Waiting for this
By Mark Burrow
Alan pressed the buzzer. A young girl answered. He liked what greeted him. Short skirt. A tee-shirt showing a firm and sizeable pair - very tidy, he thought, stepping by as she closed the door.
‘Bathroom is it?’ he said.
‘No hot water.’
‘There was yesterday. The kitchen’s fine. It’s the bathroom.’
She walked up the stairs. His heart pumped fast as he took in those long, bare legs. He slowed, letting her walk a few extra stairs ahead, giving him better leverage to see high up to the putting green of her inner thighs and convince himself she wasn’t wearing any panties.
The bathroom was small. She swivelled the hot tap for the sink and leaned over the bath to do the same. She held a hand under one and then the other. ‘Cold, you see,’ she said, then leaned over the bath again to turn that tap off.
‘Mmmm,’ was all Alan could say, his throat tight and dry. Her jean skirt had risen up while leaning over the bath and shown the firm cheeks of her bum.
‘The heater’s here,’ she said, opening a cupboard. ‘It was fine yesterday. It was really hot.’
They stood there.
‘Would you like a cup of tea?’
After a delay, Alan said, ‘Milk two sugars would be great, thanks.’
He opened his tool box. Tested the taps himself, feeling the water’s coldness when the water should be hot.
Hot like the girl.
This could be it, alright, thought Alan. His time had come. For ten years he’d listened to the other gasmen at the depot tell their stories about frustrated housewives and lonely single girls. Now he had one of his own. Pure, hot fiery sex. Why else wear that skirt? No bra either. Leaning over the bath like that. Walking up the stairs first. These were unmistakable signals, like an SOS for rampant, crazed fucking.
And the job was straightforward too, which was a bonus. He could fix it before she’d boiled the kettle for his tea, which left loads of time for shagging that fine arse off her, he told himself, using a screwdriver to randomly remove a panel from the boiler to create the impression of a complex job. Pity about the tiredness, then. Blinking to stay awake after a night of arguing with Francis and then the boy, Sam, being grouchy and irritable with a cold. Sick of Francis’ nagging - constantly accused of not doing enough around the house when she’s at home all day.
About three in the morning, he’d taken Sam downstairs and put on a Pixar film. When the boy was sound asleep on the far sofa, he’d turned the sound lower and watched a different kind of film given to him by Blake from the depot.
‘There you are,’ said the girl, resting the tea on the lid of the toilet. ‘Can you fix it?’ she asked.
‘About an hour.’
‘Great,’ she said, sighing. ‘I’m dying for a hot shower.’
Alan gazed intently at the boiler. He knew he’d never forgive himself if he let this pass. After a few moments, she was still in the bathroom. Why hadn’t she left him to it? This was another blatant signal.
A green light.
‘You live here by yourself?’ he said.
‘I share with my boyfriend.’
‘So you’re in all day on your lonesome?’
‘My shift starts at four.’
‘By the chemist?’
‘That’s the one.’
‘You a waitress?’
‘At the moment.’
‘What’s the food like there?’
‘Couldn’t tell you. It’s all steaks and burgers. I’m a vegan.’
He undid another screw. To his own disgust, he felt his left leg trembling violently around the knee. ‘You, err, must get lonely by yourself.’ He glanced over his shoulder at her. She was sitting on the side of the bath, crossed legs, the skirt rising.
‘Oh, I can amuse myself,’ she said.
Dry mouthed, he replied, ‘It’s good for a girl to have an imagination.’
There was a long pause. He thought he heard her sman.
‘Oh, I can fantasise all day,’ she said.
He nearly dropped the screwdriver. The other leg was shaking now. His insides tingled. ‘What’s your favourite fantasy then?’
‘That’d be telling.’
‘It’s only me and you. I can keep a secret.’
She stood up. She was directly behind him. ‘I’ve always thought a threesome with another girl would be, you know, fun.’
That was enough. He could stand no more. Alan dropped the screwdriver, swivelled round and in one motion squeezed the girl’s breasts.
‘GET OFF ME, YOU CREEP. WHAT DO YOU THINK I AM?’
Alan stepped back, bewildered, his cock making a tent of his boiler suit.
‘What are you thinking?’ she said.
‘But you - ’
‘NO, NO, NO,’ she said, hurrying from the bathroom.
‘I didn’t mean to - ’
‘Fuck off,’ came the response.
The tent subsided. Alan sat on the side of the bath. He reached for the tea and had a couple of sips. Where were these loose women that the guys in the depot went on about day after day? he said to himself, sadly. The student girls. The nurses. The rich housewives. Why do I always find the ones with morals and decency? A shitty conscience.
The spit retuned to his mouth. His mind was cleared of sex. His heartbeat normal. She did, it had to be said, make a nice cup of tea. He reattached the panel he had pointlessly removed and switched on the pilot light that had gone out, watching the blue flame shimmering behind the heat proof glass. ‘Is it fixed yet?’ called the girl from somewhere in the flat.
He waited to test the hot taps. When the water was warm, he asked the girl to sign a form saying the job was done.
‘Have a good day,’ he said, leaving.
‘Bald wanker,’ she replied.
Alan sat in the van. Bright yellow sunshine made him squint. He angled the sun visor and checked the location for his next job. Kids were playing football in the street, using a no-ball games sign on a wall as a cross bar with the rest of the goal marked by chalk.
He tried to call his younger brother Joe, but the line was engaged. He started the engine, lit a cigarette, which he wasn’t allowed to do in the van, and moved off. The kids shuffled onto the pavement and let him pass, then he heard the ball rebound off the rear of the van. He stamped the brakes and opened his door, watching the kids shuttle away in his wing mirror.
A cool breeze filled the van as he drove along a dual carriageway, waking him up. The arguing with Francis was getting to him. She so wanted a baby and now they had Sam, who was beautiful, and yet all she did was sleep and watch television. Some days he would come home and not only had she not washed herself, but Sam would be dirty too.
Alan wanted Francis to see a doctor.
At the weekend, the whole family, his parents, two brothers, aunts and uncles, were going to the seaside. Francis wanted him to buy some bits and pieces for the trip. She had given him a list, which he had lost, and he couldn’t remember what he had to buy.
If he called her, she’d go mental. Annoyed out of all proportion to the actual importance of what he’d forgotten.
She blew everything out of all proportion.
It was best to call later.
Try and make light of losing the list. Her mood tended to be manageable by mid-day.
He tried to cheer himself up. Think of the positives, Al. Don’t stew on the negatives. Get these other jobs done by half one, two; sort out moody chops’ bits from the shops, and then go for a few rounds on the course.
Ideal weather for a game of golf.
He texted Joe.