| (c) 2002, Smilodon
Metamorphosis of Narcissus
I was down at the gym with Phil and David. We went there three times a
week after work. Phil was a bit of a bodybuilding nut but David and I were
just trying to keep the middle-aged spread at bay. Phil was spotting for
me as I puffed and grunted my way through the third reps, or, more
accurately, tried to prevent the bar from crushing my rib cage. There was
the usual early evening crowd of overweight business types plus a few from the local Rugby Club. And there was Charles.
As usual, Charles was over by the full-length mirrors doing bicep curls
and studying his image in the mirror. He was one of those people you’ve
just got to hate. I would guess he was in his early thirties, extremely
good looking, like a male model, and rich. He ran some property
development company and had made a killing in the redevelopment of derelict
land in one of the scruffier parts of London. Suddenly this grotty patch
is fashionable – gentrification, they call it – and our Charles is
rolling in it. He came to me for legal advice in his early days but I’m no
property lawyer so I sent him to one of the big City firms. To be honest,
I was glad to see the back of him, there was something about him that
didn’t sit quite right with me, I don’t know why. He accepted my advice
with good grace and he later claimed I’d done him a huge favour, describing
me as ‘a honest enough to know his own limitations’. Patronising git!
I don’t know how he did it but he managed to produce this incredibly
toned body with an apparent minimum of work. I saw sweat blood in
that gym and not achieve half the results. Charles was one of the favoured
few. He dressed superbly, drove a new Aston Martin and always had some
trophy girlfriend hanging on his arm and every word. I think we could have
accepted all of that if he’d the good grace to have some flaw – any small blemish would have made him tolerable – but no, Charles was perfect.
Irritatingly, sickeningly, unendurably perfect.
Phil looked his way and said, “What do you give to the who has
everything?” David gave a wolfish grin as he hoisted the bar off my chest
and said, “Syphilis, I hope!” That about summed up our feelings. I know
it’s petty and admit it’s entirely motivated by insane jealousy, but
Charles was hard to like. The women in the club seemed to have less of a
problem, though. That part didn’t bother me so much as David and Phil.
Both of them had lost out to Charles in the pursuit of a particularly
luscious lady called Rachel. I have to admit she was gorgeous, even
if she wasn’t my type. Rachel was a tall, willowy natural who
graced the gym for aerobics classes. She ran her own PR Agency, so she was
no dumb blonde, but on the odd occasions I’d met her, there was something
about her that jarred. I couldn’t put my finger on it for ages until I
realised that she was a bit too much like Charles. One of the chosen few:
beauty, brains and success. Again, there were no obvious flaws.
I suppose I’m a bit odd that way. I like my friends to be more human,
more ordinary, if you will. You need a blemish or two to keep you humble,
in my opinion. I have enough imperfections to keep me abject but I like
being ordinary. The way I see it, if you’re too perfect, you can only go
one way. All the time I had room for improvement, I could keep trying.
There’s also a difference between liking who you are and being in love with
yourself. One is healthy; the other makes you a pain in the arse. Charles
was firmly in the latter camp. He was one smug bastard, in short.
Anyway, the three of us finished our work out and staggered off to the
showers. I guess I’m lucky have to friends like David and Phil. We’d met
at the Law in Guildford and hit it off straight away. We all
served our time in one or other of the big City firms and had then decamped
en masse to set up MacDonald, Harvey and Le Clerc, ‘Solicitors to the
Gentry’ or something. Eight years on and the practice was thriving. We
weren’t making a fortune, few solicitors in small country towns ever get
rich, but we were comfortable and happy enough with our lot. David handled
the domestic stuff, Phil was an employment specialist and I kind of swept
up with the litigation, intellectual property and bits and pieces. We had
a couple of newly qualified assistants for the drudgework and although we
worked reasonably hard, we still had the time and inclination to play.
We showered off and headed into the Jacuzzi to ease the aching muscles.
It was a bit of a ritual for us to sit in the tub and chat about nothing in
particular for a while after we’d worked out. We have an unwritten rule
never to discuss business outside of the office. Anyone attempting to
breach this rule is immediately set upon by the other two. I think it
helps us to stay friends as well as business partners.
That particular evening we were sitting in the tub chatting away about
life, the universe and everything when Charles came waltzing in, not a hair
out of place, as usual.
“Ah, the Legal Eagles. How are we this evening, gentlemen?”
“Fine, Charles. Just dandy, thank you for asking.”
