Chapter 30

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It was 3am when, in the words of 'tears on a dance floor' queen Robyn, the lights came on and the music died.

Scott, Carlo, Mikey and I giggled our way into Scott's spacious, cream carpeted flat. It didn't have much in it except a black leather couch, a table with a glass top (kind of like the boardroom table at Verve, actually) and a refrigerator that stocked only fruit and three bottles of vodka. Billy told us that it was because he was on the road all the time and this was just 'a place to crash' in London. Feathers fluttered on the floor, marking where Sasha had been as she flitted between groups. I could also see gold sequins dotted around, marking where I had been. It was my way of saying, 'Beth George was here.'

Dee's unmistakeable cackle announced her entrance. She stumbled in with Shane as Scott opened one of the vodka bottles.

'Looks like I came in at just the right time!' she proclaimed.

I slid a shot across the glossy kitchen counter towards Dee, like I'd seen bartenders do in movies. She necked it, wiped her mouth, and looked at me, bug-eyed. By the time I felt the vodka sting my own throat, Dee was at my side, fiercely digging her purple nails deep into my arm.

'Oh my gawd Bethy, can you believe I hooked up with Shane Winchester?'

'It's pretty hot," I said.

'Am I being incredibly silly, though? I mean, he's a baby.'

'Dee, since when have you let a five year age gap bother you?' I raised my eyebrows. Her dreamy-eyed 'I once took a mini-break to the Cotswolds with a 44-year-old D.I.L.F.' story sprang to mind.

'This is different,' she insisted. 'This time it's going to be splattered all over the internet and in all the magazines.'

'Oh, you love it,' I teased. 'By the way, bravo on possibly the best way ever to get the bad taste of Matt out of your mouth.'

'Oh, I know.' She laughed. 'Matt who?'

'Anyway, what are you doing over here talking to us when you could be off with Shane?' wondered Scott. 'Go! Shoo!'

Dee looked over at Shane. 'If you'll excuse me...' her voice trailed off as she sauntered towards him.

One more sneaky vodka shot later, I sat on Scott's lap on the sofa between Mikey and some soap actress I recognised from my daily after-work wind down telly marathons. She played someone called Violet, I wanted to say? Lily? Some flower name.

We watched on as faces we'd previously only seen on television or music clips snorted lines, laughed at each other's jokes, talked repetitively about people they disliked and gyrated up against each other to Beyonce. Perhaps the differences between them and us weren't so vast.

Dee spent most of her night singing her lungs out while Shane clapped and cheered her on. Dee fancied herself as a bit of a singer and always chose 'Hungry Eyes' at karaoke. Even though she had no microphone, tonight was no exception to those late nights in Chinatown. Carlo then treated us to a particularly enthusiastic version of 'Express Yourself' before Billy stole the show with an acoustic version of 'Ice Ice Baby.'

Scott and I called time on our night/morning as we saw the first dull flecks of yellow light peek through the clouds from Billy's floor to ceiling windows. Dee had tired herself out and dozed off, curled up against Shane on the sofa. Billy assured me that he'd call her a driver whenever she wanted to go home.

I knew she wouldn't be ready to end her night when we left. It would have been like pinching herself and waking up dazed and confused in her own bed.

Now here I was, wandering in Dee's sequin dress, a black coat and my trusty flats across an empty Embankment Bridge. My heels banged against my knees as they dangled from my hand. My flats had, as always, been tucked away in my handbag the whole night. I knew they'd come in handy.

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