What Goes Around...(3)

By: Carol Marinelli


But they’re playing some game that they want to finish and so I get the inevitable protests, though not just from Charlotte, from both of them.

God, I hate Skype.

‘We’ll only be a couple more minutes,’ Felicity beams back from the screen. ‘By the time you’ve got changed we’ll be finished.’

‘I am changed.’

‘Oh, sorry Mrs Jameson, I thought you were wearing a sarong.’

I look straight into Felicity’s cold blue eyes and instead of saying what I think, instead of calling her the little bitch that she is, I smile brightly at her as I click off the screen. ‘You’ll see Charlotte soon.’

I don’t like Felicity - she lives across the road with her helicopter pilot daddy and her highflying executive mummy, Simone, and she goes to Charlotte’s new school.

Felicity’s the popular one.

And soon, so shall be Charlotte.

I’ll make sure of it.

He’s calling for us to hurry up and, as I step out into the hall, for the first time he sees me. I mean, with the dress and shoes - the full effect. He runs a very approving eye over me. ‘You look great.’

‘Felicity thought she was wearing a sarong,’ Charlotte says.

Bloody Felicity.

But he just laughs.

And then he looks at me, I mean, he properly looks at me and, if we didn’t have an eleven-year-old present…

Well, lets just say, I’m actually looking forward to getting home tonight.

I wave to my neighbour - she gardens constantly, or rather, she gets a view of the goings on in the street behind the guise of her garden shears. I’m sick of her trimming the privet between our two houses. Shouldn’t privet mean private? Why can’t she stop trimming it like we’ve asked her? I must get him to have another word.

‘Here.’ He picks a piece of honeysuckle and pops it in my hair and then he lifts my chin and I think he’s going to kiss me. ‘Behave tonight.’

I smile.

I go to say something about misbehaving later, but I am not to add pressure, I remember, from my many hours spent with Dr Google. I carry on being subtle but I’m just fizzing inside, because I know this is working…

I can flirt for England too.

And often men don’t even know when I am!

We drop Charlotte off and I chat for a brief minute with Simone before we drive off. We find Jess and Luke’s new home easily – or rather the GPS does and we park with the other Audis and Mercedes in the driveway. When we get out he takes my hand and he gives it a squeeze and as we walk up to the door I’ve a feeling he wants a kiss. Maybe we were about to, but the door opens without us having to ring.

‘Wow!’ Jess beams as she opens the door. ‘You look great!’ She takes the wine and the flowers we’ve bought and we do the kiss, kiss thing and I see that she goes a bit pink when he kisses her.

He does that to most women.

He can flirt for England too!

‘Thank God you two are here…’ Jess says and I know exactly what she means – these nights are painful at best.

If there's one thing they should warn you, when you marry that sexy older man, it's that you inherit his friends, who all just happen to have really liked the first Mrs Jameson.

Especially Luke.

It’s a bit too complicated to explain right now, as we have to go through, but in a nutshell, Luke lived with the Original Jameson’s for a few months when he was seventeen and I think he sees them sort of as parents.

Which means he thought their marriage was perfect.

But then along came Lucy!

And, of course, it was all my fault.

Jess is the only relief here. She and Luke married about two years ago, though Jess and I have been best friends for years. When I first had Charlotte and I’d put on some weight, Ricky told me about a Pilates class in the village and that’s where I met her. Jess is an “out there” Welsh girl, she's funny and sexy and she finds these nights as excruciating as me.

‘Honestly,’ she rolls her eyes. ‘It’s agony in there.’

‘I’ll sort them out,’ he winks to Jess. We walk through to the lounge and do the kiss, kiss thing with the dinosaurs and I can feel disapproval from the wives and the opposite from the men…

Perfect!

‘Lovely dress,’ says Shirley, who’s Greg, the MD’s wife.

‘It’s not a dress,’ he says, ‘it’s a sarong. I had to haul her out of the shower or we’d never have got here…’

He does sort them out as promised – he’s just so good at things like that. He’s got charisma I guess and, within a few minutes, the rooms lifted and you can see Jess start to relax. ‘The house is gorgeous.’ I look around the lounge and out to the hallway. I know a thing or three about real estate and it’s clear that they’re doing really well. There’s a large study to the left of the lounge, with a built in desk and there’s Luke’s leather sofa, which has survived a few moves. Apart from that, I don’t recognise any of the furniture – they must have spent a fortune filling it.