But he had to be careful. The front page of the Evening Argus highlighted the large-scale police hunt. They would have his DNA. They would be looking for him.
He thought back to his encounter with Lucy and her daughter. He cursed – he had told her that he was in the print trade. That would be on record.
How many printers in the district?
He clambered off the bed and scouted around for the “Yellow Pages” which was on the chair underneath the phone. He turned over the pages and looked it up.
That was a relief. Several big companies; they would have many employees, and a few smaller outfits - including his.
He could relocate his business and use a lock-up garage instead. His “cash in hand” customers were mostly “word of mouth” anyway, so he would be under the police radar.
For a while.
His bed-sit? A couple of his suppliers knew where he lived. He’d better move out and find a hideaway flat in Harmony estate.
Before making Lucy pay for grassing him up.
And with that thought, an idea surfaced, which roused him into action. Wash, put on a rumpled shirt, jeans, and a well-worn leather jacket.
And go hunting.
The afternoon was cold, but the rain had stopped. He blended in with the Harmony inhabitants; no one took any notice while he explored his new territory. The paper shop window had a few dog-eared postcard adverts; but a new-looking one caught his eye. Relaxing massage by Precious, with a mobile number.
He called it, went to voice mail. He left a message, and wandered over to The Victoria Inn to wait.
Plenty of time.
The pub started to fill up as evening approached; workmen in overalls, calling in for a quick one or three before returning to their rat holes. He watched and waited while nursing a pint of Strongbow. No one bothered him; he merged into the shadows, into a dark corner alcove. Watching. Waiting. A few hoodies slunk in, and surrounded the pool table. One tall hoodie signalled to the barman for drinks – he heard him ask for lagers – then he relaxed as they started their game. No hassle, no bother.
Plenty of time.
It was after eight when Precious returned his call. He kept his voice low.
‘I saw your advert ... what’s on offer?’
She told him.
He told her his name and asked for an address.
She said she’d freshen up, and then meet him outside the chippie. At nine. ‘Can’t be too careful, nowadays.’
He agreed. ‘What you look like?’
‘Black and curvy. I’m all woman. That suit you, mistah?’
Yes, it did.
He ended the call, and killed time by planning his next move. He guessed she lived alone. “New to Bridleton,” she’d said.
A good start.
But it stuck there. Until he knew more about the set-up, he would be patient and gradually draw it out of her while she massaged him.
At five minutes to nine he slid out of his seat, and silently padded across the concrete floor to the door. No one took any notice; he was a shadow. Out into the cold, his breath steaming, and over to the chippie. He stood under the awning, out of the glaring fluorescent lights; just another shapeless layabout with time to kill.
He guessed it was her, the way she kept looking around. No handbag; nothing to steal. He stepped out from the dark so that she could size him up from a safe distance. He knew he looked harmless enough; just another punter. He just stood there and smiled.
She was wearing what looked like a long woollen coat, which accentuated the curves underneath. She seemed to shiver from the cold as she approached. ‘Dominic?’
His new name; he had to be careful, just in case.
He nodded, and stamped his feet. Chuckled. ‘It’s bloody cold out here.’
She seemed to relax. Her voice was velvety, just like her skin. ‘I can warm you up, baby ... don’t you worry none.’
He held out an arm – offered it. ‘We can go, then?’
She linked it into hers. ‘This way, baby.’ She led him across the pot-holed road, skirted around garbage bins, past vagrants lying on sacks and drinking cider, and into block C. Lift not working; up the littered stairs, stepping over an addict, to the third floor with lucky number 36 at the end of the balcony.
‘This is it, baby,’ she said, fishing a key out of her woollen coat, and opening the door.
He followed her in, and closed it behind them.
Plenty of time.
The flat was more spacious than his bed-sit, but it was still cramped. On the way through, he sussed out the layout by asking for a glass of water. At the end of the short hallway was a walk-through lounge leading to the kitchen. A washing machine was spinning; the drainer sparkled; no dirty plates, cups or glasses, all were neatly stacked on shelves.
To one side was the bedroom, with an adjoining white ceramic bath and toilet. It seemed to have been tacked on as an afterthought. He wondered how families could live in such poky places; but better than being homeless.
Surprisingly, the bedroom looked the part; soft lighting, a musky aroma, and clean sheets. She pointed to her wardrobe. ‘You’ll find a hanger inside for your clothes, baby.’
While he undressed, he watched her slip out of her coat and flat shoes. She was wearing a red blouse with the top buttons undone, and a short cream skirt. He licked his lips: plenty of cleavage, plenty of booty.
Plenty of time.
He laid face-down on the bed while she worked her magic; her sinuous fingers easing away the tension in his back muscles. He tested the water, to see if she would gossip.
‘Are you new here?’
She seemed willing to chatter. ‘Baby, it’s a long story, but I moved in two months ago.’
She laughed. ‘Bristol, before my boyfriend took off with another lady.’ She paused for a moment. He felt her drip more oil over his buttocks and down his thighs, her fingers kneading his rough skin. He felt her fingers lightly touch his prostate; arousing him. ‘Since he left me with no money, my life has been pleasing men. Now I’m alone.’
It felt good. ‘Why Bridleton?’
She touched him again. ‘Money, baby. Rent here is a lot lower, and I have a few customers. I get by.’
So she wouldn’t be missed. He felt himself getting hard.
‘So, it’s Okay then?’
She sighed. ‘Not really. When I find another place, I’m out of here. You been outside? It’s like a shanty town ... the criminal next door pushes drugs, and the landlord, god help me, has his hands everywhere. He wanted free sex; told me if I didn’t cooperate he’d send his mates round.’
‘Gilbert, his name is. He collects rent for some big crime boss.’ She slapped his leg. ‘Turn over baby. Time to have some fun.’
Plenty of time.
He turned over, and watched her undress. She teased him: offering one breast; touching herself, and then licking her fingers. He reached out for her, but she drew away and opened a bedside drawer.
‘Condom, baby. Let me help you with it.’
She slipped it on using her mouth. It felt great. His pulse quickened, and he felt a surge of blood as she started to ride him. A few minutes later she was on her back, and he was pounding into her like a run-away express train.
She was gasping something.
He felt a heightened sensation when the condom burst.
Fucking brilliant, even better than the last one.
She was writhing and gouging. She was scratching at his eyes and biting at his ear. He felt it rip. She was...
...the light went out.