Shortly, the guests arrive and Louise is all smiles and nervous pleasure. Imogen is there first, wearing an over-the-top black dinner dress and carrying a bottle of champagne, as if she’s attending a black-tie event.
“I know Alice likes to bring Cava.” She says to Louise, thrusting the bottle at her and sweeping past into the living room and embracing Adam warmly, an embrace he returns out of politeness, despite how awkward it makes him feel. “But you can’t beat the real thing, can you, Adam?” She thrusts her chest towards him and grins.
“I doubt there’s anything real about those, Imogen.” Adam smiles and turns away from her. He doesn’t think Louise would even notice Imogen flirting with him, she’s so wrapped up in the evening. The doorbell rings and Louise bolts to answer it, her giddy laugh and lightness of tone telling Adam it’s Jarvis before he sees or hears him.
“I’ve got another couple of friends around for dinner.” Louise is explaining as she shows him into the living room. “We met at antenatal, didn’t we, Imogen.” She holds her hand out to Imogen, indicating that Jarvis should approach her.
“This is Jarvis, Imogen.” Louise continues at a rate of knots. “He recently bought the car garage opposite the café, he lives upstairs from it. He’s lovely. He doesn’t know many people here yet, so we thought it would be nice…” She tails off. “Well, we thought it would be nice, didn’t we, Jarvis.”
Adam smiles – he can almost hear Louise’s interior voice telling her to shut up, to slow down. She’s so nervous, bless her, she wants this dinner party to be a success.
“Would you like a drink, Jarvis?” Adam interrupts, walking over and grabbing Jarvis by the hand to shake it. Firm grip, that’s good. Adam can’t stand a wet handshake.
“What’s on offer?” Jarvis says, smiling and glancing at Imogen.
“Hello, Jarvis,” Imogen says, stepping forward, arms pushed back, breasts thrusting forward. “Lovely to meet you.”
And like that, Adam knows he’s off the hook for the evening. Imogen has some new sport, fresh blood in the form of a motor mechanic with a firm handshake.
“Why couldn’t your husband make it tonight?” Louise says instantly.
Jarvis takes Imogen’s hand and leans in to kiss her cheek.
“Pleased to meet you Imogen.”
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