The sound of the text arriving woke Monica at 7am.
Not that she was really sleeping; she had already been woken by the summer sun shining on the blinds at 6:30 and rolled over for a doze until the first alarm at 7:15.
7:15am, just enough time to get ready, carefully apply her make-up and walk to the train station. The 8:30 from Hamilton to Glasgow Central would get her there just before 9 and she’d pop in to Costa on Bothwell Street to pick a coffee before arriving at the office just before 9:30 as normal.
As always, she had showered the night before and had carefully chosen her outfit for today which was now hanging up on the outside of wardrobe.
She had wore a red dress for her presentation yesterday, so she had picked a black fitted dress from Karen Millen, business like and subtly feminine but dressed it up with bright red stiletto heels and a bag to match.
Today she would be wearing red underwear as always. Often she would by a four identical sets, balconette bras and a combination of thongs and cami-knickers for variety. She liked to have soft red satin or silk close to her skin.
She always spent extra time choosing her bras, always under-wired and padded to push up her breasts which she had always thought were a little on the small side, but at least they were still pert and she had never had any complaints.
She loved the colour red and made sure she wore it every day in some form or other. Not only did it make her feel attractive and sexy, but she felt that it empowered her, that it sent out some kind of primeval warning signal that would be subliminally detected by any interested males that she wasn’t a woman to be toyed with.
When she was a little girl, she had loved watching all those programmes with David Attenborough going round the world showing us how even in different habitats, the variety of creature had similar behaviours and bright red or yellow were always colours that these small creatures developed as a warning signal to larger creatures that the strength of their venom was disproportionate to their size and they were not some tasty morsel to be consumed.
She liked that, it boosted her self image; she liked to think that it projected confidence.
Besides, with her sallow skin and dark hair she knew that she looked great in red. Like that woman on the corn-flakes ads, attractive and alluring, hot but untouchable.
She didn’t get to this stage in life to be available to any slobbering egotistical male with a hard-on who was interested in any attractive available woman. She was proud that she controlled her own destiny and did not need a man in her life. She would only allow anyone to touch who she chose to.
In her head, this was her world, she was the star, if you were lucky to have a supporting role then you would be at best a bit player otherwise you were an extra and not worth pursuing her interest.
Of course that didn’t include Veronica, her daughter. Veronica was the reason she got up and went to work in the morning, did the work that she did, paid for private boarding schools and music, dance and drama teachers.
She picked up her phone as soon as the alarm went off. Cancelled the buzzer and opened the text that had so rudely awakened her.
“Are you available for lunch today? Charles”
“Chaaarrrrles” she smiled as she said it out loud, imitating his pretend public school tones. She had already checked him out online and knew that his degree wasn’t from Glasgow but from the lesser Glasgow Caledonian University, hardly the choice of those who can afford private education.
He’s a fake and she knew it, but in her game you learn to keep your cards close to your chest and use the hidden knowledge to your own advantage. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer was the mantra she often repeated to herself when her moralistic conscience popped up on her shoulder every now and then.
The reply was easy, she had already predicted that he would make an approach.
“Good morning Charles, yes that would be lovely, but can we keep this discreet? Monica” She smiled at that, knowing full well that a married man on the make wouldn’t want anything other than discretion.
His reply came a few minutes later as she was heading downstairs to make coffee. “Of course we can be discreet, I totally understand your wishes, I’ll book somewhere away from the office for lunch and send you the details later, Charles”
She almost laughed at this “he’ll understand my wishes?”
Never kid a kidder Charles; you would think at his age that he would know better. He was obviously used to dealing with young girls blinded by his flash image or more vulnerable women not as wise to his deceit.
She put the phone down for a few moments. Stirring her coffee and staring out the window considering her next move. Keeping his interest but not coming on too strong.
“Perfect, I’m free any time between 12 and 2, x”
She had some inner conflict about that kiss, should she have sent it or not?
Was it too soon to show any romantic interest, would that be sending out the wrong signal?
She rationalised that it was the correct approach, this is what Charles wanted, this is what her client paid for, she just didn’t want to be too open too soon. She had to make him work for it, the more he worked, the more evidence they collected.
The reply from Charles was almost instantaneous “X”
She smiled, closed the text and called Alex her back-up man, let him know that they were go and that she would pass on the details after Charles had arranged lunch.
Alex put the phone down, picked up his razor from the wash-hand basin and continued shaving his head, whistling through his teeth some drill tune that he had long since forgotten the name of.
It was a very long time since he had completed his basic training.