“Ooh, that reminds me,” says Suze, reaching for a piece of paper. “Luke rang for you!”
“Really?” I say, trying to hide my delight. I always get a little thrill when Luke rings, because, to be honest, he doesn’t do it that much. I mean, he phones to arrange times of meeting and that kind of stuff — but he doesn’t often phone for a chat. Sometimes he sends me e-mails, but they’re not what you’d call chatty, more… Well, I don’t exactly want to give away our intimate secrets — but put it like this, the first time I got one, I was quite shocked! (But I sort of look forward to them now.)
“He said he’ll pick you up from the studio tomorrow at twelve. And the Mercedes has had to go into the garage, so you’ll be going down in the MGF.”
“Really?” I say. “That’s so cool!”
“I know,” says Suze, beaming back at me. “Isn’t it great? Oh, and he also said can you pack light, because the boot isn’t very big.”
I stare at her, my smile fading.
“What did you say?”
“Pack light,” repeats Suze. “You know: not much luggage, maybe one small bag or holdall…”
“I know what ‘pack light’ means!” I say, my voice shrill with alarm. “But… I can’t!”
“Of course you can!”
“Suze, have you seen how much stuff I’ve got?” I say, going to my bedroom door and flinging it open. “I mean, just look at that.”
Suze follows my gaze uncertainly, and we both stare at my bed. My big acid-green suitcase is full. Another pile of clothes is sitting beside it. And I haven’t even got to makeup and stuff yet.
“I can’t do it, Suze,” I wail. “What am I going to do?”
“Phone Luke and tell him?” suggests Suze, “and say he’ll have to hire a car with a bigger boot?”
For a moment I’m silent. I try to imagine Luke’s face if I tell him he has to hire a bigger car to hold my clothes.
“The thing is,” I say at last, “I’m not sure he’d completely understand…”
The doorbell rings and Suze gets up.
“That’ll be Special Express for my parcel,” she says. “Listen, Bex, it’ll be fine! Just… prune away a few things.” She goes to answer the door and I’m left staring at my jumbled bed.
Prune away? But prune away what, exactly? I mean, it’s not as though I’ve packed a load of stuff I don’t need. If I just start removing things at random my whole system will collapse.
Come on. Think laterally. There must be a solution.
Maybe I could… secretly fix a trailer onto the car when Luke isn’t looking?
Or maybe I could wear all my clothes, on top of each other, and say I’m feeling a bit chilly…
Oh, this is hopeless. What am I going to do?
Distractedly, I wander out of my room and into the hall, where Suze is handing a padded envelope to a man in uniform.
“That’s great,” he says. “If you could just sign there… Hello!” he adds cheerfully to me, and I nod back, staring blankly at his badge, which reads: Anything, anywhere, by tomorrow morning.
“Here’s your receipt,” says the man to Suze, and turns to leave. And he’s halfway out of the door, when the words suddenly start jumping about in my mind.
“Hey, wait!” I call, just as the door’s about to slam. “Could you just hold on one sec—”
PARADIGM BOOKS LTD
695 SOHO SQUARE
LONDON W1 5AS
Ms. Rebecca Bloomwood
4 Burney Rd.
London SW6 8FD
4 September 2000
You may remember, when we spoke two weeks ago you assured me the first draft of your book would be with me within days. I’m sure it’s on its way — or has it possibly gotten lost in the post? Maybe you could send me another copy?
As far as the author photograph goes, just wear whatever you feel comfortable with. An Agnes B top sounds fine, as do the earrings you described. And thanks for sending me a Polaroid of your orange sandals — I’m sure they will look great.
I look forward to seeing the manuscript — and again, let me say how thrilled and delighted we are that you’re writing for us.
With all best wishes,
PARADIGM BOOKS LTD
Helping you to help yourself
COMING SOON! Jungle Survival by Brig. Roger Flintwood
AT FIVE TO TWELVE the next day I’m sitting under the bright lights of the Morning Coffee set, wondering how much longer we’ll be. Normally my financial advice slot is over by eleven forty, but they got so engrossed with the psychic who reckons she’s the reincarnated spirit of Mary Queen of Scots that everything’s overrun since then. And Luke will be here any minute, and I’ve still got to change out of this stuffy suit…