Stella Jackson stood before the mirror in her bedroom, carefully applying her lipstick. The ruby colour was one that she had not worn in a long time, but she felt the day warranted such a vibrant shade. “Take your mobile!” her father’s voice startled her out of her pleasant thoughts and made her hand slip, a slash of red decorating her chin.
She sighed, wetting a bit of tissue and wiping it off. “Stel! Pass us the People’s Friend! I could do with a laugh!” her father’s voice came again, just as the doorbell rang.
“Just a second dad!” Stella practically skipped down the stairs, hoping it would be Tessa, her keys in her hand before she had even reached the communal landing.
The young carer stood on the doorstep instead, pen poised in her hand, resting on her clipboard. “Ms Jackson?”
“Yes come in,” the girl’s shoes squeaked on the lino as she walked inside.
“Is Eric upstairs?”
“Yes he’s in the bathroom.” The doorbell went again and Stella opened it, cutting off the attempt of the carer to ask a question. She was greeted with a peacock feather which fluttered gracefully from the top of Tessa’s hat.
“Don’t laugh!” Tessa warned, her high heels clacking against the floor, as she entered closing the door behind her.
“Not gonna,” Stella promised “It’s just that Allie will owe me a fiver. She thought you didn’t have the guts to wear it,”
The carer cleared her throat “Miss Jackson which flat do you live in?”
“Oh, sorry!” hastily Stella led the girl up to the flat, and introduced her to her father.
“It’s a good job that you’re here.” Eric didn’t bother with pleasantries “Colonscopy bag’s full and Stel don’t like changing it. It’s too dirty a job for Lady Muck,”
Stella didn’t look up from where she was slipping her purse into her handbag, far too used to her father’s ways to let them affect her mood. She removed the bus ticket, clutching it between her crimson tipped fingers: the precious emblem of her freedom, even if it was only a day’s release.