Business had been good so I’d decided to rent out my neat little ground floor flat in the quiet cul-de-sac I’d lived in for the past three years. It was a nice area, “desirable” according to the estate agents, so I knew I’d have no problems letting it. As soon as the ad appeared in the local paper I was inundated with phone calls. I wanted the new tenant to be female. I had this stereotypical idea that a woman would take better care of the place than a man. Not very logical, considering I was one of the untidiest people I knew. My excuse was I’d outgrown the space and that’s why there was clutter and dust everywhere. Not today, however. I might live in a sought-after area, but I’d seen enough daytime TV to know you had to make an effort when you were showing people around. So the usually discarded clothes were scooped from the back of the sofa and shoved into the wardrobe, shoes and books were pushed into cupboards and kitchen surfaces were bleached.
Lisa was the first person to view. Lisa Steele. I liked the name. It sounded a mixture of feminine and masculine, vulnerable yet strong. We’d arranged a Saturday morning, not too early (I like my beauty sleep), 11 a.m. to be precise. The other prospective tenants were scheduled to view after lunch. Lisa only lived the other side of town, just a fifteen-minute hop by car, so when it got to 11.35 a.m. and she hadn’t appeared I was surprised and a little irritated. Finally, at 11.45 a.m., the doorbell rang.
“I’m soooo sorry,” she said sweetly. “Traffic was horrendous. A bus broke down on the roundabout. Hope I’m not too late?” Her voice was breathy and I could see she was flustered. It was a hot, sticky day, with the sun blazing, horrible weather to be stuck in town center traffic. Her shoulder-length auburn hair was plastered to her forehead and tiny beads of sweat trickled down into the crevice of her luscious full breasts, pushed up to full effect by a plum red halter neck top.
“No worries,” I replied. “I’m Kat. Come on in.” I gestured her through the door, noticing her long slim legs, smooth and shapely under a short flared denim skirt.
“Glad you found it okay.” My eyes continued to travel downwards, admiring her turquoise painted toenails. She had pretty feet. “Nice ankle bracelet, by the way.”
She smiled, the silver bells jingling lightly in time with the sway of her hips when she walked. “Thanks. I like shiny things.”
“As you can see, this is the kitchen. Small but functional.”
The walls were painted white with a hint of pear, with light pine units. I pointed out the fixtures, my mind elsewhere. “Washing machine and fridge. Cooker. Sink. Microwave. All staying. The flat is let as fully furnished.”
The window was wide open but the heat from the summer sun was still oppressive. “Would you like a drink?” I asked, feeling very thirsty.
“Mmm, yes please. Something cold.”
I opened the fridge, the waft of chilled air very welcome. “Apple and mango juice?”
“I’ll put plenty of ice in it.”
She took it gratefully and sipped. A drop of the golden juice ran down her mouth, and I traced its journey down her chin and graceful neck, onto her chest down to that deep crevice again. She noticed where I was looking and held me in her warm brown eyes for a while, giving a playful smile.
“So how long have you been here? And why are you moving? Not because of some creepy neighbor from hell?”
I laughed. “No, the neighbors are lovely and I’m not just saying that. An elderly lady lives one side and a young couple on the other. All pleasant people. I’ve been here three years and I shall miss the place, but needs must. What about you?”
“I’ve been sharing a house with a couple of friends, which was fun at first, but now it’s time to find my own place.” She’d finished her drink already and I downed mine, aware that I was still thirsty.
“Well, best show you the rest of the flat. The bathroom’s there. Again, small but well designed. Power shower, sink, loo. Bath, of course.”
“I like that it’s all white. Clean and bright.”
She was standing close enough to touch, the smell of her sweat mixed with a citrus scent, a heady mixture. I wondered if it was her shower gel – orange blossom, or Satsuma or grapefruit. Ripe fruit. I was thinking of those damned breasts again. Stop it, Kat, I told myself.
“And this is the bedroom.” My tongue lingered on the word and I hoped she didn’t notice.
She seemed impressed. “It’s very spacious.”
“Big enough.” I found myself imagining her spread-eagled on my queen-size bed. I felt like a bitch on heat.
She noticed the big framed photos on the wall immediately. “Is that you?”
I nodded, blushing slightly. “I used to do fetish modelling.”
“They’re gorgeous. You look so sexy. I love the shiny boots. Those killer heels!”
She looked at me, intrigued and I wondered what she was thinking.
“Through here is the lounge,” I continued, sweating. “I think it’s a good size.”
Her eyes scanned the room, taking in the plasma screen TV, expensive hi-fi system, pink leather sofa, pink blinds, polished wooden floor, pink fluffy rug.
“I know pink isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it’s my favorite color,” I explained.