III Follow-up activities 4 страница

III Follow-up activities 4 страница

‘Really?’ I look at a photograph of a spectacular six-tier cake decorated with sugar tulips, then turn the page to see one in the shape of five different butterflies. These are the hugest cakes I’ve ever seen in my life. And the decorations!

‘So, are these all fruit cakes inside?’

‘Fruit cake? Non, non, non!’ Antoine laughs. ‘This is very English notion, the fruit cake at the wedding. This particular cake...’ He points to the butterfly cake. ‘It was a light angel sponge, each tier layered with three different fillings: burnt orange caramel, passion fruit-mango, and hazelnut souffle.’

‘If III Follow-up activities 4 страница you like chocolate, we can construct a cake purely different varieties of chocolate.’ He turns to another page. ‘This was a dark chocolate sponge layered with chocolate fondant, white chocolate cream and a Grand Marnier truffle filling.’

I had no idea wedding cakes could be anything like this. I flip through, slightly dazedly, looking at cake after spectacular cake.

‘If you do not want the traditional tiers, I can make for you a cake to represent something you love. A favourite painting... or a sculpture...’ He looks at me again. ‘A Louis Vuitton trunk, perhaps...’

A Louis Vuitton III Follow-up activities 4 страница trunk wedding cake! How cool would that be?

‘Antoine? If you could just come here a moment?’ Robyn pokes her head out of a small meeting room to the right – and although she’s smiling, she sounds pretty harassed.

‘Excuse me, Miss Bloomwood,’ says Antoine apolo­getically. ‘Davina. Some cake for Miss Bloomwood to taste.’

A smiling assistant disappears through a pair of double doors – then returns with a glass of champagne, a china plate holding two slices of cake and a sugar lily. She hands me a fork and says, ‘This one is passionfruit – mango, strawberry and III Follow-up activities 4 страница tangerine mousseline, and this is caramel creme with pistachio and mocha truffle. Enjoy!’

Wow. Each slice is a light sponge, with three different pastel-coloured fillings. I don’t know where to start!

OK... let’s go for mocha truffle.

I put a piece in my mouth and nearly swoon. Now this is what wedding cakes should all be like. Why don’t we have these in England?

I take a few sips of cnampagne, and nibble the sugar lily, which is all yummy and lemony – then take a second piece and munch blissfully, watching a girl nearby as she III Follow-up activities 4 страница painstakingly makes a spray of lilies of the valley.

You know, maybe I should get Suze a nice cake for her baby’s christening. I mean, I’ll get a present as well – but I could always buy a cake as a little extra.

‘Do you know how much these cakes are?’ I ask the girl as I polish off the second slice.

‘Well... it really varies,’ she says, looking up. ‘But I guess they start at about a thousand dollars.’

I nearly choke on my champagne. A thousand dollars? They start at a thousand dollars?

For a cake?

I III Follow-up activities 4 страница mean, how much have I eaten, just now? That must have been at least fifty dollars’ worth of cake on my plate!

‘Would you like another slice?’ says the girl, and glances at the meeting room. ‘It looks like Antoine is still held up.’

‘Ooh well... why not! And could I try one of those sugar tulips? You know. Just for research purposes.’

‘Sure,’ says the girl pleasantly. ‘Whatever you like.’

She gives me a tulip and a spray of tiny white flowers, and I crunch through them happily, washing them down with champagne.

Then I III Follow-up activities 4 страница look idly around, and spy a huge, elaborate flower, yellow and white with minute drops of dew. Wow. That looks yummy. I reach over a display of sugar hearts, pick it up, and it’s almost in my mouth when I hear a yell.

‘Stooooop!’ A guy in whites is pounding across the studio towards me. ‘Don’t eat the jonquil!’

‘Oops!’ I say, stopping just in time. ‘Sorry. I didn’t realize. Is it very special?’

‘It took me three hours to make,’ he says, taking it gently from my hand. ‘No harm done, though.’ He smiles at me, but III Follow-up activities 4 страница I notice there’s sweat on his forehead.

Hmm. Maybe I should just stick to the champagne from now on. I take another sip, and am looking around for the bottle, when raised voices start coming from the side room where Robyn and Antoine are closeted.