“Good, good. I’ve been meaning to come to see you, James. I think I
can put some work your way.”
“That’s kind of you Charles. Why don’t you give a ring tomorrow? We
can fix something up.”
“Well, if you have a minute now? It’s, ah, a rather delicate matter.
If we could meet in the bar in say, ten minutes? You can follow me back to
my place and we could have a chat.”
I could feel Phil and David getting ready to pounce. There was no need.
The bastard assumed I’d jump at the chance. I smiled sweetly. “Terribly
sorry, Charles, I’m about to arrange a prior engagement. Call me tomorrow
and we can make an appointment.” His eyes flickered very briefly. I
couldn’t say whether it was anger or disappointment. He gave a curt nod
and left us. “That will teach him to mind his manners,” said Phil, “cocky
bastard!” I nodded but there was something nagging at me, something that
hadn’t been quite right with the exchange. I shook my head, no need to
worry about it until the morning. Either Charles would call or he
wouldn’t. I didn’t care too much either way.
Charles did call. He was most insistent on seeing me urgently. I did
have a free slot, as it happened, and it would have been churlish to put
him off just for the Hell of it. We made a date for 4.00pm. I went
through the daily grind without breaking sweat. There was nothing
interesting on my plate and, it being just before Christmas, I wasn’t
expecting too much new activity until after the holidays. On the dot of
Four O’clock, Janet, our secretary-cum-receptionist announced Mr
Forsythe-Wheeler was there to see me. “Mr Harrington will see you now,”
she said, or rather tried to say, before she was even half way through the
sentence, the egregious Charles was into my office like a long-dog after a
“James, good of you to see me.”
“A pleasure, as always, Charles.”
“I won’t beat about the bush. I know you for a pretty discreet sort and
it’s discretion I most need right now. I’m in a bit of a fix and I need
“Are you sure I’m the right for the job, Charles? As you know,
commercial property is not my forte.”
“This isn’t a business matter. It’s personal. In fact, James, it’s
“If I can help you in my professional capacity, of course I will.”
“James I know that you don’t like me very much, which puts you in the
vast majority in this town, but I do believe that you’re a fair and honest
man. Let me explain the situation to you. I hope you will see that I’m
not asking you to do anything that would impinge on your integrity or
“Ok Charles, fire away!”
Charles began to explain his problem. It seems that about four years
ago he had bought some property, a flat in Caxton Street, Westminster, to
be precise. He hadn’t put his name on the deeds, for tax reasons, as he
explained it. The flat was actually registered to a girlfriend.
Unfortunately for Charles, she was now an ex-girlfriend and was cutting up
rough. He wanted to sell the property; she had to sign and would get the
proceeds. He was prepared to ‘see her all right’, as he put it, but as
matters stood she would waltz off with the whole six hundred thousand
pounds. I questioned him some more. No, there was nothing in writing.
No, there were no reliable witnesses to the arrangement. Yes, she had
turned down £50,000. He didn’t seem to have too many legs to stand on.
“I see the problem, Charles. We could hit her with some sort of
‘implied trust’ thing but it wouldn’t stand up if she has a halfway
“Ah. That’s one of the difficulties. You see the lady in
question is actually Sally Rodwell.”
I took a minute to absorb this piece of information. Sally was the
daughter of Lord Justice Sidney Rodwell – Sid Vicious to the legal
profession. Rodwell LJ was one of the most feared Judges ever to sit, even
including Judge Jeffries! If his darling was in a legal wrangle, any
lawyer with an ounce of brains would be running for cover. Whoever said I
have an ounce of brains? I knew Sally fairly well. She was a close friend
of my ex-girlfriend, Pippa. Pippa and I were on good terms and still
occasionally partnered each other to formal ‘dos’ if we didn’t have a
current romance on the go. To tell the truth, I still carried a bit of a
torch for her. No one else had come close after we broke up.
“OK, Charles, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I will meet with Sally and
see if we can resolve this amicably. I’m pretty sure that you’ve already
been advised that, legally, you’re dead in the water?”
He grunted but then agreed.
“Right then, you know that I know Sally and you are hoping that I can
talk her round, correct?”
Again he nodded. “I’ll pay your normal rates, of course.”
“No you won’t, Charles, you’ll pay what I say it costs, because you have
He looked startled and about to argue but then caved in. “How much is
it going to cost me, then?”
