Authors: Alexandra Potter
Who's That Girl?
Praise for Alexandra Potter
'Nobody does it quite like Alexandra Potter'
Me and Mr Darcy
is sure to score points with all you hopeless romantics out there'
'Feel-good fiction full of unexpected twists and turns'
! 'Great fun'
'Funny, romantic… tale about what might happen if all your wishes suddenly came true'
'A winning formula of chaotic heroine meeting eccentric hero, and, after misunderstandings, finding love. Sharply written, pacey and funny… pure self-indulgence'
'I loved it - it's fun, fast and feel-good - the perfect three! Positively dripping with humour and heart' Helen Lederer
'Essential reading for anyone who thinks the grass is greener on the other side'
'The perfect reading romcom'
About the author
was born in Yorkshire. Having lived in LA, Sydney and London after university, she finally decided to settle where the sun was and lives full-time in Los Angeles. She has worked variously as a features editor and sub-editor for women's glossies in the UK and now writes full-time.'
Also by Alexandra Potter
Me And Mr Darcy
Be Careful What You Wish For
Do You Come Here Often?
Going La La
What's New, Pussycat?
First published in Great Britain in 2009 by Hodder & Stoughton An Hachette Livre UK company First published in paperback in 2009
Copyright (c; Alexandra Potter 2009
The right of Alexandra Potter to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library B format Paperback ISBN 978 0 340 95411 9
A format Paperback ISBN 978 0 340 95412 6
Typeset in Plantin Light by Hewer Text UK Ltd, Edinburgh Printed and bound by Clays Ltd, St Ives pic
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Big, big thank-yous as always to my wonderful agent Stephanie Cabot and everyone at The Gernert Agency in New York; to my fantastic editor Sara Kinsella and the equally fantastic Isobel Akenhead and to everyone who's worked so hard behind the scenes at Hodder. To my parents - I won't go into a teary Oscar-speech, but I can't say thank you enough for your continued love and support over the years. I honestly couldn't do this without you. And to my sister, I'll just say thanks Kel, for everything. (I had to keep that simple, otherwise it's going to run into pages…)
I also want to use this opportunity to mention my dear friend Mishky who I don't see as often as I'd like, but who's always there on the other end of the phone with kind words and encouragement.
Huge thanks also go to Dana, fellow writer and dear friend, who managed to keep me just about sane while I zipped back and forth between 1997 and 2007 and being 21 and 31 - trust me, time travel ain't easy - if wormholes do exist there were several moments when I wanted to throw myself down one…
Thanks also to Saar for all those hours spent brainstorming, cups of tea when I had writer's block, and never once complaining about having a dining-room table covered in calendars, index cards, and post-it notes for the best part of a year… And of course a big hug for my muse Barney.
I spent part of the time in England working on this book, and I want to say an extra special thank you to Tricia and Matthew - two amazing friends - for their generous hospitality in allowing me to be a writer in residence in their lovely house in Wimbledon, which came complete with the adorable Mr George. Thanks guys!
And finally, if I could meet my twenty-one year old self, I'd tell her that she will make some wonderful friends in her life: one of whom will be called Beatrice. Thanks Bea for your continuing friendship, boundless enthusiasm, and insider knowledge about the world of PR. And for making me laugh. A lot. This book is dedicated to you.
20 August 1997
Woke up with a terrible hangover. Las night Nessy and I went to that new pub called the Wellington. It was such a laugh! We drank a bottle of cava before we went out, as we could only afford to buy one drink each. I saw Billy Romani, the musician. God, he's so gorgeous, but he doesn't even know I exist…
Still loving my new job on the magazine - the people are really cool and I'm learning a lot. Next stop "Vogue"! Well, we can dream… Rang Dad from work and wished him happy birthday - he loved his card and pressie!!! Arranged to go home to visit him and Mum next weekend. I miss them!
Super-hot again. At lunchtime Nessie and I sunbathed in the park and tapped up our tans. She couldn't stop talking about Julian, her new boyfriend. They've only been on a few dates but she's already madly in love!
Well, anyway, must get ready, I'm going to a party tonight and am wearing my new miniskirt from Miss Selfridge. Can't wait - it's going to be so much fun!!!
20 August 2007
06.00 Wake up.
06.15 Personal trainer.
07.30 Check emails.'
08.00 Leave for office. En route make and return calls.
09.00 Arrive at office. Track news stories.
10.00 Write emails and touch-base with Bea.
11.00 Work on tomorrow's meeting for Larry Goldstein.
12.30 Lunch meeting with journalists from
et al. 15.00 Write press release.
16.00 Connect Johnny Bird, West End hairstylist, with new editor of
magazine for a quote and interview about his new shampoo range. 17.00 Write that press release!
18.00 Work on the award application for Cloud
19.00 Dinner with Miles.
22.00 Review schedule for next day and prepare.
23.00 Read chapter in
Finding Yourself Made Easy
24.00 Go to sleep.
Ah, what total bliss. Listening to the waves gently rolling in on the deserted beach -
their white, frothy peaks caressing the empty stretch of sand, before rolling back out again.
. In and out they go. It's like the most wonderful lullaby. Relaxing. Soothing. Calming. My mind is drifting. My body is floating. I'm in a deeply peaceful place of serenity—
Argh. No, I'm not. I'm in my flat in London, it's Monday morning, and I'm being jolted awake by the piercing sound of my alarm clock.
Heart thumping, mind racing, I roll over in bed, lift up my aromatherapy eye mask and peer anxiously at the time: 06.00. My stomach lurches. God, is that the time already? I have a personal-training session booked before work - I have to get up.
