Cupcakes and Christmas: The Carrington’s Collection: Cupcakes at Carrington’s, Me and Mr. Carrington, Christmas at Carrington’s (8 page)

BOOK: Cupcakes and Christmas: The Carrington’s Collection: Cupcakes at Carrington’s, Me and Mr. Carrington, Christmas at Carrington’s
9.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

‘Right, out of the room, I want to see if I can wedge myself into this. Which I imagine is going to be some feat, which I’d rather not attempt with you standing there.’

‘Fantastic,’ Sam shrieks, and claps her hands together. ‘Just shout if you need a hand,’ she adds.

‘No thank you, now shoo,’ I say, flapping my hand at her.

‘OK, OK, I’m going.’ Sam backs out of the room and closes the dressing room door behind her.

After managing to shoehorn myself into the dress, I call Sam back into the room.

‘Bloody hell Georgie! You look fantastic, very curvaceous and sexy. And that dress really brings out your blue eyes and glowing complexion,’ she shrieks. I feel a bit constricted, though, as the suit is an underwired all-in-one corset that vacuums everything in.

‘Do you really think so?’

‘Absolutely.’ Sam grins.

‘Thanks, honey. Just need to get my shoes now.’ I head off to the hallway.

‘Hang on. Try these. They’ll be perfect with that dress.’ From underneath the scarlet chaise longue, Sam brings out her new Gina sandals. They are absolutely exquisite, with little diamanté stones running across the strappy ankle and toe parts of the delicate shoes.

‘Oh Sam I can’t. They’re your new ones, you haven’t even worn them yet,’ I say, instantly touched by her generosity.

‘Please, have them, I’ve got loads … and besides, I’m not really sure they’re me,’ she says, crossing her slim legs and leaning back on the chaise longue.

‘But I can’t,’ I say, desperately trying not to eye up the sandals.

‘I insist.’

‘Sam, I can’t. Really. You could always take them back if you don’t like them.’ They must have cost a fortune.

‘Oh, it’s not that I don’t like them. I just think they’d suit you better. And I’ll be offended if you don’t take them,’ she laughs. I look again.

‘Are you definitely sure? They really are beautiful,’ I say, not wanting to offend her but secretly wondering if she ever had any intention of keeping them for herself.


I give her a huge hug.

‘In that case, thank you my GBF.’ Sam raises an eyebrow.

‘Gorgeous best friend of course,’ I explain, smiling and making a mental note to send her a proper thank-you card. I slip my foot into the right sandal. Twiddling my ankle in the mirror I feel a little shiver of excitement. Not bad at all – my stomach is almost flat and my best feature, my arms with their light sprinkling of freckles on the shoulders, can be seen quite nicely. Always highlight your best asset, isn’t that what Gok says? Sam has certainly come up trumps this time.

‘Right, so are we ready then?’ I grab my clutch bag and Sam stands up and smooths down her Hervé Léger bandage dress in nude. She’s teamed it with a pair of blush patent Kate Kuba wedges and fuchsia-framed geek glasses that almost cover her tiny elfin face. Her curly hair is bobbing around her shoulders and the Shamballa bracelet is sparkling on her wrist. She looks stunning.

‘Come on, we’d better go before we spontaneously combust with the glamour of it all.’ I slip my arm through hers. We’re both chatting and giggling as we head off into the night.


fter paying the taxi driver, we pass through a red rope that’s unclipped by a doorman who looks as if he’s just stepped out of a Calvin Klein photo shoot, and emerge into the club. I feel as though I’ve walked into a Moroccan wonderland – there are orange and gold glittery soft furnishings draped between mosaic fountains. There are even olive trees dotted in amongst the leather ottomans. We’re both handed one of those cute mini Moët bottles with the drinking spouts. Complimentary to the first fifty clubbers as it’s opening night.

‘Mmm, I must say the view is scorching in here,’ Sam says, lifting my hair to talk straight into my ear. The pulse of the uplifting Happy House beat thuds against my chest. Everywhere I look there are male models, smiling when they catch my eye, as if telepathically telling me I’m their dream woman. Whoever’s come up with this marketing idea must be a genius, because it’s working. Oh yes, it’s working all right. I can almost feel a physical tingle of hedonism on my bare shoulders. Scrutinising the drinking spout more closely, I see that it has
Bushka Launch Party
inscribed in rose-gold lettering on the side. Nudging Sam, I raise an eyebrow and she nods back. Simultaneously we both whip the little spouts off and stash them in our bags.

