In her bedside cabinet drawer: twelve condoms in different coloured packets, a trashy novel with real pages, a packet of unopened tissues, ear plugs, a pair of small coral earrings shaped like roses, a hairbrush, some safety pins, a Biro, a small jewellery box with a lock that won’t open and a key; the key doesn’t fit the jewellery box. Underneath the drawer is a cupboard which has a map of England and a London A-Z in it.
There is only one bedside cabinet. I think that must mean she sleeps alone mostly. But I could be wrong. There is no other furniture in the bedroom apart from the bed, under which there is nothing but air.
Her clothes are stored in the built in wardrobe. The doors are white, shiny, slick; they slide apart silently and smoothly. The clothes are hung according to their colour from black on the left to white on the right; in between are brown, blue, green, orange, pink, red and yellow. I like that she does this. Her shoes are in a central compartment between orange and pink; it was especially designed for shoes. She has ten pairs. Most people have two. More than two is frowned upon. So how did she get away with an extra eight pairs? She definitely has grace. But there’s more to it than that.
The bookcase in the lounge contains one hundred and ninety seven books. All of them have real pages. That makes one hundred and ninety nine in total. A piece of toilet tissue with a doodle of a flower fell out of one of the books that I flicked through but I don’t think it means anything so I put it back. The coffee table is bare except for a large white candle that hasn’t been lit. The wood has a couple of white marks on it that suggest heat. She doesn’t use coasters.
In the kitchen area, consisting of all white cabinets, there are four cupboards on the wall. Three of them contain food: cans, packets, condiments, herbs and spices. Plates, cups, bowls, glasses, three mugs and salt and pepper grinders reside in the fourth; she never put the salt and pepper on the table for our meal; I ground some salt and pepper into my palm: it tasted like salt and pepper. The floor cabinets, of which there are two double ones, form an L shape with the dishwasher and the cooker, an in-built unit; again, everything is white. What is it with white? Purity? The double cupboard under the sink contains a peddle bin, half-full, a packet of unopened dishwashing cloths, a packet of soda crystals and a dustpan and brush. One half of the other double cupboard is a fridge, full of fresh looking vegetables, a bar of dark chocolate – it should not be in the fridge! – and five bottles of wine, three of which are white. The other half of the cupboard contains saucepans and other cooking containers.
There is an airing cupboard in the hall between the lounge and the bathroom. There are folded sheets on the shelves, with pillow cases on top of them. There is a large space beneath the shelves for the vacuum cleaner and the mop and bucket. Hooks on the inside of the door hold outdoor coats, mine included.
The bathroom has a cabinet under the sink which holds a stock of toilet paper, some soap and other cleaning necessities, a make-up bag with fiddly items that smell quite nice inside it and another hairbrush.
I’m not sure what I was expecting to find but I feel disappointed. I sit in her easy chair with one of the books: How To Live The Life You Love. Is it possible? I feel despondent and look at the dining table. My wine glass, still half full, sits there. I retrieve it and turn to the chapter on Problems and Perception, sipping occasionally as I glance over the pages.
“Hello!” Her warm voice startles me and I drop the book in my lap but manage to hold on to the wine glass. I stare up at her as she drops a carryall to the floor. “Oh, I’m glad to see you’ve made yourself comfortable. What are you reading?” She comes closer and spies the title. “Mmmm. Good choice. Enjoying it?” She watches me for a few seconds as I take in the twinkle in her eye. I shake my head.
“Something to do!” A laugh explodes out of me and she joins in.
“At least I know I’m optimistic. I see the world through glass half full eyes!” We laugh again.
“Well, Mr Glass Half Full, I got you some jeans, some jogging pants, some underwear, t-shirts, socks and a pair of trainers. Will that do you?” She turns and heads to the kitchen, fills up the kettle and flicks it on. I stare at her. How did she manage to get all that?
“Fancy a coffee or tea? Or are you okay with your wine?” She nods at my glass.
“I’m okay with wine, thanks. How did you get all that stuff?”
“Yes. I thought you’d ask me that.” She smiles at me then turns away to take a mug from the cupboard. Filling it with coffee and sugar, she murmurs something.
“It’s gotta be a share thing. You tell me and I tell you. We both have secrets. Right?” Lifting her head she gazes at me with those startling blue eyes. I want her.
“I want you.”
“What?” She’s staring at me intently now. Oops. I must have said that out loud. Fuck it.
“I said I want you.” I stand and put my glass on the coffee table. She half smirks at me. Entering the kitchenette I reach for her waist with my right hand and stroke her red, red hair back from her face with the left. Then I bend my head slightly and lightly touch those lips with mine. I hear her breath go in and feel her lean on my hand at her waist. She wants this. I smile inside. My erection tingles. I slide my hand towards her back and pull her to me so that she can feel how much I want her. Her eyes are open and staring intently into mine.
“You have the most amazing brown eyes,” she whispers between my kisses.