I hit the 'off button and throw back my sheets. I just bought these sheets. They're made from pure organic, unbleached cotton, which the saleswoman in John Lewis assured me would help my allergies. I have tons of allergies, which is a bit embarrassing, as that makes me sound like one of those trendy, annoying types who wear Crocs and think it's cool to have a wheat intolerance, but I
do have allergies. Really, I do. Anyway, I thought I'd give the sheets a try. I'm not sure if they're helping, though, as I only have to think about how much I paid for them and my eyes start watering.
The alarm is now silent, but for a moment I can't rouse the energy to move. Arms and legs outstretched, I lie starfish-wide on my mattress, my eye mask still on my head, the humidifier puffing out little clouds of steam. My sound machine continues playing in the corner. It's set to
'Relaxing Ocean Lullaby' to help aid restful sleep. That's because not only do I have a ton of allergies, but I'm also a bad sleeper. Just terrible. I find it so hard to switch off. As soon as I close my eyes, all these niggling worries begin running around in my head like millions of ants. I tried counting them once, like they tell you to do with sheep, but it had the opposite effect. Instead of making me fall asleep, it made me wide awake with fear and I ended up staying up that whole night watching cosmetic-surgery-gone-wrong programmes on TV. Not only was I exhausted the next day, but I now have these weird nightmares about vaginal rejuvenation. (Trust me, there is such a thing as too much information.) So that's the last time I'm ever going to try
Saying that, it might help if I gave myself more than five hours' sleep a night. It was nearly 1
a.m. when I finished reading the chapter in my new book,
Finding Yourself Made Easy
, and turned out the light. But then all successful women survive on hardly any sleep, don't they?
Margaret Thatcher used to run the country on four hours, and I'm always reading articles about Madonna getting up at 4 a.m. to do Ashtanga yoga.
A yawn rips through me. Maybe just this once I'll treat myself to another five minutes in bed. I mean, another five minutes aren't going to hurt, are they?
I am just curling back into the foetal position when I feel a twinge of doubt. Actually, on second thoughts, better, make it two minutes. I've got a busy week ahead of me. Tomorrow I'm meeting with a potential new client - Larry Goldstein, a high-profile cosmetic dentist from LA who does all the big Hollywood stars, is opening a flagship store here in London. He's looking for a publicrelations firm to help launch it.
, I hope. I feel a flutter of pride. I still can't quite believe I have my own company - Merryweather PR - which, according to a recent mention in the business section of the
, is 'a London-based boutique public-relations company. Specialising in health and beauty, it was formed three years ago by Charlotte Merryweather [that's me!], PR expert and experienced journalist, who prides herself on giving each client the individual and personal touch.'
Which reminds me - I must check to see if Mr Goldstein has any personal dietary requirements. Only last week I made a reservation for some clients at this trendy new sushi restaurant that has a month-long waiting list (in order to get a table, I had to beg, plead and bribe the restaurant with the promise of a dazzling mention in all forthcoming press releases) only to discover when we arrived that the MD of the company was pregnant and couldn't eat raw fish. My flutter of pride is quickly swamped by a familiar pang of worry. OK, sod the extra two minutes in bed. Make it one.
Oh, and I mustn't forget to reply to those emails from my personal financial adviser. Now I'm in my thirties, I have to think about savings and retirement funds. Apparently, my shares in SouthEast Asia are looking healthy, but my pension isn't performing well. All fascinating stuff… if I had the faintest clue what he was talking about.
Which is why I need to order a couple of those books off Amazon called things like
People Who Thought Dow Jones Was a Welsh Tenor Until Very Recently
Miles, my boyfriend, says it's really important to plan for the future. He's a property developer and he's always talking security and investments. In fact last week when we were in bed, I zoned out in the middle of a conversation about buy-to-let mortgages and imagined myself snogging Jake Gyllenhal.
Actually, I've been doing that a lot lately…
But that's normal. Everyone fantasises in relationships. I know, because I read that in one of my self-help books too. We've been together for eighteen months and we have a great relationship. OK, so the sex isn't always mind-blowing, but that isn't everything, is it? When I was younger, it was really important, but nowadays there's so much more to think about.
Like my dry-cleaning. I must remember to pick up my dry-cleaning.
And go food shopping. I shop at this really cool organic supermarket where I once spotted Gwyneth Paltrow by the King Edward potatoes. Unfortunately it's very expensive - a banana's like £2.50 or something - but I really try to eat a healthy, well-balanced, organic diet. This week, though, I was too busy and so there's nothing in the fridge.
Actually, that's a fib. There's lots of manky rotting vegetables. That's the only problem with buying organic. It goes off really quickly as it's not stuffed full of preservatives and E-numbers. In fact, to tell the truth, I usually end up throwing it away and going out to cat.
Which reminds me. I promised to cook dinner tonight for Miles. Well, 'cook' is a slight euphemism. It's generally more a case of me emptying pre-washed organic rocket out of a bag and pricking the sleeve of some porcini risotto from the supermarket's 'restaurant range'. I'm a huge fan of those ranges. All right, they're a bit pricey, but they're
worth it. I mean, have you ever made risotto? It takes
. Literally hours. All that faffing about stirring in vegetable stock every five minutes, until your carpel tunnel is killing you and you're drunk from polishing off the white wine that was meant for the risotto. (Well, you have to do
while you're stirring - it's so goddamn boring.) Then, to add insult to injury, it still turns out lumpy and tasteless, and you have to spend weeks eating it because it's like magic porridge and what started out as just two cupfuls of Axborio is now enough to feed an army.