Sam yells, ‘Over here,’ before waving wildly. With her left hand above her head, her dress rides up and briefly flashes the side of her diamanté-topped stocking. A group of guys standing nearby nudge each other with appreciation. I glance in the direction of her yell, and striding towards us is a group of men. All of them are stunning, and a tall, athletic and seriously handsome blond one, who I guess must be Nathan, is carrying a giant heart-shaped helium balloon. He steps towards Sam, grabs her up in the air and spins her around.

‘So how is the sexy birthday girl?’

Sam screams with delight, trying to keep the back of her dress from riding up too high. The pair of them lock lips. ‘Ahh, and here are the others,’ Nathan says, prising himself away from Sam. ‘You don’t mind, do you, only I invited some guys from the squash club.’

Looking to where Nathan’s waving, I see a couple of tall men coming towards us. For a moment I don’t believe it. I blink again to be sure, and yes, it’s definitely him. Tom is heading straight towards us. My heart races. He looks even more incredible than he did in the staff canteen. I see a couple of girls eyeing him up and down as he strides past, but before I can get myself together he’s standing right in front of me.

‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ Tom says, fixing his chocolate-brown eyes on mine as I fidget nervously from one foot to the other.

‘Oh I’m not sure,’ I reply in a breezy voice, wondering if he can tell that the memory of him appearing through the canteen doors has made its way into my dreams several times already this week. Only in the dream he’s naked, drenched in massage oil accentuating a rock-hard muscular chest, and begging to take me there and then across the help-yourself salad bar. Naturally the canteen of my dreams is festooned with tea lights creating a sexy shimmery glow. And I look like a siren with really big hair.

‘Yes, I’m definitely sure. I know I’ve seen you somewhere before. Where do you work?’ he says, seemingly oblivious to the effect he’s having on me.

‘At Carrington’s. And you?’ I reply, trying to sound nonchalant.

That’s it.
’ He looks pleased with himself at having worked it out. ‘I was there for the announcement. Must have seen you then.’ He beams a beautiful smile and my heart immediately melts. The feeling is incredible.

‘Of course. Silly me, I didn’t recognise you,’ I say nervously, twiddling the silver stud in my right earlobe and feeling my neck tingling with the first creep of a flush from the blatant lie.

‘Nice to meet you,
.’ Still smiling, he puts his hand out to mine and the sensation is like an electric charge as his warm fingers touch mine. He leans down to my hot cheek and plants a kiss. Momentarily distracted by the faint but delicious chocolatey scent of his aftershave, I giggle in a way that I haven’t since I was about five years old and instantly regret it. I’m conscious that Sam and Nathan are looking at us.

‘Do you two know each other?’ Sam asks, but before either of us can answer, Nathan butts in.

‘See you in a sec, honey.’ He makes off in search of the loo, accidentally bumping into Tom who quickly sidesteps and ends up standing adjacent to me.

‘Err, no not really. Sam, this is Tom,’ I say. Sam’s face goes all airy as she cottons on immediately. I make big warning eyes at her not to let on that I’ve mentioned him and luckily our telepathic powers connect in an instant.

‘Oh, how lovely to meet you.’ She extends her hand without so much as a glimmer of knowing.

‘Shall I get some drinks while you two find seats?’ Tom offers, sounding like the perfect gentleman.

‘Thank you,’ I say. And without hesitation, Sam and I nod at each other before heading off.

‘Ohmigod Georgie, he’s hot, hot and more hot.’ Sam clutches my arm. ‘Bloody hell, I can see what you mean,’ she squeals, performing a little skip the minute Tom is out of earshot. ‘He looks like he’s just stepped out of a Hollywood movie.’

‘I know, but I can’t believe it. Why didn’t you tell me Nathan knew him?’

‘I didn’t know. I’ve not heard him mention him before, but I can get the lowdown on him now,’ Sam says, triumphantly.

‘No! Yes! Oh I don’t know. He’s way out of my league.’

‘No he’s not. Yes he’s bloody gorgeous, but no man is out of your league, do you hear me?’ Sam hisses, pretending to be cross.

‘I hear you. But be discreet. Just find out if he’s attached … a girl can dream after all, can’t she?’

Finding a Moroccan mini-sofa thing, Sam sits and I carefully perform a small Houdini contortion act to get down low enough to sit next to her. As I wriggle around trying to get comfortable, the miracle suit presses on my bladder, so I have no option but to haul myself into a standing position to go in search of the Ladies.

‘Where are you off to? They’re going to be back soon.’ Sam clutches my arm.

‘Sam, it’s no good, I’m busting for the loo,’ I groan.

‘I’ll come with you, I could do with a lippy touch-up,’ she replies, even though her cerise gloss is still immaculate. ‘Let’s wait for them and then we’ll go.’ She smiles.

