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Chapter 24



Lying in the most comfortable bed in the world, feeling all dreamy and smiley and happy, letting the morning sunlight play on my closed eyelids. Stretching my arms above my head, then collapsing contentedly onto an enormous mound of pillows. Oh, I feel good. I feel . . . sated. Last night was absolutely . . .

Well, let’s just say it was . . .

Oh, come on. You don’t need to knowthat. Anyway, can’t you use your imagination? Of course you can.

I open my eyes, sit up, and reach for my cup of room-service coffee. Luke’s in the shower, so it’s just me alone with my thoughts. And I don’t want to sound all pretentious here—but I do feel this is a pretty significant day in my life.

It’s not just Luke—although the whole thing was . . . well, amazing, actually. God, he really knows how to . . .

Anyway. Not the point. The point is, it’s not just Luke, and it’s not just my new job withMorningCoffee (even though every time I remember it, I feel a leap of disbelieving joy).

No, it’s more than that. It’s that I feel like a completely newperson. I feel as though I’m moving on to a new stage in life—with a different outlook, and different priorities. When I look back at the frivolous way I used to think—well, it makes me want to laugh, really. The new Rebecca is so much more levelheaded. So much more responsible. It’s as though the tinted glasses have fallen off—and suddenly I can see what’s really important in the world and what’s not.

I’ve even been thinking this morning that I might go into politics or something. Luke and I discussed politics a bit last night, and I have to say, I came up with lots of interesting views. I could be a young, intellectual member of parliament, and be interviewed about lots of important issues on television. I’d probably specialize in health, or education, or something like that. Maybe foreign affairs.

Casually I reach for the remote control and switch on the television, thinking I might watch the news. I flick a few times, trying to find BBC1, but the TV seems stuck on rubbish cable channels. Eventually I give up, leave it on something called QVT or something, and lean back down on my pillows.

The truth, I think, taking a sip of coffee, is that I’m quite a serious-minded person. That’s probably why Luke and I get on so well.

Mmm, Luke. Mmm, that’s a nice thought. I wonder where he is.

I sit up in bed, and am just considering going into the bath-room to surprise him, when a woman’s voice from the television attracts my attention.

“. . . offering genuine NK Malone sunglasses, in tortoiseshell, black, and white, with that distinctive NKM logo in brushed chrome.”

That’s interesting, I think idly. NK Malone sunglasses. I’ve always quite wanted a pair of those.

“Buy all three pairs . . .” the woman pauses “. . . and pay not £400. Not £300. But £200! A saving of at least 40 percent off the recommended retail price.”

I stare at the screen, riveted.

But this is incredible.Incredible. Do you know how much NK Malone sunglasses usually cost? At least 140 quid. Each! Which means you’re saving . . .

“Send no money now,” the woman is saying. “Simply call this number . . .”

Excitedly I scrabble for the notebook on my bedside table and scribble down the number. This is an absolute dream come true. NK Malone sunglasses. I can’t quite believe it. And three pairs! I’ll never have to buy sunglasses again. People will call me the Girl in the NK Malone Shades. (And those Armani ones I bought last year are all wrong now. Completely out of date.) Oh, this is such an investment. With shaking hands I reach for the phone and dial the number.

And then I stop.

Wait just a moment. The new Rebecca has more self-control than this. The new Rebecca isn’t eveninterested in fashion.

Slowly I put the phone down. I reach for the remote and zap the TV to a different channel. A nature program. Yes, that’s more like it. There’s a close-up of a tiny green frog and a sober voice-over talking about the effect of drought on the ecosystem. I turn up the volume and settle back, pleased with myself. This is much more me. I’m not going to give those sunglasses a second thought. I’m going to learn about this tiny frog and the eco-system, and global warming. Maybe Luke and I will talk about all these important issues, over breakfast.

NK Malone.

Stop it.Stop it. Watch the frog, and that tiny red beetle thing . . .

I’ve wanted NK Malone sunglasses for so long. And £200 is amazing value for three pairs.

I could always give one pair away as a present.

And I deserve a little treat, don’t I? After everything I’ve been though? Just one little final luxury and that’s the end. Ipromise.

Grabbing the phone, I redial the number. I give my name andaddress, thank the woman very much indeed, then put down the receiver, a content smile on my face. This day is turning out perfect. And it’s only nine o&............

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