A couple of weeks passed and, from what I heard from the radio and the television, the police had found the boat, checked it for fingerprints, found none and returned it back to the owner. The man was just a little shook up but he was all right. The bike was just a mass of melted metal by the time they’d managed to put the fire out. So, hopefully, I’d got away with it.
The money was upstairs in my safe. I burnt the green bag and counted the money on the Saturday morning while I was on my own. It came to a grand total of £4796.90p. I thought that would be enough, so all I had to do was to ask Denise out, my first date, the girl from the barbecue. Denise was English, tall and slim and stood just short of six feet. She had dark skin and long Afro hair. Her father was a black American pilot, who died just after the war. Denise had a very good figure and was an airhostess for one of the world’s biggest airlines. She worked long-haul, which meant she travelled long distance from Heathrow Airport, all over the world; some journeys were three to four days long, some could be up to fifteen days, depending on where she was sent.
Denise had been to India and returned to England on Wednesday night. Andrew, her husband, rang me on the Thursday morning at work to ask me if we would like to go round that night because there was nothing in the fridge, as usual, and, “As Denise is too tired to go shopping, we thought about a take away.”
“Yes,” I said, “but I’ll ring Liz to make sure.”
“No need,” he replied. “I’ve already spoken to her and she said she wasn’t working, so I will see you then.” We said our goodbyes.
On the Thursday night, I went home a little bit earlier than normal, got changed and Mick, Liz and I collected some wine on the way to Denise and Andrew’s. When we arrived, Andrew opened the door and Denise was behind him in the hall. As we walked through to the kitchen, I asked Denise if she’d had a good trip and she briefly said yes but that it was long and tiring; she was glad to be home. Andrew poured the drinks and we all went through to the lounge and chatted a bit about India.
Andrew hadn’t said a great deal by this time and he looked vacant, as if there was something on his mind. I asked him if anything was wrong.
“No! Can we go and get the food? I’m starving.”
We left the girls talking on the settee and Mick playing with the dog in the corner.
As we drove off in my car along the country lanes, he asked me if I was busy at work. I explained to him it was not too bad. “How about you, have you got plenty of trees to chop down?” I asked and then I found out what was wrong.
He looked at me and said with a straight face, “Could you be unfaithful to Liz?”
I couldn’t believe it. All sorts of things went through my mind. I was dumbfounded, lost for words. I thought, what does he know that I don’t?
I carried on driving, hoping and praying he would say something else to give me a clue, instead of looking absently out of the car window. Then he said, still looking through the window, ”I went to this house today, to chop this big oak tree down, and the lady that owns the house asked me and the lads if we would like a coffee.” Just then, he turned towards me and said, “Why are you smiling?”
I laughed aloud; it was relief more than anything else. I pretended to know what he was going to say. Then he carried on. “So, in all innocence, I said, ‘Yes please, two without and one with, please. I’ll come up soon’. So I climbed down the tree while the others were sweeping the broken branches from the grass and went to the back door, expecting three coffees to be ready. All of a sudden, the door flew open and she said, ‘They’re in here’. So, not wanting to get the floor dirty, I asked her if she could pass them out. I heard her say, ‘No, you will have to come in’. I stuck my head around the door and you will never guess what she had on!” At this point, I was all ears. “Nothing, not a bloody button!”
I started laughing again. I just about composed myself enough to say, “What did you do?”
“Well, what could I do? After I had had a look, and I mean it was a good look - she was beautiful; long brown wavy hair - I said, ‘No, I can’t, I’m married.’”
“Didn’t you fancy it then?” I said, still laughing.
“Yes, of course, I fancied it, but what could I do? There were three blokes outside waiting for their coffee, it would have been cold.” He burst out laughing then and we carried on to the Chinese take-away.
While we waited for our order, I asked Andrew, “Did you finish the job or do you have to go back to this house?”
