breathing hard, then silently he started to weep.  I couldn't help but weep too, for the total beauty of the moment, the physical release and the sheer ecstasy.  I stroked his shoulder to try and comfort him.  He withdrew from me and wiped his tears with his arm, then gently wiped mine away and stroked my face.
"I'm so sorry," he whispered, "I've broken my perfect Angel."
"Oh no, you haven't broken me, you've set me free!" I breathed.
Simon didn't say any more.  He quietly lay down beside me and drew the covers over us both. I snuggled up to him and I whispered, "I love you," in his ear.  I fell asleep listening to him breathing.

When I woke up in the morning it took me a moment to realise where I was.  My ears were still ringing, my mouth was dry and I was completely naked.  Then I felt the touch of a hand stroking my hair.  Surprised I pulled the sheet up to chin and turned over to see Simon's blue eyes gazing down at me.  I breathed a sigh of relief and smiled.
"Good morning, Angel.  Did you sleep well?"
"Yeah, I did," I replied, then I realised I was still clutching the sheet up to my chin.  I relaxed, letting the sheet go and smiled nervously at Simon.
"Are you hungry?  I've asked Martha bring us coffee and croissants."
"But we're still in bed!"
"Don't worry, she's very discrete, and also blind as a bat.  She probably won't even notice," I gave a nervous laugh, "unless I do this!" said Simon as he firmly grasped the bed sheet and threw it back revealing my naked body in all its glory.  I squealed covering my breasts with my hands and shouted, "You bastard!" but I couldn't help but laugh.  I tried to grab the sheet back but he pinned me down on the bed and kissed me hard. 
"You have the most beautiful body I have ever seen, you don't need to hide it from me."  I felt his penis hard against my thigh.
"Is that so?" I said raising my eyebrows.  Simon blushed.
"You're just too irresistible!" he said.  He leaned in to kiss me again just as there was a knock on the door.  "Come in," he said.  "Please leave the tray on the table, Martha."
I held my breath as the elderly housekeeper placed the breakfast tray on the table.  I didn't dare move until she closed the door behind her, then I sat up and playfully thumped Simon on the arm.
"I can't believe you did that!" I screamed, but Simon just held me and kissed me once more. 
Simon got out of bed and stretched his arms above his head.  I hadn't noticed how muscular his body was and I started to feel quite aroused again.  Naked and confident as ever he strode across the room and picked up the tray, placing it on the bed next to where I lay.
"Cream and sugar?" he asked as he poured the coffee.  I nodded.
"What would my mum say if she could see me now?" I asked as I took a bite out of a chocolate croissant and dusted the crumbs off my bare chest.
"I couldn't possibly imagine," said Simon, "but it might be a good idea if you told her about us sometime soon.  It might help explain your birthday present."
"Yeah, I guess she might ask where I got a dress like that from."
"Oh I didn't mean that, I meant this," said Simon as he reached under his bed and handed me a box.  It was beautifully wrapped in red satin fabric and tied with a large black bow.  "I meant to give it to you last night but..."  he rolled his eyes.  We both giggled.  I pulled the ends of the bow and the fabric fell away to reveal the packaging of a brand new iPhone.
"Oh Simon, I can't accept this!"
"Why not?  I know you are always complaining about how slow your phone is and how you're always running out of credit.  The contract is all paid for so you don't have to worry about that stuff anymore."
"You are just too good to be true," I said leaning over to kiss him and nearly knocking over the coffee pot.  "Oh shit, sorry!"
"No harm done, but perhaps we'd better get up soon.  I want to take you out for lunch before you go home."
"What can I say?  Thank you!"  I smiled.  I still couldn't believe quite this was all happening.  One minute I was just a boring school girl and the next I was being spoiled rotten by a filthy rich stranger who worshipped the ground I walked on.  It was stuff of fairy tales, but fairy tales always have a villain don't they and I should have realised that things couldn't be this good forever.
We finished our breakfast and eventually Simon let me get dressed.  He showed me to a bathroom on the first floor, it was the size of our living room!  I put my wash bag down on the stool and brushed my teeth.  As I stared at my reflection in the mirror I wondered how on earth I was going to tell my mum I had a boyfriend? 
