Story

Winter Collection 2007

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Since the age of six, Faye had been the most grown-up member of her family. While her older brother was out crashing cars and her parents were at home hurling antiques at each other she would be upstairs planning her future. This meant writing out lists of professions (very neatly) and experimenting with various sensible-sounding surnames. Faye had always known she would work. Work meant freedom. Work meant not being shouted at by your husband for buying unnecessary shoes. Work meant not turning into your mother. She had also known she would marry. Why the two should have to go together she wasn’t sure; it was a fact she’d never found it necessary to question. And now here she was, working rather hard, very much in love, and feeling like the lists must have been worth it. Not that she and Ed were married. Nor were they planning it. They’d never found it necessary to formalise their commitment to one another. They just got along. Since that first dinner after his show four years ago they’d barely spent three consecutive nights apart. He wasn’t at all the sort of person her six-year-old self had had in mind. His surname was Cruikshank for a start. And he was a painter. All Faye’s imaginary husbands had been besuited City types. Not because she liked the idea of them particularly, but because she’d somehow got it into her head that husbands were meant to be like that. She hadn’t known they could be

endearingly rumpled, charmingly complicated and much better than her at cooking. The other advantage of being with someone visually literate was that they actually noticed what you wore – although she’d recently had to ask what on earth he was talking about when he’d referred to ‘that lovely celadon velvety thing’. Faye still fantasised about weddings though. She just liked the idea of the actual day. But she was worried marriage would change things. Everything with Ed had happened so effortlessly. They’d moved in together after a year. They’d never fought about stray socks or where to go on holiday. They liked (and were liked by) each others’ parents. And they were as happy to do things separately as they were together. Why on earth would they put themselves through six months’ flapping about envelopes and flower arrangements? Faye found herself asking the question a little too much in earnest. Maybe there was a reason. There must be, otherwise no one would do it. Perhaps it was a reason you only found out later, after you’d actually got hitched. Possibly when you were old. Faye was perplexed. And it was all entirely academic as Ed had never shown any interest in the subject anyhow. Or so she’d thought until last week when he’d suddenly asked her whether she thought big rocks were tasteless…

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