Jed Martin, a hard-working and conscientious high school teacher, is pictured in a hotel bedroom scene of unhinged debauchery involving two naked teenage girls and copious amounts of alcohol and cocaine. How did the dedicated professional come to this and what part has a classic 19th century horror novel played in his moral downfall? Your conscientious narrator is detailing it all. We’ve got as far as the disco part of the wedding where he met the girls in question, and a point where Jed is formulating a wicked plan. In other words, the good (sorry, that’s ‘morally repellent’) stuff is still on the way. But exercise patience, my friends – there’s fun to be had in the getting there too…
‘Follow me,’ Jed tells the bridesmaid’s gracefully buxom bestie, ‘and then follow my lead. Time to hit the dancefloor, hit the dancefloor.’ It’s a popular song reference (Sia’s Cheap Thrills featuring the inimitable Jamaican rap stylings of Sean Paul – show dem it girl, bada bang bang – in case you didn’t know) and Clara titters to hear it. Staying abreast of music trends is paying dividends that Jed has never expected. The precocious teen sets aside her glass and allows him to usher her through the clumps of guests, guiding with a palm that barely touches her lower back. He steers her around the dance area, away from where he was recently chatting with Lily’s tipsy mother. The less bridal-party attention he draws to himself at this point, the better.
Uptown Funk, the first of the evening’s floor-fillers, is pumping out by the time they insinuate their way among the dancers, Clara brushing tantalisingly close to Jed in her linen party dress. They wriggle into open space and from there into sync with the music. She goes naturally – with no hint of self-consciousness – for a full-body groove, while he opts for less-is-more restraint, letting her flaunt her hot self in contrast to his ironic minimalism. (Jed is a youthful thirty-six and most definitely not anyone’s father, but he’s careful still to steer clear of treacherous dad-dancing pitfalls.) Clara’s high heels raise her eye-to-chin-level and she smiles up at him prettily, adding some Latin slink to the disco-funk moves that the Mars/Ronson modern dance phenomenon inspires. No one else, responsible-Jed reckons, is paying them much attention. Friends of Groom and Bridesmaid Dance Together at Wedding – hardly cause to stop the fucking presses. The rapid inflation of his cock inside his tailored trousers, if they but knew, would make it rather more attention-worthy.
‘So is this rescue still on?’ Clara shouts above the music. ‘Or are we just dancing?’
‘Oh it’s on,’ Jed tells her, leaning down and in so close that the skin of their faces is almost touching. ‘I mean, you and I could do our own thing, but you’re here as her friend and it’s a special day for her, right?’
‘Yeah I know,’ Clara says, with a reluctance that reads as more playful than not.
‘We can’t just abandon her to the grown-ups…’
‘I know… Wait, you are a grown-up!’ She prods his chest, her nose brushing his cheek as she laughs into his ear. ‘You’re a teacher!’
Jed can go either of two ways here – the ‘Not right now’ route, or the one for which in fact he opts: ‘Yes – and today’s lesson is how to share, okay?’ He taps a finger to the skin of her breastbone in a way he’s never done in his career to someone student-age. ‘Okay?’
‘Okay!’ Clara agrees in a wide-eyed laughy way that, if we’re interpreting subtext (and we one hundred per cent are), reads as: I’m not exactly sure what that means or if it means half of what I think it might mean, but it’s kind of funny and sexy, so fuck what it means and let’s just do it, whatever IT is!
‘Good,’ Jed says.
They share a smile and dance on, the teacher glancing around to see what’s happening elsewhere amid the mirror-ball’s whirling speckles of light. Bride and groom are dancing up an attention-grabbing storm. Dean is working all his well-honed moves on the Maid of Honour. (They appear to be working.) Elaine Babcock remains on the outskirts and is now in conversation with a man who may or may not be her husband. Lily, however, is partnering another older male relative in what might best be described as a demure sulk. She’s a few metres away from Jed and Clara and he can see, glimpsing through the milling dancers, that she’s looking their direction.
Now Jed isn’t a massive egoist – know that – but he’s damn well learnt how to read a room and has an additional Hyde-heightened radar tonight. Lily’s prevailing sentiment is this: I’m stuck with my Grandad, while my so-called friend has hooked the funny, interesting teacher guy! His plan, in its simplicity, is working.
‘Call her over,’ Jed tells Clara, and the girl needs no further bidding. She waves and smiles, beckoning with her head. Lily returns a ‘Don’t let me interrupt’ pout, whereupon Clara signals an open-handed ‘It’s not like that’ reassurance. Jed backs up his dance partner with a ‘You – here – now’ sequence of finger gestures, the inappropriate nature of which is not lost on either Hyde or Jekyll.