‘I deed not do this deliberately! Mademoiselle, I do not have a vendetta!’

‘You do! You bloody hate me, don’t you?’ comes a muffled voice.

I can hear Robyn saying something soothing which I can’t make out.

‘It’s just one thing after another!’ The girl’s voice is raised III Follow-up activities 4 страница now – and as I hear it clearly, I freeze, glass halfway to my mouth.

I don’t believe it.

It can’t be.

‘This bloody wedding is jinxed!’ she’s exclaiming. ‘Right from the word go, everything’s gone wrong.’

The door swings open and now I can hear her properly.

It is. It’s Alicia.

I feel my whole body stiffen.

‘First the Plaza couldn’t fit us in! Now this fiasco with the cake! And do you know what I just heard?’

‘What?’ says Robyn fearfully.

‘My maid of honour dyed her hair red! She won’t match the III Follow-up activities 4 страница others! Of all the bloody inconsiderate, selfish...’

The door is flung open and out stalks Alicia, her stilettos echoing like gunfire on the wooden floor. When she sees me, she stops dead and I look at her, my heart thumping hard.

‘Hi, Alicia,’ I say, forcing myself to sound relaxed. ‘Sorry to hear about your cake. That was delicious, by the way, Antoine.’

‘What?’ says Alicia blankly. Her eyes flash to my engagement ring, to my face, back to my ring, to my shoes, to my bag – taking in my skirt on the way – and finally III Follow-up activities 4 страница back to my ring. It’s like the Manhattan Once-over in a hall of mirrors.



‘You're getting married?’ she says at last. ‘To Luke?’

‘Yes.’ I glance nonchalantly at the diamond on my left hand, then smile innocently up at her.

I’m starting to relax now. I’m starting to enjoy this.

(Also, I just gave Alicia the Manhattan Once-over myself. And my ring is a teeny bit bigger than hers. Not that I’m comparing or anything.)

‘How come you didn’t say?’

You didn’t ask, I want to reply, but instead I just III Follow-up activities 4 страница give a little shrug.

‘So where are you getting married?’ Alicia’s old supercilious expression is returning and I can see her preparing to pounce.

‘Well... as it happens...’ I clear my throat.

OK, this is the moment. This is the time to make the big announcement. To tell Robyn I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to get married in Oxshott.

‘Actually...’

I take a deep breath. Come on. It’s like Elastoplast. The quicker I do it, the quicker it’ll be over. Just say it.

And I really am on the brink of it – when I III Follow-up activities 4 страница make the fatal mistake of glancing up. Alicia’s looking as patronizing and smug as she ever did towards me. Years of feeling stupid and small well up in me like a volcano – and I just can’t help it, I hear my voice saying, ‘Actually, we’re getting married at the Plaza.’

Alicia’s face snaps in shock, like an elastic band.

‘The Plaza? Really?’

‘It should be rather lovely,’ I add casually. ‘Such a beautiful venue, the Plaza. Is that where you’re getting married?’

‘No,’ says Alicia, her chin rather tight. ‘They couldn’t fit us III Follow-up activities 4 страница in at such short notice. When did you book?’

‘Oh... a week or two ago,’ I say, and give a vague shrug.

Yes! Yes! Her expression!

‘It’s going to be wonderful,’ puts in Robyn enthusi­astically. ‘I spoke to the designer this morning, by the way. He’s ordered two hundred birch trees, and they’re going to send over some samples of pine needles…’

I can see Alicia’s brain working hard.

‘You’re the one having the enchanted forest in the Plaza,’ she says at last. ‘I’ve heard about that. It’s going III Follow-up activities 4 страница to cost a fortune. And you’re having violinists flown in from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Is that true?’

‘The New York Philharmonic was on tour,’ says Robyn regretfully. ‘But apparently these Viennese people are very good–’

‘I’m sure they’ll be great,’ I say, and smile at Robyn, who beams back as though I’m an old ally.

‘Mees Bloomwood.’ Antoine appears from nowhere and presses my hand to his lips. ‘I am now completely at your service. I apologize for the delay. One of these irritating little matters...’

Alicia’s face goes rigid.

‘Well,’ she says. ‘I III Follow-up activities 4 страница’ll be off then.’