‘I’m not sure I can.’ Wincing, I lean forward and put the bottle down on a low table. Sam has the same idea and leans over too. The sudden shift in the weight on the cushion propels me forward and I’m launched mercilessly onto the little dance floor. The drink flies out of my hand, shoots up and splatters all over my face. I attempt to get up but just can’t bend enough. The floor is really slippery so I end up writhing around like an amateur contortionist. I try again to scrabble up onto my feet.

Sam meanwhile has managed to get up and is now bent over in hysterics as she tries to pull me up. Her laughter is infectious, which just makes it worse as I beg her to stop. Within seconds, one of the models appears. He’s towering over me with a look of utter disgust on his pinched face.

‘Would you like some assistance?’ he drawls in an effeminate Aussie voice that completely belies his physical appearance. Feeling mortified, I shoo him away and manage to control myself a bit, but then start panicking. Tom is going to come back any second.

‘This is all your fault, plying me with cocktails. Get me up before I pee all over the place,’ I bellow over the music in Sam’s direction. I reach up to grab Sam’s hand and instantly feel like dying. Tom is standing right behind her. A quizzical grin smoulders across his chiselled face, and tucked in the crook of his beautiful elbow is an ice bucket. Four glasses are clutched in his left hand, and I wish I could just crawl away and evaporate somewhere quietly. It’s Nathan who moves forward from behind Tom, Sam, and the small crowd that’s now gathered around me. Bending down he scoops me up into a fireman’s lift over his shoulder and carries me over to the Ladies. I can see everybody staring and I feel hot with embarrassment.

‘There you go.’ Nathan lets me down.

‘Oh my God. Are you OK?’ Sam says. Her face is covered in concern as she elbows her way through from behind Nathan’s broad back. We push through the chrome door into the Ladies. ‘What’s that on your back?’ Sam asks worriedly, as she spins me around to inspect the bulge.

‘The bloody suit; the poppers have ripped off.’

‘Thank God it’s only that,’ she breathes. ‘For a moment I thought you’d broken something or an organ had popped out even,’ she says, dramatically. ‘Here.’ She rifles in her gold clutch and pulls out a massive safety pin. ‘For emergency purposes. It’ll have to do,’ she adds, after I look back at her with horror. Quickly realising that she’s right, I rush into a cubicle and sort myself out.

Back out by the washbasins, I survey the damage. Mostly superficial, fortunately, despite my impromptu shimmy across the dance floor. With a wet hand towel, I dab the mascara lines away and then reapply some face powder, carefully blending as I go. Another coat of mascara and fresh lipstick and I’m ready. I take a deep breath, push my hair behind my ears and turn to Sam.

‘Come here,’ she says kindly, and I step forward. She puts her arms around me. ‘Will you be OK?’

‘I think so. Did you see the look on his face?’ I reply, cringing at the memory.

‘Yes, but you just hold your head up high and work it, baby. He’s
,’ she says in her
accent to make me smile. ‘Go grab him.’

‘Hardly, after that pantomime performance.’

‘Oh so what.’ Sam shakes her hair back. ‘Men love a girl with a sense of humour, so just laugh it off. You look a billion dollars.’

‘Thanks, Sam. You’re a true friend, do you know that?’ I say, perking up and giving her a quick hug.

‘Well, I do my best. When I haven’t got my foot in my mouth of course,’ she grins, and then adds, ‘Georgie, look I’m really sorry about the other day, your dad and all. I didn’t mean to hurt you.’

‘I know you didn’t,’ I say, patting her arm. ‘It’s forgotten,’ I finish, magnanimously, glad that we’ve cleared the air.

‘Actually, I was wondering …’ She peers at me.

‘What is it?’

‘Err, I just wondered whether you’d spoken to him recently?’ she adds, nervously. I hesitate for a second.

‘Strange you should ask, because I slipped up and answered the phone …’ I reply, feeling uncomfortable. Sam gives me a look as though she’s unsure whether to say anything else. ‘Tell me?’ I prompt.

‘Oh nothing, I …’

‘Come on, please just say it.’

‘If you’re sure?’ she says warily.

‘Yes I’m sure. Now will you please just get on with it?’ I smile encouragingly.

‘Well, I was just thinking that it’s such a shame that you two can’t sort things out. Alfie means the world to me, he’s all I have, and I couldn’t bear it if he and I fell out,’ she says, sounding panicky. She looks away.

BOOK: Cupcakes and Christmas: The Carrington’s Collection: Cupcakes at Carrington’s, Me and Mr. Carrington, Christmas at Carrington’s
9.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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