“Not bloody likely,” he said. “We rushed to finish it and I didn’t tell the others till we were on our way home. You can imagine the abuse they threw at me.”
We collected the takeaway and made our way back to the house. As Andrew opened the front door, he said, “I haven’t said anything to Denise. I’ve only told you, so mum’s the word.”
“OK,” I said, smiling to myself.
We went into the kitchen, served the dinner onto plates and ate it on our laps in the lounge as we talked. We had a good night and left about 10 30. Nothing was said about the date but I did hear Denise tell Liz that she was going to New York on Monday, returning to England on Wednesday, staying in London for one night and then off to Washington the next day, so maybe that could be the night. She’d be staying there on her own. There’d be no point in Denise travelling all the way home for a few hours and going back again the next day.
On the Saturday dinnertime after work, I went to Sharley to buy myself some new clothes. I parked my car in the car park and, as I got out to lock it, I just happened to glance across to the shops on the other side of the road. There was Denise, looking in a dress shop window. I quickly ran over, crept up behind her, put my hands over her eyes and, with a Greek accent, said, “I love you, what’s your name please?”
She put her hands on mine, turned and said, “Denise,” with a huge smile on her face. “I saw you pull up, I was hoping you would come over.”
We chatted for a few minutes, then I explained to her that my cousin had rung me a couple of weeks ago, to see if I could sell his car for him, and I had to go down to London to collect it sometime in the near future. Then I said, “I overheard you say that you might be there for one night this week.”
That naughty smile appeared on her face again. Then I couldn’t believe it when she said, “Can we spend the whole night together?” A strange feeling ran through me. At first, I thought she was joking until she said, “I’ve been thinking of a way to ask you out for ages.”
I kissed her on the cheek. “Can I take you out to dinner first?” I asked.
She nodded as I turned to go back to my car, then I heard her say, “See you Wednesday night then.”
I was so excited as I drove home.
As I walked into the house, Liz shouted from upstairs, “What did you buy yourself then, anything nice?”
My mind went blank instantly. I had forgotten to go to the shops. “I ... didn’t see anything I ... fancied,” I shouted and went straight into the lounge.
On the Sunday, I needed an excuse to ring Denise to make arrangements, so I phoned Andrew to ask him if he fancied a beer, hoping Denise would answer. And she did.
“Hello, is Andrew there? If he is, just listen-” I said, without drawing a breath.
She interrupted me. “No, he’s down the garden.”
“Good, what night will you be in London?”
“Wednesday, about tea-time I land, so I’ll ring you on your mobile phone,” she replied.
“Where do you stay?”
She gave me the name of the hotel and the address and said, “I’ll look forward to seeing you then.”
Just before I put the phone down, I said, “Ask Andrew if he fancies a beer.”
“I don’t think so, he’s covered in mud,” she said.
“Well, tell him I rang, OK? And I’ll see you Wednesday night. I hope you won’t be delayed.”
On the Monday, I phoned my cousin and made the arrangements to collect the car on Wednesday afternoon, took some money out of the safe and drove into town to buy myself some clothes for the night. I bought shoes, a shirt, tie and a black dinner suit, so I wouldn’t have to take any clothes from home. Then, in the afternoon, I got the mechanic to check the truck over and filled it with diesel.
Tuesday, I did a bit of paperwork but couldn’t concentrate. I told Liz when I got home that I was going to London the next day to collect a car.
I woke at 6 a.m. on Wednesday and went for a run, got back home, showered and went straight to work. Everything was OK there, so I left for London at about one o’clock.
I hit a small amount of traffic on the motorway as I approached the M4 and arrived in Wimbledon about 4.15. I found the massive house almost straight away and loaded the Rolls Royce onto the back of the truck.
It was just the car for a night out in London. I’d been asked to sell it from my forecourt, as my cousin was a very rich man and he didn’t use it any more. It had been abandoned in one of his many garages for the past six months - he was driving a red Ferrari now.
