"Very well... there may be other charges to follow but, for the moment... Abigail Ruth Davies, I am placing you under arrest for the attempted murder of Samantha Lloyd-Smith. You do not have to say anything...."
And that was when my wife fainted.
If I'd been quick enough to react, I suppose I could have caught her before she hit the ground. At the same time, I reasoned that it was a much lighter bump than the one she'd intended for Sammy -- so I just made a half-hearted attempt that was never likely to succeed.
Perhaps I should introduce you to the major players in this little drama before I go any further - and I'll begin with myself.
I'm Robert Davies -- Robbie to my friends -- and I'm an unexpected accountant.
By that, I mean that I grew up on a pretty rough council estate and most of my contemporaries -- at least those who didn't end up in prison -- either became manual workers or were swelling the numbers of the long-term unemployed. I got lucky. I went to work in a carpet factory and, quickly displaying a gift for screwing up whatever loom I was on, got shifted to the stores. After a while, my ability to organise, along with a bit of a gift for numbers, attracted the attention of the owner, Griffin Lloyd, and he moved me into the despatch office.
For no particular reason, I took a bookkeeping course at the local College of Further Education, found that I really enjoyed it (no, honestly!), and once I'd achieved an exceptionally high pass, Old Man Lloyd shifted me into the main office and supported me through my training as a Certified Accountant.
That was where I first met his beautiful daughter, Samantha and, strange to say now, but it was hate at first sight. She was nothing at all like her dad. Where he was a good bloke who'd worked damned hard to get where he was, she was a completely spoilt brat -- an only child who was indulged by her father and resolutely pushed up the social scale by an ambitious mother. I'm sure you know the kind of person I mean -- you've probably met one or two -- but I was the unfortunate one chosen to be her mentor on the path from given riches to partly earned riches.
What probably made it worse was that she was absolutely gorgeous: beautiful long, blonde hair, the cutest face imaginable; a figure that was full and womanly even when she was 19, and a pair of legs that trampled through the wet dreams of most of the male staff. And she knew it. She was, to put it in simple terms, a teasing bitch.
A couple of years later she married Gerald ("please don't call me Gerry -- it's common") Smyth; someone who seemed a perfect match. She was flirtatious, he thought he was God's gift; she was spoilt, he was an arrogant asshole; she had plenty of money -- he had a lifestyle that required it.
But now it's time to bring the last of this small cast onto the stage. Enter, Abigail Ruth Marley (as she was when I first met her). She worked in the factory as one of the 'creelers.' That is to say, she sorted out the hanks of wool or nylon and operated one of the machines that transferred them onto plastic cones that were used to feed the threads into the looms.
Like me, she was the product of a council estate but, unlike me, she hadn't done anything to further her education. No, Abbie had decided that her appearance would be enough to help her rise out of the depths; all she needed was a man who'd be suitably impressed by her looks and her sexual prowess to take her from hard times to easy street. And I'm sure you can guess who she targeted.
I wasn't a complete dummy, nor was I totally inexperienced, but Abbie was pretty difficult to resist. She was 22 (I was 28 at the time) and she was stunning. Her raven black hair was cut fairly short, almost boyishly so; but, paradoxically, it seemed to make her even more feminine. She had liquid brown eyes that seemed to smoulder with sexuality while her figure, though slender, had all the right curves in all the right places.
At the time, the company was handling a large order to supply green carpeting to some Ministry of Defence establishments and, to make sure it was done on time, the boss had authorised quite a lot of overtime work in the evenings. The looms were going full-tilt up until midnight, at which time one of the keyholders had to check that everything was switched off and lock the place up. Naturally, being one of the keyholders, I had to take a turn or two. In fact, I had to take more than my fair share because Samantha couldn't possibly give up her social obligations and the boss was already feeling the effects of the illness that would lead to his demise within a year or so.
It was early December so there was no shortage of volunteers to do the overtime with the prospect of a heavy pay packet in time for Christmas, and it was the first night that snow began to fall. Snow is something we don't get much of in our part of the world, so no one is ever prepared for it. With the risk of people having trouble getting home, I allowed them to finish an hour early and went through the usual routine before going out into the biting wind and locking up.
