"You hate me don't you?" I said with a pinch of sarcasm.
"Come on, it's just this once," pleaded Rory as the Security Lodge reverberated with the sound of a truck engine pulling up to the window on the right side near the entry barrier. Rory handed the driver a clipboard and yelled over the engine noise, "There you go mate; name, vehicle registration, trailer number and signature."
Rory and I had worked as security guards together for over six years. We had become close and fierce friends during that time. We were both similar in many ways. Neither of us were particularly bright. Both of us were twenty six years old and we were both sci-fi geeks but we could handle ourselves in a fight something we had demonstrated on more than one night out in Newport.
The way our roster worked at the truck depot we had every second Saturday off and we would often go out for a drink, go fishing on his boat or just laze around my flat watching TV. The latter was our plan for this weekend. It was coming up to the end of the month and money was tight until payday the following Monday.
It was on the Tuesday that Rory had dropped a bombshell on our plans to do what was pretty much nothing anyway. Rory's sister, Lucy, was coming to stay with him for the weekend. It was a last minute thing arranged after his parent's house became occupied first by ants from the garden and then by the extermination bloke who had clearly learned his trade from the Russian circus.
The house had become immersed in a tent while the gases were pumped in to kill the invaders. A European health and safety think tank had determined that such gases pumped into a house would need a week to clear thus making Rory's parents and his younger sister homeless for that time. While Rory's mother and father went to stay with his aunty in Bristol, Lucy found herself staying with her brother.
"I can't leave her on her own," pleaded Rory. "Besides we're not doing anything specific anyway so she won't be in the way."
"How old is she now? Fifteen?" I asked fearing having my weekend off ruined by some snotty teenager wanting to watch High School Musical 27 and then singing along with the music word-for-painful-word.
"She's eighteen," replied Rory.
"Really?" I said incredulously. "If she's eighteen then why don't you just let her hit the town?"
"Are you mad?" he shot back in a way that implied I had recommended he throw her to the mercy of a pack of hungry wolves. Then again it is Newport! Rory was notoriously protective of his younger sister. He seemed to refuse to acknowledge the fact that she was growing up and this meant that the two of them were often at each other's throats over boyfriends. It was always a temporary thing however. Despite their disagreements they were quite close. "Come on she's a good laugh. You'll like her, you'll see. She's got our sense of humour."
"Our sense of humour," I repeated before laughing. "That's hardly a trait I'd expect from a young lady. Alright I guess it'll be ok."
So that Saturday I prepared for a night-in with Rory and his sister. As usual my Saturday off began with a lay-in until eleven thirty before jumping in the bath which consisted mostly of another hour's sleep before fifteen minutes worth of actual washing. After breakfast I decided to go out and get some supplies from Abdul's corner shop.
I placed the plastic bags outside the door to my flat so I could reach into my pocket for my keys. As I started to retrieve them I heard the door behind me open. Whenever this door opened I would always take a look. Living across the hall from me was Carol, an energetic thirty four year old divorcee which in my books should a crime punishable by the castration of her former husband for letting her go. She was so much fun and had the energy of a much younger woman having previously been stifled by what was practically a loveless marriage.
Seeing me standing there with my shopping she grinned at me as I fought with my keys that had caught on the inside of my pocket.
"I'm guessing you and Rory are getting hammered tonight?" she asked brushing aside a strand of her dark auburn hair from her face.
"If I can get my bloody keys out…Got 'em!" I growled as I felt a strand of fabric rip in my pocket before my keys were finally freed from their denim prison. "Rory's sister is coming around as well. She's staying with him for a few days."
"Oh!" she laughed. "Lucky her."
"Yep, got a full night planned too. It's the Firefly marathon tonight," I explained to which she again burst into a fit of laughter.
"Ok well have fun," she said as she locked her own door.
"Why don't you come around too?" I asked. "Help even it out."
"Oh I would but I'm more of a trekkie kind of girl," she replied quite sarcastically yet playfully.
"Hey that's fine with me, I'm sure I got some old VHS tapes lying around somewhere," I replied with a smirk right across my face.
She just smiled brilliantly as she said, "See ya."
I watched her walk down the hall towards the stairs. I have always had a thing for Carol and I'm ashamed to say my eyes were probably staring at something they shouldn't have as she was walking away. Once she was gone and with it the thoughts I was having about her a little voice in my head said 'I am a bad man'.
With nothing to do until Rory and Lucy came around I decided to clean up a bit if only to make a good impression on her. I wasn't doing it for any reason other than not wanting to appear a slob. It was as I was stuffing some old car magazines down between my sofa and the wall that my mobile phone started ringing. I looked down and saw that it was Rory calling me.
"Alright mate?" I said after accepting the call and putting the phone to the side of my head.
Rory sighed, "Bad news. I've been called into work. Michael has gone sick again!"
"Aw, and I've gone to so much effort too to make my place presentable," I replied somewhat cynically. "You've got to learn to say no. Tell them it's your night off."
"I know," he huffed. "Anyway I have a favor to ask."
"Do you mind if Lucy still comes over? At least then I know she will be ok."
That didn't seem like a good proposition to me. It was bad enough having her here with Rory but having a total stranger in my flat all night made me dread hours of uncomfortable silence.
"She's eighteen not twelve," I protested. "She'll be alright at your place on her own."
"Yea but the guy next door is drinking in the garden again and it's obvious he is going to kick off with his wife. I'd rather her not be here on her own when that happens. Besides you owe me."
"Oh?" I asked somewhat confused.
