Secret Daddy(5)By: Lucy Wild
I got home and killed the engine. Maybe I should have bid on Tiffany. I should have picked at least one of them to be mine for the evening. It might not have been great but it would have been good. It would have given me a focus, let me vent some of the steam inside me. It would also have meant I’d have been home much later, I wouldn’t have come across her in the middle of the road, that beautifully innocent stranger who needed my help, who would have been stranded without me.
I was still trying to get her out of my mind when I climbed into bed an hour later. Her face kept coming back to me. I pictured that face walking into the club, the shock on it, the surprise at seeing what happened there. I hoped I never saw her again. Because if I did, I might not be able to resist anymore, I might have to make her my little girl, whether she wanted me to or not.
I woke up on the floor. It took me a few seconds to remember where I was. Then it all came back in a rush of images. I’d finally arrived at my new house after midnight. The agent had posted me the front door key but I’d managed to bury it in one of my boxes so I’d had to spend twenty minutes rummaging through the things in the car before I was finally able to get inside.
All I took inside with me were some clothes and some blankets, enough to create a makeshift bed in the living room in the dark. I’d try and work out what was going on with the electricity in the morning. I changed out of my wet things and draped them over an icy cold radiator. Then I climbed into my little nest of blankets and laid there listening to the noises of the house as the wind outside continued to howl.
I wondered if I’d made the right decision. I was in a house with no furniture, no curtains, possibly no electricity. Should I have moved? Had I made a huge mistake, coming somewhere where I didn’t know anyone, where there might not be any work for me? What would I do if I couldn’t get a job? When I’d filled in the mortgage application, I’d been working of course, but that job was back there, back in the life I’d left behind.
I found myself thinking about the man who’d helped me. What if everyone here was like him? All of them hating strangers, hating conversation.
I realised with a gut-wrenching feeling that I’d been very lucky that he wasn’t a serial killer or something like that. I was by a broken down car with no signal on my phone and a tall, gruff, furious stranger rummaging in his boot before bringing out some spanner thing. What if he’d hit me over the head with it?
I went to sleep wondering if he lived in the town, thinking that even if he did, I’d probably struggle to recognise him. All I’d seen was his chin. It wasn’t much to go on.
I woke up the next morning a little after eight. The storm had passed overnight and through the windows I could see the sun was already up, the world looking a lot brighter in the daylight. It made me more optimistic about things. I sat up and yawned, climbing out of the blankets with a certainty that this was the right decision. The house was fine, it wasn’t collapsing, there would be plenty of space, and I’d find a job sooner or later.
I brought the boxes in from the car, piling them up in the living room. Then I went to try and find out what was wrong with the electricity. It turned out that the previous owner had switched it off. I felt quite proud of myself for finding the box that controlled it. A flick of a switch and it was back on. Next to the meter box was a note addressed to me.
Dear Miss Hayes,
I hope you enjoy this house as much as I did and that it becomes a lovely family home for you in the future. I recall you mentioned liking acting and the theatre and that you hoped to join my theatre group. I must suggest you do not join them, they have proved themselves a duplicitous bunch and I believe your interest would be better utilised in another direction with less bitter people.
Speaking of utilising, the details of the utilities are in the red file I left in the top drawer by the kitchen sink. I hope you don’t mind that I took the garden gnomes with me, I just couldn’t bear to leave them behind. Bin day is Tuesday round here. Watch the shed door, it has a tendency to stick.
All the best,
Nancy Miller, B.A (Hons)
As I finished reading the note, I heard the flap of the letterbox. Turning to head down the hall, I found a pile of post waiting for me on the doormat. It was mostly junk mail but in amongst the pizza shop menus and double glazing offers was a town newsletter. I flicked through it, my eyes drawn to the inside back page which covered the local community groups.