- After dinner was over, hearing a car pull up, Jillian collected
her purse and coat. "I think I'll go straight out to him. I'm not sure it would be
too comfortable for any of us if I brought him in yet. I'll see how the evening goes.
Don't wait up." As the doorbell rang she kissed her parents, then she went out, joined
Keith on the step and let him lead her to the car, through the warm air and fading
light of the early spring evening.
"Jillian. Wow. You take my breath away. You're gorgeous."
"That's exactly what Dad just said."
He closed her door. went round to his side of the car. "And he's spot
on. You're not the same girl, woman, who went out with me a week ago." He started
As they drove away, Jillian answered, "Oh, that was a week ago. Do
you expect me to stay the same for the rest of my life?"
"No, of course not. But what a big change in just one week."
"Yes. Mum took me shopping. that helped, too. Now, do tell me, how
did you keep the accident out of the papers? I've been watching them every day. Nothing.
You were as good as your word. How did you manage it?"
"I said I wasn't going to tell you, and I'm sticking to that. Better
you don't know."
"You can't blame me for being curious. I am an interested party, after
"Sorry. That was the deal. I protect my sources. And I'll protect you,
too. That's our deal."
"Yes, Keith. I know. And I'll do my part, too. But you mustn't rush
me. You know so much more than I do about the world, after all." How can I say these
things? I sound so false. He must surely see through it.
Apparently not, for he replied, in what she thought he intended to
be a seductive voice, "Oh, my own Jillian, how I love you. How lovely it will be
for us. Yes, I do know all about these things, and I won't rush you too much, I promise.
Just trust me. It will be truly lovely."
"Keith, how lucky I am to be with you. Now tell, me, where are we
"Surprise, little Jilly, but you will love it."
She was amazed to find that he was right, that time. He had booked
seats for a revue at the Wharf Theatre. Three very clever actors, and a brilliant
script, taking beautifully aimed shots, all by implication - nothing absolutely specific
- at the current business and political leaders, the pompous institutions and a widely
ranging set of targets of minor scams and bent deals that everyone knew happened,
but never seemed to get proved or stopped. It was hilarious. She enjoyed herself
They walked together back to his car. She was still smiling as she
thought about what they had seen. "Some of the dialogue was absolutely brilliant.
All of it was great. Thank you. That was a lovely treat."
She means it, he thought. "Yes, I enjoyed it, too. You didn't think
very much of that movie, last week, did you?"
She shook her head.
The street lights were quite bright. He could see that she had turned
thoughtful. He wanted her to be happy, at least for now. Perhaps tonight? If I can
get her smiling again? "But tonight was much better?"
She was smiling again. Good. "Now, do we have to rush you back to Hunter's
Hill, or is there time for some supper, perhaps?" He had everything set up, ready,
at his flat.
. "No. It's up to me when we call it a night. Let's go to The Basement,
or Kinsella's perhaps. You could get us in, couldn't you? Some good jazz would be
great, wouldn't it?"
He looked at her, doubtfully, as he unlocked the car and helped her
in, then got in his own side. They drove away. "I have a lovely supper set up at
No way. Not yet. We are in too good a mood for my purposes. You need
to be impatient. Frustrated. Angry at me. Needing to impose your will on me. "Oh,
not yet, surely. I'm having such a good time, why spoil it?" There. Some ambiguity
to frustrate him even further. And a reminder of what his target is. That I am withholding
from him. "Can't you get us into somewhere nice?" Cast some doubt upon his capability.
Stoke his boiler.
"I suppose I could try. Where do you prefer?"
"Oh, I'll leave it up to you. Somewhere nice." Somewhere expensive,
she thought. Somewhere public. Something to damp you down a little, Keith. And don't
think that if you spend more on me I'll owe you even more 'gratitude'. If you want
that sort of deal you might at least be honest enough to spell it out beforehand.
You're still a bit of an idiot, Keith, but I'll grant you that you are hiding it
better, this week. Shame for you that I have a memory that doesn't completely fade
within seven days.
A short time later, they were standing in line, holding hands again,
for he had grabbed one without warning, and she couldn't work out how to free herself
without letting on that she saw right through him. It was at least an hour before
they reached the head of the line to be shown to a table in the club. Lucky I'm wearing
sensible shoes. Some of the other women in the queue were obviously in agony. All
that time, while they were waiting, Keith had tried one way and another to persuade
her to go to his flat instead. He had some great jazz disks there, he told her.
