© Clare London
“Where to?” I ask that of most of my passengers, at one time or another. Those who haven’t already told me; who are changing route as they go along; who have no idea at all until the road’s peeling away behind them and the seductive glimmer of the lights ahead tempts them to seek their desires beyond the edge of any map.
The guy in the back is in the last category.
When I glance up into the mirror, he’s looking out of the window. “I don’t know,” he says quietly, though I hear him as clearly as always. “But you know that already.”
I flicker my eyes back to the road ahead. I can’t see the whole of his face, but I know how it looks. Thin, angular features; a jaw that they used to call classically shaped. He’s more handsome than anyone I’ve ever met, though it’s nothing new for me to drive celebrities. When he runs a hand through his artfully trimmed curls, it’s fascinating to watch him, and according to the gossip press, many women do. I suspect he realises his effect on the fans, at the same time as resenting it.
“The usual place?” I ask. Sometimes he’s eager to vary the routine.
“Whatever.” He sighs: it sounds genuine. He sits almost slumped in the seat; every movement of his body whimpers exhaustion. “If you like.”
I’m suddenly angry. It’s never been about what I like! I’ve sat for hours in this bucket seat, concentrating on nothing but a straight cap and a civil tongue and the priority needs of the customer.
I’m conscious of him straightening up in the back of the limo. “Shit,” he says, in that perfectly clipped accent. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to sound so pathetic. Tell me I’m a tosser, why don’t you?”
The traffic is slowing down for a busy junction and I slip into a lower gear. “It’s not my place to,” I say, slowly. “Sir.”
He chuckles softly. “Right. So what is your place?”
I smile. I know the tone between us isn’t what it should be, but I know it’s what we like. “It’s to take you where you want to go tonight.” I make no demands of my own – he knows that.
“That’s the job description,” he says, nodding. “But it’s… still difficult to decide.”
Some people see the cool anonymity of the car as a confessional, you know. I’ve listened to declarations of guilt that never reached a priest’s ears; sorrow that couldn’t be shared even with mothers; easy ecstasy created from popping pills and pretty, pliable limbs.
The first time I drove him, all those months ago, he was truly exhausted. His world was suffocating him with its hypocritical demands. He talked to me, and – unlike all the others – insisted I talk back. I never expected anything beyond that.
I drive past the populated areas, where houses are squashed together and cars double park from necessity, and satellite dishes dot the roofs like droppings. I’m concentrating on driving out of the city, but I listen to him, nonetheless.
“I’m tired of it all,” he murmurs. “Tired of long days being paid to be someone I’m not. Even longer nights of bright, cold partying, just to feed the paparazzi.”
I pull slowly into a deserted car park under a derelict office block and stop the limo at the far side. We’re hidden from the road, no windows overlooking. I remove my cap and put it on the seat beside me. There’s a moment silence between us.
“In the car?” I ask.
He shakes his head, eyes fevered. “Outside.”
I get out and open his door, watching his body uncurl and his long legs stretch out. He looks into my face, his dark eyes wide and wild. We know this place well.
He slips off his jacket, loosening his tie. There’s a soft pink flush to his neck. I take his arm and turn him so that he faces the bonnet. He tenses for a second, then relaxes, and his head drops. He bends forward and puts his hands down on to the bodywork, still warm from the idling engine.
The sound of my zip is loud, and the air is fresh and cool on my hands as I slip down his trousers and boxers. His skin is perfect. After familiar preparations, I press into him without hesitation.
It’s very quick today; we’re both in need. I come with a groan and a shudder of pleasure that never ceases to shock me.
Afterwards, he turns around, panting. There’s mess on the bonnet of the car where he came. The pale stickiness glitters on the dark paintwork – it’s surprisingly exciting.
He sees me looking and smiles. Licks his lips. “Next time?” he hisses. When I don’t answer, fear flashes in his eyes like reflection from the dying sunset.
I turn to open the door for him, but he catches my arm. We’re of a similar height and his mouth touches easily to mine. It’s a clumsy kiss, though. I’m startled, and my head jerks sideways before finally meeting his cool lips. His tongue slips into me, a strange, virgin feel to it, possessing me. He tastes astonishingly good.
When we break apart again, I’m confused. My breathing’s ragged.
“Why?” Why now? Why this time?
“Not in the job description? Sorry.” He’s tense; he’s turning away.
“No,” I say. “That’s not it. It was… good.” Such a pathetic word, though better than nice. I’m disconcerted. I have no other excuse.
He smiles again. “You drove me here,” he says, and when I open my mouth to ask what the fuck that means, he kisses me again.
“I’m glad you did,” he whispers. “Every time.” His voice is steady again. He adjusts his tie, preparing to return to his public life.
“Where to?” I ask. I sound stupid. I can hear the sound of traffic out on the main road.
“Back,” he says, softly. Regretfully. “Just drive.”