Shopaholic Takes Manhattan

Page 89

God, I love my parents. If I told them I’d committed murder they’d soon find some reason why the victim had it coming to him.

“I suppose so,” I gulp. “But it’s Luke’s big meeting today, and all his investors will have seen it…”

“So what? There’s no such thing as bad publicity. Now you keep your chin up, Becky! Best foot forward. Suzie told us you’ve got a screen test today. Is that right?”

“Yes. I just don’t know what time. The producer’s supposed to call me.”

“Well, then. You put a nice brave face on. Run yourself a bath and have a nice cup of tea and put three sugars in it. And a brandy, Dad says. And if any reporters ring up, just tell them to get lost.”

“Have you had any reporters bothering you?” I say in alarm.

“A chap came round asking questions this morning,” says Mum breezily. “But Dad went for him with the hedge trimmer.”

In spite of myself I giggle.

“I’d better go, Mum. But I’ll call you later. And… thanks.”

As I put down the phone, I feel a million times better. Mum’s right. I’ve just got to be positive and go to my screen test and do as well as I possibly can. And Luke probably did overreact a little bit. He’ll probably come back in a much better mood.

I ring up the hotel reception and tell them to hold all calls except from HLBC. Then I run my bath, empty a whole bottle of Uplift bath oil from Sephora into it, and wallow for half an hour in rose geranium. As I dry myself I put on MTV and dance around the room to Janet Jackson — and by the time I’m dressed in my knock-’em-dead outfit from Barneys I’m feeling pretty positive, if a little wobbly around the knees. I can do this. I can.

They haven’t called yet, so I pick up the phone and ring down to reception.

“Hi,” I say. “Just checking if HLBC have called for me this morning.”

“I don’t believe so,” says the girl pleasantly.

“Are you sure? They didn’t leave a message?”

“No, ma’am.”

“OK. Thanks.”

I put the phone down and think for a few moments. Well — that’s all right, I’ll just call them. I mean, I need to know what time the test is, don’t I? And Kent told me to call her anytime, whatever I needed. She said, don’t even hesitate.

I take her business card out of my bag and carefully punch in the number.

“Hello!” says a bright voice. “Kent Garland’s office, this is her assistant, Megan. How can I help you?”

“Hello!” I say. “It’s Rebecca Bloomwood here. Could I speak to Kent, please?”

“Kent’s in a meeting right now,” says Megan pleasantly. “Could I take a message?”

“Well, I’m just phoning to see what time my screen test is today,” I say. And just saying it gives me a surge of confidence. Who cares about the crappy Daily World, anyway? I’m going to be on American television. I’m going to be a huge celebrity.

“I see,” says Megan. “Rebecca, if you could just hold on a moment…”

She puts me on hold, and I find myself listening to a tinny version of “Heard It through the Grapevine.” It comes to an end, and a voice tells me how important my call is to the HLBC Corporation… and then it starts again… when suddenly Megan is back.

“Hi, Rebecca? I’m afraid Kent’s going to have to postpone the screen test. She’ll give you a call if she wants to rearrange.”

“What?” I say, staring blankly at my made-up face in the mirror. “Postpone? But… why? Do you know when it’ll be rescheduled?”

“I’m not sure,” says Megan pleasantly. “Kent’s very busy right now with the new series of Consumer Today.”

“But… but that’s what the screen test is for! The new series of Consumer Today!” I take a deep breath, trying not to sound too anxious. “Do you know when she’ll rearrange it for?”

“I really couldn’t say. Her diary’s very full at the moment… and then she has a two-week vacation…”

“Listen,” I say, trying to stay calm. “I’d really like to talk to Kent, please. It’s quite important. Couldn’t you get her for me? Just for a second.”

There’s a pause — then Megan sighs.

“I’ll see if I can fetch her.”

The tinny song begins again — then suddenly Kent is on the line.

“Hi, Becky. How are you?”

“Hi!” I say, trying to sound relaxed. “I’m fine. I just thought I’d see what was happening today. About the screen test?”

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