Still semi-reluctant, Lily apologises by way of a peck on the cheek to her ageing opposite number and sidles her way over. ‘Not a third wheel then, am I?’ she says in Clara’s ear, her friend responding with a playful ‘As if’ arm-slap followed by a hug.
‘I heard that,’ Jed says, leaning into Lily. ‘She tried to get to me first, but I’m still totally up for grabs.’
‘Oh are you?’ Lily’s mock-shock at his arrogance is the first sign that she’s forgiven them both. ‘You think I’ll be doing any grabbing?’
‘Maybe, but you’ll have to fight it out with your bezzie pal first.’
Lily bats him with her palm. ‘Now he wants us to fight for him,’ she informs Clara.
‘He was talking about us sharing him a moment ago!’
‘God, who does he think he is?’ Whether Lily is picking up Clara-style on the innuendo is far from clear, but like her friend she thinks the notion is hilarious. ‘Well if we’re sharing, it’s my turn for a dance.’
And dance she does, the bridesmaid shimmying close to Jed in modest heels that elevate her almost to Clara’s height. As Uptown Funk segues smoothly into Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You, Lily is hitching her dress so that one smooth-waxed leg peeks out of the slit in the skirts; she’s dancing for her own fun now, not to be sweet with all those senior family members. Clara plays it cool, doing her own sexy thing side-on to both and allowing Lily her moment.
For Jed it’s time to calculate and recalibrate. The eagerly playful presence of both girls, along with the shock of his new openness to possibility, is promoting increased levels of sub-trouser activity. But his inner Hyde is a schemer and knows how to corral lust into a plan that will maximise its chances of fulfilment. The off-duty teacher makes the following readings of his two partners as he dances. (See? Men can multi-task, when properly motivated.)
Lily: Having been caught up in family stuff while her bestie snagged the attention of the guy they’d jointly befriended, she’s delighted to find herself back in the game. She may not be entirely sure of the game’s name, or of its rules for that matter, but she sure as hell wants to play. Pally hugs aside, Clara is still her rival, and she’s therefore capitalising on her time as Dancing Queen, even more so when the music makes a slick cut to the ‘70s disco staple of that name. Her spinning smiley-coy hair-twirling performance, complete with extensive display of her dress’s daring backless feature, is hampered, however, by the lurking dread of parental interference. (Those tell-tale glances give it all away.)
Clara: Fond though she is of her friend, ultimately all’s fair in war and libidinous liaisons. Boyfriends may be off-limits, but casual encounters are a whole other category. That said, she’ll adapt to the situation; if Jed wants to keep Lily on board their sexy little friendship train, she’s cool with that. Hey, it even helps square things with her conscience. Plus, she knows she’s hot and she knows Jed agrees, so his keeping her pretty pal as fellow-passenger is no ego-busting biggie. Especially when she can prove herself move-for-move an equal pretender to ABBA’s Dancing Queen crown.
Yes – once Clara’s had enough of being the midpoint in this isosceles dancefloor triangle (pardon my getting geometric), she subtly reshapes it to something more equilateral, the oh-so-friendly competitors giving Jed joint benefit of their teen-tease. Lily is throwing over-the-shoulder glances while hitching up that hem to flash increasing amounts of her smoothly-waxed leg, while Clara is weaving her hands above her head, thrusting her tits proudly and out-smouldering Vesuvius.
For Jed it’s like the Prom Night all over, but minus chaperone duties, the scrutiny of fellow-staff, career concerns and every other inhibiting factor from that evening. Include all moral ones in that group. These school-age girls have got their flirt on – it’s Tori-times-two! – and he’s not just letting it happen, he’s actively stoking the fire, while mentally stroking himself. Who cares if he’s bodily interacting with young things literally half his age? Wellllllll…..
Okay, Clive maybe cares – Jed notices the groom glancing over at one point, no doubt making mental note that one of his stags is enjoying the company of his new niece-by-marriage and her friend. But frankly my friend, Jed thinks, I don’t GIVE a fuck. By Dean’s account Clive’s stag weekend behaviour wasn’t nearly as blameless as the groom claims to recall, so moral aspersions won’t serve the guy well should he ever choose to cast any. Those Friday night escorts came from families of their own, but it’s unlikely his old uni pal’s engaged-to-be-married cock took that into account when they got the toys out and began playing with each other’s wet cunt. Well, this is Jed’s night to indulge, and no third-party indignation is going to knock him off his chosen course. Fuck Clive. Fuck ‘em all. And speaking of fucking…
‘I feel like the judge in a dance-off,’ he tells the young and sweet contenders, his dick already invested in the judging process.
