The Apartment - Part 1

THE APARTMENTThe Apartment. “Well?” I sit on the window sill and put my feet on the coffee table. She turns a happy face in my direction. “I like it. When can we move in?” I shrug. “Probably tomorrow or the day after.”

She skips across the room, and gives me a big kiss. “You'll have to stop being a hairy monster. This place is chic. This place has class.” She steps back and surveys me with too much of a critical look. “You'll let the place down.”
“As a very special favour you can dress me to match.”
“Are you serious?”
“You get honeymoon privileges.”
“Oh goodie. Does that mean you'll actually go into a clothes shop and let me buy you a wardrobe?”
“So long as it doesn't take all day, and you leave a few pennies in the bank account.”
“Baby boy, you are supposed to be rich. You have lots of pennies.”
“Yes, but how long will I be rich living with a spendthrift Caroline?”
“I am not a spendthrift.”
“I see alarming trends emerging. I hope you aren't going to be high maintenance.”

She prances back across the room. “We need a maid. I'm not going to do the cleaning. And you promised me a trousseau. I have a position to keep up. I shall have to be a fashion queen. My new status demands it.”

I watch as she flutters about the room like an errant butterfly, touching the furniture, stroking the curtains, and generally being expensive, suave and alluring. She holds out her skirt, gives a half twirl, and watches herself in one of the long mirrors.

“Yes, I can see it clearly. I will dress up especially for you. You will be proud to have me on your arm.” She skips across to another mirror. “He he. All the other girls will be so jealous. I think a picture of me in the very latest creation... sitting on the long sofa, with maybe the camera catching my reflection in that mirror. Yes. Wonderful. Just right. I am going to enjoy this.”

She has flown off into a fantasy world, soaring in a great play where she is the lead, and everything is magical and just so right. I watch intrigued at the little playfulness, the vibrant energy, the taut movements of her body, and the sudden sway and swirl of clothes. I watch entranced as she quite literally plays with the room.

“How about a stylish dog? A big dog.” She pauses, and puts a finger to her pursed lips. “I know. A saluki. I've always wanted a saluki. Now that's real class.”
“Dogs leave hairs on the carpet and all over the chairs, and they jump up to say hello and leave dirty paw marks all over your nice new clothes.”

Her expression quickly changes. “Hmm, no dogs.” She brings a hand toher chin, and stares at the carpet. Suddenly she giggles. “A rocking horse. That's what I want. A rocking horse in the drawing room, and I can sit on it in my new dress and rock to and fro and be simply wonderful.”

I flop into one of the big white armchairs, and watch as she tilts her head,and places a hand upon her hip, and pouts to the mirror. Now she is off across the carpet, landing on a Queen Ann chair, (a copy of course) flouncing out her dress, touching the fabric of the sofa in front. Then she is up again, and off to the bedroom.

“I guess the flat is nice. It'll do.”

“What do you mean, nice? It's lovely.” She peeks round the door. “Come and have a look at the bathroom.” She disappears from view, but is back in a moment, like some jack-in-the-box. Should that be a jill-in-the-box?. “And this isn't a flat, it's an apartment.”

I get up and look out of the window at the trees in Regents Park. Over tothe side I can see the aviary of the zoo. “Yes, this is rather fine.”

We are several flights up in a rather snooty block of apartments in St John's Wood, just to the side of the park. It's quiet up here, and the view over the park is spectacular. In the distance I can see the skyscrapers of the City. I think I'm going to like it here. It is the complete opposite of my tiny room at college, which is like a womb. I feel as if I have breached the walls of that womb and been born again into a much bigger and brighter world.

“This could be fun.”
“What could be fun?”
“Come and have a look. You'll love it.”

I cross the room, following the sound of little squeals of delight. “Good grief. Yes. That's a gas.”

The bathroom is surrounded by mirrors. The walls are all mirror glass, so is the ceiling, and the floor is paved with mirror tiles. There are reflections everywhere. I smile. “You're never alone with a mirror.”
“I thought you'd like it.”
“I'll bring lots of cushions in here, and you can seduce me after my bath.”
I smile. “Now that's the first good suggestion of the morning.”
“I know you are a voyeur...”
“I am not a voyeur.”
“Oh yes, you are. You said you wanted mirrors everywhere, so you've got them.”
“When did I say that?”
“When you built your bedroom in the hay loft for Isabel.”
“Erm, excuse me Miss.” I lean against the door frame. “Have you girls been gossiping again?”
“We do talk you know. Or we used to. I haven't spoken to Isabel for ages.”
“And she said....”
“You wanted lots of mirrors so you could see her from all directions. Now you can see me from all directions.” She waves an arm around the huge bathroom. “Mirrors on the walls, a ceiling that's all mirror. You've even got a floor that's made of mirror tiles so you can see up my skirt. Aren't you a lucky boy?”
“I think we'd better move in this afternoon.”
“Good idea. Come and have a look at my bedroom.”
“Oh, it's yours, is it? I suppose when it comes to bedrooms I don't count.”
“Rubbish. Your bedroom's at the back.”
“Through the tradesmen's entrance?” She ignores the remark. The windows of her room reach to the floor, and the view across the park is a picture. I reverse out of what is clearly her territory, and wander across to the bedroom at the back. This room is only slightly smaller, and actually quite nice. Next door is another bedroom which would make an excellent recording studio. There is even a dressing room which would make a great vocal booth. Yes, I think I'm going to like it here. I walk back to madam's territory. She is looking in empty drawers. “Plenty of room.”
“Our first home and already we have separate bedrooms.”
“I don't mind inviting you in...“ And as an afterthought, “sometimes”. Will you invite me into yours?” She walks up behind me, puts her arms around my waist, and whispers into my ear. “Buy it baby boy, buy it.”
“We are renting this establishment, ma'am, not buying.”
“Then get out the record company cheque book, and pay the rent.”

I turn round. “I can see I'm going to have to keep an eye on you. Left alone you are likely to bankrupt me within the month.”
She gives me a quick kiss on the mouth. “But seriously. No. I'll be a good girl. I promise.”
I sigh. “Fat chance. Okay, let's go and do the paperwork, and maybe they'll let us move in tomorrow.

 Read Part 2https://algarvedailynews.com/books/19060-the-apartment-part-2

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