Chapter Four

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“Friday night babe! I thought we’d check out Despots, if you’ve no other plans,” called Beth from the shower. “Oh, sorry, what am I thinking? Of course you don’t have other plans, unless you have a date with a canvas, that is?”

I willed my mock anger to penetrate the bathroom door. “Ha, ha. Very funny. In case you haven’t noticed, my brushes have been dry since I moved here, although I do plan to dust them down tomorrow,” I shouted back. “And yes, I do fancy a drink tonight. Why not?”

“Good. Justin’s coming round at eight thirty, and I told Marie we’d see her there. Her friend Carmen is staying at her place tonight, so we’ll get to meet her too.”

“You already had all this planned, didn’t you? What if I’d said no?”

Beth laughed. “We’d have gone without you.”

By the time we arrived, the club was buzzing, but we managed to find a free table in the corner and squashed ourselves around it. The music was passable, and Beth and Justin began to make a spectacle of themselves on the dance floor, flirting with anything in trousers, while the rest of us watched and laughed.

A rather nerdy looking boy with glasses and buck teeth squatted down next to me. “Excuse me, would you like to dance?” he asked.

Marie giggled. “Sure she would.”

I threw her a shut up stare. “Um, I don’t think so. Thanks anyway.”

I waited until he’d gone and smacked Marie’s arm playfully. “Behave or I’ll tell Jack you said he was cute.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“Try me.”

The evening unfolded as we chatted away. Carmen certainly liked to talk. I found out all about her work on the switchboard, at the police station in Carleigh, how she still lived at home with her mum and her annoying younger sister, and the fact that she’d had a string of relationships, all ending badly. Her speech was enough to put me off men for life.

After a couple of rounds, it was my turn to get the drinks in. As I rose from my chair, I bumped into Jack. He stared at my breasts and asked them to dance. I answered on their behalf. “No, thanks. Why don’t you ask Marie?” Ah, sweet revenge.

“Marie? Who’s Marie? I fancy you,” he slurred, still staring at my breasts and jabbing the right-hand one with his finger.

I glanced at Marie who gave me a wry smile, before I pushed Jack to one side, dismissing him. “You’re drunk.”

“Just the way I like them,” said Justin, catching Jack as he stumbled. “I’ll take good care of him.” Justin had fancied Jack for ages, and he was welcome to him.

Perching on a stool at the bar, I placed my order with the hassled looking barman.

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