Repent at Leisure

By Stevie Turner

Thriller, Crime & mystery

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416
4 mins

REPENT AT LEISURE

PART 1 - PAUL
CHAPTER 1
JANUARY 1ST 2000

Darren must have spiked my bloody drink again; I’ll kill the bastard.
I sit up in bed, rub my eyes and give her the once over as I inch back the covers. She’s naked and reasonably good-looking, but the blonde hair doesn’t quite reach the roots and the face is caked in make-up. I’ve always liked the natural look, so God knows why I went and picked her. Perhaps I didn’t; probably Darren gave her a good time and then lumbered me with her after I’d passed out.
My mouth’s as dry as a badger’s chuff, and my head is throbbing. I need some coffee. Whoever she is sleeps on as I climb out of bed and slide into some jeans. As I open the bedroom door I can see Darren, fully clothed and dead to the world on the settee. We must have had a fucking ace time of it last night; if only I could remember.
The noise of the kettle brings Darren out of his stupor. As he comes into the kitchen his mullet’s awry like he’s got a surfboard on his head. Yawning, I reach for two mugs from the cupboard and heap a spoonful of coffee in each. I indicate with a thumb over in the direction of the bedroom.
“Who’s the bird?”
Darren hacks up enough tar to fill all the potholes along the M1.
“You’re asking me? You’re the one who was with her all night.”
“Yeah, but some bastard spiked my drinks.”
My look of venom informs him in no uncertain terms whom I suspect of perpetrating the crime. Darren, innocence personified, shrugs his shoulders, picks up the kettle, and pours boiling water into the mugs.
“Nothin’ to do with me, mate.”
“Yeah, and my dick’s two foot long.”
“You should be so lucky.” Darren adds coffee to an extra mug. “Here; give her one.”
“I already did, didn’t I?” I sigh.
“Possibly; you were going at it hammer and tongs in there last night.”
“Shit.”
***
The girl stumbles out into the living area wearing my shirt.
“Coffee; great.” She takes a steaming mug from the worktop. “Any sugar?”
“You’re sweet enough, darlin’” Darren eyes her up and down.
“I forgot to buy any.” I mumble.
“I’ll pop out and get some later.” The girl settles herself down in my armchair, takes small sips from the mug, and puts her feet up on the coffee table.
Did she think she was staying then? I swallow a wave of irritation at her proprietary air, and wish both of them would piss off and leave me alone to rattle around my flat in peace and recover in my own time from the previous night’s excesses.
“That won’t be necessary. Look; I’ve got relatives visiting this afternoon. I assume the two of you have got homes to go to?”
I hope I sound convincing enough. Darren nods as he drains the last of his coffee and looks at the girl.
“It’s already the afternoon, but hey, I’m gone. D’you want a lift, darlin’?”
“The name’s Cat, and I’m not your darling.”
The girl gives him the evil eye. By this time I don’t care whose darling she is, just so long as she isn’t mine.
“You’ll pay a fortune for a taxi on New Year’s Day.” Darren smooths down his mullet with one hand and searches for his car keys with the other. “Last chance for a lift. Where do you live?”
“Abercrombie Road, but Paul can take me home later.”
I must have told her my name at some point, although I have no recollection of ever doing so. I try to mask a rising fury as I look at her.
“I’m low on petrol, and there won’t be any garages open today. Wherever Abercrombie Road is, you’ll have to walk if you don’t go with Darren now.”
“Okay, okay.” She exhales with venom and jumps up. “It’s nice to be wanted, I must say.”
Fuck off! The drums in my head start playing that Cozy Powell song that I can never remember the name of. She goes back into the bedroom and emerges wearing a tight red mini-dress, a black jacket, and black stilettos.
“I can’t find my mobile phone, so I’ll give you a chance to find it and I’ll come back tomorrow.”
“Aye.”
Yeah, whatever. Just go.
“See you later, mate.”
I nod to Darren as he ushers the girl out of the door. I suddenly feel decidedly sick, and only just about make it to the toilet before violently upchucking the coffee and whatever else is festering in my stomach from the night before. After rinsing my mouth I stumble back to bed and am asleep almost as soon as my head touches the pillow.
***
When I wake up again the flat is in darkness. I check the digital clock, which shows 6:08 pm. I can still smell the girl’s cloying, musky perfume on the sheets, which only adds to my foul mood. With one fluid motion I turn on the lamp, climb out of bed, and then unhinge the duvet from its cover. After ripping off the fitted sheet and pillowcases and stuffing them into the washing machine with the duvet cover I feel somewhat calmer. I add more soap powder than usual in an effort to rid myself of any trace of my night-time companion, and hit the shower with more eagerness than usual. After towelling myself dry I look at my reflection in the mirror; reddish-brown hair in need of a cut, atop a pale, washed out face featuring the sharp Campbell nose inherited from my mother’s side of the family, and tired-looking brown eyes.
“Happy New Year.” I say out loud to myself. “You’re a real horse’s arse.”
***
After a light supper I take my bedclothes out of the tumble drier and find the phone that Cat (or was it Kate?) must have hidden, pushed down between the mattress and the wall as I re-make the bed. How the fuck would a phone that size get there unless somebody had placed it in that exact spot on purpose? I wrack my brain again and again to try and remember any vestige of the night before, but give up in the end and hoped to God I’d used a condom. I scour the carpet for evidence of any used johnnies to no avail, and check the state of the old chap lying still and quiescent inside my jogging bottoms. Thankfully, as far as I can see, it seems devoid of any nasty little rashes; so far, so good.
The great thing about living in Edinburgh and being born on the thirty first of December is that Darren and I can always celebrate my birthday in style on New Year’s Eve, and can get pissed in peace without it being in the back of our minds that we have to get up early the next morning and go to work. This year is no exception. It has taken me most of the day to feel human again, but now at last I have managed to reach twenty-one, the age of maturity, which coincided nicely with much end-of-century celebrating. I have the key to the door, but actually, if truth be told, that particular door has been well and truly open for at least two years already.
***
It’s close to nine thirty that same night when I hear the doorbell ringing. I find it hard to mask my disappointment at the sight of my latest bed companion standing there.
“Hi.” I yawn.
“Try and control your excitement at the sight of me.”
The girl shoots me an evil stare, and I wish she would just go away.
“I’ll give it a go.” I nod.
“I’ve come for my phone.” She looks past me into the hallway.
I have anticipated her visit. I reach behind me and pick the phone up from its resting place on the hall table.
“Here you are.”
She takes the phone from me and puts it in her handbag.
“Aren’t you going to invite me in?”
“What for?”
“Coffee.”
“I wasn’t planning on it.” I sigh.
“Can I just do a wee then? I’m desperate.”
“Be quick then, ‘cos I’m going to bed.”
She steps into the hallway and takes off her coat. Apart from fishnet stockings and black stilettos I cannot help but notice that she’s wearing nothing underneath.
The old boy stands up stiffer than a March gale. It’s going to be a long night.



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