twenty || leslie's night out

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Leslie was reluctant to leave Greg's flat, especially once Emma had taken a liking to sitting on her lap to watch TV while Greg was showering. It had been quite nice to have an excuse to slob on the sofa, idly playing with Emma's hair. The two children had taken to her like duck's to water once they had acknowledged her presence, and it wasn't until a few hours later that it came time to go. She left Greg with a kiss, which made Freddie laugh and beg for one too. Emma was quick to jump on the bandwagon, demanding that Leslie love her too. For a woman who disliked children, she certainly got off on the right foot with them.

By half past six, she was back in her own chilly flat, waiting for the heating to reach the radiators so she could warm her feet. The electric heater in her bedroom was on the fritz so she made do with a blanket until the heat kicked in. In the early evening haze, she was all ready to tuck up on the sofa for a night in front of the television when her phone rang.

"Y'ello?"

"Hey, Les, it's me."

It was Sue.

"Hey, Sue. What's up?"

"I know it's a weird time and it's Sunday and everything but I was wondering if you maybe wanted to pop over to the pub for a bit of a gossip and a drink?"

Leslie glanced at the clock. Thirteen minutes to seven. "Sure. How come?"

"Rod's out with the lads and the kids are, you know. As exhilarating as ever. I figured I might as well check up on my girl. How're you feeling?"

"Fab," Leslie replied, momentarily forgetting that she had been off work for a supposed stomach bug. "A lot better. Back to normal now."

"Great. So you're not contagious or anything?"

"God, no. I shouldn't have thought so."

"Brilliant. Well, I've just got to put the uniforms in the wash and bribe Lisa to keep an eye on the boys. They won't eat if no-one tells them they're hungry."

"Cool. So, what time?"

"Eight? At the one opposite the park?"

"Sure. I'll see you then."

"Thanks, Les. You're saving me from a night of ironing."

"You need to get out more, Sue." Leslie kicked her feet up. She had at least an hour before she would need to leave. Sue laughed.

"That's what tonight's for. Don't be late."

Leslie was always late. She reminded her friend of that before she hung up and dropped her phone onto the cushion beside her. Even when she felt prepared, even when she was prepared, she was late. By twenty to eight, she was all set for a night out with Sue but she wasn't in the car until five minutes later, and she wasn't out of her street for another five. The pub was at least ten minutes away and, giving leeway for parking and traffic, she would need at least twelve. She didn't care though. If there was one person she didn't mind keeping waiting, it was Sue. While Lucy fussed and Molly - who Leslie didn't even factor into her life anymore - was just outright rude, Sue always laughed it off with a glass of wine and a story of her own lateness. Her home life always threw up one crisis or another when she was on the brink of leaving.

Sure enough, at five past eight, Leslie beat Sue to the pub. She found a table for two a little set back from the rowdy men and the televised football matches, half tucked into an alcove across from the bar. A few minutes later, Sue burst in amongst a whirlwind of layers. Outside of work, she enjoyed experimenting with her outfits, layering tops and cape-like contraptions over floaty skirts and boots. That evening was no different as she gathered fistfuls of material before she sat down with a bucketful of apologies.

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