It wasn’t her fault. The idiot had parked his car halfway across her parking space. What was she supposed to do? Park her convertible in the street? Please.
So she had tried to squeeze in, tensing her body as she inched her silver beauty into a quarter of its parking space. And she would have done it too if he hadn’t come running up like some sort of deranged lunatic! She had been all concentration till he had let out a bellow from across the yard and come flying over. Like any conscious woman in the 21st Century she had panicked – crazy man, empty parking lot – her reaction was justified dammit!! So now here they were, glaring at each other over their scratched cars. She had fit alright.
It irritated her that at a time such as this, she was noticing inconsequential things like the surprising length of his eyelashes; lashes that framed arresting blue eyes….or were they green? Who the hell cared? You would think so shortly after the Richard fiasco she would be viewing all men as dogs with voices.
“What could you possibly have been thinking?!” He had a lilting accent, one throat lozenge away from being termed hoarse. She was intrigued and at the same time frustrated at her mind’s refusal to make him ugly and uninteresting.
“That some twat had taken up half of my space!!” Ha. He wasn’t that good-looking.
“You could have circled the block, found another space, waited a few more minutes..”
She reached into her car for her purse, jaw clenched and body tense. What a complete arse.
“I circled the block twice, there are no other parking spaces and explain to me how I was supposed to know you’d be back in a ‘few minutes’?”
So she had lied about circling the block. Whatever. She just wanted to get this over with, swap details and move on with her life. He had seen when her car had scratched his but he was still giving it the once over. There was a miniscule mark on the dusky grey paint (who chose a colour like that?) that a strong breeze could have made. Really, the man was anal. If anything she should have been the one stroking the vehicular love of her life. There was a long nasty scratch on the passenger side that she’d have to suffer with for two weeks when she was due for a tune-up. She’d just send it for a full make-over as it were.
“Listen, I really have somewhere to be,” she said, extending her business card, “If you just give me your contact number, we’ll sort this out at a later date.”
Those eyes of his whose colour she had yet to figure out (blue? green? hazel?) stared at her for a long moment as he probably wondered whether she was the hit and run type. Twat. He crossed over to her.
“Have you got a pen?” Where was he from?
She scowled at the direction of her thoughts and shoved a ballpoint and a yellow post-it note rudely in his face. To her annoyance he smiled at her.
“Thanks.” It sounded like "tarnks" and more to the point, it sounded sexy. Dammit! Dogs, all of them!
He leant on her car (the nerve!) and scribbled something she hoped was legible on the paper before handing it to her with another smile. Where had his frown gone? What the hell did he have to smile about? Was that a dimple?!
She shoved the note into her purse without looking at it, slung the strap over her shoulder and shielded her eyes at the sun that had just blasted its way through thick cotton balls of clouds as she looked up at him.
“Before the day is over you should hear from me.”
Without waiting for an answer she spun around and headed for the exit. Her offices were a couple of blocks away and the meeting was due to begin in ten minutes.
His eyes were blue.
“You gave her your number.”
He had phrased it like a question before and now Kian said it again, coming to grips with the fact. He looked at Mark and his gaze was quizzical.
Bryan snorted from his position on the couch in their hotel room.
“You’re crazy man. Crazy.”
“I told you, she had no idea who I was. Hardly anyone does – I don’t know if that’s good or bad.”
“That’s bad – and the sun has obviously gone to your head.”
Mark shot Bryan a nasty look before flipping open the minibar to take out a Coke. He pulled the tab and a hiss of gas shot out.
“Even if she doesn’t know who we are, a family member might – a friend. We’re in the Caribbean, not on Planet X”
Kian watched his friend and bandmate make his way across the floor and disappear into the adjoining room. Ever since he had come back with his (just barely) scratched car, Mark had been full of nervous energy. He had recounted his episode with the crazy driver woman to Kian and Bryan who had opted to stay in that day, conveniently forgetting to mention that they had swapped names and numbers. Mark’s car was a rental and the almost-worthy-of-mentioning scratch was laughable; why bother to exchange insurance information?
