Archie grabbed his coat. Ollie was right. It was flipping cold out there and what could they do meeting at the corner of Canal Street? He’d better get a move on if he was going to get there in twenty minutes. There were two main roads to cross. You always had to wait for the green man. He’d better step on it.
It was even colder than he thought. A couple of times he slipped on the ice.
“You want to take more water with it,” shouted Foxy Burnett as he came out of the betting shop of the corner of Glastonbury Road and Bristol Avenue. “You going to your Grandma’s?”
Archie had just almost crashed into a car half parked on the pavement. Sneaky old pervert, he thought as he saw Foxy’s eyes lit up. “She’s probably gone shopping,” he said.
“Oh, well give her my regards when you see her,” said Foxy. “And tell her me offer still stands. If she’ll have me.”
Gross, thought Archie. He fancies her. Archie felt slightly sick. Foxy was a dirty old beggar and he smelt awful. No chance for him with Grandma. She was much too particular. Thank goodness.
“Well, you will, won’t you?” said Foxy.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Archie. “Get out of my way, will you? I’m in a hurry.”
“Where’ve you got to get to then? In such a tearing hurry? ”
“Corner of Canal Street. Move, then.”
Ah. Foxy had a point. Red had not said which corner. And Canal Street was half a mile long. The nearest bit was at least twenty minutes away. Now Foxy had held him up. He’d never make it.
Archie found Red’s number in his phone. Darn! It was engaged. But at last Foxy had moved out of the way now.
Archie tried Ollie.
Ollie answered. “Hiya. What’s keeping you?”
“Bottom Row. Where do you think? Durr! You wouldn’t imagine he’d want to move far from home, would you?”
“Okay. See you soon.”
“Move it, man. He’s nearly finished talking to his new girlfriend. He’ll get stroppy if you’re not here in five.”
“I’m doing my best, man.”
Ollie finished the call.
Red had a girlfriend. When did that happen?
Archie recognised Red’s red hoodie as soon as he turned into Canal Street. Red was still on his phone. He moved away from the other two.
“You took your time, said Ollie.
“I came as fast as I could,” said Archie. “Foxy Burnett tripped me up. “
“What did he want?”
“You’re a having a laugh, ain’t ya?”
“Yeah, well. Feisty old gal, your grandma. He ain’t got much chance.” Red, who was still on the phone was now walking towards them. “Girlfriend,” Ollie mouthed.
“Who is she?”
Ollie shrugged. “Just some bird.”
“Rightio,” said Red. “You take care. Can’t wait to see you again. Kiss kiss.” He ended the call. “Right, chaps, he said.
“I thought you weren’t into girls,” said Archie. Suddenly he was missing Amanda. He closed his eyes. She always smelt so nice. Just think, if he hadn’t agreed to come on this jaunt they’d probably be snogging by now.
“Not as much as you, me old lovely. Women have got to know their place. You can’t be with them all the time. You’ve got to make time for your mates.”
Archie opened his eyes again. Red was right. And he remembered what a relief it was to have some time away from her. The snogging was all right. Great in fact. And she was a really nice person. Something stirred down below. God, not a stiffy now. Yeah, and the frustration.
And there was all the other stuff. Remembering to be polite, watching your manners, listening to her chuntering on and on about her family as well as asking him about hers all the time. Problem solved. Stiffy gone.
Anyway didn’t she want to spend some time with her girlfriends?
But he still didn’t get it about Red. “So, who is she?”
Red tapped the side of his nose. “That’s for me to know and for you not to find out. But she’s a corker. Blond. Tall. Slim. Big tits. Gorgeous.”
Archie squirmed. He wouldn’t ever talk about Amanda that way.
Ollie was frowning as well. “I can’t see what the fuss is all about. My mum’s got big tits but I don’t fancy her.”
Red cuffed his head. “Plonker! You’re just jealous of me and Archie because we can pull the women.”
“Is she from our school?” asked Archie.
“No she ain’t. Out of your league mate. So don’t even think about it.”
Archie was puzzled. He’d got a girlfriend, so why would he want to mess around with Red’s? Especially as Red had no intention of letting him and Ollie anywhere near her. “I wouldn’t dare,” he mumbled.
“I didn’t mean you. I meant him.” Red nodded towards Ollie. He put his arm round Archie’s and Ollie’s necks. “Now then, chaps. I thought we ought to meet because this is getting serious now. Two of us pulled in by the deadly charms of the fairer sex.”
“You what?” said Ollie.
“Two of us taken in by the delights of carnal knowledge of the glamorous gals.” He ruffled Ollie’s hair. “Don’t you fret. Your turn will come.” Red paused. “Actually, do you have anybody in mind?”
Ollie’s face went almost as red as Red’s hoodie. “Millie Davies,” he mumbled.
Archie had to suppress a laugh. He’d been at junior school with Millie and she used to wear owly specs with a broken frame held together with a plaster. Still, he supposed now that she wore contacts and short skirts she looked a bit better. In fact, she’d got very nice legs.
“Then Millie Davies it shall be,” said Red. “But first we must swear the oath of the independent gentlemen.”