“Nothing. Absolutely nothing. At least, not financially. No, I will
talk to Sally because she is a friend and I don’t like to see my friends
involved in shady dealings. No, Charles, hear me out. If you wish to
evade tax, that is between you and the Inland Revenue. If you’d done the
thing properly in the first place it would have cost you what, £100,000?
It could cost you all of that and more to get out of this mess of your own
“If you don’t want a fee, what do you want?”
“It’s simple, Charles. I want you to stop putting us down. I mean,
this practice and particularly me. No more of this ‘knows his own
limitations’ stuff. No more ‘perfectly competent in their own way’ and
definitely no more ‘adequate for a town this size.’ For whatever reason,
Charles, people in this town listen to you, especially business people.
You’re the ‘Golden Boy.’ I can’t prove it but I know you have cost us some
good accounts with your damning of us with faint praise. It stops now or
you’re on your own.”
The bastard had the good grace to look uncomfortable for about ten
seconds and then agreed. He left shortly afterwards and I sat for a while
thinking about how to approach Sally. In the end I decided that the direct
approach was best and called Pippa to get her number. A few minutes later
Sally answered the phone.
“Sally, it’s James Harrington.”
“James, how are you, long time no see!”
“I’m fine, Sally, in the pink, in fact. I’ve just had a very unhappy
Charles Forsythe-Wheeler darkening my door. He’s asked me to have a chat.”
“James! I’m surprised at you! You’re not working for that shit?”
“Not exactly, Sally, not working. Look it’s a long but I do think
we need to have a chat. It’s in your interests as much as his.”
“James, ordinarily I’d be delighted to see you but not if you’re going
to take his side. Anyway, you’d be wasting your time. Daddy says he
doesn’t have a leg to stand on!”
“And did Daddy also tell you, Sally, that you would be committing theft?
She was silent for a moment. “OK, James, so I didn’t discuss it with
Daddy.” There was an air of resignation in her voice. “When do you want to
“Look, Sally, this isn’t at all formal. What do you say I buy you
dinner and we have a chat and see if we can’t put an end to this business
She sighed but agreed and we arranged to meet at a little Italian
restaurant I know in Sicilian Avenue in a couple of days time.
I was early, Sally was late, but at least she showed up. She was bright
and brittle and avoiding the subject at first. She loosened up after a
couple of glasses of Barolo. When she did start to talk, she rocked me to
“Pippa says you’re a nice guy, James, one of the ‘good ones’. Charles
is quite the opposite, but then again, so am I. I’m a party girl. I love
to have fun and am a teeny weeny bit short in the inhibitions department.
By the way, did you know Charles owns that Health Club you all go to? No?
Well, take my word for it, he does. At least, he owns the building.
Charles is a Grade A shit, James. I know you have experience of it so I
don’t mind saying it. However, he is wildly attractive.
“The point is, there is a private room at the back of the Gym. It has a
two- way mirror or whatever you call it, into the ladies’ changing rooms.
Charles watches the getting undressed and so forth. That’s not
really important. The room is also a fully equipped ‘dungeon’ for S&M
fetishists. All sorts of chains and benches and racks, all black leather
or rubber or PVC. I’m sure you get the picture. Well, it isn’t really my
scene but given enough Columbian Marching Powder and a bit of booze I was
up for it, well anyway, I agreed to give it to a try.
“Charles also invited three of his cronies so in short order I found
myself stretched backwards over something like a vaulting with, well
to be blunt, a prick in each available and another wanking off over my
tits. Now, don’t get me wrong! I do enjoy a good gang-bang as much as the
next girl, especially in my rather spaced-out state. I wasn’t objecting at
that point, in fact, if I remember rightly, I was in the middle of some
screaming orgasms. I was that original ‘good time had by all’.
“It started to turn ugly from my point of view when Charles, having just
come royally up my arse, started on me and got the others to do the
same. He was also slapping me around and calling me filthy names. The
cronies did what cronies do and followed suit, and I ended up pretty well
roughed-up. I couldn’t go out for a fortnight, because of the bruises, and
my insides were pretty messed up too. Did I say he shoved this leather dildo everywhere he could? I was bleeding for two days!
“I vowed that I would have the bastard for what he did. I couldn’t very
well go to the Police - Daddy would have a shit-fit! So I bided my time.
