Shopaholic & Sister

Shopaholic & Sister by Sophie Kinsella

Book: Shopaholic & Sister by Sophie Kinsella Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sophie Kinsella
Tags: Fiction, General
say eagerly. “It’s your birthday coming up. I want to treat you to something really special. Let’s go to Milan! Just the two of us!”
    “
Milan
?” She looks up, her face strained. “Ernie, stop it, sweetheart. Bex, I can’t go to Milan! What about the babies?”
    “They could come with us!”
    “No, they
couldn’t
,” says Suze, sounding almost sharp. “Bex, you just don’t understand!”
    I smart at her words. Why does everyone keep telling me I don’t understand? How do they know?
    “OK, then,” I say, trying to stay cheerful. “Let’s have a fab birthday lunch right here! I’ll bring all the food, you won’t have to do a thing. . . .”
    “I can’t,” Suze says, without looking at me. “Actually I’ve . . . I’ve already made plans for my birthday. Lulu and I are going to a spa for the day. A special mother and baby day. She’s treating me.”
    I can’t hide my shock. Suze and I always spend our birthdays together.
    “Right.” I focus on the back of the door, where an ancient tweed jacket, about six dog leads, and what seems to be a dead pheasant are hanging. “Well . . . have fun. Enjoy it!”
    There’s silence in the kitchen. I don’t know what to say.
    I’ve never not known what to say to Suze.
    “Bex . . . you weren’t here,” Suze says suddenly, and I can hear the distress in her voice. “You weren’t here. What was I supposed to do? Have no friends?”
    “Of course not!” I say brightly. “Don’t be silly!”
    “I couldn’t have survived without Lulu. She’s been a real support to me out here.”
    “Of course she has.” Tears are suddenly pricking at my eyes and I turn away, fiercely blinking them back. “Well . . . you have fun together. I’m sure you will.”
    “Bex, don’t be like that. Look . . . I’ll speak to Lulu about the spa. I’m sure we could find a third place.”
    She’s taking pity on me. I can’t bear it.
    “No!” With an almighty effort I manage a laugh. “Really, it’s no big deal. I probably wouldn’t have time anyway. In fact . . . I came in to tell you we have to go back to London. Luke’s got work engagements.”
    “Now?” Suze looks taken aback. “But I thought you were going to stay for a few days.”
    “We’ve got loads to do!” I lift my chin. “Everything’s different for me, too, you know. I’m a married woman now! I’ve got to set up the flat . . . look after Luke . . . throw some dinner parties. . . .”
    “Right.” Suze hesitates. “Well, it’s been lovely to see you, anyway.”
    “You too! It’s been fun! We must . . . do it again.”
    We sound totally false. Both of us.
    There’s silence. My throat is tight. I’m going to cry.
    No, I’m not.
    “So . . . I’ll just go and pack,” I say at last. “Thanks for a lovely time.”
    I leave the room, pick up my shopping, and walk away. And my bright smile lasts all the way to the stairs.
     
     
NETHER PLEATON GYMKHANA
Manor Stables
Pleaton
Hampshire SO20 8EX
    Mrs Rebecca Brandon
37 Maida Vale Mansions
Maida Vale
London NW6 0YF
    30 April 2003
    Dear Mrs Brandon:
    Thank you for your letter concerning the Nether Pleaton Gymkhana next month. I confirm that I have withdrawn your name from the following classes:
    General Horsemanship
Open Jumping
Senior Dressage
    Perhaps you could let me know if you still wish to enter for “Best Kept Pony.”
    With kind regards,
    Marjorie Davies
Organiser
     
Seven
     
    ANYWAY. IT DOESN’T matter. People get married and they move on and their friends change. That’s all. It’s perfectly normal. Suze has her life . . . and I have my life. It’s fine. A week has gone by since the christening—and she’s barely crossed my mind.
    I take a sip of orange juice, pick up the
Financial Times
, which Luke left on the breakfast counter, and begin flicking briskly through the pages.
    Now that I’m married, I expect I’ll make loads of new friends, too. It’s not like I’m dependent on Suze or anything. I’ll start an evening

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