Christmas is for the kids? Well I am sorry to be negative. Christmas is not so great if you are on your own.
Yesterday was my company’s Christmas party, so today a few of us were tidying the place up. I was the last one there. I was happy to be doing something. I had persuaded the others to get off home to their families. I collected up some leftovers and put them into my car, bagged up the last of the rubbish, washed up the last few glasses, and then walked round the building to check that all was well. Back in my office I tried to do something useful. Was there any code I needed to debug, any documentation to write? I tried to do this and that, but each task I started needed input from someone else. I read some trade magazines, trying to guess what my competitors were planning. It was going dark outside. I made myself a coffee, and read some more.
I gave up. I set the alarms and locked up. We were closed for a week. What was I going to do? I sat in my car and turned the radio on. Christmas music. Click. Worse, Christmas pop music. Click. Someone discussing the non-availability of this year’ must-have toy. Click. Someone talking about drink-driving. I put a CD on. Bach. I closed my eyes and lost myself in the music. Did I fall asleep? I don’t think so. I started to feel cold so I started the engine and turned on the heater. I think I did sleep then. The CD was on repeat and it went through at least a couple of times. Eventually I woke, looked at my watch, and put the car into gear and made my way slowly out of the car park.
It was well past 10:00pm. The entire industrial estate was dark. I drove the long way round. All the car parks were empty.
Then the engine coughed and stopped. I started it again. Again, it coughed and stopped. I coasted to a stop by the kerb. Damn. I had meant to fill the tank on my way home. I took out my mobile to call a taxi. Its battery was flat and its charger was at home. I got out, got my warm coat and a petrol can from the boot, and set off to find some fuel.
I made my way towards the petrol station up on the main road, but it was in darkness. A bus went past. It looked empty. Then I saw the other person. She had been running towards the bus stop, but too late. She missed it. I walked towards her. I would catch a bus home.
“Excuse me miss?”
She looked at me nervously. I had thought that she was in her late teens from her clothes, but when she turned towards me I realised that she was nearer my own age.
“Do you know what time the next bus is?”
She looked depressed as she shook her head.
“Hard luck, mate, that was the last one.”
It was cold. The wind was cutting through my thick expensive overcoat. She had a thin waterproof, and now there were a few snowflakes flicking past the street lights and the wind was getting up. She was shivering.
“I’ll tell you what, love, come with me back to my office, and I will ring a taxi from there, it can drop you off somewhere.”
She was right to be cautious. No-one else around, approached by a strange man, in the dark.
“No. I have a phone in the … Over there….”
She indicated the only old building in the area, near where my car has stopped.. It had been the farmhouse before the industrial estate had been built on the farm. It looked shabby and in need of some paint.
” But I am sorry, I can’t afford a taxi.”
“Don’t worry, love, I’ll pay.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I’ll be glad to.”
She led me towards the house. I thought about her nervousness. She was shivering. Cold or nerves?
“You ring. I’ll wait outside.”
I had obviously said the right thing. The offer gave her some confidence in me, and when she had unlocked the door she invited me inside.
As she turned the lights on I saw that the interior was far from shabby. Heavy curtains hung at the windows. Deep upholstery looked inviting. A glass doored fridge hummed in the corner full of bottles and cans. There was a cartridge hot drinks machine on an expensive looking sideboard. There was a television, a pile of DVDs, and a stack of magazines. There was a desk and a phone.
“You need a hot drink lovie. Is this thing working.”
She switched on the mains to the drinks machine. I was right, she was shivering badly. She undid her waterproof to reveal that it leaked. Her thin t-shirt and short skirt were showing wet streaks.
“You need to get into some dry clothes.”
Had I said the wrong thing? Was I making an improper suggestion. For a moment fear crossed her eyes, but then she realised that I was only worrying about her. I waited while she disappeared into a back room. While waiting I wandered round the room and looked at the magazines and DVDs. There were all porn. At last I realised that I was in a sauna, a massage parlour, a knocking shop, a bloody brothel for the first time in my life.
I looked on the desk. There was a price list, prices for rooms, by the half hour or the hour.
She returned wrapped in a sheet. She immediately saw that I now knew.
“I’m sorry, Sir, muratpaşa escort I should not have brought you in here.”
