A Blonde's Guide to Mathematics
Bonnie has bigger problems than a new boyfriend who can walk through walls - she's running for her life, and if she's caught …
"I am in love with this book! ... a great mixture of New Adult/Adult romance and The Big Bang Theory on television. I loved Bonnie! She was a spitfire, a great mix of a damsel in distress and a strong female lead." Amy Cagle - Books Complete Me Unlimited
"A brilliant YA story from an author with the imagination to fire a dozen Dr Who stories! Exciting and gripping."
Michael Jecks, author of the Sir Baldwin and Simon medieval murder mysteries
"I picked this book up to read yesterday ... and I finished it this morning and the kitchen floor is still dirty.
I didn't want to put it down, although I did sleep in the middle. It was the kind of book that slowly sucks you in and
then you realise that you're halfway through and really need to get some sleep."
Leonie Rogers, author of Frontier Incursion
The 'Sacramento Book Review' gave it 4 out of 5 stars and said ...
"Ok, with a name like Bonnie's Story: A Blonde's Guide to Mathematics,, one might expect either a slightly more offensive version of the Dummies Guide to ... or a memoir about a learning to love maths written by a blonde. What you get, instead, is an entertaining science fiction-ish tale of teleportation and friendship, focused around the titular character, Bonnie. Bonnie runs into Rogan, a geeky scientist who, after taking a picture of a place and, using a lot of math, can teleport back to that spot from anywhere else. Bonnie joins Rogan and his band of adventurers and finds her place within them. The relationship that develops between Bonnie and Rogan is reminiscent of many partner TV shows with sexual tension, witty banter, and the feeling of inevitable pending relationship.
"Bonnie, Rogan, and his crew end up not only teleporting around the world (and more), but they also have to contend with an opposing group trying to take over the world with mind-control technology. Bonnie's Story is a light-hearted sci-fi story in the mode of Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett - goofy and entertaining at the same time. Bonnie shows more depth than one might guess from the 'blonde' tag she carries, along with an engaging personality. A well-done book with good characterization, dialog, and concepts. And no maths required.
THE first time I met Rogan, he was wandering down my street taking pictures of the street signs with his phone. His name wasn't really Rogan, it was Josh, but due to the crowd he hung around with and the quirky sense of humour science geek types have, he'd become Rogan Josh. Rogan for short.
Still, this wasn't something I learned until a lot later. Since meeting him, I've not just learnt this little soliloquy; I've visited the Moon, watched life begin, and discovered the true depth of mathematics. I can tell you now; maths really isn't as boring as you'd have thought.
Until I met Rogan, it had been a reasonably quiet week. Then again, my entire life before meeting Rogan could pretty much be classified as quiet. But that's me getting ahead of myself and there's no point in not sticking to the plot in a succinct order. You can tell I've been treading water in the deep end of the gene pool lately, can't you?
First though, my world came to an end.
It was a reasonably warm and sunny day for September, when a scruffy, tall and lean individual, whose age, clothes, short but shaggy brown hair and general demeanour screamed 'eternal uni student', came wandering down my street. His phone hand was extended, taking casual shots of the street signs. He'd just captured mine, Cleeves Street. Yes, admittedly 'nerd' was the first word that sprang to mind at this point and then, in my typical trusting nature for all human kind, it was followed with 'break and enter' and 'should I be going inside to tip off the police?'
However, before my thoughts could be turned into actions, he wandered over and, eyeing me up and down, took a picture of me with a cheeky grin before continuing on his way.
"Oi!" I called after him, as there is a time and place for unsolicited photo ops and this had not been it. "A guy has to be a lot cuter or richer to get away with something like that! Delete it now and shuffle your low grade uni student butt off my street before I call the cops!" His eyes clouded for a moment, before he shrugged and, with another cheeky smirk, sauntered back.
"My mistake." He grinned while studying me curiously, and then made an obvious show of deleting the photo of me. "But I thought any gorgeous blonde standing in the street in their satin sexy kitten pyjamas and fluffy bunny slippers was fair game."
"I was just retrieving my paper," I retorted angrily, waving the plastic-wrapped local rag at him, "when I noticed a seedy character acting suspiciously." He actually looked cuter than I thought, unshaven and rumpled as he was, when he gave me a mock hurt look.
"Seedy? Come on, Bunny Slippers, I was hoping for 'mysterious' at least! And how is taking photos of street signs suspicious?"