My dad was always pretty protective of me but I was 16 now and they must expect that I'd start getting interested in boys sooner or later.  Most of my friends had boyfriends when they were like 13 or 14 years old and one girl had even left to have a baby last term.  I was practically an old maid by their standards.  Anyway, my parents had already met Simon and they seemed to like him.  I'd just better keep quiet about how he put me on the pill and fucked me when I should have been at Alisha's house.
As I walked down the grand staircase to the entrance hall I saw the front door was open a crack.  I caught a glimpse of a middle aged woman in a nurses uniform, talking on a mobile phone and I wondered who it could be.  I knew there were staff here at the house, Martha the housekeeper, Bailey the driver and there were a couple of blokes who looked after the gardens, but why would they need a nurse?  When I got back to Simon's room I asked him about her but he brushed me off saying it was nothing and I didn't give it any more thought. 
Simon had washed, shaved and put on a clean shirt.  He was looking gorgeous and I felt a little dowdy in my cheap clothes. 
"I am taking you to the seaside!" he announced.  He picked up my bag, grabbed my hand and whisked me off down the corridor to the front door where Bailey was waiting in the Bentley.  "I had considered taking you to my father's favourite restaurant but I thought this might be more fun."  I was secretly relieved.  I know Simon was used to the finer things but I wasn't.  I was glad he realised because I didn't want to sound ungrateful.  I felt out of place with all the posh, formal stuff but I had to admit being driven around in the Bentley was kind of cool though.
Simon put his arm around me on the back seat and I snuggled up to him for the whole journey.  I must have fallen asleep because when Simon woke me I could hear sea gulls.  We got out of the car and Simon pointed at the fish and chip shop across the road.
"Dinner is served!" he said with a flourish of his arm.  I laughed at him, he could be so funny sometimes.  Despite our different backgrounds he always made me smile.
We ate our chips as we walked along the promenade.  He bought me an ice cream and we sat on the beach wall, holding hands and watching the tide come in.
"Do you think Alisha will be bored of your company by now?" he asked.
"Eh?  Oh shit!  Look at the time!" I said.  I'd had so much fun with Simon I'd completely forgotten about my cover story.  We ran back to the car and Bailey must have run every red light and broken every speed limit to get me back home in time.  He dropped me off at the same corner where he had picked me up the night before.  I was so sad to be leaving Simon, it had been such a special day but I knew it had to come to an end.  He kissed me and  waved goodbye as the car pulled away.
I walked back to the house and let myself in.  My mum called from the kitchen, "Did you have a nice time, love?"
"Yeah!  We stopped up all night watching horror movies so I'm going to crash for a bit,"  I replied.
I dragged my feet up the stairs and collapsed on my bed.  It felt good to be in the safety and comfort of my bedroom.  I lay back on my bed and stared at the ceiling, thinking about last night.  The band had been fantastic, hearing all those Joy Division songs live was just amazing, then I remembered Miles.  When I saw him on the fire escape I had no idea he was actually in the band otherwise I don't think I would have dared speak to him.  It was lucky I gave him my inhaler though otherwise he might have been too ill to play.
I tried to relax and chill out for a bit but my thoughts always returned to Simon.  Even though I'd spent the last twenty four hours with him I couldn't wait to see him again.  As luck would have it I didn't have to wait very long at all.  I heard a strange noise coming from my bag, for a minute I wondered what it was.  It sounded like 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', then I remembered the iPhone.  In a mad panic I threw everything out of my bag, pulled the phone from the packaging and answered the call.  There on the screen, on video call was my Simon!
"Hi Angel!  I just wanted to make sure your phone was working and to ask you out tomorrow afternoon."
"Tomorrow?  Sure!  What time?"
"About 3 o'clock, OK?  I'll call for you at your house.  Love you!"
Then he was gone again.  I put the phone to my chest and hugged it.  I felt like the luckiest girl alive!

© Clair Louise Coult 2012

Monday, 19 March 2012

Chapter 1

Cassandra Jade's Facebook status read, "Fucking whore stole my boyfriend!"  I clicked the 'like' button.  Not that I liked being called a fucking whore, but there was no disputing the fact that I stole her boyfriend as I lay in bed naked next to the tanned and perfectly toned body of Miles, her recent ex, but things are never as simple as they seem.
