Hi, it’s me, Mikki, here to tell one final tale. Last time I left you on the heels of a confrontation with Katrina. Remember? I was speaking about a week after the event, when I was suddenly filled with hope. When, as you might recall, I rather rashly declared “I have a plan”.
What did Rabbie Burns say about the best-laid schemes of mice and men? Well, he was right about the best-laid schemes of mice and women, too. He was in my case, anyway.
But enough of the foreplay. I’ll apologize in advance for my inevitable bad language and just get on with it.
The big confrontation had taken place in The Busfeild Arms, in the ladies’. And it had been a feisty one. In case anyone is unaware, Katrina is my hated rival. The subject in question, our mutual “love interest” Davina (more widely known as Dave), was not present.
Up until that two minute exchange I had, I must admit, been a bit in awe of Katrina. She looks a lot like Kim Kardashian, but is younger and even more attractive. Her voice is husky and so, so seductive. And, as an added extra, guaranteed to impress gullible techies like Dave, she’s an absolute whizz with computers. When she’s not off on her travels her IT skills are much in demand.
How can I compete against somebody so perfectly perfect? I’d wondered.
But that Sunday Katrina had shown cracks. She’d sneered at me, suggesting I didn’t have the equipment to compete with goddesses like her. Her previous veneer of politeness gone, she had accused me of jumping into her place in Dave’s bed as soon as she’d turned her back. And, most tellingly, she’d let me know she had no intention of going anywhere. Not until she was good and ready.
Believe it or not, I took her blistering tirade as positive. Before she started slagging me off I’d as good as given up on Dave, thinking I’d blown the good thing we’d had going. And thinking that the opposition was simply too much for me to cope with. Now, completely out of the blue, I had hope. No, now I had reason to suspect I’d won! Against all the odds!! Little old me!!
Not that I was counting too many chickens. Katrina was still living with my girlfriend. She was still, if what she’d just told me was true, fucking said girlfriend ten hours a day. To put it mildly, there were hurdles to clear yet.
And Katrina was good at leeching on to Dave. She’d done so before, twice at least. Sponging off her, living rent-free, saving every last penny of her exorbitant salary for yet another year of “travelling”.
What a calculating bitch!
Remembering I had company, I made my way back to the middle bar.
‘Well hello,’ Joyce said in greeting. ‘I was expecting a much older woman.’
I grinned at her. Joyce is my boss and old enough to be my mother. We were halfway through a dirty weekend and, even if my situation with Dave had taken a turn for the better, I wasn’t about to run out on her.
I’m a single girl, I reminded myself. And Katrina’s probably hard at Dave even now . . .
Poor Dave. Poor, innocent Dave. The Wicked Witch of Australia had cast an evil spell over her. She needed Princess Charming to ride to her rescue.
Except Katrina is no more Australian than I am. She just happened to have been touring New South Wales when she’d (allegedly) had all her money stolen. I only wished she hadn’t been in possession of an open-ended air ticket. There again, she didn’t have to rely on Qantas to fly her home, did she? In a real pinch she could have used her broomstick.
It was starting to get light when I awoke, early Monday morning. That is to say, when I finally realized that it wasn’t a dream; Joyce really was making love to me.
I wasn’t complaining. Come to that, I can’t imagine anyone complaining about Joyce making love to them, not ever. Although I’m not prepared to compare my lovers’ skills and techniques, I will readily confess that she has by far the widest range. Girl oh girl, has she!
I honestly haven’t a clue how long she’d been taking advantage of my helpless, sleeping self. Or what she’d been so tenderly doing to me. Not to every last detail. She’d got me aroused though, that was for sure. I was up on the highest plateau ever, tingling and twanging as she worked away at me. Kissing and nibbling and sucking my tits. One hand stroking my hip while the other cupped my entire sex, rubbing and rubbing and rubbing.
‘Oh Joyce,’ I gasped. ‘Omigod, Joyce!’
I couldn’t keep up with her for long. In fact I struggled to keep up with her at all. Before I knew it she’d brought me off. Then she did it again. And again and again and again. And then she slid down my quivering body and lapped up the results of her handiwork.
Again and again and again.
I tried to grab her spiky hair with both hands but it was far too short. Grabbing her by the ears instead, I pulled her closer against me. She responded by thrusting her tongue into my pussy. Omigod, did I just say she’d taken me to the highest plateau ever! Well I was wrong. Sex with Joyce is always beyoğlu escort mind-blowing but that time it was out of this world. I didn’t so much climb to that lofty plateau, I skyrocketed past it and soared up into the stratosphere. Honest to God, if she hadn’t held me down I’d have smashed my way out through the ceiling.
