This is the ninth part of a fiction serial, in 1170 words.
The week went by so fast for Steve. Work was still up in the air, with the decision on the tenders and contracts delayed once again. The pressure was well and truly off now, but stress levels were still high for everyone, as they waited for the news that might make or break the company.
Sophie kept going with the photos and texts. The pictures she sent became increasingly graphic, and Steve was so worried about them being on his phone, he deleted them almost immediately, not even bothering to save them to the folder. As well as that, her written text became incredibly lurid, as she spared no detail of what he could expect once Friday night arrived. He had to admit to getting cold feet, and had begun to wish he had never arranged the imaginary football trip with the guys from work.
But he couldn’t back out now, of that he was sure. He would always regret not following it through, if he cancelled at this late hour.
It didn’t help that Ellie was as nice as pie all week. She was coming home earlier, cooking some nice food, and even foregoing her usual soap operas and serials on the TV. There was no more mention of Lee, since last weekend’s drama, and she even helped him pack on Thursday night, revealing a present she had bought him. It was an official away shirt for the local team, in orange and black. As she folded it into his small case, she grinned. “I knew you wouldn’t think to get one, and I bet all the others have one. Probably scarves too. I didn’t get you a scarf though, as it’s far too warm at the moment”. He smiled as he zipped up the case. Trust her to make him feel guilty, at the last minute.
That morning at work passed as if in a dream. Sophie sent her first email just after nine.
‘I hope you are thinking about me, sexy Steve? Only eight and a half hours to go, and you will be in my arms! Lots of love, your Sophie. XXXXX’
He didn’t bother to reply, and just before lunch, another one arrived in his inbox.
‘Are you excited yet? I am! Only five hours to go! Lots of love, your Sophie. XXXXX’
Steve was far from excited. In fact, he was feeling quite ill, and his stomach was turning over as if it was doing somersaults. He spent most of the lunch break thinking up reasons he could give her to cancel. But they were all lame. Pathetic, in fact. He knew he would just have to man up, and go through with it. He sent her a quick message, as it seemed the right thing to do.
‘Hi Sophie. Oh wow, yes I am excited. But things are hectic at work, so I may not get the chance to email you again. Love, Steve. XXX’
Her reply was as quick as he imagined it would be.
‘Flat 4, Pembroke Court, Montgomery Drive. You can park in the car park at the back, in space number 4. XXXXX’
He laughed as he read it. He had completely forgotten until then that he didn’t even know her address.
On arrival at the flat, Steve was more nervous than he could ever remember being in his life. He had brought along a huge bunch of flowers, a box of chocolates, and two bottles of Prosecco. He hoped that covered all the social niceties. In the same shop, he had also casually thrown a box of condoms into the basket, and turned away as the shopkeeper added up his purchases and popped them into a bag. The car park space was empty, as Sophie had said it would be, and he walked up the steps to the first floor feeling like a condemned man ascending the scaffold. The bell had a melodious and slow ‘bing-bong’, and the door was opened before the sound of the ‘bong’ had finished.
The smell of the perfume hit him, and he almost sneezed. She was much shorter than he had anticipated, probably just five feet tall, in her stockinged feet. Her curves were squeezed into a black velvet dress that was short in the leg, and low at the front. And her make up was heavy, even noticeable under the large square frames of her glasses. Then that voice, even more overpowering, face to face.
“Come in, Steve darling. Don’t just stand there, honey. My, you are so tall and handsome, even better than your photo.”
She turned a little to the side, making sure that he had to brush against her body as he walked into the tiny hallway.
He handed over the bag, unsure what to say. “Er, these are for you, Sophie”. She took the bag from him, allowing her soft warm fingers to gently touch his hand as she did so. As she turned and walked into the flat, he closed the door, and followed. She turned left into what he discovered was the kitchen, and he looked at her back view as she began to unload the contents. Definitely curvy, very curvy indeed. He watched from the doorway as she put the wine into a fridge under the worktop, then placed the chocolates on the side. Running some water into the sink, she placed the bunch of flowers into it, still wrapped. He blushed as she found the box of condoms, and was surprised when she turned and dropped them into a pedal bin. She spoke with her back still facing him. “Nice thought, Steve darling, but we won’t be needing those. Your Sophie has that all sorted, my love”.
Finally, she turned, leaning her back against the edge of the sink. In the light from the window, Steve could immediately tell she was indeed a lot older than twenty-nine. He reckoned that forty-five was more like it, and he was being generous. Just as it seemed he had stared for a little too long, her amazing voice snapped him back into reality. Once again, it felt like she was reading his mind.
“OK, darling. Sophie lied a little. Just a small lie. As you can probably tell, I am not twenty-nine. But I won’t say my real age. You are here now, so it doesn’t really matter. You don’t want to turn around and go home, I take it?” He could almost feel the vibration of that voice passing through him like some sort of radio wave. It made him tingle to the point of trembling. Steve swallowed hard once again, and just shook his head.
He watched transfixed, as she slowly walked the few steps toward him. She opened her arms wide as she pressed herself against his body, then closed them around his waist. Looking up at him with a sultry smile, she hit him with that voice, as deep as a growl.
“This is the bit where you kiss me, Steve”.