Cora kept all her lipsticks in a box she had inherited from her grandmother. Like everything she owned, the box was elegant and unique. Painted green with a domed lid and decorated with pink roses. Beautiful things made Cora happy.
She had already got dressed and was looking at herself in the mirror. She had a light pink lipstick in her hand and was applying it carefully.
Just then the bell rang. She ran downstairs and opened the door. A tall, dark-haired man stood in the doorway.
‘Hi, John. I’m almost ready. Do come in.’
‘Hi. You look great.’
‘Thanks,’ Cora said. She blushed and pirouetted in front of him. Then, she went back to the bathroom upstairs.
She finished doing her make up, put her lipstick carefully next to the others in the box as if it was something so fragile it could dissolve on touching, and was ready to go.
John was waiting in the living room. He hadn’t removed his coat and looked positively uncomfortable.
‘Shall we go?’ Cora asked.
They left the house and Cora locked the door behind them. It was Sunday and her parents and sister had gone to church. She had pretended to have a migraine to be able to go out with John. She felt slightly guilty, but her pleasure was much stronger than her guilt. She still hadn’t decided how she would explain her absence when she got back home. But it didn’t matter.
John and Cora walked along the street in silence. Cora blew into the cold air and a little plume of steam came out of her mouth. Even though she was twenty-two, she often behaved like a child.
Eventually, they got to John’s car and he opened the door for her to get in.
‘Where are we going?’
‘It’s a surprise.’
They left London and were soon driving along the motorway. Cora wondered why they never stayed in London, but she didn’t ask. She never questioned him. He was the one who decided when they went out and where they went.
She was besotted with John, she thought he was too good to be true and didn’t want to lose him.
‘Are we there yet?’
‘Ten more minutes. You’re like an impatient little girl.’
This time they ended up in a pub in Windsor. They ordered a full Sunday roast and drank delicious cider. As usual, John paid.
Cora and John had met at work three months earlier. She was a typist and he was the boss’s nephew. Nobody knew exactly what kind of work he did.
None of their workmates knew they were dating. John had insisted it was better this way. He said somebody might report them to his uncle and Cora might lose her job.
To be continued... maybe.