Time After Time by Hannah McKinnon (HarperCollins UK, available for download from Amazon for only $2 here.)
Any Second Now
‘Chris?’ Hayley repeated as she got up from the floor slowly, all the while staring at the guy in the bed two feet away. ‘What the …’
She watched as he opened his eyes even further to give her an incredulous stare. ‘And who else would it be? Let me sleep or get me a cuppa.’
It is him. It’s Chris. Chris Jenkins. But how? When?
An older Chris, definitely, but he still had thick, dark hair. From what Hayley could make out in the dimly lit room, his face had aged and he’d put on some weight around the middle, but he hadn’t lost his striking looks. Perhaps they were even better than when she’d last seen him. Her eyes travelled over his chest and she swallowed.
What’s going on?
She relaxed for a second.
Hah! Bad dream. Nightmare.
Her hollow laugh filled the room and Chris furrowed his brow.
Any second I’ll be back at home, in my bed, next to Rick. Any second now …
Nothing happened, so she pinched her hand.
You don’t feel pain in dreams.
‘I need a piss.’ Chris got out of bed and Hayley recoiled, hitting the chest of drawers with her bum.
Argh! He’s stark bollock naked.
|Hannah McKinnon, author of|
Time After Time
He gave his left bum cheek a good scratch as he walked out of the room, his semi-flaccid penis bobbing along in front of him.
At that point Hayley looked down at herself. ‘God!’ Her hands instinctively flew up to cover her breasts.
Chris Jenkins saw me in the buff! IN THE BUFF!
In an attempt to hold on to the last shreds of her dignity, Hayley grabbed a black satin dressing gown hanging on the back of the bedroom door and flung it on, wrapping it tightly around her body.
Where am I? What am I doing here? Where’s Rick? The kids?
Hayley opened the bedroom door, stuck her head out and looked left and right, surveying the enemy territory. Then it hit her. Mrs. Jenkins’ house in Ealing.
How? What? Christ!
She’d been there countless times when she and Chris dated, and she immediately recognised the hall and the door on her left that led to another bedroom. Chris had disappeared into the bathroom Hayley remembered was on the right, so she rushed down the narrow staircase, instinctively avoiding the third step from the top because it creaked. She half expected Chris’ mother to appear, demanding Hayley explain her presence immediately. It would have been a difficult thing to do.
Clothes! Where are my clothes? My bag? What the fuck am I doing here?
Hayley charged into the kitchen. For a second, she felt a rush of vertigo. The cabinets had her favourite maple facings and the walls the exact off-white of her own kitchen. At first glance, it looked a bit like her house in Chiswick. Her eyes travelled round the room and came to rest on a Union Jack teapot displayed in one of the glass-fronted cabinets. It stopped her cold.
Her mum had given her a limited edition teapot exactly like it on her eighteenth birthday. Two days later Hayley had dropped the lid. You could still see the join where she’d clumsily glued it back together. She walked over to the cabinet and peered at the teapot, her eyes seeing the uneven edges of the do-it-yourself job, her brain trying to understand the implications.
It’s mine. But mine’s at home. Does Chris have one too? With the same break in it?
Hayley rubbed her head again.
That can’t be right. But I didn’t give him my teapot.
She blinked quickly half a dozen times.
Let’s replay this.
She remembered leaving Ellen’s the night before. Recalled paying the driver when he pulled up in front of her house. She was sure she remembered going to bed at home. Almost sure. Blood drained from her face and a shiver travelled down her spine inch by inch. Then it went all the way back up again.
Surely I didn’t ask the driver to take me to Chris’ place? I’m not that stupid. Am I?
She hadn’t even known that he still lived here and yet, somehow, she’d ended up in his house, with him upstairs. Naked. Unclothed. Birthday suited.
She fumbled around for a chair to steady herself and her stomach turned.
Oh fucking hell, no. I’ve cheated on Rick!
You can read a review of Time After Time here. Download it from Amazon.ca for only $2 here from HarperCollins UK here. or from Amazon.com (US) here.
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huh, right, i mean, how many more parallel lives might we be living, where are the points where they take off?ReplyDelete