I turned my phone off and smiled.  I wasn't a vindictive bitch or anything but Cassie had it coming to her.  I slipped out of bed and put my phone down on the console table so I wouldn't be tempted to read the nasty comments her friends were sure to make about me.  It was still very early and I could see the sun just beginning to rise over the city skyline through the wall of glass that was the penthouse suite's bedroom window.  The London Docklands were bathed in an orange glow and everything seemed clean and new in the half light. 
I got back into bed, wriggled down under the black Egyptian cotton sheets and wrapped my arms around Miles.  He stirred for a moment and whispered, "Morning, Angel," but he soon drifted back to sleep, snoring softly.  I ran my fingers through his spiky blonde hair.  He still smelled of sweat and stale beer from the gig the night before.  Things had kicked off pretty bad but Miles never let any of that stuff bother him, at least he didn't let it show.
I had met Miles 2 years before, back when I was plain old Angela Blackman, a very naive 16 year old school girl with mousey brown hair and a shy smile.  The boys at school never paid me much attention, apart from Simon of course.  He was quite cute in his own way, not really handsome but he had strong cheek bones and striking features that set him apart from the other boys.  He somehow looked older, more mature than he really was.  Perhaps it was the dark stubble on his jaw line, the jet black hair that was speckled with a premature hint of grey, or the way he carried himself with such confidence, but people never seemed to believe he was only 17 years old.  That was good in some ways, he never got asked for ID when he was getting the drinks in, but it also made me feel slightly inferior, which I hated.
Simon was in the 6th form at my school.  I'd seen him around but I'd never spoken to him, not until the day I was sent to see the head teacher.  I can't even remember why I got sent to the office, it wasn't like I was a troublemaker or anything.  I was a straight A student with a 100% attendance record, but for whatever reason I found myself sitting on a plastic chair in the corridor outside the head teacher's office.  I was scared half to death that they were going to expel me or something, when Simon came striding through the double doors at the top of the stairs. 
He slung his black canvas messenger bag down on the floor and sat down on the chair next to me.  He let out a sigh, put his arms behind his head and stretched his legs out across the grey lino floor.  His tight black jeans were a little too short and I could see his red socks peeping above the tops of his black suede Chelsea boots.  Red socks, my dad had warned me about men who wore red socks, some rubbish about them having rebellious tendencies and how they were not to be trusted.  Red was my favourite colour, I liked them.
I don't think Simon even noticed me, it was like I was invisible, that was until I dropped my bag.  I could have died from embarrassment!  I'd been rummaging through my stuff for a tissue but in my hurry the whole bag slid off my lap and landed upside down on the floor, spilling the contents all over the corridor.  I looked up and caught Simon trying not to laugh.  He must have thought I was so pathetic but when I caught his eye his expression instantly changed to a look of sympathy.
"Please, allow me," he said in his posh, deep voice.  I was so flustered I didn't know what to say.  I got down on my hands and knees and started gathering up my belongings, pens, pencils, strawberry lip balm, hurriedly stuffing them back into my school bag.  Simon reached over and picked up my mp3 player.  It had turned itself on when it hit the floor and he could hear the tinny beat coming through the ear bud headphones.  Out of curiosity he put one to his right ear.  He jumped back in shock, his eyes wide.
"Bloody hell!  You listen to Joy Division?" he asked in surprise.
"Yeah," I replied nervously.
"How on earth do you know about them?" he demanded.
"My cousin used to play them all the time, he liked New Order too but I never really got into them."
Simon sat back down in the chair and gave me back my mp3.  I dropped my head, too shy to look at him.  I quickly put my mp3 player back in my bag but Simon grabbed my wrist.  Surprised I turned to face him, he swept my long mousey brown hair off my face and studied me intently for a moment.  He had the palest blue eyes I had ever seen and I couldn't take my eyes off him.  I could feel my heart beating hard in my chest as I held his stare then he kissed me!  He kissed me on the lips, right there in the corridor outside the head teacher's door!  He kissed me
My face must have been a picture because when he let me go he laughed at me.  I was in shock.  I'd never had a boyfriend before and I'd never had someone just snog me out of the blue like that.  Simon stood up and turned his back on me as if to walk away but then he stopped.  He turned back to face me and with a serious expression on his face he quietly said, "I think I love you.  Come on, let's go!"
