Practically Perfect

Free Practically Perfect by Katie Fforde

Book: Practically Perfect by Katie Fforde Read Free Book Online
Authors: Katie Fforde
Caroline to sleep on my bed, so I will have a staircase that’s easy for her to manage!’ This wasn’t remotely true, but she knew it would annoy him. ‘Now, will you please leave!’
    He raised a sceptical eyebrow and let himself out of the front door.
    * * *
    Busy or not, Anna had to abandon Caroline for a few moments and storm round to Chloe’s in order to rail about Rob Hunter’s awfulness. If Chloe hadn’t come back from wherever she had been, she would die of frustration. Fortunately for her blood pressure, Chloe was unpacking shopping and opening tins of baked beans. Although, as the boys were all home, Anna had to limit her language rather.
    ‘Bastard!’ she mouthed at Chloe, who seemed a bit taken aback. ‘Not you,’ she said aloud. ‘That pooey man who came to check on Caroline.’
    ‘Anna said pooey,’ said Tom.
    ‘Sorry,’ said Anna, ‘but he was! He asked all sorts of dreadfully impertinent questions.’
    ‘But that’s his job!’ Chloe pointed out rashly. ‘When did he come? And what did you say his name was?’
    ‘Rob … Barbour? Harvester? I can’t remember although he’s only just gone.’
    ‘His name wasn’t Hunter, was it?’ Chloe became thoughtful.
    ‘That’s it! I knew it was something to do with wellington boots. But, honestly, he was so objectionable.’ Although, Anna privately acknowledged, it was the fact that he was right that was most enraging her. Chloe found a saucepan and tipped in the beans, letting Anna rave on. ‘I suppose we did meet in rather difficult circumstances but he was dreadfully … arrogant, although I don’t suppose that’s quite what I mean.’
    ‘That can make men more attractive. Like Mr Darcy.’ The beans got a cursory stir.
    ‘He was just – I don’t know – overbearing,’ said Anna determinedly, although as she thought briefly about the man who’d filled all her romantic consciousness for the last three years, she acknowledged that he was a bit arrogant too.
    ‘So what were the difficult circumstances?’
    ‘I went to the market this morning.’
    ‘Oh, it’s great, isn’t it? We went really early, which is the best time really, before it gets busy, then did the supermarket shop. So what happened?’ Without looking at what she was doing, Chloe extracted two slices of bread and put them in the toaster.
    ‘A car backfired and Caroline slipped her lead.’
    ‘What! That’s terrible!’ At last the horror of the situation penetrated Chloe’s maternal bubble. ‘You mean you took Caroline to the market?’
    ‘Well, yes. Is that a bad thing?’
    ‘Not necessarily, but you haven’t had her very long, she might not have liked all those people.’
    ‘She was fine with all the people,’ said Anna, feeling betrayed. ‘It was the car backfiring. And you bought her the collar!’
    ‘What was wrong with the collar? It’s beautiful and it had her telephone numbers on the medal.’
    ‘Yes but they can slip out of them really easily! As I have just found out!’
    ‘Oh, Anna, I am sorry.’ Chloe was horrified. ‘I had no idea. Sit down. Let me make you a cup of coffee. Or I think there might be a beer in the fridge somewhere.’
    ‘I’d better get on.’
    ‘Go on, sit down and have a beer.’ Not taking no for an answer, Chloe produced a cold can from the fridge and a glass. ‘At the risk of seeming unsympathetic and changing the subject’ – Chloe smiled – ‘I’ve got some good news!’
    ‘Oh? What?’
    ‘Mike’s coming home. Next Thursday. And so I’ve arranged that dinner party I promised you. Just some local friends.’ An expression Anna couldn’t interpret crossed her face – it was mischievous, almost. ‘On Friday.’
    Anna was so touched and quite glad to think about something other than the horror of Caroline and Rob Hunter that she didn’t comment on the expression. It was such a sweet thought and she was looking forward to meeting Mike. ‘But will you want to go to all that trouble when Mike’s just

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