Second Hand Jane
over to London on a late flight tonight for
business back on Thursday and I was wondering whether you’d be free
that evening? I’ve been invited to the opening night of Esquires.
It’s a new cocktail bar on Dame Street.”
    Jess decided
not to reflect on the irony of his inviting her to a cocktail bar
opening after his “who cares where the latest place to be seen is?”
spiel. Nope, it didn’t matter if she had an interview with the
Queen of England next Thursday evening. She’d cancel, because for
Nick super hottie Jameson, she’d be free. Hoping she didn’t sound
too eager, she told him that yes she would love to catch up next
Thursday and so he arranged to pick her up at nine before ringing
off.
    Jess sat on
that couch for an age, hugging herself, and every time she recalled
that ever so soft kiss good night, her tummy did that funny forward
roll thing. It had been ages since a man had given her butterflies
like the ones she had flittering around at the thought of their
next date. What did one wear to cocktail bar opening nights? she
mused. Should she dig out her 1970s black wool Anne Klein dress? It
was classy and elegant but not what you’d call sexy. Nora would
know the look she should go for, she decided, picking up the phone
to ring her with her news. It clicked straight on to her
answerphone, which Nora’s mobile only ever did when she didn’t want
to be disturbed. Hmm, she thought, eyes narrowing; perhaps she was
up to no good with Ewan. Nora was a firm believer in trying before
buying so it wouldn’t surprise her. She’d make sure she got the
lowdown tomorrow. She’d try Brianna instead. The same thing
happened—God, was everybody at it? Her new-found piety was
short-lived as a naughty smile played at the corners of her mouth.
Who knew? If she played her cards right, she might be in the club
soon too—no, not literally of course. God no!
    Flicking the
television off and opening her laptop, she decided she couldn’t sit
here dreaming about Nick all night and she certainly didn’t want to
dwell on the fact her two best friends were more than likely having
sex. There was nothing else for it—she’d have to do some work.
    Leaning away from the screen, with her
fingers forming a steeple she was holding to her lips, Jess
pondered the best way to handle her humiliation at the hands of
the Dublin
Central . The more she
thought about it, the more it became clear that she should make
light of it—turn it into a bit of a joke. Show that it didn’t
bother her. It was with that thought in mind that her hands began
flying over the keys as she tapped out an article bound to make the
most pokerfaced of Express readers
crack a smile—at her expense, of course. She had just begun writing
about how close she had come to having the “hymen” manoeuvre
performed on her by a Manuel from Fawlty Towers lookalike (naming no names, of course) when the
phone jangled into life, disturbing her flow. Jess felt a surge of
irritation; it was ten o’clock and there was only one person who
rang at this time on a Sunday night. Stretching over, she answered
it with a lemon-lipped hello.
    “Well, if there
was ever a tone to frighten potential suitors away, it’s that one,
my girl.”
    “Hey Mum.” She
sighed, having guessed right. “I was just about to do some
work.”
    “Yes, well,
work can wait. It’s Sunday night over there, isn’t it? Frank, you
did work out the time difference properly, didn’t you?” Marian
called out.
    Jess held the
receiver away from her ear, a mental image of her father seated in
his favourite Lazy Boy chair forming. “Yeah, it is but…”
    “ Well, you shouldn’t be working on a Sunday
night, for goodness’ sake, so put whatever it is you were doing
down. It can wait until Monday, surely? We can have a nice little
chat instead. So how are you,
sweetheart?”
    Jess frowned,
hating the way she stressed the “how,” inferring she couldn’t
possibly be happy. Her complete lack of

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