My new release Save the Date is now available on Amazon, currently just 99p/c.
Here’s a taster from the opening chapter…
‘Shall I see if I can get you an interview today?’ He grabbed at his desk phone and started to call them.
I nodded dumbly and smiled. ‘Have you got any other jobs suitable for me? I’m happy to apply for any position.’
He smiled back and shook his head, holding up a finger to silence me as he waited for the call to be answered. He smiled brightly as it was. I know that trick, well, doesn’t everyone?
They could see me in twenty minutes. Wasn’t I lucky?
I pasted on my own bright smile and agreed that I was. Twenty minutes, that sounded desperate to me. They were desperate, but then so was I. I needed a job and not just because I wanted to build a new life here and buy a house but because I’d just got paid from Temper Tantrums, less than normal obviously, and I’d had to hand most of it over to Charlotte to cover my share of the rent. By then I’d already told her I wouldn’t be coming back, citing the family reasons excuse again to stop her asking why. I could never tell her why. I could never say that she had betrayed me because she had no idea she had. Why would she? And now was not the time to be telling her.
I was putting all that behind me.
When I left the recruitment agency, clutching, in my hands, a scrappy piece of paper with the interview address on it, I stood outside and looked over the jobs they had advertised in the window. They were mostly for warehouse operatives or shop assistants. I’d have been happy with any of those except that the salaries were below what I needed. Dad had already told me how much I’d need to get the mortgage I wanted and the receptionist job only just made it.
I trogged along to my interview, stopping briefly outside Gough and Tipton, in my head I was already calling them Cough and Tickle, and I pushed open the door and strode in.
‘Yes?’ the current receptionist said. She was old, I mean well past retirement age and some, she had a little-old-lady perm and looked weary to the point of exhaustion.
‘I’ve come for an interview with Mr Gough.’ Out came my bright smile again.
‘Thank God for that,’ she said, picking up the phone. ‘Antony, your girl’s here.’ She plonked the phone down, pointed to a door and turned to me. ‘Go on in, love.’
So I did.
Antony Gough sat in a chair so large that it felt as though it filled the room. Mind you, it needed to be large because Antony was large. There was a strong aroma of stale pasty in the air and I hoped it wouldn’t cling to my clothes and hair. He hauled himself off the jumbo chair by leaning on his desk, and thrust a chubby hand at me.
‘I’m Zoe Tydeman,’ I said, taking his hand.
‘You’re a lovely young thing,’ came his reply. His brow was sweaty and he licked his lips.
I blinked several times. I really couldn’t believe my ears or my eyes. Should I just turn on my heels and leave right now? I stood there for a few more seconds, maybe as long as ten seconds all the while wondering if I had misheard him, not that I was mis-seeing the saliva running down his fat chops.
‘Why don’t you sit your lovely bottom down?’ he said, waving his big mitt at a chair.
‘I don’t think I will, thank you.’ With that, I turned around, yanked open the door and stomped out.
‘Oh,’ the old lady receptionist said. ‘That was quick.’
‘Quite. Someone should have a word with him. He’s disgusting.’ I headed for the exit.
‘I’m sure he didn’t mean anything…’
I frowned at her and nodded as she scurried off towards his office.
‘Antony, what happened?’
‘I don’t know, Mum,’ I heard him say. I stepped outside and took a big lungful of fresh air as I let the door bang closed behind me.
I rang the agency and gave Cam a tongue lashing. What the hell was he playing at sending me there? His defence was that he thought a London Girl would be able to handle an old letch like Antony Gough.
‘Idiot,’ I said, ending the call.
Fortunately, there were two other employment agencies and I gave them both a call while sitting in a little café by the market place and stuffing a pasty into my face. The irony was not lost on me that all that getting affronted had given me quite the appetite for a pasty, evidently.
Unfortunately, neither agency had anything suitable at the moment but they both had the job with Cough and Tickle on their books and I’m pretty sure they knew what Mr Gough was like. In this day and age, I ask you, how it is allowed to continue? And yet it does; Charlotte was accosted at work once, the man actually grabbed her buttock, from behind. She stamped back onto his foot with her heel then elbowed him in the paunch. He gave her a wide berth after that but who knows who else he pestered? She complained, but as there were no witnesses, nothing could be done.