Needless to report, Joyce didn’t limit herself to just the once. And, also needless to report, I made no effort to stop her whatsoever.
There again, I wouldn’t have, would I?
‘Don’t fall out,’ she cautioned later, when I’d been reduced to the limpest of ragdolls.
She was quite correct. I was on the verge of falling out of bed. Or rather, off. The covers were already gone and somehow, presumably as a result of her tender ministrations, I’d crabbed my way away from the middle of the mattress. I wriggled back into a more central position and reached for her but she wasn’t having any of it.
‘Come on,’ she said, ‘rise and shine. The alarm’s going to go any second. And we have to call in at yours, remember?’
I remembered and good-naturedly joined her in the shower before we set off, with Joyce at the wheel. Being tactful enough not to comment on my poky dump of a flat, she made bacon butties while I changed from my casual weekend gear (tight jeans and an even tighter T-shirt) into more appropriate office attire. Then, wiping surplus HP Sauce from our mouths, we headed for work.
‘So,’ Joyce said as she drove, ‘today’s the day.’ Then, noticing my puzzled expression: ‘For you and Dave, I mean.’
‘It’s the end of our cooling off period,’ I agreed. ‘The first of many, as likely as not.’
‘You don’t expect the situation to have resolved itself, then?’
I hadn’t told Joyce about my 1-2-1 with Katrina in the pub. ‘No,’ I replied, ‘I’m expecting it to drag on for weeks rather than days.’
‘And you’re still determined not to be a soft touch?’
‘Not entirely,’ I said, smiling ruefully. ‘I’m determined to be as reasonable as I have to be.’
‘That’s the spirit.’ Joyce patted me on the knee. ‘Now, turn all your coins love-side up and, when you speak to her, make sure you don’t say anything you know you’ll regret afterwards.’
We arrived in the office at what was a strange time for both of us. Although I didn’t officially start for another ten minutes, I was quarter of an hour later than usual. And Joyce was half an hour or more early. Not that there wasn’t plenty to be getting on with. Armed with fresh coffee we exchanged conspiratorial grins and went to our separate workstations.
Following the regular routine I opened the Sales Ledger and stared at my landline, expecting it to immediately ring. When it didn’t I moved on to my email. Hmmm, not so bad, for once. My system was working. That is to say, my system and the fact I’d been at my desk until half past five on Friday.
Here’s how it is with me and emails. Work-wise, I tend to get three varieties: “for information only”, “answerable immediately” and “action needed”. I try to address everything incoming as quickly as possible. In other words, I memorize the ones sent for information and answer the immediately answerable ones, then I delete the originals. I only keep the ones were action is needed, using them as reminders until I’ve done whatever needs to be done. Is that efficiency or what?
No? Well it works for me so I’m sticking with it. If it ain’t broke . . .
That morning I had one reminder still pending (a request for an increased credit limit) and about twenty new arrivals, all received since close of play, Friday afternoon. When faced with dozens of emails I normally filter by sender, so I can swiftly pick out duplicate messages and chase-ups. Twenty wasn’t enough to bother, however. Starting with the oldest “new” message I hastened my way down the list, memorizing, answering and delating as I went. Answering a few routine telephone calls along the way, I reached good news from our insurers.
Result! That outstanding limit request had been approved. Two deletes with one stone!
Conscious I was on a run, I had a count up. Three more to clear and I would have an empty in-box without a reminder to be seen. Before I could move on to the Promised Land, another new mail landed.
Fuck, it was from Katrina.
Paranoia gripped me. What if the bitch was using her IT wizardry? What if her email carried some unspeakable virus that would destroy my PC beyond repair? Or, even worse, what if it was designed to plant reputation-slaying porn on my hard-drive?
I didn’t want to end up sharing a cell with Gary Glitter but did eventually open my message. It was attachments that did the damage, I told myself. And this didn’t have one. If I didn’t click on any links, I’d be all right.
And besides, I wanted to know what the so-and-so wanted to say.
The content of Katrina’s email surprised me, I can’t deny that. I’m not sure exactly what I’d been expecting, but it certainly hadn’t been that saccharin-drenched greeting.
“Hello my darling Mikela. I’m here, downstairs in sarıyer escort IT. Your friend and mine, Dave, very kindly brought me in to work this morning, keen to make sure I got here well ahead of time. What can I say? She is a dear, isn’t she?
“Anyway, it’s great to be back. I’ve been allocated my old desk and a brand-spanking-new PC with the most ace dual screen I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to get cracking.
