Loulou reclined on the bed in her underwear and watched Brett as he performed press-ups on the bare floorboards in his boxer shorts. His arms and chest were slick with sweat and she noticed that his biceps bulged and deflated rhythmically with every repetition. He liked being watched although he pretended not to. Loulou took a long drag on her cigarette before forming an O with her red lips and expertly puffing out a series of smoke rings into the stifling room.
The hotel they were staying in was surprisingly cheap and unsurprisingly awful. The wallpaper was peeling and they shared the room with dozens of cockroaches who were so bold, they didn’t wait until the lights went off before they scuttled across the floor. Loulou had gone to run a bath and the taps had coughed and spluttered before giving up a trickle of rusty brown water. She had abandoned the idea of bathing and lain on the thin mattress with its pink satin coverlet and started smoking.
Brett had returned from the store with whisky, more cigarettes and ice, lots of ice. He unbuttoned his shirt and removed his chinos before dropping to the floor to start his exercise regime. He smirked as he sensed Loulou’s eyes flicking up and down his body but he took his time as he knew she would wait for him to finish, no matter how many cigarettes it took.
Brett finished his squat thrusts and started cooling his muscles by stretching first his arms then his long, toned legs. Realising the time was close, Loulou wriggled across the slippery fabric towards the nightstand but Brett, lithe and energetic, leapt across the room and reached it first. He grabbed the box and held it up out of Loulou’s reach, teasing her and taking pleasure in watching her frustration grow.
He held up a hand and Loulou shuffled back obediently watching, as he placed the box on the bed and opened it slowly. She fidgeted as he removed the contents, laying them out carefully before replacing the lid and discarding the box, his eyes fixed unwaveringly on hers. Loulou’s pupils dilated as he proffered a small, black velvet bag towards her which she grasped eagerly and dipped her scarlet-tipped hand into its dark recesses. Brett clapped his hands together briskly, “Right Louise, you know the rules. No names, abbreviations, prefixes or suffixes. Let’s play Scrabble!”