Chapter 28

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'It's the Beth George! From Verve FM!' screeched Dee at the photographers flanking the entrance to LDN in South Kensington.

They stared blankly back at us and we laughed.

'Scott Smith! That's spelt S-M-I-T-H,' shouted Scott with a wink.

Stubbornly, the gaggle of paps didn't return our introductions with flashing bulbs. They did, however, do a distinct 90 degree turn to aim their lenses behind us. Scott, Dee and I turned our heads in unison and saw the lowered head of Shane Winchester from Stamp, aka 'the buff one' according to tweeners and gossip sites everywhere, as he hurried towards the entrance.

Now was our time to shine.

A smattering of bright lights ricocheted off us as Shane scurried past. Scott struck a hand on hip pose, Dee flashed a peace sign and I waved. Giggling, we ran after Shane, but found ourselves stopped by a burly man with a shock of blonde curly hair.

His muscly arms threatened to burst out the sleeves of his tight black t-shirt as he stood before us with his arms folded, but one of the first things I noticed about him was the tiny microphone poised near his mouth, attached to some headgear lost somewhere in his curls. It reminded me of Madonna circa The Blonde Ambition tour.

'Oh, but you let Shane Winchester through!' moaned Scott.

The man didn't crack a smile. 'Invitations please,' he boomed.

'Of course!' I beamed, handing him my invitation with a triumphant flourish. 'Billy Johnson gave it to me personally. You see, I interviewed him. I work for Verve and -'

'Which one's your guest?' He jabbed a thumb in Scott and Dee's direction.

'Oh, this one is.' I excitedly looped my arm with Dee's.

'I've got my own,' Scott piped up, flapping his invitation back and forth in front of him. 'I work for Verve FM too, but I'm going stag tonight.'

'Alright, go through,' said curly-haired Madonna man, jerking his head in the direction of the beats and lights reverberating in the next room.

The three of us paused for a second or two as if to say, 'What, really?' It was Dee who regained her composure and sprang to action first, coolly flipping her hair over her shoulder and marching past him.

'Have a good night,' she sang out breezily.

Scott and I scurried behind her, then stopped once more to take it all in. Before us was a blurry paparazzi nightclub photo pulled into sharp focus and come to life.

Shane Winchester whispered into the ear of a girl I recognised from an E4 soap.

Catwalk model Rebecca Collander sat cross-legged on a plush red sofa sipping champagne and looking bored as a man with salt and pepper hair engaged her in a conversation.

Pop singer Chelli bounced around waving her hands in the air, trying to attract the attention of Billy Johnson, who stood with his hands in his pockets and nodded as another member of Stamp whose name I couldn't remember - it was the tall one with the shaved head - seemed to laugh at his own joke.

'Your tag's hanging out,' hissed Dee in my ear.

'Technically, it's your tag,' I replied as she tucked my tag in and gave me a look up and down. She'd lent me what she affectionately called her 'glitter girl dress.' Well, it wasn't actually made of glitter, but it was covered in sequins - gold sequins. It was also tight, short and low-backed. I usually wasn't the type of person to go for something so fabulously gaudy and, looking around, perhaps it was the wrong fashion choice. Everyone seemed so effortlessly and understatedly stylish, whereas this dress screamed effort. In fact, it just screamed. But Dee insisted that it was my night to shine. Literally.

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