Raphaella led me back down the marble steps a single flight, having successfully shown me how to close the door, and faced me at another white door. She led me inside and placed me upon a white velvet armchair which seemed to be in such pristine condition that it was a wonder anyone had ever sat on it. Shoes and accessories were littered around with an Yves Saint Laurent hand bag laying on its side just beside the door. The place was a mess, yet it was a mess of enchanted objects. She sat down with a flop on the adjacent chase lounge with a sigh. “Life is so exhaustible, don’t you think?” she said with a wide, wild smile. I couldn’t help but laugh a little, bemused at her utterance. Who could find this exhaustible? “Oh God, I must sound so selfish” she laughed softly, a trickling musical laugh, like soft summer rain. It was fitting I had met her in July, for the month seemed to suit her. “No, no, of course not” I responded “Well that’s kind of you” she continued smiling “Oh, you must forgive me for taking such liberties”. Raphaella stood up and trotted towards a white cabinet, almost looking as if she was walking down a catwalk. She took two small glasses from the top of a small cabinate and trotted back over to me.
She poured out a generous glass of brandy and plonked herself back down into the chair, taking a large gulp out of her own glass. “So tell me, who foots your bill?” she began “What do you mean?” I questioned “Oh, darling, don’t be coy. Who are you sleeping with to live like this?” she said as I watched a tinge of a subtle smirk waver across her face “I shouldn’t talk about that.” I broke the snake-like eye contact she had been holding “Oh,” Raphaella retook her firm grasp of my gaze “so it’s someone you shouldn’t be sleeping with.” She paused to think for a long, silent moment “is he married? Someone – well he is undoubtedly rich. Someone famous?” she guessed almost becoming frantic “He’s married” I gave in “I knew it” she laughed with a self-congratulatory flourish of her left hand; the hand that was not holding the glass. “Has married man got a name?” she questioned me further “He’s called Owen – Owen Van Veen.” “No.” she uttered with a breathy hush “But, he’s-“ she stood up abruptly, scurrying towards a newspaper on the floor alongside a further assortment of items. “Him?” she displayed the front page of the newspaper to me. Sure enough, there, emblazed across the paper was a photograph of Owen. I nodded. “But he’s the Home Secretary” I looked away again “and he’s married to her-“ she opened the paper to the next page and showed me a photo of a beautiful woman of around 40 with golden curls and emerald eyes standing beside him. She was perfect.