Short Story: The Illicit Lovers

When lockdown commences, Leon finds himself in bed with his secret lover, Martha. When Natasha becomes suspicious of where he is, how will he get himself out of this situation?

They were in bed when the lockdown commenced. According to various news reports, the country had been given a 24 hour warning. Leon and Martha had clearly missed it.

For the past couple of months, there had been a virus spreading across the world. It had originated somewhere in Asia, but had arrived in sunny Birchfield a few days before Leon had decided to go to Martha’s shared apartment for a bit of light relief. Leon’s girlfriend Natasha had thought that he had gone to a friend’s for the evening. The deception was going well. Until the government had got involved.

“I’ve got it up on my phone,” Martha said. She waved Laura Keunssberg’s face in Leon’s. “It says that no one is to leave buildings, properties or establishments until further notice.”

“What happens if they do?” Leon asked. If he could somehow sneak out of Martha’s and get back home, then their little rendezvous would remain a secret.

“The police are patrolling the streets, and they have drones over every neighbourhood in the country. If someone is caught outside, they will be taken to the police where they could face prison time.”

“Shit.” Leon pushed open a curtain from their bed. Being on the top floor, no trees or other buildings interrupted his view of the sky above. It was turning out to be a clear, sunny day. “I don’t see any drones outside, and the main road is empty. Maybe they’ve forgotten about Birchfield.”

He looked over at Martha, who merely stared. “Leon.” She shook her head disbelievingly. “We live in the capital. They aren’t going to forget about us. Maybe if we lived up North…”

“I’m not that desperate.”

Martha also turned to look out of the window. As much as she enjoyed hers and Leon’s secret meetings, he was the last person that she would want to be stuck in a room with during a lockdown. There was a lot going on under the covers, so to speak, but not much happening upstairs. He had also never left the south east, and this also showed on occasion.

“Shit,” Leon said once more. Martha turned back to him, wondering what he was going to say next. Leon had just turned his phone on for the first time since he had arrived.

“Well?”

“I’ve got 35 missed calls, six unopened Snapchats, and an email. All from Natasha.”

“An email? She must be worried-”

“What do I say to her? She wants to know where I am!”

“Well, what did you say to her yesterday?” Suddenly feeling rather exposed, Martha reached for a black bra which was lying on the floor and put it on.

“I can’t remember.” Leon tried to cast his mind back to the day before, which had been like any other. He’d woken up at lunchtime, had eaten something or other. He’d seen his girlfriend, he was sure of it. Then he was at Martha’s drinking wine and not seeing his girlfriend, and here he still was.

“Well, she will.”

Martha had a habit of opening most sentences with ‘well’. Leon found it extremely irritating, and it only added to his flustered state of mind as he tried to recall who was talking to him for once. Then it came back to him.

“I told her I was going to Ben’s to watch the football.”

“Wait-”

“I’ll text her and tell her that me and Ben had a few beers and fell asleep, and-”

“Leon, the football was cancelled last week.”

“… Oh.”

“Was that seriously your alibi?”

“She won’t know there’s no football on. She doesn’t even watch it, how would she know-”

“She knows how to read. Everyone knows about the football being cancelled.”

Leon frowned, before another thought came to him. “She might have missed it?”

Martha grabbed a dark green t-shirt and pulled it over her head. “Women aren’t stupid, Leon, and your girlfriend certainly isn’t. Just don’t mention the football to her.”

Leon thanked her and typed out a message to Natasha. “Sorry, me and Ben were drinking beer until late and fell asleep. Are you ok?”

“Well, it sounds good enough to me.”

Leon sent the text, before leaning back across the bed. He loved Martha’s hair; he had always had a thing for blondes. Maybe that was why he had gone back to Martha after Natasha had dyed her hair black. He leant into Martha’s face to kiss her, before his phone vibrated on the bed.

“Shit, she’s trying to video call me!” He grabbed the phone. “I have to answer-”

Martha grabbed his phone out of his hand. Despite his shouts, she placed it next to her, on the bedside cabinet.  “You’re completely naked, Leon, and you’re sitting on a bed with pink sheets. Unless Ben has decided you’re more his type than the ladies in the Playboy magazines on his desk and disavowed his love for khaki you aren’t going to convince her.”

