Serial · Story

The Runner’s Return – one

Karen Hughes stopped outside her front door and checked the elaborate digital stopwatch on her wrist. She’d been running for one hour and fifty one minutes and had covered nine point three miles. Not bad at all for a forty-three year-old she thought, not bad at all.

It was the first time another thought had entered her mind for nearly two hours. She’d started out running thinking about what the girl from next door and her new boyfriend might be doing instead of painting the ceiling like they’d agreed. But that had quickly turned to thinking about what it would be like if little-miss-oh-so-perfect’s new boyfriend wanted to find out what it was like to be with a real woman instead of a bimbo airhead. There were so many possibilities, so many positions, so many different things a good-looking young man like that could do for a woman like her….

She shook her head and told herself to stop thinking like that and pull herself together. Even if she was in terrific shape for a woman of forty-three, she was twice his age and he’d got a cheerleader for a girlfriend.

She opened her front door and shouted, “Hello, it’s only me. I’m back”.

She didn’t really expect an answer, but she didn’t want to startle them when she walked in, especially as they were likely to have paint brushes in their hands, but she hadn’t expected to hear nothing. She’d been very clear when leaving for her weekly run: “Don’t go upstairs and don’t go opening any cupboards. Not because I don’t trust you, but I don’t want to risk paint drips anywhere. And don’t eat or drink anything other than what I’ve left on the sideboard. I’m having a few friends round tomorrow after the new carpet’s been delivered and everything in the kitchen is earmarked for that.”

Karen Hughes slowly put her head round the open door from the hall to the front room. Empty except for a step-ladder and two unopened tins of paint on the floor with two unused paint brushes laid on top of them. Puzzling. No sign of any activity at all. She opened the door into the kitchen, which except for the food and drinks for tomorrow’s party, was also empty.

She shouted out again “Jenny! Gordon! Are you here?!” No replies. Nothing. “Must’ve decided that they didn’t need the money after all” she thought, “must have gone home.” She took off her shoes and socks and started up the stairs, peeling her sweat-drenched top over her head and opened her bedroom door with the jogging top in her left hand.

Jenny Lowe was lying face down on the bed clutching a bottle of cherry brandy, and her naked boyfriend was staring back at Karen Hughes. He was tied spread-eagled to each of the bed’s four corners with Jenny’s bright yellow headband fastened in a knot under his nose and holding some sort of gag in his mouth.

Karen Hughes suddenly felt very embarrassed. Both from catching them at whatever it was they’d been doing, and from being stood wearing nothing but joggers and a sports bra in front of an obviously aroused and naked man.

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