The Stale Taste of Recycled Air

Ollie fever and Pancakes

I opened my eyes, to find myself staring at the white curtains in Billie Joe's bedroom. The sun had drifted through a part in the fabric and small beams of light flickered down onto the bed illuminating the particles of dust in the air. Turning my head I found myself in the face of him. He was awake and smiling, his eyes looking so shiny they could almost be weeping. His arms held me strongly and I sighed as he brought me closer and kissed my forehead just above my left eyebrow.

The completeness I was feeling in my soul made my heart want to burst. I wanted to stay here encased in his warmth till the earth stopped turning. I'd never felt like this before, this true feeling of wholeness. The feeling that I could love him till the end of time, my thoughts scared and excited me.

I turned back to him, a small smile wrapped around his lips.

"Morning," he wheezed, bringing me closer to his chest.

"Morning," I whispered back.

I began running my finger down his torso in circles around his tattoos slowly moving across his shoulder and down his forearm, I picked up his arm and decided to ignore the filmstrip of Adi that lay there; I didn't want to spoil this moment for anything. I wanted to be selfish for a while.

"Want some breakfast beautiful?" he asked a hand rushing across my chin.

"Mmmm, if you are making it?" I giggled

"I dunno, that depends if you want salmonella," he laughed.

"Aw Billie, go on, make me breakfast" I whinged looking up at him grinning.

"Only if you do that thing that you did last night again with you're... "

"BILLIE! " I laughed jumping up and straddling him. The warm air between the sheets escaped and a cold rush sent through the both of us making our bodies more alert.

He grinned as he reached up and let his fingers trail through my hair. "Do I get paid extra for this?" I joked as his fingers brushed down my cheek.

"This is your bonus" He grinned, his left hand moving to stroke my thigh.

"What was Hazel's bonus?" I asked leaning closer to him

"A Christmas ham," he laughed before grabbing the back of my head and kissing me harshly, his tongue entwining with mine. I rolled off him as he motioned to get up quickly,

"I'll," he gabbled, pulling on his boxers and a t-shirt,
"" I giggled as he kissed me one last time before darting out the room and jumping down the stairs.

I inhaled deeply and stretched out on the bed. I felt wonderful, like I was walking on air. But I found myself wondering where this relationship would lead. Suddenly Billie's head appeared around the door looking terrified.

"PSST, ERIN. Get up, get up, you have to get dressed quick!"

"What why?" I asked now panicking myself, "Is Adi here?"

"No," he shook his head.

"My mom."

I suddenly felt 17 again as I quickly threw on my clothes and tried desperately to get rid of the knots in my hair that screamed 'I had sex last night'. Both Billie and I giggled nervously as we tried to sort the bed out as footsteps approached the bedroom. I quickly spied a duster left on the window sill and dived for it, furiously rubbing the cabinet like I was busy doing something. Relieved that for something I would be mad at leaving in a room had saved me.

A knock erupted on the door and a woman appeared. I was startled at how much she reminded me of him. Green eyes and dark hair, she was medium build and held a smile exactly like his.

"Hi deary," she smiled at me,
"Hello Mrs. Armstrong" I smiled back nervously.
"Call me Ollie dear," she flapped her hand in my direction before turning to her son.

"You have a good housekeeper in this girl Billie Joe, not a speck of dust anywhere, I'm glad to see she's looking after you. Don't mess it up now." She eyed him cautiously and I had to stifle a giggle.

"I won't ma," Billie shook his head; he had turned from sex god into an embarrassed 14 year old boy.

"Well, I need to talk to you anyway Billie Joe, so get your ass downstairs for breakfast, sorry dear do you want some?" she turned to me a glitter in her eyes.

"Yes please" I smiled walking over to them.

"Good... sorry dear what's your name?"

"It's Erin, ma." Billie smiled at me.

"She has her own voice Billie... " Ollie snapped at him, "Erin... pretty name for a pretty girl." She sighed, flouncing out the room. As soon as she left Billie turned to me a grin on his face.

