Substitute

Substitute

Status: Finished

Genre: Mystery and Crime

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Mystery and Crime

Summary

This is a book about a man who moves home, finds a and reminisces about an old love. However, when he tells his new love about his old love then the unexpected happens. And it was nothing he could have predicted. It is a tale of murder, money and betrayal. And who will come out better off in the end nobody knows. But perhaps the story will tell.

Summary

This is a book about a man who moves home, finds a and reminisces about an old love. However, when he tells his new love about his old love then the unexpected happens. And it was nothing he could have predicted. It is a tale of murder, money and betrayal. And who will come out better off in the end nobody knows. But perhaps the story will tell.

Content

Submitted: November 21, 2017

A A A | A A A

Content

Submitted: November 21, 2017

A A A

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"We haven't been able to get you the place you asked us for as your first choice.... I really am busy.... This other apartment is in a nice block.... I know it is as I've been there myself.... Really, there should be no problems.... If you accept the offer now, I can give you some money off the next time you come to us and need any more property searches. What do you say? I think it's a good offer, isn't it?"

"Do you really think it is a good offer?"

"No, it isn't. I mean, of course it is. Look, I have a good feeling about this. Call it the hard sell or a soft sell but I've been having dreams about this apartment for several nights running. They are telling me to rent it quickly. So why don't you sign the agreement and make my dreams go away."

"All right, I'll sign," he said laughing.

Then as he was getting his coat to leave, something made him look back over his shoulder at the saleswoman. It was as if a tear had come to her eye and she had just wiped it away. He wondered what kind of tear it was. Then, before he hurried out, he thought it looked like a tear of relief.

James moved into his new home. He had not even seen it before he came to spend his first night there. The building was an old 19th-century one recently cleaned of pollution so that it looked really quite good. He pushed a solid wooden and glass door to the entrance noticing as he did a man in a grey suit. He said that he was the property owner and had come to show James his apartment. They both started up the stairs only a few steps before the man turned back and said that he wanted to first show James the shared area used by all tenants.

In the shared area, there was a TV lounge with a large dining room and a moderately sized kitchen. He explained that James could use this living space anytime he wanted and as well, the other tenants used it. Then, they went up to James's new home as it was going to be and the property owner showed James a few things such as how to use the stove, the refrigerator and a few other bits and pieces.

Before coming here, James had lived in a small hotel near his family. They had suggested that he go to live there when he'd still have help as he did at home from his mother to clean his room and to have some meals. And then he had stayed there nearly 10 years. Eventually, the landlady who was in her late 60s had complained that she felt ill and she would no longer be able to manage the hotel. It was time for James to move on now.

James saw the other tenants in his old apartment or hotel room only occasionally. This was as they mainly stayed in all the time. Still, he did see them once or twice a week in the communal areas. So, it was something. James did have hobbies on a computer and had some art materials and other paper hobbies as well. And he talked to the other tenants about these.

The landlady made a breakfast and sometimes an evening meal. And James would go to the kitchen and make some lunch on his own. James's landlady said that she was keeping them all in their good health cooking so well for them. After James had been there a short time, his landlady would bring the meal to his room. She would if, as she mentioned, it was too much trouble to always dress and make conversation. So now, he had not often had it in the dining room. The other tenants also had their meals in their rooms.

There was an attempt at bringing the tenants together for a meal shortly before James was to leave. The landlady made a big pot of soup. She put it on the table together with two plates of freshly baked bread roughly cut into slices. James tried to get the conversation started by talking about an odd thing that had happened to him on the way to somewhere. But some of the other tenants walked off when he said this and went to their rooms. The landlady said that they had their own problems but that there was nothing very wrong with them. This was when he had talked such drivel.

Really, it was the first time James had heard anything like this. It suggested that he might have personal problems or social skills problems. But when he asked about it, nobody said anything that would help. This was even when James really wanted to know what people were saying about him and what it was about talking to other people that was a problem.