The wind gusted outside. One of the curtains flapped. Clearly the windows were letting in draughts.
“Its getting cold in here. Is there any heating?”
“Well, yes, but they have put it on a time-switch. No, hang on.”
She opened a cupboard and pulled out a fan heater, plugged it in. It fought against the chill. She disappeared and came back with her wet clothes and started trying to dry them a bit. The drinks machine beeped. It was ready.
We sipped our drinks.
A car passed outside. We could see its headlights as the curtains flapped and the windows rattled. I went across to the window and looked out. The car had gone just beyond my car, and was turning. I saw the dayglow stripes that told me it was a police car. I closed the curtains. I did not want to have to explain things unnecessarily, but I was too late. The police car started to move slowly towards us.
“The police are coming over here.”
“Don’t worry. They are all right. Let me do the talking. Make another chocolate”
The doorbell rang. I fussed with the drinks machine
“Come in Steve.”
“I saw the lights, and wondered if you had trouble.”
“Thanks. No trouble, but we do have a problem. Can you give us a lift into town?”
“Well I missed the last bus.”
I passed the cup of chocolate to her. She gave it to Steve.
“And this chap’s car has run dry.”
She indicated the fuel can I had left by the door.
“Sorry ducks, but there would be hell to pay. The sarge in with me and he’s a right bastard.”.
“Well can you get us some petrol,” I asked, taking my wallet from my pocket and offering a note from it.
“I’ll see what I can do for you. I hope you are not in too much of a hurry. I’m sure Sally here can keep you entertained until I get back.”
“Oh, no Officer. Its not like that. I…”
“Don’t worry. Steve is a bit of a joker, aren’t you? But of course, if you’re interested…?”
The blanket and the hot drink was obviously doing the trick. Sally, as I now knew she was called, smiled for the first time, while the policeman laughed at my discomfort.
He picked up the petrol can, walked towards me and grinned.
“I’ll need that.”
He pointed at the money I was still clutching.
He left. A few snowflakes blew in while the door was open. The bit of warmth that the heater was generating seemed to disappear. Sally shivered again.
I took my thick coat off. There were a few droplets of water on it, but I soon shook them off.
“Put this on lovey. It’ll be warmer than that.” I indicated the sheet.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure. I’m dry.”
“Ta…” she paused. “What shall I call you?”
“I’m Peter. Call me Pete.”
She took my coat from me, and was obviously surprised by the weight of the heavy wool. Then she just let her sheet fall, before wrapping herself in my second hand warmth. Then she saw the look on my face. She had been naked in front of me, but I was the one that was blushing.
“You’re not married, are you.” It was a statement, not a question. “And don’t you have a girlfriend?” This was a question.
“No. I enjoyed what I saw.”
She pulled apart the front of the coat, and gave me a full frontal view, while she let the warm air from the heater flow over her..
“All right? You like?” She shimmied a bit, and made her breasts sway. “Oooh, you do like, don’t you.”
She wrapped herself up again. She looked at me thoughtfully.
“You’ve never …” She looked hard at me. “Are you a virgin?”
I did not answer, but she knew she was right.
I had been a swot at school, got good grades. No time for girlfriends. Got on a good degree course at a university near home, so lived with my parents. I started my first business before I graduated, and my work had been my life. Once I had the money, girls and women had been interested in me, but not for me, just for my money. .
I had made my money from computer programming. The art of programming is seeing problems and avoiding them. You have to see reality, see what is there, not see what you think ought to be there, and certainly not see what others want you to see. Salesmen must hate me. They try to spin me a message. Somehow I am able to spot weak points and ask difficult questions.
Those offering themselves in the hope of my cash just seemed so insincere and shallow.
Over the next half hour Sally and I chatted. We pointed the heater at one of the sofas and sat in its warmth. Slowly, she put a hand on my leg, then around my shoulder. She drew us together. I told her what I have just told you about my past.
“Oh, you poor, lonely man.” She had a tear in her eye.
She told me how she came to be selling her body. She had been serik escort bored at school, dropped out, wanted the fashions and labels, tried shoplifting, petty crime, gone downhill, been to prison.
“But don’t you have any family?”
“They don’t want to know me now, not since gaol.”
