Angie woke up and looked at the clock on the bedside table. ‘Shit’, she thought, ‘I’m going to be late for work again’. Tentatively she rolled over and tried to focus on the room, wondering where she was. She needed water, she needed to pee, she was going to be sick. Rolling onto the floor she stumbled to the bathroom and locked herself in. Water, puke, more water, shower, puke again.
She realised that someone was knocking on the door. Wrapping herself in a towel she slid back the bolt and pulled it open to find a stranger standing in front of her, smiling. She tried to remember how the evening had ended but everything was a blur after she and Karen had persuaded the bouncers to let them into that second nightclub.
They had met in a pub, straight from work, and decided to have a few drinks before finding a place to eat. Somehow the eating had been forgotten along the way. Angie was newly single and feeling bruised, ready to let her hair down and have some fun. Karen had promised to see her safely home.
‘Good morning gorgeous’ the man said cheerfully. Angie could see her clothes strewn around the bedroom floor amongst a mass of other garments. She could also see that there was still someone in the bed. ‘Um, I need to get to work’ she mumbled. The man laughed and stood aside.
Angie pulled on her crumpled clothes hastily, looking around for the bag containing her make up and comb. The body in the bed stirred and a head emerged from under the duvet. Karen looked at her groggily, then at the stranger. Sitting up slowly a look of horror spread across her face. ‘What the hell is going on here?’ she demanded.
The man scooped a pair of boxers off the floor and pulled them on. ‘Shall I make you ladies some coffee?’ He walked out of the room without waiting for an answer.
‘Do you know who he is?’ Angie whispered. Karen climbed out of bed shakily, adjusted her pyjamas, and followed the man out of the room. Angry voices, clattering crockery, a slammed door; Angie felt giddy, confused, suffocated. She needed her bag and her shoes, she needed to get out of here.
Emerging tentatively from the bedroom she entered a room that she recognised. If Karen had brought her back here then why had she not slept in the spare room?
The man poured himself a coffee and sat down on the sofa. ‘In case you have forgotten, I am Greg’ he informed her.
‘How did I, I mean, what happened here?’ Angie stuttered.
Greg laughed. ‘I rescued you’ he said gleefully. ‘You were in a bit of a state. Karen called me when the taxi driver refused to take you, in case you threw up.’
Angie tried to focus, more waves of nausea threatening to engulf her. ‘But, why was I in that bed?’
The door to the spare room opened and Karen emerged carrying Angie’s bag, coat and shoes. Throwing them at her angrily she commanded ‘Now get out’.
‘Before you go’, Greg said smoothly, ‘would you like to see the video?’
Both women looked at him. ‘You recorded it?’ Karen asked.
‘You think I would pass up such an opportunity?’ he responded with a grin.
Karen walked over to the kitchen and stood for a moment, holding tight to the edge of the counter top. Angie stared at Greg, trying desperately to work out what she had done, what any of this meant.
Karen came to a decision and turned around to face Angie. ‘Greg makes films. Some he keeps private, some not. Cooperate again and we’ll make sure your face isn’t seen, otherwise I’ll upload what we have as it is and send the link to your boss.’
Angie felt as though she were falling into a black hole. After a long, dizzy pause she looked from Karen to Greg and quietly asked ‘Do we do this now?’
‘Why not’ Greg replied cheerfully.
Angie dug out her phone and dialled her office, telling them that she was too ill to come in. The three of them returned to the bedroom where Greg explained about multiple cameras, costumes, wigs and subsequent editing that would change the lighting and hide their identities.
Angie felt nervous but also rather excited. She waited for someone to tell her what to do next.