Shopaholic Takes Manhattan

Page 32

Finance is very

Maybe they sell chairs like that on the Internet. Maybe I should just have a quick little look. Since the computer’s on, and everything.

In fact — surely it would be irresponsible of me if I didn’t. I mean, you have to look after yourself, don’t you? Mens sana in healthy sana, or whatever it is.

I reach for my mouse, quickly click onto the Internet icon, and search for “office chairs”—and soon I’m coasting happily through the list. And I’ve already noted down a few good possibilities — when all of a sudden I land on this incredible Web site which I’ve never seen before, all full of office supplies. Not just boring white envelopes, but really amazing high-tech stuff. Like smart chrome filing cabinets, and cool pen holders, and really nice personalized nameplates to put on your door.

I scroll through all the photographs, utterly mesmerized. I mean, I know I’m not supposed to be spending money at the moment — but this is different. This is investment in my career. After all — this is my office, isn’t it? It should be well equipped. It needs to be well equipped. In fact, I can’t believe how shortsighted I’ve been. How on earth was I expecting to write a book without the necessary equipment? It would be like climbing Everest without a tent.

I’m so dazzled by the array of stuff you can get that I almost can’t decide what to get. But there are a few essentials which I absolutely must buy.

So I click on an ergonomic swivel chair upholstered in purple to match my iMac, plus a Dictaphone which translates stuff straight into your computer. And then I find myself adding a really cool steel claw which holds up notes while you’re typing, a set of laminated presentation folders — which are bound to come in useful — and a mini paper shredder. Which is a complete essential because I don’t want the whole world seeing my first drafts, do I? And I’m toying with the idea of some modular reception furniture — except I don’t really have a reception area in my bedroom — when Suze comes back into the room.

“Hi! How’s it going?”

I jump guiltily, quickly click on “send” without even bothering to check what the final amount was, click off the Internet — and look up just as my Chapter One reappears on the screen.

“You’re working really hard!” says Suze, shaking her head. “You should take a break. How much have you done?”

“Oh… quite a lot,” I say.

“Can I read it?” And to my horror she starts coming toward me.

“No!” I exclaim. “I mean — it’s a work in progress. It’s… sensitive material.” Hastily I close the document and stand up. “You look really great, Suze. Fantastic!”

“Thanks!” She beams at me and twirls around in my dress as the doorbell rings. “Ooh! That’ll be Fenny.”

Fenella is one of Suze’s weird posh cousins from Scotland. Except to be fair, she’s not actually that weird anymore. She used to be as peculiar as her brother, Tarquin, and spend the whole time riding horses and shooting fish, or whatever they do. But recently she’s moved to London and got a job in an art gallery, and now she just goes to parties instead. As Suze opens the front door I can hear her high-pitched voice — and a whole gaggle of girls’ voices following her. Fenny can’t move three feet without a huge cloud of shrieking people around her. She’s like some socialite version of a rain god.

“Hi!” she says, bursting into my room. She’s wearing a really nice pink velvet skirt from Whistles, which I’ve also got — but she’s teamed it with a disastrous brown Lurex polo neck. “Hi, Becky! Are you coming tonight?”

“Not tonight,” I say. “I’ve got to work.”

“Oh well.” Fenella’s face droops just like Suze’s did — then brightens. “Then can I borrow your Jimmy Choos? We’ve got the same size feet, haven’t we?”

“OK,” I say. “They’re in the wardrobe.” I hesitate, trying to be tactful. “And do you want to borrow a top? It’s just I’ve actually got the top that goes with your skirt. Pink cashmere with little beads. Really nice.”

“Have you?” says Fenny. “Ooh, yes! I shoved on this polo neck without really thinking.” As she peels it off, a blond girl in a black shift comes in and beams at me.

“Hi, er… Milla,” I say, remembering her name just in time. “How are you?”

“I’m fine!” she says, and gives me a hopeful look. “Fenny said I could borrow your English Eccentrics wrap.”

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