"Don't call me that! And, hello? What part of taking photos of street signs isn't suspicious?"
"I was thinking it's better than Sexy Kitten, but if the pyjamas fit …" Yeah, definitely cute with that grin.
"The name is Bonnie. B.O.N.N.I.E. No rabbits or cats involved," I replied, trying to look fiercer than my name, blonde hair and fluffy slippers would indicate. "Casing the signs to come and steal later, are we?" Ooh, I touched a nerve with that one as anger flared in those cute dark brown eyes.
"Okay, Bunny," he started, correcting himself when threatened with a whack from my paper. "Bonnie. I'm known as Rogan. And despite your obvious dislike for the unshaven, but well on the way to being educated masses, I am not a thief." Was that a slight accent showing now I'd touched a nerve? "Not that it's any of your business but taking pictures of street signs is not a crime. I checked. I happen to be making a log of reference points."
"To come back later, with some thuggish mates, and retrieve during a thieving spree?" I sneered angrily. It came out a little harsher than I had meant; I'd been going more for scornful cynicism.
"If you must know, it's to make reference points that allow my algorithmic calculations, based on a quantum level of physics, to activate the final destination quadrant of said algorithms so that they manifest into a successful conjunction, giving me the desired result."
I shrugged. It sounded like a good enough 'I am so smart, I used big words for no reason' excuse to me. Nerds, what could I say?
"Fair enough." That summed it up for me as I turned on my heel and headed back indoors.
"Oh, as if the likes of you understood what I just said!" Yup, definitely an accent now I had him angry. French, maybe? "Did I use too many syllables for Bunny's brain to cope with?"
The thwack of the newspaper sounded good. I guess those stupid tennis lessons in high school did pay off. Thanks Mum!
"Didn't your mother ever teach you to not judge a person by the shade of their skin?" I asked crossly, standing before him again with my arms crossed in front of me. "That same rule applies to the varying shade of tints, highlights and permanents in one's hair, I'll have you know."
Rubbing the spot on the side of his head where I'd got him with my paper, the anger in his expression was again replaced by that cute cheeky grin.
"Okay then. What did I say? Surprise me."
"You think that, through some mumbled mathematic code and a picture of a street sign, you can produce a combination of effects that give you what you're after." My look should have turned him to stone.
"How … ?" Yeah, that's the expression I like to see when the brunette discovers a blonde has some smarts.
"Father: Bio-electric engineer. Mother: Bio-organic chemist. Both have PhDs and are heads of their fields. Brother: Chemical Engineer with a Master's." I preened at his expression. "I may not have inherited their smarts, but growing up in a house full of such babble, a girl learns to pick out the important bits and discard the non-essential stuff." Dumbfounded suited him, brought amber flecks to his brown eyes.
"Want me to show you how it works?" he finally managed, after his expression moved through the various shades of surprise, and returned to amused.
"Oh please, is that the best pick up line you've got?" I eyed him over. "Scratch that, it obviously is!" I turned to go back inside, satisfied that he really was just some harmless eternal student pretending to work on some outrageous thesis that'd keep him in university forever, so he could play online war games for the rest of his life. Then there was a sound, not unlike burning paper, from behind me and a wave of goose bumps spread over me from front to back.
Turning to ask what he was doing now, I found him standing in the middle of a light blue cloud of … numbers? It was like some sort of expensive cigarette smoke, but instead of forming smoke rings, it shimmered and swirled around him in algorithmic jargon.
"What the …?" I know, Mum; I said I'd given up swearing.
He grinned, though it was obvious he also had to concentrate on what he was doing.
"I call it 'Maths That Stays'." He preened, holding his phone up to an obvious hole in the formula, and started flipping through the photos on it. "Like me to show you how it works."
Oh the things you forget about when you're shown something new, bizarre, and able to pique your interest in such a way you can't say no. Like the fact I was in my favourite slinky satin pyjamas and fluffy slippers?
"Sure," I said uncertainly. "How?"
"Come hold my hand." He proffered his free hand through the smoky numbers and ignored my snort of contempt. "I'm serious! Step through the Maths, you can't damage it. Take my hand quickly before it fades." As it was already showing signs of doing this, I thought, why not? I had the day off work as it was, and nothing planned but lounging about in said bunny slippers. I reached through the mist of numbers and took his hand; not clammy or sticky in any way, always a good start. He pulled me into the circle of signs and squiggles. The tingling sensation I'd been feeling since he'd created them intensified, he then finished selecting a picture. With the pinkie finger of the same hand he held the phone in, he made a sort of squiggle, like the '@' symbol, in the air. It was then that my world came to an end.
