Alec: So, what’d you get?

Melissa : Oh! Nice to see you too Alec. What have you cooked?

Alec: Uh! why so touchy and I’ve done stuffed marrow with a watercress and chickpea salad.

Melissa : did you leave out the tomatoes, I hate tomatoes and did you go easy with the limes? I really don’t know how you can taste anything with the amount you put in.

Alec : so, did you get anything nice for yourself

Melissa :I did, well I think I did but I don’t know anymore

Alec : been looking at yourself in the reflection from the Bank window again?

*Alec knew Melissa would first go to The Warehouse to buy this linen dress she’d had her eye on, then cut through Boots to get to the bus stop outside Lloyds/TSB. The black marble frontage acted like a huge mirror and Melissa simply couldn’t stop herself from looking*

Melissa : well, so what!

Alec : did you try it on in the shop as well though?

Melissa : Idiot! of course

Alec : And….

Melissa : Well, that’s just it the lighting is false on the shop but it looked OK, but when I put it up against me outside Lloyds it didn’t look as good.

Alec : What? you did that at the bus stop?

Melissa : Of Course! Everybody does it even lads with their hair does, making sure they’re just right for the night. It’s a proper fashion parade sometimes, bloody bus drivers ooggle though.

Alec : Maybe, they’re wondering if you actually want the bus?

Melissa :don’t be stupid, an ooggle is an ooggle you feel it, it’s not like saying hurry up we haven’t got all day now is it?

Alec :yeah, I suppose so

Melissa : Alec you gotta wise up, the world isn’t nice and you gotta be on guard so no one thinks that they can have a go at you.

*Melissa and Alec had known each other since infant school and she had always watched out for him. It’s hard to say what Alec had but he definitely had something*

*Melissa piled the dishes and pots into the sink. And by pile I mean piled up and all over the place. Not scraped clean and with the knives pointing blade upwards upwards *

Alec : Leave it I’ll do it

Melissa : Awww, you’re such a honey, I gonna get ready… you’ll tell me if I look like a twat won’t you?

*Alec knew Melissa never ever looked anything less than stunning when she went out. Her gift was to see herself without knowing it was her she was seeing. Alec loved the mystery of her and the journeys she’d take according to her look she had at that moment *

Alec: Ouch!!! ffs Mel what’s with the knives!

Melissa : Sorry hon, gotta crack on, hugs for you

*Melissa disappeared behind the kitchen door as it closed, skipping up the stairs to the bathroom and shoving the door closed with a grunting push. Alec knew she was about to cut her hair and wondered what had bothered so to do so. Melissa had from being young loped chunks of her hair off when she was bothered by something. It had started when her Dad had died and she still does it now *

*Alec emptied the sink placing the plates to one side and removed the roasting tray from the bottom. He used kitchen roll to clean off the grease and gather up the now horrible looking salad. He stacked everything neatly and in order of washing-up priority on the drainer. Alec knew not to actually wash up because Melissa would get scolded by the hot water upstairs. He liked thinking about her and smiled to himself knowing that she’d dodged the washing up so there’d be enough hot water for a shower. It was natural and they both knew it. They were natural extensions of themselves. It worked that way. *

*Alec stood by the open window of the 16th Floor Flat and stared across the city, picking out landmarks that each had a story to tell *

Melissa : Aaa Lec, come and see, NOWWWWW!

*Alec flicked the remaining fag end into the sky taking aim at the distant water tower on the other side of the city*

Melissa : Alec, come on already I’m going out in a bit, hurry up

*Alec opened the door to his bedroom to find Melissa craning her kneck so to see the backside of her dress*

Melissa :With or Without!

Alec :With!? What?

Melissa : Underwear silly, I don’t want lines showing through the linen, that’s all.

Alec: ah, I see – what you got on now? turn around so I can see you then

Melissa :OK but no laughing, promise

Alec, OK promise promises so let’s see you.

*Melissa stood up straight and slowly turned a full 360 degrees, the sun pouring in through the tilted open blind caught the reddy auburn flecks in her hair and shone through the dress in all the places she knew it would. She was clearly going without. *

Alec : Mel, that’s stunning, absolutely stunning, revealing in the sunlight too, you do know that don’t you?

Melissa : But what does it actually look like, please Alec just tell me.

Alec : I just did, Mel, you look stunning

Melissa :yeah but what’s it really really look like Alec, yeah know to you – then I really know

Alec : ah! got you…. my favourite ice cream with honey comb topping – delicious Mel, God Damn Delicious!

*Melissa squealed in delight. Threw her arms around Alec and kissed him full on the lips *

Melissa : yeah know that I love you so, don’t you?

*Alec had already started down the stairs his hand holding hers as she trailed behind him whittering on about how much she did actually, actually love him but not like that, she made clear too*

Alec: Right Honey, have a good night and be safe, I see you when you’re next round, ring me if you want anything

Melissa : why don’t you come down later, please Alec, there’s loads of people you know

Alec: thanks but no, I’m done with that scene and besides I’m meeting Maggie tomorrow

Melissa : And what’s Maggie got that I haven’t?

Alec : Er!! underwear for a start, Go on be off with you. You do look brilliant too and the chunk missing from the front of your fringe is totally totally you. Big hugs hon. I’ll see you soon.

*Alec still holding Melissa by the hand led her out of the flat door to gently pushed her on her way*

Melissa : Bye Honey. Love you. See you in couple of days.

*Alec returned to the washing up and thought about meeting Maggie in the morning. Maggie was also Ms Walker, Alec’s former social worker, now retired but they’d stayed in touch. Ms Walker was the other person, after Melissa, that Alec truly cared about. He called her Maggie after Mary Magdalena, a name Alec’s Dad had given her, way back when his Dad believed he was God and she had had to agree that he was sectioned to be detained in a mental hospital. The name had stuck ever since and she, Ms Walker quite liked it too. She’d been called a whole lot worse. *