Well, as you saw on Saturday’s blog, I’ve started a new story with Renee and Frei in case you’re getting restless wondering how Aeron is doing. So, you’ve got two lots of stories to read as here is this week’s Queer Tango.
As always please excuse the bloopers or have a giggle at them!
Episode 23: Just For The Love of It.
It was a well known fact to all those in Bumblethorpe that a dancer, in possession of a baby bump, must be in want of Agnes’ biscuit selection. And Paulette chomped on her chocolate covered melt-on-your tongue scrumminess of a biscuit with very little regret over the amount of calories it may place on her bum. Yes, a dancer always provided much sport for their neighbours but then very few of them could place their leg behind their head.
‘George, will you stop falling over,’ Lanie muttered as George sailed past her into the safety mat for the umpteenth time and nearly took her bicycle helmet with him. ‘Have you done your laces up?’
George sighed as he dusted himself off. ‘I can’t multitask okay?’ He winced as he straightened up. ‘I don’t know how you remember which foot to use, what gesture to throw in, where Miriam is, then try and do that in time with the music.’
‘It’s like driving,’ Lanie said and patted him on the shoulder as he limped back to Diane who was nattering to Ceri. ‘You concentrate on all the little bits first of all but then it becomes automatic.’
George grunted at her and focused on Diane.
Lanie looked at Miriam. ‘Why is he grumpy with me?’
‘He’s not,’ Miriam said with a smile then twirled around, stopped, then stretched out her hamstring. ‘He’s as happy as you that we’re having a night out.’
Paulette chomped away on her biscuit trying to hide her smile. The class was divided about the joint stag-ette (Janis and George) and hen do. It seemed most of those on the deer side weren’t overly impressed they’d have to go to a cabaret club and pay money toward the hire of the club; whereas, those of the egg-laying variety were delighted to be let out to shake their wings about. Then Paulette tried to ignore the fact that technically there really should be hen and rooster dos or even stag and doe ones and just why hens and deer were now a pairing. She glanced at Andy who was gossiping to Glynnis. She knew full well he’d tell her they were probably species-fluid or something along those lines.
She had an extra biscuit to congratulate herself on recognising equality among hens and deer… and yes, class was going that well that she’d resorted to such ponderings.
‘My Ricky and her Colin are in charge of The Bee for the evening,’ Tracy said, flashing her gold capped tooth. ‘So, we can spill whatever drink we want on the bar.’
Tammy nodded eyeing Paulette and her biscuit. ‘And dancing will mean we can drink more.’
‘I think Barney is going to demand a family discussion if I come home drunk again,’ Mary-Lou said with a cheery grin as she spun Hedges around. ‘He’s still trying to figure out how I took part in a play.’
‘She did,’ Hedges said with an enthusiastic nod. ‘She was very good as Paulette’s alcoholic mother.’
Paulette finished off her biscuit. ‘She was. I still can’t believe we got a five star review in The Stage.’
‘We did,’ Andy said and clapped. ‘Sooo exciting. My mother cried, actually cried.’
‘I thought my son might cry with embarrassment but he gave me a nod instead,’ Hedges said as she avoided George flying into the mats. ‘My husband says that is teenager for “well done.”’
Mary-Lou chuckled. ‘Sure is, honey.’
Lanie frowned at George then rubbed at her arm. ‘I shouldn’t need elbow pads in class.’
‘Sorry,’ George mumbled as he got up. ‘Missed my footing.’
‘Then why are you missing more footing than usual?’ Lanie grunted adjusting her bicycle helmet as Miriam started chatting to Diane. ‘I get clumsy… but I’ve got bruises in a few places now.’
He sighed. ‘I don’t want to have a do.’
Diane glanced over. ‘What did you say, dear?’
‘I said…’ He plastered a fake smile on his face. ‘I am looking forward to the do.’
Diane beamed at him and went back to chatting.
Lanie rolled her eyes. ‘Very strong, George.’
