Happy to see, through the grimy window of the Rat and Sparrow, Chris was already there, Jaz pushed open the door. Unfortunately, as she walked in, Jaz saw he was not alone. Minty – looking high already – was draped all over him, pouring words into his ear whilst pawing his chest and his biceps with her scrawny ring-clad hands. Pathetic woman – she always seemed to pop up at the least convenient moments: which, for Jaz was any moment at all. Bugger it, Jaz thought, they haven’t seen me, I can slip out and text Chris an apology – this can wait. Uncertain whether to turn around and exit through the same door, or carry on walking and leave through the public bar, Jaz hesitated and was seen. Chris raised his right arm – dislodging Minty’s head – and waved. Knots in her stomach, Jaz waved back and attempted a casual stroll to the table.
“Lovely to see you, Jasmine,” Minty said, although the use of that name and the smirk she wore said otherwise. “Envious of your top – not many women would be brave enough to expose that much stomach.”
“Obnoxious, already high, and,” Jaz said checking her watch. “Not even eleven thirty – good work, Minty.”
She noticed – as she kissed Chris hello, ignoring Minty’s tirade of abuse – that he looked embarrassed, but whether it was on her account or Minty’s – or both – Jaz couldn’t be sure. Elbowing Minty aside, she sat in between them.
“Alright, Chris?” she said, smiling at him, her back to Minty – hoping she would get the message and leave them alone.
“I’m sweet as, Jaz, thanks. Something to drink?” he said, standing up and taking his wallet out of his jacket pocket.
As Chris walked towards the bar, Jaz tried not to look at his arse, knowing full well Minty would be.
“So, why don’t you piss off, Minty?” she said, through a smile. “Run along, like a good girl, sur,ely there’s a skanky white rabbit down a K-hole somewhere aching for your scintillating conversation?”
“Easy, fat bitch! Ain’t no fucking rule says that I can’t sit here, is there? Love to be alone with Chris, wouldn’t you?” Minty said, her voice loud enough that Chris turned to look from the bar.
“As the alternative is sitting next to an anorexic drug-addled little girl with yesterday’s vomit on her tee shirt, yes – I think I would prefer that,” Jaz said, careful to keep her smile fixed, her voice low, and a slightly puzzled expression on her face. She looked at Chris, caught his eye and shrugged.
“You pigfuckingcuntfucker!” Minty screamed as she slapped Jaz across her face. Open mouthed, Jaz stood and backed away from Minty who was now in full flow. “Ugly fucking bitch, I’m gonna kill you,” she said spitting into Jaz’s face, and swinging a punch as Chris and Michael – one of the barmen – dragged her off towards the door.
Wiping Minty’s spittle from her face with a tissue she found at the bottom of her bag, Jaz tried to keep the smile off her face. As soon as Chris was back asking her if she was alright, she nodded and excused herself. Nudging her way past a couple at the bar, she made her way to the toilets. There, in front of the mirror, she checked her face for injuries – nothing other than a rapidly fading pink slap mark – and touched up her lip gloss.
It would have consequences, her argument with Minty: Jaz knew how she operated. They had known each other for years – and hated each other for just as long – and Minty never let an insult slide, no matter how wasted she was at the time.
Taking a deep breath, Jas took one final look in the mirror. Only her fear could stop her now.
Before she could change her mind she pushed open the toilet door and went to him. Even Minty staring through the window – all angry face and gestures – wouldn’t stop her telling him.
This story is acrostic (that is there is a message hidden within the story).