“What should I do? Help me!” Leon was beginning to sweat.

“Put some clothes on. Go to the bathroom. Apologise for missing her call. Let her ring again. Think of something convincing.”

“….Okay.” Leon grabbed his black t-shirt and his blue jeans. “Where’s my boxers?”

“You cut them up.”

“I… what?”

“You said you didn’t need them. That I had more than enough you could wear ins-”

“Okay, okay.” Leon suddenly remembered one of the reasons he spent so much time with Martha. She was more fun than Natasha. Reclaiming his phone he stepped out of her bedroom and walked across the landing, headed for her bathroom.

“Oooo, what are you doing here?” a voice he recognised called from the opposite bedroom.

“Brad, I can explain-”

“Oh, don’t mind me.” Leon turned to face Natasha’s housemate, who was smiling from his own bed. His laptop was next to him, as was a copy of a book which Leon had never heard of. “I’m rather enjoying the view.”

Leon instinctively moved his hands in such a way that his shirt obscured his crotch. “I was never here, okay?”

“Very well. I’ll see you at dinner, then-”

“What? Nah, I’m leaving-”

“You can’t, I’m afraid. They aren’t going to let us out until Friday, so they say on the news.”

“But-”

“Better get comfortable,” Brad winked conspiratorially at Leon.

Leon shook his head and spun around for the bathroom. Brad whistled at him as he realised his backside was no longer protected. He quickly opened the bathroom door and closed it behind him, locking it instinctively.

He should have seen it as a compliment. Even the men were after him. Maybe he could have passed off Ben as also being interested… he remembered Martha’s words. Better not.

He pulled his jeans up his legs, and threw his shirt over his head. He unlocked his phone and sent a quick message to Natasha.

Sorry babe, didn’t hear my phone go off x”

He put the toilet seat down and sat upon it. He fluffed his hair up slightly. In his camera screen, he caught a glimpse of Martha’s cherry red lipstick on his face. He quickly wiped it off as his girlfriend rang again.

“Hey, babe!” Leon said, trying not to sound too nervous.

“I’ve been so worried about you, where have you been? What have you been up to?”

“Yeah, sorry, we had a few too many beers and fell asleep on the playstation-”

“How is Ben?”

“I- he’s good, he’s still asleep though.” Leon couldn’t risk her wanting to talk to him directly.

“So you’re stuck at his for a few days then, are you?”

“Sadly, yeah, I am.” Leon mentally sighed. Why did women have to always ask so many questions?

“Bet you’ll be having a great time with him. Strange, though…”

“What is?” he asked innocently.

“His Snapchat location shows him in Scotland, and you’re nowhere near where his house is.”

Shit. He hadn’t even thought about that. Now he remembered it, Ben was in the Highlands on a family holiday. Martha should have warned him about the Snapchat location. “His app must have not updated properly, and mine is wrong…”

“Really?”

“Yeah, he came back yesterday. That’s why he wanted to see me. There’s some good pictures of him and Rover in the grass, looking across the coast.” Rover was Ben’s ancient Border Collie. He thought she was still alive, anyway….

“Oh, ok.” Natasha smiled at him. “Don’t go eating too much pizza in lockdown, I still want that gym bod when you get back.” They laughed, Leon in relief. He wished her goodbye and kissed her through the phone screen. Leon guessed that what they said about blondes was true. You could cover the blonde up, but it would never go away…

He realised he actually needed to piss, so he did so. He washed his hands with warm water before unlocking the door and returning to the landing. He looked around. Brad’s door was now closed, which was a relief. Leon had no problem with the gays, but he didn’t feel 100% comfortable being the centre of one’s attention. Martha, on the other hand…

He pushed open her door again, ready for round two in bed. As he stepped into the bedroom, he realised that she was no longer on the bed. He turned slightly. She was standing next to the wardrobe, holding something in her hands. But before he could register anything else, there was a sharp pain in the side of his head and everything went black.

When Leon came around again, he dimly registered that he was once again naked, but this time he was tied to Martha’s wooden chair in the centre of her room. His head still hurt, but he didn’t mind.

