January 22nd – It was a ludicrous request but one that caught his attention
“You want me to do what?”
She looked across at him, smiling. There was a look in her eye, almost imperceptible, and the slightest of smiles playing at the corners of her mouth, teasing.
“Well, if you don’t want to – ”
“No, I’ll do it. But next week – ”
He left the sentence hanging. Next week it was his turn to ask: his request. This was the way they worked. Keeping things alive. Each week, alternately, a request. More than a request, really: there was no real alternative. It had to be done. Whatever the other wanted, they got.
Which, to be fair, had worked. It had kept things alive, added a spark. On request days the air was heavy with the electricity of the unsaid, waiting for the request that was to be performed there and then, that evening, when they had time to themselves. Us time. Request time.
She allowed the smile that was teasing around the edges of her mouth to break and soften her lips, put down her glass of wine, almost finished, on the coffee table, and raised herself from the sofa.
“Five minutes. I’ll be ready.”
He watched her as she crossed the room, hips swaying in self-satisfaction. The bedroom door closed behind her. He swirled his own glass of wine in his hands, watching as the rich burgundy coated the sides of the glass and fell, a heavy waterfall.
There were the sounds of her undressing from behind the door: her shoes hitting the skirting board, softer materials dropped onto the chair. All of his senses were alert; listening, waiting.
The flush of the en-suite toilet. A running of taps. He finished his wine.
The drawer of the bedside cabinet opening, objects moving, a hand reaching for something inside, finding it, closing the drawer. Her side.
Soft creak of bedsprings settling.
He put his glass next to hers on the coffee table, hesitated a second, and then picked up and emptied her glass. It was time.
He crossed the room, opened the bedroom door, and stepped in. Without raising his eyes, he closed the door behind him.
Then he looked.
She was on her back, on the bed, in a short silk robe, her hair released from her daytime ponytail and spread across the pillow.
At the foot of the bed, a cushion, circular, firm. Her feet raised.
Next to the pillow, a file. Nail clippers. Polish.
Inspired by a prompt from here