The Hairless Meanderings of Edward Lock (12)

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(12)

I can see the curve of Kit’s breasts beneath the towel she has wrapped around herself. Water from her hair drips and runs along her neck which I follow into her cleavage like the contours of a map. She catches me staring.

“What were you doing in the garden?” she asks.

I give it a moment of contemplation, for effect: “Fresh air.”

“Sure,” she says, taking some clothes from the airing cupboard by the fridge.

I laugh and say, “Really, I was checking the fence for gaps, any holes, that sort of thing. I made sure there was a lock on the shed door. Can’t let any small hands -”

But I stop because she looks at me as if she is guilty or sorry or afraid. She lets the towel fall to the floor. Her naked curves set my body shivering. I can hear Cora’s voice. Kit pulls a blue jumper over her head and stares at me.

“Gaps in the fence? A lock on the shed door?” she asks.

“Yes,” I say and my voice is high pitched. I can hear my heart thumping. It hurts.

She moves closer, her body undulates with Cora’s voice. I watch the gap between her thighs. Her skin darkens. When she speaks she speaks like silken gloves on my chest, she says “I’m sorry.”

I am dazed, “Sorry. Sorry for what?”

She puts her hand on my shoulder and tilts her head, “For yesterday night. We shouldn’t have fought. I didn’t mean to get so. To get so angry.”

I feel sudden guilt. Kit’s delicate face, poised and ready, her eyes open and accepting. She wants to take me. She wants to know.

“It’s fine. I. I haven’t been myself,” I say. It’s as honest as I can be.

“The baby…I should have known. That it was about the baby,” she says, convincing herself as much as me.

“Let’s paint the nursery,” I say before I realise I’ve said it.

“We don’t have any paint.”

“There’s some somewhere,” I say, grabbing her hand.

I take her to the cupboard under the stairs and she watches me with a smile whilst I rummage. I find one pot of baby blue paint. Blue. I take it upstairs and clear a space in the room with the cot and the empty toy box pushed to one side. We paint one whole wall in silence.

Kit watches me and I pretend that I don’t notice. I put on a smile and think of my unborn son. Before long, I think of Cora.

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