Heather’s Busy Week Pt. 05



(Tuesday, 23rd April 2002)

Heather woke disorientated. Eventually, once she’d convinced herself she wasn’t drunk or still dreaming, she realized she was upside down in someone else’s bed. Upside down with a pair of alien feet under her nose. The lights were off and dawn hadn’t yet broken, so she went by touch and smell. Quickly deducing the feet were Gill’s she suspected they’d fallen asleep during a prolonged sixty-nine. Well, the last of several prolonged sixty-nines. That was a shame but, while she was down there . . .

‘I wouldn’t do that if I was you,’ Gill called. ‘I’ve got fast bowler’s feet.’

Heather was already fondling the crick chick’s little toe. ‘Everything feels okay to me,’ she called back. ‘And they’re not whiffy at all.’

‘My feet are battered,’ Gill insisted, ‘and my toes are all crooked and manky. And that’s now, when they’re at their best. A month into the season they’ll be black and blue.’

Was that a challenge? Heather took it as one. She systematically licked, sucked and nibbled every last digit. Then she gave similar attention to Gill’s insteps, soles and heels. Gill soon stopped issuing warnings and made purring noises instead. Heather almost joined in. She missed the feel of nylon under her tongue but liked the touch of bare flesh just as much. And toe access was better without fabric in the way, she had to admit. Gill’s purring was exciting, too. When she at last kissed her way up a pair of smooth, shapely legs she actually made a bet with herself:

Two-to-one I’m wetter than her.

Gill didn’t seem to want to take turns anymore, which was fine by Heather. She quite happily helped herself. She’d developed acute tongue-ache and repetitive jaw strain before finally accepting they’d both had enough. By then dawn had hauled her weary ass out of the sack, the sun was shining and birds were singing.

‘I make a mean cup of coffee,’ the crick chick announced.

Side by side, sitting up in bed and sipping from mugs, Heather was struck by the cosiness of the scene. It was difficult to be cosy in a stark background of black and white, but somehow Gill pulled it off. Heather frowned; she didn’t much like cosiness . . . it made her nervous. She glanced down at the carpet, noticing it for the first time. Dark grey. Probably charcoal. Hmmm . . .

Casting around a little further she saw a large stuffed toy on a chair. The chair was black with shiny metal legs . . . naturally . . . and the toy had been carefully set down in a sitting position. Nothing too unusual about that; lots of girls kept their teddies through their teens and beyond. Except this wasn’t a teddy, it was a panda.

Heather was slightly spooked by the continuation of the black and white theme. Fortunately, Panda had a saving grace: a splash of colour around his neck. The red and gold stripes were, to say the least, a bit of a relief. ‘What’s that?’ she asked.

‘It’s an MCC tie. A real one.’ Gill laughed. ‘It’s a capital offence to wear one of those without being a member at Lords. Members are all stuffed shirts, though. I reckon Soo is less stuffed than any of them.’


‘She’s a girl panda. I’m hardly likely to sleep with a boy panda, am I?’

‘Where did you get the tie?’

‘One of the girls got drinking with a group of members while we were playing down there. And not in the hallowed areas, I hasten to add. Don’t ask me how she did it, but she got away with five ties. She kept one for herself and handed the others out to the two best batsmen and two best bowlers . . . including me.’

Sipping in silence, Heather could think of several things “one of the girls” might have done to earn five ties. As a gold star crick chick wouldn’t approve of any of them, she kept her ideas to herself.

‘”Batsmen”,’ she said instead. ‘Shouldn’t it be batswomen?’

‘That’s subject to debate. Most of the other roles have names that work for both sexes. Some girls use “batswoman”, but not many. A few use “batter” in the hope men will use it too. Most stick with the traditional version because cricket’s a game of traditions. Let’s face it, girls will never be truly welcome if we try to introduce “batspersons” will we.’

‘I see what you mean, but I still prefer “batswoman”. I used to hate “spokesperson” but I can’t remember hearing it in ages. We’ve got “spokeswoman” in, why not “batswoman”?’

‘I really enjoyed last night,’ Gill resumed after another short silence.

Oho, here it comes.

‘Me too,’ Heather said quickly. ‘There are things you need to know before we do it again, though.’


‘Things about me.’

‘Don’t say I just slept with that serial killer. The one who leaves cryptic messages next to the girls’ mutilated bodies.’

‘No, I’m the one who strangles them with their own knickers.’ Heather grinned. ‘And that takes some doing, believe you me.’

They giggled a while but Gill’s eyes had clouded. ‘Is this the big brush-off?’

‘No, not at all.’

‘So what are these “things”?’