When he wanted to sell the flat in Caxton Street, I saw my chance. So now
you know what you’re up against. By the way, he’s done it to quite a few
girls over the last few years. We could form a club. Charles’s
To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I’m no prude and if
Sally or anyone else got their jollies by being fucked in very by a
bunch of guys, that’s their business. I have never been able to stomach
the rough stuff, though. The whole thing made me feel sick and I couldn’t
eat another thing. There I was thinking it was a case of ‘Hell hath no
fury’. It wasn’t a woman scorned I was dealing with. It was a woman
violated. I tried to gather my scattered wits. I managed to pick up the
pieces after a while and a couple of hefty swallows of Barolo. That noble
wine isn’t really meant to deaden one’s sense of outrage. I tried to be
“Sally, I don’t want to belittle in any way what must have been a
horrible experience. My concern now is to find a solution to the present
impasse over Caxton Street that satisfies you and doesn’t leave you open to
criminal proceedings. I understand he offered £50,000. I know he will go
higher, we can probably double that, is there any chance you’ll settle?”
She almost spat at me, she was so angry.
“Did you understand a word of what I’ve been telling you? It isn’t
about money; it’s about revenge. I won’t even call it justice. It’s
revenge, for me and the others. That’s what I want. By the way, Pippa is
another of Charles’s victims.”
I didn’t know what to say. I could see no way out. Hearing Pippa had
suffered similar treatment made me feel cold to my core. Pippa wasn’t a
‘party girl.’ I felt close to tears. Whatever loyalty I had felt to
Charles as my ‘client’ up to that point evaporated instantly.
“Hasn’t anyone reported him to the Police?”
“Oh, James, come on! We all went in consenting. OK, judgement was
impaired by various substances, but can you imagine what Plod would make of
She had a point. Getting a straightforward rape investigated seriously
is difficult enough. Given the circumstances, it’s hard to see the Met
exactly jumping through hoops to get a conviction. Also, like Sally
and Pippa wouldn’t want the scandal. Knowing Charles, it was unlikely that
any of the victims would have been anything other than solidly upper-middle
class with a lot to lose if things came out in Court.
“What does Pippa say,” I asked at last.
“Oh, you know Pippa. She doesn’t want to see me in trouble and doesn’t
want the World and his to know that she got gang-banged and beaten up
by that little shit and his pals. Pippa’s into ‘let’s pretend it never
I recognised that. Pippa always shied away from any sort of
confrontation. That was the reason we in the end. Rather than face
any difficulty she would sidestep neatly. That’s just the opposite of me.
I like things out front where I can deal with them. Nothing ever got dealt
with, so we drifted apart. I was at the time but recognised it wasn’t
her fault. I thought for a moment. “Who else got the treatment?” I asked.
“Just about every one of Charles’s paramours in the last five years.
It’s been getting worse, though, more violent. I swear he’ll do someone
some permanent harm before too long. Rachel is in for this Friday night,
although she doesn’t know it yet.”
“Haven’t you warned her?”
“Oh yes, even if she is a stuck-up bitch. Too like Charles in so many
ways. But no, we of the sisterhood should stick together. Do you know
Penny Atwater? Penny gave her the gypsy’s warning but it didn’t faze our
Rachel one bit. So I called her and told her what had happened. She told
me I was exaggerating or must be jealous because I couldn’t keep my satisfied. Imagine! The bitch!”
“OK. I have an idea. It’s strictly illegal, wholly unethical but I
frankly don’t care. I think we can fix Charles’s wagon. I’ll need your
help, a couple of others too. I don’t suppose Pippa would be up for it but
you might ask her. There is only one condition. If I succeed in sorting
out Charles, you agree to settle on Caxton Street for, let’s say, a hundred
She agreed and I told her my plan. Her grin got wider as I explained
what I had in mind.
I explained the whole situation to Phil and David; I needed them on my
side if the plan was to succeed. I needn’t have worried. Once they heard
that Pippa had been a victim and Rachel was to be next, they were in like
Flynn. We left the office on the dot of Five O’clock that Friday and went
straight to the Gym. Sally was there to meet us with Penny Atwater, a
pretty redhead, and, much to my surprise, Pippa.
“Right, I need one of you three to clear the ladies’ changing rooms for
us. Phil and I are going into the glazing business. David, you go with
Sally to Charles’s private room and set things up there.”
Pippa and Penny duly obliged and cleared the changing room. Phil hung a
prepared sign reading ‘Out of Order, Please use Swimming Pool Changing
Rooms’ and then we set to work. We took out Charles’s trick mirror and
reversed it. We could now look into the Dungeon but he couldn’t see out.
