Julia picked their advert out of the phone book because it made her laugh. Skimming her finger down the page, she came to a line that stood out in bold type: ‘RED INDIAN PAINTERS AND DECORATORS — WE’RE NOT COWBOYS’. She reached for the phone and dialled their number; whether or not their price was cheaper than the firm Miles had suggested, she would offer them the job. She was sick of always doing what Miles wanted: it was more than time she made a few decisions of her own.
The two of them arrived the following Monday morning, in a white Transit van which had seen better days. Even their names seemed suited to a comedy double act: Darren and Des. Julia eyed them as they sat in her kitchen in their overalls stained with the faded remnants of previous decorating jobs, drinking tea: brash Darren the younger of the two, somewhere in his late twenties, with messy blond hair which she suspected he dyed himself and an Estuary accent; Des a little older and from the north, short and wiry, with a permanently worried expression. They were exactly the sort of people Miles hated having around the house, and whatever the standard of their work, if they simply spent the next couple of weeks pissing her husband off, they would more than earn their money.
She had discussed with them exactly what needed doing in the dining room, lounge and hallway, and was eager to leave them alone to get on with the job. A manuscript was sitting two-thirds finished on her PC, the biography of an obscure 19th-century poet, Florence Gascoigne. The deadline was less than a month away, and Julia was struggling to meet it.
‘You’re a writer?’ Des had said, sounding genuinely interested. ‘Would I have read any of your stuff?’
‘Not unless she’s ever written anything for the back page of the Sun,’ Darren had replied scornfully, and gone to lay out his brushes in the dining room.
Though she was normally a stickler for peace and quiet when she was working, Julia felt compelled to keep the door of her study open. She told herself it was so she could hear if Darren and Des started slacking, but she knew that the sounds of their voices and the paint-splattered radio they kept tuned to Capital were a connection to the outside world. Writing was a lonely business, especially when Miles was consistently scornful of her efforts.
She turned back to her screen and re-read the last couple of paragraphs. Florence Gascoigne had died at the age of thirty-two from consumption, a spinster. Many of her poems dealt, in suitably discreet language, with sexual frustration and unrequited love. Julia could certainly understand the frustration side; since Miles had become involved in his latest project at work, he had spent increasingly long hours in the office and seemed to have lost all interest in sex. Like many women in their late thirties, Julia had taken this as a sign she was losing her allure. In an effort to re-kindle Miles’ desire, she had gone out one weekend and had her short, coppery hair cut into a fashionable shag cut, and invested in a new scarlet lipstick and a set of expensive lingerie in that same dramatic hue. She had paraded in front of Miles in the skimpy bra and panties as he sat in the lounge; he had glanced up briefly from his copy of the Telegraph, then grunted and turned back to the financial pages.
It was all too depressing to contemplate, and the weather was not helping. It was unseasonably hot for June, making Julia’s teeshirt cling stickily to her body. She went down to the kitchen to get a cool drink from the fridge.
The decorators had the French windows open as they sanded away the old paint, and Julia wandered into the dining room to check on their progress. Darren had stripped to the waist, and Julia stood for a moment, watching him work. He had a good body, what she could see of it, his chest smooth and lightly tanned. Miles had the beginnings of a paunch, from too many expensive lunches with clients, and Julia found herself wondering how it would feel to run her hands over Darren’s taut pectorals and down the length of his back to cup his small, firm buttocks…
‘Admiring the view?’ a voice behind her asked.
She turned, guiltily, to see Des smiling at her. ‘I was just..,’ she began, aware that she was wearing no bra beneath her teeshirt and that he must have realised that fact.
‘You don’t have to explain to me,’ Des replied. ‘I’m not that tight-arsed husband of yours. If I was, I wouldn’t be so keen to dash off to work. Not when I’d got a cracker like you around the place.’
For a moment, Julia just gaped at him. Perhaps he was testing her out, wanting to see if she would play the offended lady of the house and go running off to Miles to complain. There were enough stuck-up bitches in this part of Surrey who would react in exactly that fashion, but she wasn’t one of them. Deep down, she was secretly basking in Des’ unexpected compliment; it was more of a reaction than she’d got from Miles in months.
When she went back upstairs, she shut the study door firmly, and hitched her skirt up round her waist. Spreading her legs wide, she began to stroke herself, first through the cotton gusset of her panties and then on her naked sex, feeling the juice flow strongly from her as her fingers danced lightly over her clit. Julia closed her eyes, picturing in her mind Darren’s half-naked body and the look of frank admiration in Des’ eyes as his gaze had flickered towards her unfettered breasts. Her orgasm came easily, sending sharp spasms of pleasure through her, and she made more progress on her manuscript that afternoon than she had in the previous two weeks.
By the end of the week, Darren and Des were like two old friends. She had got into the habit of taking her lunch break at the same time as theirs, the three of them sitting on the patio and gossiping. It wasn’t the way one was supposed to treat one’s hired help, but Julia was growing tired of behaving in a manner which was socially acceptable to the neighbours. Miles had always left her in no doubt that it was his money which had enabled them to move into the stockbroker belt and let her stay at home writing, and he expected her to remain eternally grateful for that fact, as if changing the colour of the dining room walls once a year and having a multi-disc CD player in your top-of-the-range BMW was something to aspire to.
