Enjoy the delicious sunny Australian setting as Sydney schoolteacher Gwyn learns all about lust, love, friendship and herself. And always remember, what happens in book club, stays in book club.
It’s over. I shift awkwardly in my seat, and we all stare into space, deliberately not making eye contact. Our book club is silent. Not a good kind of silence, an awkward silence. The dirty deed had been done; empty wineglasses sit on the dingy bar table between us, and we do not quite know how to move forward from this point. There needed to be empty shot glasses lined up as far as the eye could see for the girls and me to be able to meet each other’s gazes again. But alas, there are only a handful of empty wineglasses, and to be honest, most of them belong to my friend Mac.
"I think now that Fifty Shades is done, we should cleanse our loins with a classic of some sort," Selene finally broke the silence. Bright red lips, slick black hair, and dark brown eyes. If she would just wear short black dresses instead of business suits, she would fit right in on the set of a Robert Palmer video. She is the unofficial leader of our little book club. After all, she is the one who put the post on Facebook asking for members.
"I think about a year of strong women is in order," Mac agrees vigorously. Her face is almost as red as her hair. Wine flush or embarrassed blush? She dabs absentmindedly at a wine stain on the frilly long-sleeved blouse she is favouring of late. It must be another pirate phase or, failing that, Shakespeare? Mac is one of my dearest friends, so I should know all about her fashion wants and needs, but she changes fashion more often than I change my knickers, so it is hard to keep track of. "A year of classic, strong heroines."
The rest of us still just stare at our hands, too embarrassed to look at one another. We would agree to anything at this point if it would just get us out of here. Some had skimmed through Fifty Shades and only read the sexy bits, desperados; some had flicked past the sexy scenes, prudes; and others had stopped reading because the sentence structure made their brains hurt, snobs. And then, of course, our snobbiest of all snobby members, Catherine, had failed to show up at all because she didn't "do" commercial fiction. Either way, Selene's own choice of Fifty Shades had stirred up something inside of us, and not just our judgemental attitudes, that nobody wanted to name or discuss.
Our book club is usually so boisterous that we disturbed other patrons. Thank God we know how to drink; otherwise we would be far too much bother. Instead, we are welcomed each month. Well, at least our wallets are. However, our once-a-month shrill disturbance at the Longie is practically a whisper this evening. We should have drunk more wine. All that is on the table between us tonight are those pitifully few empty glasses and a single copy of E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey paperback standing erect in the middle of them. It almost seemed to pulsate and call out to people, "Look what these naughty girls have been reading." Shut up, book!
"So, Pride and Prejudice?" Selene asks.
There was a general murmur of agreement with calls for a year of classics and then everyone but Selene, Mac, and I fled the scene.
"Well, that was awkward." I finally found words.