Connivance

I am lying on my bed enjoying the early morning sunshine pouring in thin golden bars through chinks and gaps in the curtains.

The bed is still warm. The room smells of warm bodies. The shape where she slept still visible. I can still feel her soft kiss on my lips.

My body stretches and writhes unbidden with the pleasurable memory of pre-dawn lovemaking. Reflexively I reach towards her, towards the place where she lay. I pull my arm back, disappointed.

If I were to examine my feelings, which I will not, I would have to say I do feel triumphant. I have been pursuing her for over a year. As, for that matter, has a friend/close acquaintance, from the pub.

If I were to further examine my feelings, which I am definitely not going to do, I would realise that, for once, maybe for the first time, my feeling of triumph is not attended or interpenetrated by any predatory feeling of victory. I have succeeded, no one has been vanquished. It is a new feeling for me.

I leap out of bed, energised, happy. It is 9:05am. I call her at work. She has a weekend job in a West End Theatre Box Office.

‘Box Office’ she chants. I don’t understand how she can sound so chirpy at this time on a weekend.

‘Hi’ I say, ‘It’s me.’

‘Ooh hello.’ Her voice has a wonderfully gravelly tone to it, ‘I told you never to call me at work.’

‘Why’d you give me your work number then?’

‘That was for emergencies.’

‘Well this is an emergency. I need you to come back to bed immediately.’

‘You’re so bad’ she giggles, ‘Look I’ve got to go. I’ll see you tonight, ok?’

‘I miss you’ I find myself saying.

‘Awe, you’re so sweet… Boss coming’ the phone goes dead.

I make a cup of instant coffee. There is no milk in the fridge, in fact there is barely anything at all in the fridge. The coffee is too hot and too bitter. I wander out onto the tiny balcony and survey the city skyline. I light a cigarette and contemplate the day ahead. I really am feeling very good about things. I imagine phoning the acquaintance from the pub to gloat.

He says, ‘You two seemed very cosy last night.’

‘Yep, got even cosier later.’

‘You didn’t?’

‘I did!’

‘You jammy bastard. How’d you pull that off?’

‘Persistence and charm, my man. Persistence and charm.’

‘Did she stay over at your place?’

‘She most certainly did. Left early to go to work.’

‘How was she?’

‘None of your business mate.’

‘Oh come on, was she a wet fish or was she gagging for it?’

‘That’s for me to know, and for you never to find out.’

‘She’s got great tits!’

‘She has very fine breasts, that, I can confirm.’

I am finding the imagined conversation oddly complicit and enjoyable. No surprise there then.

‘Does she give good head?’

‘That really is none of your fucking business mate.’

He is silent at the other end of the line. After a few moments I say, ‘She is very good to be with though, that much I can say, and very nice to wake up next to.’

Why would I imagine talking to him like this? Why am I entertaining this kind of conversation with him at all? Odd moments from last night keep popping back into memory. Slow dancing to some late night radio music. Spilling red, red wine on the carpet.

My cigarette has gone out. I light another.

I really am looking forward to seeing her this evening. I’ll iron a shirt. Looking round my apartment I come to a swift decision. I will tidy up and do some shopping.

I am not going to mention last night to anyone.

 

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