The girls sat in silence for the first twenty minutes of the journey. Melanie concentrating on driving the unfamiliar narrow roads, Alice lost in her own thoughts.
Once they hit the motorway and Melanie relaxed into her usual driving style and the conversation flowed.
“He’s an arse!” She said. “Thinks he’s something special but none of it is real. I think Celia found out and that’s why she ditched him. Of course I don’t know the whole story but I have my suspicions. I know for a fact it was a mistake bringing him in on this. I’m not sure quite how I salvage this to be honest. Not that’s not your concern.” She paused. “Sorry, did you like him very much?”
“I was surprised he asked me out actually, I’d been fantasising about him for weeks when he came in the coffee shop. He was tall, dark and handsome, bit of a cliché really, too good to be true. But he was supposed to be taking her to the ball wasn’t he? Celia?” The name rolled heavily on her tongue.
Melanie nodded as she pulled into the fast lane.
Alice was desperate to ask what Celia was like but she imagined she was tall, willowy and blonde. Another cliché.
She continued, “Of course Celia would have worn the right black dress and fitted in not a bright yellow one and none of this would have happened.”
“Perhaps.” And Celia had daddy’s trust fund so we would certainly be better off, Melanie thought to herself but she felt sorry for Alice so she didn’t say it.
“Although I do remember Sebastian backing away from me when he realised I was wearing the wrong colour outfit as if he was mortally ashamed of me.”
“Yes I remember that look on his face as if he turned up in his birthday suit for a funeral and was looking for anywhere to hide!”
“Under a table!”
“Behind a curtain!”
“Or in plain sight with a tray precariously placed to cover the essentials. A nude waiter – serving me a drink for a change”
“Oh how that would deflate his ego!”
Both of them laughed and it felt so good.
“So does Celia want the dress back?”
“I can’t really say, at least offering to might help things. I can give you her number if you like?”
“I wouldn’t dare ring her but my friend Clare, who altered the dress might. She’s better at fixing things than me.”
Melanie eased back into the slow lane as they approached their exit.
Alice recognised they were nearly home. “And we’d had such a nice day, even falling in the river. Or at least the pulling Sebastian in the river with me.”
“Yes, I’d have liked to have seen that. Maybe you should have held him under for a bit.”
They looked at each other “ARSE!” They shouted in unison.