Warning: This short story contains adult themes that may offend some readers.
Lady Olivia opened the front door to Picton House, took one step into the hallway, then turned around to shake the worst of the raindrops from her umbrella before taking it to the boot room to dry. She was immaculately dressed, as always, and had managed to keep dry despite the grey drizzle on that English autumn day. She caught sight of herself in the hall mirror and sighed slightly as she observed the grey streak where she had parted her hair.
She took off her cashmere coat and hung it on the coat rack. The house was quiet, as it was Gretel’s day off. She was about to ascend the staircase to go to her bedroom and change into something less formal, when she heard the sound of groans and gasping coming from the direction of the snug. Lady Olivia was startled. Oh my God, she thought, Edward must be having a heart attack!
Concerned, she hurried into the snug, her heels clattering on the timber floor. Sir Edward turned around in his armchair, looking slightly bewildered. He had been watching something on the television, from where the sounds were emanating.
“Oh, it’s you Olivia! I thought you were going to have your hair done this morning.”
On the television a writhing couple were engaged in a type of private act that was never mentioned in polite society and which Lady Olivia had certainly never witnessed before.
“I did go to the hairdresser,” she explained, “but Nancy was just about to start washing my hair when her sister rang about some family emergency and she had to rush off urgently.”
There was an awkward silence that lasted a few brief moments. Then Sir Edward cleared his throat.
“I was just watching this film, which one of the chaps at the club had lent to me. Apparently it is something that he described as a ‘retro classic’. The main actor,” continued Sir Edward, “is quite well … er … proportioned.”
Lady Olivia looked intently at the screen. “Oh yes,” she agreed, after a minute or so had elapsed, “I do believe you are right.”
“His name was John Holmes,” Sir Edward elaborated. “Apparently he was quite well known in his time for his acting in this sort of … er … genre. I was told that his nickname was ‘Long John’ Holmes, for reasons that are quite clear when one watches him in this film.” Sir Edward guffawed loudly at his own witticism, as he invariably did when he had come up with some amusing statement.
He turned back in his armchair to watch the remainder of the film. Lady Olivia took a seat on the couch to his right. When the film ended a few minutes later and the credits were rolling up the screen, Sir Edward observed, “Ha! Quite an unusual film, what?”
Lady Olivia concurred that it was indeed a most unusual film.
Then she got up from the couch, pushed a stray hair back from her slightly damp forehead and asked brightly, “Shall I go and make us a nice cup of tea, then?”