Short Story – At first sight – Part III
The forearm across Jon’s throat pressed harder. His breath whistled and rasped, as he struggled violently but unsuccessfully to break Guy’s grip.
“You are going to give me Vikki’s address. Nod your head to show you agree.”
Jon threw himself from side to side. Guy swayed, but his grip didn’t loosen. Then he pivoted on his heel and barged forward as hard as he could, crashing Jon’s face into the brick wall beside the steps up to his front door. Blood from Jon’s broken nose trickled into his throat, making breathing even more difficult. He focussed intensely on ignoring the pain and thinking clearly.
His father’s voice spoke in his memory.
“When someone grabs you from behind, use your heel to kick their shin, scrape it right down and stamp on the arch of their foot.”
As Jon kicked backwards, he heard Guy gasp an expletive. The grip on his arms loosened a fraction and he tore his left arm free, striking repeatedly with his elbow to Guy’s midriff. With a violent heave Jon freed himself from Guy’s grasp, and spun round to confront him. He balled his fists, raised them ready to fight.
“Go to hell,” he snarled, and flung himself forward.
Guy dodged, pushed Jon’s head to one side, and sidestepped the charge.
“Oh, I’ll get the address, with you or without you. But next time, it will be friends of mine who will ask you; and they’re not nice men at all. Tell me now, or face the consequences.”
Jonathan glared at Guy, who looked calmly back at him and seemed scarcely out of breath. He raised a hand in ironic farewell, and sauntered away. Jon pulled out a handkerchief and gingerly felt his nose. It was bleeding profusely.
* * * *
I was so happy when your letter arrived, and I danced with delight when I read that you’re going to come to Australia quite soon! It will be wonderful to see you again, and to get to know you better.
Because we don’t really know each other very well yet, do we? That’s important to me, but it says something about how little we know each other that I can only guess that it’s important to you; I don’t know for certain. We mustn’t be carried away.
I wish we could be together.
I shall write frequently. I shan’t wait for your replies, I shall just write.
Oh, I’m so looking forward to your next letter! Write soon, dear Jon, write soon!
Vikki was singing quietly as she dropped the letter into the post box.
“Hi, gorgeous! You look…” Dan waved his arms expressively, “…well, just fantastic!”
“Hi, Dan. How are you?”
“Pining for you. If you don’t come on a date with me soon, I shall waste right away! Seriously, Vikki, why do I have the feeling you’re avoiding me? Is there somebody else?”
“I don’t know you’ve any right to ask me that, Dan.”
Dan raised his hands in mock-surrender. “Just in the interest of clarity! I don’t want to pester you if you’re committed to somebody else.”
“I’m not avoiding you, Dan. We’re here chatting on a street corner. Do you see me making excuses to escape? You’re a dear friend.” She reached up and touched him gently on the cheek, and saw the hunger blossom in his eyes. “Let’s not spoil our friendship by trying to make out it’s more than friendship. Please?”
“Come to a movie with me tonight, Vikki. I won’t step out of line. I don’t deny I fancy you – I would say I love you – but that just means I want what’s best for both of us.”
Vikki’s face softened. Dear Dan. He was gentle as well as strong, and she valued both qualities. It wasn’t as though she didn’t like him
“That would be great, Dan. Yes, please.”
The answering smile from Dan was something special. His whole face lit up, and his strong, even teeth gleamed ivory in the morning sunshine. He leaned forward and kissed Vikki very gently on her forehead.
“See you tonight, then, at six o’clock!” He waved, and strode off, with vigour and purpose in every line of his body.
Vikki shook her head wistfully. Why was life so complicated?
* * * *
That same night, Jon arrived home to find that his flat had been turned over. His files had been ransacked, and his diary taken. His valuables, such as they were, had been ignored.