Thriller: Until I get you sample chapters
I’m in trouble.
In the eyes of others, I have it all, the handsome husband, the prestigious apartment, the successful career, the wardrobe to match. You never know what goes on behind closed doors, what secrets people hold. Once out of the public, the masks they display comes off. People always pretend to be something they’re not. Wealthy, successful, or beautiful. We’re living in a world so fake, we only care to strive to please one another. What those eyes don’t know is I am one of those people, that all of this is, is a façade, they don’t know that I’m the saddest person. I lost of touch of who I used to be. I’m the same person I was at 11:59, as I was at 12:01. No new me, no New Year’s resolutions, its bullshit, we are, what we are. If you want to make the change, you just do it. I don’t know what’s, what anymore. I wonder what my parents, colleagues, friends, and neighbours would think of me. If they were me, I’ll be wary of myself too. What they don’t know is, behind the polished exterior, I’m a chain smoker, and I’m developing a drinking habit.
It was an hour ago I was laying on the bathroom floor with a bottle of whiskey by my side. I threw the whiskey in the bin, pulled old garbage from the bottom of the pile, and put it on top of the bottle. Hiding evidence of my drinking had become second nature for me. When we’re sad, we drink to forget, when we’re happy, we drink to celebrate, when nothing happens, we drink to make something happen. I drink to escape from the pain of life, to forget what happened. Now, I’m sitting in the kitchen, writing. A glass of water and a box of aspirin on the table, along with an overflowing ashtray. I haven’t had a diary since I was a teenager and back then, I didn’t write often. This time I need to keep an account of my bad behaviour before it catches up with me.
As I walked to work this morning, I absorbed the surrounding scenery. I merged with the throng of black coated corporates. My eyes absorbed the Victorian buildings as my ears buzzed with the screams of the city. The blaring of horns, the cars rambling, the ambulance sirens, and the smell of exhaust. For some, London is a jaded city it disdains flesh. It’s not for everyone. Yet, as I looked at those apartments, I wondered what activity goes in them. I love London, I love it’s lurk of community, and I love its rudeness. I even love its weather, grumpy and grey. My heels hit against the pavement as my feet ached a little. I adjusted my designer suit, an old thing I bought ages ago, black with a skirt that’s too tight. It made it difficult to walk. A man turned his head as I wiggled past him, puffing on a cigarette. I work at accountancy firm in central London a new company Paperwerks is the name. It opened two years ago I had been CPA all of my life, used to work in one of the big four accountancy firms before I quit the stress of it all. In paperwerks, I take care of ten clients help them with whatever worries they have-which can be a lot. I slipped in the bathroom before going in the office to make sure my makeup was top-notch. My skin is pale so the imperfections can be more visible. I applied eye drops, to hide any form of redness. On my way to the office, the secretary Wendy stalked after me.
‘Mr Williams called, he wants you to call him back, it’s urgent,’ she said breathlessly.
I marched past Charles office, the accounting manager. He’s a short beefy man, going bald with thick glasses. He was on his feet talking to someone then looked at me and proceeded back to his client.
‘He said, he’s going to be investigated regarding tax assessment,’ Wendy continued.
I stopped and turned to her, ‘what!’
‘You should call him, he wants you to defend him,’ she said.
‘I will but,’ taking the paper from her ‘he’s not the most organised of clients, connect me to him.’ I said as I opened my office door.
I shut my eyes, walked behind my desk the phone rang. Another day.
The music was playing in one apartments, down the street. For the past three months, I’ve been listening to this melody of sax and guitar. It’s enchanting. I poured a glass of wine, carried the ashtray to the window leaning my head against it, and listened for an hour. The music keeps me company. Where someone gets inspired to write music like this? I wonder who it is, picturing an African-American man standing by the window, although I never seen such individual in the area. I’m alone in the apartment, anxiety kicks every time Richard goes away. He’s in New York for business he’s coming back this weekend, my husband is an important man you can sense his importance when he walks in the room. He’s a vice president in an insurance firm where he oversees their international division. He’d been working there for thirty years. I worry about him he’s not taking it easy as the doctors ordered him. I hope he’s taking his medication. I always have to remind him if not me it’s his secretary. Richard had a major heart attack two years ago, resulting in a bypass surgery. He takes beta-blockers to decrease the blood pressure and relax the heart muscle. I should call him to check up on him.
