He'd noticed her when they'd walked in.
And then when they had come to sit at his table he became quite agitated.
'Do you mind?' she said.
'Do you mind if we sit here, only there's nowhere else.'
'Yes,' he said.
'What?' she said. 'You do mind?'
'No, no! Be my guest... guests...' he said.
She smiled at him and sat down on the stool across the table from him. She was small, he thought. No, petite. That was it. Petite.
The friend sat on the bench a little along from him. She had altogether bigger bones.
'You all right there, Chelle?' said petite.
''Course,' said Chelle. 'Why wouldn'I be? My round. What d'you want, Vick?'
Chelle looked at Trev. He smiled at her.
She went off to get their drinks.
Trev's beer was a little warm this evening. It was a warm night. Thundery.
'Are you here for the quiz?' she asked.
'The quiz? Are you here for that?'
'Me? Nooo.... well not really. I don't do the quiz. I listen, like, and try to get the answers but I'm no good really. Except sport... I get the sport ones... usually.'
'Sport!? Really? Oh we're hopeless at the sport, Chelle and I. We never get the sport ones.'
'Hey! You'll have to help us!'
'With the sport! You help us with the sport and we'll split the winnings with you.
'Me? Oh no... me? No, no, no.'
'Oh go on! Chelle, Chelle – he's going to help us with the sport. That's brilliant, isn't it.'
Chelle had returned and placed her pint and a gin and tonic on the table.
'Yeah, sure it is. Great.' Chelle didn't seem overly bothered.
'What do they call you?' said Vicky.
'Me? Oh, Trevor,' said Trevor. 'Trev. They call me Trev.'
Nobody ever called him Trev.
But he wished they did.
'Well, nice to meet you, Trev. I'm Vicky and this is Chelle.'
'Good evening, both,' said Trev
'Hello,' said Chelle.
'Name your teams please on the top of the paper.'
The quizmaster had fiddled with the PA long enough.
'Name of your team at the top of the paper. Please write clearly. No Simon, I do not mean you write the word 'clearly' on the paper – you dickhead dumbwit – CLEARLY, you write your team's name – it is an adverb. A what? An adverb. So...
'Name of the team at the top – a pound per person in the pot!' he pattered.
Chelle went up with their three pounds and returned with the answer sheet.
'What'll it be then, guys?' said Vicky.
'What?' said Trev
'The team name! What'll it be?' said Vicky. 'I know! Some part of each of our names and we'll stick them together. Ok, you're Trev... er, Trev, Tre Tr... and I'm Vicky... Vick, Vi, Vee... Trevee... and Chelle... Treveesh... Trevi-elle. Trevial. Oh! Trivial! Like the board game Trivial Pursuit! Oh wow! Shall we be that then, guys? Anyone mind if we're that? The Trivial Pursuits?'
No-one minded, riding on Vicky's enthusiasm.
'Are we ready?' boomed the Quizmaster. 'Round One – Soap Operas.... An easy one to get you started... Which Australian soap star went on to play Joseph on the West End Stage? The Lloyd Webber musical Joseph and His Technicolor Yawn or whatever it was. Which Australian soap star played Joseph. Don't tell me – just write it down... Right... Question two...'
He didn't know any of the answers until they whispered them but every time they got to one Vicky high-fived him as if it were his answer. Her hands were small, her palms warm. He started to anticipate the gesture, prepared himself for it. He laughed with her as she joked with Chelle – even though he hadn't heard what she'd said. She slapped his arm as if he had made the joke.
He saw the sparkle in her eyes. The slight shine of the gin on her lips. He saw how her breasts moved as she raised her hand up top – as she laughed...
A break in the proceedings and Chelle trotted off to the use the toilet.
'Oh no,' said Vicky. 'Sport round next! You up for it, Trev? We're relying on you!'
'I'll do my best,' he said, his heart turning a little at her words.
'That's the spirit, darling! PMA as my Dad used to say. Positive...'
'...Mental Attitude...' Trevor completed the phrase, and she high-fived him again. Just him. And her breasts moved again inside her blouse.
