Day-to-day life can be a drag, especially when you’re trying to run your own business and contend with an over-bearing husband. Julia finds her life suddenly up-ended when her husband gets an invitation to his main contractor’s birthday party. On their arrival, Julia finds things are not what they seem and contemplates leaving, doing so after a number of drinks. As fortune or misfortune would have it, she meets two would-be criminals who entice her to join them searching for quick money, and extracting some amorous moments with a highly inebriated and gullible Julia.
Her moralistic stance now in tatters, she returns to the party which is now in full swing. With only a friendly barman and a voice in her head passing sarcastic comments, she must decide whether to hide or participate. She meets Carly, an older perverse woman, who coaches her in the ways of the Gathering, more from care than sexual gratification.
Propositions abound and proposals are made, but Julia is unsure, though the seeds have been sown. At the close of the Gathering her husband reappears, bringing an abrupt and unexpected conclusion to one problem.
The story follows Julia through a weekend of heaven and hell, recording her thoughts and actions as she encounters a number of unsavoury characters. She is coaxed into the seedy side of life and finds she is not averse to the fruits that abound. Her libido, can and does swing, like the pendulum of a clock.
6 PM – 7 PM
The late model red Camry pulled up in the driveway beside the dilapidated work utility truck, the door flying open as the woman hopped out, hurrying into the house. “You’re late!” the man shouted. “You’d better get your finger out!”
“I know,” she replied, flustered, rushing through to the bedroom. “I’ll shower and change. It won’t take me long,” she called back, in an attempt to pacify him.
“Why the hell didn’t you knock-off earlier?” he complained, following her into the bedroom and watching as she discarded her clothes and hurried naked through to the bathroom. “I reminded you about the party this morning,” he harped.
“Mike! Give it a rest. The salon was so busy this afternoon I couldn’t get away any earlier. My clients are important to me,” she answered, quickly washing and rinsing herself under the spray of the shower.
“I don’t want to be late. I told you that.”
“What are a few minutes?” she cried, getting out and grabbing her towel and wrapping it around her before hurrying back to the bedroom.
He followed, watching as the water dripped from her body onto the carpet. “Could’ve at least dried yourself,” he grumbled, and sat down on the bed, watching her search the cupboard for something to wear. “Should’ve sorted out something this morning,” he continued.
“Bugger off, Mike!” Her voice signified the hostility that was building up inside her, as the towel dropped from her body, bringing a frustrated growl from her lips. Leaving it lay where it fell, she continued searching, throwing some clothes onto the bed.
Mike sat there watching, her nakedness stirring a sudden romantic feeling within him. She was a beautiful woman, his Julia, tall, about his height and well built, which had been his main attraction to her. She had long brown hair, although now it was a more rusty red from a rinse she had put through a week before.
She’d started a small beauty salon business about a year before, doing hair and nails and waxes, and whatever else they did in places like that, purely because she was sick of working for someone else, and it had been a great success, much to his displeasure.
He was a plumber with his own business. Relatively successful, but content to let the work come to him and rarely went out in search of anything more than he felt he needed.
That’s why this night was so important.
Chris, the largest builder on his books was having his thirtieth birthday party, and it promised to be a big night. He’d come home early and was ready an hour before she arrived home in her usual rush. Now, he was sure they’d be late. “You don’t feel like one?” he asked, her nakedness getting the better of him.
She turned and looked at him with a frown. “Fuck off! I’m really not interested in going, so don’t piss me off any further,” she warned.
“What’s got up your bum?” he asked indignantly.
“He might be your client, but I don’t even like him,” she said, looking at what clothes she’d thrown on the bed.
“He’s all right.”
“He’s an arse-hole. An arrogant, long winded arse-hole,” she argued. “Who thinks he’s God’s gift to women.”
“Well, Beth May must think otherwise. She married him.”
“That’s her problem. I don’t like her much, either.”
“You’re in a foul mood tonight.”
“Then, stop pushing me, and let me get dressed.” She slipped into a brief pair of panties and clipped up her bra before mulling between dresses, or slacks.
“Why don’t you like her?” he asked, pushing on the subject.
“I just don’t. There’s something about her.”
“Just because she loves him?”
“Don’t be stupid. That’s her business.” She decided on the slacks, and slid them on before choosing a blouse that complimented them in colour and design.
“I thought the other one would go better,” he suggested, looking at her clothes.
“You know what thought did?” she said, moving over to the mirror to check her face and hair. “Are you drinking tonight?” she asked, knowing what that answer would be.
“Of course. You’ll have to be the driver.” He smirked at her.
“And if I want to drink?”
“You can probably have one or two and still drive,” he replied.
She finished putting on her face, and looked about for her shoes, once again picking a pair that matched her outfit and were comfortable for a long night out. “Ready, I suppose,” she told him as she stood in the doorway, waiting for him to get off the bed.
“Good.” He looked at his watch. “We won’t be all that late.” He got off the bed and followed her out to the car.
“Were we supposed to get him anything?” she asked. “You know, a present?”