After I called Richard, my eyes went around the apartment that felt like crypt the walls seemed to close down on me. Don’t know why I feel that way I love this apartment with it’s the bright lights and the classic contemporary décor. I adjusted the vase of white Lilies that I change every week. I like Lilies better, Roses are overrated. The vase is sitting on a red oak table in the middle of the living room. The floor is grey made of marble. The wallpaper is also grey samphire, a delicate native seaweed. I picked it, now I can’t help to think how boring it is. There aren’t many pictures of Richard and I. When I go to a dinner party at someone’s house, the amounts of photos they have around the house overwhelms me. There are only two photos of us, both standing on frames on the wall unit. One photo was of our wedding day. My twenty-five-year-old self-stare at my older self, looking like a lemon margarine in that dress, my mother insisted I pick that one. That reminds me, I have to call my mom. I can’t believe eleven years had passed since walking down the aisle.
The other photo we took it after we got married. Richard on his feet wearing his trademark bow tie and tailored suit. I’m sitting on the chair with my legs across. I went to the maple spotless kitchen. Richard is coming home this weekend. I made sure everything is nice and tidy not that he would notice but I like that way. No music today there was a sense of dread somehow the music fills a certain void. It served a purpose it reminded me that everything was going to be all right. Is it though? Is everything going to be all right? I poured myself a glass of sparkling wine. The bubbles danced in my mouth. In detachment, I saw myself placing the empty glass on the counter, marched to the living room and put on my coat. Outside, I breathed the cold air and covered my mouth with my muffler. I walked past a club, a sound like a church bell and a woman’s voice stopped me in my tracks. The sign read Mau Mau. There was a crowd in the front, a red curtain behind the band. I squeezed through the crowd, a black woman was sitting the stage with braids, singing, her voice was husky, and sensual. A guitarist, a bass player, a black drummer, and a blond androgynous young man with a saxophone stood behind her. The singer stood up from the floor and continued to sing in her deep voice. It occurred to me how familiar the sax player was, I can’t put my finger where.
The strangest thing happened at the grocery store to pick up cigarettes and wine. I always buy everything with cash, hardly by credit, since Richard checks my bank statements. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction knowing where my money goes, and I am the accountant, not him. I grabbed a basket and placed shower gel, deodorant, biscuits, bread, and cheese, stopping at the wine section being careful with my pick. I reached for a nice bottle of Chablis when I heard fits of giggles. Three tall young men stood a few yards away, two of them had black hair, both wore hats, and one held a packet of beer. The other one was dressed in a black suit, and a red scarf around his neck. His hair was a long, blond that flew below his shoulders like gold. He was good looking something inside me stirred. Were they laughing at me, Diary? Of course they were I’m a laughingstock! I know who they are. They live around the corner. One of them is the boyfriend of Evelyne Robinson an art student. Her father is a wealthy man, he owns a marketing company, and many estates around the city, as if London is a huge monopoly board. One of the estates he owns is the apartment, where she shares it, with her boyfriend and his mates. I raised my eyebrow as if to challenge them. They lowered their hands one of them, held his lip together as if to prevent himself from the laughing. I walked away with my wine, stopped, one bottle wasn’t enough, went back, and pick three more bottles. I placed them in a basket just in case I get desperate. The basket became too heavy to carry. The young men stared at me I thought one of them was going to offer to help. They looked at each other as if a light bulb flashed over their heads. I carried the basket, hurrying away from them.
Just been off the phone with my friend Sylvie we are going out tonight.
‘Sophie? Had you forgotten about me?’ She asked.
I clutched to my phone as scrub the plate. ‘No, was going to call…’
‘Hmm… What are you doing tonight?’
‘Nothing much… Richard is away.’
‘Perfect! You want to catch up it’s been a while since we went out just us girls.’
‘Sure but I can’t stay late, Richard is coming home tomorrow morning.’
‘Okay, I pick you up at 9:00.’
Sylvie and I had been friends for fifteen years. She owns a modest boutique selling vintage clothes. I do her accounts and in return, I’d get paid with vintage clothes. Sylvie is a beautiful woman with long, shiny black hair, blue eyes, and olive skin. She looks like an Arabian princess. She had recently gone through a painful divorce, her husband cheated on her, but now she moved on and ready to mingle.