But before he could ask any more, the landlady had taken the bread back and put it in the kitchen. And then everyone turned swiftly and went. A moment later, it was all quiet. Everyone had gone to his or her own part of the house. So now, they were all presumably in their bedrooms.

James sat thoughtful for a while. But then as he really was hungry, he went and got the plates with the bread back from the kitchen and ladled himself some more soup from the pot. After that, he went silently to bed and lay under the blankets with the food going around his insides sending him pleasantly to sleep.

In his new home, James made his bed and put on the television. Then he lay down in the bed and slept a deep comfortable sleep waking up when it was dark.

He hadn't unpacked his clock and so he couldn't tell the time. Then, he went out of his apartment to look around to see if anyone was about and to use the shared area of the ground floor the property owner had told him about. 

When he got there, a woman of about 25 years old was sitting at the large dining room table. She was reading a hardback book. The woman had a blonde curly head of hair, a big bosom and a pleasant face.

Really, James thought, she must have been aware of his coming in the room but she had chosen to ignore him.

A smirk came to her face and he looked over at her enquiringly.

"Hi," he said. And when she said nothing, he said, "I'm a new tenant."

"Oh! Are you really?"

"What do you mean?"

"Oh, never mind," she said her smile going from her face and her looking studiously again at the book in front of her.

She was wearing thick glasses James could now see that she needed them to read. Now, despite her earlier rudeness and as well, her appearance of a brash brassy blonde, James felt oddly a deep sympathy for her.

"Why did you look at me like that just then?"

She said this looking up from her book plainly, some sweat coming down her brow and speaking quietly.

"It is just that I saw another fellow traveller. And it was not somebody who was rude to me just now. Or it was not somebody who was rude to me as soon as I walked in."

"Why do you say that? Really, I don't see that I was rude. I think you misinterpreted what I was saying or doing. But why do you say that anyway?"

James did not know what she meant. Instead, they discussed what they had in common for a few minutes. James pointed out many things that they did indeed share. There was this same apartment block that they lived in, they had a similar income, neither of them could drive for health reasons and they shopped in the same shops. Also, they had the same level of cookery skills despite both of them having meant to cook more for some time. And they both as well had computers that they used for an hour or two a day.

At this, she winced. Then, she got up from her chair. And she said that she was going up to bed.

Yet there was just a moment when she touched him on his arm as she had walked past when he felt his heart sing and his hopes rise for something more. This was despite the incongruity to the casual observer if there had been one who had seen them just 15 minutes earlier that they would make such good companions.

Still, the moment was over now as she had gone up to her bed on her own. And so he should return to his. It would be alone as well.

When he got up to the apartment, he sorted out some of his things. And he found his clock. It was 4 AM in the morning. That meant that they must have been talking for hours. But it was with him thinking only 15 minutes had passed. She as he now could recall had been reading a bit to get to sleep when he had come in. So it couldn't then have been much past midnight.

He got more of his things out now, put them away and then switched on the TV. He watched a show on in the early hours. Then, after an hour or two, he went to sleep. And he was asleep when the sun came up and shone into his apartment. So he did not see the first rays of the new day. And this was for whatever the fresh rays and the new day would bring.

The next day was a Saturday. About mid-afternoon, it became sunny and fair and he went downstairs to the shared area to go in the garden beyond it. The doors to the garden were wide open. Inside the shared area, the girl that he had met last night, the not-unattractive girl with big bosoms was doing some art on the dining room table. The sun shone quite well into the room and he did not feel an immediate need to go outside. Instead, he stopped and talked to this girl. And he tried to make some general chitchat about art feeling a tiny bit rusty as he did so.

She showed him the painting that she was doing which was a picture of a flower she had lain out on the table in front of her. It was a rough pencil sketch and not particularly good. But she seemed very keen on it and enjoying doing it.

Really, sleeping in his new bed, he had not slept terribly well. And he was still a bit bleary eyed and tired. That might explain why he did not really appreciate her picture but instead felt like nattering.

