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A brief, passionate yet ill-fated romance

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Original story by Erin Morgenstern

Photography: Grant Thomas

Fashion: Alexandra Fullerton

They met at the bottom of a martini. She offered to buy him another.

Woman: blouse, £395, Jonathan Saunders; skirt, price on request, Nina Ricci

Man: suit, £1,600, Ermenegildo Zegna; shirt, £240, Ermanno Scervino; watch, £3,750, Tag Heuer

Had his glass been full, fate might have dealt them different cards, but the bartender returned with their hand to play, cold and wet in matching glasses.

Woman: dress, £2,600, Erdem; earrings, £550, Ashiana; shoes, £420, DSquared²

Man: suit, £1,600, Ermenegildo Zegna; shirt, £240, Ermanno Scervino

One of them had secrets and the other was a liar. Details that rarely matter in windowless bars at unseen moonlight hours.

Woman: dress, £600, Giles; earrings, £470, Lara Bohnic; rings, £55 and £38, both Folli Follie; bag, £435, Kate Spade New York; shoes, £370, Sergio Rossi

Man: trousers, £289, Paul Smith; shoes, £395, Burberry Prorsum, worn throughout

After closing time came the offered escort, then the touching under streetlamp rain. The fingers slipped between strands of pearls and the damp skin beneath.

Woman: dress, £1,520, Moschino; man’s jacket, £1,500, Giorgio Armani; necklace, £198, Dower & Hall; ring, £132, Swarovski Crystallized

Man: shirt, £219, Emporio Armani; trousers, £750, Giorgio Armani; tie, £125

The next time he saw her she carried an umbrella and an apology. She refused to say what the remorse was for.

Woman: jacket, trousers and belt, all price on request, Dior; headband, £90, Emilio de la Morena; shoes, £560, Manolo Blahnik; gloves £320, Ermanno Scervino; umbrella, £550, Burberry Prorsum

Man: jacket, £1,170, and trousers, £625, both Gucci; shirt, £219, Emporio Armani; tie, £125, Burberry Prorsum

The affair continued in a tangle of lies, about what she had done or where he had been. Whispered honest late night promises were lost in forgetful deceptive mornings.

Woman: bra, £200, and briefs, £115, both Eres

Man: trousers, £225, Tommy Hilfiger

On the penultimate night, the truth turned up and no kiss was long or deep enough to push it back down.

Woman: dress, £700, BOSS Black; earrings, £450, by Pippa Small at Astley Clarke; brooch, £58, and ring, £48, both Butler & Wilson

Man: coat, £1,995, Burberry Prorsum; shirt, price on request, Dior; trousers, £340, Ermanno Scervino Car: Bentley Mulsanne with thanks to Jack Barclay

It ended at the bottom of a moonlit lake, cold and wet. Without apologies or witnesses.

Woman: jacket, £2,025, and skirt, £400, both Stella McCartney; hat, £340, Ermanno Scervino; belt, £80, Marni; gloves, £75, DSquared²; bag, £695, Mulberry; shoes, £434, SW1 Hair: Kim Roy using Bumble and bumble and Hothair Make-up: Caroline Barnes at Frank Agency using Max Factor Models: Ramona at Next and Craig at Storm Photographer’s assistant: Will Marsden Digital operator: Lucie Byatt Fashion assistant: Ozzy Shah Location: Belgraves Hotel, 20 Chesham Place, London, SW1X Words: Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus

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