What with my loneliness and Sally’s past, we were a miserable pair by the time the doorbell rang and Steve came in.
“There you are, mate.” He put down the petrol can, and started to extract the change from his pocket.
“Thanks, Steve, isn’t it?. No, keep it?
“You sure? I really shouldn’t”
“You got kids? Give it to them.”
“Thanks mate. I say, Its bloody chill out there. Any chance of another…”
I made him another hot chocolate while Sally used my coat as cover while putting her, now mostly dry, clothes back on.
“Does the Sergeant want something?”
“I know what I’d like to give him, but no, I left him moaning about the weather back at the station.”
He swigged down his drink and made to leave.
“Thanks again mate.” He patted the pocket containing the fistful of notes. “Merry Christmas.”
I looked at my watch. It was well past midnight.
“Yes, it’s Christmas Day. Sally. Steve. Merry Christmas.”
While Sally turned everything off and locked up, I poured the petrol into my car, and drove it across to just outside the house. Sally ran out and got in next to me. The road was treacherous with the snow.
She guided me. Her home was in a half deserted row of houses. I stopped, and she entered the door of one of the houses I had thought was deserted. I waited to see a light go on, but then saw a flicker of light coming from a half boarded up downstairs window. I felt I had to see. I got out of my car — at least it wasn’t snowing hard now — and approached the window. I could see, behind the boards, that there was broken glass, some of the holes stuffed with newspaper, and that the light was coming from one of those tiny nightlight candles in a saucer on the floor.
I tapped on the board.
“Sally!” I called, quietly.
A shape moved in front of the candle flame.
“Sally. You can’t stay here. Sally!”
I started to take some money from my pocket, thinking of taking her to a cheap motel, but then I realised that she would be wiser to spend any spare money on other things, not the mock luxury of a a hotel.
“Sally. Come back to my car. Talk to me.”
The shadow moved nearer the window.
“I’m OK. Thanks for the lift.
“Sally, I feel rotten leaving you here. Sally, have you eaten anything?”
There was no reply.
“Sally, I have some sandwiches and stuff in the car. They’re just leftovers, but…”
The shadow moved away, and the front door opened. She came out, wrapped in a non-too-clean duvet. I led her back to my car. I took the carrier bag containing the left-over party food from the rear seat. I told her to get back into the passenger seat, and I closed the door. Then I got back into the driver’s seat before I gave her the bag. By the interior light I caught a glimpse of her face. Her expression was one of utmost humiliation mixed with guilt.
Trying not to seem too eager she looked in the bag, rustled in the paper inside, and took out a small sandwich. She tried to eat it delicately. It was followed by another, and then by a piece of pork pie.
“You are not spending the rest of Christmas in that place.”
The engine was still running. I drove off. She protested, but her mouth was full of food, and she just spluttered, and then hicoughed. She ate, and hicoughed all the way to the block where I lived. I parked in the underground park, and led her to the lift. I pressed the button, and held my tag over the ID panel. The doors closed, and a blast of warm air tried to cut the chill in the wood panelled box.
“Thank you Mr… Peter. I owe you.”
She stared at the floor. She was still wrapping herself in the ragged quilt.
“Sally. You said something earlier. I have been thinking about it.”
“You called me a lonely man.”
“You mean you want to…”
“No, I just I want company. I don’t want to be alone. Not at Christmas. I was dreading it.”
She heard something in my tone of voice. She looked up at me. She saw a that my eyes were watering. I tried to blink the tears away. It was my turn to try to keep my face pointing away from hers.
Out of the lift, across the corridor, and into my flat. I turned some lights on, before I started to give the automatic guided tour.
“Living room, dining room, study, this will be your room, I’m afraid the bed is not made up yet, but there are some things in the airing cupboard, there. Your bathroom. This is the kitchen.”
“Can I have a bath please?”
“Of course. Anything else?”
“I couldn’t have a cup of tea, could I?”
“Is that all, nothing else?”
She paused for quite a long time.
“No, just tea please.”
I went ibradi escort to the kitchen. Made a pot of tea, and carried it through, with cups, to the living room. It was quiet. I could hear running water from through the wall. I put on some more Bach.
I poured a couple of mugs of tea, and carried one through. Sally had left her room door open, so I tapped on the bathroom door.
