Free dark short story – Colin Devonshire
The Minute Past Kiss
‘Another celebration, another day,’ Pegs said to the mirror. The mirror didn’t answer. Instead, she smiled and turned away.
Head down, she moved to her bed and slumped on it. Her phone rang. ‘Yes, Angie, I’ll be there.’
Pegs let her towel drop to the floor, and another mirror got busy, this time a full-length version, and this time it admired her shape. She patted her stomach. ‘A little too much food, far too much booze, but nothing else showing.’ She smiled and threw open her wardrobe.
‘Too frumpy, too skimpy, my God, why did I buy that thing?’ She flicked through her party gear. ‘No, not too skimpy, who cares? I’ll wear that.’
Happy with her choice, she moved to her underwear drawer. Opening it and slamming it, she said, ‘Who needs undies? No one will see.’
Her year had been a nightmare; precisely a year ago, her fiancé, Steve, had been killed in a hit-and-run accident outside her flat, dressed in a dinner jacket and colourful bow tie. She tried to lift him from his puddle of blood. He didn’t even know she was there when he died.
A week later, her father suffered a life-changing stroke which left him in a wheelchair and clueless about happenings around him, even when his dear wife lost her battle with cancer. It had to get better. It did. In May, she met Gian, first at a sales meeting, then at lunch. The Italian was the European head of sales, flitting in and out of her office whenever a deal brought him to the UK. They had dated, at first, a meal and a bottle of wine. Gently he pushed things further. They touched fingers across the dining table.
‘Sorry, but Steve is not coming back.’ Angie told her it would be best to get on with her life. ‘Anyway, I will if you don’t get serious with Gian.’ The girls laughed. At last, she had a great memory, the only one in a sad year, the first and last.
Pegs got serious with Gian. She hoped to see him more frequently, but Rome was a long way off, and she had not been invited. But, the UK sales were going well, meaning Gian came to London once or twice a month.
‘How come you’ve never told him you speak Italian? I mean, you were good at school,’ Angie asked.
‘I’m shy, and I’ve not used the language since school. What if Gian laughs at me?’
But, one day, she did use the language, and Gian left his phone unattended. Pegs read his messages. She covered her shock as he returned all smiles. A beautiful lady messaged like a wife. “Can you pick up a brochure from London fashion week, darling?” It was clear enough that even with Peg’s shaky Italian, he lived with a woman in Italy and had done for years; they even had a child. Pegs’ bad year had not improved.
Pegs looked in the mirror again, then she angled the glass and sat at her desk chair to see how far her dress rode up her thigh. ‘He’ll love that,’ she breathed.
She popped into the kitchen and found the small phial she would need. Her Uber was waiting outside. She arrived at the ballroom in time to see the company’s seating plan. She was next to Gian, with Angie on the other side. She wanted to be “fashionably” late, so she decided to tour the hotel. Her company spared no expense after a record year of sales. ‘At least somebody had a good year,’ she snorted. But then she smiled, thinking of her plan.
‘Wow, you look gorgeous. How can Gian keep his hands off you?’ said Angie. They breezed arm in arm to the seating.
Gian, the perfect gentleman, was waiting. He stood and pulled back the seats for the ladies. Then he introduced his head of Italian sales. Angie grinned her approval at the handsome salesman.
Small talk and wine flowed, and soon the appetisers arrived. Pegs opened her silver lame clutch bag, and the metallic threads gave her an odd feeling of confidence. She touched the tiny bottle tucked under her handkerchief, twisting it around in her fingers. ‘I’ll wait until the brandies arrive,’ she decided.
Music and laughter got louder as workmates were whisked to the dance floor.
Angie was in the arms of her new “friend” as he whisked her across the floor, laughing and chatting like long-lost pals.
‘You are quiet tonight. Do you not like my outfit? Or have I said something wrong?’ asked Pegs.
‘No, not at all. You look spectacular. Sorry, I have a lot on my mind,’ said Gian.
‘Anything I can help with?’
‘No, it is not work-related. I have some family worries, and I need to sort them out.’
‘Oh, I see. Are you not dancing? Does your family get in the way of that, too?’
Haha, he chuckled. ‘Let’s hit the floor. Oh, hang on, here comes the waiter; I’ll order a brandy round. Would you and Angie like one too?’
‘I would, and I’m not sure about Angie. It looks like she’ll need an energy drink.’ Pegs grinned. ‘Excuse me. I must go to the “Ladies” first.’
She grabbed her bag and strolled away. The toilet closed behind her. She put her lipstick and perfume vaporiser in front of the mirror. She looked at the little bottle and secured it under her bracelet for easy access. ‘A quick pee, then action,’ she said to the mirror.
She nipped to the privacy of the cubicle, but before she could lock the door, it burst back against the wall.
‘I couldn’t resist you any longer. In the ballroom, it was torture for me to look at your legs and imagine your silky flesh…’ He reached behind and locked the door. Then, panting, he grabbed her and kissed them as he had never kissed a woman. He was sucking at the flesh of her neck, and his hands lifted the skimpy material.
Pegs felt for the phial, scared it would drop.
‘No, please, not here,’ she said.
‘But, I can’t wait any longer.’
He turned her roughly, then with one hand holding her; she could hear him unzip his trousers with the other hand.
She felt cold steel, and a stiletto was tight against her throat. ‘Sorry, but my wife suspects. This is the only way.’
The chimes started ringing; Gian kissed the back of her head and breathed, ‘Goodbye.’
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