Before I knew what was happening Simon had grabbed my hand and we were running down the corridor.  We burst through the double doors, he dragged me down the stairs and we didn't stop running until we were outside the school gates.  We crouched down with our backs to the wall breathing so hard we could barely speak.  I'd never felt such a rush of adrenaline, it was exhilarating beyond belief.  I knew this was a bad idea.  What was I thinking?  I was supposed to be seeing the head teacher, not playing truant with a 6th form boy that I had only just met!  I had to admit though it was the most exciting thing that had ever happened in my entire life.
Simon looked at me and smiled.
"Simon Wetherall, pleased to meet you!" he said, offering me his hand.  Gingerly I shook it and murmured, "Angela Blackman."
"An angel, eh?  You don't meet one of those every day!  So Angel, do you come here often?"  I couldn't help but smirk at his poor chat up line.  I wasn't quite sure what to make of him.  Was he wonderfully eccentric or criminally insane?  Whichever he was, I was completely enthralled by him.  His posh accent turned my knees to jelly and his blue eyes were piercing like they could see right through to my very soul.
"I'm going to get into so much trouble for this, aren't I?" I mumbled.
"Oh I shouldn't think so, just say you felt ill and went home.  They can't argue with that."
"I suppose," I replied.
"Anyway, where are my manners?  Would you like to come to tea?"
This was all too surreal for me, but I though what harm could come from having a cup of tea?  It was only 11.30 in the morning, I couldn't go back to school and I couldn't go home yet so I replied, "Yes please."
"That's my girl," he said as he helped me up onto my feet.  He put his arm around my shoulder and we walked up the hill to where the posh houses were.  I wondered if that's what I was now, his girl?  It didn't seem like a very normal way of meeting a boyfriend but Simon didn't seem very normal in the slightest and I had to admit that excited me. 
I wanted to know more about him, where he came from, what other music he liked, but I was too scared to ask.  Right now he seemed to like me and I didn't want him to think I was boring or nosey or anything. 
We walked on up the hill to the most exclusive area in town, then we turned down a private driveway, lined on either side with mature trees.  I didn't think it was ever going to end until we came upon a high stone wall with an imposing wrought iron gate blocking our path.  Simon casually pressed the intercom and spoke into the microphone.
"Martha, it's me.  Tea for two in the drawing room, if it's not too much trouble."  The gate swung open, Simon took my hand and lead me through.  I was quite shocked when I caught sight of the house.  It was bigger than I could have possibly imagined, a proper mansion.  It must have had a dozen bedrooms at least.  I knew Simon was posh by the way he spoke but I had no idea he lived in a place like this!
"Martha?" I asked.
"She's the housekeeper.  It's just my father and I in this rambling old place.  My mother died years ago.  He lives in the east wing and I live in the west, it's better that way."
"Oh I'm so sorry about your mum."
"Don't be!" Simon said curtly.  "You didn't know her and believe me this world is better off without her."  He quickened his pace and rushed me through the front door and off around a maze of corridors until we reached his room.
I don't know what I was expecting to find but it wasn't this.  Simon had managed to transform the drawing room of a grand mansion into a teenage boys bedroom.  The walls were covered with band posters from the 1970's and 80's, every surface was cluttered with books, empty pizza boxes, overflowing ash trays and dirty tea cups.  The furniture was antique but battered and unloved and there was a modern divan pushed against the wall in the corner with a stained blue duvet thrown across it.
"Do take a seat," he said, ushering me towards a chaise longue upholstered in deep blue velvet fabric that had now faded to a dull grey.  "I'm sorry about the mess, you just can't get the staff these days."
I sat down and at that moment there was a knock on the door.  A small elderly woman shuffled into the room carrying a large tea tray set out with two cups and saucers, a teapot, sugar bowl, milk jug and a plate of biscuits, the posh kind that come in expensive boxes.
"Thank you, Martha.  That will be all," said Simon as he cleared a pile of books from the coffee table to make room for the tray.  I felt out of place with all this formality and I started to wonder what the hell was I doing here?  Simon must have noticed as he sat down next to me and started to pour the tea.