I can’t stay out long tonight just catch up with an old friend have a few drinks and be on my way. Richard doesn’t like it when I stay out late. I better go and get ready before Sylvie gets here.
What have I done? I’ve done something, I must have. Or something happened to me. Richard woke me up an hour ago, his was face red with fury, and his knuckles became white for clutching his hands into fits. He was yelling. I buried my face under the pillow. Boy, he was angry I don’t know what I did, he wouldn’t tell me.
‘Leave me alone!’ I cried.
‘Get up!’ he said, tearing the pillow away from me.
‘Don’t shout I have a headache.’
‘You’re all over the place, up!’ Richard yelled leaving the bedroom.
What did I do last night? Why I can’t remember? Why! I dragged myself out of the bed, everything around me began to spin. My ears rung like church bells, my left cheek burned like fire. How did I get into my pyjamas? Did I change? Or someone else did? What happened last night! My head! Oh, it hurts! I got up on my feet and rested my hands on the wall so I won’t fall. My thighs ached my head drummed. This is the worse hangover of my life. There was a sweet smell combined with something pungent. Where it came from? My ear buzzed I’m hearing music, but it’s not coming from the apartment but in my head. It sounded like sax but I can’t be sure. Richard’s suitcase was in the hall, he stood by the counter, studying the ashtray with cigarette butts. There was an empty bottle of wine on the floor. I had been so careful, how it slipped me by. He turned towering over me I ran my hand on my chestnut brown hair trying to find the solution, an explanation to this. He stared into my blue, grey eyes as his brown eyes bore into mine. He has a short salt and pepper hair, a big nose, thin lips. Richard is twenty years my senior, I was the young wife, he snatched away at the age of twenty-four.
‘What is this? Is this what you been doing while I was gone? Smoking and drinking? How many times I told you to stop!’ he said in his deep, gravelly voice.
I placed my hand, over my head. ‘don’t shout!’
‘This is my apartment I shout how I see fit!’
The string in my stomach, the sickness was coming. I placed my hand on my belly. Richard stopped shouting and blinked at me. I couldn’t make it to the bathroom, it poured out of me. The grotesque puddle smelt like acid.
‘Dear god! You are a walking disaster, there should be a fucking tornado named after you.’
‘I don’t feel so good.’
My stomach churned again, twisted with pain.
‘You should have thought about that before you went out last night, I can’t be here and witness this, you better clean that up when I get back.’
The front door slammed, it ratted the room. I laid my pathetic body on the sofa. We went to a lounge bar called The Yellow Bar, a quirky hole that Sylvie suggested. I remember this, I can see it clear as a picture. The decor was eclectic and charming with a range of styles mixed, a small fish tank, various chaises, LP’s and random pictures hanged on the walls.
‘I need new experiences, new horizons, and new orgasms,’ Sylvie said.
I sipped on my martini cocktail my hands clutched to the glass as if someone was going snitching it away from me.
‘You’re thirty-five, not twenty-five,’ I said to her lifting my glass, the cocktail touched my lips sending a buzz through my body.
‘It’s not the age but how you feel, so, how is Richard?’
‘Busy as usual he’s away in New York.’ I said as looked over to the wall where they were showing and old movie in a projector.
‘I hardly see you these days we should go out more.’
A couple squeezed to our table to get through. It started to get crowded and hot in there. ‘I know, but my job keeps me busy.’
‘Is there a place where I can pick a decent man?’ she asked.
My eyes peered around the group of young people in their twenties drinking, shouting, and dancing behaving like total wankers.
‘You’re asking the wrong person, but I doubt there are any good men left,’ I said.
‘I hear you, sister,’ she said we toast to that ‘maybe I should get myself a toy boy.’
We giggled by the fourth cocktail, I was feeling damn good. What happened next! Why my body feels as it been detached and attached back? I knew this was going to happen. Richard went away, and I lost control. I’ve done something stupid. But what? I wonder if Richard will call. I doubt it – he’s probably cursing me right now booking me into rehab or something worse. I hate my life.