A smile broke out over Kian’s face and he chuckled, waiting for Mark to return. The single guy makes his move.
“So she was a looker was she then?” he shouted, unable to hold his glee in. Bryan caught on and his laughter filled the room.
“Smooth Mark, real smooth. I’m impressed.”
“Whatever! This has nothing to do with her looks! She hit my rental!”
Bryan rolled off the couch enveloped in laughter. This beat the hell out of the cooking show he had been watching for twenty minutes now.
Mark plugged on, ignoring the cacophony their bellows were making in the room. Kian looked ready to join Bryan rolling on the floor.
“She’s not even my type! And she’s the one who asked for my number.”
“Your type?! You’ve been date-less for going on 6 months now! Your type has two legs!!”
“Fools, both of you.”
Just then Mark’s mobile rang and he made a show of walking over slowly to the table to pick it up. Kian and Bryan quieted in amused anticipation of the phone call.
So what the hell kind of name was ‘Feehily’? She would have gone for the ultra-conservative ‘Mr Feehily’ but she wasn’t sure how he pronounced it. Mark it was to be then. Hopefully he wasn’t the type who needed whole paint jobs for the littlest of nicks. It would be just her luck though. Maybe she’d be able to suggest a more attractive colour than the dull grey his Audi currently sported.
Leia shoved her glasses up the bridge of her nose and out of habit, squinted at the writing on the yellow post it. Men who wrote like he did were supposedly artistic and self-involved. So much useless info; she really should start reading Freud or something. At least his useless information had some sort of stature attached to it.
Her apartment felt especially empty this evening. Ever since Richard had left – or rather she had thrown him out – she had filled the rooms with noise. Radios blared constantly and if there was no music to fill the silence, the tv took it’s place. For some reason tonight, though she felt the quiet heavy on her soul, she didn’t want to clutter it up with unnecessary noise. The reality of it all was that she was alone. It was best to start getting used to it.
Leia sighed as she realised how her mind had deviated from its course. Always coming back to Richard. He really didn’t deserve this much attention.
The number scribbled on the page was an overseas one, which didn’t tell her anything new; his accent had given that much away. British? Was there even such a thing as a British accent? He was probably from Scotland. They sure did grow them up there. Sean Connery was Scottish wasn’t he?
She punched in the numbers methodically and while it rang, her eyes rested on a painting Richard had brought with him, back in those halcyon days when she had been rosy with love for the creep and tolerated – respected – his (what she now knew to be disturbing) artistic sense. It was a pastel of a mangled woman caught under a bulldozer. She was clutching a daisy. God, how could she have loved such a weirdo?
“Hello? Mark? This is Leia Charles, the woman from earlier today…”
She was a lucky duck. She had been a naughty girl and scraped someone’s car and as punishment she had spoken to a delightful piece of eye candy both in person and over the phone. No insurance company to call, no money to pay out. Lovely. Added to that, her idea for the incontinents advert had gone down well with the powers that be at the agency. A pleasing day when it came right down to it.
As a sort of mini-celebration she decided to stuff herself with something sinful like Godiva chocolate.
Even during the Richard-era, her mother said she had a single woman’s kitchen, whatever that was. Everything was in its place, a microcosm of her perfect world, with the all-important microwave front and centre. She was not and would never be a cook. Power to the single woman.
On her good days she did a mean Spaghetti Bolognese despite her elder sister’s affirmation that pasta was for wimps. Helena Charles-Bradford was the Renaissance Woman. She ran her own chain of hairdressing salons (“I think I’m ready to break into the mall-market. What do you think about a salon in Heathford?”), looked after her husband and three children, was the president of innumerable societies that worked for the Good of Mankind and just for added shine, had trained to become a gourmet chef. Leia was a junior partner for an advertising agency run by men who thought jingles and people dressing up as fruit were still effective; she counted going to the gym as one of her hobbies and one weekend too many was spent looking after a niece or nephew by suffering through Pokemon or losing at Final Fantasy. For her added shine, she burnt salad. Her life desperately needed an overhaul.