"I suppose this is all a little strange to you, isn't it?  But we don't stand on ceremony here.  Sugar, Angel?"
"Yes, two please," I said with my voice shaking.  I still couldn't make my mind up about Simon.  He seemed nice but there was more than a hint of psycho about him.
"You are rather privileged, Angel.  You are the first friend from school I've ever invited here but I thought I'd take a chance on you because you struck me as rather special."
"Me, special?" I asked.
"Of course, you don't meet many Year 11 girls with perfect bone structure and an excellent taste in music."
"I guess not," I replied, sipping my tea and completely missing the compliment.
"I want to show you something," he said hurriedly putting down his teacup and dashing off to the other side of the room. 
Simon stepped over more piles of books and discarded clothes, and he returned with a large metal box.  He unlocked it and with great care he lifted out what looked at first like a magazine in a plastic sleeve.  He placed it in my hands and stared at me, eagerly waiting for my reaction.  As I looked down I gasped.  There in my hands was a copy of Licht und Blindheit, an incredibly rare Joy Division record.  I'd only ever read about it in books, I never dreamed I'd see one in real life.
"Mint condition, never been played.  Would you like to hear it?" Simon asked me quite casually.
"No!" I shouted.  "I mean, yes of course I do but you can't play it, it's worth a small fortune!"
"It's just a thing."
"Yeah, but it's a bloody rare thing!"
"What the heck, you can't take it with you, eh?" he said shrugging his shoulders.
I almost jumped out of my seat to stop him but it was too late.  He ripped open the plastic cover, removed the record from the sleeve and with great care he set it down on his record player.  I didn't know people still had record players.  My dad had got rid of his years ago but I remembered when I was little he used to get drunk on a Saturday night and play some awful prog rock LPs and moan about how modern music was soulless and that every band sounded the same.
There was a crackle as the needle hit the vinyl.  Simon sat back down next to me and took my hand.  I couldn't help but let out a sigh as I heard the first notes of 'Atmosphere'.
"How did you know this was my favourite?"  I whispered, but Simon put his fingers to my lips to silence me.  He gazed into my eyes and then kissed me again.  It took my breath away.  He pressed his body close to mine and ran his fingers down my arm.  It was magic, but the song was over far too quickly.  Simon reluctantly pulled himself away and replaced the record back in its sleeve and returned it to the box.
"I'd give it to you now but it means too much to me.  You can have it when I'm dead."
"That's an odd thing to say!" I blurted out without thinking.
"My dear, I thought you'd have noticed by now that I'm rather an odd kind of person."  We both laughed.
It was the most unusual afternoon.  Simon played me some wonderful music by bands I'd never even heard of.  We lounged about just talking, kissing and holding each other.  I totally forgot I was supposed to be at school until I got a text from my mum. 
"Shit!  I should have been home an hour ago!" I panicked.
"Then you'd better tell your mother that you were doing your homework at the library and hurry on home," said Simon.  He gave me a sad kind of look.  I didn't want to leave him but I had to go home sometime.
"Sorry, I'd love to stay but I don't want to get into trouble and I've got to babysit my sister tonight."
"Of course, but please just wait one moment before you go."  Simon walked over to his desk, he took a sheet of white letter paper from a drawer and scribbled something on it with his fountain pen.  "I didn't mean to get you into trouble today.  Please give this to your teacher tomorrow."  I looked down at the paper, it read 'Please excuse Angela Blackman's absence from school yesterday.  She was taken ill with food poisoning.'  I thanked Simon and asked if I would see him tomorrow at school. 
"Most definitely," he replied with a smile.  He took my hand and walked with me to the gate where he kissed me one last time.  I was on cloud nine and I have no idea how I managed to get home without being run over or something. 
That night I couldn't sleep for thinking about Simon.  I was pretty wrecked the next morning.  I was too busy yawning to notice him walking past me as I waited with my friends to go into morning registration.  I called his name but he walked on by like he didn't even see me.  I was mortified and nearly burst into tears on the spot.  Yesterday he was telling me he loved me and now he wouldn't even say hello!  He certainly was odd and I started to feel a little paranoid.  Did he really like me or was he playing some kind of game? 
