Twenties Girl

Page 25


“In my opinion, the job at Leonidas Sports would be the perfect career move for you. You’re a former sportsman-it’s a sporting goods company. You love to play golf-Leonidas Sports has a whole golfwear line!”
Clive raises his eyebrows. “You’ve done your research on me, at any rate.”
“I’m interested in people,” I say honestly. “And knowing your profile, it seems to me that Leonidas Sports is exactly what you need at this stage. This is a fantastic, unique opportunity to-”
“Is that man your lover?” A familiar clipped voice interrupts me, and I jump. That sounded just like-
No. Don’t be ridiculous . I take a deep breath and resume.
“As I was saying, this is a fantastic opportunity to take your career to the next level. I’m sure that we could achieve a very generous package-”
“I said, ‘Is that man your lover?’” The voice is more insistent, and before I can stop myself, I swivel my head.
This can’t be happening. She’s back. It’s Sadie, perched on a nearby cheese trolley.
She’s not in the green dress anymore; she’s wearing a pale pink one with a dropped waistband and a matching coat over the top. There’s a black band around her head, and from one of her wrists dangles a little gray silk bag on a beaded chain. The other hand is resting on a glass cheese dome-apart from her fingertips, which have sunk into it. She suddenly notices and pulls them out sharply, carefully positioning them on top of the glass.
“He’s not terribly handsome, is he? I want some champagne,” she adds imperiously, her eyes lighting on my drink.
Ignore her. It’s a hallucination. It’s all in your head .
“Lara? Are you OK?”
“Sorry, Clive!” I hastily turn back. “Just got a bit distracted there. By the… cheese trolley! It all looks so delicious!”
Oh God. Clive doesn’t seem amused. I need to get things back on track, quick.
“The real question to ask yourself, Clive, is this.” I lean forward intently. “Will an opportunity like this come along again? It’s a unique chance to work with a great brand, to use all your proven talents and admired leadership skills-”
“I want some champagne!” To my horror, Sadie has materialized right in front of me. She reaches for my glass and tries to pick it up, but her hand goes through it. “Drat! I can’t pick it up!” She reaches again, and again, then glares at me crossly. “This is so irritating!”
“Stop it!” I hiss furiously.
“I’m sorry?” Clive knits his heavy brows.
“Not you, Clive! Just got something caught in my throat…” I grab my glass and take a gulp of water.
“Have you found my necklace yet?” Sadie demands accusingly.
“No!” I mutter from behind my glass. “Go away.”
“Then why are you sitting here? Why aren’t you looking for it?”
“Clive!” I desperately try to focus back on him. “I’m so sorry about that. What was I saying?”
“Admired leadership skills,” says Clive, without cracking a smile.
“That’s right! Admired leadership skills! Um… so the point is…”
“Haven’t you looked anywhere?” She thrusts her head close to mine. “Don’t you care about finding it?”
“So… what I’m trying to say is…” It’s taking every ounce of willpower to ignore Sadie and not bat her away. “In my opinion, this job is a great strategic move; it’s a perfect springboard for your future, and furthermore-”
“You’ve got to find my necklace! It’s important! It’s very, very-”
“Furthermore, I know the generous benefits package will-”
“Stop ignoring me!” Sadie’s face is practically touching mine. “Stop talking! Stop-”
“Shut up and leave me alone!”
Did that just come out of my mouth?
From the shell-shocked way Clive’s froggy eyes have widened, I’m guessing the answer is yes. At two neighboring tables, conversations have come to a halt, and I can see our supercilious waiter pausing to watch. The buzz of clashing cutlery and conversation seems to have died away all around. Even the lobsters seem to be lined up at the edge of the tank, watching.
“Clive!” I give a strangled laugh. “I didn’t mean… obviously I wasn’t talking to you… ”
“Lara.” Clive fixes me with a hostile gaze. “Please do me the courtesy of telling me the truth.”
I can feel my cheeks staining red. “I was just…” I clear my throat desperately. What can I say?