Remember Me?(2)

by Sophie Kinsella

“Fi!” “What?” Fi looks unrepentant. “They're not an item. Or much of one.” She carefully redoes her mouth in pillar-​box red. “I'm getting a whole new load of makeup,” she says, frowning at the blunt end of the lipstick. “Christian Dior, the whole lot. I can afford it now!” “You should!” I nod, trying to sound enthusiastic. A moment later Fi looks up with realization. “Oh, bollocks. Sorry, Lexi.” She puts an arm around my shoulder and squeezes. “You should have got a bonus. It's not fair.” 6 “It's fine.” I try to smile. “Next year.” “You okay?” Fi narrows her eyes at me. “You want to go for a drink or anything?” “No, I need to get to bed. I've got an early start in the morning.” Fi's face clears suddenly and she bites her lip. “Jesus. I forgot all about that, too. What with the bonuses and everything... Lexi, I'm sorry. This is a really shit time for you.” “It's fine!” I say at once. “It's... I'm trying not to make it a huge deal.” No one likes a whinger. So somehow I make myself smile brightly, just to show I'm fine with being the snagglytoothed, stood-​up, no-​bonus girl whose dad just died. Fi is silent for a moment, her green eyes glittering in the passing headlights. “Things'U turn around for you,” she says. “You think?” “Uh-​huh.” She nods, with more energy. “You just have to believe it. Come on.” She squeezes me. “What are you, woman or walrus?” Fi's been using that expression since we were both fifteen, and it makes me smile every time. “And you know what?” she adds. “I think your dad would have wanted you to turn up to his funeral hungover.” She met my dad a couple of times. She's probably right. “Hey, Lexi.” Fi's voice is suddenly softer, and I brace myself. I'm in a pretty edgy mood as it is, and if she says something nice about my dad, I might cry. I mean, I didn't know him that well or anything, but you only get one dad “Do you have a spare condom?” Her voice pierces my thoughts. Right. So I probably didn't need to worry about the sympathy overload.

“Just in case,” she adds with a wicked grin. “I mean, we'll probably just chat about world politics or whatever.” “Yeah. I'm so sure.” I root around inside my green birthday-​present Accessorize bag for the matching coin purse and produce a Durex, which I discreetly hand to her. “Thanks, babe.” She kisses me on the cheek. “Listen, d'you want to come to mine tomorrow night? After it's all over? I'll make spaghetti carbonara.” “Yeah.” I smile gratefully. “That would be great. I'll call you.” I'm already looking forward to it. A plate of delicious pasta, a glass of wine, and telling her all about the funeral. Fi can make the grimmest things seem funny...I know we'll end up in stitches. “Hey, there's a taxi! Taxiii!” I hurry to the edge of the pavement as the cab pulls up and beckon to Debs and Carolyn, who are screeching out “Dancing Queen.” Carolyn's glasses are spattered with raindrops, and she's about five notes ahead of Debs. “Hi there!” I lean through the window to the taxi driver, my hair dripping down my face. “Could you possibly take us first to Balham, and then” “Sorry, love, no karaoke.” The taxi driver cuts me off with a baleful glance at Debs and Carolyn. I stare at him, confused. “What d'you mean, no karaoke?” “I'm not 'aving them girls in 'ere, doin' me 'ead in with their bloody singing.” He has to be joking. You can't ban people for singing. “But” “My cab, my rules. No drunks, no drugs, no karaoke.” Before I can reply, he puts the taxi into gear and roars away down the road. “You can't have a 'no karaoke' rule!” I shout after the 8 cab in outrage. "It's... discrimination! It's against the law!

It's...“ I trail off helplessly and look around the pavement. Fi has disappeared back into Mr. Curie's arms. Debs and Carolyn are doing the worst ”Dancing Queen“ routine I've ever seen; in fact, I don't blame that taxi driver. The traffic is whooshing by, drenching us with spray; rain is drumming through my denim jacket into my hair; thoughts are circling around my head like socks in a dryer. We'll never find a taxi. We'll be stuck out here in the rain all night. Those banana cocktails were noxiousI should have stopped after four. I have my dad's funeral tomorrow. I've never been to a funeral before. What if I start sobbing and everyone stares at me? Loser Dave's probably in bed with some other girl right this second, telling her she's beautiful while she moans ”Butch! Butch!“ My feet are blistered and they're freezing ”Taxi!“ I instinctively scream the word, almost before I've registered the distant yellow light. It's coming up the road, signaling left. ”Don't turn!“ I wave frantically. ”Over here! Here!“ I have to get this cab. I have to. Clutching my denim jacket over my head, I run along the pavement, skidding slightly, yelling till I'm hoarse. ”Taxi! Taxi!“ As I reach the corner the pavement is crowded with people, and I skirt around them and up the steps to some grand municipal building. There's a balustraded platform with steps going right and left. I'll hail the taxi from up here, then run down and jump in. ”TAXI! TAAA-​XHI!“ Yes! It's pulling up. Thank God! At lastI can get home, run a bath, forget all about today. ”Here!“ I call out. ”Just coming, wait a sec“ To my consternation I notice a guy in a suit on the pave 9 ment below heading toward the taxi. ”It's ours!“ I roar, and start pelting down the opposite steps. ”It's ours! I hailed that cab! Don't you even dare Argh! Aaaaargh!" Even as my foot skids on the wet step I'm not sure what's happening. Then, as I start falling, my thoughts rush with disbelief: I've slipped on my stupid, cheap, shiny-​soled boots. I'm tumbling right over, down the steps, like a threeyear-

old. I scrabble desperately at the stone balustrade, scraping my skin, wrenching my hand, dropping my Accessorize bag, grabbing for anything, but I can't stop myself Oh shit. The ground's coming straight toward methere's nothing I can dothis is really, really going to hurt...

Chapter 1

How long have I been awake? Is it morning yet? I feel so rough. What happened last night? God, my head hurts. Okay, I'm never drinking again, ever.

I feel so woozy I can't even think, let alone... Oww. How long have I been awake? My head is splitting and kind of foggy. And my mouth is parched. This is the most monster hangover I've ever had. I'm never drinking again, ever.