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Authors: Debbie Viggiano

Lipstick and Lies (7 page)

BOOK: Lipstick and Lies
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What other night?


Gosh
,
I don’t know Cassie – not
specifically anyway.
Three nights ago?
Four nights?
Don’t you remember?


No
,
I do
not
remember
.


Well Cassie I can’t help it if you fall asleep while I’m talking to you
.


And I can’t help being exhausted
all
the time,

I
roared
.

Why the hell didn’t you tell me when I was awake
and had
my wits about me?


Cassie, in our household there is rarely a quiet moment.
You think I’m going to talk about important work decisions over the cornflakes?
Shout
across the cereal bowls as
the kids row about which judge should be booted off X-Factor, or
Eddie
screams
blue murder because
Petra
won’t let him play with her iPod?
Or perhaps you’d prefer it if I left you a note eh?
Dear Cassandra
:
please be advised that as from next month Fareham & Mackerel will be employing a female
I once
dated
for all of five minutes
, y
ours sincerely James Mackerel, PS
any chance of
lamb chops for dinner tonight?


But didn’t
you realise
I’d fallen asleep when you didn’t get a response?

I persisted.


But you did respond!


How?


Y
ou
pulled
the
duvet
over your head and mumbled
, “W
hatever

, which pretty much brought the topic of conversation to a close.

Had I?
Oh God, that sounded so typical of me.


But why Selina?
’ I
argued
.

There are surely umpteen suitable candidates out there.


I ha
ve
already explained this
,
but clearly
my words
made no impression on you whatsoever.


Because I was asleep!

I shrieked.


Okay, I’ll
go over
the whole thing again
with
you now.
Firstly, I didn’t
recruit
Selina
, as you put it.
Ethan did.


Well surely you ha
d
some say in it – you’re
his business part
ner!


T
he situation is sensitive in this case because–’

‘What do you mean
sensitive
?’


Because
Ethan is
co-habiting
with Selina
.

I gaped at Jamie.

You mean they’re living together?
As in bonking each other?


Correct.
Ethan isn’t aware of all th
e funny business
we had with Selina–’


Funny business
,’ I
spluttered
.
‘That
woman
behaved like
a lunatic.
Is he aware
he’s shacked up with a
fruitcake
?’


I
t’s quite obvious he’s totally enthralled with
Selina
and deadly serious about her.
What am I meant to say to him
,
Cassie?

Oh
by the way
Ethan matey, did you know that your woman once had the hots for me
?
That she
wouldn’t take no for an answer
, and
spent
weeks
harassing me and my wife?


Jamie raked his hair.
‘The man is dotty about her
.
B
ut if it helps Cassie, Selina is dotty about Ethan.’


Oh right
.
A
nd pigs fly
,
’ I spat.

‘Darling
,
please
.
Stop giving me a hard time
.
H
ear me out.
Ethan had told me
his girlfriend had moved in
with him
, but I never made the connection who she was.
Why
w
ould I?
He refers to her as
Lena
.
He hadn’t introduced her at that point.
Ethan
said he’d like me to meet
Lena
with a view to us employing her.
When Selina
bowled
into the office
,
I was speechless.
She
acted like
w
e’d never met
.
Formally s
hook
my hand
.
I
t was all terribly civil
ised
.
T
hen Ethan took a
telephone
call and left us
together
.
Selina begged me to not say anything.
She apologised profusely for
her previous behaviour


‘Oh she did, did she?’ I gnashed my teeth.


Selina
said everything was water under the bridge and–’


N
ot for me it isn’t!’

‘And that she wanted to leave the past where it belonged – in the past.’

My mouth worked but nothing came out.


H
er
entire focus was o
n Ethan.
In fact, she acted like a woman deeply in love.
When Ethan asked me
outright
if I
would agree to
Lena
joining us,
there was no
professional reason to object.
Whether I like it or not, s
he
has
the
perfect
working
background and
the
right
knowledge to
progress
our company.


I don’t trust her Jamie.
What if
Selina
wants
to reignite
things with you
?’

‘What, you mean try something on when she’s already loved up with Ethan?’

‘Well
, put like that
no, but–’


Darling, let’s not argue.
It’s New Year’s Eve
.
W
e are enjoying a rare night out together
.
I want to dance with my beautiful wife
.
T
ell her I love her
.
H
old her close.
I don’t want to regurgitate old girlfriends who
never meant anything
,
and who I mean nothing to either.
And if I can turn a blind eye to your ex-husband leering at you



Stevie was leering at Morag,

I
corrected
.


And you
too
Cassie
.
So
if I can be pleasant
to Stevie
and not get my boxers in a twist, can
you
do the same about
Selina
?

Fuckity fuckity fuck!
I blew out my cheeks
,
and then shrugged in resignation.
Jamie had never been in love with Selina.
And whilst she might have once been in love with him,
it had been
a
long time ago.
Clearly she’d moved on.
Moved on and moved in with Ethan Fareham.
Well good for her, I thought magnanimously.
I’m sure they
made
a splendid couple.
The fact that Ethan
was one of the plainest men I’d ever met was neither here nor there.
It was probably his charm that had
knocked
Selina
for six
.
Although I couldn’t exactly remember him
ever
oozing charisma on the few
occasions
I’d met him.
Well perhaps it was his
amazing intellect
.
Yes, that was probably it.
All that confident
i
al hush-hush intelligence filed away in his
computerised
brain.
All
terribly
S
s
h Secret Squirrel
which
was clearly
a
babe
magnet.
I sighed.
And Selina was most definitely a babe.


Are we done with this conversation now?

Jamie sounded
brow-beaten
.


I guess so
.
Y
ou’re
right
.
I shouldn’t have let
myself
get
worked up
about it.

I
wound my arms tightly around
my husband’s
neck.
Hugged him hard.
Good heavens,
w
e
all
had old flames
lurking in our backgrounds
.
It didn’t mean anything at all!

This was all Morag’s fault
.
Banging
on about my
figure and taking my eye off the ball.
S
he’d momentarily knocked my
confidence
.
Unsettled
me.
Well we’d soon see about that
.
Starting from tomorrow I was going to re-invent myself.
D
efinitely
.
I’d pop round and see Nell, my old neighbour and dear friend
.
G
et reacquainted with
her mad
R
ed
Setter
,
Rocket
.
T
ogether
my canine chum and I would
pound the pavements, toning up and working out
like the good old days.
I would also book myself a long overdue appointment at
Fairfield
’s
swish
hair
salon
.
And whilst
there I
would make use of the
vast number of designer
boutiques
that littered the sidewalks
.
Finally
,
I
’d
book myself
an appointment with Morag’s Chinese herbalist
.
Pop a few
aphrodisiac
pills
.
And then
stand back everybody
.
A
brand new Cassandra Mackerel
would emerge
– slimmer, blonder and so damn
ed
hot
there would be smoke trails
coming out of her Agent Provocateur knickers
.
Eye off the ball?
Not likely.

BOOK: Lipstick and Lies
2.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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