We're having some sterling conversations on Twitter, which it regularly tops my social media list.#ownyourown is a fantastic hashtag for marginalised writers to tweet why they write. It was started by @gildedspine
In the midst of the tag, I saw @aromancechica 's tweet:
When I first decided to pursue publication, I didn't think I'd ONLY write Latina heroines. Then I thought: Why not? #OwnYourOwn
And it rings so true. A while ago, I thought maybe I'd tell a different woman, rather than a British born or British raised West African all the time. But nah. I like those birds. They are me. They are my aunties, my mum, my grandmothers, my godmothers, my friends, my cousins, my friends. They deserve to see versions of themselves in my stories. Letting their boyfriend tease them about the sexiness of a night headscarf, buy their hair products for them or give them a half head of cornrows (Giuseppe's about that life). They deserve to be the doctors, nurses, chefs, lawyers, businesswomen, that they are - to be educated, exactly as they are, to have family just like the ones I'm surrounded by. They deserve to be centre stage in romances, finding (losing - looking at you Stella) and keeping love.
In view of that, I need the prompt to get back on Mature Carole, my glamorous grandma and her glorious gentleman, which is where @rebekahwsm came in and gave me a jolly good jolt:
i would also like to see more creators embrace older characters too so EVERYONE can see that life doesnt end at 30. #OwnYourOwn
True dat. Sneak peek right down there...
She reached over and grabbed his hand. “Thank you. Jackie would have been devastated if the kids hadn’t been there. Did you see the pictures? They looked adorable. Jackie looked beautiful.” Carole put the tray on the floor and scrambled for her bag. She had several photos on her phone as well as all the professional ones in her email. Her screensaver happened to be Carole with her three children at Jackie’s wedding. “Here, that’s Jackie outside of the Mayfair Library.” Wearing stark bright white, a traditional wedding dress that mimicked the one Carole wore on her own wedding day. She just didn’t want the marital jinx from Carole’s marriage.
“I’d never recognise her.”
“She said it was for one day, and she wanted to be a Disney princess.” Carole had to get her to talk about what had gone wrong with her apple-pie-sweet daughter-in-law, Karisa. Jackie was spending far too much time with Carole and Greg, which didn’t at all bode well for their brand new marriage.
“What was that like?” Aneurin asked, scrolling through the photos. “When she told you she liked girls.”
“She came to me and she was crying her eyes out. I thought she was going to tell me she was on drugs. Then she bursts out mum, I’m a lesbian. So I said, what makes you think I didn’t know that?”
“That’s my child. Of course, I did! But then, again Jackie was very sick when she was a baby. I didn’t care as long as she was healthy. There are worse things in the world for your child to be. Dead being one.” Carole had known from when Jackie was very small. A fact that irritated her ex-husband, as he hadn’t caught on, and was more than insulted by Jackie’s what he called ‘life choices’. Idiot. She exhaled heavily, bending down to pick up her wine glass. “Old news.”
Aneurin looked away down to her phone. “This is a good picture of you.”
She leaned in to see what he had chosen. For some reason, Greg wanted some pictures of her, and grabbed her phone while Carole was mid giggle with some family members across the top table. It probably helped that she was practically falling out of her dress. “So I’ve been told.”
He reached around her to rest his arm on the back of the chaise longue and Carole leapt into the air, throwing half her wine over herself and into her lap. Silly cow! “I’m so sorry.”
Aneurin got to his feet and disappeared into his en-suite, returning with a hand towel. “Sorry, your pretty dress with spoil.”
“It’s fine,” she said, her voice shaky. “It’s my fault, not yours.”
Brisk strokes of the towelling penetrated through the fine silk and the camisole she wore beneath. He dabbed into the vee of her dress, and her breathing turned shallow. There was thorough, and then there was this. Whatever this was. She placed her hand on top of his, halting further movement.
“It’s fine,” she whispered.
His blue eyes bored into hers. “Have I got this wrong?” He asked into the thick silence between them. “There’s something... I haven’t even looked at another woman in years.”
“Me either. Man, I mean,” she stuttered a correction. “I... Yeah...”
Sod it. She leaned forward and kissed him. The muffled sound of surprise that broke from him almost pulled her back. She hadn’t done anything of the sort in such a long time, she almost forgot how to do it. Aneurin reminded her pretty quickly. Without lifting his mouth from hers, he threw the hand towel to the side and sat next to her. His hands encircled her biceps and he pulled her forward, hard, right into him. The sensation of his beard rubbing into her skin took her breath away, she tried to take what little oxygen she had from him. To feel, to feel like this... So good. Her hands trailed into his hair, the nape covered in fine, soft strands that fell over her fingertips like water. His kisses were drugging, delicious, a hint of forbidden which only made her crave more. Rough palms gathered her dress, and skated over her thighs. Where was he...? Oh. Oh my.