I was happy enough to drive in my Land Rover, even though there was an inch or two of snow on the roads by then, and it was as I pulled out of the carpark that I saw Abbie standing forlornly at the bus stop. I pulled alongside and asked if she was alright and she told me her lift had let her down because her sister wasn't any good at driving in those conditions. I'd seen her sister's car -- a Mondeo -- and knew that its rear-wheel drive would turn it into a ballerina on a surface like that, pirouetting all over the road, so I offered her a lift.
She was grateful, of course, especially since she was freezing cold, and I let her use my mobile phone to tell her sister that she was okay. Along the way (she was still living in the estate where we'd both grown up) we chatted happily enough. She was excited because the foreman had arranged for her to move to a different job after the holidays -- she was going to be a 'picker;' one of the ladies who scan every bit of carpet, pulling bad stitches out and finding the missed ones before sewing them in by hand.
I guess I flirted a bit. I didn't have a girlfriend at that particular moment and, as I've said, she was very attractive so it was perfectly natural; and I think I probably told her that someone with her looks ought to be raising her sights a bit higher than such a mundane job. We shared a few laughs and I enjoyed her company during the half-hour drive. When we arrived at her house, she asked if I wanted to come in for a coffee, but I politely declined.
Instead, she thanked me with a kiss. Now, there are kisses -- and then there are kisses! And I swear that if my feet hadn't been on the floor, that one would have blown my shoes and socks off! And she obviously knew exactly what effect it had; I could tell that from her huge smile when she climbed out of the car and said goodnight.
I don't think I slept very well that night. Over the years, I'd had plenty of opportunities to have a bit of fun with some of the females who worked in the factory - both single and married -- but I'd made a point of keeping clear of them. I was very well aware of the complications it can cause -- especially if one is working on the floor and the other's part of the management team. Therefore, I did my best to forget about it and I kept a distance from her -- until the last day before the holidays.
At lunchtime that day the machines closed down, there was a full Christmas dinner served in the canteen and, of course, most of the employees had brought some 'refreshing' drinks with them. The mood was really good because they all had their pay-packets -- swollen with overtime, with a bonus for completing the contract ahead of time, and with the customary holiday pay and bonus. There was a bit of unease, though, because Griffin Lloyd had been taken into hospital the previous day and I think everyone was concerned.
Not only was the old man a well-liked employer who treated his staff fairly, there was the concern about who would take over if anything happened to him. The other directors were his wife, who had been to the factory no more than a dozen times in total; Samantha who, I have to admit, had begun to be far less arrogant than in the past; her husband, who hadn't changed at all except to decide that he was now a captain of industry with ideas to revolutionise production, and myself as company accountant. Apart from us there were three minor shareholders who only turned up to board meetings for the free drinks and buffet. No wonder they were worried!
Still, the party was soon in full flow. The tables were eventually cleared to one side, a 'Ghetto Blaster' (remember them?) began pumping out music, and people let their hair down and danced. As usual, I was dragged into it; at the age I was, plus still being single and earning well, I think I was regarded as an eligible bachelor and some of the females were clearly interested.
They never got a chance, though, because Abbie homed in on me; and the only dances I didn't have with her were the ones I had with Sammy.
I'd never even seen Sammy at one of these unofficial parties, so it came as a bit of surprise to find myself dancing close to her and even more of a surprise when, finding ourselves under a piece of mistletoe, she gave me a chaste, but very pleasant kiss. It was also a shock when she whispered, "Be careful of that one. She's trying to get her hooks into you... and you can do much better." And then, just as the tune ended and we broke apart Gerald arrived, gave an imperious wave, loudly wished everyone a happy holiday, and they both disappeared.
