Scarlett checked her blind spot and pulled off. She knew she had to make good time before it got dark as there was dense fog forecasted. She waved her hand in the general direction of where her mother stood in the lounge window, a concerned look on her face as she watched her only daughter drive off to meet a stranger she met on the internet.
They had already had the conversation about staying safe, and the lecture about meeting strangers off the internet, most of which Scarlett had tuned out while she wondered which underwear to take – white to symbolise the virginity of their relationship, or black to symbolise her slutty side? – and so she couldn’t actually remember what her mum had said, except for the same old tired cliché –
“It wasn’t like this when I met your father. No, he had to ask me out in person,” she opined. “Then he had to get the approval of my dad – a hard man to please was your Granddad.”
Scarlett yawned, purely coincidentally, but it just served to antagonise her mum.
“You may well yawn, but there was nowhere near as many rapes and murders back then. You knew who you were dealing with before you got anywhere sleeping with them.”
“I bet there was, mum,” Scarlett countered. “But because of the way things were back then, you just didn’t hear about it if it didn’t make the news.” With a feeling of victory, she stood up from the kitchen table, took her empty coffee cup to the sink and rinsed it out under the tap. She stared fixedly out through the kitchen window and watched Stella, their little Staffordshire Bull Terrier squat for a wee on the lawn. She sensed her mum behind her and after a moment of tension, she relaxed as she felt a hand rest on her shoulder.
“I’m just worried about my only daughter,” her mum sighed. Scarlett turned the tap off, rested the mug on the drainer and turned round to face her mum. Without a word she held her arms out and the two women hugged it out.
Now, as Scarlett drove away from home, she felt nothing but excitement. She’d never met Andy in person, but they had spoken on the phone plenty, sent many messages – both conversational and sexy – and she felt that she knew him well enough to see what he was like in person. Because of the distance between them and the busy schedule they both seemed to have, organising this meeting had taken some perseverance. And now, here she was, driving nearly one hundred miles to a hotel in the Cotswolds, while Andy was coming a fair distance from Liverpool. He had insisted on a neutral location and was paying for the hotel himself, which Scarlett was most impressed with. The majority of blokes she’d chatted to on the web only wanted to see her tits and meet for a fuck in the woods, which is why she’d decided to look further afield for the man of her dreams. Whether Andy was that man, she didn’t yet know, but he hadn’t yet sent her an unsolicited dick pic, which was refreshing. As she approached the motorway, she happened to glance at the fuel gauge and saw there was half a tank left, more than enough to reach her destination. She was well prepared for any eventuality motoring-wise, thanks to her big brother, Dominic. He was the protective male figure she’d never experienced due to her father’s death just six months after she was born. Dominic was the one who had threatened to castrate Bobby Jones when he groped her at the school disco, he was also the one who picked her up in town when her friend Sharon had puked in a taxi, causing them to be chucked out at two in the morning after a night out. Thanks to Dom, the boot contained a torch with spare batteries, a large warm blanket, and a baseball bat with nails embedded in it. She had assured him she wouldn’t need the latter, but he had forcefully insisted.
As she headed along the motorway, the stereo turned up loud while she sang along to the Spice Girls greatest hits – part of her childhood she had never let go despite all outward appearances – Scarlett looked forward to finally being face to face with Andy. His Liverpool accent sent her wild, it wasn’t the harsh high-pitched Scouse accent, more the soft gentle John Lennon-esque accent. Something different to the slow, lumbering West Country accent she was used to hearing every day. She made a conscious effort to keep the telltale burr out of her voice, for fear of sounding thick and country-bumpkin-like, and had been mortified one day when Andy had picked it up. He told her it was cute, and didn’t make her sound thick, but Scarlett hated it.
The traffic started to build up as the Friday night rush hour took effect. Rather than clear road ahead, Scarlett was boxed in on all sides by cars, trucks and lorries all desperate to get to wherever they were going. She found herself stuck behind a big lorry and tried to edge out into the middle lane, but nobody would yield the space to let her in. Her indicator blinked furiously, as Scarlett peered through her wing mirror for a gap to squeeze into. The sun was now fading away behind the cloud, and all around, cars were putting their lights on to illuminate the murkiness. She wasn’t the most confident driver, and this was going to be the furthest she had ever driven alone, and so she began to get a little agitated. She gave up trying to jostle for position and sat in the slow lane, following the lorry at an agonising pace. To try and take her mind off the situation, she tried ringing Andy to see how he was getting along with his journey. The Spice Girls were muted and the car filled with the sound of a dialling tone. It rang and rang. No answer. Then she heard Andy’s voice loud and clear, asking her to leave a message and he’d get back to her. Scarlett felt disappointed and rather than leave a message, she ended the call and sighed.
