The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 15

When her toes touched the carpet she felt the cold emptiness of a hollow bottle of wine beneath her feet. Rose had not bought her tea, and Edward must be at breakfast by now. In the dimness of her bedside alarm clock it looked like ten minutes to eight. In moments she had crossed the adhesive lino-floor barefooted and into the bathroom. She drew water to the bowl and sunk her face into its icy coldness. In the bedroom she pushed her feet into fluffy lilac slippers and lifted her nightdress over her head. The tingle of its folds caressed her pert breasts like erotic fingers and she sat nude on the satin-laced stool and gazed into the gilt ornate mirror placed on the onyx dressing table. That reflection had not been uncomfortable to her lately. She lifted the lid of a blue powder box and with her fingers gently blotted areas of suspect skin. Calmness came with the heavy red bruises around her painful lips that brought a reminder of that midnight passion. She put on a lace bra and silk panties and spread her legs into a pair of light blue slacks and a delicate white blouse wrapped over her flesh with renewing comfort… Now she was mistress of this house, an instigator perhaps of her own destiny.
Rose had accompanied Edward to their new home, in a way she was like an arbitrary counsel. She had been his housekeeper to his failed marriage and had stayed on with him after the break-up. It was obvious to Esme that this woman had not great respect for the previous Mrs. Corton and it would seem she viewed Esme with a certain amount of dislike, although, her devotion to Edward was very apparent. She addressed him as Mister Edward which seemed to fit this squat-mouthed, angular woman in her mid fifties. She strode around the rooms with a relentless face and a bun of grey unwashed looking hair.

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