Jim dropped his glass, exclaiming in a most unlike-him way: “Damn you! That was an expensive family antique!” “I’m sorry, but I’m desperate!” puffed the young man, “my sister came into this block a few minutes ago with a real creep. She’s drunk, has no idea what she’s doing and she’ll really regret this in the morning.” “Ah, that’ll be number 21. Quick, come this way” and with that Jim made rapidly for the fire escape. “It’s only one floor up” he assured the puffing young man over his shoulder as his long legs strode on ahead. Reaching the window, he bent down and pulled. As he’d thought, it was still open from this morning, when that pretty young thing had climbed out of it and down the fire escape to Jim’s back door whilst he was having breakfast. She was making a quick escape whilst the creep was in the shower she told him, before planting a kiss on his cheek as he let her out his front door.
Stepping aside, he ushered the young man through the window. He wasn’t afraid of the creep – far from it – but he’d no idea what state of déshabillé the sister would be in, so best her brother deal with that. Calling out “Katy, Katy” the young man raced along the hallway ripping open and slamming doors, before a sharp intake of breath indicated he’d found his sister. Seeing the young man launch himself into what he knew was the bedroom, Jim followed behind, in case back-up was required. Until, decidedly unsteady on her feet and a tad disheveled, the lady of the hour cannoned right into him. Peering around her into the room, Jim could see that her brother was making quick work of the creep. As she appeared decidedly unsteady, Jim picked her up. Her brother, spotting Jim, waved him off with a hasty and breathless “see you downstairs!” so Jim headed for the front door.
Reaching his own front door, Jim realised he’d not picked up his keys and so headed downstairs to reception, still carrying Katy. The doorman raised his eyebrows “she was with the mister from number 21 before, how come …?” before Jim cut him off with “I know, rescue party. Can you buzz me in to my flat please Mike, I went up the fire escape without my key?” “Surely Mr Jim, you give me a shout when you be ready” By now, Katy was beginning to feel more of a burden, so Jim called the lift. On arrival, he shouted down to Mike and, as Mike buzzed the door open, Katy suddenly came to. Wriggling out of his arms, she fell in a heap on the floor. When Jim tried to help her up, she swung at him – very drunkenly – completely missing fortunately. Deciding discretion was the better part of valour, Jim made no further attempt to rescue that particular fair maiden from his hallway floor, and waited for her brother to arrive.
It wasn’t a long wait. Introductions were made and explanations were given – although that makes it sound like a calm and orderly sequence of events, and that it certainly wasn’t. There was a lot of shouting and arm waving between the siblings, whilst Jim kept out of the way, brewing a pot of fresh coffee. Once the smell hit the warring brother and sister, they calmed down and took seats at the table. Clutching their big mugs of coffee, both looked a touch awkward and embarrassed. Apologies were burbled, and waved away by Jim “most entertaining New Year I’ve had in a while”. The creep didn’t appear – he never pursued, too much effort apparently – so Jim put Katy in the spare room and her brother Callum on the sofa.
Callum took Katy home early the next morning. Jim could tell that she was suffering – and not just from a crashing hangover, more specifically from not knowing how to meet his eye. A shame really, as she was rather lovely. Jim shrugged, “Never mind, if this was how his New year, new you was starting … life wasn’t going to be boring anymore.”
© Debra Carey, 2018