Lizette stands in the doorway, the afternoon sun setting her hair ablaze. Faces look up at her, mesmerized by her firesome halo. She smiles, eyes crinkling at the corners, full lips pursed. She floats across the threshold, three silent children in tow.
She bends over the back of the couch and drapes her arms around Janet, whispering something in her ear, mouth moist. They both laugh conspiratorially while Lizette eases herself onto the end of the couch. The children disappear into the shadows of the room.
Jon leans forward to pick up a beer bottle from the coffee table, brushing Lizette’s upper arm. She tilts her head towards him, her mouth pursing into a small smile.
‘Where’ve you been Zette?’ asks Jon, leaning back into the couch.
‘Melbourne.’ She twists her body toward him, flicking her hair over her shoulders.
Lizette shrugs and takes his beer bottle, tilting her head back to drink from it. Jon watches her mouth, his own slackened.
Janet straightens at the other end of the couch. ‘How long you back for, Zette?’
Lizette wipes the neck of the bottle and hands it back to Jon, one eyebrow raised at him. Jon takes the bottle but his eyes remain on her mouth.
‘Three months, maybe,’ says Lizette, holding Jon’s gaze.
‘Great to have you back, babe. We’ve missed you around here. Haven’t we, Jon?’
Jon fiddles with his beer, never taking his eyes off Lizette’s mouth.
‘We’ve missed Zette.’
‘Yeah. Yeah we have. Good to have you back.’ He breaks his trance and swigs from his beer.
‘Ouch! Mum! Sylvia won’t let m—’
Lizette bristles, turns abruptly and glowers at her youngest child. He shrinks back into the shadows.
Excerpt from the novel, ‘Lizette’. A work in progress.