"I've never really drawn a flower like that as you are doing with it laid out on the table in front of me," he said. "Though, I did once or twice draw some flowers that were in a vase. It was when I was trying to do some art and to be a bit of an artist some time ago now."

She said nothing but seemed to appreciate what he had said as him also having an interest in an art hobby like hers.

He continued when she said nothing and whispered, "I used to have an ex-girlfriend who was an artist. She was quite a good artist and she showed me some of her work. I often wonder what happened to her and what she is doing now. Really, though, I know. That is because she actually had a degree in a technical subject but she was slumming it as an artist with people like us. So presumably, now she is doing her normal trade that you'd expect of her. I sometimes still think of her."

"Did she sell any of her paintings?" 

The girl was now paying attention and apparently keen to talk.

"She showed me a brown paper envelope where she kept the cash from the sale of her paintings that was usually stuffed behind some pipes in her boiler cupboard. I often wondered if I could just go in one day when she wasn't there and I was a bit short of money. And I could take the envelope with all the cash in it. But it was hard to know if you should do that or not or if you'd get caught. She might have complained and then they would be around my door. I mean, I didn't think I could get away with it. So I didn't do it. It was just that I didn't know how you would in fact get away with that. This was when you would obviously want to. Really, I didn't know anything that you'd have to do so you got away with it. It was hard for me to know because I had no experience of it. Do you know anything about that kind of thing, I mean if you ever thought you could just reach into someone's cupboard and get a load of cash from an envelope?"

"Why don't you just shut your mouth and not talk about your ex-girlfriend for a bit? Really, you should do so. Can't you see I'm doing some art? That is because I like doing art. And you just said that you liked it as well, didn't you...? Yes, you did. Why don't you join me and do some? Isn't that what you want to do? I know it is. Then we can have a really long chat."

He sat down and when she didn't offer him any of her art things, he went up to his room and got out an old sketchpad and some colour pencils from a storage box. The sketchpads were in storage boxes he had not unpacked still because he had not planned to do any art at all until just now. He came down, they did some art and they chatted. However, he got a bit of a headache. And he had to excuse himself and go up to his apartment to get a headache tablet. Once in his apartment and having taken the headache tablet, he lay down on his bed to rest there. Then, he slept and didn't go back down.

Eventually, he came down again at about 4:30 PM having slept through the heat of the summer afternoon. And he saw that she was still doing art on the table.

"Are you still here?"

He said this surprised. But, as well, he was pleased to be able to talk to her again.

"My headache's gone," he added. "Now we can have a better chat."

"I expected you to come back down after you had taken your headache tablet the last time," she said.

"Oh, you mean the business of art," he said. "I mean to say, is that what you did mean?"

"Yes, I did. But that is what I assumed you were saying as well."

They spoke some more. But it was all a bit confusing. Eventually, he said that he would see her another time. They parted pleasantly though touching hands.

The next week he met his landlord in the shared area of the apartment block. He was with one of his assistants. James went up to speak to him. This was as James assumed that he'd come to speak to the tenants.

However, the property owner turned abruptly to him and said, "It's the weekend. Don't you want to go and do some shopping at the supermarket? It is open now. So why don't you go and stock up on some food and other supplies? That will stop you coming up and down these stairs that some of the other tenants have been complaining about."

"But what about this shared area you talked about when I first came here? You said that it was to encourage a sense of community, didn't you? So how can I have that if I have to rest in my apartment all the time and not go out? And what about using the garden that I might want to do now it's the summer?"

"How often did you use the garden at your previous place? I hear nobody does at all. That is something I know because I've read a report about it."

Now having just moved into his new apartment and having had such high hopes, his heart fell on hearing this and how the man had described him and his previous circumstances.

His proprietor today looked at him a bit oddly if not very unsympathetically, and said, "You are not using the shared area and the garden enough. So we might convert this living room to one or two more apartments. As well, we'll see about building out into the garden. So I've told you the plan. Do you have any questions you'd like to ask?"

"No, I don't think I do."

