Chapter 9

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Poorly written press releases, all vying to get a Q&A on, accounted for the majority of my emails. It had taken precisely two weeks and four days from my start date for the sparkle to wear off my shiny new inbox.

'This band is literally bursting with energy...' said one. Okay, so they were actually exploding, were they? I asked Eric for a second opinion on them.

'Definitely,' he nodded. 'The general rule of thumb is that we'll feature any artist who's gay, gay-friendly or looks cute. And they're definitely cute.'

I cocked my head to the side and screwed up my nose. Were they? They just looked like a skinny young bunch of mop-tops to me, but Eric was the boss. They looked quirky and they'd probably give us a cool little interview. It was unbelievable to think that, in just under three weeks, I'd gotten into the swing of things. Eric had said I was a 'natural' and, apart from painstakingly guiding me through Photoshop at least three times a day, he'd barely had to tell me anything twice.

My 'Straight Girl's Guide to Gay Bar Etiquette' had 'gone live' at 9am and been posted on Facebook half an hour later. I couldn't resist checking every ten minutes for likes and shares. 22 likes so far. Not bad. Two shares - one from me, the other from my sister. The article was reaching out to a new target audience so I couldn't expect an avalanche of likes. Besides, my Q&As had lots of likes. I'd emailed the link to my article to Dee, Rick, Mitch, my sister and Lachlan. I would have sent it to my parents, too, but they hardly ever checked their emails. Dad only went online to do his banking and, as for mum, I wasn't entirely convinced that she knew how to turn on a computer. I decided to print it out and post it to them instead.

Dee had replied 20 minutes later with what seemed like a 20 page email detailing her night with Matt. It was dotted with *** and ??? here and there in place of swear words, so our work filters wouldn't pick them up. For instance, 'He ***ed me on his kitchen counter!' This was now the third time they'd hooked up since that Thursday in Covent Garden. I replied to her email to ask if there was going to be a round four and she'd answered, 'There'd better be!' Great. Now I would have to figure out exactly what to say to comfort her when this whole thing inevitably went pear-shaped and he stopped calling her.

The Friday evening after our night out in Covent Garden, Rick and I had eagerly swapped the stories we'd been told by Matt and Dee respectively about their first night of passion. The graphic details in both stories matched for the most part, except for a few regarding who was the dominant one in bed. Perhaps it was mean of us to have a laugh at our friends' expense, but it didn't go further than the four walls of our living room. It was our little secret.

Rick had been swallowed up by work for the past week or so and Mitch had been out or at Elaina's. I'd relished having to flat to myself to write. Coffee became my closest ally in the world. In fact, I realised how much more regularly my need for ground coffee beans with skim milk hit during the day. It was the new co-dependent relationship in my life. I counted down the seconds until my 10.30am caffeine shot in the arm and made my way to the first floor kitchen.

Scott was there with Carlo, munching on a bowl of coco-pops which he balanced on one hand. His spoon left his mouth to shake back and forth in front of Carlo' face as I walked in. Brown splotches of chocolatey milk hit the floor tiles as Carlo stepped away with his hands in the air.

'Hey, I was only asking,' Carlo said defensively.

'Asking what?' I asked, grabbing a paper towel. I marvelled at how someone who lectured me daily about the carb content in my morning cheesy-mite scroll from Starbucks continually defended his own breakfast of choice by insisting that 'one small bowl of coco-pops doesn't count.' Scott was mute on account of having his mouth full, so Carlo eagerly filled me in.

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