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By Elizabeth Young

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In Florence. She won't say, but it looks like Versace to me. " "Makes you sick, doesn't it? " " Mind you, I'm not sure I'd actually want a bloke like Paul. " From a couple of Mum's friends from the golf club I heard," mind you, I always think it's a shame when the younger sister gets married first. Sophy must be coming up to thirty and it's so hard for girls these days. " " Trudi, you're not supposed to say that word nowadays. Anyway, Sophy is seeing someone, Jennifer told me: a merchant banker, apparently.

If Maggie really had heard anything she'd have told a couple of cronies at the golf club and it would have got back to Mum by now. "That bloody woman" I said (with pretty convincing indignation, I thought). "Yes, Mum was livid. 'and all that. She only shut up about it when Emmerdale came on. " Her voice took on a weary note. "She's calling meI'd better go" Over a take-away souvlaki I recounted the conversation to Alix. "Honestly, I could strangle that girl sometimes. Gorgeous sunsets and elephants and the snows of Kilimanjaro!

Course, you could always do what I usually do, when up to my nuts in hassle," he went on, turning the pages noisily. "Leg it. Or wing itI'll take a quick look in the cheap-flights bit" Constructive suggestions from Ace had always come under the "Forlorn Hope" heading. Working on autopilot, my hand conveyed another chocolate finger to my mouth. The fact that the previous fifteen or so were making me feel vaguely sick was irrelevant. While under stress I've been known to autopilot jars of cocktail gherkins, half a packet of stale Ryvita, even a Bonio, though I admit this was an extreme case.

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