Nothing too dramatic, just a sucking 'pop', and all I can surmise was left in the street was slowly dispersing smoke from his used Maths.
THERE were no streaking stars or swirling vortexes, like science fiction shows tend to indicate. It was more like bright sunlight being suddenly hidden by a cloud and then, as it brightened up again, you got one mighty headache as your brain tried to re-focus on surroundings that weren't the same ones you'd been looking at a second before. If you were lucky, your ears would then pop and everything in your head would settle down. I don't think you're ever lucky on your first trip.
"Oh dear Lord, I'm about to be sick!" was the best I could manage before going cross-eyed and finding a great need to sit heavily on the ground beneath me.
"You'd be amazed how often I hear that on a first date," was smirk-faced nerd boy's reply. He appeared unfazed and still upright.
Removing my head from between my knees, when my ears finally did pop and my brain caught up with my eyes, I glared at the dear so-and-so.
"Firstly, that doesn't surprise me. Secondly, as if this is a first date!"
He simply smiled in that smug little way smart people do, but not as arrogantly as most I know, and offered me a hand up. I took it, heaved myself up in the most ungracious manner, and stared about me.
We were on a dusty orange brown hillside. Scattered about us were rocks and rather sad little bushes that showed life was hard here, but still possible. The sky was a dazzling, cloudless blue and the horizon held nothing but mountains in a heat haze in one direction and heat haze that could possibly have been the ocean in the other. We were standing on slightly smoother ground that I wouldn't have known was a road if it hadn't been for the bedraggled, faded street sign a few metres away. The name had been eroded off the ancient wood over time, but a reference point was still a reference point. Even I recognised that.
"Okay, nerd boy, so your thesis is going to see you pass. Now where the heck are we?"
"As I said, my friends call me Rogan. And yes I do have friends." This last was obviously in response to the look I gave him. "And this, if I got it right and I assure you I always do, should be Tuscany."
Tuscany? O-kay. To snort with contempt would be one thing. But that wouldn't explain the sunny, green springtime suburban street of Adelaide being replaced with a sparse, barren waste-land and orange dust on my fluffy slippers. No matter what certain people may say, they are not similar places at all!
"And you brought me here because ...?" Better to avoid the praise he was so obviously seeking just yet, as I wasn't too keen on how smug, said smug expression was getting.
"I'm told it's a romantic place. And, first date and all …" I rolled my eyes and did actually snort this time. In a ladylike manner, I promise, Mum!
"If your idea of romantic is dust, blazing sun and - I swear - forty degree heat, I am so glad this isn't a date."
He actually laughed at this. That was even cuter than the cheeky grins. It was really heartfelt and from deep down.
"You know, I'd pictured you either screaming with hysteria right now, or fawning all over me for being such a genius," he said with another grin. I gave him another snort.
"Firstly, you're an idiot to stereotype a girl like that. Secondly, and think very carefully about this as you'll notice I still have the newspaper in my hand, can you get me back to my home without us having to trudge several kilometres to civilisation and arrange our own deportation?" Surely a face should start to ache from having such a smug expression on it for so long.
"I bet you're glad I was taking those photos of the street signs now, aren't you?" he said with that grin, only marred slightly by the flinch caused by the threatening wave of my dependable, rolled newspaper.
"To show I'm truly not a bully, I will warn you now there is only so much smugness I can cope with before my second cup of coffee and the Sudoku found in my trusty weapon here." I warned as, cute as that expression might be, there is a limit to a nerd being smug in forty degree heat while my best satin jammies were getting sweaty. "So how about you smoke up some of that 'Staying Maths' of yours and mosey us both home, there's a sweetie."
Again he gave a thoughtful look of mild confusion, and then laughter. I swear it was the heat more than that sound that made my knees tremble a little.
"All first dates should end with coffee I think," he said with a wink, and then, with an oh so cocky flourish of his hand, made the smoky algorithms appear again with the sound of burning paper and a shimmer that brought my goose bumps back. He skimmed through his phone once more and held out a hand.
