What Goes Around...(6)

By: Carol Marinelli


Charlotte was thrilled, but upset that they didn’t have a bridesmaid – she’s never been one and she’s desperate to be.

Anyway, they both dote on Charlotte and spoil her. They take her out and go and see her compete on her pony sometimes and are friends on Facebook with her and things. Jess and Luke don’t want to have children, both say Charlotte is as close to having a child as they want to get. They like going out and their holidays and weekends away too much, Jess has told me.

As we wander around she shows me the spare rooms, that are already furnished, and Jess makes a joke about it staying a cot free zone.

‘Hold on a sec…’ she makes me wait at the main bedroom door and goes in for a moment. ‘All clear.’

‘Sorry?’

‘You know,’ she grins. ‘In case I left anything out. I told the rest of them that we hadn’t finished decorating in here yet. Imagine Shirley’s face if she came in and there was my vibrator on the bed.’ She starts to laugh. ‘Are you blushing, Lucy?’

‘Stop it!’ I say, but I am blushing though. ‘Doesn’t Luke...’ my throat is really dry. ‘Doesn’t he mind you..?’

‘Mind?’ She gives me a queer look. ‘Why would he mind? He bought it for me.’

I try to make the right noises about the en suite, and the carpet, and the lovely bay window but Jess couldn’t care less about all that, so we lie on the bed for five minutes and have a gossip before we head back down.

‘I got offered a promotion.’

‘Oh my God…’ I turn my head. ‘Why didn’t you say?’

‘It’s a bit of a sore point at the moment.’ She shakes her head. ‘It’s in Wales.’ She sees my flare of panic, because I don’t want Jess to move there, but she just gives me a smile. ‘It’ll sort.’

Because it’s Jess, I tell her a bit about one of my sore points and, because it’s Jess, I tell her a bit more than I told Alexis today.

‘He’s not keen on Charlotte getting another pony.’

‘Yeah, well he’s probably sick of you having to get up at the crack of dawn every morning and all the events you go to,’ Jess says. ‘Maybe tell Charlotte that, if you get another one, then the stables are going to muck him out, or whatever it is you call it. He’s probably fed up about how much time you spend with Charlotte…’ She looks up as Luke opens the door and finds us hiding and then she turns back to me. ‘They’re just going to have to learn how to share you.’ She smiles up to Luke. ‘We’ve been rumbled.’

‘Come on guys.’ Luke says as Jess swings off the bed. ‘Back to it, Lucy.’

He’s far nicer when Jess is around and of course I’m much nicer to him.

Feeling better for the short reprieve we head back down and, to my surprise, the night actually gets better. We don’t leave when the first couple do, or the next.

Or the next.

Shirley and Greg linger a while, but in the end the grown ups are gone and it’s just the four of us and we drift out into the garden. It’s cool but Jess turns on the outside heaters as Luke heads back inside to get the brandy.

Actually, it’s not cool, it’s cold, especially if you’re wearing a sarong, even a very expensive one. Though I was sure I was going to be in trouble for my little erectile dysfunction comment earlier, I’m forgiven it would seem, because, while we wait for the heaters to warm up, he pulls me onto his knee. Jess is nattering on about Portugal and how they’re thinking of going for a week in summer.

‘We should all go,’ Jess says. She’s pretty pissed now and all full of grand plans, but I’m only half listening, I’m not really interested in summer right now.

I’m thinking about later tonight!

His hand is stroking my arm, just lightly. I know when I sat down my dress tugged a bit and I really should pull it up because I’m showing a bit of my bra.

But I don’t.

I just sit there feeling his hand on my arm and the suggestion that’s there and I want to go home, I want to go home, oh, right about now, except Jess is making him laugh.

‘We should really think about it…’ Jess says. ‘You and Luke can play golf and Lucy and I can just laze by the pool by day…

Luke hands me my drink and I catch his eye. I so don’t want to go on holiday with him.

Nor him with me.

I taste the warm brandy as Jess prattles on, but it doesn’t warm me and I shiver a bit. I don’t know if limitless alcohol would be such a good idea with us four. Yes, Jess and I are best friends, he and Luke are best friends…