The costume is a too-tight purple satin vest top she’s had since uni – she almost spills out of it these days – and two pairs of black tights stuffed with the rest of her hosiery drawer. Her hair is silver with cheap spray from the party shop, blue eyeshadow smeared from lids to eyebrows.
‘Isn’t the theme -?’
‘Disney princesses? Yes.’
‘And you are?’
‘But she’s a …’
‘… sea witch.’
‘Not a princess?’
‘No. *Much* cooler.’
‘Doesn’t she have eight legs?’
‘Nope, six. Easier to animate. I checked Wikipedia.’
She had her first baby a year ago, and she’s not quite lost the weight. She can’t bear to try to pull off the princess look alongside a load of skinny minnies who’ll do it so much better. She’s always been strangely drawn to Ursula, recognising her anger, her jealousy, her venom in herself, and wanting, perversely, to celebrate those things.
‘I do, actually. You look weirdly hot.’
‘Charmer.’ She kisses him, leaving his mouth smeared with scarlet lipstick.
She flirts with everyone, at ease with her anti-heroine status. She watches him do the same. She trusts him.
By midnight, though, she’s ready to lure him away. On the drive home, he’s tipsily chatty, until she pulls up at the lights and places a finger on his lips. ‘Shh, now…’
He looks at her curiously, but says nothing.
Back home, he brushes his teeth, while she roots at the back of the wardrobe. The bathroom door opens and he stands in the doorway, surveying the scene: her, still in costume, draped across the bed, and next to her, a ball gag that up till now, only she has ever worn.
He gets it, she knows, but, as his eyebrows raise, she says it anyway.
‘I’m not asking much. Just a token really, a trifle. You’ll never even miss it. What I want from you is your voice.’