‘I porno izle can be a bit of a whore. I’m never going to be faithful to anyone. Not until I’ve finished uni, anyway. And when I leave I’m going travelling. Come July I’ll be off.’

‘So there’s no relationship on the cards. The best I’m going to get is sex every now and then until July. Is that it?’

‘I’m sure I’ve got dozens of other failings, but they’re the two that spring to mind.’

‘Sex every now and then sounds okay.’ Gill took Heather’s empty mug and set it down beside her own. ‘When’s your first lecture?’

‘Nine o’clock.’ Heather didn’t protest as Gill pushed her onto her back. She could have easily overpowered the other girl but now wasn’t the time. Gill obviously wanted her turn after all.

‘My next one’s at eleven . . .’ Heather went on. ‘Good grief! That’s nice!’


The nine o’clock “lecture” was actually a tutorial. Heather missed it, although she made the one at eleven, after another dash home to change into student clobber. Arriving ten minutes early, she had the pick of places in the as yet empty theatre. Taking a seat near the back she reflected on how things had changed. As freshers it had been lectures all the way, using the larger theatres. Back then attendances must usually have been around fifty or sixty. And once a week they had a two-hour session known informally as “Economics and . . .” The “and” included Business Studies, Maths, IT and a whole host of other disciplines. They had needed the biggest theatre on campus for that, and that seated three hundred or more. Nowadays her classes were mostly tutorials in groups of ten or less. Full-blown lectures . . . such as the one soon to begin . . . were smaller affairs, attended by perhaps thirty at a push.

Other students began to arrive in the usual dribs and drabs. She noticed Bryn arriving with Lucy and had to smile. Unlike herself, Lucy saw no problem in sleeping with course-mates . . . as long as they came equipped with willies, that is. Rumour had it that Lucy had scored with every last male, including a couple who hadn’t really wanted to score. Heather didn’t usually listen to rumours but she believed that one. In fact she suspected Lucy had made a list and was running down it again and again.

‘Hello, Heather, you look exceptionally radiant today. Is that why you missed our tutorial?’

‘Hello Ruth. I’m delighted to see you, too.’

Ruth sat beside Heather and nodded towards Bryn. Bryn was still with Lucy, three rows below them and off to their left. ‘Forsaken us today, has he?’

‘So it would seem.’

Ruth pulled an A4 notepad out of her backpack and plonked it on the wooden ledge in front of her. ‘Was she in the bath as well?’

Heather looked at Ruth. The girl had formed a loose sort of trio with herself and Bryn this final academic year. She was bright and good-looking but gave very little away. Heather knew next to nothing about her personal life. All early enquiries had been batted away, so she’d given up asking. Being quiet and secretive was the girl’s prerogative, she’d decided. Except she’d been a bit chattier of late. Almost flirty . . .

‘Lucy?’ Heather grinned. ‘Do you mean was she in the rugby semi-final bath? Or was she in my bath this morning?’

Ruth’s eyes momentarily widened. Then she laughed. ‘Either would be good gossip.’

‘Sorry to disappoint you. She missed out on both.’

‘Who was in your bath this morning, then?’

‘It was someone else’s, actually. And it was a shower, not a bath.’ Heather held Ruth’s gaze. ‘You won’t know her.’

‘Her!’ Ruth’s mouth opened and snapped shut again. ‘I knew it,’ she said in almost a whisper. ‘I just knew it.’

Professor Thomson arrived before the conversation developed, prompting a ragged chorus of mumbled greetings. As usual he was in great form, regularly digressing, as the whim took him, but delivering his message clearly for all that. Heather had always enjoyed his lectures and was sad they were nearing the last few.

Good grief, this sadness is getting to be a habit!

‘Hev,’ Ruth said as the address ended, her voice soft but urgent. ‘I didn’t mean . . .’

‘To offend me?’ Heather smiled. ‘I’m a woman who has sex with women. I’m not ashamed of my sexuality. And I don’t care what people think about me.’

‘I’m not ashamed about mine,’ said Ruth. ‘I’m terrified about people’s opinions, though.’

The theatre had emptied quickly. Professor Thomson was still reassembling his notes, even though he hadn’t referred to them once. There were two African-born students lower down, in the front row, talking and laughing, clearly not discussing Business Studies. Otherwise, apart from Heather and Ruth, the room was deserted.

‘I normally lunch in the Union Bar,’ Heather said. ‘Care to join me for a pint and a chat?’

‘You drink beer at this time of day?’

‘Only a pint or two. And I eat too. They do the most amazing baguettes. Cheese and tomato. Cheese and onion. Ham and tomato. Tuna and I don’t porno know what. All sorts.’

