After Sarah used the toilet and flushed, she put the toilet seat down, and washed her hands and doused her face in cold water. No soap. No towel. She rubbed the moisture off the flat of her hands on the top of her thigh and glanced in the flyspecked mirror, before looking down at her bare feet which were sticky with grit. It was getting light outside.
She hurried through to the room and hitched on her bra and stepped into her knickers. The sleeping bag had been unzipped and used as a thin quilt for both of them. Louise slept with bare legs and feet poking out of the shortened coverlet, the pale blue lining folded back and hitched under a shaved ochter, the side of a squashed plump breast, so waxen in its whiteness it seemed to glow.
Sarah's dress was beside her bag and, stepping over the mattress, she stumbled. Louise woke and half-smiled, shyly, as if dreaming of somewhere nice has stretched to daylight and her eyes fixed on Sarah’s and she frowned.
‘I don’t know how you can live like this,’ said Sarah.
‘What?’ Louise’s hacking coughing made her scramble on to her elbows, jack-knife into sitting, and slap at her chest, her hazel eyes going watery and grimacing. ‘It’s alright for you, Mrs Snooty-Wooty,’ she finally managed to say, ‘But I’ve fuck all else to go’.
She rubbed at her mouth with the back of her hand and looked at the debris around the mattress for a smoke or a drink, or both.
‘Well, you could at least tidy up.’ Sarah pulled her dress over her head. ‘All these carrier- bags. Soap and water doesn’t cost anything.
Louise dived across and gripped at the bottle of Vladistock, and tipped it up, a look of disappointment washing over her face. Then she searched the makeshift ashtrays of food cartons with a renewed urgency for dowts that might still have a tobacco and pulled one out out a pile of chips, triumphant, sticking it in her gob.
She watched Sarah bend down and put on her shoes, and lighter to hand, she breathed out smoke. ‘It does, you know – I don’t know where you shop, but any place I went to, soap and water cost money.’
Sarah scooted her fingers through her hair, patting it down at the back, tugging at her earlobes and checking she still has her diamond earrings. ‘Suppose.’
She picked up her bag and bending down swept up her coat from the bottom of the mattress and slung it over her arm. ‘I’ll be going then.’ And checking to see that she hadn’t left anything.
A slight nod, Louise took a drag of the fag and looked through the whorl of smoke and past her left shoulder.
‘Right, that’s it then.’ She smacked her lips together, cleared her throat and added in an overly bright voice. ‘It’s still quite early, what do you plan to do with the day?’
Louise nipped her cigarette, rubbing and rolling the burnt end, rolling and rubbing between forefinger and thumb, until there were shards of fallen orange-coloured tobacco dust sprinkling the slight paunch of stomach and strands of a filter in her hand, which she flicked towards the window.
Sarah caught a whiff of scorched flesh and when Louise, finally, looked up at her there were tears in her eyes. But she sniffed, sliding her hand up and down, scratching between elbow and shoulder and simpered and sighed.
‘The world’s my oyster. Might do a bit of hoovering. Have a hot bath.’ She shrugged thin shoulders and laughed, her breasts jumping. ‘I might even hoover when I’m in the bath. Is that the kind of thing you do for kicks?’
‘Sometimes,’ replied Sarah meeting her measured gaze. ‘Depends how busy I get. God knows, I might even put a washing on full-spin. That way my life cycle will be complete.’
She put her bag down and foraged for her purse, opening it and pulling out a tenner. She placed it firmly on the corner of the mattress.
Louise hitched her bum forward and peeled her knees apart so Sarah was staring at her pubes and she could smell her dusky animal scent. Her index finger glided over her clitoris and teased it into wakening, before plunging it into her cunt, her finger glistening. ‘I usually masturbate in the morning, to help me relax. You don’t mind, do you?’
‘Em, not at all.’
‘You can watch if you like, unless you’re too busy hoovering or something.’ She lifted her bum and pulled her legs wide apart, strumming her clitoris and arching her back, the beat of flesh and oily fingers on flesh. A flush moving through her. One hand squeezing a nipple. She came hard and fast, riding it out, sitting up suddenly and watching Sarah’s face, the dilated pupils in her eyes.
She held out sticky fingers as an offering. Sarah closed her eyes and, licking each digit, took them in her mouth.
Louise stroked her cheek and waited. Sarah bent sideways and slumped on to the mattress and they shared a sloppy kiss.
‘Go down on me,’ Lousie told her, ‘the way I showed you, and then we’ll go for a bite to eat afterwards’.
Sarah clasped her cheeks in her hands and pulled her towards her, kissing her lips and hugging tightly. ‘I can’t, I need to go up the road, get changed and go back to work, back to normality.’
Louise wiggled her shoulders and pulled away. ‘It’s up to you. But that’s exactly the same shit what my husband used to say, you’ll need to go back to work. And when I was on a tag after coming out of prison, after he got sick of beating and raping me, he used to bring other sick bastards in to beat and rape me, only they paid him for the privilege. And he kept reminding me, if I tried to escape they’d take me straight back to prison. That’s what you call normal, Mrs Snooty-Wooty.’
‘Now just go down on me, like I telt you.’