Jillian had replied that she wanted the genuine ambience. He said it
was over-rated. She said that she wouldn't settle for anything less. Didn't he prefer
the genuine original to a mere reproduction? Not really, he told her, sometimes a
reproduction could be better than the original. Electronic enhancement could make
it a better experience than the live performance.
That wouldn't do for her, Jillian told him; she preferred warm flesh
and blood to any cold machine. That got his interest. He shut up then about reproductions
When they were seated inside, Jillian asked for Perrier and a slice
of lime. She couldn't hear what Keith asked for, and she didn't care. She noticed
that several of the people at neighbouring tables were looking at her. Keith noticed
too. He put his head close and shouted over the amplified band, "I must be with the
most attractive woman here."
Enjoy it while you can, Keith, she thought. "Why, thank you, Kind Sir."
The irony was wasted, as she could hardly make herself heard. He had barely caught
the words, and quite missed the tone with which she had delivered them.
"You're very welcome. Dance?" Before she could reply he had grasped
her hand, virtually yanked her to her feet and then dragged her behind him onto the
crowded pocket handkerchief of a dance-floor, where he pulled her close to him and
started to sway to the music, rubbing himself against her.
She felt him, large within his clothes, jutting between her hips, and
she applied all her will-power to not being sick all over her new dress. All over
him she wouldn't mind, would quite have liked to, actually, but the dress was too
nice to ruin. Some other time, maybe, when she was in clothes that she cared less
about. You'll keep, Keith, you little slime-ball, she thought.
When the band took a break, what seemed an age later, they returned
to their table. She felt herself to be in an icy rage.
Keith was flushed. "Enjoying yourself?" he asked.
Of course she wasn't. "Oh, it's lovely. And isn't the music so much
better than a mere disk?" She hoped it was costing him a bomb.
"Yes, you were right. Warm flesh and blood beats any cold machine."
She just looked at him. He was impossible. Totally off the wall. And
so transparent it was boring. There was only one ending to this farce, and whether
today, tomorrow, or next week or month, he was going to keep pushing until he either
got what he wanted, or accepted his failure.
Why put off the fateful day? she thought. May as well bring it to a
head and deal with it now, whatever it is, rather than have it hanging over me, making
my life a misery for weeks on end. "What would you like to do now?" she asked. As
if I didn't know, she thought.
"If you're feeling tired I could take you home."
Oh, what a perfect little gentleman it is - and then grab at me in
the car, I suppose. You're in your true colours now, aren't you, Keithy-boy? "Let's
head off, anyway, and see what we feel like away from the noise and smoke here."
Let's give you some rope, and see if you tie yourself a noose.
-- Back in the car she was surprised at his self-restraint. He just
drove, mostly in silence. As they were leaving the city he said, "I can take you
straight home, or we could stop by my flat for some coffee. It's set up. Live jazz
is great to listen to, I do agree with you, but you can't hear the natural sound
any more. Now they all use microphones and loudspeakers. It comes out the same way
as from a disk. At least at home it's your volume control."
"Yes, you were right, I was wrong. Far too loud. Painful. I couldn't
stand it." Nor you, boy-oh.
He took a quick glance at her as he drove. I can hardly wait to get
her into my flat, he thought. She's a grown up, now. Gorgeous. She has always been
a striking beauty. I thought she was stuck-up when I worked in their firm, but perhaps
she was just too young then. Not ready for a real man. She is now, I reckon. And
she owes, me, big-time. As long as she knows it, that's what counts. "Well, while
I make some supper you can choose what we listen to, and how loud."
"That will be a relief."
Shortly after, they pulled up in one of the narrow streets of Woolloomooloo.
It seemed like a construction site. He parked in the street, went round the car and
helped her out. What an odd mixture he is, she thought. Totally crass with good manners.
Weird. Thank goodness I did my homework this week.
With a hand under her elbow he guided her into the lift and they were
soon entering his flat. It was small, poky, even. Not well set-up. Obviously the
cheaper end of the budget scale. That made sense. He was still working mainly for
a charity firm.
When he opened the door into the lounge, however, she was amazed. How
could he afford such a magnificent view across the harbour, the moon over the water,
the lights on the far shore making a sparkling back-drop, the glimmer of ferries
sliding across the dark surface of the water like fireflies? "It's beautiful," she
"Yes," he said, from the kitchen. "I've been lucky, but only for the
moment, though. When I came here I only had a brick wall to look at. Then that building
was demolished to make way for an even bigger one, but they've run into snags with
their building permit and construction has stopped for a time, fortunately on the
level below my window."
