Renton wokes up in Diane's apartment
He woke to the sound of cutlery clinking and the smell of bacon frying. He caught a glance of the back of a woman, not Dianne, disappearing into a small kitchen which was just off the living room. Then he felt a spasm af fear as heard a man's voice. The last thing Renton wanted to hear, hungover, in a strange place, wearing only his keks, was a male voice. He played at being asleep.
Surreptitiously, under his eyelids, he noted a guy about his height, maybe smaler, edging into the kitchen. Although they spoke in low voices, he could still hear them.
-- So Dianne's brought another friend back, the man said. Renton didn't like the slightly mocking intonation on the term 'friend'.
-- Mmm. But shush. Don't you start being unpleasant, and jumping to the wrong conclusion again.
He heard them coming back into the front room, then leaving it. Quickly, he pulled on his t-shirt and jumper. Then he unziped the bag and threw his legs off the couch and jumped into his jeans, almost in one movement. Folding the sleeping-bag neatly, he stuck the settee's displaced cushions back where they belonged. His sock and trainers were smelly as he put them on. He hoped, but in a futility that was obvious to him, that nobody else had noticed.
Renton was too nervy to feel badly wasted. He was aware of the hangover though; it lurked in the shadows of his psyche like an infinitely patient mugger, just bidding its time before coming out to stomp him.
-- Hello. The woman who wasn't Dianne came back in.
She was pretty with nice big eyes and a fine, pointed jawline. He though he recognised her face from somewhere.
-- Hiya. Ah'm Mark, by the way, he said. She declined to introduce herself. Instead, she sought more information about him.
-- So you're a friend of Dianne's? Her tone was slightly aggressive. Renton decided to play safe and tell a lie which wouldn't soun too blatant, and therefore could bel delivered with come conviction. The problem was that he had developed the junky's skill of lying with conviction and could now lie more convincingly than he told the truth. He faltered, thinking that you can always take the junk out of the punter before you can the junky.
-- Well, she's more a friend of a friend. You know Lisa?
She nodded, Renton continued, warming to his lies, findng the comforting rhythm of deceit.
-- Well, this is actually a wee bit embarrassing. It wis ma birthday yesterday, and ah must confess ah got pretty drunk. Ah managed tae lose ma flat keys and ma flatmate's in Greece oan holiday. That wis me snookered. I could have just went home and forced the door, but the state ah wis in, ah just couldnae think straight. Ah would probably have got arrested for breaking intae ma own flat! Fortunately, ah met Dianne, who was kind enough to let me sleep on the couch. You're her flatmate, right?
-- Oh ... well, in a way, she laughed strangely, as he struggled to find out the score. Something was not right.
The man came and joined them. He nodded curtly at Renton, who smiled weakly back.
-- This is Mark, the woman told him.
-- Awright, the guy said, noncommittally.
Renton thought that they looked about his age, perhaps a bit older, but he was hopeless with ages. Dianne was obviously a bit younger than the lot of them. Perhaps, he allowed himself to speculate, thay had some perverse parental feelings for her. He had noted that with loder people. They often try to control younger, more popular and vivacious people; usually due to the fact they are jealous and of the qualities the younger people have and they lack. These inadequacies are disguised with a benign, protective attitude. He could sence this in them, and felt a growing hostility towards them.
Then Renton was hit by a wave of shock whitch threathened to knock him incoherent. A girl came into the room. As he watched her, a coldness came over him. She was the double of Dianne, but this girl looked barely secondary school age.
It took him a few seconds to realise thet it was Dianne. Renton instantly knew why women, when referring to the removal of their makeup, often say that they are 'taking their faces off'. Dianne seemed about ten years old. She saw the shock on his face.
He looked at the couple. Their attitude to Dianne was parental, precisely because they WERE her parents. Even though his anxiety, Renton still felt such a fool for not seeing it sooner. Dianne was so much like her mother.