On the other side of the glass, we watched as David and Sally made their
preparations. They joined us in the darkened changing room and we settled
down to wait. A couple of hours passed slowly. Sally was flirting with
David and Phil was showing Penny how the and concealed
microphone worked. I sat quietly with Pippa. She reached out and squeezed
“I only got involved with Charles because we broke up,” she said. “I
didn’t know what he was like, of course. He seemed … exciting somehow.”
“Pippa, you don’t have to explain.”
“Oh, but I do! James, it was horrible. I don’t know how it happened
but we’d been out for the evening and ended up back here. I hadn’t drunk
much but I was feeling really woozy. He showed me that Room.” She gestured
towards the mirror. He started laying out a couple of lines of coke and
snorted them. He asked me to give him a and I don’t know why, but
I agreed. Then these other appeared. They literally ripped my clothes
“James, it was horrible. They were doing all these things to me and it
was like I was watching it happen. I was powerless to stop them. I
couldn’t even struggle, I felt so weak. Then Charles started to have me,
you know, anally. It really burned but it was like it was happening to
someone else. I knew it but I couldn’t really feel it properly.
Charles got really angry because I was just lying there. He wanted me to
show how much I was enjoying it! But I wasn’t. I hated very second but I
couldn’t do anything about it. My arms and legs seemed to weigh a ton. He
stared at me with this really cruel look on his face and then he started to
“He twisted my nipples and bit them hard, then he got a riding crop and
whipped me all over my front, from my to my thighs. The others
were getting a bit concerned and saying things like ‘you must have given
her too much; the bitch isn’t feeling anything. Be careful, you don’t want
to do any lasting damage.’ I must have passed out about then and when I
woke up, I was alone. They’d left me on the settee in the foyer. The
place was all dark and closed up. I got a taxi home and went to bed. It
wasn’t until the next day that I fully realised what had been done to me. I
called Sally. I wanted to call you but I was too ashamed.
“Sally told me that Charles must have drugged me with that date-rape
drug. That was why I was so detached and helpless. I thought about going
to the Police but I was afraid. Mostly I was scared that you’d find out.”
Any lingering doubts about what we were going to do left me then and
there. I put my arms around Pippa and wept softly into her hair. “I still
love you, you know,” I whispered. “I never stopped.” I saw she was crying
too. She shook her head.
“How can you when I’ve been such a whore?”
“It wasn’t you, it was that bastard and his sick mind and sick friends.
Well it stops here, tonight!”
Suddenly a light came on in the private room and we all saw Charles and
Rachel walk in. Charles nonchalantly dangled a bottle of Champagne and two
flutes from one hand. Rachel was looking tipsy and we could hear her
giggles over the microphone. Charles pulled her towards him and
they kissed passionately. He unzipped Rachel’s dress and she shrugged her
shoulders to send it sliding down and pooling at her ankles. Someone, I
think it was Sally, said, “Will you look at that? She’s got artificial
tits!” We all laughed like maniacs, it broke the tension.
It was true. Rachel was definitely surgically enhanced – or otherwise –
depending on your point of view. She slipped her fingers into the
waistband of her thong and stood, totally nude, in front of Charles,
striking a pose with one arm raised and her head thrown back. Her pubes
were trimmed to a thin stripe down the centre of her mons. You could see
her lips pouting pinkly and her erect nipples signalled her arousal. Her
long hair was a silky frame to her beautiful face. She looked
wonderful and wanton. Charles’s face was a of lust. His
too-perfect features were contorted into a satyr’s mask. Rachel turned and
wiggled her backside at him. “Come and get it, Lover-boy.” Her voice was
loud through the amplified microphone. Phil had started the camera.
Charles stripped quickly. His body was flawless, as was his tan. He
was sprouting a semi-hard on and Rachel grabbed it and began to rub him
feverishly. He pushed her hand away and propelled to her to one of the
leather bench-like things that were scattered around the room. She pushed
him back and walked to a sort of X-frame. She lay against it, face forward
and indicated to Charles to secure the manacles at each corner of the X
over wrists and ankles. It was clear that our Rachel was something of a
player. I was starting to have my doubts about the plan. It may have been
kinky but it was clearly consensual up to this point.
The frame twisted and spun in both the vertical and horizontal planes.
