Angel 15 (return of Kimmie)
Kimmie’s cat’s-eyes makeup was smudged. She hopped and skipped in front of Angel in a pale blue, zip-up hooded top and gripped the top of her denims. ‘I think the elastic in my knickers has burst and I’m dying for a pee.’
She didn’t wait for a reply, pushing past Angel and nipping into the downstairs toilet. Angel sat on the stairs on the bottom landing, waiting for her to come out.
‘Who’s that?’ shouted her mum from the living room.
‘It’s only Kimmie,’ she shouted back.
‘That’s alright then,’ said her mum, eventually.
When the toilet flushed Kimmie followed Angel upstairs and into her room. She kicked off rope-soled sandals with a butterfly motif on the side, flung herself down on the bed and plumped a pillow behind her back to give herself a seat against the wall facing Angel. ‘I’m choking for a smoke. You any fags?’
‘Aye,’ Angel frowned and looked about the room. ‘But I think I left them in my coat pocket downstairs.’
‘Well, go and get them,’ said Kimmie.
‘Don’t forget yer lighter,’ she shouted at Angel’s back as she headed out the door.
Kimmie was lying on her elbows, kicking one leg against the top blanket and leafing through a paperback copy of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, which she tossed on to the floor. ‘I quite like Stephen King, but this looks pretty rubbish.’
Angel shrugged. ‘It’s alright.’ She handed Kimmie her ten packet and disposable lighter and stood looking out into the street. Lights were on in the houses across the road, but it wasn’t yet that late, but the pavements and road were washed with rain and the street was empty.
Kimmie lit a cigarette and used her forefinger to pull the white enamel Tennets Lager ashtray from underneath the wooden leg of the bed where it was hidden. ‘You not having one?’ She blew fag smoke out in front of her face.
‘I’m not fussed.’ Angel folded her arms and squeezed her hands into fists underneath her ochters.
‘It’s bloody freezing in here,’ said Kimmie.
‘It always is.’
‘You’ve been avoiding me.’
‘No,’ Angel moued. ‘Not really.’
‘You’ve got a boyfriend!’
‘Well, yeh.’ Angel smiled.
‘Yer mum told me,’ Kimmie sounded aggrieved. ‘And he’s older, that guy at the nightclub, the bouncer, I told you about first.’
‘Yeh, he’s working the night.’ She screwed up her face. ‘But how do you know that?’
‘Yer mum told me.’ Kimmie had a smug look on her face. ‘She told me everything.’
‘Whit dae you mean, told you everything?’ Angel took a few steps, towering over her and waiting for a reply. Then she changed tack, sat on the bed beside her, leant over, their knees touching. She picked up her cigarettes, lit one, chugging a smoke ring into the air.
Kimmie took a quick puff of her cigarette and sneaked a look at the side of Angel’s face. ‘Well, for one thing, she told me about being married to his older brother and being tried for his murder in the High Court, but being found not guilty.’ She turned her head and with a hurt tone in her voice, added. ‘You never told me about that.’
‘It was a long time ago, said Angel. ‘And they weren’t married.’
‘But it was in all the papers!’ Kimmie leant forward, stabbing out her fag and waiting for all the gory details.
‘Yeh,’ Angel sighed, her cigarette held halfway to her mouth. ‘And I was only a wee girl. I don’t remember much about it.’ She shook her head, as if shaking the thought away.
‘I suppose,’ Kimmie clutched the wrist of her right hand and squeezed pink flesh. ‘We’ve got problems enough as it is.’
‘Whit is it?’
‘That guy, you know the one. That was there that night.’ Kimmie rubbed the back of her neck. ‘When that guy tried to rape you…and you know.’
‘Yes.’ Angel patted Kimmie’s knee as she put out her cigarette.
‘Well, he’s been phoning me.’
‘Phoning you, how?’
‘In my house,’ Kimmie sounded exasperated. ‘He phones me every night and sometimes two or three times a night. And you know whit my mum and da’s like. Hinging about me. Wanting to know every single detail of whit I’m doing. My da asked if I’d a boyfriend and I didn’t quite know whit to tell him. He even phoned about two or three times at two or three in the morning at the weekend. Well, I think it was him, but the time I’d shot up to answer it, there was nobody there. My da’s raging.’
She looked at Angel, waiting for her to say something. ‘He should really be phoning you, because it wisnae my fault and it’s nothing to dae with me.’
Kimmie talked as if her mum and dad were strict and quite well-to-do. And to a certain extent Angel could see her point. They didn’t encourage her to drink and smoke. Angel’s mum couldn’t give two hoots either way. But Kimmie’s mum dyed her dark hair, canary yellow, although it was supposed to be blonde and wore dresses that were too small for her with a chain belt to keep her stomach in. And she knew Kimmie’s da in some ways better than Kimmie. He had a duck-arse hairdo, even though he was balding at the crown and wore chunky gold jewellery. When Angel visited Kimmie at her house up near the La Scala he tended to hang about her and breathe all over her and suffered from wandering hand syndrome.
‘I’ve no got a phone, said Angel.
‘I know. I was just saying.’
‘How did he get your number?’
‘I don’t know. He just did.’
‘Whit does he say?’ asked Angel. ‘Whit was his name again – I think it begins with a B?’
‘Billy, aye, that’s his name.’ She took a deep breath. ‘Well, at first, he wasnae too bad. Then he kept threatening me. Threatening you. Said he’d go to the police, unless I meet him and gie him a blow job and let him shag me.’ She coughed, her voice becoming thin and watery. ‘He says other things as well, but I don’t want to go into that. He said it was my fault, because his mate suffers from epileptic fits noo and is a bit of a mongo. He doesnae care about that. He’s got me where he wants me.’
‘Tell him I’ll meet him.’
Kimmie’s mouth fell open. She leaned sideways to get a better look at Angel and frowned, looked straight ahead and back at her again. She choked on her words. ‘You’ll meet him?’
‘Aye,’ Angel’s hands were in her lap and with a slight nod of her head affirmed what she’d said.
‘And you’ll gie him a blow job?’ spluttered Kimmie.
Angel squinted and she cocked her head as if listening. The tip of her finger played back and forth over her lips. ‘Maybe,’ she said, considering. ‘Maybe.’
Kimmie made a sound like the air escaping after the cork had come out of a cylinder. ‘Jesus,’ she said. ‘That takes the biscuit.’
But Angel didn’t seem to be listening. She was quiet and had that funny expression on her face again and stared out the window.