I sulked all morning and I didn't feel like company at lunch time so I sat on my own near the tennis courts, eating my cheese sandwiches and feeling rather foolish to be taken in so easily.  I was so lost in my own self pity that I didn't notice when Simon sat down next to me.  He placed a kiss on my cheek and whispered, "Hello Angel," in my ear.  Oh how could I ever have doubted him?  My frown turned into the biggest smile.  I wanted to fling my arms around him right then and there but I resisted.  I couldn't make a show of myself in public, that would be so uncool.
"I've got something for you, close your eyes," Simon said.  Obediently I did as I was told.  I felt him slip something in the top pocket of my blazer.  "I highly recommend you start taking these."  I ran my hand over my pocket and felt a blister pack of tablets through the fabric.  For a moment I was shocked.
"Pills?  I don't do drugs!"  I whispered under my breath.
"Not drugs, THE pill," Simon replied in hushed tones.  "I had my father's physician write them up on a private prescription for you.  I know we've only just met, it's just apparently they take a couple of weeks to become effective and I have a rather unfortunate latex allergy which precludes the use of other products.  Oh God, I'm sorry.  This is too forward of me, isn't it?"  He hung his head and ran his long fingers through his jet black hair.  It was the first time I'd seen him not in complete control.
"No, it's OK.  It's rather sweet of you actually," I lied, not knowing what else to say.
"Sorry, I'm a fool.  I'm too used to getting what I want and well, I want you, Angel."  He stared at me so hard that it felt like his blue eyes were burning right though me.  I blushed and looked down at my feet.  How could I tell him that I wanted him too?  I didn't want him to think I was easy or anything, but I didn't want to lose him either.
"It's OK, I've just, well...  I've never had a boyfriend before," I admitted.
"Neither have I," said Simon.
"What, you've never had a boyfriend?" I said in jest.  We both burst into fits of giggles.
"I meant girlfriend, obviously!" he sniggered.
"I figured that!" I said smiling at him.  This whole situation had taken me by surprise but I had a good feeling about it now.  Simon was weird but he was wonderful too.  "OK I'll take the pill," I said, giving him a nervous grin.
"Fantastic, I'll see you later!" he said as he strode off towards the science block.  Later?  We hadn't arrange me to meet later had we?  Maybe he didn't mean it like that, but whatever he meant I was completely love struck.
I couldn't concentrate on anything for the rest of the day, every thought in my head was about Simon.  I walked home from school in a daze, I pushed my food around my plate at tea time, unable to eat a thing.  All I could think about was Simon. 
I went back up to my room to study but it was hopeless.  I gave up on revising my French vocabulary and threw the text book across the room in frustration.  It clipped my blazer that I'd draped over the back of my chair, knocking it to the floor.  As I went to pick it up I noticed the blister pack of pills sticking out from the top pocket.  I picked them up, turning them over in my hands, debating what to do with them.  It certainly was a strange kind of present to give a girl you'd only just met, but Simon was rather strange and that's what I liked about him.  He must be serious about me to even consider it and I guess it was good he was being responsible and everything.  Before I'd realised what I was doing I popped one of the small white pills from the blister pack.  I looked at it for a moment then I put it in my mouth and swallowed it.  I hid the rest of the pills behind my poetry books, I didn't want my mum to find them and I knew she would never look there.
I crashed down on my bed, listening to The Cure through my netbook speakers when I thought I heard Simon's voice.  At first I thought it was a hallucination.  What was in those pills Simon had given me?  I presumed they were contraceptives, then I heard it again.  That was definitely Simon!  I ran to the top of the stairs and peeked over the banister and sure enough, there was Simon on the doorstep talking to my mum.
"Angela," mum called, "there's a boy here for you.  He says he's got one of your text books."
I couldn't believe it!  What was Simon doing here?  How did he find out where I lived?  Gingerly I started to walk down the stairs. 
"Oh, hi Simon," I said trying to act all casual.  "It's OK, mum.  Simon was helping me with an assignment in the library at lunchtime."
"Yes, but we didn't quite get it finished, did we?" said Simon.
