Her cascade of blonde hair was now bunned high and fixed in place by a finely crafted silver chignon.
When I'd seen her in earlier, I'd thought her much like Becky, but now I saw she was maybe a little taller, voluptuous, and standing six foot in those heels I reckoned. When she came to greet me, to kiss me on the cheek, she had to stoop. I found myself going up on tip-toe to meet her lips.
"Oh sweetie you are adorable. We are so pleased you made it here. Adam didn't think you'd come, said you were just teasing us. And I said, no, she looks such a guileless little thing. She wouldn't be so cruel." Then she turned to Adam, and said, "Get her a drink, then, stupid."
She put her arm around my shoulder and steered me to a large corner sofa set in an alcove across from the bed. The only hotels I had ever stayed in were either seaside B&B's or Travel Lodges, having a posh sofa in a room alongside a bed seemed odd. I looked around and saw how sumptuous the room was, wondered how much a night here would cost.
From her hug and kiss, her scent settled about me; tainted my hair, caressing my clothes, so subtle. Expensive I thought. For a moment, I I could taste her cloying sweetness on my lips, promising her kisses.
A corner sofa. She sat across from me, her bare knees almost touching mine. She fixed me with her enormous, almond eyes, yet ice-blue, clear as mountain ice. A sauciness sparkled. I wondered what plans she was hatching.
"Do you make a habit of going to bars to make eyes at married couples," she said.
"I was out with colleagues," I said.
"You appeared more interested in Adam than your girlfriends."
"He . . . You and he remind me of a couple I know. That's all."
Adam brought my drink over. I sipped it slowly. I didn't want to drink too much, wanted to keep my head, remember everything.
"The Girl says we remind her of a couple she knows," Erika said to Adam. "Can you imagine: another couple just like us. How outrageous."
I put down my drink, said. "Can I use the bathroom. I'd like to freshen up. I haven't been home since work."
"Don't feel you have to for us," Adam said.
"No, we like our guests to have something of their day about them, don't we, darling," Erika said.
"Thanks, but I'd rather. Only be a min'."
In the bathroom I undressed, peed and quickly showered, being careful not to wet my hair. I dried myself and then wrapped one of the giant hotel towels about my body.
Another look in the mirror, inspecting my face. I hated what I saw: my blatant gaucheness, the utter lack of character in my features, a person half-formed.
When I came out of the bathroom, Adam was messing with the remote control to the wall mounted Plasma. The display flickered into life, and I sat back down where I was sitting earlier, thinking Jeez! He wants to watch telly!
"Feel better, sweetie?" Erika said.
I looked up at the screen: a drama was showing. A dinner party with two couples, and something familiar about the room.
Then it hit me like a rogue comet: Josh and Becky's dining room, I'd recognise it anywhere.
I don't know what my expression must have looked like to Erika, but she said, "Yes, sweetie. It's that lovely couple who look a lot like Adam and I. The world is such a marvellously strange place, don't you think?"
No mistaking my expression now, my jaw dropped when Josh's face filled the entire screen. "Ah, there you are Slave. Do you like Daddy's surprise."
I just sat there gaping.
On screen, Josh said, "Adam, mate, be a hero and help Slave to where the camera catches her fully."
He stood me in front of the screen, where I saw a camera on the table beneath the screen. He held me in place by the shoulder while Erika came and stood behind me, her palms rested on m shoulders.
"Now, slave," Daddy said. "I don't want to hear any questions from you." He fixed me with his eyes. "Do you understand?"
What I understood I was not to questi