I turn to my phone messages — and Suze has written them down really conscientiously:
Your mum — what are you wearing to Tom and Lucy’s wedding?Your mum — don’t wear violet as it will clash with her hat.Your mum — Luke does know it’s morning dress?Your mum — Luke is definitely coming, isn’t he?David Barrow — please could you ring him.Your mum—
Hang on. David Barrow. Who’s that?
“Hey, Suze!” I yell. “Did David Barrow say who he was?”
“No,” says Suze, appearing in the hall. “He just said could you ring him.”
“Oh right.” I look at the message, feeling faintly intrigued. “What did he sound like?” Suze screws up her nose.
“Oh, you know. Quite posh. Quite… smooth.”
I’m a little excited as I dial the number. David Barrow. It sounds almost familiar. Maybe he’s a film producer or something!
“David Barrow,” comes his voice — and Suze is right, he is quite posh.
“Hello!” I say. “This is Rebecca Bloomwood. I had a message to call you.”
“Ah, Miss Bloomwood! I’m the special customer manager of La Rosa.”
“Oh.” I screw up my face puzzledly. La Rosa? What on earth’s—
Oh yes. That trendy boutique in Hampstead. But I’ve only been in there about once, and that was ages ago. So why is he calling me?
“May I say, first, what an honor it is to have a television personality of your caliber as one of our customers.”
“Oh! Well — thank you!” I say, beaming at the phone. “It’s a pleasure, actually.”
This is great. I know exactly why he’s calling. They’re going to give me some free clothes, aren’t they? Or maybe… yes! They want me to design a new line for them! God, yes. I’ll be a designer. They’ll call it the Becky Bloomwood collection. Simple, stylish, wearable garments, with maybe one or two evening dresses…
“This is simply a courtesy call,” says David Barrow, interrupting my thoughts. “I just want to ensure that you are completely happy with our service and ask if you have any other needs we can help you with.”
“Well — thanks!” I say. “I’m very happy, thanks! I mean, I’m not exactly a regular customer but—”
“Also to mention the small matter of your outstanding La Rosa Card account,” adds David Barrow as though I haven’t spoken. “And to inform you that if payment is not received within seven days, further action will have to be taken.”
I stare at the phone, feeling my smile fade. This isn’t a courtesy call at all, is it? He doesn’t want me to design a collection of clothes. He’s phoning about money!
I feel slightly outraged. Surely people aren’t just allowed to telephone you in your own home and demand money with no warning? I mean, obviously I’m going to pay them. Just because I don’t send a check off the moment the bill comes through the letter box…
“It has been three months now since your first bill,” David Barrow is saying. “And I must inform you that our policy after the three-month period is to hand over all outstanding accounts to—”
“Yes, well,” I interrupt coolly. “My… accountants are dealing with all my bills at the moment. I’ll speak to them.”
“I’m so glad to hear it. And of course, we look forward to seeing you again in La Rosa very soon!”
“Yeah, well,” I say grumpily. “Maybe.”
I put the phone down as Suze comes past the door again, dragging another black bin bag. “Suze, what are you doing?” I say, staring at her.
“I’m decluttering!” she says. “It’s brilliant. So cleansing! You should try it! So — who was David Barrow?”
“Just some stupid bill I hadn’t paid,” I say. “Honestly! Phoning me at home!”
“Ooh, that reminds me. Hang on…”
She disappears for a moment, then appears again, holding a bundle of envelopes.
“I found these under my bed when I was tidying up, and this other lot were on my dressing table… I think you must have left them in my room.” She pulls a face. “I think they’re all bills, too.”
“Oh, thanks,” I say, and throw them onto the bed.
“Maybe…” says Suze hesitantly, “maybe you should pay some of them off? You know. Just one or two.”
“But I have paid them off!” I say in surprise. “I paid them all off in June. Don’t you remember?”
“Oh yes!” says Suze. “Yes, of course I do.” She bites her lip. “But the thing is, Bex…”