As intended, his words intensify their contest.
Clara reshapes the triangle – drawing in close, oomphing up her hippy-chick moves, while adopting a hyper-erect posture that shoves her boobs out so they can’t be ignored. She sweeps dark hair from her face, flashing Jed a ‘Get me, Mr Teacher’ grin that pretty much dares him to check out her quiversome goods. When she’s had her moment, she proudly retreats and shoots a cheekily defiant look to her friend.
It’s Lily’s turn. The cutesy blonde bridesmaid backs onto Jed with her skirt raised off her ankles, pulled the fabric tight enough to outline the contours of her rear. She peers up and over her shoulder, flashing her sweetest smile, while – if not full-on twerking – supplying enough shiver-and-shake to make him contemplate the proximity of his trouser crotch to her hot young ass. Then she lets go her dress and pushes up her coiffed hair with both hands, letting the strands tumble down over her shoulders in sexy disarray as she returns in triumph, resetting the triangulation.
It’s miraculous what a little rivalry can do, Jed thinks. And he’s not wrong, is he?
‘Who’s winning?’ Clara asks. The girls regard him and each other with determinedly smiling game-faces.
‘Way too early to call it,’ he says, ready to capitalise on the moment. ‘Thing is…’ He leans in and is rewarded by having both youngsters crush their sexy bodies tight to him so they can hear properly. (The ensuing conversation remains similarly up close and personal, so they can almost feel the vibrations of each other’s lips; tiny flecks of girl-spit will be landing on Jed’s face once emotions rise and he’ll love the fuck out of it.) ‘It’ll be won and lost by default if Lily’s mum follows through on her threat of an early departure,’ he tells them, casting a look to the periphery of the dance area and thus fuelling Lily’s paranoia.
‘Oh god, she wouldn’t…’ the bridesmaid hisses, more angry than crestfallen. ‘I’m in the bridal party, not her. I knew this’d happen, she can’t bear me having more fun than she is! She’ll insist, and Dad’ll cave…’
‘That’d be a shame,’ Clara says, almost like she means it.
‘Yeah, cos you’d be going home too,’ Lily fires back.
‘Well, it’s easier for me to take a taxi…’ Clara’s shrug is apologetic, yet with a lingering hint of defiance.
‘It’s not,’ Lily says, instantly countering. ‘Mum’s going to insist you come with us. You’re here with me, remember?’
‘Yeah, I know, but…’
‘But what? I’m the only person you know here!’
‘I know Jed…’ It’s out of Clara’s mouth before she can stop it. Lily looks furious, Clara regretful.
Jed leaps on the moment.
‘Hey, stick with me and no one has to leave, and no one has to fall out,’ he says, laying his hands on one bare teen shoulder apiece and marvelling at how fortune favours the boldly self-serving. Faced with the spectre of a truncated evening and/or horrible bad feeling, both girls look to him for answers. ‘This hotel has a whole other bar,’ he explains. ‘What say we hide out there for a while and I can get us all more drinks? With my own money this time, not Clive’s dad’s.’
Clara and Lily jointly express enthusiasm at his idea.
‘You two go there now – use the other exit, follow the signs. I’ll be with you in a few. I’m not trying to get rid of you, I promise. Either of you.’ He divides his conspiratorial grin between the two of them. The friends positively scamper through the other assorted queens of dance, leaving Jed to absorb the significance of what the actual fuck he’s doing.
Okay, that last move was properly devious. Your response may be any one, or a combination, of the following: A – dirty bastard; B – this guy has issues; C – don’t do it!!!; D – GO JED!!!!!, but purely in terms of a deviousness rating, he scored pretty high, and with that you surely cannot disagree. His next few actions serve to underscore how base our horny protagonist’s intentions have become. To summarise:
- He checks the Rebecca conversation for updates and finds the following encouragement: Go get ’em, fucker, and get me evidence. I want to see what a bastard you’ve been.
- He responds instantaneously with I will, and I’ll see what I can do.
- He hunts out Dean, who’s enjoying the Maid of Honour’s full and luscious dancefloor attention, and tells him he wants to take him up ‘on that offer’.
If Jed were excited by his own daring before he left the throng of dancers, he’s damn well blown his own teacherly mind by now. And things are accelerating way too exponentially to allow much analytical thought. Which works exclusively in the favour of Hyde.