"My lady?" Yeah, one last ladylike snort for good measure, and I stepped back to his side and took his hand. Deciding that closing my eyes and imagining home would make the trip a little easier, was so wrong. Still, my ears popped sooner and I kept my bum off the pavement. However, Rogan obviously hadn't taken a photo of my house, just the street sign at the beginning of my street. So I now found myself looking twelve houses down to my front gate and feeling very conspicuous in my pyjamas and fluffy slippers.
"You dolt! Couldn't you at least have had the decency to deliver me to my door? As you're under the mistaken impression this is a date and all." Sadly, he ducked the newspaper with a laugh and stood just out of swinging reach.
"You know, there's no pleasing some people," he grinned, "And may I point out that the more time you spend trying to molest me with your paper, the longer those bunny slippers and kitty pyjamas will appear on the main road." Sadly, as if to emphasise his annoyingly accurate point, someone driving past blared his horn and added something I won't mention regarding revealing my more personal anatomy. I would have said more, but seemed to only be able to manage a strangled scream, before turning on my heel and stomping down the street to my home. And let me tell you, it is an absolute art to be able to stomp pavement angrily and not lose a bunny slipper!
AFTER a slightly panicked moment when I realised I had no key to get into my house, the blondeness passed and I remembered I hadn't actually locked it as originally I'd only gone out for my morning paper. Now, if I could just manage to get myself inside before reality caught up with me, I could possibly get on with my day without having to rely too heavily on chocolate.
"I do hope by 'coffee' you mean you've got real coffee in here and not that instant muck."
The paper connected soundly with the target before I'd even realised I had turned and swung. Still, the good 'thwock' helped calm my now jittery nerves.
"Jeez!" was all Rogan managed, before stumbling backwards down my front steps. "Methinks someone spends too many of her Friday nights on the games console. You're fast!" Okay, I was starting to feel slightly funky now and wanted to go have a lie down. I knew I just needed to open the door, get inside and close it while he was still stunned.
Why do uni students still wear Doc Martens? It is so hard to shut a door with one of those wedged in it.
"Bonnie? Surely you're not going to ignore the man who took you to Tuscany on the first date?" The touch of concern in his tone got through to me and I was able to look at him, only blinking a few times to clear the tears. From the shaking of my hands and the sudden swirl of emotions, I had the feeling my short trip of several thousand kilometres in less than ten minutes was catching up with me.
"Let's get you inside," was all I heard before he was swinging me about and guiding me through the front door. "Shock, I should have remembered shock. You're a stubborn little minx and given you've been doing your best to deny reality her payback; you're in for a doozy."
I was fairly certain he was talking more to himself than to me, and could only manage a grunt, possibly ladylike. Then, while it felt like someone was smothering me in cotton wool, he helped me shuffle towards the kitchen at the back of the house.
"Kitchen is this way? Good. And look, there's a nice pot of coffee brewing on its plate and, from the coffee grinder next to it, I'm in luck to getting something half decent." Yes, he was still mumbling to himself. I managed to get myself seated and was holding it together by grasping the paper in both hands for dear life. So, I felt a little freaked out; it was a logical thing to happen after taking part in something so fantastical. I felt that if I could just make small talk long enough for Rogan to drink his coffee and go, I could then have the rest of the morning alone to fall apart in in peace. I would then, hopefully, have myself put back together again in time for dinner with the parents that night. Piece of cake, right?
"Not only cute in her kitty pyjamas, but this girl knows her brew." Rogan sounded further away than my kitchen's size should allow and, after the blatant remark spoken just to bait me, his continued conversation turned into a murmur that matched the cotton wool feeling that had followed us in from the hall. The world then turned to treacle and everything started to move slowly in its still and sticky new environment.
This feeling seemed to go on for some time, and I vaguely remember the paper being prised from my hands. That I hadn't wanted to give my old trusty thwacker up that easily stuck out too. Still, said trusty thwacker was replaced with something warm that, on the urging from hands reaching me through the cotton wool, turned out to be overly sweet tea. Through no easy feat on my behalf, I managed to get it down my throat through clenched teeth and, after an age, the world seemed to melt back to normal.
"So yes, I think I will go grab my stuff and set up new digs in your spare room, thanks for asking …"
What?! My head snapped up and my hand groped blindly across the table for the paper before I realised it had been unsheathed and rolled out. It was now just a regular paper taking up most of my small dining table.