‘Au revoir,’ says Antoine, without even looking up.

'Bye Alicia,' I say innocently. ‘Have a lovely wedding.’

As she stalks out, I subside back in my seat, heart still pumping with exhilaration. That was one of the best moments of my life. Finally getting the better of Alicia Bitch Long-legs. Finally! I mean, how often has she been horrible to me? Answer: approximately one thousand times. And how often have I had the perfect put-down at my lips? Answer: never.

Until today!

I can see Robyn and Antoine exchanging looks, and I’m III Follow-up activities 4 страница dying to ask them what they think of Alicia. But... it wouldn’t be becoming in a bride-to-be.

Plus if they bitch about her, they might bitch about me, too.

‘Now!’ says Robyn. ‘On to something more pleasant. You’ve seen the details of Becky’s wedding, Antoine.’

‘Indeed,’ says Antoine, beaming at me. ‘Eet will be a most beautiful event.’

‘I know,’ I hear myself saying happily. ‘I’m so looking forward to it!’

‘So... We discuss the cake... I must fetch some Pictures for you... meanwhile, can I offer you some more champagne, perhaps?’

‘Yes please III Follow-up activities 4 страница,’ I say and hold out my glass. ‘That would be lovely!’

The champagne fizzes, pale and delicious, into my glass. Then Antoine disappears again and I take a sip, smiling to hide the fact that, inside, I’m feeling a slight unease.

Now that Alicia’s gone, there’s no need to pretend any more. What I should do is put my glass down, take Robyn aside, apologize for having wasted her time – and inform her that the wedding is off and I’m getting married in Oxshott. Quite simple and straight­forward.

That’s what I should do.

But III Follow-up activities 4 страница... something very strange has happened since this morning. I can’t quite explain it – but somehow, sitting here, drinking champagne and eating thousand-dollar cake, I just don’t feel like someone who’s going to get married in a garden in Oxshott.

If I’m really honest, hand on heart – I feel exactly like someone who’s going to have a huge, luxurious wedding at the Plaza.

More than that, I want to be someone who’s going to have a huge, luxurious wedding at the Plaza. I want to be that girl who swans III Follow-up activities 4 страница around expensive cake shops, and has people running after her and gets treated like a princess. If I call off the wedding, then it’ll all stop. Everyone will stop making a fuss. I’ll stop being that special, glossy person.

Oh God, what’s happened to me? I was so resolved this morning.

Determinedly I close my eyes and force myself to think back to Mum and her flowering cherry tree. But even that doesn’t work. Perhaps it’s the champagne – but instead of being overcome with emotion, and think­ing: ‘I must get married at home,’ I find myself III Follow-up activities 4 страница thinking: ‘Maybe we can incorporate the cherry tree into the enchanted forest.’

‘All right, Becky?’ says Robyn, beaming at me. ‘Penny for them!’

‘Oh!’ I say, my head jerking up guiltily. ‘I was just thinking that... the urn... wedding will be fantastic.’

What am I going to do? Am I going to say something?

Am I not going to say anything?

Come on Becky. Decide.

‘So – you want to see what I have in my bag?’ says Robyn brightly.

‘Er… yes please.’

‘Ta-daah!’ She pulls out a thick, embossed card, covered in swirly writing, and hands it III Follow-up activities 4 страница to me.

Mrs Elinor Sherman requests the honour of your presence at the marriage of Rebecca Bloomwood to her son Luke Brandon...

I stare at it, my heart thumping hard.

This is real. This is really real. Here it is, in black and white.

Or, at least, bronze and taupe.

I take the stiff card from her and turn it over and over in my fingers.

‘What do you think?’ Robyn beams. ‘It’s exquisite, isn’t it? The card is eighty per cent linen.’

‘It’s... lovely.’ I swallow. ‘It seems very soon to be sending III Follow-up activities 4 страница out invitations, though.’

‘We aren’t sending them out yet! But I always like to get the invitations done early. What I always say is, you can’t proof-read too many times. We don’t want to be asking our guests to wear ‘evening press’, like one bride I could mention...’ She trills with laughter.

‘Right.’ I stare down at the words again.

