The first time they kiss they are both drunk beyond description. It’s the final night of the Party Conference, and everyone has let their hair down. Malcolm Tucker is junior enough at this point in time to still do the same. Some bright spark in the Party (sadly Malcolm thinks the man in question is in line to be the next Foreign Secretary) has rented a karaoke machine. There is little Malcolm Tucker detests more than karaoke, but tonight he is in good spirits. Conference has been a roaring success, the PM is exalted, and the Deputy PM has bought him a pint. Ten years ago if Malcolm could have predicted this moment, he would feel very comfortable about the course of his life indeed. While he’s pondering all of this, one of the recently elected MPs stumbles onto the stage, laughing. She’s attractive enough. Not particularly tall, but a nicely proportioned woman of around thirty with mad brown hair and a nice smile. After a minute of studying her and scrolling through his mental rolodex of their hundreds of bloody MPs it clicks that she’s Nicola Murray. Semi safe seat, ran a reasonable campaign, not the brightest MP he’s ever met but not the dullest either.
Just when he is turning back to his drink, the newbie on the semi-safe margin bursts into You’re So Vain, and Malcolm spins back to her in an instant.
It’s not that her singing is bad; she’s quite good actually. It’s that she has opened with “Malcolm walked into the Party like he was walking onto a yacht. His pen strategically tucked behind one ear, his tie was a Windsor knot. And all the MEPs prayed that he wouldn’t hate them, he wouldn’t hate them but, Malcolm’s so vain, he probably thinks Conf’rence is about him. Malcolm’s so vain!”
He watches her, rapt. Normally he would be fuming over something like this, but she is hilarious and he finds he can’t help joining in with the room’s laughter. Those sitting near him visibly relax at his amusement, but even while he laughs he cannot work out what he’s done to this random MP to warrant this. He’s met her maybe twice for a sum total of four minutes.
When she stumbles off stage with a little curtsey, Malcolm intends to flag her down. Instead she sidles straight over to him, collapses against the bar and says “Do you do mojitos? I need six.”
“Thirsty, are yeh?” Malcolm queries, raising an eyebrow as his eyes flit over her garishly loud green dress. Malcolm Tucker prides himself on being able to figure people out, and she is already nothing like he expected when he was first introduced to her at a campaign launch event.
“It was a bet.” She informs him giddily. His look of incomprehension spurs her on. “The song. Dan pox face Miller promised he’d buy my next drink if I sang a song about you, so I decided to stock up. Unctuous little shit can afford it.”
Suddenly Malcolm thinks he has her all wrong. Anyone who finds Dan Miller unctuous is clearly someone he agrees with. And she’s really quite quick with her words, coming up with a whole new set of lyrics in ten minutes just for some mojitos. “Nicola Murray, right?”
“Yes indeed. And if you’ve ever forgotten my name before I’m sure you won’t be doing it again.”
“No, that performance was certainly... memorable.”
“I was in the choir at Oxford.”
Malcolm laughs and downs the dregs of his pint. “Of course yeh fucking were.”
Nicola slides a mojito across the bar to him. “Go on, you earned it for me really.”
“Is tha’ right?”
“Who else would give me enough material for a four minute song without more than a two minute conversation?”
“And here I thought you were a fucking politician. You’re supposed to be able to make twenty minute speeches out of thirty second briefings.”
Malcolm raises his mojito and offers it to her. “To the first of many bad excuses you will give me over a long and unimpressive career.”
Nicola touches her glass to his before powering through the drink. If she picks up on his insult, she is either indifferent to it or agrees with it. Malcolm doubts it is the latter.
They sit for another twenty minutes, drinking and sniping at each other, before Nicola decides that actually, she’s quite pissed and she is in need of her bed. Unfortunately, and she comes to this revelation with peals of laughter, she cannot remember where in the hotel her room is. Malcolm, already trolleyed himself, finds this almost as amusing as Nicola does, and seeks to assist her on her quest back to her room. After much stumbling and laughing they eventually locate it. Ordinarily Malcolm would not let himself be so off-guard with one of the Members, but she’s new and small-fry, and actually not a completely vacuous bore, so he’s taking his entertainment where he can get it. Nicola’s shoes (sensible court shoes that should not have caused her as much grief as she claimed) are dangling limply from her fingers as Malcolm fumbles with the key-card. There is the beginning of a ladder forming under the left heel of her stocking.
“Christ these things are as fucking useful as a nun’s twat.” The Scot mumbles. After six attempts he kneels down before the hole, regulating his actions as tightly as he can. Nicola throws her head against the wall.
“Fancy that. The big bad Malcolm Tucker kneeling for me and I’m not even a Minister yet. Or do you only give blowjobs to the PM?”
“Oi, fuck off, Murray! Do yeh want into yer room or not? Because I’d quite happily get up off the floor and leave you dribblin’ in the hallway all night.”
“I don’t fucking dribble.” She frowns, itching the top of her left foot with the toes of her right one. Heartless Malcolm Tucker with the tongue that’s stopped the nation thinks this is one of the most endearing things he’s seen in his life. And it scares him.
“I bet you don’t snore.” She says, apropos of seemingly nothing and nudging him with one of her feet. Either because Nicola is stronger than she thinks or Malcolm is drunker than he expected, the action causes the Scot to fall sideways. Nicola is laughing hysterically, and Malcolm is almost too dazed to react. Dropping her shoes, Nicola very carefully bends forward to help pull him up. Sadly she is not careful enough, because she ends up sprawled over his chest.
In a moment of reckless idiocy, Nicola leans down and presses her lips to Malcolm’s. She is demanding and beseeching all at once, and Malcolm gladly opens his mouth to her. She tastes like cheap rum and lime and mint. She tastes foreign and wrong, but she is warm and pliant, and god, so inviting. Were it not for the burning of his wedding ring on his finger, he thinks he may actually find a way to open the fucking door with this useless little swiping device, tear her horrible green dress off her appealingly olive toned skin and spend the night learning all the many different flavours of her body. But his ring is there, and it is burning his flesh even while his blood is rushing to his groin. He runs a hand over her shoulder, and she knows that he is telling her this is enough. She rolls off of him, lying on her back in the middle of the hotel corridor, and begins to laugh again.
The ease between them isn’t quite restored, but is close enough, and Malcolm will take it.
After some more fumbling he manages to get the door open, and while he presses her key-card into her palm he looks at her pensively, mumbling “Goodnight, Mojito Murray.”
“Goodnight Mister Fucker.”
As soon as the door has banged shut behind her, he lifts his hand to his lips and attempts to wipe her off of him, but the taste of mint and lime is still on his tongue. Part of him wonders what she really tastes like; just Nicola, sans a litre or so of alcoholic beverages. Malcolm snaps himself back into reality and banishes all thoughts of Nicola Murray. By the morning the encounter is a foggy memory, and he is glad of this.
He does not touch a mojito for at least twelve years.