"What?! If you think for one minute I'd let a degenerate like you …" Of course, he'd been baiting me again. His laughter showed that much, but I was touched by the sigh of relief that it ended with, and the matching look of relief in his eyes.
"Oh Bunny, I thought I'd lost you there for a minute. You really need to let your imagination out to play now and again, so reality doesn't smack you so hard when it's ruffled."
I was about to say and do more, I really was, but all I managed was a small sob and a sigh. Sensing his gorgeous hazel eyes on me again, damn him, I looked up.
"Bite me!" Yeah, that was a good comeback, but how to top it off with something suave and ladylike? "And now, get the hell out of my house before I set the dog on you!" He looked confused for a moment, as if struggling with a concept.
"The dog?" So he could snort too, although mine at least was ladylike. "You mean that isn't a rat in desperate need of a haircut sleeping in the basket under your stairs?" If he was trying to get my blood pumping to get me over my minor reaction to my world coming to an end - aka globe-hopping made easy - he'd have to try harder.
"I happen to think the world of Mr Doodles out there, and would have happily called him my own by choice, even if Grandma hadn't left him to me in her will along with the house." We stopped our banter and stared at each other before the laughter took over.
"You need to learn to say that with a straight face, cutie." Rogan said, closing the paper, getting to his feet and stretching. "And now, thanks to four cups of rather nice coffee, I need to visit the facilities before bidding you a good afternoon." This was when I realised it was indeed afternoon and, by a quick glance at the wall clock, getting on to being late afternoon. How long had I been in that cotton wool and treacle state?
"What the?!" was all I managed before scrambling to my feet. "Why did you let me dilly dally all day? You've had me waste the majority of my well-earned day off!"
"Dilly dally? Oh how nineteenth century of you," came the droll reply. He had the arrogance to ignore the rest of my statement by adding. "And the bathroom is …?"
"You'll find the public toilets half-way down the main street on your way to the bus stop. I'll assume you've got a student pass to allow you to mooch on board for free." He had such a way of getting me angry, it was like an instinctive response.
"Oh please, Bunny, you were a lot more fun in your shocked vegetated state with tea dribbling down your chin."
Was that anger or frustration I heard in his tone? He had the nerve to get angry at me?! What was that about my chin? That was when I realised I was still in my pyjamas, and the ensemble was starting to look a little worse for wear, along with its owner.
"Damn you!" It was all I could think to say without spending too much time on arguing. Time that I desperately needed to use getting myself changed and looking decent again. "Use the downstairs one just outside the back door. Don't steal the soap!" I then raced back up the hall and up the stairs to my room to rectify the state I was in.
"Why Bunny, you shouldn't have gotten all dressed up for me. You need your rest before we have that second date." Yup, Rogan got a ladylike snort in reply when I found him still in my kitchen some time later, after I'd showered, gotten dressed in one of my more suitable little black dresses, heels, make-up and perfume. I'd just been adjusting my jewellery as I re-entered the kitchen.
"Oh please! Unlike some, I actually have a life and a place to be tonight. And I can assure you I'd not waste looking this nice on someone who still believes a flannel shirt over a t-shirt is high fashion. You do realise it's not the nineties anymore?" Did he look a little shocked and upset that I had a place to be tonight? Or was it my comment on his fashion sense? Oh well, I didn't stick around to study his expression as I ushered Mr Doodles out to the small, overgrown backyard, and hassled him until he 'did his business'. I'd discovered I had to call it that before he responded.
"Are your parents picking you up, or can I offer you a lift? I think I've got a picture of that steakhouse in my phone."
"What the?!" How did he do that? I pointedly pushed past him and made sure Mr Doodles had food and water, as his smug tone droned on from the doorway.
"Oh Watson, it's elementary. Why else would you have a calendar by the kitchen phone if you weren't going to write in what looks like monthly dinner dates with the folks?"
I can assure you I can huff like a lady too. Just because a fellow can shift you through space several thousand kilometres a second, doesn't mean he has super powers. I knew that.
"Stop going through my stuff! They're not picking me up, I am not touching you or your magical equations again, and now, get out of my house and leave me alone, or I'll be late!" Each part of my statement was emphasised with a sharp poke at his ribs until he was out my front door. I ignored his flustered look of confusion as I checked I had my keys, and then shut the door.