He hooked a finger beneath the lace edge of her knickers and tugged them. She lifted her bottom to allow the material to be drawn along her legs and yanked from her heels. Briefly, she opened her eyes to see them thrown over his shoulder, somewhere on the other side of the room.
“Leave it,” he ordered, before she got up to find them. And because he told her to, she obeyed, even when he caught one thigh in a huge palm, urging her to straddle him. The denim of his jeans grazed her inner thigh sent a shiver right to her sex. The unmistakable sound of ripping made her gasp. Aneurin lifted her with a single arm wrapped around her waist, flinging the skirts of her dress up and placing her bare bottom on his lap. Her wanton position made her realise that it wasn’t the dress that had been the problem, it was her lack of flexibility, combined with the sheer width of the man.
“Bien?” He asked, his mouth brushing back and forth across hers.
“Tres bien,” she whispered. And while those massive hands of his palmed her bottom, he spoke to her in her language. Her beautiful French. People thought she’d forgotten. Ridiculous, she was Ivorian to her depths. The words ran through her blood. The same words Aneurin used to seduce her, to whisper over her silk covered breasts. Her fingers curled over his broad shoulders, rocking into him, searching for more than what he’d already given her. A cry emerged from her throat at the graze of a single finger between her thighs, right over the soft lips of her sex. Another stroke saw her swell against his touch, and part with the barest resistance.
Danger Will Robinson, she thought. Danger had never felt so good. Do anything to me.
Jackie’s shrill voice was as welcome as a television crew. Carole nearly fell off Aneurin’s lap, her whole body throbbing at a single pulse.
“We’re going. Now, Mother!” Jackie heaved.
Carole twenty years ago, would have told her child to shut up, go away and close the door behind her. Carole post-divorce and a hysterectomy for which she was taking medication, knew it was an interruption of sense. What on earth was she doing? She barely stopped herself from doing something not only stupid but enormously out of character.
Scattered, Carole went to find her knickers and collided into Aneurin. “Leave it,” he suggested, knowing exactly what she was on the hunt for.
“Okay,” she said breathlessly. “Okay, bye. Enjoy the cake. I mean... Sorry. Bye.”
She rushed out of the room, past her daughter and down the stairs. Shame heated her face while she stood outside. Oh god, she’d left her bag and phone. Jackie finally emerged from the house with both.
“Here. Do you know what he said to me? The fucking cheek!”
“He called me little girl and said that’s the first and last time I get in between the two of you.”
Carole started, clutching her bag to her chest. What did he mean by that? “Then he said he’s not my dad to be frightened of me. I mean... How fucking rude.”
Carole, twenty years from the sexual fire that used to burn in her, unfulfilled by her husband with his high blood pressure, took a step back towards the house, to that man, to that bedroom, to beg for the weight and feel of every part of that man inside her, only to be blocked by her daughter.
“What?” Carole raged, infuriated.
“Don’t you remember what he did to your son? To your family?”
“For goodness sake, he was supporting his daughter. Just like I supported Greg. Like I support you!”
Jackie looked utterly appalled. “You were about to shag a man who nearly ruined Greg’s life.”
“So?” Carole asked, and Jackie’s mouth opened and closed like a guppy fish. “So what? What’s happened? Nothing.”
Jackie stared at her as if she’d never met her. “Why do you want to get in that hornet’s nest? It’s disgust...”
Carole held up a hand, and Jackie was quiet. “Who the hell do you think you are? I’m your mother. You don’t get to tell me what to do. I’m perfectly able to make my own decisions about my body and what the hell I do with it. Under no circumstances do you ever speak to me like that. Do you understand?”
“I said, do you understand?”
Carole breathed out and started walking to her car.
“Mum, I’m sorry, I was just worried... Let me drive you.”
“Go home Jackie.”
“But I can...”
“Jacqueline, stop fussing!” She snapped, her irritation most likely all focused on being unfulfilled, so close to release she hadn’t known she’d craved until... Until now. “I have been making decisions without your input for thirty-three years. Stop. All right?”
Jackie turned to her own vehicle. “Fine. Do what you want.”
She hadn’t even said goodbye to Greg or the children. But Jackie hovered. Instead she got in her car and drove home, the hour’s journey across London long enough for disappointment to set in. Discomfort mingled with need. Did she have Aneurin’s number? Could she call him? No, the children were coming home with Greg. What was she supposed to do with all her pent up energy? And she stank of stale wine! Goddammit. She yelled in the confines of her car, pausing at a red light. To her left, she saw a car full of people staring at her. She flipped the finger at them all and sped away as soon as the lights changed.