She went out onto the balcony, looked down, and in the moonlight saw
the building he was talking about, its top now a mass of scaffolding. When it was
up to this level it would be almost close enough to touch.
"But for the moment, it's lovely. Almost magical at night. I bet it's
great in the day-time, too."
"So are you, and so would you be, too." He had come up behind her,
and had put his arms around her waist.
"What do you mean?"
"You are lovely at this moment, and I bet you would be great in the
"Oh, Keith. Knock it off."
Now it was his turn to play puzzled. While he was thinking about it
he led them back into the lounge, where coffee and small cakes were now waiting for
them. There was quiet jazz playing. By the time they were seated, and sipping, he
had decided to play the innocent. "What do you mean, 'Knock it off'?"
"Stop pawing me."
"You were. I don't like it. You know I don't like it. I never have
liked it. You know that, too. Your manners have got better, but the basic Keith is
still there. Unchanged."
He opened his mouth to respond.
"Oh, shut your mouth. Don't bother acting all surprised. This is me,
Jillian. Not 'Little Jilly', perhaps, but the same person you pawed at years ago,
and you're still at it. Crass. Gross. Don't look so surprised. You know very well
what I'm saying, and if you don't understand yet, it's time you learnt."
"Oh, Jillian, how could you say that? I love you. I've loved you since
the day I first saw you. I know you were too young then. It was wrong of me. But
you're older now. You're a woman."
"But not a woman who loves you, Keith. Accept it. Grow up. Be a man."
"I am a man, Jillian. I am indeed. I've paid my dues, and not complained,
and gone straight, and helped you when you needed my help. What more do you expect
"All you did was tell me to keep driving on, and to buy me a cup of
coffee later on. Pass me my purse so that I can pay you for that coffee."
"Oh, that's hard. I'm prepared to perjure myself for you, to risk sentence
as your accessory, and you would throw a cup of coffee in my face."
"Specially if it was scalding. You disgust me, Keith. I nearly lost
my dinner all over us both when you frotted me in the club."
"Frotted me. Jeez, so disgusting in your habits, and so ignorant with
it. What an unappealing combination. Frottage, French. Rhymes with barge, near enough.
Rubbing. To get your jollies from rubbing against some poor innocent victim, the
way you did on me when we were doing what you so amusingly referred to dancing."
"How do you know about such things?"
"Listen, you poor excuse, I'm getting an education. That means learning
things. Mainly out of books, but that's far better than having you teach me."
"But Jillian, I love you so much. If you don't love me, what do you
want me to do? If we aren't friends, why should I continue to perjure myself for
you? I may as well go to the cops, at least clear myself."
"Keith, you just aren't in the real world. One moment you say you love
me. Last week you said you would never tell. Then you said only if I let you fuck
me. Now you talk about love again. How can you expect anyone in their right mind
to see you as a love object. You chop and change from appeals to threats and back
again, like a yo-yo."
"I never said all that."
"Different words. Same meanings. Deny it?"
"But you keep rejecting me, Jillian. It's so confusing. I do love you,
and I want to be with you always, but a man can only take so much rejection."
"I'm right, aren't I? Sex with you or go to jail?"
"Oh, Jillian, it's not that black and white. I do love you -"
" - oh sure, so long as I come across."
"It's not like that."
"Oh, no? Then tell me, Keith, just what it is like, please?"
"Like I say, I love you, and, well, it's different for men, we can't
just go on holding hands and being great friends, the physical pressures build up
and we need a loving release. You would do that for me, wouldn't you?"
"Well, for one thing we aren't great friends. And now you expect me
to masturbate you? Ugh. How could you ask me to do that? Oh, don't answer - if you
could frott me the way you did I shouldn't be surprised at anything you come up with."
"No, Jilly, I mean for us to make love."
"I don't love you that way, Keith." That's got to be one of my major
understatements, she thought. But if I don't play along with the little creep he
could get violent. I've got to calm him, or at least try to be a little less confrontational
with him until the right moment.
"Just how do you love me, Jillian?"
"As a warm and caring friend, Keith?" What price sarcasm, she thought.
"Give me a kiss, then."
She remembered the last time. Oh, no. She leaned over and quickly pecked
his cheek. Serves me right for trying sarcasm, she thought.
"That's nice," he said, "while it's leading to something deeper. Now
we are at that point. We have to move on, Jillian. Life doesn't stand still."