And how had it arrived at this depressing state of affairs?! Where was the Godiva? She was celebrating dammit!
The phone rang before she could head over to the stash of chocolate she hid in the bread pan (out of sight, out of mind) and with a quick glance at the caller id she picked up the black cordless that lay on the countertop.
“Leia babes, you up to going anywhere tonight?”
“It’s a Tuesday.” Had she really just said that?
Robyn Bradford’s laugh rang clear through the phone and Leia couldn’t help but smile at herself.
“What have you been up to this past week? We haven’t spoken in a while.”
She and Robyn had attended the same high school and in the weird ways of the world had become close friends only after their graduation when Helena Charles had fallen in love with Lee Bradford. The rest was a happily ever after story.
“Nothing much but today my idea for the advert got approved and I scratched a Scottish guy’s car. You?”
“A Scot huh? Was he in a kilt? Was he sexy?” Leave it to Robyn.
“Sorry, no kilt. Yes, very sexy. Sexy face, sexy body, sexy accent, sexy everything – except his car.” She remembered then she had forgotten to tell him to think about a paint job and smiled.
“Oooooh. God, why don’t I ever meet hunks? Or at the very least filthy rich men?”
Leia headed over to the bread pan with the phone tucked between her raised right shoulder and her cheek, “Start hanging out around parking lots is my advice. Where are you thinking of going?”
Robyn was still on the Sexy Scot and she ignored the question, “Did you get to swap name and number?” Leia could visualize her friend’s eyebrows wriggling suggestively and laughed. She could hear the murmur of the television over the phone; Robyn was probably sprawled across the fluorescent green bean bag she insisted on keeping in the middle of her living room.
“Yes actually, I just finished talking to a Mr Mark Feehily about half hour ago.”
After 3 long seconds of telephone silence, Robyn spoke into the void,
“I know, what kind of last name is that?”
“LEIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!! LEIA!!!”
She recoiled from the phone and scowled at nothing in particular, “What the hell is wrong with you? I’ve almost gone deaf.”
Strange noises were coming from Robyn’s room as if she was thumping her head on something hard, then a strangled scream escaped her lips,
“Leia Charles, how long have you known me?! How many times have you been over to my house?! How many times have you rifled through my cd collection?!”
She bit into a strawberry truffle, “Where is this going Robyn?”
“The Irish guys?”
Another strangled scream and then a short, tense silence in which Leia figured Robyn was composing herself. She had a funny feeling she knew where this was going and the laugh was already bubbling up.
“Mark Feehily is from Westlife,” Robyn enunciated carefully both for herself and her friend. She couldn’t believe this. Mark. Westlife. Leia……Shane!!!!!
This time a gasp, “Leia, Leia! Was he with anyone else? Anyone who answered to the name Shane? What are they doing over here? They’re supposed to be in Puerto-Rico.”
This was all quite amusing and Leia told Robyn as much, “You know their schedule? You, a taken woman?”
“Paul’s just an on again off again date!!! And who cares? Answer the question! I can’t believe this – you my friend, are so undeserving.”
At that, both women fell into gales of laughter, egged on by the sound of each other over the phone till they were clutching their stomachs and wiping away tears. When they had calmed down, Robyn continued,
“What did you talk about? You crashed into his car?!” “I just nicked it. He told me it’s a rental anyway – nothing major.”
“Wait a minute, Mark Feehily gave you his mobile number? What was he thinking?!”
Leia scowled, “I resent that.”
Robyn was unmoved, “You could have been a deranged fan.”
“Deranged fans don’t call their idols twats.”
Some heavy breathing from Robyn’s side.
“I repeat Leia – you are so undeserving! To think! Scottish!!”