'Here you write the next lot.'
'Yes you! You've got all the answers – you write them... Here I'll come round there. Help you.'
Chelle returned wiping her hands on her buttocks.
'Musical chairs, Chelle. You're there now. Sport next. Trev's up, aren't you Trev?'
And suddenly she laughed a shocked, dirty laugh.
'Oh Chelle! Aren't I bad?'
'Why?' said Chelle.
'Trev's up, y'know, UP! I'm not surprised sitting with us two banging babes, eh Trev!' and she smacked him on the arm again.
Trev smiled. Blushed.
'You've made him blush, Vicky,' said Chelle.
'Haha! He's up for it aren't you Trev? Well up for anything aren't you, babe?!'
'Next Round – Sport...' and the Quizmaster belched down the microphone. 'Question One. Who, in 1971, won the FA cup? 1971. The F-A Cup. Two teams playing – which one won it? Simple.'
'Well, Trev?' said Vicky.
'Well it was either Leeds or Chelsea that year. I was at school. Leeds, I think it was. Yes Leeds. It was Leeds United.'
Vicky and Chelle looked at each other and smiled.
'Right, well write it down then, love!'
The gin had enlivened her. Trev felt her hand, warm, upon his knee as she leaned in to watch him write. He only glanced but he couldn't help noticing her breasts pushing against the fabric. He caught a breath of her perfume on her hair.
'Question Two – related question... Who was the goalie on the losing side? The Losing Side – the Goalkeeper. Who was it?... No Simon... 1971! .. not 1966. Gordon Banks played for Stoke City so shut the fuck up and apologies for my colourful language. Now can we proceed, please...
'Peter Bonetti,' Trev whispered.
'Write it down!' said Vicky grabbing his arm with two hands.
Trev had an answer for all ten Sports questions and as the answers were read out and checked off Vicky became more and more delighted.
Chelle smiled, said little She watched her friend go up and down his arm, finding ways to touch him again and again.
Trevor floated on a Vicky-flavoured cloud. Every touch burned him Every flash of her eyes buzzed through him.
Papers were handed in at last
'God, I must piss!' said Vicky and wove her way between tables, out of sight.
Chelle and Trev sat in silence. Their reason for being hooked together here in this moment suddenly absent.
A heavy, ponderous minute passed.
Chelle took a swig of her pint.
'She don't mean anything by it,' she said, wiping her mouth.
'She's a flirt. Don't put any store by it.
'What do you mean?'
'I've seen you looking at her... It's ok, but I've seen that kind of look a hundred times on men. They think because of how she is that they're in with a chance...'
'It's ok... it's not you... it's just what she does. She plays with men. I'm sorry for you really. She doesn't mean to do it. Not in a bad way. She just can't help herself.
'Right... I didn't really....'
'It's as much part of her evening as the drink and the kebab. Sorry Love. Hope you're not too disappointed.
'I... I'm just going to have to go the little boys room.'
He crossed the floor towards the door marked Ombres.
Vicky came out of Signoritas. She sashayed over to him. Took his two hands in hers and placed them on her shoulders.
She looked up at him. Moved her hands to his hips.
Dark eyes flashing in the dim light.
'Dance with me, Trev, ' she pouted.
'But there's no music,'
'It's inside. Feel it inside. Inside here...' She pulled one of his hands down and held it on her chest. Feel it.'
'Can you feel it?'
'I feel I need a wee...'
'Oh Trev, you're so romantic...! Well soon then! I'll be waiting.'
He pushed at Ombres.
Stood at the urinal...
Looked at the weak, golden scream that splashed down onto the blue iceblocks
When he'd done he came back into the bar. Looked over to them.
Vicky was sitting on the bench next to Chelle. A young man sat resting on the stool, beer in hand, resting on the table. Vicky was smiling and laughing with him. Chelle looked over and saw him looking.
Trev turned and walked straight through out into the street. Large drops of rain had started to fall. The air smelled of earth and sex and flowers as he turned down towards Waverley Road.