I ARRIVE HOME that afternoon, feeling weary and misera-ble. Suddenly, triple-A-rated jobs in
Banking and Harrods with Luke Brandon seem miles away. Real life isn’t swanning round Knightsbridge
In a taxi, choosing £1,000 suitcases, is it? This is real life. Home to a tiny flat which still smells of curry,
And a pile of nasty letters from the bank, and no idea what to do about them.
I put my key in the lock, and as I open the door, I hear Suze cry “Bex? Is that you?”
“Yes!” I say, trying to sound cheerful. “Where are you?”
“Here,” she says, appearing at the door of my bedroom. Her face is all pink, and there’s a shine in her
Eyes. “Guess what! I’ve got a surprise for you!”
“What is it?” I say, putting down my briefcase. To be honest, I’m not in the mood for one of Suze’s
Surprises. She’ll just have moved my bed to a different
place, or something. And all I want is to sit down
And have a cup of tea and something to eat. I never did get any lunch.
“Come and see. No, no, shut your eyes, first. I’ll lead you.”
“OK,” I say reluctantly. I close my eyes and allow her to takemy hand. We start to walk along the
Corridor – and of course, as we near my bedroom door, I start feeling a little tingle of anticipa-tion in
Spite of myself. I always fall for things like this.
“Da-daaa! You can look now!”
I open my eyes and look dazedly around my room, wonder-ing what mad thing Suze has done. At least
She hasn’t painted the walls or touched the curtains, and my computer’s safely switched off. So what on
Earth can she have. . .
And then I see them. On my bed. Piles and piles of uphol-stered frames. All made up perfectly, with no
Wonky corners, and the braid glued neatly in place. I can’t quite believe my eyes. There must be at
Least. . .
“I’ve done a hundred,” says Suze behind me. “And I’m going to do the rest tomorrow! Aren’t they
I turn and stare incredulously at her. “You. . . you did all these?”
“Yes!” she says proudly. “It was easy, once I got into a rhythm. I did it in front of Morning Coffee. Oh,
I wish you’d seen it. They had such a good phone-in, about men who dress up in women’s clothes!
Emma was being all sympathetic, but Rory looked like he wanted to – “
“Wait,” I say, trying to get my head round this. “Wait. Suze, I don’t understand. This must have taken
You ages.” My eye runs disbelievingly over the pile of frames again. “Why. . . why on earth did you – “
“Well, you weren’t getting very far with them, were you?” says Suze. “I just thought I’d give you a
“A helping hand?” I echo weakly.
“I’ll do the rest tomorrow, and then I’ll ring up the delivery people,” says Suze. “You know, it’s a very
Good system. You don’t have to post them, or anything. They just come and pick them up! And then
They’ll send you a check. It should come to about £284. Pretty good, huh?”
“Hang on.” I turn round. “What do you mean, they’ll send me a check?” Suze looks at me as though I’m
“Well, Bex, they are your frames.”
“But you made them! Suze, you should get the money!”
“But I did them for you!” says Suze, and stares at me. “I did them so you could make your three
I stare at her silently, feeling a sudden thickness in my throat. Suze made all these frames for me. Slowly
I sit down on the bed, pick up one of the frames, and run my finger along the fabric. It’s absolutely