“Turn left here.”
“There’s forest to my left.”
“No, no right, sorry.”
Philippa looked up from the map and pointed towards a small dirt track just up ahead.
“I can’t believe they have dirt roads marked in on maps. When they said they were a developing country they weren’t lying.”
Nicky slowed the Jeep to a halt in the middle of the deserted country road. It was getting dark and they were hemmed in by thick forest on either side.
“I sincerely doubt they have it marked in there Philippa. We’re lost – give me the map.”
She looked at him sharply, annoyed at his patronizing tone, “What? Give you the map so you can magically get us back to the hotel? You Tarzan, Me Jane?”
The two stared at each other for long seconds and Philippa realised, in one of those famed moments of clarity that she did not want to marry this man. This man who she had loved unconditionally for most of her life. The very man who only three weeks ago had gone to his knees and proposed to her in the rose garden at the back of her grandmother’s cottage in Derry.
And because Nicky had always been able to decipher her every change in mood and more alarmingly the reasons behind it, something painful flickered in his eyes and they fluttered closed. She took in his every feature then, in the waning light of the Caribbean sun; the sculpted planes of his face, the slight arch of his eyebrows, the thin slash of his lips, tight with anger? Pain? She wanted to touch him but lost her nerve when his eyes flicked open. They were remarkably blue in the increasing darkness of the car and they were focused squarely on her.
He reached out and touched a finger to her lips and there was silence once again. The unique silence of the tropics that wasn’t silence at all because when you listened closely enough, nature hummed.
She had jumped at the chance to accompany Nicky on his trip to the South America and the Caribbean because she had always wanted to visit somewhere ‘exotic’. The promise of balmy breeze and beautiful beaches had beckoned to her and she hadn’t wanted to be apart from Nicky for the full five months the band had planned to be on the road. Their first stop had been Puerto Rico and everybody had clamoured after pictures of Nicky and his ‘novia’. Screaming girls had held up posters imploring him to ‘Flip Philippa and come to Mama!’ and the more prosaic, but just as meaningful ‘Marry Me Instead Nicky!!!!!!’ Nothing surprising really; they had laughed them off and kissed for the cameras once or twice. Then things had changed subtly. Barbados had been a short and hectic stop which had seen the lads engaged in back to back media promotions. She and Anne, the tour manager, had knocked back more than their fair share of rum punches and pina coladas while lounging poolside or on the white sands of the hotel’s private beach. They had met two young wives there as well, soaking up the sun while their husbands attended business meetings. Charlotte and Kathryn had been open and friendly if a bit flighty, and that was when she had started to doubt.
It was not that she no longer loved Nicky; 15 years of powerful emotion didn’t fade in a matter of weeks. She just needed some space, some time…..time to figure out what Philippa really wanted. She didn’t know specifics but one thing was certain – she had no desire to have as her job description ‘Nicholas Byrne’s wife’.
This had nothing to do with Nicky and everything to do with her, and she would admit freely that she had become tense and impatient with him, attitudes borne out of her sudden state of doubt. How cold she possibly be thinking about NOT marrying him?! This was what she had dreamt about! How many ‘Philippa Byrne’s were penned into her high school text books (all safely hidden away)? She had desired this man long before the world had come to know him; before he had been a man. And now she was thinking about letting him go.
Nicky removed his finger from her lips and without another word revved the engine. She couldn’t speak. What could she say?
Her bathroom was her pride and joy and she liked to spend as much time as possible admiring its every perfect feature. Ever since she had been a little girl she had wanted a ‘movie star’ bathroom and now she had it – the marble tiles, the luxury shower, the Jacuzzi bath tub. She had survived on salt crackers and butter for three months so she could afford it all, but it was worth it. What was the use in waiting she had asked everyone when they had called her crazy, and more annoyingly told her that her priorities were screwed. She had no mortgage to pay off, no children to look after, no other mouth to feed but hers, and she had not once delved into her savings. This bathroom was a product of her hard work and a manifestation of just one of her dreams.
