Short Stories / The Red Dress

The Red Dress – Chapter 2 – Louise

Chapter 2 – Louise

A text message flashed up on her phone from DOMINO’S: “You want me to send it to the usual place?” she smiled to herself, excited at the prospect of another surprise. Not wanting to seem too keen, she pushed the button on the side of her phone to turn the screen black and avoid any questions from her colleagues about why she was suddenly eating so much pizza.

Louise turned back to her monitor, continuing to type up the report, barely able to keep her thoughts on the job. It was tedious, like everything else in her life. Well, not everything… But she couldn’t talk about that to anyone, not even her best friend. From the outside she knew her life looked dull, so very ordinary. A faceless legal secretary in a global law firm; as a teenager, it was the kind of job she’d thought would be super glamorous, high heels, pencil skirts, shift dresses. Instead, the cost of her daily commute meant that she worked the first two hours for free, and the length of it meant heels were out. The third hour paid for her sandwich at lunchtime. The other 5 went on the mortgage, bills, food shopping and a week’s holiday in the sun with David. He had suggested that they go for fourteen days this year, she had said no, blaming finances and the fact that she wanted to upgrade the en-suite. In fact, it was because she couldn’t stomach two weeks with him in the close confines of a small hotel room and having to pretend like everything was fine over a daily evening meal out. Seven days was enough. Two days standard sun stroke got her out of two evening meals and her lie-ins that he despised so much meant that he always ate breakfast alone.

She returned her attention to her phone, figuring that 10 minutes of absent minded typing would have taken the edge off a speedy reply. “Yes. I can’t wait” she quickly typed back, hitting send and turning the phone face down on the desk.

Louise had always been a creature of routine. She had often wondered if that was how she had ended up in this mess. Her ordinary three bed semi with its gravel garden to give that second precious parking space that was so coveted in London suburbs. Her Vauxhall Astra parked on the drive next to David’s Volkswagen Passat. Her morning coffee after her daily shower; one heaped teaspoon of Nescafe, two heaped teaspoons of sugar because she was trying to cut down from three, semi-skimmed milk. With Paul, she drank full fat milk, the indulgence of it seeming to pale into insignificance when held up beside their antics.

Her phone buzzed impatiently next to her, jolting her from her day dream.

DOMINO’S: “Consider it done. You’re going to look stunning”


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