He shrugged. ‘What do you want me to do, tell her I’m worried I’ll get too drunk, do something stupid, and she won’t want to marry me?’ He thumbed to Stan. ‘He had his own do… and let me tell you that none of us remember much other than the fact Colin got handcuffed to the park bench.’ He folded his arms. ‘That’s why they are separate parties, blokes do dumb stuff.’
Andy flounced over. ‘Yes, she might realise how much you love Ruby.’
‘It was dark.’ George growled then waved him off. ‘I don’t know why we have to pay to watch a cabaret, we’ve got you at The Bee.’
Andy bowed. ‘We do, but Ruby would like a night out herself.’ He glanced over at Paulette who was wincing while watching Janis waltz with Ceri. ‘However, Paulette’s college friend is the principle role and… well, I don’t really want Plimsole seeing another woman in the same light as Ruby.’
George scratched his head and wandered off.
‘You think Paulette would find her friend attractive?’ Lanie asked as George had a blokey chat with Stan by the wide-stances and gesturing.
‘I worry Paulette will find everyone attractive,’ Andy said then shook his head at George. ‘It would help his bravado level if Stan wasn’t in a sparkly number and a wig.’
Lanie nodded. ‘It would help if he came with airbags.’
‘The way Diane is feeding him up, he will,’ Andy said then sniggered. ‘It is lovely to see him happy.’
‘Do you think the lady in the show is attractive then?’ Lanie asked then glanced over at Miriam. ‘Maybe we could give Paulette and Miriam dark glasses or something?’
Andy nodded. ‘I like that idea.’
‘Do you think I should just ring to check?’ Gaynor asked Glynnis as they shimmied. ‘I mean, Stan’s mum is great but… she might be rusty.’
Glynnis wiggled her hips. ‘She’s a grandmother, we’re never rusty. We have withdrawal symptoms.’ She smiled a maternal smile. ‘We remember how much we loved our children when they were that small.’
Gaynor nodded then slid into her step. ‘She did have a funny look in her eyes when I handed Liza over.’
‘There you go.’ Glynnis paused as Gaynor chewed on her lip. ‘The other part about being a grandmother is we know what is like to be a first time mother and need to check in every five seconds.’ She nodded to the doorway. ‘Go and give her a ring.’
Gaynor hurried out.
Paulette raised an eyebrow. ‘It’s hard enough to get you all dancing one ensemble dance as it is… removing those who bother to dance at all isn’t helping.’
Glynnis chuckled because other than her, Mary-Lou, Ceri and Janis, there wasn’t much dancing going on. ‘She needed to check in on Liza.’
Paulette patted her bump. ‘That’s why I’m keeping mine on me.’
Andy hurried over and checked over her stomach. ‘Are they okay?’ He put his ear to her bump. ‘Did you wriggle?’
Paulette patted him too. ‘We’re attached, Ruby. They aren’t going to escape without me needing painkillers.’
Glynnis beamed and danced over. ‘My husband was excited when I was having our first baby too.’ She sighed then rolled her eyes. ‘That’s when I decided not to tell him I was having the others so I could get peace and quiet.’
Andy poked out his tongue. ‘I can’t help fussing. I feel like I should be dancing as part of this process but I’m not in the scene and have to pretend I don’t want to be in it or it’s crowding.’
‘You’re not crowding me, Ruby.’ Paulette pecked him on the lips. ‘And, trust me, you are in the scene and a vital part of it.’ She smiled at Glynnis. ‘He’s fantastic at doing all the diaries and remembering appointments and he cooks.’
Andy nodded. ‘Yes, but…’
‘You feed me, I feed Ruby-Plimsole, it’s a team dance.’ Paulette tutted at him because his blue eyes filled with that daft awestruck look they often carried when gazing at her. ‘And I’m not doing a Trevor with my college friend. I’ve seen her in her knickers plenty of times and my usual thought was that I didn’t understand why she never rubbed in the fake tan on her backside.’
‘Did you mention Snickers?’ Tammy stared over, intent in her eyes.
‘No, knickers,’ Hedges said then turned to Mary-Lou. ‘Panties.’