I had a coffee with him and he explained the history of the car to me. To be quite honest, I wasn’t listening. I was too busy thinking about the night out with Denise in the Rolls - it’s a black 1984 Shadow with cream leather interior and white-wall tyres.
We chatted for a bit about the families and, as always, his parting words were, “Remember, if ever you need anything or anybody done, just give me a call.”
We said goodbye about 5.30 and I made my way through the traffic to Heathrow Airport. While I was stuck in a traffic jam, I rang Liz and explained that the roads were blocked solid and I would probably be home very late or first thing in the morning. “If it takes me too long to get out of London, I’ll probably get my head down in the truck for a few hours.” She wasn’t very happy because it was the first night off she’d had for a week.
I found a car park close to the airport - it was more like a wasteland with a rope around the perimeter - and parked the truck. I unloaded the Rolls and got changed into my suit about 6.30. All I had to do then was wait for the phone call.
The car park attendant, in his cap and yellow coat, came over from his hut while I was waiting and said, with a cockney accent, “Do you want me to look after your truck, guv?”
“Yes, please,” I said. “I might not be back till early in the morning and I’ll need to get off straight away.” I slipped him a tenner and said, “Will this help?”
“Thanks very much, guv, that’s fine. I’ll make sure the path is clear when you arrive.”
I thought to myself, I bet when they see a Rolls Royce these attendants must love it: ‘I’ll tap him up for a few quid.’
Just then my phone rang. It was Denise. She told me she had landed and would be at the hotel for seven. My pulse rate went up and I started to shake with excitement. As I drove out of the car park, the attendant touched his cap and waved.
I drove to the hotel, parked around the back and waited. I loaded a tape in the player and stared out of the window. Eventually, the phone rang. Smiling, I answered it in a smooth voice. “Hello.”
“What time do you think you will be home then? Is it worth me waiting up or shall I go to bed?”
Pulling and I’ve been caught already’ smile, I went hot all over. I almost followed with, “Is that you Denise?” Luckily Liz had spoken first. “Go to bed, I’m still stuck on the motorway trying to get out of London.”
“All right, I’ll see you in the morning then.”
As I turned the phone off, it rang again. “Where are you?” this quiet voice said.
“I’m in the car park, why are you whispering?”
“I’m in the foyer. I’ll meet you by the front revolving doors. What car are you in?” she asked, still very faintly.
“A black Rolls Royce.”
Then the phone went dead.
I drove round to the front with a nervous smile on my face and she came running down the stairs, opened the door and jumped in.
“This is nice, where did you get this?” she said as she was looking all around the inside.
I pulled away quickly, glancing at Denise and noticing how gorgeous she looked. As I looked back up to the road ahead, there was a man about two metres in front of me. I swerved and heard him say something. I don’t know whether my mind was playing tricks on me but he looked like Andrew. I didn’t say anything to Denise; luckily she was too busy trying to find the seat-belt buckle.
I told her about my cousin selling the car as we drove towards London looking for a quiet restaurant. You could tell we were both nervous because we didn’t speak much after that.
I drove about three miles and came across a nice place, laid back off the road, behind some trees. We pulled into the car park and drove slowly past the front door. It looked expensive.
A doorman suddenly came running down the steps. I opened the window, expecting him to say, “You can’t park here, mate”, like they do in our town, but in fact he said, with a soft Irish voice, “Can I park your car for you, sir?” and he opened the door.
Not being used to this treatment, I got out and he jumped in. Another doorman appeared and opened the door for Denise. I waited at the bottom of the steps and Denise came over clutching her purse. I put my arm around her shoulders and we walked up the steps.
As the car drove off, I said, “You look beautiful tonight.”
She smiled as we approached the door and said, “So do you. Do you always drive a truck dressed like that?”
“Yes,” I said, “It’s called a truxedo.”
We laughed, just as the door flew open and the waiter said, “Can I take your coat, madam?”
