Apocalypse Baby

Free Apocalypse Baby by Virginie Despentes

Book: Apocalypse Baby by Virginie Despentes Read Free Book Online
Authors: Virginie Despentes
don’t know if she was still hanging round them, because she changed, Valentine did, over the year.’
    â€˜Did she talk about her parents? Her home, at all?’
    â€˜Not a lot, no.’
    â€˜I know she adores her father.’
    â€˜But the stepmother not so much, normal, isn’t it? She doesn’t have to sleep with her.’
    â€˜What did you think, when you heard the news she’d disappeared?’
    â€˜We flipped, we were worried for her.’
    A blonde girl, with a nose so tiny that you wondered how she got enough oxygen, dressed like a Roma but every garment must have cost a fortune in the Marais, speaks up for the first time. ‘We thought something horrible had happened, of course. When a girl goes missing, you’re always afraid they’re going to find her dead in a ditch, beaten up.’
    â€˜None of you thought she might have run away?’
    This option shocks them more than the dead-in-a-ditch version. ‘Run away?’ Leaving behind the PlayStation3, the fridge full of food, the domestic help, Daddy’s credit card…
    â€˜Yeah. Could be, of course. She’d changed a lot lately. She changed the way she looked, she wasn’t so much fun, more distant… She could have been planning something. You could tell, couldn’t you?’
    The girl who said this was drop-dead gorgeous: all the time we’ve been sitting in the bar her face has been so radiant that it’s as if the sunlight was falling only on her. She has the look we used to call BCBG when I was a kid, bon chic bon genre, rich girl, good home, blue, white and beige, which she wears just the kind of casual way that makes her look fantastic. She’s tall and slender, elegant figure, the perfect image of the kind of bitch the aristocracy turns out best. This femme fatale speaks incredibly slowly, she must have been smoking joints all day. The Hyena gives her an odd look.
    â€˜And you talked about it with her, when you thought she’d changed?’
    â€˜No. We weren’t friends, actually. But I could tell bylooking at her. She looked different.’
    â€˜Yeah, it was obvious that she’d let her appearance go, these last months.’
    â€˜Perhaps she was depressed, heading for a breakdown? She wore a lot of black, but like Noir Kennedy, vintage gear, sort of I’m-giving-up-on-life black.’
    â€˜Yeah, that’s right, she stopped wearing designer stuff. But before, she used to like it fine.’
    â€˜Yeah, before, she liked to dress cool.’
    â€˜Then after a bit, not to be bitchy, but she had a bit of a punky look, like when you listen to Manu Chao?’
    The drop-dead beauty shrugs. ‘Yeah, I think she wanted to be distinctive.’
    These kids round the table, are actually pretty easy-going, compared to the ones I usually meet. They tease each other, they josh each other, but they’re not aggressive. There’s no obvious tyrant among them, and they haven’t got that arrogant manner you generally find in rich little Parisians. When they talk about Valentine, I find they sound quite calm. Still, that kind of sex-mad girl isn’t usually so popular nowadays. These kids are resigned to never really being part of the elite. They’ve all dropped out. They don’t have that juvenile effervescence that their equivalents in a swanky suburb like Neuilly would have. They’ve already tasted failure. They have all seen in their parents’ eyes the disappointment at having to enrol them in a private school for children who are not making the grade.
    We go back to the car. The Hyena is concentrating on one precise point. ‘The pretty girl, back there, I couldn’t workout if she was a baby dyke, or whether I just found her so stunning I mistook my desires for realities.’
    â€˜Is that all you really care about? Come back to earth, she’s way too pretty to be a dyke.’
    I regret saying this the minute

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