“I hope you are feeling as full of beans as I am. Look forward to seeing lots of you now we are close workmates. Love, hugs and kisses, Kat.”
Somehow I managed not to throw up. Swigging cold coffee, I read the message again. It was, I had to admit, reasonably clever. The bitch had touched every nerve in my body without once being obvious about it. While the tone was gushy and over the top, the actual content wasn’t in the least offensive.
(And nobody else was to know how much I hate the name “Kat”. To my mind Kats are small and cuddly, with cute little noses and whiskers. Katrina’s more like a large, malicious panther, homing in on a particularly messy kill.)
I was about to click on delete when a little voice whispered in my ear.
Save it, the voice said. It’s a long shot, but you never know . . .
Feeling foolish, I created a new folder labelled “Katrina” and moved her email into it. Then, as I was wondering if an equally flowery reply was in order, a message arrived from Dave.
“Hi Mikki. I love you. Here’s my promised update. The news could be better, but at least it’s good/positive rather than good/bad.”
Hmmm, I thought.
“First and foremost, Kat got the job in that interview last Wednesday. They offered her it there and then and she accepted, so that bit is closed off nicely. She’s actually started this morning, in case you don’t yet know.
“Her hunt for a flat is the less good/still positive news. Did I tell you her dad was stumping up for her deposit? Well he’s been as good as his word. I’ve seen the entry in her bank account. All Kat needs to do now is find the right place. And trust me, she’s trying. As soon as she got the job here she cancelled her other interviews . . .”
‘Huh,’ I said aloud, not believing a malicious panther could be considerate enough to phone and cancel. ‘I bet she did.’
“. . . and went round the estate agents instead, on-line and in person. There isn’t a lot going at the moment but she’s doing her damnedest and has viewed lots of places already. I went to see three with her on Saturday, so I know what she’s up against.
“Can we get together this lunchtime? I really, really need to. And I really, really love you.”
I’d already decided to see Dave at lunchtime. I was riding to her rescue, remember? Princess Charming on her trusty white steed. Thing was, we used to lunch together in the canteen . . .
Nope, no way could we bare souls in the canteen. Not so soon after my night of sin with the pneumatic Becky. That would be unfair on all of us. Trying to swallow my guilt, I replied to sender.
“Hi Dave. I love you too. Let’s find a quiet pub and lunch there. 12 OK 4 U?”
We both arranged extended lunch breaks and met up outside the main entrance, a trysting place we’d used before. ‘Hi,’ I began nervously, ‘you’re a sight for sore eyes.’
Dave’s laugh was equally nervous. For once she’d abandoned her shapeless workday slacks and baggy jumper in favour of a blouse and skirt. If it wasn’t for her supersized, black-framed glasses I might not have recognized her.
No, scrap that. I would have recognized her anywhere, anytime.
‘I got an extra half hour,’ she said.
‘Me too.’ I grinned. When I asked Joyce she’d nodded and mouthed “Love-side up.”
‘How about the Lord Rodney?’ Dave went on. ‘It probably won’t be very quiet, but none of the Trekkies use it. It’s too posh.’
Our offices are quite central so it wasn’t a long walk. It seemed to be long, however, because neither of us had much to say. Not to begin with, anyway. And I’ve never much liked lengthy silences. Before we got halfway I caught hold of her hand and pulled her to a halt.
‘This is ridiculous,’ I said. ‘I’ve behaved like I don’t know what this last week. I’m really, really sorry. All I want is for us to be like we were.’
‘Me too,’ she replied.
I kissed her, there in busy North Street, with swarms of lunchtime shoppers bustling by. I’m not sure if anyone took a lot of notice of us. If they did, I certainly didn’t notice them.
‘Right,’ I resumed, grinning again. ‘Let’s go eat, drink and decide where we go from here.’
‘I thought you wanted to go back where we were,’ said Dave, practical as ever.
‘Fair point,’ said I. ‘Let’s go decide how to get there.’
The Lord Rodney is probably as close to being a city centre wine bar as we’re ever going to get in beautiful downtown Keighley. As Dave observed when we met up, it’s posh. It’s also expensive when compared to other pubs in town. That much said, one gets what one pays for, doesn’t one? And one doesn’t have to drink vino . . maslak escort . not when they sell Landlord.
We dithered a while over the menu, bickering over who got to pay for the meals . . . just like old times. Then, burgers ordered and pints in-hand, we occupied the most isolated table we could find. And we conversed.
