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Authors: Sophie Kinsella

Tags: #Humorous, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Fiction

I've Got Your Number

BOOK: I've Got Your Number
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I’ve Got Your Number
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Copyright (c) 2012 by Sophie Kinsella

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by The Dial Press, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

DIAL PRESS is a registered trademark of Random House, Inc., and the colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.

Published simultaneously in the United Kingdom by Bantam Press, an imprint of Transworld Publishers, a division of The Random House Group, Ltd.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA

Kinsella, Sophie.
I’ve got your number: a novel / Sophie Kinsella.—
p. cm.
eISBN: 978-0-679-64468-2
1. Young women—Fiction. 2. Businessmen—Fiction. 3. Cell phone theft—Fiction. 4. England—Fiction. 5. Chick lit. I. Title.
PR6073.I246I93 2011
823’.914—dc22
2011031146

www.dialpress.com

v3.1

Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Other Books by This Author

About the Author

P
erspective. I need to get perspective. It’s not an earthquake or a crazed gunman or a nuclear meltdown, is it? On the scale of disasters, this is not huge.
Not
huge. One day I expect I’ll look back at this moment and laugh and think,
Ha-ha, how silly I was to worry

Stop, Poppy. Don’t even try. I’m not laughing—in fact, I feel sick. I’m walking blindly around the hotel ballroom, my heart thudding, looking fruitlessly on the patterned blue carpet, behind gilt chairs, under discarded paper napkins, in places where it couldn’t possibly be.

I’ve lost it. The only thing in the world I wasn’t supposed to lose. My engagement ring.

To say this is a special ring is an understatement. It’s been in Magnus’s family for three generations. It’s this stunning emerald with two diamonds, and Magnus had to
get it out of a special bank vault before he proposed. I’ve worn it safely every day for three whole months, religiously putting it on a special china tray at night, feeling for it on my finger every thirty seconds … and now, the very day his parents are coming back from the States, I’ve lost it. The very same
day
.

Professors Antony Tavish and Wanda Brook-Tavish are, at this precise moment, flying back from six months’ sabbatical in Chicago. I can picture them now, eating honey-roasted peanuts and reading academic papers on their his ‘n’ hers Kindles. I honestly don’t know which of them is more intimidating.

Him. He’s so sarcastic.

No, her. With all that frizzy hair and always asking you questions about your views on feminism.

OK, they’re both bloody scary. And they’re landing in about an hour, and of course they’ll want to see the ring—

No. Do not hyperventilate, Poppy. Stay positive. I just need to look at this from a different angle. Like … what would Poirot do? Poirot wouldn’t flap around in panic. He’d stay calm and use his little gray cells and recall some tiny, vital detail which would be the clue to everything.

I squeeze my eyes tight. Little gray cells. Come on. Do your best.

Thing is, I’m not sure Poirot had three glasses of pink champagne and a mojito before he solved the Murder on the Orient Express.

“Miss?” A gray-haired cleaning lady is trying to get round me with a Hoover, and I gasp in horror. They’re Hoovering the ballroom already? What if they suck it up?

“Excuse me.” I grab her blue nylon shoulder. “Could
you just give me five more minutes to search before you start Hoovering?”

“Still looking for your ring?” She shakes her head doubtfully, then brightens. “I expect you’ll find it safe at home. It’s probably been there all the time!”

“Maybe.” I force myself to nod politely, although I feel like screaming, “I’m not
that
stupid!”

I spot another cleaner, on the other side of the ballroom, clearing cupcake crumbs and crumpled paper napkins into a black plastic bin bag. She isn’t concentrating at all. Wasn’t she listening to me?

“Excuse me!” My voice shrills out as I sprint across to her. “You are looking out for my ring, aren’t you?”

“No sign of it so far, love.” The woman sweeps another load of detritus off the table into the bin bag without giving it a second glance.

“Careful!” I grab for the napkins and pull them out again, feeling each one carefully for a hard lump, not caring that I’m getting buttercream icing all over my hands.

“Dear, I’m trying to clear up.” The cleaner grabs the napkins out of my hands. “Look at the mess you’re making!”

“I know, I know. I’m sorry.” I scrabble for the cupcake cases I dropped on the floor. “But you don’t understand. If I don’t find this ring, I’m dead.”

I want to grab the bin bag and do a forensics check of the contents with tweezers. I want to put plastic tape round the whole room and declare it a crime scene. It has to be here, it
has
to be.

Unless someone’s still got it. That’s the only other possibility that I’m clinging to. One of my friends is still wearing
it and somehow hasn’t noticed. Perhaps it’s slipped into a handbag … maybe it’s fallen into a pocket … it’s stuck on the threads of a jumper…. The possibilities in my head are getting more and more far-fetched, but I can’t give up on them.

“Have you tried the ladies’ room?” The woman moves to get past me.

Of course I’ve tried the ladies’ room. I checked every single cubicle, on my hands and knees. And then all the basins. Twice. And then I tried to persuade the concierge to close it and have all the sink pipes investigated, but he refused. He said it would be different if I knew it had been lost there for certain, and he was sure the police would agree with him, and could I please step aside from the desk as there were people waiting?