We stopped at the reception desk, while she slipped out of a black lace jacket.
The restaurant was a mass of greenery and waterfalls. The waiter showed us to a table, pulling the seat out for Denise, and we sat down opposite each other. “Shall I give you a few moments, sir, or would you like a drink while you browse through the menu?” I ordered a bottle of Shiraz and he left us a menu on the table.
“How do you feel?” I asked Denise.
“Nervous ... and excited,” she replied. “I feel like I’m on my first date.”
In the background, we could hear faint music and the trickle of water from the waterfall. It was a very romantic setting for, hopefully, a very romantic night.
Denise put her one hand on the table as she picked up the menu with the other. I placed my hand on top of hers and said, “Can we forget everything else and enjoy each other till dawn?”
She looked up at me, smiled and said, “Sorry, I’m just a bit...” and paused. “You know, I’ve never done anything like this before.”
Just then the waiter appeared. “Would you like to taste the wine, sir?”
“Yes, thank you.” I held my glass up and he poured a bit in the bottom. Trying to look impressive, I smelt it first, then tipped the glass to my lips, swilled the wine around my mouth for a few seconds, put the glass down and nodded. “Yes, that’s quite nice, thank you.” He filled both our glasses and asked if we were ready to order.
Denise put one finger in the air and said, “Could you give us just a minute longer? There’s so much on the menu, I can’t make up my mind.” With that, he bowed and left, walking backwards from the table.
Still holding hands, we started to talk more and calm down. The restaurant was empty really; there were only two other couples eating. It was nice because we didn’t have to rush. We ate our meals, and a dessert from the trolley, drank a couple of liqueur coffees and were ready to leave by about ten o’clock.
After I’d paid the bill, the waiter brought Denise her jacket, and me the car keys, and said, “Your car is waiting for you at the bottom of the stairs.”
As we walked towards the door, the manager said, “Goodnight and thank you for your custom, we hope you enjoyed your meal.”
Denise said, “Yes, it was lovely, thank you,” and we left. Sure enough, the Rolls was there and the two doormen held the car doors open for us. I said thank you and we drove away from what, so far, had been a successful evening.
We drove back towards the hotel, holding hands across the centre console and listening to music.
When we arrived at the hotel, Denise said, “I’ll go in first and meet you at the bar. I’ll just check to make sure no one is there from the flight and then I’ll come over.”
I watched her walk through the revolving door, then parked the car. I hung back and followed her in. Looking around quickly, I made my way into the lounge and up to the bar as instructed. I sat on a stool and ordered myself a large whiskey - Dutch courage perhaps - and waited.
After about five minutes, Denise came over and said, “I’ll have to go up to the room, there’s a stewardess over there from the flight and she’s been on a trip once, when I took Andrew to New York. Give me ten minutes and come up. It’s on the second floor, room number 206.” With that, she turned and left.
I ordered another whiskey and sat stirring the ice with the straw, looking at myself in the mirror, behind the bottles of different spirits hanging up on the wall in front of me. I suddenly realised the night was going too fast. I came down to London, collected the car, picked up Denise, and ate a meal, now it was time to have my first affair. I hadn’t noticed what she was wearing, what colour her shoes were. I hadn’t even noticed how much the bill was for the meal, or whether I gave the doormen a tip. I had been in a daze for hours and it passed with the click of a finger. And here I was, going up to a room in a hotel, with my best friend’s wife.
It didn’t take long for me to realise there was no turning back. I downed the last mouthful in my glass, stood up by the stool and the barman came over. “Are you all right, sir?”
“Yes, thank you. Could you send a bottle of champagne up to room 206 please?”
“Certainly, sir,” the waiter said as he took my glass away and wiped the bar.
I paid him and made my way over to the lift. The door opened and I stepped in nervously. “Two, please,” I said to the elderly, smartly dressed man, in his blue jacket with gold braiding down the sleeves.
