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A Rose by Another Name

Page 5

Jane Downing

She dozed, unresolved, until the grunt of the front door, squeezing out of its tight frame and belching into the hallway, disturbed the airflow. The streaming confluence of voices separated into a number of people surging through the door. Felicity was suddenly a caped crusader flying through the lounge room, her doona rippling behind her. She heard his voice. She couldn’t meet him after the excuses, yet a retreat to her bedroom would take her up the hallway, straight into the approaching phalanx of housemates, their current mates, and Bradley’s mate. The kitchen was her only option.

The voices didn’t stop at the lounge. Of course, they would want to come into the kitchen for drinks. Felicity scrunched herself, cocooned again in her doona, into the pantry and drew the door closed by pinching the slatted louvers just as Bobbie clicked on the kitchen light. The light striped Felicity’s face and Peeping-Tom eyes.

‘I don’t think we should wake her. She needs the sleep,’ Bobbie said. There was clattering and clinking and slushing and stirring. Bobbie moved in the slits of vision like an oldtime movie reel without enough frames per second. She was an exotic shimmer in her glad-rags.

‘I don’t know what I’m doing wrong,’ Bradley’s friend said, quite reasonably, and Bobbie placated with empty banalities. He had a gentle voice. Felicity felt a tidal surge of pity for him. She’d hate to be on the other side, all confused and unrequited. His devotion was really very touching.

‘She’s a real romantic,’ Bobbie was saying, ‘always has been.’ She obliged with an anecdote to illustrate. ‘On her 18th the whole restaurant stopped as the waiters converged on a table and showered it with rose petals and this bloke asked his girlfriend to marry him. Fliss said it was the most romantic thing she could imagine.’

‘Yes. I thought the flowers…’

Page 5

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