Bertie and the Hairdresser Who Ruled the World (6 page)

BOOK: Bertie and the Hairdresser Who Ruled the World
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Celeste peered down at James's enthusiastic Mr Dinker. A flick with her toe sent him bobbing back and forth. Another whimper. She could see he was profoundly aroused. Not bad for a sedentary man in his late fifties, not bad at all. ‘You look ready,' she mused and, gagging him again, straddled his waist and plumped herself down, gloved fingers guiding him home. She settled on his thighs, squatting, squirming, forcing him ever deeper.

Actually, James would have argued that ‘forcing' in this context was perhaps too strong a word. There was no forcing necessary. He had to force himself to go to Westminster each week, or force himself to pay his council tax bill, but
could not be described in any way as forcing – and all notion of coercion evaporated the instant she began to rock back and forth.

Celeste shuddered at the sublime sensation. She'd technically been a virgin before marrying, but no longer. James was a delightful, passionate, exciting, nicely endowed but above all, immobilised lover, and neither would've had it otherwise. Having finally lost her cherry, she now embraced coitus with the same extravagant enthusiasm enjoyed by the rest of the human race. Their arousal peaked. The excitement was too much and satisfaction was achieved in a flurry of thrashing, sweat-streaked limbs and panting moans.

Or at least it did for Celeste. It was difficult to tell exactly what was happening to James, but judging by his spasmodic wriggling and ragged respiration it was probably safe to assume he was also having a splendid time.

Or maybe a stroke.

Bertie watched the climax of their mating ritual with little interest. Boredom had set in long ago. Heavens, it took these pink monkeys so damned long! Surprising their species hadn't died out waiting for something to happen. No such trouble for him. He and Milly were done and dusted with lots of noise, some moderate flapping and the occasional weather warning in ten seconds flat.

Including foreplay.

Now that's a proper man for you!


Buoyed by his deliciously enjoyable weekend, James returned to London in both a happy frame of mind and laced into a pair of exceptionally tight leather punishment briefs. Angela shook her head sadly when he walked into the office, stiff-legged and grinning hugely. She knew exactly why he winced as he sat down.

‘She does like to strap you in tight, doesn't she?'

‘My wife is talented in that direction, yes.'

‘Promise me you'll take them off if your toes go blue. Again!'

‘I'm not
much of a masochist, despite reports in the papers to the contrary. Right, what have we got this morning? Anything I need to know about?'

Angela Hutchinson had stuck with James through thick and thin. They had first met when James worked at the MoD. How long ago that now seemed. So many things had changed, but Angela hadn't. She was still rosy-cheeked and blue-eyed, still blessed with waves of naturally blonde hair – and still formidably talented. Next to Celeste and Bertie, she was his closest friend and confidante. A blushing English rose she may have been, but those innocent, wide-eyed looks belied the sharpest of minds.

And a fearsome temper; James had never forgotten the menacing way she handled the office pencil sharpener.

James's needs were modest. Unlike most MPs, who seemed to equate the size of their staff with their perceived importance, he only needed one assistant – Angela. Frankly, most of the time his presence wasn't really required at all. She was in charge whether he was there or not, and continued to run his official life with consummate, effortless efficiency. In addition to updating his constituency website, one of her prime tasks involved shielding him from the torrent of anonymous hate mail that poured in every day. The Establishment did not like James. Trolls lurked everywhere. She responded to their cowardly vitriol with crushing sarcasm and humour, pointing out spelling and grammatical errors, advising on evening classes to boost their command of English, suggesting various places to insert all manner of unlikely objects, and generally having an excellent time. Her nephew, showing a rare talent that promised a stellar future career in MI5, had bought a clever little piece of software from the darker recesses of the internet and installed it in James's computer, allowing Angela to trace and log all his incoming communications, just in case some outraged nutter threatened to go all mental over the worrying prospect of increasing democracy in the West Country.

All MPs have an office in which to house their staff. The lucky, popular and important ones are provided with offices in the Houses of Parliament themselves. Sadly, James did not qualify, failing spectacularly on all three criteria, so he'd been allocated a tiny broom cupboard in the Norman Shaw Building opposite the Palace of Westminster, where the hoi polloi of MPs were housed. He didn't mind at all. His cupboard was amply big enough to house them both and that was good enough. Loyalty personified, she'd resigned from the MoD and stuck with him through the turmoil of the last election. The two of them against the rest of Westminster. Like The Lone Ranger and Tonto.

