I should order her to fuck off out of my house and never fucking come back. I can’t believe she’s even still here, following me around while I uncover more and more of her fucking catastrophe.
Even now, knowing that the stupid sonofabitch invited a whirlwind of trouble into my empty house without my knowledge, I can’t bring myself to send her running. He’d only fucking follow.
“How long have you been here?” I ask her.
My shoes crunch on broken glass. “Two nights?” The shock is numbing me to the anger. “Just as well I didn’t stay away another fucking week.”
“He was trying to help,” she says again. “Michael, I mean. He found me on the road.” She holds up her foot. “I sprained my ankle, couldn’t walk.”
“So he brought you here?”
She shrugs. “Someone called Pam lives in his block. He said he couldn’t take me there.”
“Pam Clowes,” I say absentmindedly. “Yes. She’d have his job for it.”
“It was only for a few days, he said. Just until we sort something else.”
I can’t help but register her word choice. We sort something else. I wonder what the fuck’s really been going on here. Are they physical? Has this midlife crisis become more than a crazy pissing pipe dream?
I want to ask her but I don’t. I’ll ask him instead, just as soon as he fucking gets here.
“I’m sure he’ll be here as soon as he can,” she says, as though she’s a mind reader. I wonder if the gypsy rumours are true. Maybe she’s got some weird psychic gift in that pretty head of hers. I feel uncharacteristically self-conscious, because despite all this – despite the shit-storm of chaos around me, and the cold, hard horror of finding an intruder in my house – I’m thinking how much prettier she is sober and in the daylight. I’m thinking how glossy her hair is and how it ripples as she moves. I’m thinking that her eyes are more fey than human, and her freckles look surprisingly cute when she’s angry.
I’m thinking that I can see why a girl like Carrie Wells has sent a man like Michael Warren fucking crazy.
“Can I wait for him?” she asks, as though she suddenly needs my permission for shit.
“You better had,” I say. “You both owe me one fuck of an explanation.”
She shrugs. “I told you what happened. I didn’t have anywhere to go, Michael brought me here. I went out for a walk and found a crow in your busted fence, tried to help it and you let it go.”
I sigh. “And you trashed my whole fucking house in the process, yes?”
She shrugs again. “Not the upstairs. It didn’t go up there.”
But she did.
I wonder if she’s been sleeping in my fucking bed, too. Like bastard Goldilocks.
I wonder if they’ve both been in there.
The thought of her splayed out in my bed makes my mouth water, and I don’t get it. I really don’t fucking get it.
“I didn’t mean to trash anything,” she tells me. “You should take better care of your fences.”
“And who I leave a fucking key with it seems.”
She drops to one knee to unlace her boot, kicks it off and does the other. Too little, too fucking late.
I watch as she places them neatly on the mat by the kitchen door, then rummages under my sink for some cleaning products. She’s a vision on all fours, her jeans riding low on her ass, loose enough at the waist that they show the top of her pale blue knickers. Her hair hangs free from her shoulders and gathers on the floor tiles, and her feet are tiny in silly pink spotty socks at odds with the rest of her grubby attire.
She glances up at me over her shoulder, and the involuntary image of me pounding her from behind jars my senses.
“Can I use this on the table?” she asks and holds up a random bottle of polish.
She gets back to her feet, cloth in hand, and I wonder how much cleaning the girl has done in her life considering she thinks she’ll get started with a bit of table polish. It’ll take a damn sight fucking more than table polish to clean this place up.
I’m gawping like a fucking idiot when she strides past me into the dining room, and it’s only instinct that possesses me to grab her by the waist before she treads on broken glass. She gasps at the contact, stiffening in my grip as her bright blue eyes stare up at me. I imagine how well the colour of her knickers go with her eyes when they’re the only thing she’s wearing.
“The glass,” I say, “you’ll cut your feet.”
“Surprised you care.”
“Blood’s harder to get out than mud,” I say and she thinks I’m serious. Her eyebrows pit until I smile.