Dean is making commendable progress – depending on what you personally deem commendable – towards getting his cock deep inside the Maid of Honour before the evening is through. Jed knows he should have leapt on the guy’s offer earlier, but it’s taken the impetus of the dance floor to override the last of his moral qualms.
‘Mate,’ he says, laying a hand on Dean’s shoulder (he’s never considered this bloke his ‘mate’ in the past, but tonight Dean is the kind of friend Jed needs), ‘I could use some of that party spirit.’
‘Don’t you go anywhere,’ the tried-and-true reprobate instructs his overheating dance partner. She appears way too enamoured, her decolletage quivering way too extravagantly, to consider escaping; another bridal party member in the crosshairs of lust, Jed thinks. Dean nods to him and together they leave the reception room, heading for the Gents’ toilets.
The time is 8.57pm.
By 9.05pm Jed and Dean are leaving the restrooms, the former having pocketed several grams’ worth of cocaine in individual miniature plastic bags along with a trio of ecstasy tablets wrapped in an improvised toilet tissue envelope. The latter items were suggested to him by his partner-in-devilry. ‘If your little party’s going where I think it is – yeah, I’ve seen what you’re up to, you fucking animal – these will help the mood nicely.’
Jed’s heart is racing now like he’s already ingested some of what’s secreted in his tux jacket. Deano’s attempted run-down of drug etiquette, however, he cordially declined: ‘No need, buddy. I’ve done three courses in this shit over the years. I teach awareness as part of Life Skills.’
‘Christ, you’re one crafty cunt. I approve. If I was a teacher, I’d be you. But that’s still all theory. What practice do you have?’
‘A bit, from the Drama Society parties at uni, and I’m about to have some more. Then I can teach from a standpoint of increased personal knowledge, right?’
A smile from Dean at that one. ‘Yeah, good point.’
‘Not right now though. I’ll know when it’s time. Got somewhere to be.’
‘I know you do, you dirty bastard. You’re a dark one. There’s more to you than I thought…’
Thus ended their dubious toilet cubicle exchange.
The extent to which Jed feels heartened by Dean’s verbal high-fives is one more indicator of his progression to the Dark Side. Fuckers like Dean are all Hyde – they only wear Jekyll as a suit. And now Jed is flattered to be considered as a kindred spirit by this guy. There IS more to me than anyone thought, he considers as he parts ways with his generous supplier, including me.
Here’s something else to consider as Jed bypasses the wedding reception and follows signs for the hotel’s alternative bar. It’s not the taking of the drugs that’s important right now – it’s the having. Consider the decade’s worth of information and guidance dispensed by this ethically impeccable member of the teaching profession. The sheer fucking wrongness of what he’s just done is, for the time being, enough. Enough to propel him, high on his own supply of inappropriate actions, to the next fucking wrong thing he’s going to do. And that one’s going to be crucial.
Lily and Clara are waiting for him in the Clifton Bar, so that he might find the right angle to do it.
He locates them – conspicuous in their wedding-wear – in one of the bar’s snugs. Both faces are as moody as the bar’s lighting, and he considers on approaching what may have passed between them during their wait.
Lily: (Aggrieved) You were really thinking of staying if I had to go?
Clare: (Defensive) No, well, you know – if you can’t stand up to your parents…
Lily: (Huffy) Look, if you want him, you should just say.
Clara: (Appeasing with notes of pissed-off) He clearly wants you to stick around as much as me, so…
Lily: (Nervous but thrilled) Are we crazy going off with him like this?
Clara: (Plain fucking reckless) Maybe. Who cares? Do you want to have a party or don’t you?
To be clear – Lily and Clara may or may not have said all or any of this. As narrator I could verify what they did say, but by now you’re aware that this is chiefly Jed’s story, thus all about the guesses he makes based on an interpretation of the girls’ mood, and how these guesses translate into action. It’s fun to speculate, but not essential to know. At any rate, the girls’ faces are transfigured with delight on Jed’s return and that’s what’s important. That he uses as his starting point.
‘Thought I’d vanished?’ he inquires, squeezing in next to Lily, who tugs at the skirts of her dress to make room.
‘We didn’t know where you’d gone,’ Clara – seated opposite – tells him. ‘Maybe tried to get rid of us both.’
‘As if,’ he says. ‘The night’s young. Me not so much. But it’s still way too early to have either of you whisked away. Here…’ He flips out his wallet and hands his debit card to Clara. ‘Go use your sexy wiles and get us a quick round of drinks. What you’ve both been having. Mine’s a Scotch – whatever kind. No ice, no nothing. Just Scotch. And don’t do a runner with the card.’
