Chapter 19

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This had to be the worst walk of shame in my entire life. I was on my way to work and making awkward small talk with the man I'd just slept with. To top it off, I was wearing another girl's dress.

Leon said it was his flatmate's, but I didn't believe him, considering he'd fished it out from the back of one of his drawers. What's more, it was way too small for him, so I couldn't even entertain the notion that he was a secret cross-dresser.

I mean, it was a perfectly nice dress - a royal blue jersey wrap from River Island - but it belonged to another woman and I was wearing yesterday's knickers underneath it. Was it five o'clock yet?

I'd thankfully gotten some sleep last night, drifting off with my head on his chest. However, I was still yawning as the tube carted us towards Verve FM. I was mid-yawn when Leon decided to address the events of last night.

Look,' he said in a low voice. 'I'm going to lay my cards on the table. I really like spending time with you Sport, really I do, but I'm still new at this office and trying to make a good impression. I don't think it would look too good if people knew we were shagging, so let's keep it quiet, yeah?'

Tiredness and the fact that we were sitting across the aisle from a very nice looking lady wearing a pink cardigan and reading a Patricia Cornwell novel prevented me from raising my voice.

'I think people might notice that I'm wearing a dress that doesn't quite fit me and no makeup,' I quietly warned him. The no makeup thing wasn't necessarily true. I'd guiltily stolen a dab of undereye concealer from a tube I'd found in the bathroom cupboard. I'd also nicked a coat of mascara. I knew it was unhygienic, but I did it anyway.

'Well, you're just going to have to try, okay?'

I nodded and looked out the window at the houses whizzing past us. Leon's hand snaked its way behind my neck to stroke it.

'Besides,' he continued, his voice softening, 'it's pretty hot this way, if people don't know. Kind of like our little secret.'

'Sure.' I peered up at the grey sky. I wished I could hop off this train and straight into a sleepy beachside café to slurp a granita with my sister, the ocean view stretching out forever in front of us. I thought an office fling was what I wanted, but as I looked around at the carriage of people in suits and pencil skirts perusing their City Daily newspapers, it all seemed a bit depressing and mundane. Except for the fact that I was wearing yesterday's knickers. That was incredibly depressing and totally out of the ordinary.

***

When I walked into work about five minutes after Leon (to avoid suspicion), I found Eric smiling for the first time that week. He didn't seem to notice the fact that my face was paler than usual and my dress bunched up weirdly around my hips as he clasped my hands with his.

'I loved your article. It's quite a different angle for us and it was very well written. Well done.'

Those words made me forget that this dress probably hadn't been washed since it had been flung off Leon's last lover after a drunken night out. I was elated.

'Really? I'm so pleased!'

'You should be,' said Eric. 'I made it live this morning, and Mikey and Loz are taking calls this morning from women who have a lot of gay male friends to get their thoughts.'

I whipped my head around to face the studio. The On-Air light was burning red and I noticed that Mikey was frantically gesturing me inside. I shook my head and waved my hands in front of me, mouthing 'no.' It was too late; Mikey had already announced that I'd entered the building.

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