But with more leather.

In his new role, he spent far less time at the House than any other MP, preferring to maintain the personal touch in his constituency rather than sitting on arcane committees and figuring out ways to claim even more expenses. Besides, he didn't like being away from Celeste and Bertie unless it was absolutely necessary. This minimal attendance also suited those many MPs who expressed their disapproval of him openly. Frankly, they made it abundantly clear that the less they saw of him around the place, the happier they felt, and this unkind ostracism extended to the eight restaurants and six bars and lounges dotted around the grand old building. So, after working all morning, James left Angela and her prawn salad ciabatta and went in search of some lunch off the premises.

The area around Westminster was far too crowded with milling throngs of tourists, all waving their cameras and posing in front of Big Ben, and so he strolled, hands in pockets and deep in thought, to a very nice little coffee shop in Dartmouth Street just ten minutes away. He was welcomed as an old friend, ushered to his favourite window table and enjoyed a bowl of homemade chicken broth with warm tiger rolls and a plain, ordinary, no-nonsense cup of coffee: no frills, no fancy Italian accoutrements, no barista from Walthamstow massacring a Tuscan accent. Just filtered coffee. Black. No sugar. OK?

He then texted Celeste to give her an update on the state of his constricted parts and put in a formal request for extra straps and spanking the next time he was home, knowing these were never denied. With that to look forward to, he browsed through the papers, sipping his drink, but now being a man of a certain age, the strong coffee soon made its presence felt. The briefs probably didn't help, either. He settled his bill and searched out the little boy's room. The spotless facilities at Choccy, Toffee & Coffee were located out back, separated from the lounge and, unhappily for James on this occasion, extremely private. No sooner had he pushed through the swing door, when he was grabbed from behind and bustled unceremoniously into the only cubicle by three large and very determined gentlemen. All four squeezed in and the door was slammed and locked. Normally, James was happy to spend time in an enclosed space – wardrobes figured near the top of his favourites list – but he preferred to be alone in these moments of blissful confinement. This was entirely different.

James turned indignantly and was about to protest, when he received a warning finger pressed hard against his forehead. ‘Zip it, Timbrill, not a word,' hissed their leader, a shaven-headed man, hard and chiselled, with nasty little dark eyes and an aura of smouldering violence. Bertie would have hacked his face off in a moment as a matter of general principle. The man's two companions stood behind, silent, with carefully cultured, gimlet-eyed sneers on their simian faces. A solid wall of muscle and bone stood between James and freedom.

It was all rather unpleasantly claustrophobic.

The shaven-headed man moved up to stand even more uncomfortably close to James, which in actual fact simply meant swaying slightly forward in the crowded cubicle. A strange gleam of whetted anticipation hardened his black eyes. ‘You need to concentrate on what I'm saying,' he said very softly. ‘Here, let me help.' Without warning he grabbed James's leather-clad balls and gave them a good old-fashioned twist.

To the right.

Now, it would be fair to say James was fond of his balls. Very fond. Only three people had ever touched him in his special little place before: his mother, who'd efficiently cleaned and talced his infant marbles while coochie-coochie-cooing him outrageously; James himself, who, with enormous enthusiasm had embraced testicular self-examination twice a day from the age of fourteen; and now his wife, whose cool, leather-gloved fingers did unspeakably pleasurable things to the Timbrill family conkers. This man was the fourth – and James didn't like it very much.

‘Listen very carefully, Leather Boy.' His grip tightened painfully. James squirmed, a squeak escaping gritted teeth. The briefs offered no protection. Sweat popped on his brow. ‘You will be contacted from time to time with specific instructions. You will follow these instructions to the letter. Failure to comply will result in … unpleasantness. You will never question these instructions and you will never attempt to identify their source. You will not contact the police. Should you fail to comply with any of these, your wife will then be regarded as a viable target, exposing her to equal – unpleasantness. And your wife's parrot. Especially your wife's parrot.'

‘He's a macaw,' gasped James. Bertie was fussy about that. ‘Get your facts right.'

