This is the tenth part of a fiction serial, in 1130 words.
Uncle Brian’s eyes lit up when he saw the vodka in Candy’s hand, and before she got to the filthy armchair to sit down, he had it cracked open in the kitchen. He tipped some old tea slops out of a mug, and splashed the booze into it, not even bothering to rinse it out. Candy pulled off her Converse, then dragged down the torn stockings and threw them over her shoulder, behind the chair. With any luck, Brian would soon be asleep. Then she could have a bath, and relax for a while.
Jack was going to pack it in early. Unable to shake his bad mood, still worried about Candy, he thought he would go and sit on a bench by the Thames for a while. Watching the dark river flow past usually settled his mind, and he knew he had some serious thinking to do.
Gay Terry had spent most of the day at the Oasis pool and leisure centre, in Endell Street. Not that he used the pool, or the gym. He hung around in the changing rooms and showers, earning a good few quid giving ‘quickies’ to regular clients. They had to be careful of the staff of course, but they knew the ropes, and for many of the punters, it was over quickly enough. As it started to get dark out, Terry checked all the cash he had accumulated that day, and secreted it in his underwear. He would go to Shepherd Market later, and see if Gregor was in the car park again. Show him the bruised lip, and shed a few crocodile tears. If he looked upset enough, he was sure old Greg would give him a hundred, if only out of guilt.
Koz roused Niki early. Still tingling over having the gun, he thought he would get into town before his usual time, maybe surprise a few of his usual targets before they could hide their cash and stuff. No need for the other three to come along. Now he had the shooter, he wouldn’t need all that back-up, and he could phase them out, tell them to find somewhere else to live. He pulled a bundle of notes from inside one of the trainers lined up against the wall. Him and Niki would get a taxi into the centre, arrive in style for a change.
It made a nice change for Toby to leave work early. It had been a memorable day indeed, finishing on a bonus of well over eight grand, his best figures ever. Not bad for a ten hour day, and lots to look forward to tonight, with that little slag ready in his flat. He hailed a cab, flopping down heavily in the back seat. Usual rush-hour traffic meant a long slog home. He fended off the anticipated inane chatter loved by cabbies, pretending to be dozing with his eyes closed. He had come a long way from his start in a small Essex town, that was undeniable. Mum and dad both worked hard, and he was an only child, so got the full benefit. There had been a sister, but he never knew her. She had died from meningitis, before he was born. Maybe because of that they doted on him, and made sure he got the best. The private prep school, followed by one of the better grammar schools in the county. He did well, and excelled at sport as well as academic work. Trouble was, most of the others came from real money, had posh families, and didn’t include Toby in anything. Always the outsider, he threw everything into his studies, and Mum and Dad were thrilled when he got no less than five top A-level passes.
Dad’s mate Graham from the golf club suggested financial trading. Toby didn’t need to go to university, he said. He would make an introduction into a good bank, get Toby started early. His aptitude for figures would stand him in good stead. Graham had been right. Toby grasped it all very quickly, buying and selling Yen, specialising in other Asian countries too, getting the feel for it from day one. The money had rolled in, and in amounts beyond Toby’s wildest dreams. By the time he was twenty-five, he was buying the penthouse in Canary Wharf, and also a weekend place on the Suffolk coast, which he hardly ever used. He paid off his parents’ mortgage, and bought Dad a new Jaguar car too. But there were still no friends, not real ones, anyway. One thing about his job, he might be working with more posh boys, the same family money silver-spoon kids, but cash was king, and if you had it, nobody cared where you had grown up. They included you in all the piss-ups, sex parties, and lavish restaurant meals. Nights out in clubs or casinos, meeting girls with names like Ophelia, and Arabella. But they never invited you to any family stuff, like garden parties or weddings. The line was drawn, somewhere in their minds. The cab pulled up outside his smart address. Toby handed some notes through the gap in the window, and walked inside.
Candy had to wear the same clothes after her bath, but she knew Brian had a key to Mum’s place here somewhere. He was snoring loudly on the sofa, the vodka three-quarters gone. She found two keys in a dish in the kitchen, and tried them in the door. One worked, but the other silvery one wouldn’t go in the lock, so she guessed it was for Mum’s door, though it wasn’t familiar to her. She put both the keys in the pocket of the red coat, and sat back in the chair to think, hardly able to do so over the spluttering roar of her uncle’s snores. In that area, Candy only knew one dealer who would buy that much coke at a fair price, Maurice. Not that she had ever met him, but she knew his face, and where she might find him hanging out. The problem was how to approach him, and not get ripped off in the process. She decided to get some sleep for a couple of hours, then go and look up Tyrone later. He knew Maurice, and would tell her how to play it.
Nigel and Oliver probably wouldn’t be there until later, but Toby wasn’t too surprised to find Tamsin waiting in the lobby already. He had sent her a text that he was leaving early, and she had replied instantly. “See you there, Tobester”. She took his arm as they walked to the lift, and as they watched the floor numbers on the counter showing its descent, she murmured in his ear. “Good call, Toby love. I am really looking forward to this”.
To be continued…