Max poured himself another large whisky and waited for Diane to return from her kitchen. He couldn’t get that embrace out of his mind. He had seen right down inside her top, seen the underwear beneath her clothes. But apart from that, the clothes had seemed totally empty. Yet that kiss had been real enough, the tongue inside his mouth had felt just like that of a real woman.
Afterwards, she had had turned to him and said, “I didn’t know you’d be early, the dinner’s not ready yet. Wait here, and I’ll be back. Help yourself to drinks.”
Her sleeve gestured towards a cabinet on the far side of the room, as she turned. Max started to stutter a reply but she was already on her way through the kitchen door. After she’d left, Max wondered if he should leave too, just sneak out the front door and never return. But he couldn’t bring himself to do that.
“She knows where I live, where I work,” he thought. “Even if she really is invisible… because she really is invisible, I’d better go back to my original plan and try to talk her out of following me. It’s the only way.”
He wouldn’t admit, even to himself, that the sight of her shapely figure inside those empty clothes held a sort of grotesque attraction for him, like a driver slowing down to look at a crashed car on the motorway, or an arachnophobe staring at a spider out of the corner of his eye.
After what seemed like ages, the kitchen door opened and Diane returned carrying a tray with bowls of crisps and nuts on them. Max stared at the way it floated a few centimetres from the edge of her sleeves. His eyes and his mouth went on getting larger and larger, and rounder and rounder, until Diane’s hand shook with laughing so much that she nearly dropped the tray onto the floor.
“Have you any idea what you look like?” she teased, as she put it down on the coffee table.
Max watched some crisps lift themselves up in her unseen fingers, fly to where her mouth would have been, and disappear as she ate them. He shuddered and forced himself back to his senses.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Of course, darling. If it’s about how I became invis…”
“Nein!” interrupted Max. That would have been far too weird for him to deal with right now. He just wanted to get things back to normal as quickly as he could. “I was wondering what made you fall in love with me, of all people.”
“Simple. You’re an outsider, like me. Since you moved to this country, you’ve found it hard to fit in, hard to make friends. I know that feeling too. That’s why we belong together, see?”
“But that’s not true, I have lots of friends. There’s Dan, Jake, Sha…”
” They’re colleagues, not friends. Who do you know here, in England, from outside work?”
“Well there’s Becky, of course, her brother Jim, Sam and Laura, Stan and Christine…”
“You met Becky when she was visiting Germany. The others were all her friends or family from before then. You don’t belong here. That’s why I’m the only one who loves you for yourself.”
Max paused. Some of Diane’s comments had been uncomfortably close to the truth, but he couldn’t let that distract him. He waited until she had finished another sip of wine, the liquid disappearing as it went from the glass into her invisible mouth.
“No. Becky loves me, and I won’t let you come between us.”
“How can you say she loves you? She’s the one who took you away from your own country, and made you unhappy living here. But I can make you happy again, darling.”
He poured himself another whisky, and insisted, “She does love me! Real love from a real woman, not an unnatural obsession from an un…”
He stopped himself too late. The last thing he wanted to do was make her angry. There was no knowing what she could do to him, especially if she was as crazy as she seemed.
“Unnatural, am I? Well, I can love you just as much as any ‘natural’ woman, and I’ll prove it to you.”
She stood up, and removed her jacket, revealing that the top she wore underneath was sleeveless. Somehow, Max preferred that, there wasn’t the uncomfortable feeling of watching empty sleeves moving around on their own.
She leant towards him, and now Max discovered the disadvantage of not
being able to see her arms any more. Once again, he was caught by surprise as she pulled him to his feet and kissed him.
“Are you telling me that didn’t feel like the ‘real’ thing?”
“No, but that’s not… Oooh!”
Her hand had thrust itself down Max’s trousers, and started stroking part of him. He tried to grab hold of her arm and pull it out, but her free hand slapped him.
“Even if I was visible, you still wouldn’t be able to see my hand inside your underpants, or my tongue inside your mouth. So what possible difference does it make to us?”
“None, I guess,” he sighed. “But that’s… that’s not the point.”
“Well, if it isn’t the point, don’t keep arguing about it.”
With the all the whisky he had been drinking, and all the strange things that had been happening, he wasn’t even sure what the point was any more. Besides, the part of his body being stroked was certainly responding like it would to any normal woman’s touch.
He needed to think things through with no distractions, and there was no chance of happening right now. Better to just accept the situation for the moment, and try to do something about it later.
“Alright,” he said, “let’s make a deal…”
Continue to chapter five