"Well you'd better come in then," said my mum as she ushered him into our tiny hallway.  "Your dad's got the football on in the room so why don't you take him upstairs so you can have a bit of peace and quiet." 
I couldn't believe it as I stood on the stairs and watched Simon take off his Chelsea boots off and walk up the stairs in his red socks to my bedroom. 
"So, this is where my Angel lives," said Simon as he sat himself down on the end of my bed.  He looked around the room taking in every detail from the lilac walls to the battered old teddy that sat at the foot of my bed.
"How did you find me?" I asked.
"Oh it's not that hard to find people you know," he said flashing his iPhone at me. 
"Ah, I should have guessed!" I said. 
Simon jumped up and grabbed a book off my bookshelf.  "The complete works of Sylvia Plath.  I'm a big fan myself.  What was that Oscar Wilde quote she used in The Bell Jar?  Oh yes, 'Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace,' or something like that," he said, reciting the quote word perfect.
"Yes!" I said, gazing up at him in amazement.  I was just about to speak when the books toppled over and the packet of pills I'd hidden there fell to the floor.  My cheeks flushed and I went to grab them but he beat me to it.  He held them up to the light and noticed that one was missing.  He held them out to me with a smile on his face.
"You might want to find a better hiding place than that, my dear!"  I blushed even more and turned away but he turned my face towards his.  "I'm sorry for surprising you like this but I wanted to see you again.  I've thought of nobody but you all day.  What kind of spell have you put on me?" he asked.  I held his gaze.  How could I tell him I felt the same way?  I couldn't find the words but I could show him.  Bursting with confidence I raised myself up on my tip toes and leaned in to kiss him but he pulled away, quickly grabbing my text book and sitting down on my bed.
"And that is why the invasion of Poland was so important," he said quite calmly.  A moment later my mum opened the door.
"Are you two alright up here?  Would you like a cup of tea or something?" she asked.
"We're fine as we are thank you, Mrs. Blackman," said Simon, being as charming as ever.
"Oh OK, just give us a shout if you need anything."
I managed to mumble, "Thanks, mum," as she closed the door behind her.  Simon began to laugh.  I sat down on the bed next to him and laughed too.
"How on earth did you know that she was there?" I asked.
"Oh, I noticed the floor board at the top of the stairs creaked quite badly and I knew from the way she looked at me that she was too curious not to come in the room at least once."
"Thank you!" I said, blushing.
"Now, where were we?"
"The invasion of Poland?" I asked.
"No, you were about to do this," he said as he wrapped his arms around me and kissed me.  We lay on the bed just kissing and holding each other for what seemed like an age, then Simon's phone alarm went off. 
"I'm afraid I have to go, Bailey will be waiting for me."
"Bailey?" I asked.
"My driver.  I asked him to pick me up at 10.  I didn't want to keep you up too late, you've got school tomorrow.  Oh, before I forget, I hope you don't have any plans for the 17th because you're having a sleep over at Alisha's house."
"What?  That's my birthday weekend.  Why am I going to Alisha's?"  I asked confused.  Simon reached into his pocket and handed me a folded piece of paper.
"I'll see you at school tomorrow!" he said as he left my bedroom and walked down the stairs.  He put his boots on and popped his head around the living room door.
"Goodnight Mr. and Mrs. Blackman, thank you for having me," he said very politely, and then he let himself out.
I opened up the paper Simon had given me.  It was a flyer for a gig at The Old Ship, Unknown Pleasures plus support.  Doors 7.30pm.  On the back was a hand written note.  Alisha will cover for you.  Meet me on the corner at 6pm.  Don't forget your toothbrush :)  Love you!  x
I checked my diary, the 17th was a Friday, 2 days after my 16th birthday.  Simon was taking me out to see a band at the pub?  I couldn't believe he'd arranged for me to stay at Alisha's house, but wait, he said she'd cover so I wouldn't be sleeping there.  Oh how could I be so naive?  Of course he'd want me to spend the night with him, but my mum would never allow that, would she?  I was so happy I could have screamed out loud, but instead I curled up on my bed, barely able to contain my excitement.  I could still smell his scent on my pillow and I fell asleep dreaming of my Simon.

Go to Chapter 2

© Clair Louise Coult 2012