‘Come with me, my cherub,’ she shouted as she dragged me to the back of the restaurant. It was then that I did actually shed a tear ‘cos sitting right there was my dear old mucker, Katie Cook.
‘I nearly did a video diary saying sorry I couldn’t be with you this evening as I was filming in Lanzarote, but thought I’d much rather be here in the legendary Curry Castle with you!’
‘Katie, you are a gem, it’s so good to see you. You look fab, so brown and you’ve lost loads of weight.’
‘Where’s Ice Man?’
‘I’ve left him.’
‘Oh God no.’
‘I’m fine Ames. In fact, I’m looking for somewhere to crash for a few weeks.’
‘I’ve always told you Layston Gardens is open to any of my friends. I will obviously need to check whether Penelope will be happy to give up his bed to a Canarian refugee but I’m sure we can persuade him!’
Anna, Sam, Liv and H all then proceeded to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ at the top of their voices and it was only 8.30! I could see this evening turning into a debaucherous affair. How wonderful! I then suddenly realised that somebody was missing.
‘Where’s Brad?’ I asked. He was usually so punctual.
‘He’s bringing the new boyfriend, so I expect he’s preening in front of the mirror as we speak,’ giggled Liv.
‘Trust him to be accompanied the only night we are all un accompanied.’ Anna put in.
We were well on to our third bottle of wine and poppadums when my mobile bleeped. It was a text from Brad.
SORRY SO LATE, ON WAY. IF YOU LIKE HIM SAY CHUTNEY, IF YOU DON’T SAY RAITA!
God, that boy was so funny.
‘Ready to order Miss Amy?’
‘Yes please. I’ll have Chicken Korma with Pilau Rice and Onion, onion…’ I was suddenly speechless.
‘Ames, are you OK?’ Sam looked at me, concerned.
No, I wasn’t OK at all, as out of the corner of my eye I noticed Brad walking through the restaurant door, accompanied by none other than the false Declan!
‘Hi sweeties, sorry I’m late. This is Sean. Sean, let me introduce you to the motley crew, starting obviously with the beautiful Birthday Girl herself, aka my good friend Amy Jane Anderson.’
Brad kissed me on the cheek. The emotions running through my body were intense. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. My heart was beating as fast as that of a frightened bird and that is exactly what I was. A frightened bird. I had not only slept with a gay man; I had slept with Brad’s boyfriend! This was dreadful! There was no logic in my thinking. Surely somebody who was gay could not possibly have been so aroused and passionate with me? Why would someone take on a totally different name and seduce me in such a way? He must be one sick person.
‘I believe we’ve already met,’ I managed to whisper. ‘Never forget a face, me.’
I then let out a nervous laugh. Everyone looked at me oddly, as they knew this laugh was reserved purely for flirtation or panic and neither fitted on this occasion.
Sean looked at me as if I was completely mad. Then in his gorgeous Irish lilt he said, ‘Amy, Happy Birthday, but you are definitely mistaken about us meeting before. I’ve been living in America for the past four years and met Brad at a club last week, the day after I flew in.’
I couldn’t believe how convincing he was. How dare he be so dismissive! We had made love, God dammit! This was the situation from hell and it needed to be handled carefully. How could he be living such a blatant lie? Poor Brad – I had to let him know what he was dealing with.
As the wine flowed I did begin to doubt myself. It was him, it had to be him – same eyes, same hair, same height, same voice – unless he had a double!
‘Chutney or raita, sweetie?’ Brad asked me.
‘Oh come on Amy. You always have either chutney or raita ,’ he stressed, thinking I had forgotten his game. I just couldn’t answer: I was lost for words. I vowed to really try and keep my usually quick temper