This must be one of her games, he thought. She liked tying him up, controlling him. Doing what she wanted. He chuckled to himself.

“Oh, you’re awake at last?” Martha’s voice echoed from her bed. Leon slowly looked up. Martha was fully dressed in black, holding a baguette in her right hand, covered in a leather glove. She was even wearing her killer stilettos. Why was she-?

Martha bit a sizeable chunk from her baguette, exposing its filling to be cheese. “This is delicious.” She made sensual noises as she chewed the bread around her mouth. “Absolutely divine. We give the French shit sometimes, but they know how to run a bakery.” Martha looked directly into Leon’s eyes. “Want some?” she offered.

Leon nodded. He imagined her feeding him the baguette slowly, straight to his mouth. He would chew slowly, gazing up, drown in her deep, green eyes. He would smile at the taste, in full anticipation of more to come. But instead, she ripped a chunk off of her bread and threw it softly at him. It rested gently at his feet. With his arms and legs tied to the chair, he had no way of reaching it.

“I-”

“There’s your lunch. Enjoy it.” She smiled sweetly as she revelled in another mouthful. “We make dogs eat off the floor, and they’re so grateful. That’s what you are, isn’t it? A dirty dog.”

Leon’s mouth hung open. He didn’t know what to say, which was rare. Martha carefully put wrapped her baguette in a piece of paper and placed it on her bed. She swung around on the bed, and put her feet on the floor. She stood up, towering over him.

Martha’s phone rang. “Sorry, I’ve got to take this,” she said, smiling apologetically. She answered the call. “Yeah, he’s ready. Want to see?”

“What?” Leon protested. “No, no. I-”

Martha turned her phone around. Natasha’s face was on the screen in front of him. “Oh, hey babe!” she grinned at him.

“It’s not what it looks li-”

“Be quiet,” Natasha said. He complied. “You think that I believed the lies coming out of your mouth this morning? Or yesterday? Or every day for the last few months? How do you think it felt for me to know that there was another woman? That I wasn’t your priority?”

“I’m sorry,” Leon said. “I’m really, really-”

“Good,” Natasha cut him off. “Because I’m not.”

“I-”

“She told you to shut up,” Martha firmly reminded him. Once again, he complied.

“Me and Martha are old friends,” Natasha explained. “We go way back, way before you ever got your dick out for me. Oh sorry. Us.” She laughed. “I was very interested to hear that my beloved boyfriend, the innocent, honest lad who everyone likes, was offering himself to her.”

“It was quite a surprise,” Martha admitted. “So, of course, I told her everything that was going on. And then, she had a rather wonderful idea.”

“We decided to play you at your own game. What was that famous quote that James McAvoy once said?”

Martha smiled. “It is a double pleasure to deceive the deceiver.”

“When I say that we were old friends, I didn’t just mean any old friends.” Natasha was enjoying herself now. “I could quote Katy Perry, but I prefer to say things for myself. We’ve been off and on for many years, and you came along at an off period. We both realised that you were just another scumbag who wanted more than his fair share, and, well-”

“Well, indeed. It wasn’t too hard to fall back into what we used to do. I did keep all of the… merchandise, so to speak.”

“So I can see,” Natasha smiled. “It looks good.”

“I daresay I had enough practise down the years.” The women laughed, but Leon was sitting there. He was numb. He didn’t know what had hit him.

“Your stuff is outside the house,” Natasha informed him. “Come by and collect it when you’re free. I hope the forecast is wrong, though.”

“It’s meant to rain tonight, isn’t it?” Martha asked.

“Yes, heavily too. Don’t bother trying to contact me, Leon. I’m not interested.” Leon went to say something back to her, but Martha pulled the phone away from him.

“I’ll see you soon babe,” she said to Natasha.

“Last thing, Ma.”

“Yes?”

“What will you do with him for the next few days? Won’t it be a little… awkward for you both?”

“Well,” Martha said, “I’m sure he’ll find someone who’s happy to talk to him.” She laughed as she looked into the middle distance, and found herself staring at Brad’s bedroom door.

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