‘I suppose I could have a Coke.’

The African guys arrived at the door at the same time as the two girls. ‘After you, sweet lady,’ the taller one said to Heather. ‘And you too, Ruth.’

‘Thank you, Sam.’ Heather’s smile was warm and genuine. Sam was one of life’s really nice guys. She’d miss him when . . .

Stop being maudlin, Hunter!

Ruth didn’t seem completely at home in the Union Bar. Taking a snap, management decision, Heather muscled her way through the throng and ordered two Marston’s and two cheese and tomato.

‘They’ve run out of Coke,’ she said glibly, before Ruth could object. ‘And everybody likes cheese and tomato sarnies.’

“Lunch hour” stretched into ninety minutes and went well. “A pint or two” turned into three and a half for Ruth, four for Heather. As the beer went down Ruth became positively talkative. She was bisexual but reserved about it. She wasn’t repressing anything, but didn’t feel the need to advertise. Joining clubs and societies wasn’t her thing. Nor were gay bars or pubs full of horny students. She’d passed her time at uni discreetly. In fact, in her words, she’d been “an active undercover agent”. And, although she’d also been “a bit of a mouse” she’d had “lots and lots of indecent proposals”. She hadn’t taken them all up . . . obviously . . . but she’d accepted quite a few of the more appealing ones.

Heather had suggested lunch partly as a friend, partly out of curiosity. Ruth had, it transpired, accepted hoping it might lead to something more exciting than lunch in the refectory. Indeed she made it patently obvious that an indecent proposal from Heather would be welcomed. So what the heck! Phone numbers were exchanged and “early next week” was pencilled into the old social diary.

Lucy wasn’t involved in the afternoon’s two tutorials, so Bryn joined his regular companions. If he noticed the smell of beer or a couple of extended comfort breaks, he didn’t comment. Then the academic day was over at last. Hooray! Following the general exodus, Heather and Ruth made their way outside. This time there was no policewoman lurking nearby, ready to waylay an innocent student. Thankful for that, Heather turned to Ruth.

‘I’ve something arranged for later,’ she said, ‘but if you fancy a quick coffee at my place . . .’

‘I can’t. I’m due at the dentists’ in twenty minutes, boozy breath and all. You know what they’re like. If I blob they’ll discontinue me.’

‘”Discontinue” sounds like something out of 1984.’

‘Exactly. I bet they have blacklists and all sorts.’

Heather kissed Ruth on the cheek, stooping a little to do so, as she normally had to when she kissed a girl. Ruth responded by flinging her arms around her and trying to snog her face off.

‘Nice,’ Heather observed when they eventually parted. ‘If far from discreet.’

Ruth laughed. There were students coming and going in all directions; somebody must have recognized them. ‘I don’t care anymore,’ she said. ‘I think your lack of inhibition is catching. Or maybe it’s because I’ve finally realized it doesn’t matter. Three more months and we won’t be here. Neither will the gossips.’

Ruth set off downhill, heading for the town centre. After sneakily assessing the girl’s backside as she went, Heather started off in more or less the opposite direction, heading cross-campus and towards home. A few hundred yards later she remembered her phone was off. And she’d skipped the usual lunchtime check. All sorts of important people might be waiting to hear from her.

She found a bench under an overhanging roof, sheltered from the drizzle, and powered up. Three texts and a missed call. Hmmm. Texts from Sam, Eleanor and yesterday’s mystery number: the one she now knew belonged to Stuffypants. The missed call was from Rita. Deciding to answer the easiest first, she opened Sam’s text.


Heather shook her head, grinning widely. Sam was exceptional in two particular ways. First and foremost, he was one of the few course-mates she had shagged. And secondly, he had not had the regulation two nights, he’d had six. And he’d deserved six. Using logic she didn’t fully understand herself, Heather had ruled Sam warranted two nights per year. She’d actually told him so, back as freshers. He’d laughed and said he was delighted to be receiving positive discrimination. It was, however, hard to be sure about his reaction because he laughed and joked about simply everything. And he was naturally funny. Heather had sat next to him in a lecture nearly three years ago and he’d had her in stitches all the way through. In fact they’d come very close to getting thrown out. When the lecture finished, not wanting the laughter to end, she’d suggested a drink. Abandoning his habitual, perfect English he’d put on what he called his Ole Man River voice. “Is you sayin’ that out of pity for dis poor black boy?” “Not me,” she’d replied. “Pity is the last thing on my mind.”