Saturday 22nd June at seven o’clock

at the Plaza Hotel

New York City

This is serious. If I’m going to say anything, I have to say it now. If I’m going to call this wedding III Follow-up activities 4 страница off, I have to do it now. Right this minute.

But my mouth remains closed.

Does this really mean I’m choosing the Plaza after all? That I’m selling out? That I’m choosing the gloss and glitter? That I’m going with Elinor instead of Mum and Dad?

‘I thought you’d like to send one to your mother!’ says Robyn.

My head jerks up sharply – but Robyn’s face is blithely innocent. ‘Such a shame she isn’t here to get involved with the preparations. But she’ll love to see this, won’t she?’

‘Yes,’ I III Follow-up activities 4 страница say after a long pause. ‘Yes, she’ll... love it.’

I put the invitation into my bag and snap the clasp shut, feeling slightly sick.

So this is it. New York it is.

Mum will understand. When I tell her all about it properly, she’ll come round. She has to.

Antoine’s new mandarin and lychee cake is fabulous. But somehow, as I nibble at it, my appetite’s gone.

After I’ve tried several more flavours and am no nearer a decision, Antoine and Robyn exchange looks and suggest I probably need time to think. So with one last III Follow-up activities 4 страница sugar rose for my purse, I say goodbye and head to Barneys, where I deal with all my clients perfectly pleasantly, as though nothing’s on my mind.

But all the time I’m thinking about the call I’ve got to make. About how I’m going to break the news to Mum. About how I’m going to explain to Mum.

I won’t say anything as strong as I definitely want to get married in the Plaza. Not initially. I’ll just tell her that it’s there as a possibility, if we both III Follow-up activities 4 страница want it. That’s the key phrase. If we both want it.

The truth is, I didn’t present it properly to her before. She’ll probably leap at the chance once I explain it all to her fully. Once I tell her about the enchanted forest and the string orchestra, and the dance band and the thousand-dollar cake. A lovely luxury wedding, all expenses paid! I mean, who wouldn’t leap at it?

But I feel sick with nerves as I climb the stairs to our apartment. I know I’m not being honest with myself. I III Follow-up activities 4 страница know what Mum really wants.

I also know that if I make enough fuss, she’ll do anything I ask her.

I close the door behind me and take a deep breath. Two seconds later, the doorbell rings and I jump with fright. God, I’m on edge at the moment.

‘Hi,’ I say, opening the door. ‘Oh, Danny, it’s you. Listen, I need to make quite an important phone call. So if you wouldn’t mind–’

‘OK, I have to ask you a favour,’ he says, coming into the apartment and completely ignoring what I’ve III Follow-up activities 4 страница just said.

‘What is it?’

‘Randall’s been giving me some pressure. He’s like, where exactly do you sell your clothes? Who exactly are your customers? Do you have a business plan? So I’m like, of course I have a business plan, Randall. I’m planning to buy up Coca-Cola next year, what do you think?’

‘Danny–’

‘So then he starts saying if I don’t have any genuine client base I should give up and he’s not going to subsidize me any more. He used the word subsidize! Can you believe it?’

‘Well,’ I III Follow-up activities 4 страница say distractedly. ‘He does pay your rent. And he bought you all those rolls of pink suede you wanted...’

‘OK,’ says Danny after a pause. ‘OK. So the pink suede was a mistake. But Jesus! He just wouldn’t leave it alone. I told him about your dress – but he was like, Daniel, you can’t base a commercial enterprise on one customer who lives downstairs.’ Danny chews the skin on his thumb nervously. ‘So I told him I just had a big order from a department store.’

‘Really? Which one?’

‘Barneys.’

I look at him, my attention finally caught.

‘Barneys III Follow-up activities 4 страница? Danny, why did you say Barneys?’

‘So you can back me up! If he asks you, you stock me, OK? And all your clients are falling over themselves to buy my stuff, you’ve never known anything like it in the history of the store.’

‘You’re mad. He’ll never fall for it. And what will you say when he wants some money?’

‘I’ll have money by then!’

‘What if he checks up? What if he goes to Barneys to look?’

‘He won’t check up,’ says Danny scornfully. ‘He only has time to talk to me once III Follow-up activities 4 страница a month, let alone make unscheduled visits to Barneys. But if he meets you on the stairs, go along with my story. That’s all I’m asking.’

