He watched her adoringly. She simply was the cutest, most spellbinding creature he had ever laid eyes on. He never got bored of hearing her voice, she was his little skylark and he loved her dearly. He perched, as ever, on the end of the bar, nursing the neat whisky her little dainty hands had poured for him. The music was blaring; the smoke machine wheezing its magic, the place was busy due it being the weekend before Christmas. Gaudy tinsel was everywhere and when she smiled, her eyes lit up making her the perfect fairy on top of the Christmas tree. Iona. He even got excited saying her name. I-o-na. I-on-a.
He refused to move, he didn’t care one bit how busy it got, this was his place, at the end of whichever bar in the club she was working that night. It was the same every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He liked to think that he could always be near to her in case she needed him. There were often some rough types in here; he had to keep an eye on her, his delicate little flower. That’s why he sipped his drinks slowly; he got into too much of a panic if he needed to go to the toilet. He worried something would happen to her and he wouldn’t be there, so he rushed, and often ended up with piss dripping down his beige trousers.
It would soon be midnight and the Latino red rose lady would be doing the rounds with her bucket of cellophane covered flowers, miserable face and grabby hand. George thought she could at least offer him a smile, all the money she got from him as a customer over the last year and three months should have earned him at least that, in his opinion.
He watched her fetch another drink; even in her high spike heels she was still tiny, standing precariously on tiptoe to nudge the side of the glass on to the optic. He laughed to himself, at his funny little thing. He just about remembered what it were like to be 18; he wouldn’t have dared to have worked in a place like this, certainly an eye opener. He didn’t appreciate her being exposed to some of this behaviour, people meeting and automatically rubbing genitals together, in public for all to see. That dingy old brown sofa in the corner must have seen some action. He sighed, draining his glass. This was his favourite part of the evening, asking for another drink. She served him immediately which made his heart race and his hands sweat.
‘Same again my darling’ he stated, pushing his empty glass across the slippery bar and wishing he had the opportunity to smell her immaculate blonde, straight hair. He only got to do that when it was ridiculously heaving and she had to lean right into his ear to hear what he was saying, unfortunately the bar had cleared a little. She smiled, yes she smiled, her sensual lips upturned to reveal her hidden dimples. He beamed back at her, so much he needed to say to her but not just yet, another time, when they were alone.
Again he watched her strive for the optic, her little black skirt riding up, almost revealing her knickers. He shuddered as he felt himself harden and brushed his hand over his excitement. He would save this image for later. He felt a tap on his shoulder and feared the worst. Had someone spotted his erection? He slowly craned his head and to his relief, it was the Latino lady holding out a single red rose, expecting her £3.00. He duly rummaged for the cash, his hand feeling wrong in his pocket for a moment. He liked to leave the rose for her at closing time; it was a moment he relished that helped him get through Sunday to Wednesday when the club was closed.
He didn’t always manage the separation; sometimes he drove the miles between them and sat in the car, watching her window for a mere sight of her. She got up late; it must really tire her out working these long, anti-social hours, which would have to stop once they were together. He knew where she lived because he’d followed her staff taxi on the way home one night. It had been stressful as four people were all dropped off in turn and she’d been the last one. He’d had to go all round the houses to actually discover her address.
He loved it when he arrived before she awoke, he could watch her, half asleep and plain of face open the
curtains, her blonde hair askew. She’d look out of the window and he could hardly breathe, hoping for the day he’d wake up with her. He hoped it wouldn’t be too much longer; it was becoming more difficult to afford all this, since he’d given up his job as a geography teacher at the local secondary school. He hadn’t been getting to see her much and he couldn’t handle that in the end. His savings had been a blessing but they wouldn’t last forever.
Who was she talking to? He’d never seen this member of staff before. Who was he? He was flirting with her. Oh my God, she was responding, giggling and flicking her long side fringe out of her eyes and curling the ends around her finger. George was furious; he’d been dreading something like this. He could sense a mutual interest between them and he could not calm himself. Their eye contact and physical closeness stabbed him in the heart; his fingers crumpled the rose bud until petals tipped out on to the floor. He smashed the ugly flower down on to the bar, drained his drink and stormed out. He had to go. She would have to understand; maybe the damaged rose would make his point? She couldn’t behave like that and expect to get away with it. What was she thinking? Why was she trying to destroy him?
He knew he had to make sure they hadn’t gone home together. He had to know and despite being over the limit, decided to take his car. He had started doing this more regularly, he couldn’t afford the taxi rides. He felt fine; as long as he was steady there was no reason for him to be pulled over. It made sense, the club was spilling out customers now but she still had to cash up and get a taxi. He would wait for her there.
He drove slowly, his heart skipping a beat when he saw a police car. Stop worrying George, he told himself, it’s Saturday night, kicking out time. Of course there are police around. Keep it together. He had to focus. He didn’t know what he would do if she got out of her taxi with him but he didn’t anticipate leaving it there, he’d have to have it out with her. It would do them some good, clear the air, and make them stronger.
Parking up in the familiar spot, he turned off the lights and waited. And waited. Here she was, the moment of truth. He heard her giggle and she emerged, thanking the taxi driver. She was alone. Oh thank God, she was alone. He felt silly now, as if Iona would do that to him! What was he thinking? He was so elated he quite forgot himself, his car door opened before he knew it and he was striding towards her as her taxi turned around and departed into the night. She was fiddling with her bottomless, disorganised handbag, hunting for keys when he found himself right behind her, the little skirt he had watched for all this time, right there, a couple of inches away.
She span around, aware of a body from nowhere being too close to hers. She looked appalled and her eyes screamed terror. That really was too much. What was wrong with her? Why was she behaving like this? The horror in her face baffled and enraged him. He’s always been confused about this part of the events; it’s all a bit of a blur really. He thinks he must have hit her, probably quite hard. He must have carried her into his car? He can’t recall driving her to his house either but she was definitely there because he kept checking during the night. He worried she would try and run away. There was no chance of that though. She’d never woken up, not even after he had removed her little black skirt and violated her. Still, he couldn’t part with her, not now he’d finally got her all to himself, right there on his sofa. It’s just that his neighbours noticed a foul smell after a few days and despite several rings of the doorbell never saw George. So they called the council. Who called the police.