They’d slept together rokettube that night. And again, a couple of nights later. Then Heather had found herself in a quandary. Mary Rose had more sayings than Mark Twain. One of her favourites was, unsurprisingly, about sex: It’s the most fun you can have without laughing. Sam was the exception that disproved that rule. In his case sex very much did include laughing. Take their very first time, for instance. They were in that heady race to orgasm, her ready already and desperately hanging on, him supposedly desperate to finish for her. And he’d been laughing his head off. So, soon, was she. God knew why, but it was just impossible not to join in. Lying under him, stroking his smooth ebony skin, she’d had tears of mirth running down her cheeks. Then he’d said, “I’m a-cumming,” and they’d both cracked up.

A woman loves a man who can make her laugh. That wasn’t one of Mare’s, but it was true. True in Heather’s case, anyhow. Two nights with Sam and she’d been worried about falling for him. Meaning properly, properly falling for him. Allowing themselves two nights per year had seemed to be a reasonable compromise . . .

Until now, with all six options used up and time running out on them.

Once more would make it seven, she thought. What if seven nights with Sam works like waves, too?

Discounting the very real risk of laughing herself to death, Heather replied.



He replied almost instantly.


Mentally updating her diary, Heather opened Eleanor’s text. And gasped.


Bloody hell! How does she know!

That sort of message couldn’t be answered in writing. Heather dialled and spoke direct.

‘How do you know?’

‘Why hello, Heather. How nice to hear from you.’

‘Where are you? Can you speak?’

‘I’m in the same hospital waiting room, re-reading the same tatty magazines. And yes, I can speak.’

‘You don’t have to stay there all day long, do you?’ Heather was momentarily side-tracked. ‘Is Carrie all right?’

‘Don’t worry, her recovery is continuing.’

‘Get yourself out of there, then. Go shopping.’

‘From what I’ve seen the shops are a bit . . .’

‘There are trains to Manchester. Chester’s worth trying too, although it’s farther away. And what do you mean, “Mario’s huge”?’

Eleanor actually giggled. ‘I got there quite late last night. I didn’t realize Monday was early closing. I wouldn’t have stayed, but Mario insisted.’

‘I bet he did.’

‘Well, by the time I’d finished everyone else had gone . . .’

‘Including the sexy waitresses?’

‘Why ask?’

‘Because two of them are Mario’s daughters.’

‘Oh!’ Eleanor sounded taken aback. ‘He told me there wasn’t a Mrs Mario.’

‘She died ages ago. But there’s a lesson for you there. Don’t trust strangers just because they whisper sweet Italian nothings in your ear.’

There was a silence.

‘Well?’ Heather prompted.

‘Well everyone had gone. Waitresses, chefs, bottle-washers . . . everyone apart from Mario and myself.’


‘He invited me to have another drink, in his backroom . . .’


‘I don’t care what you think. I haven’t had a man since Guy passed away. So what if I did make Mario go twice?’

Heather was getting into kettle and pot territory. She abruptly changed tack. ‘I jolly well hope you did make him go twice. And I don’t think anything negative. Go for it, sister!’ Then, slightly cautiously: ‘Do you still respect each other?’

‘He drove me to my hotel, right onto the forecourt. Kissed my hand on parting. Yes, I believe we do.’

‘Can we still safely go there tonight? You won’t get terribly embarrassed or anything?’ Then, suddenly alarmed: ‘What did you use for contraception?’

‘Thank you for thinking I’m still capable.’

‘Are you?’

‘Yes, although I doubt I’m particularly fertile anymore. I bought myself the morning-after pill earlier, if you must know. Washed it down with NHS tea.’ Eleanor giggled again. ‘Isn’t that a wonderful invention? I know a few girls who could have used it in my university days.’

‘NHS tea?’

‘No, silly. You know exactly what I mean.’

‘What about embarrassment?’ Heather repeated.

‘I’m a grown woman, the mother of twins. I don’t do embarrassment.’ Hesitation. ‘And I booked us a table for eight o’clock, so we have to go, don’t we? Perhaps . . .’

‘Perhaps what?’

‘Perhaps we could meet up outside.’

Heather laughed and promised to be there by five to eight. Before moving on to Rita’s missed call she spared Mario’s backroom a thought. She’d been there herself, more than once. More than twice, too, because quickies on desks and against walls didn’t count as whole nights.

‘Hello Rita, how’s tricks?’

‘Alex is doing my head in.’

‘Tell me something new.’

‘No, really, Hev. The nurses are trying to get Carrie onto regular visiting hours, like everyone else. He insists on sitting with her day and night. And quite honestly, it’s getting creepy as well as annoying. I dropped by this morning and he was half lying on the bed, asleep and holding her hand. Any closer and he’d have been in there with her.’