‘Well... all right,’ I say at last.

Honestly. As if I haven’t got enough to worry about already.

‘Danny, I really must make this call...’ I say helplessly.

‘So did you find somewhere else to live yet?’ he says, flopping down into an armchair.

‘We haven’t had time.’

‘You haven’t even thought about it?’

‘Elinor wants us to move to her building and I’ve III Follow-up activities 4 страница said no. That’s as far as we’ve got.’

‘Really?’ Danny stares at me. ‘But don’t you want to stay in the Village?’

‘Of course I do! There’s no way I’m moving there.’

‘So what are you going to do?’

‘I... don’t know! I’ve just got too many other things to think about at the moment. Speaking of which–’

‘Pre-wedding stress,’ says Danny knowingly. ‘The solution is a double Martini.’ He opens up the cocktail cabinet and a sheaf of wedding-list brochures falls out onto the floor.

‘Hey!’ he says reproachfully, picking them III Follow-up activities 4 страница up. ‘Did you register without me? I cannot believe that! I have been dying to register my entire life! Did you ask for a cappuccino maker?’

‘Er… yes. I tnink so–’

‘Big mistake. They’re never as good as the real thing. Listen if you ever want me to take delivery of any presents, you know I’m right upstairs...’

‘Yeah right.’ I give him a look. ‘After Christmas.’

Christmas is still a slightly sore point with me. I thought I’d be really clever and order a load of presents off the Internet. But they never arrived, so III Follow-up activities 4 страница I spent Christmas Eve rushing round the shops buying replace­ments. Then on Christmas morning we went upstairs to have a drink with Danny and Randall – to find Danny sitting in the silk robe I’d bought for Elinor, eating the chocolates that were meant for Samantha at work.

‘Hey, what was I supposed to think?’ he says de­fensively. ‘It was Christmas, they were gift-wrapped... it was like, yes Daniel, there is a Santa Claus–’He reaches for the Martini bottle and sloshes some into the cocktail shaker. ‘Strong? Extra strong?’

‘Danny, I really have to make this III Follow-up activities 4 страница phone call. I’ll be back in a minute.’

1. Why didn’t Becky tell Elinor and Robyn she was planning to cancel her New York wedding?

2. Why wasn’t Becky pleased at the prospect of tasting wedding cakes? Did it turn out as bad as she had thought?

3. Describe Becky’s encounter with Alicia.

4. What did Danny ask Becky to do for him?

Extract 8

…I consult my schedule for the rest of the day. I’ve got an hour before my next client, so I decide to wander up to the bridal department and look at III Follow-up activities 4 страница my dress again. It’s definitely between this one and the Vera Wang. Or maybe the Tracy Connop.

Definitely one of those three, anyway.

As I walk out onto the sales floor again, I stop in surprise. There’s Danny, standing by a rack of tops, fingering one casually. What on earth is he still doing here? I’m about to call out to him, and say does he want to come and see my dress and then go for a quick cappuccino? But then, to my astonishment, he glances around, surreptitiously bends down and reaches for something in his canvas bag III Follow-up activities 4 страница. It’s a T-shirt with glittery sleeves, on a hanger. He shoves it onto the rail, looks around again, and reaches for another one.

I stare at him in utter stupefaction. What does he think he’s doing?

He looks around again – then reaches into his bag and pulls out a small laminated sign, which he props up at the end of the display.

What the hell is he up to?

‘Danny!’ I say, heading towards him.

‘What?’ He gives a startled jump, then turns and sees me. ‘Sssh! Jesus, Becky!’

‘What are you doing with those III Follow-up activities 4 страница T-shirts?’ I hiss.

‘I’m stocking myself.’

‘What do you mean, stocking yourself?’

He jerks his head towards the laminated sign and I read it in disbelief.

THE DANNY KOVITZ COLLECTION. AN EXCITING NEW TALENT AT BARNEYS

‘They’re not all on Barneys hangers,’ says Danny, thrusting another two T-shirts on the rack. ‘But I figure that won’t matter.’

‘Danny... you can’t do this! You can’t just... put your stuff on the rails!’

‘I’m doing it.’

