The doorbell continued to torture his sore head with another attack of shrill noises. A groaning next to him made him suddenly aware that he was not the only one in his bed, and a hand with long, sharp fingernails pushed its fingers into the flesh of his bicep. The sharp pain was stronger than the throbbing in his head, and it made him finally open his eyes. Through a thick mist of tiredness, he recognised a naked peroxide blonde, beautifully draped on his black satin bed sheets. The fact that her breasts served as additional pillows confirmed that it was not only her hair colour that wasn’t natural. It was useless to search his brain for a memory that didn’t exist, so he didn’t even try to remember the blonde one’s name or where he had met her after he had left the club alone. He had probably picked her up on the street, where she was either throwing up in the gutter or trying to get a mini cab, a mission impossible in the West End on a Saturday night—an experience he had discovered himself last night after leaving Maggie Dawes and her date behind in the club.
Maggie Dawes had been his best friend for years now. She was the kind of woman who would always be there whenever he needed her. Regardless of whether he was suffering from a bout of the flu or from an unwelcome hangover, he could be 100% sure she would be at his flat no more than an hour later with either a welcome bowl of warm chicken soup or a couple aspirin, or, if he was extremely lucky, both. She would also be there for him when he needed somebody to decorate his flat with a nice feminine touch before one of his latest conquests came round for the first time, and she would happily assist him with sending out one million flyers for his latest business idea. Above all, however, she would be an enormous boost for his ego, as he could always be certain that in her eyes, at least, he would always be the sharpest, wittiest, and comeliest man on Planet Earth. Or at least so he thought. But tonight’s events alone had proved this theory to be wholly incorrect, as Maggie Dawes had brought somebody else along with her instead. Somebody she had previously referred to as being her ’date’. That had puzzled him deeply. Why did she have to have a ‘date’? Wasn’t he good enough ‘date’ material anymore?
Kevin Drake was, alas, that kind of person who would always put himself first, swiftly followed by a little more of himself, perhaps throwing in some blonde or brunette or redhead, a further dash of his own stunning reflection, and then, maybe, only maybe (and only if he’d either had a very good or very bad day) would he then notice anybody else. And he would also, invariably, notice that he himself was often the centre of attention. Mostly by the countless women who would all too easily hang onto his lips, eyes, and hips like ripe cherries on a tree. And although Maggie Dawes was not one of them, he’d become accustomed to the fact that she was always there for him – to both admire and adore him, and, most of all, for him to always rely upon.
But tonight Maggie Dawes had not come alone, and therefore it was no longer her, but him, who was currently standing next to the bar alone and watching from a distance.