Chapter 1


Baillie just looked at the blank, blue computer screen infront of her, hands poised over the keyboard. The stream of abuse and curses she unleashed it it's direction would have blistered paintwork. This was the fifth time in two hours the damned thing had crashed! Baillie ripped the power supply plugs clean out of the wall and stamped off to make a cup of tea. At this rate she'd never get this blasted artwork done. It was such an easy contract too. Designs for a children's magazine and they'd even given her sketches to work from.

“Right you pile of crap.” Baillie advanced on the array of four computers, complete with every peripheral device imaginable, which occupied one half of the sitting room. “Why is it only mine that's buggered?” She muttered savagely, restarting the machine. At least she hadn't lost much work, mainly because she'd been forced to save it every minute incase the damned thing shut off on her. Virus scans were clear and everything that was easily checkable was checked. No overheating and oodles of disc space and memory. “So what's your problem, bitch?” Baillie snarled. She restarted her art editing programs and resumed her work.
Baillie wasn't actually a computer techie type at all. She could find her way around it and solve any basic problems and she was good with the creative stuff. Any advanced problems were too complicated for her and were left to Andy. Everything Baillie had learned about computers was from her boyfriend, Andy, who was a self proclaimed geeky nerd and damned proud of it too. Baillie smiled at a photo of them both that hung on the wall behind the technology. It had been taken two years ago when Baillie was eighteen, Andy nineteen. Andy actually looked more nerdy now, at twenty one, than he had then. Baillie obviously had a thing for nerds. Andy reckoned his nerdiness was allowed out of the closet once he'd nabbed Baillie and the relatively trendy look of two years ago was but a ploy to get her. As though he'd had to work hard at it. As soon as Baillie saw how intelligent, and how plain ordinary nice he was, that was enough, and it had got better and better. Andy's nineteen year old spiked blonde hair and contact lenses had grown up into floppy blonde hair and a reversion to his metal framed glasses, which had, ironically, come back in fashion. Baillie just hadn't changed. She still had the same styled long fair hair she'd had since she was ten, and the same weird dress sense she'd had since she was old enough to pick her own clothes.
“Oh you big bitch!” The computer clicked again, and the screen turned blue. “OK I give up.” She switched the lot off and decided to wait for Andy. Andy who was out right now debugging some company's systems for them. So their own home computers shouldn't be too much trouble.

Baillie was sitting on the sofa glowering at Eastenders when she the front door of their flat being opened.

“Hiya Tiddler.” Andy threw his jacket on the sofa back and kissed Baillie's head. “Why are we in the dark?”

“Because I hate everything.” Baillie sniffed. “Especially that shed of shite over there. It keeps crashing.”

“I'll have at it after we've eaten. Er ... we are eating aren't we?” Andy vaulted the sofa back to sit next to Baillie.

“I'm not sure. It's in the oven but you might be able to write your name with it by now. It wasn't charcoal at five, it is now.”

“I'm sorry Tids.” Andy put his arm round Baillie. “It was either staying back a few hours to get it done, or spending another full day trying to work around everyone. I got more done after they'd left that I had all day. I like charcoal.” Andy smirked.

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