Ann and Julia sat at the kitchen table and ate dinner properly; home cooked and off plates, glasses of Sauvignon Blanc to hand.

It didn’t happen often. Ann was supposed to work shifts. In a murder team you do what has to be done when it needs to be done.

They had bought the house when Julia finished her BA at York eighteen months before; a solid 2.ii as she put it, or better than a third as Ann would have it. The money for the house had come from a trust fund set up by their mum’s parents. Common enough these days if people have lived through property inflation in the same or gradually smaller houses.

Julia did not have a job, or what she considered a job. Her degree, Media Studies, provided her with little knowledge to offer prospective employers. She had been horrified to overhear a man who she knew was a director of Ads and short TV programs say that he would prefer to have somebody with a degree in Latin rather than MS at a party in Leeds.

She worked as temp clerk in a variety of offices in Wragsbrough. At least she knew her way round a computer system even if the machine itself was a mystery, a product of witchcraft as Julia thought.
Julia had a regular boyfriend even if his identity changed with some regularity. The current Mr Correct - she couldn’t call him Mr Right could she, her name being Wright - was an estate agent with a tan from the lamps and a body that he would die for. He constantly preened and primped himself at the gym, and occasionally pounced on her in an athletic fashion. He didn’t know what Julia wanted, any more than he knew how to ask her. He wasn’t long for her world.

315 words.

Phase 2

The house was a knock through terrace with a long living room that stretched from the street to the back yard.

“We should do this more often,” Ann said, the elder of the two sisters.

“You say that every time we eat together.”

“Home cooking, the personal touch makes a big difference.”

“You wouldn’t say that if I was doing the cooking,” Julie said with some certainty.

“Un-wrapped at home,” Ann smiled.

“Created by Sainsbury, home heated by micro-wave.”

“The wine’s good though.”

“Where’s it from?


“Oh I thought it was Majestic. I saw a box of their’s in the hall.”

Ann looked at her sister, a mixture of affection, love even, and incredulity.

“You remind me of some of those students we see on Weakest Link.”

“I’m not dumb. I got a 2.ii.”

“In Media Studies, even madmen don’t rate that as a degree.”

“That’s unkind Miss Filff.”

“But true.” Ann smiled. “You do have a selective memory, and tastes. Where did you find that tangerine man I met at breakfast?”

“Jason’s okay. He’s a chartered surveyor. He said we had good sense buying this house.”

“With Granddad’s money. Anyway he told me he was an estate agent, your Jason.”

“Well, he’ll be a chartered surveyor when he’s taken his exams.”

 It will be a miracle if he lasts that long, Ann thought. “How old is he?”

“Twenty six.”

“As long as he keeps you smiling.”

Julia screwed up her nose. “He’s got no sensitivity.”

“He poured me a coffee this morning.”


“I had to put my own milk in mind.”

“I caught him at it this morning. He was looking in the mirror, I thought he was admiring my tits; he was flexing his pecs.”

They hugged, keeping their laughter close.

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