Still-life in a chateau somewhere in France © Tanya Clarke

Still-life in a chateau somewhere in France © Tanya Clarke

Writing Prompt No. 75

Louisa set down six plates, a candelabra and a carafe of water in the middle of the table.

She’d get the wine once everyone had arrived. Darrell insisted on having these themed Sunday Suppers every couple of months. It’d be okay if they didn’t have to all get dressed in costume. Louisa loathed the fuss of it all. But she got on with it. Darrell loved it. And Louisa loved Darrell.

Tonight they were dressing as wealthy landowners from the 17th century getting ready to fight a dual. Darrell had found two replica guns on eBay. Fifty quid she’d paid. Louisa was horrified at the cost. She could’ve bought a half decent pair of shoes for that. She brushed down the tablecloth with the side of her hand and collected cutlery from the drawer. She began to set the table.

They didn’t have enough plates. Darrell will be annoyed that they don’t have enough matching ones. Never mind. It won’t matter once everyone was pissed on cheap wine.

Louisa pulled at the lace-edged blousey shirt she was wearing. The frills were scratchy and made her skin red and sore. Where was Darrell anyway? She’d said she’d be home by six to help. She looked at the kitchen clock. Half past six. Everyone’ll be here by seven. They weren’t ever late. Which was good usually. Except for tonight. Not so helpful.

She sat down at the table and pulled a cigarette out of the packet she kept in her bra. She knew Darrell would be annoyed. She told her she’d given up. Where ever was she? She watched a wisp of smoke lift and curl in the air. This could be embarrassing.

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