The serialisation continues, with the publication of Chapter Nine of Neil Mason’s unique debut novel There There My Dear. Sex, secret video footage, manipulation and health tonics provide the mix in this latest instalment, so read and enjoy. If you’ve missed events so far, don’t worry, it’s not too late to catch up. Follow this link to revisit Chapter One!
There There My Dear
Even the inherent classical elegance of the houses along the broad avenue in Notting Hill could not mask the conspicuous frontage of Kyle Andrews’ expansive period mansion. In the early evening during spring the sunshine reflected gold off the white rendered front of the house, contrasting with the deathly black of the high railings.
Parked outside the front door in the block-paved forecourt was one of Andrews’ favourite cars. Proving that he was now and in touch, he chose to travel in a vehicle that was instantly recognisable, funky and attainable by his fans and followers. Looking creamy in the golden light was a Fiat 500 in off-white with a burgundy folding sunroof. This was a car that allowed people to connect with Andrews and demonstrated his tact and subtlety when he could have chosen a Maybach or a Rolls Royce.
Inside the car Andrews was speaking on the telephone and collecting up his boxes of vitamin pills, chewing gum and cigarettes. ‘Once I’ve gone inside you can take the car round to the garage and then the rest of the night is your own. OK? So hurry up and let me out. Come on.’
In the driver’s seat of the Fiat, some twenty-five feet away and shielded by a soundproof screen, Andrews’ chauffeur acknowledged his boss’s instructions and got out of the car to open the rear passenger door. Andrews had collected up his must-have items into a Louis Vuitton satchel, refastened the fold-down desk, disconnected his iPad and finished off his vodka and lime by the time the chauffeur had reached the rear door of the elongated car.
It was a few minutes to eight in the evening when Kyle Andrews reached his study, turned on his desktop computer and settled down in his leather throne to review the recording he had made earlier. The images had been streamed to his home directly from the boardroom at his offices, so he simply needed to rewind to the desired point and watch the event in high definition.
Since the second series of his singing contest television show, Chart Master, Andrews had made a point of recording sound and images of every boardroom meeting attended by the show’s panel members. He had kept the recordings on a separate hard drive that nobody else knew about, locked away in a safe hidden behind a painting in the study. For the most part, none of the recordings were kept for voyeuristic purposes; he kept them in order to review the panel members’ facial expressions and to see if he could recognise or learn any visual clues given away by his highly paid employees.
However, there were two recordings that were kept for alternative reasons. One he watched back a few times and, probably, would watch again. This recording was not of a meeting itself but of what happened afterwards.
He remembered the event well but still enjoyed watching the eighteen minutes of footage that showed, basically, a frantic fuck on the boardroom table. His conquest, back at the start of the third series some six years ago, had been the beautiful and talented winner of the first series, Megan Glover, back as a guest judge for a few episodes. Megan had proved to be a genuine star after the first series had finished, dedicating herself to rehearsals, recordings, promotional events and TV appearances. Her work ethic, along with the assistance of a personal trainer, had helped her to shed a few pounds and transform her body into the perfect pop star shape – not as thin as a catwalk model but certainly toned. She had retained the fullness of her bosom and tightened up her bottom to perfection.
It had not been a difficult process to persuade her to consent to the boardroom adventure. And it certainly had not been the first time that he had persuaded her to have sex. The first time, he recalled, was in his dressing room at the television studios after one of the live events. That encounter had comprised some serious kissing and fondling, culminating in unhurried oral sex. Back then Andrews’ facial muscles allowed more emphatic expressions and he knew he must have looked at himself in the make-up mirror at some point during the blow job, smiling and looking smug. It may have been the sight of laughter lines right then that galvanised him into taking action to reverse the ageing process. He wished he had filmed that first connection.
The recorded session with Megan was a brief but energetic screw during which Andrews had deliberately manoeuvred himself so that one of the hidden cameras would record, in some detail, the nature of the union and the enjoyment on both their faces. Neither had taken precautions so Andrews had needed to withdraw before he climaxed, and he had left his calling card in random splashes on the glass table. Even when he watched the clip back, no matter how many times, it always came as a surprise to see the way that Megan Glover, her hair tousled, her skirt pulled up around her waist and her wicked platform high heels still on, tidied up afterwards.
Once the screen had come to life, Andrews scrolled through the recording and watched the time rewind until the digital clock showed 12:00:00, the start of today’s meeting. He settled back into his reclining office chair, pulled a notepad from the top drawer of his desk and set about his evening’s work.
The two hours he spent scrutinizing the recording resulted in a pad full of notes reflecting Andrews’ observations on his three new panellists. Over the next couple of days he would take these scribbled notes and write them up into a dossier that would act as a reference to use whenever he needed to instigate a move or manipulate an outcome.
Andrews was pleased with the result of the meeting and delighted that he had more than just a bit of dirt on his colleagues. He had their full range of facial expressions, their mannerisms and, their tells. Gold dust.
