No curtains on my windows, no paint upon my door,
No food upon the table and no carpets on the floor,
Goin' down to Golders Green in my limousine.
'Are you going to hide in here all night?' Minnie asks, leaning her elbows on the kitchen table as she examines her fingernails critically.
'I was thinking about it,' I reply, flippantly.
I find the tea towel and start drying the plates I've just washed, picking each one individually off the draining board, slowly, carefully drying them and stacking them up on the side, ready to find a place in the cupboards. If I do this right, it can take half an hour, plus perhaps another few minutes to put them away. Or I could rearrange the kitchen cupboards again, that would use some time up.
'You've got water all down your party frock,' Minnie says without looking at me and I glance down at my black dress. There are water spots around my middle, splashed from the sink. This isn't my 'party' frock, though. This is the first thing I found. A black knee length dress, which I don't really like. I shrug at Minnie and continue drying the plates.
'They're not here yet,' she says, as she starts to slaver lacquer red nail varnish on the nails of her left hand.
'I know,' I reply, reaching up on my tiptoes to place the dinner plates on the top shelf of the cupboard. 'Otherwise you wouldn't be sitting in here.'
'I might be,' Minnie says, petulantly, flicking her eyes up to me. 'I've come to see you, haven't I? Not anyone else.'
She holds her hand out and blows on her nails to dry them as I watch her. This is not how Minnie normally behaves at parties. Then again, I'm not sure I can say what is normal for Minnie at the moment. She comes round here fairly often, but she's been living in South London with Vince, so it's not like in New York, where she was only half an hour away. I've never been to where they're living. I don't think Minnie wants me to.
I'm not even sure what she's doing for money at the moment. Modelling, she tells me, but I'm yet to see any evidence of this. She's changed the way she looks again too; coloured her hair a honey blonde, the heavy eye make up is back, with even more eyeliner and kohl than before.
'Anyway, they might not come,' Minnie mumbles, starting work on her other hand.
'Really? Do you think so?' I ask, a tad too eagerly.
'I don't know. It's a bit far out here, isn't it?' She looks at me quizzically. 'Why did you ask me to invite them if you didn't want them to come?'
'I didn't say that,' I say, defensively, turning back to the draining board, only the saucepans left to dry.
'So, that's why you're doing this then.'
'Oh, the washing up. The cleaning. Anything to avoid going out there.' She points to the kitchen door which leads to the hall and the living room beyond, where the rest of the party is taking place. 'You'll get the ironing board out in a moment.'
I sigh and turn away from her. She's right, I am avoiding the party, but I doubt anyone will notice. All I have done since we got to London is cook, clean, skivvy for Ricky and his new friends. Our employers. If they wanted a housekeeper, I'm sure they could have found one in London. They didn't need to bring me all the way from New York. We should have started rehearsals at the club by now, it's already February, but it's delayed, still being remodelled and refitted. I haven't even seen inside it yet.
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