Mary-Lou patted her on the back. ‘Thanks, honey.’
‘Did she really forget to rub in the fake tan?’ Andy seemed to have forgotten his worry about Paulette’s friend running off with her. ‘Did you tell her?’
‘No,’ Paulette said with a chuckle. ‘That’s like telling someone they have broccoli stuck in their teeth. You just try not to stare and hope they sort it out themselves.’
Andy checked his teeth with his tongue.
Glynnis checked hers then chuckled. ‘I can imagine there was plenty of competition between you at a dance college too.’
Paulette laughed then rubbed over her baby bump. ‘No, Tatty wiped the floor with me in all areas. She was tipped to be the best. Had won countless championships by the time she came to college.’
‘So, why is she performing in a cabaret club in Grumblebridge?’ Andy asked stroking over her tummy too.
‘We lost touch after college and she was in a top show so we drifted.’ Paulette held up her finger. ‘George, if you keep hitting the mat that hard, we’ll need to have the do in Accident and Emergency.’
‘Sorry.’ George pulled himself up then shrugged at Lanie who rubbed her knee. ‘Sorry.’
‘It doesn’t matter where I stand,’ Lanie muttered then adjusted her bicycle helmet. ‘He still manages to bash into me.’
‘Why don’t you sit down like Gaynor was when she was pregnant?’ Paulette said hoping he wouldn’t take it as discouragement. ‘You could act as the supervisor in the scene?’
George slumped onto a seat. ‘Happy to. It’s hard enough dancing when she pays attention.’
Diane gossiped away to Miriam, Tammy, Tracy and Ceri as Stan and Janis attempted their tango scene.
Lanie limped over. ‘So, your friend lost touch with you in college?’ She shrugged when Andy smirked at her. ‘It’s hard rhumbaing by yourself.’ She thumbed at Miriam. ‘She tried discussing what dress she was going to wear with me.’
Andy perked up. ‘And?’
Lanie pulled her mouth to the side. ‘Dunno why she asked me, she looks great in everything she wears.’
Andy rolled his eyes. ‘Agnes, are you hearing this? Lanie thinks Miriam should just wear whatever.’
Agnes peered over her glasses. ‘Lanie wears a bicycle helmet in class, dear. I doubt dresses are her idea of conversation.’ She beamed at Lanie. ‘Try asking her which type of tyre is better for road use.’
Lanie nodded. ‘I can have that conversation.’
Andy put his hands on his hips. ‘A road tyre is fine for road use… I’m confused how far that topic could go.’
‘There are lots of road tyres, Andy,’ Lanie muttered more intense than usual. ‘That’s like saying you just stick tiles on a roof.’
Andy placed his finger to his lips. ‘I see your point.’ He smiled at Agnes. ‘How did you know what to ask her?’
‘I have eight daughters and seven of them have three children, with number eight providing another… five of those grandchildren have children of their own and the oldest two greatgrandchildren have a baby each so far.’ Agnes placed her cups out on the table. ‘You learn to talk about bike chains, toys, dresses, roof tiles and romance all while pretending you don’t know how build a bike from scratch should the need arise.’
Paulette nodded. ‘You should see her at family get togethers.’
‘You’re coming to the cabaret, right?’ Lanie asked as she swiped a biscuit. ‘Miriam has decided we’re on rice cakes instead of biscuits.’
‘I’m too old to be invited to such dos,’ Agnes said with a doting smile then plonked several biscuits in a bag and handed them to her. ‘Hide them under your helmet.’
Lanie grinned and did as told.
‘You’re not too old for anything,’ Paulette said as Gaynor walked back in with relief on her face. ‘I want you to come.’
‘And me,’ Andy said as Gaynor went over to Stan.
‘What she say?’ Stan fired at her like he was still in the military and demanding a report.
‘Her feet hurt because she’s been waltzing for hours but Liza is asleep now.’ Gaynor let out a breath of relief. ‘She’ll have a full report when we get in and there’s more than enough bottles made up and she told me that she changed your nappy and they haven’t changed that much.’