He noted that Graeme Fletcher’s default expression was one of fatigue and an apparent lack of interest. Most of the time there was a deadness in Fletcher’s watery eyes and this only changed when he was asked to opine on something significant. Then a glint appeared and his stare hardened. During these moments it seemed as if there was a young man with a steel resolve trapped in the failing body of an elderly man. Andrews guessed that Fletcher had an enduring health issue, so he made a separate note to have one of his staff gain access to Fletcher’s medical records. On this note he jotted down the figure £1,000 and underlined it.
Fletcher’s tell was subtle yet constant. It was also somewhat endearing. The facial expression that demonstrated Fletcher’s anger, disapproval, annoyance and disagreement was, quite simply, a pout. But the Devil was in the detail. Fletcher’s pout emanated from his nose – the end of it pushed down into his top lip, and forced an unusual pout that lasted just moments.
Andrews recognised it in an instant. It was the same kind of pout that his brother used to hold back a smile.
Gordon Ames was a man whose physical appearance comprised a thousand expressions all in one. The sharpness of his features gave him a fixed grin that seemed to pull at the corners of his eyes. He seemed to be taking pleasure in being evil, but in an enigmatic way. Yet there was dispassion underlying the overall expression. On the surface he was repellent, underneath he was untouchable and in reality he was cagey and shifty. Watching the recording was an eye- opener for Andrews because he had actually enjoyed his time with Ames and, throughout the meeting, Ames’ appearance was of no importance. It was almost unnoticeable. But on the screen, even the small laptop screen, Ames looked like and behaved like a demon. Andrews knew that Ames would provide Television Gold. At least a version of Television Gold for the Playstation Generation. He would become an overnight sensation, soon to be forgotten come the end of the series.
Ames’ tell was harder to detect, but Andrews spotted it after one particular exchange between Ames and Fletcher. The two men had clashed over a comment from Ames about Fletcher’s wife. Andrea, whom Ames referred to as Mrs. Fletcher, had flirted with Ames several years earlier and this had resulted in a brief tryst. This was still an open wound for Fletcher and he showed this with a micro expression that few would ever notice. It was the faintest of upward nods accompanied by a flicker of his right eyebrow. It was all over in an instant and immediately replaced with the omnipresent evil grin. Andrews was certain that this tell was reserved for the deepest feelings of discomfort and anger. Would it ever show itself in a light entertainment television programme?
Having known Michael Sills for so long, Andrews did not need to study the footage from the boardroom at all. He did not have to but he spent a few minutes watching his old friend’s face just to confirm what he already knew. Familiarity is such an odd thing. As soon as he saw Sills react to a few of the comments batted around between all the men in the room, Andrews could see whether Sills was delighted, deflated or defeated. It was all in the lips.
Whenever Sills agreed with a comment or plan, he could only smile. It was a broad and uncontrolled smile, unaffected in any way and quite infectious. When he smiled his lips rolled back to reveal large and white teeth. Andrews was certain that he knew which orthodontist Sills had been using. If he was angered in any way, he clenched his jaw and pursed his lips to the point that they blanched and lost their pinkness. Whenever he was uncertain, and this seemed to be a regular state for Sills, he would bite the right side of his bottom lip while curling the index finger of his left hand across his top lip. Classic. Unaltered over the years, these expressions made Andrews feel at home.
This was all going to be so easy.
With his handwritten notes complete, Andrews closed down the recording and saved it to his hard drive. He then switched on the laptop’s camera in order to check his own appearance. Andrews loved this function because it was not a mirror image that he could see; rather it was a fair resemblance to how he would appear on television.
After a few moments’ checking his own expressions – he acted them all from boredom through elation to anger – he closed down the programme and the laptop. There were no causes for concern at this stage. He was as happy as he could be with his own appearance. The close-ups were not likely to be too close and the directors knew not to dwell on certain camera angles. Everything was under control.
Facially, at least. Andrews had noticed a slight weight gain over the last few months. This had come as a surprise to him as he kept fit in the gym and really watched his food. He had continued to smoke, despite knowing the risks, because he knew that the habit was a kind of hunger suppressant. There was no doubt in his mind that age was not the reason. He must have some kind of disorder.
His first point of call was Dr Xing, his herbal remedy guru. Dr Xing had helped Andrews with endless tonics and potions over the years and Andrews had absolute faith in the old man’s knowledge and abilities.
‘Dr Xing, its Kyle. How are you?’ Andrews sang into his mobile phone. There was a pause. ‘Dr Xing, its Kyle Andrews.’ Andrews moved his head away from the phone as Dr Xing completed his usual and lengthy greeting.
‘Dr Xing, I need a little bit of help. You remember the last tonic you gave me, you know, for my tummy condition? Well, I need something a little stronger. But I will also need something else that, you know, stiffens the stools.’
There was a pause and then Dr Xing explained that his strain of cialis was very potent but that it would not work on items of occasional furniture. Andrews spent the next few minutes explaining things in more literal detail and, after a while, thanked Dr Xing and stated that he looked forward to the next delivery.
To Be Continued…
Thank you once again story lovers, for continuing with me through this exciting and thought-provoking tale of sex, manipulation, political lies and Reality TV. What do you think of Kyle Andrews? Do you find him amusing or repulsive? You can get in touch with me via my Contact Form at the bottom of the Home Page , or through my Facebook Page. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback and you will always get a personal reply from me.
Chapter Ten to be published next week.
Very best wishes,
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