"In it's own time, surely. You can't force love."
"But I need you, Jillian. I need sex with you. Your kisses have inflamed
me so I can't go on without your fulfilment."
"Keith, there's some script in your head that's out of step with the
real me. I just pecked you on the cheek and you think we are in a mad, passionate
love scene. I'm quite happy to not kiss you, rather than risk your going up in flames,
as of now."
"You know that's not what I mean."
"Keith, I'm not going to have sex with you. Forget it."
"Are you prepared for me to forget our deal, too?"
"Our deal?" She raised her voice. "Our deal? Deal? You bloody little
"No, just mutual protection. Caring for each other."
"Sounds like blackmail to me."
"Oh, call it what you like. Do you want me to go to the cops?"
"Of course not. I'd go to jail."
"Is making love with me so bad you'd rather give up med. school, give
up your freedom, give up everything, shame your parents, just to avoid it?"
"How do you know, till you've tried?"
"I just do." And I don't want to find out with you, she thought. There
is only one way this is going to end up if I let you have your head, and I could
think of better ways of experiencing my first time.
"That's stupid, and you're not stupid, Jillian Jones. If there is one
thing I know, it's that."
"All right, I don't know."
"Trust me, it will be lovely."
"I don't trust you. And while it might be lovely for you, I've never
done it before, so I have absolutely no idea if it would be lovely for me. And I
certainly don't feel any lustful drive coursing through my veins that would make
me want even to take my clothes off in your presence, let alone have you touch me.
Anywhere. With anything."
"You've never done it before? But you're so beautiful."
"What's that got to do with it?"
"Well, the pretty ones get pashed up by the blokes, and so they do
"Not this 'pretty one'."
"But didn't Chris?"
"I told him I wanted to wait. The way I'm telling you. But he loves
me enough to restrain himself and wait until the proper time."
"And when is that?"
"When I feel ready."
"Dear God, you're twenty-one already. There never will be a proper
time. You're just plain frigid. Chris wouldn't be waiting. Not for long, anyhow.
Have you told him that he has to wait till you graduate?"
"No. Not exactly."
"'No means No. Which part of No don't you understand?' That's what
girls are taught to say to men, these days, isn't it? So your 'No' means you don't
want him, not as a man, not ever as far as I can tell, and when he finds out you
won't let him into your fair white body for close to a decade, he'll be gone before
you see the smoke."
"I told him I was going to the movies with you tonight. He didn't mind.
Stop distorting things you know nothing about."
"Me? What about you? You've not been straight with Chris, and I reckon,
you're not being straight with me. I'm telling you like it is, and you're twisting
and turning it every which way trying to avoid loving like a woman."
"Loving is not the word. You want to rape me."
"Oh, Jillian, how can you say that? It's just not true."
"Ha! You want sex with me despite my refusal. You are prepared to use
extortion to force my unwilling acquiescence. That's rape, just as much as if you
tied me to the corners of your bed then jumped my bones."
I'm stupid, she thought. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He doesn't need that
suggested to him. I've got to take that back somehow. "But you aren't going to do
that, it's not your style, so why commit the same crime in another guise. It's rape,
Keith. Rape. Because, given a free choice I would not agree to what you are asking."
"Well, you don't have a free choice, Jillian, and I'm telling, not
asking. So finish your coffee. I don't want you to feel rushed, but we're just wasting
time here. And don't even think of throwing the coffee over me. It's too cold to
scald me, anyway."
He gave her a few moments, then stood up, took her coffee cup and put
it down on the table, then took her hand and again pulled her to her feet. This time
is was not onto a public dance-floor. This time it was into his bedroom. It was dominated
by a huge bed with massive, ornately carved, timber ends.
"Tough. No more teasing."
"You kissed me back there."
"A peck on the cheek? Keith, I'm telling you No. No, you understand.
No, no, no."
"Tell me anything you like, but get your gear off or I'll be telling
things you don't like. Get it off or I'll get it off for you."
"You said you wouldn't be violent."
"I said no such thing. But I won't be. That would give the game away.
People would notice. It would come back to me, and I would be forced to tell what
I know. That would get you into jail, Jillian. Jailed Jillian. Oh, no. That's not
what I've got in mind. Not at all. Take off your nice clothes. Carefully. Don't just
stand there. Start with the dress."
She just stood there.
He walked across to the bedside phone. Picked it up.
"What are you doing?"
