This is the prompt from Magpie Tales this week. Mmmm, luscious lipstick.
Here is my story…..
Roxy bought the lipstick from a street vendor. A slight man with eyes the colour of the emerald necklace she admired every day in the window of the antique store.
It was fancy lipstick, not the usual Maybelline or Rimmel she always bought at the discount store. It was French. The gold tubes in the man’s velvet lined tray shouted luxury.
This is your colour, the man said proferring a tube.
Oh no, said Roxy. It’s much too dark. I never wear lipstick that dark, it makes me look washed-out.
It’s your colour, said the man. Half price just for you.
Roxy bought the lipstick. A glimmering tube of Yves Saint Laurent Pure Lipstick No. 62 Deepstar Agate. For five dollars. She suspected it was much less than half price.
It was almost the same colour as her hair, her eyes. When she put it on it brought a striking symmetry to her face.
Roxy was nervous walking out the door. She thought she looked like a bit of a tart. There was a wildness in her eyes that hadn’t been there before, her cheekbones looked angular as if she had lost weight, as if she was hungering for something.
The streets were empty. She walked, liking the rhythm of her heels on the pavement. If she had been filming herself walking along and had watched it back later she would have seen that she appeared confident. Jaunty.
The bar was full. There was a live band. The music pulsed right into Roxy’s soul. The lead singer caught her eye and wouldn’t look away. He sang right to her. Songs of love and disenchantment. It was as if he knew her secret thoughts and dreams.
When the set was finished he jumped off the stage and sat beside her, taking her hand.
You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, he said.
Roxy smiled. She knew it was true. She was surprised at her own conceit.
The singer’s name was Rick. He had an apartment by the river. It had a cane chair by the window in the living room that reminded Roxy of the one her grandmother had kept on her porch. It made her pause, wondering what she was doing there. It was not her style to go home with a guy she had just met. Rick was fixing coffee in the kitchen. Roxy began to edge towards the door. She caught sight of herself in a little rustic-framed mirror in the hallway. She was sinewy, seductive.
Where do you think you’re going? It was Rick holding out coffee, steaming, matte brown, the same colour as her lipstick. She took the coffee but her hands were shaking and it spilled, falling like a length of fabric across the floor.
I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, she said, getting to her knees, trying to wipe it up with her bare hands.
Stop, said Rick, also on his knees. Leave it. It doesn’t matter.
He kissed her, deeply, passionately, as if it was all he ever wanted.
Roxy kissed him back, surprised at the depth of her longing for him, trying to ignore the hot coffee soaking into her skirt.
Soon they were lying in the coffee, rolling in it. The scent of it permeated the room, rich and dense. Roxy felt an urgency rise in her. Something grew closer, a kind of darkness. Unstoppable. Overflowing into nothingness.
She wanted Rick to be hers. For every day thereafter. She wanted to kiss him forever.
The morning light was pale orange, turning the cane chair russet. Roxy’s neck was stiff from lying on the floor. Rick was lying on his side, sleeping. His skin had a mahogany hue. Roxy nudged him.
I’d better go, she said. I’ll be late for work.
When Rick didn’t respond she nudged him again. He fell onto his back, eyes open.
The morning light, clearer now, fell on his body. His skin had changed colour overnight. At first Roxy thought it was the coffee, staining, soaking in. She touched his arm. It was moist, slightly sticky. It coated her fingers, a hue she recognised with disbelief, with horror – deepstar agate.
She took a closer look at Rick. Every inch of his body was coated with the same stuff on her fingers. His arms, his stomach, his feet. Roxy felt like screaming. He was covered, completely covered, with kisses. Her kisses.
Rick, she said, shaking him. Rick.
She felt for a pulse. At his throat, at his wrist. She prodded him, poked him, listened at his chest for a heartbeat. There was nothing. Rick was dead, lying in a pool of coffee, covered with Roxy’s lipstick kisses.
Roxy ran, her clothes on backwards, carrying her shoes, stumbling down and out to the street.
She must have killed him. She must have killed him.
She ran home. She had to be dreaming. She had to have lost her mind. It couldn’t be true. It couldn’t be real.
She opened her front door and collapsed into the hallway, dropping her shoes, dropping her bag. The contents spilled onto the floor, the golden tube of lipstick rolling against the skirting board.
The lipstick. It must be poisoned. She would take it to the police. Tell them about the man with the emerald eyes. He was a killer. He had killed Rick.
Roxy took the lid off the lipstick. Rolled up the tube. It was completely empty, devoid of any trace of deepstar agate. The lipstick was gone, covering Rick, killing him.
Roxy sat on the floor, inert. The tube of lipstick was a knife in her hands, brazenly catching the light, an evil spirit, empty as her heart. Denying her the taste of tomorrow.