"Good, then. I might be converting this shared living area as I've said…."

"When will you do it?"

"I don't know. That is a decision I will make soon. And after I've made the decision, it could still be some time later any work starts…. What are you doing now?"

"I'm going to go to the shops to get some stuff I need."

The property owner said no more and James left. James went out the door and up to his apartment. He got some money, his sunglasses, and a sunhat. This was to enjoy what might be one of his few long walks this summer.

James was walking to the supermarket a week later when he met the blonde-haired babe he knew from his apartment building. She was also on her way to do some shopping.

"Hi," he said. "I've been thinking about you doing art and whether I was rude to mention my ex-girlfriend or not. Somebody said it was rather rude of me.... The odd thing about it is that she lives just near here.... I don't know if she's still living here.... Really, I don't when I haven't heard from her for some time.... But I suppose that she is still living somewhere. And somebody I spoke to I went to meet said that she still slums it in the same place.... This was when she couldn't get a job in her technical field. She did not have much else to do and so she stayed here doing the same things.

"Do you think that she will be in? I mean that we could go around and see her if you like."

"She was out most of the day when I knew her. It was hopeless calling round as she was always going out. You had to phone her up and then she didn't always answer her phone either. So she was really hard to get hold of."

"Why don't we just go around there, call in and have a chat?"

"Are you sure you don't mind meeting her after the way I must have made you feel jealous of her and our relationship?"

"Me, am I jealous? Of course, I'm not. I've you now and that's what matters. So let's go round and pay her a call."

"All right, let's go then. I might like to see her again after all these years. It is just that I might like to see what she's doing now and have some interesting chats with her as I used to."

"What are you talking about?"

When he didn't say anything more, she sighed. And then they were almost there having in the meantime since they were talking walked right up to her old house.

"This is it," he said. "But it doesn't look like anyone is in."

"Wait here," she said. "No, just wait at the end of the road. And call me if anyone comes."

He waited where she had told him unsure of what she had said. He was getting more and more apprehensive and about to walk off when she suddenly returned.

There was a smear of red blood on her collar and another red splash on her big white handbag. She always took this big white handbag to the shops. She took it when it was large enough to put a bottle of water in it.

James thought that perhaps it was some blood from meat being prepared in the kitchen. And he began making aimless chatter about it. He said whether the woman had been cooking and perhaps, she had told her to leave only for now.

"I've actually just been fighting for my life. The woman you're talking about pulled a knife on me from her kitchen drawer. Is that what you just said or was it something else...?"

"What happened then? I don't really see what could have happened. Are you all right? I hope you are. Why would she have done such a thing?"

"It must have been something you said that I told her! Anyway, she didn't want me there. And then she pulled the knife."

"That seems out of character. But then, she could be a bit ruthless about rejecting people who had erred in some way. This was at least at times. And I remember once or twice she did make violent suggestions or threats. But she never carried them out. That is at least as far as I can tell. But now I don't know really...."

"Just stop talking! I'm not in the mood anymore. So I don't want to hear your prattle."

James was quite shocked she had talked to him like this.

Then seeing his look of dismay, she turned to him and said, "Didn't I tell you that I was fighting for my life a few moments ago? That must mean something to anyone! Or it would to a normal person. So why don't you appreciate what I just said and not give me any more hassle? This is even if you are not trying to do it. Or it is whatever you are doing. I don't know what it is. But just don't do it for once in your life. Are we OK with that? Just tell me if we are OK about it and then we can part ways. I'll meet you later, probably back at the apartment block. But don't go to the shared area. And don't call around my apartment. I'll come to see you at yours later."

"Yes, I am OK with that. So I will see you later. Goodbye then."

He began walking away from her to cross the road. As he left, she touched him affectionately on the arm. Then, a second later, he saw the most pathetic look came over her. It was one that he never wanted to see again.

Very softly a weakly, and ignoring his reaction, she said, "I'll see you around then!"

Then, he had turned away from her, walked along the side of the road, taken a long look to see the traffic coming and finally crossed to the other side of the street.

