He awoke the next day to find Carol Evans already dressed and standing at the bottom of the bed. “Ok,” she said, “You’ve kept your part of the bargain, and I’ll keep mine, but I’m beginning to feel a little guilty about something.”
Gordon Lister got out the bed, dressed, stuffed Alison Archer’s underwear in his pockets and turned towards the woman he’d made the agreement with two days earlier. “About your friends? Don’t worry. I did consent to anything.” She didn’t reply; just turned and gestured for him to follow.
They went down the stairs without speaking and towards the front door which she opened before kissing him tenderly on the cheek. “I’ve got a little confession to make,” he said looking down and starting to smile, “actually I’ve sort of quite enjoyed this Christmas. I’d have been all alone at my mother’s and this was different to say the least.”
Carol Evans grinned back at him. “Well I’m glad about that as I’ve got a confession to make as well.” She paused and took a deep breath before she continued. “You didn’t damage that BMW. About five minutes before you skidded up against it, someone else ran into it. They must have been going far too fast round that bend as the crash made a lot of noise. I looked out of the window to see whoever it was reverse back and drive off again, but they’d gone before I could get a number or even the model of the car, so I couldn’t tell anybody anything about the accident even if I’d wanted to, but as you were so persistent with your offer and wouldn’t let me explain … ”
Gordon didn’t reply. He was too stunned. It explained why his mother’s car was barely scratched, but as he walked towards it, all he could think about was his agreement with the neighbour, which as a man of his word he felt obligated to keep, and two other women sat somewhere planning humiliations for him which he’d no alternative but to go along with.
He unlocked the car door, opened it, sat inside, turned the ignition with one hand, and adjusted his trousers with the other as he didn’t want to drive with the uncomfortable bulge rapidly hardening at the anticipation of what a New Year might bring.