Oh, how we conversed. I’ve said before that we have the art of conversation off to a T. Well, while we waited for our food to arrive, it really was like old times. Avoiding any mention of “our situation”, we happily yarned about this, that and the other. Thinking back I can’t remember a thing about it . . . apart from the warmth and sense of rightness.
Except that’s not true. I remember us chatting about our idyllic weekend in the Lake District. I remember Dave’s eyes going all misty and tears prickling my own . . .
‘Let’s do it again this weekend,’ Dave said impulsively. ‘Let’s set off straight from work on Friday and not come back until Sunday evening.’
Omigod, I thought, this is going to work out. We are going to work out!
‘We’ll never get that four-poster again,’ I said aloud. ‘We could never be so lucky twice.’
‘I feel lucky twice being here with you now,’ said Dave. ‘And who really needs a four-poster bed? A sleeping bag will do for me.’ Then, chuckling at my appalled expression, ‘I’ll get on-line this afternoon and book somewhere nice. I’ve overnighted up there lots of times. Trust me, I’ll find us a good place to rest our weary heads.’
I didn’t want to be a wet blanket but couldn’t help myself. ‘What about . . .’
‘Kat doesn’t count in this,’ Dave said firmly. ‘And she’ll be flat-hunting anyway. So, have I your say-so to book somewhere?’
Suddenly overcome, I nodded. Then, dabbing away a tear, I took her hand and squeezed it. I wanted to tell her to make a block-booking, to reserve us rooms for the next ten weekends, but the words wouldn’t come.
Unlike the waiter, who chose that moment to turn up at our table. ‘Here we are, ladies,’ he said brightly. ‘Can I interest you in sauces and condiments?’
I had the honour of buying the drinks, so I told him he could interest us in two more pints as well. Then, provided with all the victuals we were likely to need, we got down to business.
‘There’s nothing between me and Kat anymore,’ Dave began. ‘Not romantically. That all ended the last time she left. We’re still friends, though. I couldn’t refuse to take her in.’
I held up a restraining palm. ‘I understand,’ I said diplomatically. ‘I can’t apologize enough for throwing my toys out of the pram. It was just hard for me to get my head around the way you are together. How you put up with her vanishing for months on end, I mean.’
‘It’s her hobby,’ Dave replied. ‘I like rock climbing. She happens to like travelling.’
‘Bit of a difference there,’ I remarked pointedly.
‘What can I say? It takes all sorts, doesn’t it?’
‘Will she be off again?’
‘Of course she will. It’s in her blood. She won’t be coming back to my place, though. This is a one-off, never-to-be-repeated favour.’
I took a bite of burger and tried to contain my glee. Our lunchtime tryst was going swimmingly. I couldn’t have scripted it better.
‘Has she really been flat-hunting?’ I asked, for want of something to say as much as anything else. ‘I mean, I read your email. That made it seem like she was hunting 24/7.’
’24/7 is a bit of an exaggeration, but she has been trying. Problem is, she wants somewhere in Bingley. And there’s not a lot going.’
‘There’s plenty of estate agents,’ I observed, munching more burger.
‘There’s plenty of property for sale,’ Dave agreed. ‘Just not a lot for rent. And what there is tends to be for families with two point four kids. You fell lucky when you found your flat.’
‘What, that poky little pit!’
‘Your flat is lovely,’ Dave said, smiling. ‘How did you stumble across it, anyway?’
‘It belongs to a guy who plays golf with my dad.’ I shrugged. ‘He’d just come into some money when the buy-to-let market went pear-shaped. Dad says there were lots of bargains to be had back then.’
‘Does this guy have any other properties for rent?’
‘I don’t think so, but I’ll find out for sure.’
(Brief aside: it did cross my mind to suggest Katrina could take over my lease, leaving me free to move in with Dave. Like an idiot, I bit my tongue and kept the idea to myself.)
‘Kat started looking as soon as she got the job,’ Dave resumed. ‘I got home on Wednesday and she already had viewings lined up, including the three I joined in with on Saturday.’
‘What were they like?’ I wondered.
‘The first was great. It was a one-bedroom duplex in Lady Lane. Apparently the building used to be halls of residence, for the old teacher training college. Perfect for a single woman. Even Kat couldn’t fault it.’
‘But . . .’
‘Someone else got in before her. Unless there’s a last minute hitch, she’s missed the boat.’
‘What about the others?’
‘There was a two-bedroom place on Sycamore Avenue . . . which was too big. And a house up on Hunters Farm, which was even bigger.’ Dave rolled her eyes. ‘I fancied Hunters Farm myself. You and me could bring up our two point four kids there.’