It was dark by the time she arrived at the hotel. She sat in her car in the car park, right beneath a lamp post. Her immediate surroundings were illuminated, and she could see the fog begin to roll in. She looked around for signs of Andy. She couldn’t remember what car he said he drove, so every time a set of car lights slowed down as if to turn into the car park, Scarlett’s heartbeat increased, along with her hopes, only to slow again as the lights moved off. Eventually, after what felt like hours, a pair of headlights pulled on to the car park and a car pulled up next to her. Scarlett turned, casually, and her face lit up as she saw Andy smiling and waving at her. His hair was slicked back off his face, his beard recently trimmed – at Scarlett’s request – and his glasses perched on his nose. He turned off his engine and opened his car door. Scarlett took a deep breath, checked herself in the rear view mirror, and opened her door. They stood bathed in the light and regarded each other with contained excitement. Andy stepped forward and Scarlett found herself in his arms, his warmth enveloping her, his chest rising and falling with each breath. Scarlett looked up into his eyes, those brown eyes of his, and smiled. Andy craned his neck and kissed her cheek. He looked a little nervous.
“Here we are,” he whispered. That accent of his sending her a little weak at the knees. Luckily, he was holding her tightly.
“Here we are,” she agreed. “It’s been a long time in the making.”
“Indeed it has,” Andy nodded. He looked like he wanted to say more, but was holding back.
“Shall we stand out here all night, or shall we go and check in?” Scarlett laughed. Andy immediately relaxed and chuckled. He nodded and let go of her. The cold air of the night was now able to get to her, and she felt a shiver. She wrapped her cardigan around herself and opened the boot of her car. She saw the baseball bat and grinned to herself, before picking up the overnight bag and lifting it out of the boot and slamming it shut. She half turned and nearly jumped out of her skin when she saw Andy stood behind her, a holdall slung over his shoulder. Together they walked over to the main entrance, Andy beside her, but half a step behind. Just as they were about to go through the door, Andy slowed his pace and stopped. He looked around the car park, a puzzled look on his face. Scarlett stopped, one hand on the door ready to push. She looked at Andy.
“You okay? Not having second thoughts are you?”
“Huh?” Andy grunted distracted.
“No, no. I’m fine. I just thought I saw someone standing over by the shelter.” Andy nodded his head in the direction of what looked like a bus shelter, but was most likely for the smokers amongst the staff and guests. Scarlett took at step towards Andy and followed his gaze. There was nobody there that she could make out. Although she noticed a tiny glow on the floor, like a freshly dropped cigarette. Andy shrugged and edged past her and opened the door. He held it open for Scarlett to walk through, and she made sure he got a good look down her top as she did. Andy led them to the reception and they got booked in. Andy took the room key and Scarlett followed him along the corridors and up the stairs to their room. They stood outside room 13. Andy smirked.
“Are you superstitious?”
“Not particularly, are you?” Scarlett grinned. Andy shook his head and opened the door, standing aside to let her past. She stepped into the room and dropped her bag. The room had a large bed, a four poster affair with an oak frame. There was a large window, with long heavy curtains, a big oak wardrobe, and an oak dressing table. Oak was definitely the theme here. Scarlett ran and leapt onto the bed. She kicked off her boots and lay there, giving Andy her best ‘come hither’ look. Andy placed his holdall on the chair by the dressing table, and bent down to untie his black leather shoes. He eased his feet out, his eyes locked on Scarlett as he did, then nudged his shoes under the table. Laying on the bed, Scarlett beckoned him over with her finger and a sultry stare. Andy sauntered over and lay on the bed next to her.
“Aren’t you going to come closer?” she smiled. Andy nodded and wriggled closer, his body pressed up against her, his arm resting on her waist.
“That’s better,” she soothed him. She leaned forward and kissed him on the lips. She could taste a hint of mint on his breath, and his beard gently rubbed on her chin. As they kissed, Scarlett reached for the buttons on Andy’s shirt and began nimbly to undo them one by one. Andy read the signs and tried to peel off her cardigan. To help him out, Scarlett sat up, bringing him up with her, and they were soon down to her bra and his bare chest. Andy had definitely lost his inhibitions now, his eyes filled with lust and longing. Scarlett disengaged and sat back. She licked her lips, and smiled seductively. Andy was about to lean forward to kiss her again, but she put her hand up.
“Let me slip into something a little more comfortable,” she winked. Andy nodded. Scarlett slid off the bed and walked over to her bag. She bent over seductively, and turned round to see Andy staring at her with barely controlled lust. She smiled at him and picked up the bag, then headed into the bathroom. She turned on the light and closed the door behind her. She placed her bag on the toilet seat and looked at herself in the mirror. She was on fire, metaphorically speaking. She turned to her bag and undid the zip, pulling out the black underwear she had decided on for the occasion. As she undid her bra and pulled it off, there was a knock at the door. Andy called out that he would get it, and Scarlett continued to get ready to blow his mind. She heard the door open and then a soft thud, probably the door closing again. She looked at herself in the mirror again, her vivid red hair cascading in waves over her shoulders and resting on her breasts. The black negligee barely cupped the underneath of her breasts, giving her cleavage a boost that it probably didn’t need. She re-applied her lipstick and then, with a deep breath, called out.
“Ready or not, here I come!” She opened the bathroom door with a flourish and then screamed.