Songs of Bliss
lights, is it. Africa and then London. That's the plan. For the moment this will do. It really
helps with my studies and it pays for some fun."
Bex is pleased with the compliment about her Dad. It makes her feel warm and
close to him, and appreciative of Leona. "That's the only problem with my stuff. You can't
really get proper experience when you're still at school. The nearest I get to fixing- up
animals is the Saturday job at the stables. Mostly mucking out. But I love it. It's great when
we do the schooling for kids. All those little faces perched on great big ponies, and they
learn so fast at that age."
The girls are finishing their drinks. Both are on vodka kicks. It?s almost time to hit
"Hey, what are you doing on Saturday?" Leona is asking the question. "O nly
Maggie gave me the night off for my birthday. Trouble with this job is you work most
weekends and I've sort of lost touch with some of my friends. Even the boys are working."
Bex pricks up her ears. "Boys?"
"Yeah, I'm sort of seeing one of the boys who works here. But they're working.
Dave and Rob. But the guy from the football might be there and he might bring a friend or
two. We're planning on meeting up at The Basement. Fancy it?"
Bex is shocked. Leona seems so straight. "But if you're seeing, Dave…you naughty
Leona grins. Wicked and warm. "I'm far too young for all that serious stuff.
Anyway, I don't sleep with them, well, not with most of them. This girl just wants to have
fun and when you're a poor student it helps if the boys have a few quid in their pocket. Say
you'll come, please."
Billy pretends to be equally shocked, but can?t keep it up for long. He will be in
Bristol and he has no right to insist that his seventeen year old princess sit at home all alone
while he is out and about. O f course she can go. He will give her enough cash for a cab if
she needs it, although The Basement, pulsing as it does at the heart of Bideford town
centre, is on home territory for Bex.
Bex tugs her Dad's arm as she replies. "O n one condition. You come over in the
afternoon and we get all girly. Hair, makeup, all that. Then you can show me Bideford in
all its glory." She checks with her Dad. "That's okay, isn't it, Dad?"
It is a deal. Lobster Jack's followed by The Basement. Billy will be home by three.
The clubs go on until at least then so he sho uld be back in time to make sure his darling girl
and her new best friend are safely tucked up for the night in the land of innocent dreams.
Billy is a father, and although every woman that he has got drunk with, slept with and
fought with is another man's daughter, he still believes in miracles. The immaculate Bex,
and, by association, the sweet but slightly flawed Leona.
As they get up to leave Billy looks for Maggie but he still can?t see her. He quickly
checks the corridor and sees a thin slice of light shining out from under the office door. She
doesn?t need to hang a do not disturb sign on the door handle. Maggie wants to be alone.
Billy sighs and then holds the main door open and the girls walk out into the night. Billy