Angel 5 (houseparty)
The guy with the moustache searched through his coat pockets, pulling out his fags and the bit of hash and then his hands diving into the side and back pockets of his trousers. ‘I cannae find my keys. Did I gie them to you Billy?’
The ginger haired boy took his arm from around Kimmie’s shoulder and stared back at him. ‘Nah, don’t be so fuckin daft Ped. Whit would you gie me the keys for?’ But he patted his pockets anyway.
Ped unbuttoned his coat, his hand slipping inside and the relief showed on his face. ‘Thank fuck for that.’
‘Aye, yah, daft cunt,’ said Billy. ‘Yeh, had me going there.’
Angel stood with her hands between her legs for warmth, shivering, a few steps away, near the privet hedge that separated the gardens in the blocks of houses. The fireproof entry door was wedged open with a stone. She climbed the stairs behind them to the top landing. Ped jiggled the key in the Yale lock and they were inside.
The lobby was dark and Angel nearly stood on a stinking cat litter tray, congealed lumps with skitters and things she didn’t want to think about. A ladder was propped up against the wall and a light was showing from underneath one of the doors she took to be a bedroom.
Her shoulder brushed against the lamp behind the couch at the living-room door and the chimes hanging from the shade tingled as she clutched her bag, in fright. A ginger cat was sprawled along the top of the couch, its bright eyes flickering and whiskers twitched, before it seemed to yawn and go back to sleep.
Billy plonked himself in the armchair facing the telly and picked up the remote. The sound was ratcheted high enough to wake the neighbours in the flats below, but he turned it down a bit, scrolling through the channels.
Kimmie sat in the other armchair, beside the electric fire, her legs tucked in and pulling at the wet tugs in her hair with her fingers as a comb.
Peter hovered behind Angel, rubbing his hands together. ‘I’ll just get the record player from my room, put the sounds on and get you girls something to drink.’ He shrugged his jacket off and flung it onto the back of the chair behind Kimmie.
‘I thought you were having a party?’ said Angel. She moved a pillow and went and sat on the edge of the couch, her legs squeezed in beside the glass coffee table.
‘We ur?’ said Billy, turning around to look at her, scratching at his balls through his denims. ‘Never mind the music, any porn?
He put the remote on the arm of the chair and kneeled beside a plant in a white plastic pot with long grey stems at the side of the fake rosewood unit on which the telly sat with the video-recorder on a shelf underneath it. He flicked through the films that were stacked in a plastic box behind the foliage.
‘I’m no watching that shite,’ bawled Kimmie. ‘Whit dae yeh take us for? We’re no a pair of hairies.’ She smirked and nodded in Angel’s direction. ‘And she’s a virgin. Urn’t yeh?’
Angel face pinked and she felt confused at them staring. ‘Yes, well, technically.’
‘Whit does she mean by that?’ asked Billy, frowning and turning to Ped
‘Right,’ Ped slapped his hands together. ‘Who really gies a fuck? A few drinks and that’s us back on track.’
Angel picked up a coaster from the table, beside the overflowing ashtray and toyed with it, her bag on her lap. She noticed knickknacks of glass dolphins and photographs in silver Macintosh frames on the windowsill. The one of Ped made her smile, his haircut was a straight line across his head but his mouth was bent into the bow kind of thin lip smile that showed you hated getting your photograph taken, and she knew that feeling well. He was wearing a school uniform, shirt and tie and shiny face, his fingers in a steeple, intertwined with rosary beads. Next to it was a heavy-set couple, he was standing in a double-breasted dark suit with a proprietorial hand on her shoulder. She was sitting, leaning on his jacket, a posy in her fingers, tiara in her thick dark hair, dressed in a cream wedding dress and smiling broadly, almost pretty.
‘Is that yer mum and dad?’ she asked, thinking he took after his bulldog-faced father.
‘Aye,’ said Ped. ‘Away to Majorca for two weeks to get a bit of sunshine.’
‘It’s been brilliant,’ Billy yawned, showing his yellowing, uneven, teeth. ‘Wine, women, song – and hash!’ A bit of black-brown stone sat on the table and he picked it up and rubbed it between his fingers. A tin of tobacco sat beside it, the lid covered in matchsticks and lacquered in red and green diamonds beside, Rizla papers and another ashtray. He splashed back into the seat and bounced up, leaning forward, he started making a joint.
Kimmie flicked at the electric fire and the silver-grey tubes glowed red, Elbows tucked in, she held her fingers out, heating her hands.
‘Well, no so much women,’ admitted Ped.
‘Aye, fuck all.’ Billy twisted the end of the Rizla paper in the joint he was making and put it in his mouth. A lighter on the table was also shaped like a dolphin and he used it to spark his smoke. He let his head fall back against the cushioned headrest and the smoke filled the room with its peculiar stink.
The cat opened its eyes and peered out at them, moved its paws forward a little, and shut them, again.
Ped barged through the door and into the kitchen. He came back with four cans of Tennents lager hooked through his fingers by the plastic straps which held a pack together. He strode over and handed a can to Kimmie, placed one down on the table in front of Angel and held out a can for his mate.
‘Cheers,’ said Billy, taking the can and joint out of his mouth and handing it to Ped in exchange.
‘Sorted,’ said Ped, taking a deep drag of the joint.
Kimmie plinked the tab of the can and when the gassy lager splashed up onto the lid of the tin, her pink tongue darted out and she licked at it, glancing, somewhat shyly, sideways, at Angel.
‘I’m sorry,’ said Angel. ‘I don’t really drink lager.’
‘Nah, that’s alright,’ Ped put his joint into the ashtray and his can on the table. ‘But we’ve no really got anything else. But I can get you a glass. The lady needs a clean glass.’
‘What about me?’ cried Kimmie. ‘Am I no a fucking lady?’
‘I certainly fucking hope no,’ cackled Billy. He took a slug of lager and picked up the joint with delicate fingers and inhaled a draw, before standing up, wandering across and holding it out for Angel.
‘No thank you,’ said Angel, looking across and giving Kimmie a look. Her pal looked across at the telly and warmed her hands.
‘I’ll have some of that.’ Ped leaned across and Billy handed him the joint and winked in an exaggerated fashion.
‘Don’t I get a draw of the joint?’ asked Kimmie.
‘That’s my girl,’ said Billy, grinning.
He took a circular route around the table and picked up the remote and turned the sound up. It was some sort of Indian costume drama, with sitars and women in bright costumes and their dark eyes even brighter as they danced. He sat on the armrest of Kimmie’s chair, the joint in his mouth and slid down into the cushioned seat, squeezing in beside her thighs. He took a deep drag and the joint out of his mouth. As he kissed her he blew the smoke into her mouth and his hand wormed under her skirt and lace knickers.