At the sink, she would rinse and spit. Some mouth spray from her clutch purse was spritzed. A last check at the mirror to confirm orderliness before departing with airs. There was always the primping, to a high level of perfection. It was required. Mother had taught so. The otherwise was not tolerated with herself, or allowed of her man.

She would return into the room glowing a satisfied gloat, to the chagrin of those noticing her impending arrival. Her conversation would be resumed to dominate the table, regardless of the companions' desires. Several would exchange glances wondering who had punished them with the practical joke of inviting her- had they really deserved such treatment? Ah yes, her beauty. This was payment against the cost of her presence: she was easy on the eyes, but hard on the ears.

Thus would flow the minutes into hours of the night.

Thoughts reflected back upon Rolf. He was a disorderly man, impossibly so. In the early days, when their relationship was fresh, his habits were cute, quaint even. Perhaps that's what had been his allure. He would come in late after a long evening. The clothes were left in a trail leading to the bed, where she would be waiting for him. His longed for attentions took her away to unimaginable places, briefly. Too briefly, which did not improve. The sensations, and later, the stories he would tell her were not fulfilling. All was reasonable. All was understandable. All was all, at least to him in his earnestness.

She had been naive to his magick words, laid victim, wanting to believe. At the time, she understood that of herself. But that was the past. Now it had been corrected. Now it was right. Never again need a reoccurrence be suffered.

Thirst came to her. She drank from the small water bottle that had been thoughtlessly clenched out of shape by her hand. Opening the lid released pressure that hissed into the high altitude air. After drinking, her hand dropped back to position. The bottle creaked in snaps from the resumed grip. There was stillness in her head, but her body was wound tight, playing a strained octave.

The drive out of the village had begun in the early morning. With the starlight fade came a promise just beginning on the horizon. She was driving Rolf's car. The bag was on the floor of the passenger seat. Her face was typically kept neutral, though occasionally a frown could be detected. Some had thought she was squeezing a lemon in her backside to make lemonade; of course, no one dared speak this observation within earshot and live to tell about it. This predawn, however, had begun with a grin. It was slight, but it had been there. Perhaps the origin was to be found in the irony of her driving his car. Rolf's precious little street racing car. The car she was never allowed to drive, but was required to be a frequent passenger of. A meat trophy exhibited before his street peers- a pin-up girl poster and just as useless.

"Yes, there is an irony in that, isn't there, Rolf?" she said, sneering at the bag.

They had met from a cold contact, there being an app for that. He had swiped right. At the time, she was standing on a crowded tram. She was going to swipe left and had all intention of doing so. It was the combination of the tram surging and the sympathetic wave of people moving in response. The right swipe had occurred in the jostling. The baseness of the moment was distracted by her anger of the disorderly rudeness. The phone was slipped back into her bag without further thought.

Rolf was thrilled this woman's response was positive: the app had spoken, so it must be so. Her picture was a pouting dour look projecting a sophisticated aloofness. The posed curves were there in ample proportions in all the right locations. Her background description was brief, confirming his thought of her as a detached beauty.

Their meeting was proposed by Rolf at a cramped dark club he did not frequent. The anticipated intimacy the space provided was not to be intruded upon by the discards of past relationships. The eagerness he communicated was petty to her; however, quick research revealed a financial résumé that brought around the invitation's acceptance. The location was familiar; it would not be her first meeting entertained there.

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