‘You’re a teacher. How far am I likely to get using this?’ Clara grins.
‘Oi, cheeky, go or you can buy your own drink.’
She trips off to the bar, any reservations she had about leaving him with Lily erased by their frisky exchange. Who knew Jed’s charm could be employed in such a nefarious way? Certainly not Jed. He turns his attention to Lily, who seems equally pleased at his presence, if marginally more guarded.
‘So we’ve sidestepped your parents,’ he says, ‘if only temporarily.’
In terms of increasing the fuck-prospect percentage (pardon my getting mathematical) this is the right thing to say. Lily is all too keen to vent to her attractive stranger, whatever her thoughts regarding his intentions.
‘Oh god, don’t get me started,’ she says, but her subsequent diatribe proves he’s done just that. ‘It’s happened before, it’s becoming a thing. We’ll go somewhere – like the last family holiday we went on – and Mum’ll drink and get all flirty. You saw it, didn’t you? I couldn’t believe it – well I totally could – and talking down to me too! It’s always the same now, the flirting, until Dad says we have to go home. He always ends up being designated driver and he hates it. He hangs around until he gets bored and can’t stand it anymore. Then they’ll both make it all about me when really he’s pissed off at her, and she doesn’t want me having any fun if she can’t. It’s so stupid.’ She runs out of steam and then looks abashed, like she can’t quite believe her own stridency.
‘Damn,’ Jed says, enjoying the increased blood-traffic crotch-wards, ‘you’re hot when you’re angry. I mean, you’re hot when you’re not, but anger definitely gives it an edge.’ Even in the subdued lighting he knows she’s blushing. Curls tossed slightly askew post-dancing, manner a tad blurry and flustered from drink, she looks divine. Divinely do-able. He savours the luxury of that evil thought. The more space he allows it, the more it determines his actions. Every word, every glance, every gesture. He’s in this game now, in it deep – soon, he hopes, balls-deep – allowing every other aspect of his nature be consumed by one. Hell, the secret stowed in his inside breast pocket alone would derail his career and fuck up his life. He knows he’s committed.
Lily laughs at his compliment, a whole other kind of hot now. ‘Sorry, I…’
‘Don’t be.’ Jed smiles at her outburst but adopts a reassuring tone. ‘It’s beats keeping it all in. I get it – you’re lively, you’re attractive, you want to cut loose and enjoy yourself like a grown-up, while your parents still treat you like a child. Right?’
‘Mmhmm, right,’ Lily says, once she’s recovered her breath. Her blush has only deepened.
‘You know why it happens,’ Jed pursues. ‘With your Dad it’s sheer protectiveness – because he knows men aren’t to be trusted around his lovely young daughter. Even the ones in respectable jobs wearing tuxedos can have wildly wicked intentions, so I’m totally with him on that.’ Lily giggles like the Big Bad Wolf is telling her to beware big bad wolves. ‘As for your Mum, she’s just envious.’
She looks at him enquiringly.
‘It’s true. Look, she’s attractive and sophisticated and fun-loving – don’t cringe, it’s a fact – but you’re all those things too, plus you’re young and you’re free in a way that’s only a memory to her. You’ve got it all to touch and taste and explore and experience for the first time – well maybe not the first time, what do I know? – and while she’d never admit it, that’s why your Mum will try and whisk you off home. Because she’d love to be where you are right now, and it galls her that she can’t.’
‘God.’ Lily is still burning up, but she can’t take her eyes off him. She’s locked into every word, however suggestive. ‘Do you teach Psychology too?’
‘English Literature is all psychology,’ he tells her, ‘as I’m sure you already know. Fears and desires and secret motivations. All that Jekyll and Hyde stuff. But…’ He stabs the table with a finger. ‘I’ve turned back into a boring teacher, explaining shit to you when we’re here to relax and have fun.’
‘You’re not a boring teacher. You’re a good one, I can tell. And we are having fun.’ Her eyes are bright, her expression an excited kind of wary. Jed senses deep in that moment that his improvised patter is working. Alcohol plus adrenaline, throw in the pulse of Rebecca’s messages and the throbbing presence of those class-As, and his potential to be the kind of smooth operator he has always envied is finally coming to fruition.
‘I’m glad,’ he tells her, ‘because you deserve fun. Both of you.’ His allusion to the friend-factor troubles her happy expression. ‘Hey….’ he says, touching a finger to her clavicle as he did with Clara on the dance floor. (The action sends an electric jolt to his cock.) ‘I’m not here to break up your little dream-team, either way. Is that clear?’
