Valerie Anthrope from the novel The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch therefore I am
Welcome, Valerie. How are you today?
I’m here aren’t I? *Looks at watch* Can we get on with it. I haven’t all day.
Er, sure. Tell us about yourself? Where were you born/grew up? Your background?
I’m twenty-six and I was born in North Finchley in London. I grew up there too. I lived with my parents and brother until—
Until things started to go wrong. Oh, I suppose I should tell you. They say it’s therapeutic talking about ones problems, don’t they? I was eight years old, and Mum had always been neurotic, guess that’s where I get it from, and when I was eight she had a baby. All was fine until we went to that funfair and I met a witch *embarrassed cough*. Oh, I know she wasn’t a witch now, but tell that to an eight year old kid.
The witch told me that everyone I loved would die. I’d have forgotten about it in time, I suppose, only that night Sean, my brother, died. My mum, as I’d said, was already over-anxious and became obsessed with my heath after his death. Dad had withdrawn, so I felt I was on my own. Imagine having your health analysed all the time and vitamin tables wrapped up so they looked like sweet, and then not being about to discuss it with anyone. That’s what it was like. But, anyway, she committed suicide when I was sixteen, so—
You heard right. With hindsight, we should have seen it coming and got her help, but that’s hindsight for you. Anyway, a week later my dad died. He had a heart attack. Apparently, he had a bad heart, only I didn’t know that at the time. He’d already had a heart attack when I younger.
So, you were on your own at seventeen? What about other relatives?
There was only my nan. She sold her house and came to live with me, but she was old and died a year later. I was a well-off eighteen year old! *Hollow laugh*. But I’d have returned all the money to have my parents and brother back.
What did you do? How’d you cope?
I inherited my dad’s love for numbers and took an accountancy course at college. He was a maths teacher, but I didn’t fancy teaching kids. *Shudders*. In the end, I went into finance and ended up with my own brokerage with Sunny Oak. Then I met a man, Matt, and fell in love.
No, I dumped him. He became too clingy. Truth of the matter is, I began waking in the night for no reason. I was dreaming horrible things that woke me up, yet I couldn’t remember what they were about, only that they terrified me. I felt they were connected to Matt, somehow. I felt . . . doom. That’s the only way I can describe it. So I dumped him.
Because of a nightmare?
Laughing at me? I knew you would. People think I’m crazy, and I probably am. He had an accident on his motorbike, you see, and I’m convinced he survived because I finished with him. Don’t you see? Everyone I love will die. The witch was right. That’s why I hold myself so aloof from everyone. I can’t get too close. It’s too dangerous.
But that’s crazy! *Receiving a dirty look* OK, let’s change the subject. How is your brokerage doing?
Have you heard of Ladwick? It’s an up and coming retail store, and the owner, Lex Kendal, has bought insurance off me. So, business is doing well, thank you. He’s a bit of a playboy, always in the papers with some ditzy blonde on his arm. Needs bringing down a peg or two if you ask me.
No romantic involvement?
He’s tried though?
He’s a flirt. The biggest flirt I’ve ever met, and I haven’t been without the odd fling, so I know what I’m talking about. I just don’t get too close. Keep everyone at arm’s length has become my motto. I think it was a shock to his ego that I didn’t fall at his feet. Wish he’d take no for an answer, though. He’s over-confident, arrogant, spoilt and, dammit, sexy!
You can read my full story in The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch therefore I am and my fall back into the real world. The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch I am is cheaper than the energy pills I used to pop to keep me from sleeping and having nightmares.
Thanks for reading,
The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch, therefore I am
chick lit with BITE!
'I thought you were the type of man who could handle a one-night stand.'
Valerie Anthrope's life is finally on track. She has a thriving business, money is no problem, and men, well, she's a modern, cut-throat business woman and romantic entanglement isn't for her, so she can take them or leave them.
Or so she tells herself, and anyone else who'll listen.
But that's the problem. There's no one else who will listen. Those who get too close never live to tell the tale--literally.
Cursed or just unlucky?
Lex Kendal doesn't care. He's a rich playboy and can have any women he wants--and does. Until he meets Valerie, but then Valerie's carefully rehearsed mask slips and reveals the dark side of chick lit.
I looked at him in what I hoped was a suggestive tilt to my head. ‘You and I both know what that really means. So let’s cut the bullshit, OK?’ I was a modern woman. I was in control, and I fancied the pants off Lex Kendal. I’d have sounded pretty forceful except my words became a little tangled, and his roguish grin widened.
‘Just how many Fuzzy Navels did you have, Miss Anthrope?’ Before I knew it, he’d climbed out of the car and was at my side, opening my door. He held out his hand to me. ‘You have a deal, Miss Anthrope,’ he said. His breathing had become deep. ‘You fancy me, I fancy you. Let’s get the ball rolling, shall we? No crap.’
I stepped out of the car. I think now I was certain of what I wanted – sex. I was in control. That was, after all, the essence of me. We almost fell into my hallway, our hands roaming over each other’s bodies.
‘You’re drunk.’ He broke away just enough to rest his forehead against mine. ‘I brought you home so I could make love to you. But I can’t take advantage of a drunken woman.’
‘I’m not drunk,’ I said, our lips centimetres from each other. ‘Maybe tipsy, but not drunk.’ I pressed my body against his. As long as I was in control, I felt safe. ‘We’re adults, Lex, and we both know what the other wants.’
I felt powerful as his body began to tremble. I flicked my tongue towards his mouth, and moved my hands down towards the buckle on his belt. ‘Neither of us wants a relationship,’ I said. ‘Ours will be our own private agreement.’
We struggled to the bedroom, then we were kissing again. His hands under my dress; on my thighs; bum. His thumbs hooked over my knickers and he began to ease them down, while his mouth nuzzled my neck.
We were adults; this was the right thing to do. It felt like the right thing to do.
The bed squeaked beneath our weight.
Oh, God… too many Fuzzy Navels…