Sam died just outside the ladies’ changing rooms

Sam died just outside the ladies’ changing rooms, sitting on one of those padded plastic benches where the bored husbands wait to say everything looks lovely. He was watching a woman walk by carrying champagne flutes and a Christmas sweater when the pain started and his heart stopped. None of the men noticed anything different until Felicity emerged in her potential party dress and, smiling apologetically at those who had survived him, gave the slumping Sam a poke.

The commotion in the department store exploded then soon calmed; they almost seemed used to it. Inside Felicity’s head the commotion lasted much, much longer. Hours later she found herself sitting on the edge of her bed, her sensible coat draped around her bare shoulders. She shrugged it off. Somehow she was still wearing the sparkling black party dress. She stood and looked at herself in the mirror, turned one shoulder and reached round to pull down the zip. It had jammed. She almost, almost, called out for Sam then cried as if she would never stop.

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