“Tea. I’ll put it on the bedside table.”
“Bring it in.”
Sally was naked, although she was a lot less embarrassed about it than I was. She took the tea from me.
“I’ll get you some towels.”
That done, and with some sheets and blankets warm from the cupboard and spread on her bed, I returned to my tea and Bach.
What do you call a daydream in the early hours of the morning? Once again, I may or may not have fallen asleep to the sound of the familiar music.
“Mr… Peter, could I wash these please?”
She had to repeat her question before I could make a sensible reply.
“Not now. No hurry. Will the morning be OK?”
To be honest, I did not know how to use the laundry room. I usually had a maid come in and do that sort of thing.
“But I’ve nothing else to wear?”
“Oh!” I saw that she was wrapped in the towels. “Come and choose something that will do.”
I led her into my bedroom and through to the adjoining dressing room. I opened cupboards and drawers, and we found her some pyjamas, a dressing gown, and a track suit top.
“I’m going to bed now, Sally, see you in the morning.”
“Are you sure… you don’t want me to…”
“No Sally. That’s not it. Just be here. OK?
I dreamt. How could I not? For the first time in my life I’d had a naked woman in my company. I have enjoyed porn. As a schoolboy we had exchanged badly printed and airbrushed magazines. I had rented blue videos. I could have fucked any number of bimbos who were attracted by affluence, but this was a first. I dreamt, but I awoke before I could fulfil my dream.
I could go through to her room, and…
But I was scared. All through my youth, at school, and at home, the message had been repeated.
“Don’t go with women like that.”
“There are dreadful diseases you will catch.”
“Save yourself for a nice girl.”
I could remember a sermon in the school chapel about the wages of sin. I remember he had spoken about going blind, going mad, becoming an outcast.
Delius. I remember the music teacher talking dismissively about Delius’ music, saying that it was trivial stuff — a bad influence — after all, he died of syphilis.
I slept. dreamt, and woke again.
There was a box of tissues that I kept beside my bed for just times like this. After I had cleaned myself up I slept again.
Every morning I wake up at the same time, whether it is a work day or not. This morning was no different. I woke, rose, put on a dressing gown, and went towards the kitchen to fill the coffee machine. Her room door was open, and she was snoring. I peeped round the corner of the door to see her cocooned in the bedclothes.
Her old duvet was rolled up by the foot of the bed. I picked it up and it unrolled, revealing her threadbare,cheap and shabby clothes. I carried them through the kitchen into the laundry room. I rummaged in the drawers looking for the washing machine instruction book. I found it, but was unsure about which clothes could be washed, at what temperatures, so I left them on the floor in front of the machine. I looked at the duvet itself. It was stained. In places the cover was split and the fibre was leaking out. I could see black specks, mouse or rat, in amongst the fibres I found a rubbish bag and stuffed it it. I forced it into the disposal chute and heard it slide away.
Coffee. I filled and started the machine. The smell percolated through the flat, and I heard Sally stir. Her bathroom door banged, and her loo flushed.
The track suit bottoms – she could have worn them up under her armpits as a strapless little number, but she had folded them over, so they were more like a sumo wrestler’s belt. The dressing gown swept the floor behind her. When she looked through and saw her clothes by the machine her smile filled the room.
“You sweet man. When they weren’t there I was sort of worried.”
She came up to me, swung her arms round my neck, and kissed me, full on my lips.
“Thank you Peter.”
Her arms moved and she was hugging me. I could feel her warm breasts pressing into my body, it was wonderful, not the hard pointedness that I had imagined from all those pointy titted pin-ups in their bras and swimsuits that I had gloated over. This was softness, warmth, and comfort. Her hand moved down my back, and her body pressure descended as well.
I had never slept nude. We had always worn pyjamas at home and at school. I still did. It just seemed normal to me. As she pressed herself, sumo-roll and all against me, I looked down and could see a lot more than her cleavage down the front of her loose pyjama top. She saw my glance, and moved back from me to undo a button or two. Then she glanced down to see that I was emerging from the front slit of my pyjama bottoms.
I suppose that my mother must have washed my penis when I had been a baby, but Sally’s carress was a first in my memory. Gentle, warm, searching, and so, so, sexy.