Nudges in the boardroom how’s that little wife of yours – you old dog? Significantly raised eyebrows – grizzled and wild. It’s good natured, cheerful envy. No secret that money and power tends to draw the birds. He wheezes slightly as he treads the narrow alleyway to the coffee shop they all like now. Standing about, legs braced wide, the shoulders of dark, Saville Row repeated over and over. Most of them from Lloyds... a few barristers. Shiny pates, heavy, creased faces nodding over glasses of strong brews. Glasses wrapped in napkins... why wrap a hot glass in a napkin when a cup would... oh, never mind. It’s what they all like now. Like standing... it’s what they do now.
The complacent air is a fabrication, of course... eyes alight with the next chance – as hungry and eager as they were at twenty. Twenty... Veronica’s age. His chest feels a little heavy again, the wheeze not quite gone. He sips his macchiato, buys some time. Does she love him? Is he a typical old fool?
A few streets away she steps out of a steam room. The women-only Roman Baths... beautifully appointed. She unwraps her long hair, drops both towels. Tall and slender, the shape of fashion, she steps into the blast of a cool shower, skin tingling. Later she steps back onto the street with cheeks aglow. Passing a gleaming window she is arrested, seduced. She pauses, one hand raised, almost touching that spotless glass. It touches instead her lips. After a brief struggle she is inside the shop, stroking the soft fabric.
At home she carefully dresses. He will be home soon. Make-up pretty but natural, touchable. She wants to be touchable. Silky blouse, nothing underneath. No jewellery, just her wedding ring. She knows he worries that she (gold digger) cares only for his success. Well...she wants very simple things – she wants him to look after her. She wants a few babies to cherish. Carefully she packs away her little purchase, a tiny suit, soft plush, the feet like little paws, ears on the hat.
He folds the paper down. Watches the drizzle run down the window. Hardly any point having a driver in London – I could read the paper in this jam even if I were driving myself! Looks at his watch. Feels nervous about home, ribald laughter echoing in his ears. It’s only with the fellows that he worries about Veronica. When he’s with her, he never feels like this. Hormones! They laugh at him Pheromones! It’s not like that... is it?