‘But–’

‘I have no choice, OK?’ says Danny, turning his head. ‘Randall’s on his way here III Follow-up activities 4 страница right now, expecting to see a Danny Kovitz line at Barneys.’

I stare at him in horror.

‘I thought you said he would never check!’

‘He wouldn’t have!’ Danny shoves another hanger onto the rail. ‘But his stupid girlfriend has to poke her nose in. She never showed any interest in me before, but as soon as she hears the word Barneys, it’s like, oh Randall, you should support your brother! Go to Barneys tomorrow and buy one of his pieces! So I’m saying, you really don’t have to do that. But now Randall’s got III Follow-up activities 4 страница the idea in his head, he’s like, well, maybe I will pop in and take a look. So I’m up sewing all night.’

‘You made all of these last night?’ I say incredu­lously, and reach for one of the T-shirts. A piece of leather braid falls off, onto the floor.

‘So maybe the finish isn’t quite up to my usual standards,’ says Danny defensively. ‘Just don’t man­handle them, OK?’ He starts to count the hangers. ‘Two… four... six... eight... ten. That should be enough.’

‘Danny…’ I glance around the sales III Follow-up activities 4 страница floor, to see Carla one of the assistants, giving us an odd look. ‘Hi!’ I call brightly. ‘Just... helping one of my clients... for his girlfriend…’ Carla gives us another suspicious look then moves away. ‘This isn’t going to work!’ I mutter as soon as she’s out of earshot. ‘You’re going to have to take these down. You wouldn’t even be stocked on this floor!’

‘I need two minutes,’ he says. ‘That’s all. Two minutes for him to come in, see the sign, then go. Come on, Becky. No-one’s even going to III Follow-up activities 4 страница...’ He freezes. ‘Here he is.’

I follow his gaze, and see Danny’s brother Randall walking across the floor towards us.

For the millionth time I wonder how on earth Randall and Danny can have come from the same parents. While Danny is wiry and constantly on the move, Randall fills his double-breasted suit com­fortably, and always wears the same disapproving frown.

‘Hello Daniel,’ he says, and nods to me. ‘Becky.’

‘Hi Randall,’ I say, and give what I hope is a natural smile. ‘How are you?’

‘So here they are!’ says Danny triumphantly, moving away from the III Follow-up activities 4 страница rail and gesturing to the T-shirts. ‘My collection. In Barneys. Just like I said.’

‘So I see,’ says Randall, and carefully scrutinizes the rail of clothes. There’s a tense silence, and I feel sure he’s about to look up and say what on earth are you playing at? But he says nothing – and with a slight dart of shock I realize that he’s been completely taken in.

There again, why is that such a surprise? Danny’s clothes don’t look so out of place, up there on the rail.

‘Well, congratulations,’ says Randall at last III Follow-up activities 4 страница. ‘This is quite an achievement.’ He pats Danny awkwardly on the shoulder, then turns to me. ‘Are they selling well?’

‘Er… yes!’ I say. ‘Very popular, I believe.’

‘So, how much do they retail at?’ He reaches for a T-shirt, and both Danny and I involuntarily draw breath. We watch, frozen, while he searches for the label, then looks up with a deep frown. ‘These have no price tickets.’

‘That’s because... they’re only just out,’ I hear myself saying hurriedly. ‘But I think they’re priced at... erm... eighty-nine dollars.’

‘I see,’ Randall shakes III Follow-up activities 4 страница his head. ‘Well, I never was one for high fashion–’

‘Telling me,’ Danny whispers in my ear.

‘But if they’re selling, they must have something. Daniel, I take my hat off to you.’ He reaches for another one, with rivets round the neck, and looks at it with fastidious dismay. ‘Now, which one shall I buy?’

‘Don’t buy one!’ says Danny at once. ‘I’ll... make you one. As a gift.’

‘I insist,’ says Randall. ‘If I can’t support my own brother–’

‘Randall, please.’ Danny’s voice crackles with sincerity. ‘Allow me to make a gift to you III Follow-up activities 4 страница. It’s the least I can do after all your kindness to me over the years. Really.’

‘Well, if you’re sure,’ says Randall at last, with a shrug. He looks at his watch. ‘I must go. Good to see you, Becky.’

