It was midday by the time Jonathan finally awoke. Very slowly he opened his eyes and almost immediately became aware of the pounding headache.
“Christ,” he thought, “How much did I bloody drink last night?” He was not usually a big drinker, the odd glass of wine with a meal perhaps, a couple of whiskies if he was out with friends, but not much as whisky made him bad tempered and irritable. He was not a good drunk which is why he rarely partook. But he must have downed a few last night because this headache was something else.
He lay there for a few minutes more before attempting to move and when he did the pain intensified. “Jesus!” He groaned aloud. “What the hell was I drinking?”
Still lying flat, Jonathan glanced slowly about him, trying to determine where he was. He was thirty-four but looked quite a bit younger. The strawberry blonde hair and fresh face giving him a boyish appearance, his good nature and friendly personality making him seem even more youthful. He was sharp and intelligent although not particularly worldly, but people generally liked him which greatly helped his acceptance within The Firm. At least with all but one of the board members.
Jonathan blinked, trying to focus, the room he was in was big and modern with large windows and decorated in the minimalist style. Then he remembered. He was at Peter’s Palace. He was there for the weekend, to try and build bridges with his associate whose attitude towards him of late had been somewhat prickly.
Last night there was a party. It was a good one from what he remembered, although it was all very fuzzy.
There was a girl, he thought. Yes, that’s right, very attractive, blonde, very striking and just my type. But what had happened to her? Then it came back, or at least flashes of it did. They were chatting he remembered, she had a lovely smile and a really infectious laugh. They kissed, he was sure of it. They were upstairs in this bedroom, kissing. She took off her dress. He recalled that she was wearing green satin underwear and stockings, very sexy. He could then picture her on top of him, but the image was blurry. He was sure that they had made love, certain of it, yet he could not actually remember.
‘Dammit!’ he thought, ‘Why can’t I remember anything else!’ Then it occurred to him that she might still be there. Maybe she was in the bathroom or downstairs having breakfast. He hoped so as he would really like to see her again.
‘Ah, breakfast,’ he thought, ‘I’d better get up or Peter’s going to think I’m a terrible house guest.’ He lifted his hand to rub the sleep from his eyes and a piece of cloth that had been lying on his arm slipped onto his face. He lifted it up and held it away from him to see what it was and saw immediately that it was a pair of green satin knickers, identical to those that his elusive lady friend had been wearing last night. They had clearly been ripped off and discarded.
‘Wow!’ Thought Jonathan, ‘did I do that?’ He smiled. ‘It must have been a good night.’ However, he then noticed what looked like a spattering of blood on the material and his smile was replaced by a curious expression.
Jonathan slowly sat up, his head banging like a drum, but it was soon forgotten as he looked down at himself, immediately seeing he was actually covered in blood spatters as if he had measles. Dried evidence of the sex he had with the girl was caked and matted in his pubic hair, confirming that they had, in fact, made love. Then he looked around him and saw that the bed was also stained with large red patches, as if a wounded animal had crawled across it.
Then he saw the belt. It was thick and gooey with partially dried blood. The buckle, too, was covered with it. Gingerly he picked it up and it left a thin red stripe on the bedclothes, like a long smear of paint and Jonathan quickly dropped it again, utterly horrified.
What the hell had happened? What in God’s name had he done?
Clutching desperately at straws he thought that maybe the blood was his, perhaps he had been injured in some way, but after hurriedly checking himself he could find nothing and apart from the banging in his head he felt no pain.
Then his eyes fell on the empty whisky glass and he remembered the girl. He thought of how he got when he drank too much whisky; irritable, morose – angry even – but never aggressive. At least not previously. But had the drink made him aggressive last night? Had it made him violent? Had he somehow harmed that poor girl?
His heart started beating faster as the panic he was already feeling threatened to overwhelm him. And then the bedroom door opened and Peter Bearing strode confidently into the room.
“Ah, Jonathan, old man, I see you’re awake. We’re in a spot of bother, I’m afraid, as you’ve probably realised from your appearance.”
“Oh, Christ, Peter, please tell me what I’ve done,” Jonathan blurted, tears filling his eyes, “I haven’t hurt anyone have I? That young girl I was with, the pretty one, she’s alright isn’t she? Tell me, Peter, please – for God’s sake tell me everything’s okay.”
Bearing smiled inwardly, this was going to be even easier than he had hoped.
Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here