"You turn 14 when your mom speaks to you."

"I know," he giggled reaching up to my face and pulling me in for a quick kiss before we went downstairs, the smell of pancakes hitting my nostrils. Billie and I sat down opposite each other at the kitchen table as Ollie built a mountain of pancakes in front of us. Placing the maple syrup carefully in between the jug of water and the sugar, she sat down in the middle of the table.

"Well dig in," she smiled as Billie made a smacking sound with his lips and forked about 10 pancakes on his plate and began to stuff them in his mouth. I wondered how the hell he was so skinny with an appetite like that.

"You seem jollier today Billie." Ollie smirked at him, my brain thudded, 'I wonder why?' I grinned to myself.

"I think it's the pancakes," Billie mumbled through his food, his eyes catching mine and shining with a mischievous glitter.

"Well I think it's something else," Ollie took a drink form the orange juice in front of her, she glanced at me and raised her eyebrows and I shrugged like I was oblivious to this new found happiness of Billie Joe. Secretly I was ecstatic myself, I couldn't help but feel that it was me who had this effect on him and I felt wonderful for it.

"Have you spoken to your wife yet Billie Joe?" Ollie suddenly asked out of the blue, killing the cheery atmosphere with a steak knife.

Billie looked up at her slowly and I froze as he pushed the plate of nearly finished pancakes away and leaned back into his chair.

"No, ma I haven't."

Ollie made a tutting sound with her teeth. I looked at Billie who was staring at his plate with a grotesque look on his face.

Suddenly the back door swung open and Phil appeared.

"Mornin! Oh yeah pancakes, don't mind if I...Hey Mrs. O," he chuckled giving a kiss to Ollie's cheek with his syrupy lips.

"Hey Philip, how are you?"

"Peachy keen Mrs. O. Yo Bill y'okay?" Phil asked as Billie looked up at him and nodded, clearly troubled thoughts racing through his brain again.

"Hey Erin." Phil patted me on the shoulder as I returned the hello. The shrill ring of the phone echoed into the kitchen and Billie shot up like a dart to answer it, we all watched him leave. I got up first.

"I'd better get back to work, thanks for the pancakes Mrs. Armstrong...I mean Ollie."

"That's okay Erin dear," she smiled back giving my arm a squeeze.

I left the kitchen to gather my cleaning things from the utility room, passing Billie Joe talking away to someone on the phone. He winked at me as I brushed past him and I grinned at him with sympathetic eyes as he rolled his own green ones at the conversation.

I found my phone. 8 missed calls; I rolled my eyes at the screen.
Adele, Adele, Adele, Adele, Will, Adele... Will? I panicked; it must have been a mistake. My ex-boyfriend ringing me? Why? I dialled Adele, and decided to ignore his missed call.

"Hey," Adele picked up after one ring.

"Hey, Jesus that was fast," I grinned gathering the cleaning stuff up.

"This phone has been lying next to me in wait of your call for 12 hours," she sighed.

"What an interesting life you lead. Anyway, are you okay?"

"Yeah I'm okay, are you?" I could hear the amusement raise her throat.

"I'm great," I smiled, "I'll see you later when I finish work."

"Pfft. Work" Adele snorted, "Did you get lucky last..."

"ERIN!" I heard Billie's voice yell.

"Adele I have to go Billie is shouting me."

"Bet he was shouting you're name last night too..."

"Bye Adele..."



I shook my head at my friend and slotted my phone in my jean pocket. I walked into the kitchen to find Billie looking frantically for something.

"Are you alright?" I asked putting all the cleaning things on the kitchen counter.

"No, I need... you seen my sunglasses anywhere?"

"Yeah, they are on your bedside table...Billie they are not going to be in the cutlery drawer, are they really?"

"Well you never know," He smirked, "It is me." I chuckled as he headed for the door.

"You off out?" I asked.

"Yeah, I'm going down the office later on." I nodded and started to clean the kitchen.