On the second ping, the doors opened. I thanked the lift attendant and stepped forward looking at the room numbers: 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206. I stood by the door, staring at the gold numbers. My mind was saying, “Don’t go in,” but my one-eyed trouser-snake was saying, “Knock on the door”. I couldn’t decide what to do. I clenched my fist and held it up to the door, about two inches away, still looking at the numbers. Then all of a sudden the lift pinged again and made me jump. I was trembling and so nervous that my knuckle hit the door. It clicked open, so I gingerly pushed it and looked though the three-inch gap. As I pushed it open more, I looked up and down the corridor to see if any one was there, and went in.
I closed the door and looked around the room for Denise, with one hand behind me, still on the doorknob, holding it tightly, still very nervous and undecided. Then, all of a sudden, Denise walked into the room, wearing a see-through black nightie. The light from the bathroom shone behind, showing off her perfectly shaped body. All the doubts, fears and inhibitions went straight out of the window dropped two storeys and smashed on the car park floor. I let go of the doorknob and began to loosen my tie, when all of a sudden there was a loud knock on the door. A cold shiver went down my spine and, for a split second, I thought to myself, it’s Andrew - he was in the car park when I pulled away earlier.
Denise ran back into the bathroom and closed the door. I pushed my tie back up and quickly opened the door.
“Your champagne, sir.” It was the man from the lift. I was so relieved; I reached in my pocket and pulled out a note. As I held it out and took the tray, I realised it was a £20 note. “Thank you, sir, can I get you anything else?” he asked with a big grin on his face.
Reluctantly, I said, “No, that will be all, thank you.”
He put the note in his back pocket with one hand, as he turned the ‘do not disturb’ sign round on the door handle with the other, and said, “Have a good night, sir,” as he turned to go.
I whispered, “Orange juice at seven a.m. would be nice.”
He smiled again and replied, “No problem, sir. With a red rose, no doubt.”
I pushed the door to and quietly said to myself, “Goodnight, smart arse.”
I put the tray down on the side, carried the ice bucket and two glasses over to the bed, put them on the table and opened the bathroom door. Denise was standing there with a towel draped in front of her. “Who was it?”
I half smiled and said, “I ordered Champers.”
With a sigh of relief, she placed the towel back on the rail and said, “I thought it was-”
I placed my finger on her lips before she could say anything else and whispered, “Don’t say any more.” I put my arms around her and we kissed, for the first time, in the doorway.
Denise undid my tie and dropped it on the floor. I took off my jacket while I was kicking off my shoes and sat on the bed to slip my socks off. I pulled Denise on top of me. We kissed, more and more, and, holding her as close as possible, my hands glided all over her negligee. We rolled over each other and she lay on her back, looking up at the mirrored ceiling. Laying by her side, I unfastened the pink bow that held the top together and peeled off her skimpy see-through lace undies, then placed my hand on her knee and slowly worked my way up the inside of her tanned, smooth thighs until I felt a little tuft of hair. I slowly stroked it until Denise parted her legs. She was moist and warm.
I opened my eyes and she said, “Now, I must have it now.” Her hand slid into the front of my pants, she stroked and pulled me out in one movement.
We made love for ages, slowly and passionately.
After a while, we sat up on the bed. I poured two glasses of champagne. The ice had melted in the bucket but it was still cold and we drank it holding hands, in between kissing. I asked Denise what time she had to be at the airport.
Sipping her drink, she said, “Eight o’clock,” so I leaned over and put the radio on very low. Louis Armstrong was singing ‘We have all the time in the world’. I turned and put my glass on the table next to the bed and asked if she wanted to dance. I stood up; Denise pulled the sheet up to her waist and slid over to my side. I held my hand out and she stood up, wrapping the sheet around us both. With a cold glass in the small of my back, and nothing on, we slowly moved from side to side, our cheeks touching each other. We were all alone, slowly dancing, saying nothing, thinking nothing, just listening to the words. Then afterwards, we kissed again.