They were moving all the junk out of the hall cupboards, ready to begin painting, when Darren dropped Miles’ old briefcase, sending paperwork flying everywhere. He began to apologise, and Julia was waving his explanation away when something caught her eye. It was a bill from a jeweller’s shop in Hatton Garden for a pair of diamond earrings. Miles had never bought her diamonds as long as they had been together. She glanced at another receipt, and another; Miles had been buying suspender belts, panties and camisoles, and she doubted that it was because he had developed a secret fetish for wearing women’s underwear. She grabbed the briefcase from a surprised Darren and took it upstairs, where she could study Miles’ secret spending in private.
It was all so predictable: credit card slips for restaurants she had never been to, on evenings when Miles was supposed to be working late; a booking for the honeymoon suite at a small hotel in the Cotswolds when he had told her he was at a sales conference in Yorkshire. He had covered his tracks so well that not once had Julia suspected that he might be having an affair. No wonder their sex life had withered and died; no wonder he had remained oblivious to her body clad in that seductive scarlet lingerie.
The lingerie… It was neatly folded between sheets of tissue in her underwear drawer, Julia having thought she could never bring herself to wear it again after its startling lack of impact.
She went into the bedroom and undressed rapidly. Glancing at herself in the mirror once she had changed, she registered the way the underwired bra pushed her breasts together, forming a deep cleavage. The high cut lace panties and black hold-up stockings she wore emphasised her long, slender legs. She brushed her hair till it shone, and applied the scarlet lipstick to her bee-stung lips. Then she went to find Des and Darren.
She could not have surprised them more if she had come downstairs naked. Darren was staring at her open-mouthed; Des was smiling the knowing smile she remembered from their first morning on the job.
‘I’ve just found out that my bastard of a husband has been having an affair for at least the past six months,’ she informed them matter-of-factly. ‘The only way I can get over the shock is if the pair of you fuck my brains out.’
For the space of a heartbeat, they seemed to think she was joking. Then Darren, the bolder of the two, caught her in an embrace, pulling her close so that she could feel the solid length of his erection beneath his baggy overalls. They kissed, his tongue pushing into her mouth to take possession of it, as Julia twined her fingers in his long, blond hair.
His hands cupped her breasts, fondling them through the scarlet lace of her bra. She felt her nipples peaking beneath his touch, and found herself wondering dizzily how it would feel if he took them between his lips.
Des was behind her now: she felt his fingers reach for the clasp of her bra and unfasten it. He eased the straps down off her shoulders and Darren helped him remove it. She shivered as Darren’s work-calloused hands caressed her soft, white breasts; groaned in pure erotic pleasure as Des began to ease down her panties. They would be damp with her musky juices when he took them off, and she imagined him putting them to his face and breathing in her intimate odour.
Obediently, she stepped out of the panties. Now all she wore was the lace-topped stockings and her black high heels, and she felt wanton and vulnerable at the same time. Des’ hands spanned her still-trim waist, moved down over her gently flaring hips till he was holding her bottom cheeks. His thumbs traced the cleft between them, brushing briefly over her anal opening. Darren’s mouth was on her breast, suckling her crinkled, apricot-hued nipple. She parted her legs wider, wanting to feel Des’ fingers in her sex. When he obliged, parting her ragged inner lips and slipping one finger into her moist, cavernously empty channel, she felt herself go limp. It had been far too long since fingers other than her own had touched her there.
Between them, the two men half-carried her into the dining room, the furniture still shrouded in dustsheets, and deposited her on all fours. She waited, legs lewdly parted, languorously fingering herself, as Des and Darren stripped off their overalls and underwear. Both men were already erect, Darren’s cock long and slender as it rose from its nest of sandy hair, Des’ shorter and fatter. She did not care which of those two beautiful members filled her, as long as they did it soon.
This time, Des stood before her, presenting his swollen prick to her mouth. She made an O of her scarlet-painted lips, and engulfed the head of his cock between them. He tasted clean and male, and she began to lap eagerly at the droplet of juice which oozed from the little weeping eye. As she sucked, she felt Darren’s hands parting the cheeks of her backside. His blunt glans nudged at the entrance to her sex, seeking entry. She felt him slip inside her, lodging himself in her warm, juicy sheath, and then he was thrusting into her, deeper than she had ever experienced with Miles. Every movement pushed her further on to Des’ cock, so that she was fully impaled at both ends. The radio was playing forgotten in the kitchen; a distant counterpoint to the soft sighing and slapping noises that filled the dining room.
Behind her, Darren was speeding up, his taut balls banging against her bottom with every stroke. Des, unable to resist the wet sucking pressure of Julia’s lips, groaned and filled her mouth with viscous, salty spunk. As Darren gave one last convulsive thrust, Julia felt his cock grow briefly larger within her. She pressed her own fingers hard to her clit, timing it so that they reached orgasm almost at the same time. The sensation was so strong, she almost lost consciousness.
When Miles returned home that evening, he would discover that a few things were missing: Julia’s clothes from the wardrobe, the PC from her study and every last trace of the two-man team from Red Indian Painters And Decorators. In their place, he would be greeted by the immaculately-worded statement, ‘FUCK YOU’, in eggshell emulsion on every wall of every room in the house. As with everything Darren and Des had done for Julia, it was a beautiful job and worth every penny she had paid them. She wished she could be there to see his face, she thought regretfully as she loaded the last of her possessions into the back of the Transit van, but she had other plans for the rest of her life. The two decorators had restored her faith in her own sexuality, and it was time to go out and paint the town red…