‘Mmhmm,’ Lily breathes, like she’s enjoying being put in her place by teacher. ‘Very clear.’ Jed’s level of penile activity is – gratuitous though it may seem to point it out – substantial by the time Clara returns with the drinks tray. There’s a fair chance, Jed knows, that by standing up to help her, his fly-pressurising tumescence will become obvious to Lily, but hey, she’s studied Biology in her time, right? She knows when, why and where blood gets redirected, so suck it up, girl. The knowledge, that is. The tumescence itself her pretty mouth can deal with in due course.
‘So,’ Clara says as they sit, Jed pocketing his debit card and passing out the drinks, ‘you both look very serious. What’s up?’
‘Just making it clear,’ Jed says, savouring the burn of the neat Glenfiddich she’s brought him, ‘that you’re both in this little adventure together, so no one’s bailing on anyone. She goes, you do too – and that’s not going to happen.’
‘Fair,’ Clara says, she and Lily observing each other over their vodka- and tequila-based drinks. ‘Just so long as she’s not the English teacher’s pet.’
Lily almost spits her drink but retrieves it gamely and swallows. ‘I am totally not a teacher’s pet.’
‘There’s no shame in it,’ Jed says.
‘I’m not!’ Lily laughingly insists.
‘Look, you’re both smart girls,’ Jed tells them, ‘with loads of adventure and initiative. I reckon you both have serious pet potential.’
‘We’ve got what?’ There’s mirth in Clara’s outrage, Lily joining in the general amusement.
‘You heard me. We should make the evening a contest, see who’s the most shameless teacher’s pet. However much one of you sucks up, the other has to suck up even harder. You both aced it in the dance-off, so it’s going to be competitive. Frankly I can’t wait to see how it turns out.’ Neither girl’s glare succeeds in disguising her smirk (call their mutual expression a ‘glirk’ if you like). ‘What?’ Jed says, with a goodfella-style shrug. ‘If you’re going to persistently bring up the teacher thing, then good. I’m putting you both in my class.’
‘Oh are you?’ Clara says. ‘And what are you going to teach us, exactly?’
‘Yeah,’ Lily adds, feeding off her friend’s boldness. ‘What’s the subject?’
They both raise eyebrows. ‘They had that at our school, we’ve already done it,’ Clara says. ‘We’re both very skilled at life. Aren’t we, Lil?’
‘Oh yes,’ Lily agrees. ‘You’re too late, we’ve got all the skills. The life ones.’
‘Have you now? Then you won’t mind if I give you both a test later.’
‘That’s not fair,’ Lily says. ‘We’ve got tests all next month. Big tests. We’re here for fun, aren’t we, Clara?’
‘It’ll be a fun test, I promise.’
‘I’ll bet you’re all about fun tests,’ Clara says, with vodka-laced comic irony. ‘Aren’t you, Mr… Mr… Whatever-You’re-Called?’
‘Mr Jed to you. Or Sir. And yes, my tests are the funnest.’
‘That’s not English,’ Lily says, slurring a little. ‘You sure you’re a teacher?’
‘Maybe he’s an ex-teacher,’ Lily says. ‘Maybe he got kicked out for being bad like he’s being now.’
‘I’ll have you know I’m a total professional,’ Jed says, jabbing a finger at the curvy little brunette. ‘It’s wicked girls like the two of you who try and lead me astray, but it never happens. Not on the job. I could tell you a story about that.’
‘What? Oh do, do!’ Lily responds instantly, for once beating her friend to the punch.
‘Yeah, tell us.’
Fuck, Jed thinks, having impressed himself once more with his own daring. I’m really going there.
He is. He goes there. He tells them the Tori Beeching story. Admittedly he words it carefully, employing euphemism as laid out in the following comprehensive guide:
‘She was always flirting in lessons’: The little bitch gave me a huge classroom hard-on every chance she got.
‘She was dressed particularly provocatively on Prom Night’: I wanted to rip that red dress right off her pretty tits.
‘She knew how to twerk for her boyfriend’s benefit’: She dry-wanked the fucker all evening with her smoking-hot, spankable little ass.
‘I was trapped and didn’t know how to react’: I got to watch the whole hot-as-fuck teen porn show.
‘She knew I was watching’: The teasing little slut put on an extra-hot-as-fuck teen porn show just for ME.
‘It was too much for him and nature, shall we say, took its course’: The horny young bastard spunked his load right there in his pants as I looked on.
‘She offered to go off with me’: I finally had the opportunity to fuck that prick-teasing teen into oblivion.