Robyn splashed some cold water on her face and then peered critically at the girl in the mirror. Spiky lashes which framed alert eyes of the deepest brown; full lips that looked their best coated in cherry red; cheeks tinged pink with cold; a button of a nose that had lost its way in an otherwise patrician face. She was letting her hair grow again and it had reached the rebellious stage where it waged war on any sense of style. On particularly bad days she had taken to tying a scarf around it in shame.
Paul had called as soon as she had hung up with Leia. He was on his way back from a meeting and in her neighbourhood, could he drop by? Hmm. It had been awhile since they had spoken so she really shouldn’t be surprised that he had touched base; but he had broken the rules. If she remembered correctly, it was her turn to call. They were so childishly competitive the both of them which was one of the many reasons their relationship ran hot and cold. Refusing to let it be thought that either one was more needy than the other, they took turns calling. A silly grin appeared on her face before she could stop it. She wins.
The doorbell chimed and Robyn stepped away from the mirror. It was just Paul so she hadn’t attempted to fight her hair into a submission. Take me as I am my love. She smiled at the thought, a smile that vanished quickly as she headed for the front door. Love? Paul?
A cursory glance through the peephole confirmed that it was indeed him and she wrenched the door open.
She had been ungrateful when she had moaned to Leia about not meeting any hunks – she was dating one. An uber-geek hunk perhaps but that suited her just fine. A hottie with brains, what more could a girl ask for? He leaned in to kiss her by way of greeting but its chaste quality surprised her and she raised an eyebrow enquiringly.
“How have you been?”
Robyn closed the door behind him and watched as he headed for the living room. He had a nice bum so she leant on the door and indulged till he seated himself on the love seat. Pity.
“So serious Paul. What’s the matter?”
His grey eyes were steady on hers and Robyn realised she was probably not going to like what he had to say.
“How long have we been dating now?”
She crossed her arms and looked at him from across the room, “I don’t know, you tell me.”
“A year and a half.”
She hadn’t expected that and her eyes widened slightly. The best she could come up with was a feeble incline of her head. Okay, time for the bomb to drop.
“I’ve been thinking about us; about if there is an ‘us’...” Oh no.
Paul stopped mid-sentence and she wondered if she had said it out loud or if her face had made it clear enough. Why was he doing this? He chose now to get in touch with his feminine side, just when everything was perfectly….casual.
He was waiting for her to say something and she closed the distance between them, still standing, but now right in front of him.
“What are your final thoughts then?” She sounded so calm but her pulse was racing and her heart was beating a tattoo against her chest. She didn’t want to get into a serious relationship with Paul; she liked it as it was – laid-back. Did he go out with other women? She wasn’t even sure. So much had remained unspoken between them that she now felt the urge to discuss. Get things straight.
“What do you say we take a break?”
“Break.” Her neighbour’s annoying terrier yipped into the silence. From the sounds of it he had squeezed through the fence and was in her garden, no doubt fertilising her flowers.
Should she laugh, cry or rage? Decisions, decisions.
Everything seemed so surreal now; her walls glowed eerily white and the ticking of the clock overhead seemed amplified. Paul sat there, eyes still steady on hers, waiting…for what she didn’t know. He had made his mind up already hadn’t he?
“Perhaps after some time apart we’ll realise that we want to take our relationship to another level…or maybe we’ll find it’s time to fully move on. Basically Robyn, anything would be better than this sort of limbo.”
She found her voice.
“Limbo? Paul, this is how it has always been, this is what we decided!”
“It’s what you decided!” He looked irritated at his outburst and shoved long fingers through his hair. Robyn’s gaze drifted over to her cd rack and she thought about Leia and her encounter with Mark. So the boys were in the country. An image of Shane drifted across her mind and she let it stay there, taking refuge in his larger than life persona, in an attempt to ignore the real man in front of her. It didn’t work for very long and she turned to face Paul again.
