By: Georgia Le Carre

Chapter One


“If only you had the courage …”

“What are you wearing to Rosa’s party tonight?” Cindy asks, swinging her long shapely legs onto her manager’s desk and wiggling her flawlessly manicured toes.

“I’m not going,” I say, reaching for the packet of salt and vinegar crisps lying on the table.

“Why not?” she demands, her eyes flashing.

I tear the packet open. “Bed for me. I’m whacked.”

She looks at me impatiently. “You’re too tired to attend the hottest, biggest bash of the year?”

“It’s true, I am exhausted. I didn’t sleep very well last night, and anyway, what does it matter if I don’t go? It’s not like Rosa and I are close. As a matter of fact, she doesn’t even like me.”

She stares at me. “Why do you keep saying that? It’s just not true.”

I shrug. “Whatever.”

“I don’t know where you got the impression that Rosa doesn’t like you from, but you’re wrong,” she insists.

I pop a crisp into my mouth, crunching down with a sigh. “How come she never calls me then?”

“You know how it is with her. She’s super busy.”

I look at her meaningfully. “For the last five years?”

Her eyes narrow. She obviously did not realize Rosa and I have not spoken for years. “Did something happen between you guys?”

I shake my head and keep my voice casual. “Nope. When Star and I fell out, she decided to stay friends with Star and not me.”

She looks at me curiously. “What happened between you and Star? The four of us were the best of friends, then one day you two were no longer on speaking terms. She won’t talk about it and neither will you.”

I force a smile. “Yeah, well. I guess it’s all water under the bridge now.”

She scrunches up her nose. “Actually, she asked about you the other night.”

I feel a flash of pain in my chest. The hurt is still there. I loved Star once. “Yeah?”

“Hmmm. She asked how you were doing.”

We were all in school together. The four of us. Star, Rosa, Cindy and me. We went everywhere together. We said we’d be friends forever. We even did that stupid thing of pricking our thumbs and mixing our blood. That time feels like a dream now. Unreal and faded around the edges.

How young and carefree we were. At eleven we thought the whole world was our oyster. Star wanted to be an author, Rosa wanted to be something important in the fashion industry, Cindy wanted to be a businesswoman, and I wanted to be a doctor.

Yeah, well, I was young. I was good at biology, and I didn’t know what awaited me.

It all fell apart after Star found Nigel. Rosa went off to America to do her internship. I gave up my studies to help take care of my sister when she got cancer, and Cindy went on to get her university degree.

I look down at the crisps inside the packet. “Is Star coming tonight?”

“No, she’s been flown away to France in her new billionaire lover’s private jet,” she says in a dreamy voice.

I can’t help it. I pick at the scab and make the wound bleed. “So … her marriage to Nigel is definitely … over?”

“Dead and buried, thank god. Good riddance to that blood sucking tick.” Cindy’s voice has lost all its softness. It is hard with dislike.

I nod and pretend to be disinterested. “Is she … happy?”


“That’s good. I’m happy for her.” True. I am happy for her. I hope she’s found real happiness this time. I don’t begrudge her that. I put Star out of my mind. That was all in the past. She’s found her dream and I have my life to sort out.

“We seem to have gone off on a tangent here,” Cindy says. “Why won’t you come to the party tonight, Raven?”

“I told you, I’m tired.” I stuff my mouth with a couple more crisps and chomp at them.

“Bullshit. You’re letting life pass you by. Before you know it, you’ll be dropping your teeth into a glass of water before bed.”

“I wonder what rubbing my gums together will feel like?”

She gives me an exasperated stare. “Be serious, Raven. You have to come tonight. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t. It’s going to be wall to wall with hot male models.”

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