Well, she was probably right, but I was too dumb to see it. About ten minutes later, Abbie reappeared from wherever she'd been and then stayed behind and waited until I was left to lock up. Then, just as I was about to leave, she suddenly said:
"Damn! I've left my other shoes in the warehouse!" She explained that she'd left her flat heels there and changed into the ones she was dancing in, so I went back inside with her. I think I suspected what was about to happen but, to be honest, I wasn't exactly unwilling. She led the way through the aisles of carpet rolls until we came to a place where some small rugs were stacked. Her shoes were, as she'd said, lying on the floor in a carrier bag. Being a gentleman, I stooped to pick them up and, by the time I straightened up she was facing me, standing uncomfortably close, with one arm in the air. It was no surprise that she was holding a piece of mistletoe.
The kiss that followed was, if anything, even more shattering than our first had been. If I wanted to be both brief and a bit cute about what followed, I would say that even if it didn't blow my socks off, I certainly got my rocks off. But it remains a decent memory so I'll indulge in a bit of nostalgia.
Both of her arms wrapped themselves around my neck, she stood on tiptoe to reach my face and then our lips met. Almost immediately, her tongue slid into my mouth and did more exploring than Indiana Jones. My response, going from semi-erect to a throbbing bar of steel took about a tenth of a second and she ground her hips against it eagerly.
To be honest, there wasn't a great deal of foreplay. I know she purred "Mmmm... that feels nice," when we broke from that first kiss, but that was more or less the limit of our conversation. By unspoken mutual agreement, we settled down on a small pile of rugs, kissing frantically. I eased my hand beneath her sweater and only just had time to realise that she wasn't wearing a bra, and to appreciate the firmness of her tits and the hardness of her extended nipples before she began eagerly -- and expertly -- unfastening my trousers.
For a second or two, she broke away -- just time enough to lift her lift her skirt and remove her knickers -- before we were back into a passionate clinch. I was still concentrating on the luscious tits, kissing and sucking them like a half-starved baby while she dealt with the practicalities of disposing of my trousers and underpants. Then she gently grasped my erection -- expertly, again -- and her arms urged me to climb on top of her. It presented no difficulty because her legs were spread wide and, as soon as I was in position, she guided me into her with surprising ease.
There were a lot of appreciative murmurs -- from both of us -- as I began to slide in and out, and I relished the smooth slickness of her incredibly hot and clinging passage. I did my best to make it last, trying to hold back for as long as I could but, quite simply, she didn't allow me to do that. Rolling and grinding her hips against me, then thrusting upwards beneath me, she gave me little or no chance to hang back so that, after what seemed like no more than a minute or two, I knew that I'd reached my crisis point and was about to hurriedly withdraw. But she urged me on and I heard her whisper something about being 'on the pill.' And then it was too late as relief flooded over me -- and into her.
It honestly felt as if the climax lasted longer than the sex. I seemed to just go on and on, gushing like an oil well inside her until, finally spent and exhausted, I stopped.
Almost immediately, she pushed me aside and reached into her bag for some tissues. Seeing my look as she swiftly began to clean herself, she said; "Do you know how much these rugs cost?"
"To the penny," I grinned, "I'm an accountant!" Then she giggled, finished her task, and hugged me very tightly. "That was a bit quick... I'm sorry...." I said, but she kissed me and replied:
"Don't worry... it's quite flattering, really. But if you want to make it up to me I won't argue. Just... not here, though... if you don't mind?"
"Where d'you suggest?"
"Well... I don't know, really. I mean, my place wouldn't be much fun. Mum and Dad are busy packing to spend Christmas at Auntie Norma's place... and my sister and her boyfriend are probably waiting for them to go so they can dive into the bedroom...."
"How about my place?" I suggested innocently, not knowing that those four words just about sealed my fate.
I'll cut to the chase a little bit here. I took her back to my apartment -- quite a decent two-bedroom affair with a nice sea view -- and she was mightily impressed with it. After we'd both showered and spent several hours testing the strength of my large bed, and allowing me the chance to make up for my hasty effort at the factory, she wanted to inspect everything; you know, the way someone carefully examines a place they're thinking of buying?
She'd already expressed her satisfaction with the bathroom which was, to be fair, almost three times the size of the ones on the council estate -- and giggled helplessly when I explained the purpose of the bidet because she'd never seen one before -- and been delighted with all the wardrobe and storage space in the bedroom. The kitchen also pleased her. As a matter of fact it was full of gadgets that I rarely used (even the ones I knew how to), with an open-plan dining area. She seemed, in fact, to drool over it; saying that she loved cooking, and having a place like that was one of her major ambitions. But it was the living room that really made her gasp.
