Chapter 4, Part 6

The call had lasted over an hour and Geraldine had thought no more of it, until her monthly telephone bill had arrived a week or so later. That one call alone had cost over forty pounds, nearly twice her usual phone bill – the helpful lady who had connected her to Anne had neglected to tell Geraldine that the call would still be at the premium rate because she had just transferred her. Lesson learned.

Flicking through the Parish Magazine, Geraldine found the number for The Tanning Solution in their square quarter page advertisement and dialled the shop. No, they could not fit her in Monday, but they did have a free slot in half an hour. Marvellous, she was on her way she said, dived into the shower, vigorously towelled dry, bra, pants, stockings, dress, coat, purse, keys, alarm, gone. She was only 10 minutes late.

The Tanning Solution was actually a clever play on words, because the client would go into a booth and be micro-sprayed with a solution that tan stained her skin. All the client had to do was to keep turning a quarter turn to the right. Not difficult, easy to remember, “Just one small turn to the right every time the tone chimes madam,” the girl at the desk had explained, “ and you will emerge fully tanned. Now don’t squeeze your eyes shut, just stand as relaxed as you can. It will just feel like a faint mist.” Geraldine left the receptionist polishing her nails and went into the changing room, slipped her clothes off; after all this was to be an all over tan, no white bits for her, not that she expected anyone to see her white bits, well not yet anyway, but you never knew; and put on the percale robe provided. She pulled her hair up into a hair net, ensured that there were no dangly bits, took a deep breath and headed off for her bronzing. She opened the door and entered the booth; slipped off the robe and put it into the small compartment provided, stood on the plate and pressed the start button. As she stood waiting for the machine to start, she closed her eyes and tried to decide where the best place to go and get a new dress would be, Debenhams would always have a good selection, but they would probably just not have that little bit of wow that she needed. She really thought that it would need to be a stunning little black number, or something vampish in red. Debenhams was not really the place for that; it would probably have to be the row of boutiques on the Promenade. Obviously not knowing where Edward was taking them Tuesday night limited her options. Not too dressy, either up or down would be safest option.