‘I turned her down and got out of there’: I went home and jacked myself stupid, thinking how I wanted to nail that hot schoolgirl bitch in every tight hole she had.
‘See?’ he finished, as Lily and Clara all but clutched their ribs, their laughter loud enough to draw other drinkers’ attention. ‘Professional.’
‘Poor you,’ Lily giggles. ‘What a perd… pred… perdic… situation.’
‘Get you,’ Clara says. ‘You’re a goodie two-shoes after all.’
‘When they’re my teacher shoes. And tonight…’ He sets his foot briefly on the table to reveal an elegant slip-on. ‘…I’m not. So if there’s any twerking or lewd suggestions from either of you, I may not be so gentlemanly.’
‘I don’t think we’re here because we think you’re a gentleman,’ Clara says. ‘Right, Lily?’
‘I…’ The question catches the blonde bridesmaid off-guard. ‘I’m… We’re…’ A bleeping notification interrupts her befuddled thought process. ‘Fuck,’ she says, the word an instinctive response to what she sees on checking her phone. Her mental processes have instantly sharpened. ‘Mum and Dad want to know where I am. They’re going to come looking. What’ll I tell them?’ She looks to Clara, then to Jed.
‘That you’ll get a taxi?’ Jed suggests.
‘They’ll say no,’ Lily frets. ‘I know what they’re like.’
The moment has come. Will Jed have to suggest it, or might someone else be nudged into doing that on his behalf?
He shrugs. ‘Look – I’d offer to drive you both home later, if I hadn’t been drinking. That’s the reason I’m stopping here for the night, so I could have a couple of pints and…’
‘Stopping here?’ Clara cuts in. It was always going to be Clara. ‘You’ve got a room?’
‘I do, yes. I mean even if I was stone cold sober, I doubt they’d be keen on…’
‘Why don’t we go there? Lily?’
Once again the bridesmaid struggles to keep pace. ‘Ehhh…’ She looks at Jed. ‘Well, I…’
‘It’s okay if we go to your room, right?’ Clara says to Jed. ‘Lily, you can text your Mum from there and let her know you’re good. Say you’ll take a taxi later, then switch your phone off. She won’t know where to find you.’ To Jed again: ‘That’s okay, right?’
It’s more than alright. It’s his plan. ‘Fine by me,’ he says. ‘Room to relax. Choose our own music. There’s a minibar too. But you know my rule, no hottie left behind. Lily, what do you think? Fancy an adventure?’
The bridesmaid’s face resolves from doubt into a kind of determined enthusiasm. There’s no way this girl wants to poop the party, Jed thinks, for a whole slew of reasons. ‘Yeah, sure, let’s do it,’ she says, eyes bright and teeth snaring her lower lip. Clara claps her hands, looks positively jubilant.
‘Great,’ Jed says. ‘I’ll enjoy your company. Here’s what we’ll do…’ Both girls lean in expectantly and they all enjoy the moment of collusion. ‘I’ll go up now so it doesn’t look like I’m luring innocent young women to my lair,’ he tells them with a faux innocence that they both appear to find terribly amusing. ‘You finish your drinks and join me in ten. Go right out of here and the elevator is on you right, I think. Keep an eye out for snooping parents.’ He grins at Lily, who grimaces at the idea of being caught. ‘It’s room 207.’ He writes it on a napkin, which he then folds, tucking it into the strap of Lily’s bridesmaid’s dress. ‘Remember – two’s company, three’s a party. We good?’
‘Yup,’ Clara says, all but saluting him.
‘Mmhmm,’ Lily confirms, nervously beaming.
‘Great. Just need to stock up on party supplies from the bar…’
The supplies in question are a bottle of water, plastic cups and several straws. All examples of non-biodegradable waste, he considers, as he signals jauntily to the girls and departs. He’s adding environmentally destructive profligacy to his list of moral crimes that evening. Mustn’t get ahead of myself, he tells himself as the doors to the elevator slide shut behind him. All the really fun moral crimes have yet to be committed.
Fuck. Make that fuckfuckfuck. This is unprecedented. It’s illicit fantasy shit that he’s in process of making real. He leans against the wall as the cubicle makes its smooth ascent, and lets his head drop back against the hard surface. Deep breaths, deeeeeeeeep breaths… And relax.
Room 207 – that’s second floor, room seven in UK hotel notation – is as he left it on checking in, with one small overnight suitcase on the bed. He tosses his tux jacket onto the chair at the dresser and glances about, realising he doesn’t know where anything is.
Ten minutes’ head-start. Our bad-boy needs to prep, while keeping his shit together.