Charles twisted her upside down and started to rain a series of light slaps
on her thighs, buttocks and crotch. Rachel shivered and gasped. Charles
then bent his head and started to lick her with feather-light flicks of his
tongue. We could see the muscles in her buttocks flexing as she struggled
to push her up to his teasing mouth. He took a twist of paper from a
hidden recess and we watched as he poured a sprinkling of white powder at
the junction of Rachel’s thighs. “Got him!” said David as Charles
proceeded to snort the cocaine off his human table. Two more figures
entered the room. Rachel was incapable of noticing anything at that point.
She was lost in the middle of a very loud and vocal orgasm.
Pippa’s grip on my arm tightened as the two new arrivals stripped. They
were in good shape but didn’t compare with Charles. In the meantime, he
had lowered the top of the frame to the horizontal. Rachel was now
suspended face down at about waist height. One of the newcomers went
around to her head and thrust his engorged cock into her mouth. All Rachel
could see was his legs and feet so I suppose she thought it was Charles at
first, for she avidly, making moaning noises in her throat.
It was only when Charles rammed two fingers into her arse that she
realised her mistake. We saw her jerk, shaking her head to get way from
the insistent cock battering at her mouth. The frame and the guy fucking
her face wouldn’t let her move. The second guy was now crouched beneath
the frame, rubbing his hands over her and pinching her nipples.
Charles grabbed a tube of something from the recess and spread it on his
fingers and prick. He jabbed forward and we saw Rachel’s eyes go wild with
pain and shock as he rammed her into her with no warning.
The guy at Rachel’s head suddenly convulsed and yelled aloud as he
orgasmed into her helpless mouth. There were tears in her eyes and she was
choking and retching. The one who had been on the floor playing with her
tits swapped places with the now sated head-man. Charles was pumping like
a demon. Rachel’s scream of “Nooooo!” was cut off as another rock-hard
prick was forced into her mouth.
“I think we’ve seen enough,” I said. “Time to surprise our friend
I nodded at David and he thumbed the button on a remote he took out of
his pocket. The five flashguns he’d previously in Charles’s
playroom all went off simultaneously. We raced around to the door marked
‘Private – Staff Only’ and pushed inside. The two strangers were frozen in
place, visibly wilting. Charles, too, had stopped thrusting, but was still
buried deep in Rachel’s arse. Rachel was the one who seemed to recover
quickest. She began screaming and cursing and threatening Charles with the
direst and most anatomically impossible of fates. Charles was
thunderstruck. He saw the six people in front of him and then he spotted
the camera. Comprehension dawned. He relaxed. His two pals grabbed
their clothes and fled. We let them go, it was Charles we were after.
“How much do you want, Harrington, you bastard? Giving it all that
about only wanting me to stop talking you down. You’re just as
money-grabbing as all the other shysters!”
“Yet again, Charles, you are woefully mistaken. This isn’t about
blackmail, it’s evidence.”
His face paled and his withered dick slipped out of Rachel. She was
still screaming blue murder. I gestured to Sally and Phil to get her out
of the contraption. It was a mistake. She flew at Charles with claws
extended like an avenging fury and raked him from eye to chin. Phil
grabbed her and hauled her off. Charles put his hand to the side of his
face and gave a twisted grin as it came away bloody. You could almost see
him calculating the odds.
“You daren’t use it, Harrington. You’d have to explain how you got it.
Not a good career move, I’d say.”
“Oh we’ve thought of that. We all agreed if that what it takes to stop
you, so be it. Of course, we’ll have to explain about your two-way mirror
and the ladies’ changing room. We also have three women at least prepared
to testify that you also raped them. We may get drummed out of the
brownies, Charles, but you are going down.”
I was so angry; I must have sounded absolutely sincere. He became
“Can’t we find some other way of dealing with this? After all, no harm
done, eh? Just a bit of a misunderstanding.”
“No harm done you bastard!!!” Rachel succeeded in evading Phil’s grasp
and launched another attack on him. “You raped my arse you sick Fucker!
You got your slimy friends to join in. I agreed to a bit of fun, not some
fucking fantasy by the Marquis de Sade.“
Rachel suddenly spotted the Champagne flutes and before anyone could
move, she grabbed one and darted towards Charles, smashing the fragile
glass and ramming the broken stub into his face. He screamed as the
razor-sharp shards tore at his face. Phil, David and I all grabbed her
together and dragged her away. Her own hand was badly cut and we had some
difficulty prising open her fingers, slippery with blood as they were.
