S2 EP21 - I Meant It When I Said It


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‘Come,’ Maeve said, ‘come and see.’ She beckoned Mateo, and he got up from his desk and followed her. Her heels click-clacked on the restaurant’s tile floor. Only Maeve, Mateo thought, would wear a pencil skirt and heels to project manage a renovation.

She led Mateo to the restaurant’s back door, which opened onto 8 Pechey Terrace’s shared back garden. ‘Can you see what I’m seeing?’

Mateo saw a neglected patch of grass and weeds. ‘No.’

‘Garden terrace,’ Maeve said. ‘Fairy lights, flowers. We could fit eight, maybe ten tables out here.’

‘I don’t think the residents would be too happy about that.’

‘I can handle the residents,’ Maeve said. ‘It could be beautiful, couldn’t it?’

‘I suppose so,’ Mateo shrugged.

‘Ugh,’ Maeve muttered, ‘it’s like pulling teeth.’

‘You were the one…’

‘We need to talk about names,’ Maeve interrupted.

‘No, we don’t. The name is Abramo’s.’

‘Mateo…’

‘You didn’t have a problem keeping my name when it came to your career.’

‘I kept your name for Sergio’s sake,’ Maeve said. ‘And Abramo is your father’s name.’

‘So you think Maeve O’Shaughnessy would have been as successful a restaurant critic as Maeve Agresta?’

‘Yes,’ Maeve said, glaring at him. ‘Yes, I do.’

Her face dared him to argue. Mateo knew that face. He used to kiss her when she looked at him with that face.

*

Holly had told Angel to come to the Womenswear stock room when she finished her shift, and Angel had been so preoccupied wondering what she had planned that Elaine, the Womenswear Manager, had scolded her for ignoring customers. 

When the store closed, Angel went to the toilets to comb her hair and brush her teeth. She wanted to be prepared, but she took her time. She didn’t want to seem too keen. She wanted to seem nonchalant.

‘Come in, come in,’ Holly said, when Angel got to the stock room. ‘Sit… if you can find a seat.’

Angel perched on the edge of a crate. ‘So, what are we doing?’

Holly smiled. ‘I want you to model the new season’s stock,’ she said. ‘I want to take photos, blow them up and display them around the shop. If you’re OK with that.’

There was a knock at the door, and another girl from Womenswear walked in, tailed by a guy Angel recognised from the Menswear department. They weren’t, Angel realised, going to be alone.

‘I’m OK with that,’ she said, as nonchalantly as she could.

*

Holly settled herself on the couch. It was too early to go to bed, Aidan was out, and she couldn’t think of anything better to do than scroll through her phone.

She hadn’t been spending much time on social media, not wanting to come across photos of Jemma or comments she’d rather not read. But Aidan saying that that was ‘probably for the best’ had planted a worm of curiosity in her brain.

She opened Jemma’s feed. Her latest post was a photo of a latte with the caption: some days coffee is the only reason I get out of bed #healing #heartbreak. The post before that was a shot of a stormy Portobello Beach, with the same hashtags and the caption: blowing out the cobwebs. Holly kept scrolling. Since the day Jemma had posted the Breedr ad—which she’d deleted—it was all sad-eyed selfies and rain on windows and stacks of self-help books.

The door burst open and Aidan crashed in, glassy-eyed and red-faced. ‘I popped home to get changed,’ he said. ‘I’m going back out.’ He draped himself on the arm of the couch, and eyed Holly’s phone. ‘You’ve seen the pivot to heartbreak, then?’

Holly nodded. ‘Do you think I should text her?’

‘No,’ Aidan said. ‘No, I don’t.’ He got up. ‘I’ve got a taxi waiting.’ He pointed a  finger. ‘Don’t text her.’

‘I won’t,’ Holly said. She sent her a DM.

*

Erin’s phone rang, late on Friday night, after she was in bed. She fumbled to answer it before the noise woke the twins. It was Andy.

‘They’re still my kids,’ he said. He sounded drunk.

‘Of course they are,’ Erin said, sitting up. ‘That’s what I said. You’re their father.’

‘I’m their father,’ Andy slurred. ‘You’re not going to take them away from me.’

‘I don’t want to take them away from you, Andy.’

’They’re still my kids. And you’re not… I don’t want… you’re not going to tell anyone what you told me. Not Colin, not anyone. I want you to promise me you won’t tell anyone.’

Erin thought about James, what he’d said about lies. She thought about Colin, and Jen, and their kids.

‘I don’t…’

‘Promise me, Erin!’ Andy shouted.

‘I promise,’ Erin said. ‘I promise I won’t tell anyone.’

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