"Phoning the police. How do you think your mother will take the news
when they phone to tell her you're in custody. They will, you know. I'll tell them
she's your next of kin. And of course, so she is." He held his hand over the buttons,
but hadn't pressed any of them yet.
He pressed a button.
"Put your hand on your zip then." He waited as she did so. "Good. Now
pull it down."
"Keith, please. I can't."
"You are doing very well, so far." He pressed another button. She gasped
and pulled the zip down a centimetre. "Very good." He hung up the phone. "Now the
rest of the way, if you please. You'll find it isn't so hard, once you've got it
He moved back to the bedroom door, closed it, and switched off the
light. Now there was only the glow under the door from the next room. She felt a
He went to the window and flung back the drapes. The moon flooded into
"Keith, don't. Please."
"You want the room dark? Are you ashamed?"
"Not at all. I'm under duress. It's you who should be ashamed. But
you want me to undress before the window, with everyone able to watch?"
"Yes, why not? Anyhow, nobody can see you up here."
"If you expect intimacy from a woman, don't you set up an intimate
atmosphere? This isn't intimate, it's public."
"I thought it was quite nice."
"Well it's not."
"You can see the harbour. You thought it was lovely a few minutes ago."
"With what you want me to do, I couldn't see the view."
"You could if you sat up. Now there's an idea."
"Keith Heffernan, you are out of your mind."
"I'm very serious. I'll close the drapes and put on a side-light, if
you keep undressing. Or I'll make that phone call." A few moments later the room
was a private space again.
He switched on the bedside light, sat on the bed, took off his shoes,
swung his feet up, and leaned back with his hands behind his head. "Slip the dress
off, now, and lay it over that chair. We don't want you going home all crumpled.
Your Mum might get the wrong idea about you." He laughed.
"Not while you are watching."
"Pretend I've got my eyes shut. I'm pretending that the night of the
Parkway never happened. Maybe you can pretend that this night didn't happen, too.
Get the dress off." He picked up the phone again.
Jillian hurriedly slid the dress off her shoulders, stepped out of
it and laid it across the chair. She turned away from him
Keith replaced the phone and whistled. "Oh, dear god. I thought you
were gorgeous, but I didn't know the half of it. And in red, too. Oh, my word. What
a marvellous back, and a bum to die for."
She just stood, there. Said nothing. It had all been said.
"Now, turn round."
She didn't move.
"Please? Please! You are raping me and you say please? Ha! No means
no, as you so clearly put it, earlier."
"Turn round, or stand as you are and undo your bra. You've got a choice.
But you must make it now." There was the sound of the phone being lifted.
She reached back and undid her bra. Heard the phone being replaced.
She did so, glaring at him, furious, her face and neck bright red,
almost the same colour as her underclothes in the dim light. She said nothing. She
heard her heart pounding in her ears, and felt her abdomen go tight with stress.
She shrugged her shoulders to ease their strain, and realised then how keyed up she
was, and knew from her studies that her body had prepared her muscles to be ready
for flight or fight. I feel ten times stronger than usual, she thought. If it was
just a matter of physical strength right now, I think that I could deal with him.
But what can I hope to do about the accident? I've killed a man, and
this little shit is blackmailing me, and I guess he is my punishment. That's an interesting
thought. The gods are going to get me, one way or another. The fickle fates. How
relaxed he looks, just lying there, a spectator to my discomfiture.
If this is the way the fates work, it's going to be interesting to
see how they treat him for what he is doing now. He may be their instrument, but
he's doing evil; it's his choice. Have they tempted him with blandishments, perhaps?
Am I the bait, the vehicle with which the fates will bring Keith Heffernan down in
"That's better, you are starting to relax. Now take the panties off,
or would you like me to come and help?"
She tried to hold the bra across her bosom with one arm, while sliding
the panties down with the other hand. He laughed. It was not a comforting sound.
She remembered that he had to be in control. Her best chance was to take the initiative.
Push him faster toward his goal, more confrontationally that he expected, than he
could cope with. Oh, I do hope he can't cope. I'm going to be right out of my depth
if he keeps his cool. Here goes nothing.
"Oh, the hell with it," she cried, suddenly. "You are a total shit,
frotteur, and criminal beyond any understanding, and I'm sure you are guilty of every
bad thing any of us ever thought of you, however light your sentence may have been."
He said nothing. Just looked at her with a half-smile playing around
his lips. But his eyes were cold, hard.