Police. Bah. I thought they’d come roaring round in their squad cars as soon as I called, not just tell me to come down to the police station and file a report. I don’t have time to file a report! I’ve got to find my ring!

I hurry back to the circular table we were sitting at this afternoon and crawl underneath, patting the carpet yet again. How could I have let this happen? How could I have been so
stupid
?

It was my old school friend Natasha’s idea to get tickets for the Marie Curie Champagne Tea. She couldn’t come to my official hen spa weekend, so this was a kind of substitute. There were eight of us at the table, all merrily swigging champagne and stuffing down cupcakes, and it was right before the raffle started that someone said, “Come on, Poppy, let’s have a go with your ring.”

I can’t even remember who that was. Annalise, maybe? Annalise was at university with me, and now we work together
at First Fit Physio, with Ruby, who was also in our physio course. Ruby was at the tea, too, but I’m not sure she tried on the ring. Or did she?

I can’t believe how rubbish I am at this. How can I do a Poirot if I can’t even remember the basics? The truth is,
everyone
seemed to be trying on the ring: Natasha and Clare and Emily (old school friends up from Taunton), Lucinda (my wedding planner, who’s kind of become a friend) and her assistant, Clemency, and Ruby and Annalise (not only college friends and colleagues but my two best friends. They’re going to be my bridesmaids too).

I’ll admit it: I was basking in all the admiration. I still can’t believe something so grand and beautiful belongs to me. The fact is, I still can’t believe
any
of it. I’m engaged! Me, Poppy Wyatt. To a tall, handsome university lecturer who’s written a book and even been on the TV. Only six months ago, my love life was a disaster zone. I’d had no significant action for a year and was reluctantly deciding I should give that match.com guy with the bad breath a second chance—and now my wedding’s only ten days away! I wake up every morning and look at Magnus’s smooth, freckled, sleeping back and think,
My fiance, Dr. Magnus Tavish, Fellow of King’s College London
,
1
and feel a tiny tweak of disbelief. And then I swivel round and look at the
ring, gleaming expensively on my nightstand, and feel another tweak of disbelief.

What will Magnus say?

My stomach clenches and I swallow hard. No. Don’t think about that. Come on, little gray cells. Get with it.

I remember that Clare wore the ring for a long time. She really didn’t want to take it off. Then Natasha started tugging at it, saying, “My turn, my turn!” And I remember calling out, “Careful!”

I mean, it’s not like I was
irresponsible
. I was carefully watching the ring as it was passed round the table.

But then my attention was split, because they started calling out the raffle numbers and the prizes were fantastic. A week in an Italian villa, and a top salon haircut, and a Harvey Nichols voucher … The ballroom was buzzing, with people pulling out tickets and numbers being called from the platform and women jumping up and shouting, “Me!”

And
this
is the moment where I went wrong. This is the gut-churning, if-only instant. If I could go back in time, that’s the moment I would march up to myself and say severely, “Poppy,
priorities
.”

But you don’t realize, do you? The moment happens, and you make your crucial mistake, and then it’s gone and the chance to do anything about it is blown away.

So what happened was, Clare won Wimbledon tickets in the raffle. I love Clare to bits, but she’s always been a tad feeble. She didn’t stand up and yell, “Me! Woohoo!” at top volume, she just raised her hand a few inches. Even those of us at her
table
didn’t realize she’d won.

As it dawned on me that Clare was waving a raffle ticket
in the air, the presenter on the platform said, “I think we’ll draw again, if there’s no winner….”

“Shout!” I poked Clare and waved my own hand wildly. “Here! The winner’s over here!”

“And the new number is … 4403.”

To my disbelief, some dark-haired girl on the other side of the room started whooping and brandishing a ticket.

“She didn’t win!” I exclaimed indignantly. “
You
won.”

“It doesn’t matter.” Clare was shrinking back.

“Of
course
it matters!” I cried out before I could stop myself, and everyone at the table started laughing.

“Go, Poppy!” called out Natasha. “Go, White Knightess! Sort it out!”

“Go, Knightie!”

This is an old joke. Just because there was this
one
incident at school, where I started a petition to save the hamsters, everyone began to call me the White Knightess. Or Knightie, for short. My so-called catchphrase is apparently “Of
course
it matters!”
2

Anyway. Suffice it to say that within two minutes I was up on the stage with the dark-haired girl, arguing with the presenter about how my friend’s ticket was more valid than hers.

I know now that I never should have left the table. I never should have left the ring, even for a second. I can see how stupid that was. But, in my defense, I didn’t
know
the fire alarm was going to go off, did I?

It was so surreal. One minute, everyone was sitting
down at a jolly champagne tea. The next minute, a siren was blaring through the air and everyone was on their feet, heading for the exits in pandemonium. I could see Annalise, Ruby, and all the others grabbing their bags and making their way to the back. A man in a suit came onto the stage and started ushering me, the dark-haired girl, and the presenter toward a side door and wouldn’t let us go the other way. “Your safety is our priority,” he kept saying.
3

BOOK: I've Got Your Number
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