Glynnis nodded. ‘Although they used to have pins.’
Agnes nodded. ‘They used to be sheets cut up.’
Paulette grimaced. ‘I think Andy should be in charge of nappies.’
‘Diapers,’ Hedges said to Mary-Lou who wasn’t meant to be listening. ‘Not nannies like you misheard in work.’
‘I wondered why the customer looked at me like I was weird,’ Mary-Lou said with a chuckle. She’d given up dancing and was sat cross-legged on the floor stretching off. ‘I gave her the number of a good au pair.’
‘That’s a live-in nanny,’ Hedges translated to the class. ‘Like Trevor has decided he is.’
Glynnis stared up at the ceiling. ‘He has?’
Hedges nodded. ‘I think he wants Ceri to hire him by the way it was phrased.’ She sat on the floor next to Mary-Lou but couldn’t do cross-legged so just crossed one halfway. ‘Although, I don’t think he realises his children aren’t grown up because he said he had a lot more experience at parenting.’
‘The girls are very mature though,’ Janis said loitering near the biscuit table. ‘But he’s not living in our house.’
‘He’s counting that he was parented,’ Ceri said breaking from discussions about how high a decent skirt length could be. ‘And he never changed nappies.’
‘I can change nappies,’ Stan said with complete confidence. ‘I’ve changed three now… completely solo and they all stayed on.’
Gaynor high-fived him. ‘Even if they were on backwards.’
‘So, is anyone planning on dancing before I tell Andy that my college friend got back in touch?’ Paulette said it thinking of using it as a way to entice Andy to do some dancing but gave up because tea was ready and she was concerned that George had managed to fall over even sitting down.
‘Plimsole, don’t tease me,’ Andy helped her up like he really wanted to sweep her into his arms. ‘I’m a humble roofer even if I do rub in my fake tan.’
George nodded then cleared his throat.
‘I don’t recall you being that close,’ Andy shot at him with a wink.
‘I wasn’t but you could tell you don’t have tan marks.’ George avoided Diane’s moody look.
‘He doesn’t,’ Tracy said then nodded to Tammy. ‘Does he?’
‘I even got my binoculars out to check,’ Tammy said with a snigger. ‘He’s got a smoother bum than most.’
Paulette smiled but she wasn’t saying a word.
‘Put him out of his misery, Paulette,’ Agnes said with a knowing smile as she handed over a cup of tea. ‘Tatty was always around our house. They were very close.’
Andy folded his arms. ‘I can’t bear it. She loves another.’
‘We’re not those kinda friends,’ Paulette said and winked at Mary-Lou. ‘Tatty gave up her shot at being in the spotlight to open a bird rescue centre with her incredibly sweet, highly intelligent wife who is a vet.’ She met Andy’s eyes. ‘She hated the attention and her wife doesn’t care if she has fake tan on or not.’
Andy put his hands on his hips. ‘I think I’ve given them fledglings I’ve found before.’
Paulette nodded. ‘She remembered you… and she’s seen Ruby.’ She picked up a biscuit and chomped on it. ‘She hates shopping and I’m allergic to bird poo. You’re safe. I’m not Trevor-ing with her.’
‘How can she hate shopping?’ He shook his head in disgust. ‘Think of the shoes.’ He sipped at his tea. ‘However, I’m very impressed she gave up being on stage to help cute birds.’
Paulette nodded as the class jumped on Agnes’ biscuit selection. ‘Yes, she said that she found it claustrophobic having to perform on cue and we bonded over how we both view dancing now.’
‘And how is that?’ Mary-Lou asked as she sipped at her tea. ‘I kinda felt you missed the stage.’
‘I do but being a professional wasn’t as rewarding as I’d dreamed of it being and Tatty felt the same.’ Paulette pecked Andy on the cheek and smiled. ‘So, it is a well known fact that a dancer, in possession of skill, must be in want of the stage but some of us want something more… romance, love… and so we now both enjoy performing just for the love of it.’