I suppose I'd grown accustomed to the view but her response to it made me recall the first time I'd been able to gaze out across the expanse of the bay and watch the tide rolling in and out. I think I may have said something corny about the view being so much better when she was part of it (alright, I admit it, I really did say that!) and she hugged me and kissed me, and thanked me and, in no time at all, we were back beneath the bedcovers and I was getting an amazing blow job -- the first I'd ever had where the woman actually swallowed and appeared to enjoy it.
The following day was Christmas Eve and we woke to find the ground covered with a slight, but very beautiful frost. After a good session that proved very satisfactory for both of us, she insisted on making breakfast -- proving that she certainly knew her way around a kitchen -- and we sat at the dining table to talk.
The conversation quickly turned to what we intended doing the following day: my plan was to have a microwaved meal, watch TV and maybe spend some time on the Internet; she was faced with watching TV and trying not to listen to her sister being noisily banged in the bedroom.
It seemed entirely reasonable to make some better arrangements. I dropped her at home to sort out a few clothes for herself while I went to the supermarket and gathered the list of stuff she'd asked me to buy so she could cook a proper meal for us. It was all quite romantic in a way -- probably because I managed to avoid seeing that I was being manipulated.
We ended up having a great holiday together. A carol service in the town square that night with a bag of roast chestnuts to eat on the way home; a Christmas Day spent trying to fuck each other to a standstill, and a Boxing Day showing her around the local aero club and explaining how I needed the adrenaline rush that skydiving gave me to make up for the boredom of my working week. She had her doubts about it -- quite severe ones, to be honest -- but she was a game girl, I'll give her that much!
Her first jump, with a qualified instructor, took place at the beginning of February. There were six more before the end of that month and then, in early March, she made her first solo descent. And it was when she landed that I offered her an engagement ring. Slushy? Yes. Romantic? Yes. Then it was totally spoiled by an asshole saying, "Aw... how sweet... the council house kids marry into their own class!"
Looking around, I saw the sneering face of Gerald Smyth and, without even stopping to think, I slammed my fist as hard as I could into his gut. I heard a kind of 'whooping' noise as the air was expelled from his lungs, watched him sink to knees with a look of total disbelief on his face; then there was a loud retching sound as he expelled whatever he'd recently eaten all over the grass.
"You bloody cretin," I heard Samantha say; and I was going to take issue with her until I realised that she was addressing the remark to her stricken husband. "I'm sorry about that, Robbie," she said, turning to me, "he had a few drinks with his lunch and it's given him verbal diarrhoea." Then she turned on her heel and walked away without as much as a backwards glance at any of us.
Abbie and I were still open-mouthed in amazement, watching her depart, as Gerald climbed to his feet. He wiped some vomit off the wispy goatee beard he'd grown and muttered; "You've made a big mistake, Davies... one lucky punch doesn't mean this is over... not by any means."
"Any time you're ready for more, just let me know... Gerry!" I snarled and turned away to find that Abbie was still in a state of shock. I just took her arm gently and walked away. So, the engagement was ruined, but we got over it and were married a couple of months later.
We were uncomfortable about working in the same place together and so, after we returned from our honeymoon in Tenerife, Abbie handed in her notice and found a job working in an employment agency that was only a short walk from the apartment. Despite her never having taken education too seriously, she was bright enough to adapt to an office environment and (although I didn't dare to mention it) I think she was mainly hired because she was a very nice piece of 'eye candy' when she occupied the reception desk.
Everything seemed to be going pretty well for us during those first couple of years. We weren't exactly rich, but our combined incomes made us fairly comfortable. My lovely young wife proved to be a good housekeeper and a good cook, as well as wonderfully inventive in the bedroom. I mean, I knew she carried a bit of history with her -- she never denied that she'd 'been around a bit' before we got together - but the same held true for me as well, so I didn't have anything to complain about on that score.