Here we go – inspired by a favourite old Soho song I listened to yesterday. Here’s a dangerous woman with a big bike.
The sun was coming up. Something had bitten her left wrist and she’d ripped a hole there before she was properly awake. It was stinging. The shadow of the bike lay across the ground between them like a large, low animal.
‘Al, are you awake?’
Al shifted on the grey earth and sat up. Her leathers were damp and Jodie wished she had some too. Her jeans were soaked – dark with dew. But the sun would dry them out quick. Quicker if she took them off. So she peeled the wet denim from her skin and draped them over a bush.
‘Watch out for snakes, little Jode.’
Jodie leapt back from the bush and Al laughed – flopping back onto the ground in a creaking mass of leather. She took a swig from a bottle of water and held it out to Jodie.
‘Let’s get breakfast and eat it on the beach.’
As Al pushed the bike up the bank of the dry river bed Jodie struggled back into her wet jeans. She hadn’t wanted to go anywhere right this minute. She’d wanted to sit there on a rock, let her jeans dry and try to find some of the words needed for the questions she knew she should be asking Al. The first should surely be,
‘Where are we actually going, Al?’
But now they were off again – her body wrapped tight around Al’s broad back as the bike roared down the road into the little seaside town. Nothing really seemed that urgent once they were back on the bike and the bike was moving. Maybe it was better not to ask.
Coffee drunk hot and fast, clothes in heaps around their feet, and then they were in the water. Al ducked under – coming up with a vigorous shake of her spiky black hair like a dog shaking itself dry. The spray hit Jodie full in the face and then, before she could get her breath back, Al leapt. She pushed her palms down onto Jodie’s shoulders and the world became a salty mass of distorted, roaring sounds. And then, in another second Jodie was free, back in sunlight, with Al’s mouth on her neck and water streaming in her eyes – unfocussed, overwhelmed.
They ate meat and cheese for lunch and then peaches that poured over their hands and dripped onto the sand. Jodie poked at the sticky clumps with the wrapper from the cheese.
Al was lying, stretched out, face to the sun. Jodie ran one finger under the strap of her vest. The shape of her shoulder made Jodie ache and forget her need to speak. But she knew she had to.
‘Al, where are we headed now then?’
‘Needing answers again, little Jodie?’
‘Aren’t you having fun?’
Al opened one, green eye. It crinkled at the corner. Jodie’s heart started to pulse in her throat and she coughed, sudden and silly. Al laughed.
The pulse of the bass from the club stopped suddenly and Jodie woke. Her head had slipped from her folded sweatshirt and her cheek was coated, her hair matted with sand. Beside her, there was a dark dip of shadow. Jodie shuddered, shook out her sweatshirt and pulled it over her head.
‘Al? Al, are you having a piss?’
The moon was just a thin crescent lying on its back and the lights on the esplanade were blobs in the black. Jodie could hear the waves and nothing else. Nothing else until the rising, repeating rev of the bike. Then there was another light on the esplanade – the tail-light of the bike, red and receding, shrinking into the dark.