• Natalie Fellowes

Chapter Two

Updated: Mar 23

So take off all your clothes


Ally glanced over at the man next to her in the car. Billy bloody Crudup. What the hell. You couldn’t make this up. He was eye deep in a script, his wrinkles above his brow undulating as he scanned the sentences. She watched his lips mumble soft words and wondered to herself what it would be like to kiss them. Her heart started racing as her thoughts meandered to an x-rated version of The Morning Show, Billy singing the Sweeney Todd duet to her and then jumping on her in front of the whole office…

Are you ok, he asked? You’ve gone quite…pink. Ally blushed. It’s getting hot in here, she said. So take off all your clothes, she sang to herself in her head. Stop it, stop it, stop it. I’m fine, she smiled and opened the window.

They were nearing the airport. Off to the Maldives. Wow. Dream come true. Top of her bucket list.

Her reverie was suddenly disturbed by the snake-like traffic. Coronavirus, said the driver. They’re checking everyone’s temperature before letting them through. Ally gulped. Shit, her temperature must be sky rocketing with her never-ending dirty thoughts. She was determined to go on this damn trip with this adonis, even if it killed her. Ok, calm yourself Ally. Think of a quiet stream, cold and wet…wet, no wrong word. Moist, damp, for fuck’s sake, get a grip of yourself lady. The car was nearing the medical tent. She grabbed her phone and opened up Quill Kickers. Eradicate coronavirus, she quickly typed.

It was their turn. The car drove into the tent. The driver wound down his window. A smartly dressed man leaned in…with two glasses of champagne. We’ve been expecting you Mr and Mrs Crudup. Let us fast track you, he said. This way please.

Sitting in the First Class Lounge, Ally sipped at her third glass of champagne. She was properly tipsy now. She had that nice feeling. You know the one? Where everything in the world felt possible. What should she correct next? She took out her phone. She didn’t know how this was all happening but who cared? Maybe it was like Zoltar in Big. That film was absolutely crazy, she thought to herself. The main female character essentially slept with a twelve year old and no one said anything. Wonder if it would still be made now? Then there’s Back to the Future…OMG. Ally sighed. The 80s were insane. No wonder the world was in a mess right now.

End poverty, she wrote. Suddenly the room filled up with people, all jostling for their freebies. We better get going, said Billy, if we want to avoid the queues for boarding. Queue? No way José, thought Ally. I’m not queuing. Not in this fantasy. She typed, buy shares in Apple twenty years ago and smiled at herself for her quick thinking. Immediately a Matrix-like security agent stepped forward. Your private jet is ready ma’am, he said. That’s more like it, thought Ally. Darling, I’ve never said this before but I’m in awe of your amazing investing talents that make our fantastic life possible, said Billy. Thanks husband, said Ally as she glanced at her latest Quill Kickers entry; Gender equality. You just concentrate on your lines and leave the hard stuff to me.

They finally arrived at their hotel in the Maldives. Ally opened her suitcase and found only her bikini and some condoms. Oops, she thought, that’s compact packing for you. At least Marie Kondo would be proud of her. Is that all you brought, laughed Billy? Nothing else ‘sparked joy’, he joked? Ally gave him a nervous smile. How the fuck did he know about Marie Kondo, she thought? Bit unsettling. Her real husband would have no clue. He would think it was some luxury apartment or something. Her real husband…Ally tried to recall him in her mind. What was he called again? Something in her heart suddenly yearned for him but it disappeared in a wisp. Meanwhile, her phone was going crazy with invitations to dinners and galas, now that she was Mrs Crudup. Or was it because of her new found wealth? Old contacts that she hadn’t heard from in years were filling up her inbox. Job opportunities were pinging up on her phone. The ‘Mean Mums’ from her kids’ school suddenly wanted her to join their WhatsApp group. Her kids…that aching feeling resonated through her body again. She had kids, didn’t she? She could feel it. What were their names again? She suddenly missed them. Desperately. She needed to see them. What was she doing here in the Maldives with Billy Crudup? It didn’t feel right. It was swarming with people anyway; not quite the island paradise that she had envisioned. Global equality now meant equal access to private beaches too, she supposed.

All of Ally’s ‘corrections’ were turning out not quite how she had imagined. She had meddled with the yang and the ying was beginning to haunt her. She suddenly wanted her old life back. She looked at her watch. It was getting close to midnight. Leap year day was about to end. The drift of time had been corrected. Was it too late for her to ‘correct’ back her life?



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