I’ve wracked my brain all I can remember is leaving The Little Yellow Door with Sylvie. Total blackout. There are bruises on my legs, a scratch on my forehead, and my cheek is red it looks like I had been slapped it hurts. Everything aches. I feel like a train has hit me. What I am going to do? Just been to the bathroom my toothbrush fell in the laundry basket, the black dress I wore last night, was there. It has dirt on it by the looks of its soil. What did I do last night? Why there is soil on my dress and ripped from the shoulders? Did I cause this or someone did? Was I in a fight? From the looks of it the bruises, the soreness, and my red cheek, I could have been in a fight with a bear! Who changed my clothes? Sylvie? I want to scream I outdone myself.
Oh, my god I switched on the TV and left it on a news channel.
‘A heated argument raged into a fight at Russell Gardens in Notting Hill.’ The newscaster announced.
I’m going insane in here, I just popped two aspirin for my crashing headache. Richard is not back, I’m out of here. I need to retrace my steps.
Just came back from my walk, a strange experience. So, I left the apartment it was a beautiful day, the sun hurt my eyes, I put on my sunglasses. A black Range Rover stopped at the red light and drove away. I crossed the street, reached the other pavement, and walked in a zombie like motion. A woman in a purple coat with a pug walked past me, the dog struggled with its short legs to keep up. The ringing in my ear didn’t stop. A Jaguar drove by catching my reflection on the shiny windows. The air smells of exhaust it made me want to puke. I wobbled in the pavement with no idea where I was going. I kept going straight past the houses. A blond young man walked towards me. A vision came as soon as I saw him.
I was lying somewhere maybe on the floor, faces around me but they were blurry. How much did I have to drink? Why I was lying down on the floor?
I looked behind me to make sure he was walking towards me. My muscles tensed. He’s one of them, one of Evelynee roommate. He towered over me, he was a lanky and skinny. It was like staring directly at an angel. There was a deep sick feeling in me, and I couldn’t breathe properly. His eyes were blue and large followed by bee sting lips and a wide mouth, a small straight nose, delicate features, sharp cheekbones, strawberry blond hair that floated above his chest. He wore a red jacket, black jeans, and t-shirt that had something written on it, but couldn’t make out since the words weren’t in English. His sense of fashion was like the teddy style of the fifties. He had silver bangles on his wrists that jiggle with his movements, rings on his fingers, making out a snake on his index finger and a plain platinum ring on his middle finger. He was so colourful it made my eyes hurt. I’ve seen him before but where? A man who looks the way he does is difficult to forget. Where I had seen him?
‘Are you all right?’ he asked in a soft-spoken voice.
I made out an accent.
‘Yes, no, I don’t know,’ I mumbled.
‘You were really drunk,’ he said.
I kept on staring at him, confused and an awe ‘excuse me, but do you know me?’
He looked at me sharply, I shivered, ‘I’m Michael, you and your friend partied with us last night.’
‘I did what?’
He blinked at me, ‘you don’t remember, do you?’
‘No, I don’t,’ I cried.
‘I don’t suppose you would since you passed out.’
‘Passed out!’ I shouted in horror.
‘You had a blackout or something,’ he said.
‘Forgive me, but I have to go.’ I said.
I didn’t look back at him, too ashamed, but he was still standing there with all of his glamour and colours staring at me, patronizing me.
According to Sylvie, after we left to Yellow Bar, we went to Blagclub. We had a drink at the bar, when some executives invited us over to their table, I didn’t want to join in, but Sylvie insisted we do so. They turned out to be boring, a young man came over, and tried to burn one of the business man hair, with a lighter as a joke. We left their table and joined the table of the young men.
Sylvie was impressed by their sense of fashion, and by their magnificent good looks, they are musicians and I insisted I know them (I never said a word to them). She got on well with one of them. Nicky was his name. She nipped out with him and left me alone with the other three boys. What happened between the time she left the club with Nicky, and by the time, she got back, she can’t say.
‘You have to ask them,’ she said ‘one of them didn’t drink or smoke the blond one.’
‘I already spoken to him,’ I said.
‘You did?’ she said.
‘Yes, I ran to him into the street.’
‘And what did he say?’ she said sounding surprised.
‘He didn’t say much except that I passed out.’
‘Well, you can always ask him again. To be a little more specific.’
‘As if I am going to knock on his door and say what? Hello remember me, can you help me pick up the pieces is that what you want me to tell him?’
‘You weren’t drunk when I left.’
‘So you left me alone with three strange men to have sex?’
‘They were not strange boys, they were cute.’
I thought of Michael and his angelic face, oh cute indeed.