‘I’ll walk to the elevator with you,’ says Danny, and darts me a jubilant look.

As they move off, I feel a giggle of relief rising in me. God, that was close. I can’t quite believe we got away with it so easily.

‘Hey!’ comes a voice behind me suddenly. ‘Look at these! They’re III Follow-up activities 4 страница new, aren’t they?’ A manicured hand appears over my shoulder and plucks one of Danny’s T-shirts off the rail before I can stop it. My head whips round and I feel a plunge of dismay. It’s Lisa Farley, a sweet but completely dippy client of Erin. She’s about twenty-two, doesn’t seem to have a job, and always says whatever pops into her head, never mind whether someone might be offended. (She once asked Erin in all innocence, ‘Doesn’t it bother you, having such a weird-shaped mouth?’)

Now she’s holding III Follow-up activities 4 страница the T-shirt up against her, looking down at it appraisingly.

Damn it. I should have snatched them down off the rail straight away.

‘Hi Becky!’ she says cheerily. ‘Hey, this is cute! I haven’t seen these before.’

‘Actually,’ I say quickly, ‘these aren’t for sale yet. In fact I need to... um... take them back to the stock room.’ I try to grab for the T-shirt, but she moves away.

‘I’ll just take a look in the mirror. Hey, Tracy! What do you think?’

Another girl, wearing the new Dior print III Follow-up activities 4 страница jacket, is coming towards us.

‘Of what?’

‘These new T-shirts. They’re cool, aren’t they?’ She reaches for another one and hands it to Tracy.

‘If you could just give them back to me–’ I say helplessly.

‘This one’s nice!’

Now they’re both searching through the hangers with brisk fingers, and the poor T-shirts just can’t take the strain. Hems are unravelling, bits of glitter and strings of diamante are coming loose, and sequins are shedding all over the floor.

‘Oops, this seam just came apart.’ Lisa looks up in dismay. ‘Becky, it just fell III Follow-up activities 4 страница apart. I didn’t pull it.’

‘That’s OK,’ I say weakly.

‘Is everything supposed to fall off like this? Hey Christina!’ Lisa suddenly calls out. ‘This new line is so fun!’

Christina?

I wheel round and feel a lurch of horror. Christina is standing at the entrance to the personal shopping department, in conversation with the head of personnel.

‘What new line?’ she says, looking up. ‘Oh, hi Becky.’

I have to stop this conversation right now.

‘Lisa–’ I say desperately. ‘Come and see the new Marc Jacobs coats we’ve got in!’

Lisa ignores me.

‘This new... what III Follow-up activities 4 страница’s it called...’ She squints at the label. ‘Danny Kovitz! I can’t believe Erin didn’t tell me these were coming in! Naughty naughty!’ She wags a finger in mock reproach.

I watch in dismay as Christina looks up, alert There’s nothing to galvanize her like someone suggest­ing her department is less than perfect.

‘Excuse me a minute,’ she says to the head of person­nel, and comes across the floor towards us.

‘What didn’t Erin tell you about?’ she says pleasantly.

‘This new designer!’ says Lisa. ‘I never even heard of him before.’

‘Ow III Follow-up activities 4 страница!’ says Tracy suddenly, and draws her hand away from the T-shirt. ‘That was a pin!’

‘A pin?’ echoes Christina. ‘Give me that.’

She takes the ragged T-shirt and stares at it bewilderedly. Then she catches sight of Danny’s laminated sign.

Oh, I’m so stupid. Why didn’t I take that down, at least?

As she reads it, her expression changes. She looks up and meets my eye, and I feel my whole body prickle with fear. I’ve never been in trouble with Christina before. But I’ve heard her telling people off over III Follow-up activities 4 страница the phone, and I know she can be pretty fierce.

‘Do you know anything about this, Becky?’ she asks pleasantly.

‘I...’ I clear my throat. ‘The thing is ...’

‘I see. Lisa, I’m afraid there’s been a little confusion.’ She gives Lisa a professional smile. ‘These items are not for sale. Becky – I think I’d better see you in my office.’

‘Christina, I’m... sorry,’ I say, feeling my face flush beetroot. ‘I really am...’


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