I wondered how pleased she would be feeling with herself. It depended, I supposed, on how keen she was to resume the game. Nothing had been said, but she must have known: known that I’d backed off, had been sitting it out the last few times we’d met, not entering into the spirit of it; known that I’d been taking care about what I said, what I didn’t say.
There had been no searching questions, no playful ones, no oblique comments that opened up the way to other subjects, nothing that touched – no pun intended – on underwear or lingerie, as we preferred to refer to it.
Perhaps she thought I’d been playing an extra careful hand; not rising to bait. But then, she hadn’t thrown out much bait either, as far as I could see. I was still listening to what she said though, looking for clues, waiting for bait. It wasn’t just me who had cooled off. And thinking it through, I was beginning to wonder if maybe it was me who should be feeling pleased with myself. Of course, I would never let her catch a glimpse of that.
But then she’d started talking about Daphne du Maurier, and I quoted that famous opening line, the one about the old house. I mentioned Mrs Danvers. That’s when she said, I always wanted to be Rebecca.
I’ve only seen the film, but she’d read the book. She’d read all the books. I said, is it in the book as well, the bit where Mrs Danvers shows the new wife the old one’s clothes? All right, so I said, shows her the old one’s lingerie. And then she gave me a run down of the contents, of the wardrobe I mean: the diaphanous nightdresses on their hangers, the silk chemises in their cupboards, the delicate underthings. She described them, lying in wanton abandon, folded neatly, flowing over Mrs Danvers hands as she held them out for inspection. She said, I wanted all those.
Me too, I thought, and I knew the game was on again.
Brindley Hallam Dennis
Brindley Hallam Dennis writes short stories. He lives on the edge of England with sight of elsewhere.
Image by Ben Coode-Adams Why won’t you play with me? Watercolour on paper framed W43.5xH34.5cms 2016 Instagram @bcoodeadams
Katy Darby, Cent literary editor and runs Liar’s League The next event is on Tuesday 1-th of April and is a Small & Beautiful flash fiction theme. Twitter Facebook