"I've written my number on your contacts list for when you're up for a second helping of Rogan," he then said with that smug grin of his and slouched down the path before me. How I wished they still delivered an evening paper in my neighbourhood.
DESPITE what some people assume, I actually got through a couple of weeks before getting my second helping of Rogan. I'd nearly put it all behind me as one of those things you just didn't discuss, even after they've already got you in the padded cell.
I was on my way home from work, and had just gotten off the bus, when I noticed blue smoke drifting out from the alley beside my local corner shop. Determined not to put two and two together in case it made another trip to cotton wool and treacle land, I gritted my teeth and kept walking.
"Hard day at work?" Yep, it was that slightly smug accent again. I'd started waking up at night after hearing it in my sleep, and would then have to double check that all the windows and doors were locked, and that the smoke detectors all had fresh batteries. At the time I'd been assuming equation smoke would set them off like normal smoke. I kept walking, feeling that maybe ignoring him would make him go away.
"No, ignoring me won't make me go away," I heard by my side and was satisfied to see him flinch slightly from my glance in his direction.
"Relax. I'm not carrying a paper." It had been a fake reaction, but damn him for still getting me to speak.
"Oh, so you are speaking to me? Fantastic." Was there actual relief in his voice? "So, I bet you've been awaiting the moment I returned to sweep you off your feet to the next far-flung destination of your desire?"
I tried, I really did, but that ladylike snort slipped out all the same.
"Okay, a little over the top for the drop dead gorgeous, but far too serious, Bunny. What about a dinner? My shout? I'll even restrict myself to grabbing something local in case you're funny about importing foods without proper paperwork."
"I'm too busy to go out to dinner," I answered through gritted teeth. "Go blow your smoke somewhere else, Rogan."
He sighed with disappointment, or was it relief?
"As you'd have to go home and change before I'd take you anywhere, is takeout good for you?" I stopped in my tracks, swinging around to glare at him.
"You have a problem with what I'm wearing, mister King of Retro Grunge?" I had, as mentioned, been on my way home from work. I was a hairdresser. So what if I was a little hairy, dye-smeared and smelt of permanent solution. It had been debutante week.
"I was actually enjoying the mini-skirt and crumpled blouse look," he replied in a placating tone while moving out of handbag swing reach too, I noted. "It was more for your own comfort I was thinking, and after a hard day on your feet surrounded by screaming teens, I thought you'd much rather a quiet night in."
"You've been spying on me?!" What a little rat fink! No, I wasn't flattered, despite later rumour. I had been about to stalk off, but my tone was moving from my angry voice to infuriated and at that point I either vented or went home and caused Mr Doodles to leave a puddle in my wake.
"Not exactly, I just happen to know where you worked and wanted to stop in and say hi." I was too mad for even a snort by now.
"What? Needed to bill me for our recent around the world trip?" Sarcasm was my last defence before really making a scene by laying him out cold.
"No!" Rogan was looking nervous and out of his depth as to where the conversation was going. "Truth be told, you made an impression on me. Surely that's enough reason to accept a free stay-in meal with a charming student-like fellow who could take you anywhere in the world?"
Okay, so the snort was back. Still, he looked cute in this flustered manner rather than his smug version. This had a calming effect, so I relented. It had been a long day.
"Over there. Thai Memories," I stated bluntly, pointing back down the street. "Ask them for 'Bonnie's usual' and whatever it is you're having. I'll leave the front door on the latch." Not exactly knowing what I was about to get into, I ignored his momentary look of concentration and confusion and took the sigh that followed as one of relief as he nodded and jogged off down the street. That only gave me fifteen minutes to spruce myself up enough to look semi decent in a 'staying home' sort of way in case I felt like letting his cuteness turn into something more.
Twenty minutes later I heard soft conversation mingled with the yapping firework of the greeting Mr Doodles gave most people who open my front door unannounced.
"You've got until the count of three, little doggie, before you get a free ride on Bovver Boots Airlines."
I couldn't help but smile, but did nothing to assist as his tone clearly indicated he wouldn't really punt my dog down the hall. Instead I checked the table once more to ensure I had everything on the trays we needed. I planned on us eating in the lounge off them. By the smell coming down the hall, he'd at least got the order right. Once we were all settled on the couch with dinner and some social, but not too intimate, music on low in the background, I planned on getting down to why he was there.
