Brighton Road

When Lindsey, leading a secluded life in a small city starts worrying about her sister Kate, where will her curiosity lead her and what will she find herself falling into?

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3. Imminence

 

I was aware in the following weeks of Steve still talking to Kate. Although he and I were still seeing a lot of each other, he seemed uninterested and practically lazy to do anything of any use, and I often found myself frustrated at his immaturity, sending him packing in my sister’s direction, hoping she could deal with him better. It turned out she could, and I wondered if her calm and sensible character had actually forced Steve to cool his head off. He would often relate to me their encounters, and although I hid it, I was actually very curious to hear what was going on between them. But it turned out that both I and my sister were to be disappointed: Steve was a dead cause.

                However all was not well with Kate. After the third consecutive night in which Kate had failed to turn up at my house, I started to pester Paul again, asking him to kick Steve in her direction. Steve was staying with Paul in preparation for the wedding which was now only a week away. After Kate had each night not made it to my home, she had consented to let me know that she was well in the morning, but each time with a tone of regret and secrecy. She wouldn’t let me near her house, and neither would she talk to me for more than three minutes. I was beginning to disapprove of all this mysterious etiquette.

                It was also around that time when more and more murders began springing up, now all over the city. Two were killed in one week, three in the next and one the week after. They were all kinds of people, in all areas and all found in the same way. I supposed that Kate was just worried about these cases, which was keeping her away so much and so stressed. The police were frantic and the whole system descending into a great cataclysm of terror.

                But during all this chaos, Steve did actually manage to do something useful and get hold of Kate. He called on her at home and insisted on taking her to the movies and a having a pizza afterwards: he was so persistent that Kate couldn’t refuse. Steve had noticed the whole way through how far away Kate was, but still forcefully maintaining her good cheer and chatty nature. Steve even had a piece of gossip to tell me as he reached the end of his tale,

“We bumped into one of Kate’s ex’s!” He cried exuberantly, putting down his empty mug, “It was so funny,”

“Funny?” I inquired,

“He’s an old fat dude with a moustache and bad dress sense.” Chuckled Steve, “Even owns a hair salon!”

“How did you get that out of her?” I managed to fumble, completely astonished. Kate never related any personal information to anyone, let alone about her shady past.

“I don’t even know!” Steve shrugged, “He brushed past us and then... It all came flowing out.”

“A hair dresser you say?” I repeated, wracking my memory, “I seem to remember...”

“My goodness!” cried Steve, “What?”

“I think he was called Fred, or Frank or something.” Then it clicked in my head: the bright neon sign flashing past in my memory, and Kate’s irrational reaction. “Frank’s Snips, the place round the corner!” I moaned, flying into agitation, “Poor Kate!”

Steve looked at me in a perplexed way,

“What is it with women?” He asked, “It’s no big deal, he’s an ex. Anyway, I was just having a gossipy laugh!”

“Yeah, but to have to live around the corner from such a creepy guy,”

“Creepy?” Both Steve and I were now completely engaged,

“He always was strange. Gosh, it must have been at least eight years ago. Kate met him at a blind date, a joke from one of her friends, but they kind of took off! It was crazy!”

“A guy like that?” Steve was totally taken aback, “Maybe her taste in men is a little strange...”

“You’d fit that category then!” I giggled, passing him the plate of biscuits.

                Even after Steve had left and he had forgotten about Frank, I didn’t. The next time I managed to get hold of Kate, I very tactfully brought up the subject,

“Steve said you bumped into that guy Frank?” I said, trying to sound casual. Kate didn’t answer immediately. I was on the phone to her yet again, as she was still pretending to be out every time I called on her at home,

“Oh, yeah I did,” she said, brushing the idea aside, “He took me to the movies you know!”

“Frank?” I eyed suspiciously,

“What? Steve did.” Kate sounded tired and uninterested, rustling with something else in the background, “I think he’s trying to get somewhere with me, but I’m already meeting someone else tonight.”

“What?” I cried, “You’re with someone?”

“Not quite,” she said, an obvious smile on her face, “but I’m going out with him on Thursday.”

“Am I entitled to know who he is?” I teased.

Once again Kate brushed me off and finished the call merely a minute after, saying that she had to take a call from work. I still wasn’t satisfied. Gosh, my curiosity really was getting the better of me.

                More imminent was the wedding of Paul and Maggie, creeping up scarily fast. That Wednesday I found myself up and straightening my hair long before nine in the morning, picking out a suitable scarf and pair of gloves. It was autumn and rather gusty, and the whole wedding with a theme of orange, brown and yellow colours, which Paul claimed to be unique and hearty, but  considered to be rather more drab and sickly. I had found an orange dress covered in what looked like tropical fruit and birds, and decided that that would have to do. Paul couldn’t expect much of me anyway.

                I arrived early at the Church, a small parish one in the outskirts of Bristol, and was greeted by a very anxious Steve, awaiting the arrival of Paul. There were a few family members scattered here and there, but none seemed very interested or enthusiastic, and the mood of Steve didn’t help. Apparently the priest was sick, and another one had to be called in from twenty miles away, being the only one who was free, and who was also late. I did, however manage to distract Steve from the situation by parading along the altar and cheekily adjusting all the perfectly laid out flowers, just to see if anyone would notice: I was bored. Steve scolded me a few times but then succumbed to his instincts by relieving his faithful post by the door to come and chat to me. He noted how I always was the attention seeker. I was proud of it.

                But soon, my reverie was broken by the arrival of my own sister, which would have been a grand entrance, had I not been utterly astonished at her spotless dress, sexy heels and overall gorgeous appearance. Kate had once again out dressed me. I was fuming: my best mate’s wedding and my sister would get all of the attention! I tried to act humbly on speaking to her, but before too long was back on my routine of annoying relatives and taking out my own frustration by hiding all of the order of services a mere minute before the bride was due to arrive. I really was in a bad mood, but at least revenge always tasted sweeter than a hot apple pie. 

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