A bit later I began loading clean washing into the dryer in the laundry room next to the kitchen. I hummed away aimlessly as a bird sang outside. I stopped as voices floated in from the kitchen.

"And you haven't spoken to David in a while either."
"Mom, I'm really busy."

"Yes but he's your brother and we are all concerned for you Billie, I mean what are you going to do about Adi?"

"I don't know Ma, it's just... "

"It's just what? She is you're wife and..."

"She slept with someone else!"

I cringed, I was trapped in this room, I couldn't go outside and if I walked out now, they would know that I heard, I felt bad, but I also wanted to hear, Billie hadn't discussed the details of his and Adi's split with me.

"Billie Joe, you have both done stupid things but how long have you been together? Don't you think you should at least try again for the boys... unless you've met someone else?"

It was quiet for a while before Ollie started speaking again.

"I mean, at least if you have you should do the right thing and both move on, it would be a shame because you've been through a lot but... its best for the boys."
"I... I do still love her ma, I mean we've been married for over 16 years and well, I always will but I... I don't think..."

I shuddered at his words, my heart melting, I didn't realise they had been together so long.

"Well, you sort it out, I have to go and see your sister Holly, make sure you take your sons out sometime eh?"

I heard Ollie leave and Billie's muffled voice also depart the kitchen. I breathed relief as I left the laundry room and began to collect my things to leave. I couldn't wait to tell Adele everything.

"Right Billie I'm off home!" I yelled from the front door. Footsteps pounded up from the basement stairs and the door swung open. Billie smiled at me.

"Okay, you, err, if you wait a minute I'll give you a ride home."

"Are you sure? Because I'll get a cab... "

"No, no," he protested shaking his black hair, "I'll just be a minute." He gestured his head for me to follow him down to the basement. I picked up my purse and walked down the steps behind him, my eyes darting to his ass every other step he took. He was the most amazing creature I had ever seen and it took all of my will power to prevent myself from diving on him right then and there.

My eyes darted around the studio; there was a drum kit in the far corner and various guitars and wires strung around the place. Carefully placed upright was a guitar that was exactly the same as one upstairs in the room where he kept all his awards.

Billie was gathering his things around what I assumed, was the mixing desk.
"Billie, that guitar, the blue one, it's the same as the one upstairs." He smiled at me as he turned around and began walking towards me.

"I know, I've had about 10 of them made, the one upstairs is the first guitar I ever had, my father bought me it, and it's called Blue." He smiled, an old sadness hitting his eyes.

"That's amazing, they are exactly the same."

"Not exactly" he smiled making me jump as his arm moved around my waist.
"Blue was given to me before my dad died so... "

"Oh Billie I'm sorry." I gushed moving my hand to clutch his own around my hip; he was quiet for a while before he turned to me and smiled.

"Come on, I'll take you home."

Pulling up on the sidewalk outside my apartment I motioned to get out.

"Thanks Billie, I'll see you tomorrow..."

"Erin," He softly spoke, reaching out and grabbing my arm.

"You're not going to give me a kiss before you go?"

I blushed slightly as the corner of his mouth raised in a seductive grin
"I don't know, Billie Joe, that depends."

"On what?" He asked as I leaned across the seat to him.

"On you keeping the house tidy for one night."

"I promise, scouts honour." He grinned raising his three fingers in a salute.

"Good, you better keep it." I smiled as his hand grabbed the back of my head and forced our mouths together, the kiss was forceful and hard, my hands reaching to wrap around his neck, his moving down to my stomach. We broke the kiss for air, panting but grinning wildly at each other.

I got out of the car as he leaned across the passenger seat.

"I think the windows have steamed up, come back and clean them, hell no, clean me instead."

I laughed hard, "Billie nothing could clean that dirty mind of yours except maybe an exorcism."

"Bring it on," he grinned. I bent down and kissed him softly on the lips.

"Bye Billie Joe."

"Bye Erin, see you tomorrow."

I waved and watch him drive off down the street. My heart thumping in my chest, I missed him already.