James was lying on his bed in the late evening later on that day when there was a knock on the door. At first, he didn't know what it was. Then he remembered with a jolt what had happened earlier on. And he got up and opened the door. He had done this almost casually but did not expect that his visitor would be less than casual. She was standing at the door in a nightgown having showered. In one hand, she had two wine glasses and in the other hand, she had a bottle of wine. As well, she smelled sweetly of some perfume. Or was it just the bath soap. Perhaps, it was.

When he didn't say anything immediately, she looked at him a bit strangely, and then said, "Are you coming? I've chilled this wine especially."

"Yes," he stammered. "I'm coming."

When he got to her apartment, he looked around and saw the soft furnishings, pink and orange coloured posters, scatter cushions and other feminine touches. But she winced when she saw him doing this.

"I'll give you one of these posters to put up in your prison cell if you ever go to one," she said.

"No," he said laughing. "I hope that won't happen."

She handed him a glass of wine and they stood in the centre of the room a bit uncomfortably.

Then, he said, "Did you get the stuff in the envelope?"

She took a big sip of her wine, and looking around, she said, "I only took that big gulp of wine just then because I want this evening with you to go well. But no, I didn't find anything. She just attacked me as soon as she saw me come in the apartment. I didn't even get a chance to say your name as an excuse. In any case, I don't think she would have believed me. Perhaps, I might have said it but she didn't believe me anyway. I had a quick look behind the pipe where you said it was, but I couldn't find it...."

"I don't remember saying it was a specific pipe. Perhaps, we should go back and have another look as they might not have raised the alarm yet."

"No, I looked out the window when I got back that I can see it from and the place is crawling with cops. Didn't you hear the sirens go off about 10 minutes after we left?"

"Actually, I didn't."

"Just drink some of your wine and relax a bit. This evening is my gift to you. It is for being such a good boy and not drawing attention to me on the way back. So please don't spoil it for me now. Do you understand that?"

"Yes, I think I do. You want a pleasant evening...."

After that, they chatted and drank late into the evening. He enjoyed himself tremendously. That there was no doubt about it that he enjoyed himself the whole evening.

He awoke mid-afternoon the next day. Looking around, he was in his own bed and he wondered what was different for a moment. Perhaps, it was something about the room. Then, he remembered the invitation of the previous evening when she had come to his door. After that, he remembered the good time he'd had with her. And a second later, he remembered their adventure and stealing the money. Then, an awful second after that, he remembered the blood on her and thought of the body in the kitchen. And after that still, he remembered that they had come away empty handed. Then, he felt the warm feeling of come when he reached down under his pyjama pants. So, he knew that he'd come and had a good time. This is even though he could not remember it all and their having sex because of the drink.

Now as well for other things, he knew that he was still a poor man. And he might remain so. He was no richer today than he was yesterday. As well, there was no hope of getting any more money just now. This was without repeating it all as he'd just done. Yet, he might not meet someone like that again. There had been ups and downs recently. But generally, he didn't really want any of it. This was except the feeling of the warmth of her body and the warm cum he must have expelled with her.

As well, now, he did not even have an ex-girlfriend that he could call on. No, never could he have again. He could not talk to this girl about art or anything else. And she was at least someone he liked a bit. Nor would she make him refreshments in her girl's kitchen. This is when he got there and she had given him her welcome. And nor would he ever again relax and chat in her small apartment. No, today, the today it was now, was not as if it was now all those years ago. And it could be never again no more or ever once do it again not any of it. As well, that was forever now and he could never go back. Also, he could not blame anyone or feel bad about anyone. And for now until he washed, he still had the warm gentle cum between his legs and the knowledge he had been with a woman. And this woman was a particular girl he had met in the communal area now that they were now going to build over. That was his memory. And for now, he had it in his apartment. He was not yet in prison. Also, he could hope it as well that it stayed like that.

THE END


© Copyright 2019 Earnest Long. All rights reserved.

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