He adjusts the lighting first – switches on both overhead lamps at the head of the double bed and using the dimmer switch to balance the room’s illumination halfway between garish and sinister, at ambient. The room still retains the heat of the day, and Jed has intentions of making it significantly warmer, so he switches the air-con to a low setting for the comfort of all parties concerned.
As for music, he checks the compilations stored on his phone. Lusty Valentine 2018 – God, it’s the mixtape he compiled for Trish but never got to use, due to relationship crash-and-burn. The compilation has minimal psychological baggage attached, though, as he never got to fuck anyone to it. Now there’s opportunity to put that right, load it with some seriously hot associations. He’ll save it though – won’t risk too much, too soon. It’s important to get the girls properly relaxed. He opts instead for a 2019 popular song dance remix from YouTube. Not his style, but it’s the kind of stuff his senior students love, and so he sets it playing.
The sheer manipulative nature of what he’s doing strikes him – well it would, right? – and he catches sight of himself in the dresser mirror. Neat, suave, unruffled from the dancing. Off-duty Jed, but Jed nonetheless, the whole package – or that’s what his reflection suggests. As if Jekyll is still in command of the vessel, with Hyde locked safely in the brig. Thing is, Hyde busted out some time ago, trussed up Jekyll and presently has him roped up, with his own socks stuffed in his mouth. (Stevenson never used this metaphor in his 1885 masterwork, but I think you’ll agree he should have done.)
Now however Jed’s long-established self makes a resurgence, unexpected and sharp, like he’s broken free of his bonds and spat out the socks and is ready to put his twisted darker self back in his box.
What are you doing? Jekyll-Jed says, looking askance at himself. Seriously, what the fuck is this? This isn’t you. You’ve got to live with yourself next day. They’re doing their A-levels, for fuck’s sake! Like your own students – Alice, and Esther, and Olivia. Oh sweet Jesus, Olivia… Fuck! Stop that! Now! You’re off on some grubby little authority-figure who’s-the-daddy power trip and you won’t be able to look at yourself afterwards. And your pocket’s full of cocaine – what the fuck is THAT all about? Produced in some Colombian sweatshop so you can play at being some debauched city-trader wannabe stud? You’re not Tony fucking Montana, you’re a grown mature man. You’ve got pride, you’ve got ethics, you’ve got responsibilities. What are you THINKING?
What am I thinking? Really? What am I THINKING??? I’ll tell you. Hyde has risen up, cosh in hand, and he rains down a succession of well-aimed blows upon Jed and all his good intentions. I’m thinking about my dick – about where it’s going to be and what it’s going to do. I’m thinking about naked teenage tits and squelching teenage cunt. I’m thinking – you pathetic pontificating liberal-minded oh-so-worthy fool – about Tori fucking Beeching and how you felt the night you could have had her but you didn’t. I’m thinking about fucking who you like, where you like, and how the FUCK you like. As for the cocaine, you can flush it down the toilet, but how will that change anything right now? Answer – it fucking won’t. So why not suck it up your snout instead and have a party?
‘Why not indeed?’ Jed says the words out loud, his inner objections fading to a whimper. With precious seconds ticking down, he retrieves one of Dean’s plastic sachets from his tux and takes it, with some other items, to the bathroom. Once there he tips the powder onto the glass shelf above the sink and, using his debit card, lines it up. The straw is way too long, so he snips it in two with clippers from his toiletries case. The shorter piece he inserts deep in one nostril (he’s done this once before, years back, at a student theatre after-show party that went on and on). Then he presses the other nostril shut, sets straw to powder and vacuums the lot in one long hearty suck. He even wets a finger to gather up the residue, before popping it in his mouth and licking it clean.
He splashes his face from the tap and rinses out his nose, then pauses to look at himself, water still dripping from his chin. No actual coke-buzz yet, but even the act of taking it has sent chemical racing through body and brain. He studies himself – same facial contours, same taut, peripherally cragged skin, same searching blue-grey eyes, but no hint of Jed, no glimmer of Mr Martin come to that. Benevolent friend, well-intentioned teacher? Both are gone. Jed sees himself afresh. He recognises what’s so long lurked there just behind his eyes. Frankly, he sees Hyde.
He checks his phone on impulse – flicks his Rebecca conversation into view. Do it, she says in response to his last message. Own those bitches’ holes.
There’s a rap on the bedroom door above the music and Jed’s heart leaps in his chest. Blood courses afresh within him, destination groin. ‘Just coming!’ he calls.
He looks back at his own reflection, and it’s smiling.
TO BE CONTINUED