Clara kept the security guard in her peripheral vision. Not that she was planning anything… Just that he irritated her with his constant pacing. She needed a new outfit for the launch. Something understated but classy. She frowned at the rows of lacy dresses. Who would wear something like that? She was not some floosie. She was a celebrated author, after all.
The Clarins counter caught her eye. She’d stopped wearing make up a while back now, but perhaps a new lipstick would perk her up. That darn woman she kept bumping into on the beach, the one John dated long ago, wore a sort of berry colour. She ran her finger down the range. Watermelon, Dusty Rose, Chocolate, Berry Burst. Hmm. Berry sounded about right. It would match her cream dress. Actually it would match any of her clothes, as she only wore sour cream and black linen. She couldn’t bear woman in lace and chiffon. She smudged a few colours on her hand. Yes, the Berry Burst would do. R350.00 for a lipstick! That was ridiculous. John would want to know what she’d spent that amount on. Wait. Actually she had an old lipstick in her handbag. A Clarins one she’d bought yonks ago. She rummaged in the bottom of her bag and retrieved it. It looked exactly the same as the new one. She put them next to each other on the palm of her hand, before dropping one into her handbag and putting the other one back. She adjusted her jersey around her shoulders and sprayed some sample Eau de Fleur on her neck, before sauntering towards the exit.
The siren took her my surprise and she froze as the security guard stepped into her path.
“Excuse me, Madame. I think you’ve forgotten to pay for something.”
Clara cocked her head at him.
“I didn’t buy anything, young man.”
She resisted his hand on her elbow.
“I don’t think you know who I am. This is outrageous!”
When he didn’t respond, she wagged her finger under his nose.
“Do you think I’m some kind of thief?”
Bloody little upstart.
“No M’am, not at all, but…”
She wrenched her handbag from him.
“If you would just allow me to take a quick look…”
Stupid idea to wear lipstick anyway. She didn’t need it.
“I most certainly will not. You have no right to…”
The man was looking all doe-eyed now. Idiot.
“M’am, I must insist on…”
She pushed past him and walked towards the parking garage. She hadn’t noticed the other men and was flabbergasted when they appeared out of nowhere. She glanced around her, half expecting to see that beach woman nearby.
“I’ve found the lipstick now,” she called through the crack in the manager’s door.
Okay, she’d pay for the damn thing. It was no big deal.
“Couldn’t I just simply pay for it and we can forget about all this?”
Blow me down if the stupid man didn’t reply.
“I said I’d cough up. Even a little extra, if need be. What’s the problem?”
She could hear the police sirens in the distance, as the moron opened the door…