Denise placed her empty glass on the table, picked up two silk pillows and dropped them onto the floor. As I filled the glasses again, she dropped to her knees and pulled me down towards her. I gently peeled off the sheet, picked up my champagne and, lying next to her, I poured a few drops slowly over her stomach. Placing the glass on the floor, I gently massaged it in to her perfectly round nipples and then licked them dry, kissing and caressing my way up under her chin to her wet lips. We licked each other vigorously, until she said quietly, “You make me feel so sexy. Can you do it to me once more?” It had been a long time since I had made love twice in one night. We fondled each other softly and slowly and eventually it happened.
Afterwards, we lay on the bed and fell asleep holding each other, as if we were locked together.
I woke up as Denise was trying to untangle herself. The alarm was beeping. I looked at the clock by the bed as she kissed me and said, “I must have a shower, its 5.30.”
Half awake, and worn out, I got up and sat on the bed as Denise slipped her panties on and went into the bathroom. I rubbed my eyes, trying to get them to focus, and thought about last night. I sat with my head in my hands when I heard the shower blasting, then I realised that in a couple of hours it would be all over. A cold shiver went through me. I lifted my head and noticed steam coming from the bathroom door that was ajar. I stood up and pushed the door open a little more. I could just see through the steam. Denise was rubbing soap all over her body with a yellow sponge, behind the frosted-glass door. I went into the bathroom, pulled it open and stepped in.
Denise wiped some foam on my nose and said, “I hope you weren’t peeping out there,” with a wanton smile on her face.
I put my arms around her waist and moved under the water jet. “I need a shower too, you know.”
She grabbed my hands and sat back on the bench in the cubicle and I fell to my knees. She sat there covered in foam, with her legs apart. As I thrust myself into her, she dropped the sponge and stuck her nails into my buttocks, pulling me further and further in.
It was all over. I’d never experienced an orgasm so quick and so explosive as that before. I just knelt there, holding Denise, not wanting to let go. With the shower still spraying on my back, I dropped down onto the wet floor and Denise stood up and said, “I must have a shower and get ready, or I’ll be late.”
I rinsed myself down and wrapped a white towel around my waist. Dripping wet, I went back into the bedroom. I was drying myself off when there was a knock at the door. I went over, with the towel still around my waist and peered around the door as I opened it. The orange juice had arrived, with the red rose on the tray. I took it, thanked the waiter, and closed the door. Then I went over to the champagne and made two Buck’s Fizz drinks with what was left from last night, just as Denise came out of the bathroom in a bathrobe. She looked up at me holding the rose between my teeth, with the drinks in my hands. She took a glass with one hand, the rose with the other and put it to her nose.
I looked into her big eyes, tipped my glass and said, “I will never forget how gorgeous you are,” and kissed her cheek.
We got dressed, Denise packed her case, and left about 7.30. We kissed once more by the door and, as she opened it, with a tear in her eye, she said, “I’ll see you at the weekend,” and left first. I glanced round the room to see if we had left anything and followed her down in the lift.
As I walked across the foyer, I could see Denise talking to someone with the same uniform by the desk, so I walked past her and gently touched her hand with my finger, but kept on walking, didn’t turn back, just carried on through the door and out into the car park. I found the car, got in and drove towards the exit, past the coach parked on the front, and made my way back to my lorry. I got changed in the cab, loaded the Rolls onto the truck, tied it on securely and made my way towards the motorway.
I pulled up at a road island to let some cars go by and the same coach stopped beside me. I looked along the coach and saw Denise sitting halfway along by the window. She lifted her hand, waved her fingers discreetly and smiled. A lump came up into my throat and the coach pulled away with Denise looking back at me. I quickly turned the radio up louder, trying to distract myself, and pulled away. The traffic wasn’t too bad and all the way home I relived every second of the time we had spent together. The journey seemed to pass quickly and I arrived back at the garage by mid-morning.