“He makes me laugh,” Els said.
“And,” Ina prompted from the other end of the phone.
“And what?” Els tried to sound innocent, but she could not help laughing.
“And what’s the sex like?”
“Who says I’ve slept with him?”
“Yeah, of course you haven’t,” Ina faked sincerity. “Last night was your third date, you’re calling me first thing in the morning and you’re whispering. All of which means you got up early and he’s still in the apartment.”
“Okay. Okay.” Els gave in. “It was great. We were very drunk, and it was still good.”
“Only good?” Ina gave a small tut.
“Hey, what do you want me to say, that it was the best sex I’ve ever had.”
Ina laughed. “Well you’ve not had much since losing your job, so it’s got to have been the best you’ve had for the last two years.”
Els kept her laughter quiet. “It was very good, but I’d like to have another go now I’m in control of everything.”
“Good for you,” her friend replied. “So where is he now?”
“He’s still asleep. I was a bit bouncy this morning and couldn’t just lie around so I thought …” She stopped as she heard the bedroom door open. “Hold on.”
As the footfalls came down the hall she ran her free hand through her hair, trying to get rid of the rumpled effect.
Andries’ head appeared round the door frame. “Morning,” he said, offering her a broad grin. “Hope I’m not disturbing you.”
“No,” Els replied. “I’m just on the phone catching up with a friend.” She waved the handset at him by way of explanation. “If you need a shower there’s clean towels in the bathroom.”
“That’d be great, thanks.” He turned to head back the way he had come.
Els leapt up from the sofa and stood so she could see him. “Do you want coffee or anything?”
He stopped and looked back at her. “That would be great. I won’t be long.” Then he was walking away again.
She watched his retreating form; slim waist, tight ass in white jockey shorts, broad shoulders with a hint of a tan still lingering. All the time she held up the phone so the camera caught the scene.
“Not bad, eh?” she whispered as she climbed back onto the sofa.
Ina was trying to stifle her laughter. “I’d get in there and join him.”
“I think I will, right after I’ve tided up. I’ll ring you later.”
“Okay. Let me know all the details.”
Els was still grinning as she entered the bedroom. The sheets were messed up and their clothes were scattered across the floor. She smiled to herself as she picked up her top and bra remembering fight he had gotten into while trying to free her from them.
His clothes were already in pile because last night she had sat on the edge of the bed and stripped him where he stood. His shirt she placed on the back of a chair. Trousers got folded. She discovered his wallet half under the bed. For a brief moment she tried to stop herself from looking at it, but curiosity won the battle.
The government ID was what caught her attention. His picture was almost as alluring he was in the flesh. Els admired it. Then she noticed his job title; Restart Worker, Department For Employment. She read it twice more, each time the well that had opened in her stomach grew. When she finally snapped out of the shock, she confirmed her fears by checking the rest of the ID. She sat down heavily on the bed.
When Andries walked back into the bedroom she was still there, his wallet next to her.
“Hey,” he said, his voice soft and warm, so comforting it almost made her forget what he was.
She looked up but could not find the anger to raise her voice. “I found your ID card, so I know what you are; what you do.”
He stopped moving for a moment then held up both hands. “Look, it’s not what you think.”
His denial finally riled her. “Really? Let me tell you what I think.” She stood up and stepped closer to him. “You’re a droid working for the Department For Employment. You’re paid to track down women who are unemployed. The theory is that if you cheer them up with some dates and a bit of sex they’ll feel better about themselves and go out and get a job.”
He said nothing, simply fixing her with his large brown eyes.
“How am I doing so far? Pretty close I’d guess, because I’m not one of those women who’s drowned herself in self pity since she became unemployed. I’ve actually stayed in touch with what’s going on so I know all about this new initiative from the government.” She pushed passed him and walked out of the bedroom. “You can get dressed and get out of my place. I don’t want to hear your excuses or any party rhetoric about how you were doing this to help me.”
She stopped and turned to face his unmoving back.
“You know what you have achieved; getting me to complain to my MP.”
11 June 2010
In Holland unemployed women are being offered €1,400 so they can have a makeover. The government is also giving them free membership to a dating agency.
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