that heâs hiding in your wardrobe?â
I explained about Mrs Cooperâs mistrust of minicab drivers.
âAnd how are you and Nick?â Alex said.
âWeâre great. Why wouldnât we be?â
âNo reason.â Alex walked across the room and flopped down next to me on my bed, resting on his elbows. âI only asked because I havenât seen much of you lately, and I donât know whatâs going on in your life.â
âI was thinking the same about you. What have you been up to?â Apart from picking up girls at fashion launches.
Alex thought for a moment and then he said, âDear Anna, Over the last couple of weeks, Iâve had some challenging assignments in interesting locations around London, and Iâve taken some shots Iâm very pleased with. I also spent a day photographing furniture, which was somewhat less interesting. Iâve played squash with Rob a few times ââ
âWho won?â I said.
âSsh. No interrupting my letter.â Alex cleared his throat. âI played squash with Rob, and I won, although it wasnât easy, as weâre pretty evenly matched. Rob invited me to call in for a drink on my way home, and I saw your friend Beth ââ
âHow is Beth? Iâve been meaning to call her.â
âSsh! Beth seemed tired, so I didnât stay very long. Yours sincerely, Alexandre Tourville. PS. Tomorrow, if you are free after work, would you like to come with me to the National Gallery? It stays open âtil 9 p.m. on Fridays.â
âOoh, I do like getting letters,â I said. â Cher Alexandre, thank you for your kind invitation. I would very much like to visit the National Gallery with you. Ã bientÃ´t, Anna Mitchel.â
âItâs a date, then,â Alex said. âWhat time do you finish work?â
I told him, and we arranged that he would come and meet me at Nova Graphics, that weâd spend a couple of hours at the National Gallery, and then go for a meal, and possibly on to a club. We chatted for a while, and then, seeing as we were both yawning, decided to call it a night.
âIâll see you tomorrow, then,â Alex stood up in one sinuous motion. â Bonne nuit .â
â Bonne nuit , Alex.â
He headed out of my room. I lay back on my bed and thought how easy he was to talk to, how easy to be around. And easy on the eye, of course. I ran my hand over the dent on the duvet where he had been lying next to me. My friend. Mon ami. I would miss him when he went back to France.
The following morning, Iâd just come out of one meeting and was getting my notes together ready for another, when Beth rang my mobile.
âHi, Anna,â she said. âAre you at work? Can you talk?â
âYes, Iâm at work, but I can talk for five minutes.â
âWell, itâs short notice, but I know you never see Nick on Fridays, and Robâs said heâll look after the kids, so I was hoping that you and I could have a girlsâ night out. Go to a bar, somewhere with live music, like we used to ââ
âBeth, slow down. Do you mean tonight?â
âYes. Sorry, Iâm wittering. Itâs what happens when youâre at home with small children all day. You forget how to talk to people over the age of five.
âI canât tonight.â
âIâm really sorry, but Iâm seeing Nick tomorrow.â
âOh, well, maybe some other time,â Beth said, sounding horribly disappointed.
âAny other Friday would be fine,â I said, âbut tonight Iâm going to the National Gallery with Alex.â
âYouâre going out with Alex?â Beth said. âThen why I donât I come with you? Iâm sure he wouldnât mind.â
Maybe he wouldnât mind. But I did. Iâd been looking forward to my night out with Alex, and really didnât want a third
Legs McNeil, Jennifer Osborne, Peter Pavia
Chris Wraight - (ebook by Undead)