The lights of London glitter nervously, sparkling with the same anticipation felt at the bottom of young lovers’ stomachs. Amongst all the tension, the moon’s tranquil confidence smiles down at the familiar scene, giving an air of romance to the musky London streets; she pities the lonely figures who find themselves walking behind a happy couple, but remains unable to console them being perched on her throne far above.
On a particular night just like this, a girl of sixteen was dressing and her beau, who had arrived early was smoking his cigarette around the corner and firmly out of sight of her parents, with a rose hanging unceremoniously in his other hand. The girl’s mother was harassing her, ensuring her dress wasn’t too short, her shoes not high and any rouge was roughly removed with wipes. Mr. Big Ben struck seven and Ellen galloped undaintily downstairs to present herself to her mother, clumsily tripping slightly, caught up in all the excitement. She passed inspection and the silhouette of her man groomed larger in the opaque glass decorating the door. He rapped smartly upon the door and took a few steps back politely. Ellen’s mother opened the door and surveyed him, he played with the sleeves of his shirt nervously, at long last he seemed to pass her initial inspection and she stepped aside to reveal her daughter, satisfied at the slightly awed and terrified expression on his face.
‘Be safe and have fun. Be back by ten!’
Under the watchful eye of her mother who peered from beneath the curtains, the two walked off into the night with the distinct awkwardness which was to be expected of two people thrust upon each other in a romantic setting with barely a word to say. Gradually this feeling diminished and the conversation flowed comfortably. They went off to the cinema and whilst he endured an hour and a half of soppy nonsense, she absorbed it, readily believing in every word and action. It ended earlier than expected and it was around half past nine that they trotted quickly back home in an effort to impress the formidable figures of her parents. At the front steps out of breath and sweating a little they hugged briefly, but her mother not missing a trick, tiptoed as close to silent as possible before opening the door with a dramatic fling.
“ See you again soon?” he asked hopefully, as her hands lingered slightly on his.
“I’d like that. Goodnight.” Her face grew red as she spoke and she disappeared behind the front door into the welcoming light, under her mother’s extended arm which was propping the door open.
Their love story progressed slowly, she went back to school the following day and so did he. Their next date, a month or so later was much the same; her mother observing her dressing with the utmost care whilst she hid her mother’s red lipstick down her blouse. She used her reflection in the window to paint herself and made sure to remember to wipe it fully off before she re-entered under the watch-guard’s nose. Time wore on and the two continued to see each other as she flourished and began to change into a lady, though still carrying with her the same youthful innocence which Arthur so prized. He, however, bore a different demeanour around his friends, playing the sort of guy he knew she wouldn’t approve of, but what she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her he thought; he found himself lying to his friends unable to admit her prudishness and untouched innocence. None of his friends had an issue with her but with appearances being everything it would be amiss of him to let too much on. Nevertheless, the two continued to be in each other's lives, though admittedly in oscillating frequency for whilst she was beginning to find her own feet, he was still in the hands of his friends, visiting establishments which she did not approve of. By the time he had come out the other side of university, however, things had changed and he left the majority of his boyish vices behind him.
Time continued to play his tricks and they found themselves firmly within their twenties, the preliminary signs of ageing were sketched onto his face. One day he caught himself off guard;
‘I love you, Ellen,” he said.
“Need there be a reason?”
A month or two down the line he swept her away to Paris and amidst all the romantic decadence that it offered he proposed. Arthur had become a successful man, and being well-presented and connected he was a perfect choice of mate; her father was naturally delighted when her fiancée to be presented himself as a possible candidate.
The wedding was quite the celebration with him being a man of business and she was fabulous and wanted by all, even Bystander showed up to take pictures of the couple; Ellen swore she couldn’t be happier. They tied the knot under the eyes of God and all his chosen socialites.
The following days after her wedding she turned from lady to woman and in a tangled mess of sweaty bodies these two lovers affirmed their love with lust and passion. Her pale cheeks flushed red and he took away from her the perfection that youth had brought her. On the last full day of their honeymoon she rolled over, placing one of her legs on each side of him and straightened her back.
‘What do you love most about me?’
“You’re mine” he replied. She laughed.
They chose a house straight out of a fairytale, its visage dressed in a veil of white Clematis around the front with the occasional bit of ivy crawling through but he ignored the ivy, saying that the white flowers reminded him of her. The newlyweds began their first day of normal married life well: they both rose early to make sure that Arthur would make his train and Ellen dressed modestly whilst her husband watched, reclining on their bed as she pulled her stockings up her long, slender legs, tied up her hair in a low bun and painted her lips in her favourite red lipstick. Ellen walked over to the bed, knocking her leg slightly on the bed frame as sh