"For making me read that fan fiction story, remember?" he explained jokingly. I started to laugh heartily as he continued, "I can't watch Harry Potter ever again without thinking of…"
"Alright, alright," I said finally giving in. "You going to drop her off on your way in?"
"Ok," I said. "See you then."
I was hardly excited about entertaining Lucy for the evening. She didn't really seem the type of person I would get on with after what Rory had told me over the years. For starters she was quite intelligent having recently completed her A-levels with top marks. She was waiting to go off to university in September something that Rory dreaded having heard what students get upto in places like that. To cut a long story short, unlike me and her brother her head was screwed on straight.
Quarter to six in the afternoon and my doorbell rang. I took a deep breath before answering it not knowing what to expect or even how she looked. My imagination took over there. At one point a rather horrific thought popped into my head of Rory in a dress and having long hair. That made me shudder in disgust.
I opened the door and there was Rory. Standing behind him was Lucy. She was hardly what I expected. She was quite petite in her five foot seven stature with long shoulder length blond hair that was shaded to an almost bronze colour. She seemed to hold her head down almost submissively in the presence of her brother who hung over her like a hawk searching for its prey.
Rory made a quick introduction before shooting off for work. He barely put his foot in my flat before he was gone leaving me with Lucy standing in the doorway waiting to be invited in.
"Uh…Please, come in," I said standing aside to let her pass.
She just smiled a polite thank you before stepping inside. As she brushed passed me I couldn't help but be taken aback by her. She was very pretty in the face her features being both delicate and pristine looking like they had never known dirt. She wore a small pink tank top and light blue denim jeans in a look that said 'I'm only visiting my brother's friend'.
"So…" I started rather awkwardly after we had taken a seat. "You're going to university?"
"Yes," she replied forcing me to ask what she was intending to study. "Psychiatry."
"Ah, trying to figure out how your brother works is it?" She grinned again in a polite fashion. "Oh I'm sorry, would you like a drink of anything? Tea, coffee, coke?"
"Coke would be fine please."
I retreated into the kitchen to pour her a glass of coke before returning to the living room to continue this thrilling conversation. As I had expected, the first twenty minutes or so were filled with polite conversation in between extended periods of awkward silence. Several times I wondered if the silence was brought on by me staring or whether it was just me being paranoid. Either way I was on edge for some reason. It wasn't like she was an alien or something.
It's just infatuation , I told myself. Don't get any ideas because you know you would regret it.
I needed to take my mind off it and so I asked her more about her plans now that she had left school.
"Well I've always wanted to go onto university and get a degree in psychiatry," she explained quite formally. "I do actually like the idea of figuring out why people do things."
"I always thought psychiatrists just attributed everything to sex." I couldn't help it. It just blurted out of mouth. The filter I had placed between my brain and my tongue clearly wasn't working. In the micro second it took for her to respond I thought I had crossed some line already. Would Rory kill me just for that? Would she think I was some sort of pervert?
"Pretty much," she giggled.
Phew! She thought it was funny. Her giggling finally broke the ice between us, ice that was made all the more thicker by Rory's rather brief introduction and rapid departure. It seemed the two of us were unsure of each other at first but now we were more relaxed thanks to my uncontrollable mouth. If only my brain was half as quick…
The air itself became thinner in the room as we started talking more casually. Given that they shared the same DNA she was totally different to Rory in everyway. Whereas Rory was quite a closed person for a long time after I met him she seemed very open to me. Strangely, it worked the other way too. I was telling her things I wouldn't normally tell someone I only just met.
The night wore on and we each enjoyed a few drinks but mostly each other's company. The fact that Rory was quite overprotective of her came up several times.
"Don't look at it as a burden," I told her. "It shows he loves you."
She baulked as I said that before she protested in quite a mature way, "I'm not as naïve as he believes me to be and I can take care of myself."
"Really?" I asked. "Let's put it to the test. Get up!" I stood up in front of her and repeated, "Come on get up!"
"Ok," she giggled while somewhat confused.
"Ok, I'm a mugger. Defend yourself."
"What?" she giggled heartily.
I threw myself at her and playfully grabbed her around the waist. I started to pull her across the room, the two of us in a constant fit of hysterics. She laughed so hard she didn't have the strength to fight and instead dragged her feet. Suddenly, I lost my footing and with her in my arms I fell to the floor dragging her down with me. The two of us lay there side by side laughing at one another. She was so much fun and I was glad that Rory wasn't with us otherwise it wouldn't have been anything like this. He would be watching over us like a hawk the whole time and I…
Oh my God! I fancy my best friend's sister!
As I looked over at her I found she was looking back at me and we gave each other a look. Not just any look but that look; the one that recognizes when a spark shoots between two people. Normally when this happens I would make a move but a voice in my head just said it's not worth it. If I did anything about this then it would destroy my friendship with Rory. I didn't want that.
She is beautiful though…No! Stop thinking like that.
"Well," I sighed. "Time for beddy-byes I think."
I got up off the floor before helping her up. She was going to have to sleep on the sofa since I only had the one bedroom. I fetched her a spare blanket and pillows and left her to make her own bed on the sofa.
"Well," I said. "Good night."
I went to shut the living room door, something I haven't done since I had moved in, when it suddenly sprung open again. That was when I remembered the top hinge on the door was loose. It wouldn't shut properly no matter how hard I tried it always leaving a six inch gap.
I considered letting her sleep in my bedroom since that door shut properly but she simply said, "It's ok. It'll be fine."
We bid each other good night and I went to bed my thoughts dominated by the enjoyment of the evening and the possibility of asking her out for a proper date. But how would Rory take it? My mind was busy, too busy to sleep. I just lay there with a world of possibility before me.