Nancy launched out of her seat and was knocked back by her seatbelt’s locking device. The metal clasp slithered within her fingertips before she managed to release herself. His hand continued to squirm like a jellyfish caught in netting. The animation did not reflect the inertia of Vince’s other hand.
He wasn’t breathing.
Nancy’s headdress flopped around and her earrings clinked as she clambered across the seat. Her bloodied hand landed upon Vince’s overcoat crumpled on the seat. No bruise on his neck, not even a scratch. Why wasn’t he breathing?
Her fingers hovered above his tie. A narrow gleam in his eye dared her to touch him. A misgiving stole over her at the idea of defying his wish.
She slipped off her shoes and scrambled via the knees over the unit. Vince’s skull abruptly rebounded against the headrest. His abdomen bucked. White frenzy washed over her. She hitched up the skirt of her dress and crawled onto his lap, thighs astride of his.
She rocked forwards so that her knees took her weight and seized his tie with both hands. To her surprise, his hand remained rock-still at his throat.
She worried the knot. Her fingertips trampled blood over his collar. Irked, she wiped the paste onto the flanks of her dress. The cabin swirled in a crazy ebb.
She inserted her small digit into the hoop at the top and fished out the tongue. She teased the silk. Without warning, his hands starfished out. He clutched at her dress. His eyes slitted over in rage. Sweat now soured the scent of his oak spiced with sap. His hooks tore at her buttons before his fingers locked hers in a brief but stony embrace. Her headdress fell askew with the force.
They were having sex.
You belong to you and me…
She batted his hands away. She flicked his tie from his neck and cast it aside. She proceeded to unbutton his shirt.
He believes in you and me…
His fingers minced at her skirt. Increased panic resorted her to ripping open his shirt. His chest had grown ashen. Oily sweat flattened the hairs around his abdomen. His neck and chest area were clear; there was no sign of bruising. She would have to look inside his mouth.
Vince swiped at the air. She fenced off his fists in frantic slaps. His force disturbed her; she tried not to think about it and pushed his hands with brute force. The whites of his eyes glimmered beneath wavering lids; his mouth had blanched to grey. She planted a finger upon his lower lip and teased his mouth open. His frenzied fug took over in another swell. The tendons of his jaw solidified and his head shook, but she could see the tip of his tongue flicking the inner walls of his teeth.
His tongue had not rolled back. There must be an obstruction; a throat injury. With his feet trapped, performing the Heimlich maneouvre had been made impossible. She burrowed her fist beneath his breastbone and pushed forcibly.
But Vince wasn’t having it. His knuckle racked the window. His midriff reared up and he cuffed her chest. A wheezing moan arrested her. Had he taken a breath just then? No, she quickly realised. The sound had not been his. The sound had been hers.
The coward within her instilled a demount from his lap. She emitted another wheezing moan as she scrambled towards her retreat. Her hips rebounded against a wall of air. She didn’t have to look back to know Vince had seized the lace trimming of her dress. Stitches cleaved in a stuttering rasp. Sweat trickled between her breasts in her effort to counter his force. Her hands made tacky kisses over the seat. She averted her eyes from the gouge marks on the seat. Her moans transmuted into grunts. She wondered. The death-throws of a supernova? The final cloudburst of a storm? Or worst of all, terror of a final desertion? Please end. Please let it end.
A hand caressed the back of Nancy’s head. She collapsed onto her stomach. The caress meandered over her hair and made a track across her neck.
Aunt Millie – her mother’s sister from Bedfordshire; wearer of bobbed haircuts and quilted coats. Nancy’s mother branded her boring. Boring Aunt Millie; jigsaws and monopoly. Nancy desperately wanted Aunt Millie’s boring company beside her in the cab.
Instead the caress terminated at Nancy’s shoulder. Glass beads pitched at the fringes of her vision and dropped away.