‘Thanks for the correction, you smart-arsed toff.' Another twist, this time to the left, and James keened in agony. The man sneered. ‘Thought you would've liked that, pervert! Don't forget, now. Be a good boy, do as you're told and from this moment on your life will be surprisingly rewarding. Here's a small golden handshake. Welcome to the team.' Gorilla Number One placed a bulging sports bag on the loo seat. The man with his grip on James's knackers gave one final squeeze, then polished off the interview with a sharp, straight-fingered jab to his stomach. James collapsed in a heap, winded, scrotum screaming, his disinterest in the proceedings now overwhelming. He grovelled on the floor between pan and wall as Gorilla Number Two extracted his mobile and lobbed it down the khazi. Then all three goons tried to exit the cubicle at the same time, only to get snarled up in the door frame. Wedged firmly and with arms flailing, they pushed hard. The cubicle creaked alarmingly. Baldy swore, but was caught fast in a hard-muscled sandwich. All three pushed again; the frame finally splintered and they popped free, the door swinging back with a bang on its broken hinges.

‘Idiots!' he muttered with real venom, shaking his lapels and stalking out, trailing chastened gorillas in his wake.

James groaned. The floor smelt suspect, an aroma of badly-aimed pee and bleach. He huddled in the recovery position for quite a while until his legs began to work again then slowly levered himself to his knees, rubbing his bruised stomach. He felt pretty crap, to tell the truth, and his mood was certainly not lifted when he unzipped the sports bag and looked inside.

A quarter of a million pounds peered back.

His shoulders slumped. ‘Damn!'

James did not consider himself a man of action. Men from Gloucester rarely did. He felt excessive physical exertion only made him look undignified. For God's sake, he didn't even run to get out of the rain any longer, but he also knew he needed to exit the scene as soon as possible. If the staff – who he now realised by their notable absence must all be deaf as a post – discovered him, then the police would certainly become involved. They all knew he was an MP and the Met took attacks on MPs very seriously indeed. Instinct told him this was probably a bad move.

He needed to talk to Celeste and thus fished his phone out of the toilet sump. Unsurprisingly, the screen remained stubbornly blank despite an impressive amount of random button-stabbing, so he tidied himself as best he could, took the bag and hobbled out of the facilities as nonchalantly as his bruised broad beans allowed. A fire exit door stood ajar in the passageway beyond. James peered through and discovered an alley leading back to Dartmouth Street. Various bins clustered beside various back doors. The alley was not long and appeared mercifully deserted. He hefted the bag – two hundred and fifty large was surprisingly heavy – and rather than risk attracting attention in the coffee shop, slipped through the fire exit, making sure the door snapped shut behind him. Gathering strength and dignity, he made his way down the alley, limping painfully like a saddle-sore gaucho at the end of a hard day's herding. He paused at the corner and peered around, and was thankful that the men were nowhere in sight.

The encounter had left him shaking, nervous and very uncertain. He hesitated, unsure what to do, and leaning against the wall with eyes shut, took a few moments to compose himself. His chestnuts throbbed horribly and his belly hurt with every breath. He considered his position. There was no way he would ever accept a bribe. Take just one payment and they have you for ever. He looked back up the alley. The bag had to go. There were plenty of bins to choose from, might as well make it the nearest.

‘They went that way.' The words startled James. They seemed to rise from a large bundle of rags and cloth wedged in a cosy niche just inside the alley entrance. To his amazement, a threadbare blanket draped over the bundle moved and a hand appeared, bony finger pointing. ‘Three men. Nasty-looking bastards, too. They went that way.' A grubby face materialised out of a fold in many layers of hoods and scarves. Limbs moved lethargically, uncurling to reveal a frail woman. She looked much older than she probably was – pavement life was obviously harsh on the complexion. A mandatory Bag Lady red woollen bobble hat was perched precariously on top of a mess of washed-out ginger frizz streaked with ashen grey. Individual hairs sprang in all directions like a hedgehog who'd just been surprised by an electric fence. Despite his predicament, James's natural West Country courtesy was just too ingrained to ignore and he found himself unable to walk away. The pain in his plums also contributed significantly to this general reluctance to move. He peered into a face pinched by worry yet oddly serene with indifference to her less than salubrious surroundings.

BOOK: Bertie and the Hairdresser Who Ruled the World
11.94Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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