He is drying glasses behind the bar when they discuss it for the first time. They’ve been seeing each other for three months now, and lately he’s been leaving bruises on her, bruises the colour of absinthe and chartreuse. Bruises that she’s begged for, in the heat of the moment, but cannot quite yet bring herself to talk about in the cold light of day.
The cold light of day is what she’s hibernating from here, in the cosy wood-panelled quiet, under the old Campari poster, with a chilled glass of white wine, at 4p.m. on a Tuesday. When your boyfriend’s a barman, she’s learnt, there’s no point hoping for alone-time after dark.
Occasionally, she presses her fingers to her collarbone, to a mark he’s left there, until he catches sight of her and says, ‘You’re pretty fond of that, aren’t you?’
‘Yes.’ There is strength in Chardonnay.
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