“Yes, it was all me.” Her hair seemed to be reacting to her agitated state and she could feel previously flat pieces shooting outward.
Why was she being so emotional anyway? Did she even care if they broke up? If she had to choose between a serious relationship with Paul and no relationship at all, the latter would prevail would it not? ‘On again off again date’. Isn’t that how she had described it? “It wasn’t a criticism Robyn.”
All this meant was that she was now fully free, 100% single. Look out world.
“I understand Paul, I really do. So, how about we start taking this ‘break’ right now?”
He got to his feet, all 6ft 1 of him, and she could feel his eyes still on her but she didn’t want to look at him. Not now.
Before he could make any trite remarks about the ‘good times’, she glanced pointedly at the front door, as subtle as she was willing to get. He had always been marvellously quick on the uptake and moved towards it though not as half as speedily as she would have liked. She couldn’t wait to get his bum out of her sight, out of her house, out of her life.
Five minutes after she had heard him drive off Robyn still stood there in the middle of her living room, hands clenched tight just under her breasts, eyes trained to a spot on the wall, listening to the ticking of the clock.
“We can’t use her for the advert!”
“When, if ever, have you heard of a 22 year old model suffering from incontinence?”
“It’s possible!” James glanced longingly at the busty model smiling up at him from the glossy magazine that lay on the table, “We shouldn’t stereotype.”
“Get out of my office.”
“Take your page 3 model with you.”
James stroked the magazine cover before clutching it tightly to his skinny chest. Well into his twenties, he still sported the body and at times the mind of a struggling fifteen year old. She loved him to bits.
“You’ll regret this, mark my words.”
“I can’t believe we actually pay you.”
“Testament to your stupidity, not mine.”
“Ha ha. Out.”
She got through ten more minutes of work before another colleague barged into her office.
“I’m a 9!!”
Sandi Murray fluffed her hair, struck a pose and gave her best ‘come hither’ look. Leia gave an exasperated sigh and decided to take an early lunch.
“What does that mean?”
“Look at this” Sandi headed over to Leia’s side table, tilted the computer screen towards her and typed something into the web bar.
“Am I Hot or Not?”
“200,000 votes and my average is a 9!”
“I can’t believe you posted your pic.”
“It was a bet between James and I who would get the highest score.”
Leia looked at her friend and snorted, “James?!”
“I know, but he’s giving me a run for my money – he’s at 8.5. I think he rigged it.”
“How many times did you vote for yourself?”
Sandi looked affronted but the smile tugging at her lips gave it away, “I haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about”
After some deliberation she gave a smiling thirty-something in army fatigues an 8 and then turned towards Leia, “You ordering lunch or heading out?”
“I’m meeting Robyn at 1 today.”
Sandi and Robyn had met each other through Leia but shared many interests, not the least of which was a love for all things Westlife, and they had forged a friendship out of it. Thinking about it Leia remembered she had yet to tell Sandi about her Mark-sighting.
“Oh, remember the Scottish guy I told you about yesterday?”
Sandi turned to look at her, “Don’t tell me it’s going to cost you a mint! Foreigners!”
Leia shuffled some papers on her desk, “Nah, no problem there. I called him and there’s no need really.”
How should she go about this then? Break it gently or let it drop and enjoy the emotional fireworks?”
“Did you know Westlife were in the country?”
Her friend’s eyes lit up but Leia couldn’t decide whether it was because of the thought of Westlife or the picture of a bare-chested man that had just appeared on the screen.
Sandi clicked on the 10 and nodded, “Yeah, they’re early too! Robyn and I were considering accosting them at the airport but that idea’s shot to hell now. Why?” “Apparently it was Mark’s car I nicked yesterday.”
French manicured fingernails halted a few millimetres above the keyboard and Sandi pinned a brilliant green gaze on Leia.
“Repeat that for me.”
She couldn’t help it, she had to laugh.