Jillian shivered, though the night was warm. "For all I know you were
the mastermind and your poor father the pawn, stupid enough to go to jail so you
could stay free. You are out to make me feel as bad as possible, aren't you? The
worse I am embarrassed, the better you like it." She flung the last of her garments
at him, put her legs apart and threw her arms wide. "Here, get a good eyeful. I can
let a doctor look all over me, so I can cope with your stupid perving. You've played
the embarrassment card for the last time. What's next?"
"You'll do as I tell you, or you'll be sorry."
"I'm plenty sorry already. Forget about that. And I've done all that
you asked. What's your problem now?" As she had earlier in the week, she felt herself
on the other side of the glass, watching the ants. None of this matters. He can't
hurt me. I'm not out there, I'm here in my head, safe, looking out. He won't damage
my body, it would end his game. He can't fuck with my mind, either. It's safe in
here with me.
"You know what I wanted. You're supposed to be terrified."
She put her hands atop her head and started to sashay towards him,
around the side of the bed, naked, hips thrust forward, legs apart. "Like this, big
boy? Want me now, big boy?" She looked down at him.
"No, no, no, no! Why aren't you scared? Be scared!" His voice was rising
as he yelled.
He wasn't relaxed now. Great, she thought. I'll fix his bike, but good.
"Well, no means no, so I'll have to do better." She put one hand over her crotch
and the other arm over her breasts, and huddled herself over, protectively. "Oh,
please Sir, Mr Big Man, Sir, please don't harm me. Let me go. I'll do anything. Anything.
Only don't make me do that 'anything' thing." And burst out laughing as she straightened
"No, no." He was almost weeping with frustration. "You're not doing
it right. You're spoiling it. You're doing it deliberately. Bitch, bitch, bitch.
He swung round, put his feet down on the floor, almost between her
parted legs as she stood beside the bed. She didn't move. He tried to stand up, without
touching her, but she was too close. He had to sit back down on the bed. She grabbed
his head, held his ears, pulled his face into her breast, against a nipple. "Baby
want a suck? Have a suck baby."
Part of her mind was up in one corner of the room, behind her, looking
down on the scene. You are doing well, it thought. Maybe, she answered, but where
am I getting this from? It may be the right thing for now, but how do I know how
to do all this? Just from the books? Instinct, she replied, plus, maybe, a few of
the sick psychological thrillers you've seen. What a good mind I've got, she mused.
What can you do for me next, O My Mind?
The head in her hands was blubbering, like the baby she had called
it. "You've spoilt it, you've spoilt it," it mumbled into her chest.
"How was it supposed to be, poor little baby?"
"You were supposed to plead, and weep, and beg me. Then I'd have the
power, and it would be so good. Making you frightened and pleading and doing it to
"I know, poor baby. And I'm not pleading, am I?" She let go the ears.
Wouldn't want to have to stitch them back on, she thought, and instead wound one
arm round the head to hold it firmly against her.
Then she had a flash of intuition. With her free hand she grabbed one
of his, pulling it without warning up between her parted legs. "Want a feel, big
boy? Feel what's waiting there for you? Hot and pounding? Feel what you're missing?"
She felt his shoulders begin to heave, and stepped back. He rushed
into the bathroom, gagging, and she heard him vomiting into the toilet, as she retrieved
her underwear and began to dress. She was shaking, shivering, suddenly cold. Oh,
dear god. Is this going to be the pattern of my life from now on? Can I hope he will
leave me alone now, or will he get worse? Will I ever get my life together again?
I hate this. I hate what's happening to me. I hate what I'm becoming. Hard. Vicious.
Lewd. I never would have dreamt I was capable of that scene. Amazing what you can
do when you need to, though. Despite herself, she laughed. It was quite a happy sound,
she thought. Behind her Keith started puking again.
Once dressed, her hair still un-mussed, her insides still tense and
quivering despite her laughter, she picked up her purse and let herself out, hearing
him still retching and sobbing in the bathroom, and took the lift down. Back on the
street she began walking to where she had seen a taxi rank shortly before they had
arrived here. She was once more pleased with her choice of shoes. Her mother had
been right again. Get shoes that looked dressy but were also comfortable for walking.
She looked at her watch. Had all that really only taken three quarters of an hour?
Ten minutes later she was in a taxi, and thirty minutes after that
she was home. She showered for almost an hour before she felt able to dry herself
and lie down in her bed, but sleep was as far from her as it had ever been. She was
still awake when the sun came up.
Copyright © 2003 Peter Leon Collins