Sally grabbed the Champagne bottle and hurled into the two-way mirror.
The bottle shattered and the mirror cracked in two. Our hasty reversal had
not secured it too well and it fell from its frame onto the changing room
floor, where it smashed. Things were now well out of hand. It was Pippa
who pulled it all back together. She slapped a now hysterical Rachel into
a stunned silence, crushed Sally with a glare and grabbed Charles and sat
him down on one of the leather-covered benches. She sent Phil to get
towels and Penny to fetch the first aid kit out of my car.
Fifteen minutes later calm was restored. The glass had punctured
Charles’s right cheek but fortunately the damage was limited to a single
jagged cut about two inches long. Rachel, now dressed and calm, had a
bandage over her cut hand but still had murder in her eyes. The rest of us
were feeling pretty subdued. Charles, particularly, looked deflated. His
face had three livid scratches down one side and a bloody in the
other. Winter had come with a vengeance for Narcissus.
“This has all gone far too far,” Pippa said. “Charles, You should get a
Tetanus shot. You too, Rachel. I don’t think you need stitches but you
might.” She turned to glare at me. “James, I don’t what you were expecting
to happen but I can’t believe we all agreed to do this. We should have
known better, all of us!”
Sally started to protest but Phil and David looked shamefaced, which was
precisely what I was feeling. Only Rachel looked defiant but she was still
flying on whatever cocktail of booze and drugs Charles had fed her. Pippa
continued in the same vein.
“As for you Charles, I dare say you deserved what happened here tonight.
You are a low, odious creature that doesn’t deserve to be called a man.
Well, now you know that we all know and that we have the evidence to prove
it. You even look hard at any in future and I’m going straight to the
Police with this tape.”
We left it like that. We were all too drained to think straight. A
couple of weeks later I got a call from Sally to say she’d settled with
Charles on the Caxton Street property. I called Pippa a few times but she
was never there and never responded to any of the messages I left. I asked
Sally but she didn’t know where Pippa had gone. Christmas was an
anticlimax. Phil, David and I joined another Gym. There was no trace of
A few weeks into the New Year, I got a real surprise. I had spent the
morning in Court and just got back to the Office when Charles walked in. I
ushered him into my office. He looked as prosperous as ever and, apart
from a pink-ish scar on one cheek, just as good-looking. His demeanour,
though, was something else again.
“James, this is going to sound very odd indeed, but I want to thank you.
I’ve been in rehab for the past two months and I have been fortunate enough
to discover some things about myself before it was too late. Those poor
girls I abused, it wasn’t the sex. It was because I felt I could, It was
largely the drugs, of course, gave me this feeling of omnipotence. But I
have learnt, James, that it was there in me, lurking. I haven’t ever
believed in good and evil or light and darkness but I do now.
“We all have a dark side. Basically good men, like you, keep it under
control. Weak men, like I have been, find excuses to give it free rein.
Anyway, I am off drugs now and swear to you I will never go back. I have
stopped drinking as well. I don’t think drinking was the cause of it but
I’m afraid that if I get drunk, I might weaken. I have apologised to all
those I and humiliated, except Pippa. I couldn’t seem to find her. I
have offered to compensate them all. Some have accepted, others told me
where to go.
“I know it’s hard for you to believe but I really am a changed man. I
just wanted you to know that you did me the greatest service anyone can do
for another. You held up a mirror and I saw myself, truly, for the first
I just sat and stared at him in wonder. He took my silence for
disbelief, no doubt, but the funny thing is, I did believe him. His face
was different, somehow. Then I twigged. It was his eyes. They were
human. They showed pain and and pleading. The Charles’s eyes were
cold and dead like a shark’s, the effect of gazing too long at his own
reflection. I got to my feet nodding and shook his hand. I couldn’t think
of a single thing to say.
I got another shock when I got home that evening. Pippa’s car was in
the driveway. She was sitting on my porch, two suitcases at her feet. She
smiled as I hurried towards her. I just grabbed her and hugged her to me
for the longest time. At last I let her go.
“James, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I went to stay with my
cousin and her husband in Edinburgh. I finally realised that you only did
this insane thing because of what Charles did to me. Sally told me that
you got really mad when you heard I’d been involved. I am not proud of
what we all did that night but I hear it seems to have worked out for the
“I also remember you saying you still loved me. I hope that’s true
because I’ve come to stay, if you’ll have me, of course”
For the second time that day, I couldn’t think of a thing to say.