“Apparently it was Mark Feehily from Westlife’s car I nicked yesterday.”
“Why are you lying to me? You know my heart’s weak.”
“You said the man was Scottish.”
Leia shrugged, “I made a mistake.”
“How could you mistake Mark Feehily?! What was he doing downtown?! Oh Good Lord, this means we were breathing practically the same air. Right now I could be inhaling his recycled oxygen.”
“Now there’s a thought.”
Sandi slid her chair across to Leia’s main desk and gave an attempt at an innocent smile.
“What about telling me where they’re staying?”
Leia frowned, “How would I know? We just swapped numbers, not addresses.”
“God, you are so slow. We could see what hotel fits the phone number.”
“He gave me his mobile number.”
“Is the man mad? You could have been a sicko.”
“So I’ve been told.”
Sandi laughed suddenly, as she thought about the entire situation, “This is so sweet. You must be one of the few lame people on the face of the earth who don’t know about Westlife. What did you say you called him again – a twat? God Leia, your language!”
And before she could defend herself, Sandi clutched her arm and dropped her voice to an urgent whisper.
Such theatrics, it was great.
“Leia, Leia….do you still have his number?”
She rolled her eyes, “No way am I giving it to you.”
Sandi grew speculative, “So you still have it then. Hmm, why is that?”
“What do you mean ‘why is that’? I forgot to throw it away – when I clean out my handbag this weekend it’ll go into the garbage with the rest of the junk.”
Okay, so she was lying, she hadn’t wanted to throw it away. God only knew why not.
“It’s in your bag then is it?” Sandi asked as she simultaneously lunged for the Gucci tote to her far left. Then ensued a childish struggle where both women enjoyed a moment of silliness. Sandi was the stronger of the two and the one with five older brothers so she held her own and managed to rifle through the bag and pluck the yellow post-it note out, all the while holding Leia at bay.
“Sandi, you can’t call him. What are you going to say? I’m a friend of the woman you met in the parking lot yesterday?”
“I was more thinking along of the lines of: ‘Hey Mark, put Shane on the phone’ but I’m open to suggestions.”
She grinned widely and waved the scrap of paper in the air, “What about this one – ‘My friend can’t stop thinking about you, she’s laminated your post-it note’?”
Leia tried once again to grab the paper from Sandi’s hands, but she was too slow. This was ridiculous. One more try.
This time she got hold of an edge and refused to let go.
“Don’t you have work to do?”
Sandi laughed loudly and tightened her grip, “Don’t you? I could stay here for the whole day but you’ve got to meet Robyn at 1.” She stuck out her tongue and tugged at the paper.
“C’mon Leia – just a peek.”
Both of them yanked at the misused scrap of paper once more and stared in horror as it came apart in their hands.
“Damn!” Sandi grabbed Leia’s piece and placed them side by side on the tabletop.
“Shit, it ripped right in the middle of one number and I can’t make it out.”
Leia reached for her glasses and leant over, “It could be a 7.”
“I was thinking 9. Damn, there goes my chance with Shane. So close, so close…wait! All we have to do is try all the numbers! It’ll only be from 0 to 9!!”
“Listen to yourself.”
Sandi arched an eyebrow, “I’m not the one who kept the number in my purse and then refused to let one of my very best friends see it!!”
She was right. Good Lord, she was right. Look at them, peering at a pitiful piece of paper as if it held tomorrow’s lottery numbers. Shameful.
“What’s wrong with me Sandi? I said I’d give myself a breather from any sort of relationship for at least five months! I’m not supposed to be interested in anyone!”
“Please Leia, you’re single not dead. It’s classic rebound behaviour anyway.”
Sandi held the pieces up to the light and looked at them through one eye, “No, no, it’s definitely a 3.”
“I’m late for lunch with Robyn, we’ll talk when we get back. Don’t call anyone!”
Sandi gave another pathetic attempt at innocence, “Moi?”