"So," I sighed, finally giving up on the last of the spicy liquid in the bottom of my bowl where a vegetarian laksa with chicken had once been. So I don't like fish, okay? "Now you've bought me dinner, have chatted up my dog, and poked your way through my lounge, why else are you here, Rogan?"
He gave the last of his Pad Thai Gow a confused glare and then looked at me with a sigh.
"I told you, you made an impression and I had to come back to make sure you were okay. It's not every day my dates flake out after the event. Who knows what aftershocks you may have had?"
"I was fine." Yeah right, he was worried about me. "I had a lovely dinner with my parents and have happily, and without a hiccup, gotten on with my days since, as if nothing happened at all."
"Though you do now keep a rolled up newspaper by your front door, just in case." He said with a smirk I found infectious. Yeah, so he'd made an impression after all, and noticed the paper.
"I like to keep a guy on his toes, and Mr Doodles doesn't quite intimidate as much as I'd like." His smirk turned into that heartfelt laugh that made him worthwhile to be around. It was as if laughter was something new and precious to him and you were lucky enough to share.
"So, you're doing well?" he asked again and I nodded, starting to clear up to show our little get-together should start wrapping up. My instincts warned me things could start moving in a direction I wasn't ready for.
"Don't suppose you'd want to do it again?" I may have mellowed by being fed one of my favourite meals, but was there a lot of hope to be heard in his question?
"Oh hell no!" I couldn't help myself, I wanted said meal to stay where it was, and not come back for a repeat showing.
"I don't mean right now!" he insisted, starting to get that flustered tone again. "I just meant, could you see yourself coming along for the ride anytime in your near future?" I honestly gave it some thought. Just think of all the places I could go and see for next to nothing. I'd always wanted to travel, dreamed of big cities like London and Paris as well as the far flung areas of little civilisation in parts of Africa and the Americas.
"What's the catch?" I may be blonde, but I wasn't coloured yesterday. "If you need a virgin sacrifice for some expedition in darkest Africa, you've knocked on the wrong door." Oh that laugh of his made my spine tingle, and in a good way.
"I've simply got to see what mushy novels you get your ideas from, Bunny!" he chuckled. "Besides, I was fairly certain you aren't qualified for such a role, should I ever need one." How dare he? It's not as if my wardrobe screamed 'tramp', did it?
"But it'll cost me?" I prompted, wondering if he was deliberately sidestepping my main question.
"Nothing! Well, we tend to pitch in to share a meal while away, but that's about it," he assured me.
"We? There's more than just you flaunting customs, and thumbing your nose at international travel tariffs?"
"Sure there is. A whole gang of us, if you wish. And as they've been complaining of me mooning about the place since we met …"
"Aha!" Ooh, he blushed a lovely rosy shade I could get used to.
"Aha, nothing." He was floundering now, and it was good to see he could be normal under his supercilious smugness. "I just find it amazing that someone who seems to want to model herself on Barbie, with a more realistic body I may add, truly understands the level of what I've discovered maths can do!" Oh damn, smug was back. And wait, was he saying I was fat?
"And your playmates have told you to invite me over so they can ogle a real woman too, hey? Need a specimen of what life outside the fume hood is all about?" My mellow mood was slowly fading as his defences came up at my possibly too harsh a tone. Anger was my first defence too, so he was in for a mouthful if he wasn't careful.
"We do have girls in our group you know. Don't put yourself on too high a pedestal as it'll hurt all the more when you fall off onto your arse!" Rogan rose, starting to sound frustrated and showing signs of leaving, which was what I'd wanted, right? He definitely had a French accent when emotional. Kind of cute too, despite him being such a fink at that moment. "I just thought you'd like to see that there is a world out there, where someone as smart and interesting as yourself doesn't have to hide behind a blow-dryer to avoid being expected to follow in her family's footsteps." Ouch! I had two words for him, they were polite ones too.
"Get out!" How dare he? "How dare you! Get out before I set the dog on you!"
"What are you going to do, throw him at me?" he was heading out all the same, a mixture of confusion and anger blemishing his usually cute features. "Hope you enjoyed the meal. I promise I won't try and break you from your self-made blonde hell again." And he was gone with a slam of the front door before I'd even had a chance to throw something at him. Damn him!
Enjoyed the sample?
A Blonde's Guide to Mathematics
Copyright © 2013 by Janis Hill
All rights reserved.
PO Box 451 Bassendean
Western Australia 6934