Melanie signalled for another to anesthetise the customary rage a visit home caused, noticing the bar swelling with a thirsty audience. She glanced at a poster, recognising Artie from average, not outstanding, chat show appearances.
A clamour greeted his emergence to his adoring public. He caught her gaze at the bar, which she held longer than seemly, re-crossing her legs. Midway through replying to her mother’s patronising text the barman placed a gin and tonic.
‘I didn’t order this…’
‘Compliments of the gentleman,’ nudging Artie’s business card closer.
On it scrawled: Fancy The Swan opposite in 20 minutes…?
They lay sated, his hand stroking her hair.
‘Can I see you again?’ confidently asked.
‘Ach, the missus is at the gig. Thank God it wasn’t tonight, eh?’
She darted to the bathroom, leaned on the basin, hot tears falling. The last train to London would have long gone.
‘I’m having a bath,’ she called.
When she tiptoed out, he was snoring. She perched on the bed, brooding. Artie woke alone to a text on his phone.
‘Same again in a fortnight?’
Next Saturday, Melanie’s phone beeped. ‘About to start at Canterbury. Wish you were waiting in my hotel after.’
She grimaced at the Kent countryside flashing past.
Melanie scanned faces coming out, her Googling easily revealing the target. She moved swiftly, the interval wasn’t long.
Amy stared at this assassin who’d claimed she knew her from some party.
‘I honestly didn’t know he was taken.’
‘Bullshit, you bitch,’ snapped Amy, not quite convincingly, remembering lipsticked numbers on fag packets in Artie’s jackets.
‘I’d never met him before… I never would if…’
‘You’ve said your piece. Now piss off.’
To Amy’s surprise, Melanie leaned in, placing a hand on her thigh.
‘What about don’t get mad, get even..?’