‘What happened then?’
‘We took you home.’
‘Me and the boys,’ Sylvie added.
‘You bought strangers in my home!’ I snapped.
‘Well, one of them.’
How I can’t remember any of this, I sighed, ‘then?’
‘I took the keys from your bag, unlocked your door, and I made sure you were in bed and all.’
‘How considerate. So, you’re the one who undressed me?’
‘Yes and put on your pyjamas.’
‘Sylvie my dress had dirt, soil, and it’s ripped from the shoulders.’
‘I think you ripped it with the fall that’s what those geezers told me.’
‘I have bruises all over my leg, a starch on my forehead, and my cheek is red. Did I get into a fight?’
‘No, you didn’t, you hit the floor pretty hard that’s what they told me.’
I heard a woman talking to Sylvie in the background ‘something came up I have to go,’ she said ‘it was a fun night we should do it again minus you passing out.’
‘Don’t humour me, Sylvie.’
Richard had come home late at night I didn’t know where he went I didn’t ask. I was more concerned about what happened to me. Why my thighs ache? Was I raped? If I go to a GP or a gynaecologist, would they determine these things? Shall I go to the police and tell them what? That I passed out and presume I had been raped? They have better things to do. What if I wasn’t drunk but drugged? But who would do this? Michael? His friends? I could listen to music in the distance, in my head and that smell is following me around. Richard fiddles with his drink as we sat on the sofa across from each other he was still irritable.
‘I’m sorry I behaved appalling,’ I said.
‘Sophie, when I married you everyone thought you were too young, I knew the risks, but for God sake is it so hard for you to behave?’
‘And can you put the cigarette out you are smoking like a chimney!’
‘Yes, sorry,’ I said putting the cigarette out.
Richard frowned and ran his hand through his hair, he got up, walked in the kitchen opened the fridge.
‘Promise to cut down the drinking, we all need to blow up steam but you seem to be blowing a lot of it lately,’ He said, ‘Where did you go?’
I laid on the sofa, ‘for a drink with Sylvie.’
‘I don’t like it when you go out, stay out late, and drink.’
I sighed, ‘I lost track of time it won’t happen again.’
‘I don’t get it what you see in those places. Would you like a sandwich?’
‘No thanks, I need a change of scenery, darling. All I see is figures and papers,’ I said.
‘You don’t like the places I take you they are the most exclusive places in the city.’
I covered my eyes with my hands. ‘Sometimes I prefer to go to a pub rather than an expensive restaurant or a play,’ Richard took a bite from his sandwich, ‘you prefer to be around drunks and low lives.’
‘Sometimes I do.’
‘I don’t get it.’
‘I don’t expect you too, I’m going to bed.’
My client came today in the office claiming that VAT had never paid. This is the last thing I need. He sat across from me with his outdated suit and greying beard.
‘I need to see the books.’ I said to him.
‘Books?’ he asked.
‘Yes, you keep accounts, do you?’ I asked.
It was coming he doesn’t do any bookkeeping.
‘No, I don’t. Fix this for me or I take you to court.’ He said.
Excellent, a man who doesn’t keep books wants to take me to court for not paying for his VAT. Why I’m even in this business, again? How I will build this!
I can’t stop thinking about that night and what I might have done, something horrible happened. There is one last hope, shamefully go and ask Michael to help me pick up the pieces. I don’t want to see him, the prospect of me being intimidated by a kid is laughable, but there’s something about him. Dangerous and sexy. What if they made a practical joke on me and went horribly wrong? I can’t think about anything else. I might had too much to drink but how much is too much?
The truth is diary, I thought my life would be so different from what I intended to be. Had good grades and worked hard, studied got my degree in accounts. Be successful, I thought this was everything. I didn’t put myself out there just like the other girls did. Go out, party, go on crazy one-night stands. I’ve been the girl that had boyfriends not escorts.
Now, I passed out at the age of thirty seven it’s disgraceful and pathetic that a woman my age would allow herself in this position. I should have done this years ago, I’m doing things backwards.
I’ve done it I left a note addressed to Michael in the mailbox out of Evelyne’s apartment. I couldn’t bring myself to knock on her door and ask for him. It’s pointless and silly to do so. I’d be more relaxed to get him alone. I asked him to meet in cafe nearby the apartment on Monday. I hope he can make it.