Scrape: Chapter Four, Part One
By the time Tuesday came around again, Louise was becoming used to the pace of work. Her weekend had given her the reassurance she needed, and she was confident she could make this job a success. She was already looking forward to Mark’s visit on Friday, so when John said she could have Friday afternoon off if she worked late that night Louise agreed happily. It meant she could meet Mark at the train station, and every extra minute she could spend with him was one she desperately wanted.
Louise was happy to be alone in the office, her floor was practically deserted and the only noise was the hum of the computers. Louise liked the quiet, it meant she could concentrate on working without distractions. Looking out of the giant windows, the city was getting dark. Lights from nearby buildings were glowing, it looks like one of those photos of the city at night, Louise thought to herself, beautiful and modern. She wanted to explore the night-time world of London, and suddenly got the urge to go for a walk outside. “No one will notice,” she said out loud. Picking up her coat she skipped towards the lift, “I’ll just be ten minutes.”
The darkness outside made a lie of the time. It could have been midnight, except that the streets were still buzzing with people and humming with cars. Louise didn’t walk, as soon as she saw the sea of people hurrying past she didn’t want to. Instead she sat on the large steps of the building, coat pulled up around her neck, watching the world rush past. Men and women is suits, mothers with pushchairs and prams, children on their way home from evenings with friends, all rushed past and didn’t notice the blond girl watching them with interest. Louise watched as people walked, thinking only how this was nothing like home, amazed that not one person even made eye contact with her. Suddenly aware of the cold, she went back inside.
Tim was holding the lift doors open for her. “Oh, are you working late too?” she asked stepping in and undoing her coat. He pushed the button and said nothing. He was clearly nervous, he face was more flushed than usual and he was fidgeting, rocking from one foot to the other, wringing his hands.
“Are you ok?” Louise reached out to touch his shoulder, but thought better of it and put her hand to her side.
Tim didn’t answer. He was watching the floor numbers increasing: 3,4,5,6. The lift didn’t stop. 7,8. “Great,” Louise thought, he’s clearly going to a different floor. 9,10. The door’s pinged open, the accounting department was pitch black and clearly deserted. Tim grabbed Louise by the hand and pulled her out of the lift. The doors thudded shut. Louise was standing with her back to the lift, Tim was facing her.
“Are you ok?” Louise was a little scared, not of Tim that would be silly, but she tried not to show it.
Tim still didn’t answer; instead he grabbed her head in both hands and kissed her firmly on the lips. Louise tensed, it wasn’t a proper kiss, it was like kissing when she was 13. She pulled his hands from her face. Staring him straight in the eyes, they were nose to nose. She put his hands on her hips and held them there. Leaning in slowly, she kissed him properly. She could feel Tim jump with surprise, but he didn’t pull away. He moved his hands from her hips to her bottom and clumsily pulled her closer. Louise moved her face away, stepped back, suddenly aware of a strange noise.
“What’s that?” She pulled away, and started walking into the darkness. Tim followed. One of the computer screens had suddenly lit up, “that wasn’t on before,” Louise was talking more to herself than to Tim. She walked towards it, and as she got closer she could see the mouse moving around the screen by itself.
Louise watched as it clicked on files. Tim stood behind her his arms around her waist. Louise watched as the screen filled with numbers, too fast for her to read. Tim was running his fingers through her hair. Louise watched as files she didn’t understand popped up onto the screen and vanished again. Tim kissed her on the cheek, on the neck. The screen went black.
“What the bloody hell are you doing?” Louise pushed Tim away from her, suddenly aware of what was happening. Without looking at him she headed for the lift.
Billy awakened to the sound of his mobile phone ringing. He checked the time, 5pm, it was almost time for him to leave for his evening job at the bar. He checked his phone, he didn’t recognise the number. Putting the phone down again, he decided not to answer. The phone kept ringing. It wasn’t going to be ignored. He answered.
“Hello, is that Billy?”
“The cab driver?”
“Yes. Who’s this?”
“It’s John Reynolds.”
“John Reynolds. The guy with paint on his suit.”
Billy now remembered giving John his mobile number, in case of emergencies, “Oh yeah mate. How are you? Did you manage to catch the culprits?”
“Huh? Oh that’s not important right now,” John was getting annoyed, the conversation was taking too long.
“I need you to do something for me. Tomorrow, I need to hire your cab for the whole day.”
“The whole day?” Billy was shocked, “that’s fine. But it’s gonna cost you mate.”
“Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll make more than you would in a normal day. Just meet me at my house at 8.30. Do you remember where it is?”
“Yeah mate, that’s fine.” ‘That’s fucking early,’ Billy added to himself.
“Oh and don’t tell anyone that you’re working for me tomorrow.”
“No worries mate.”
As John hung up, Billy wondered what the big secret was. “Must be having an affair,” Billy said to no one in particular, “I bet I’ll be driving him and some blonde bimbo around all day. It’s alright for some.”