LOS ANGELES MARIAN KEYES PDF

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Download Los Angeles - Marian Keyes em ePUB mobi e PDF. Read “Angels”, by Marian Keyes online on Bookmate – After catching her and flees to her best friend, Emily, in the faraway wonderland of Los Angeles. Marian keyes los angeles pdf download November 14,Alan Keyes and Markham Robinson, chairman of the American Independent Party and a.


Los Angeles Marian Keyes Pdf

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angels a novel marian keyes For Tony Contents E-book Extra: The Seven Deadlies: A “Shortly we will be landing at Los Angeles International Airport. Please. Angels Marian Keyes PDF - Angels ela descobre que seu marido está tendo um caso ela vai para Los Angeles passar um tempo com sua amiga, Emily. She decides, for the first time in her life, to do something daring -- and flees to her best friend, Emily, in the faraway wonderland of Los Angeles. In this mecca of.

Her dynamic glamour reduced me to stammering inadequacy, and by the time I'd cobbled together an answer, she'd have lost interest and moved on. But even if I had liked Liam and Elaine, I still wouldn't have wanted to go out that particular night—putting on a big fat happy head is that much harder if you've an audience. Also there was a pile of scary manila envelopes to be dealt with at home.

Plus two soaps eager to tend to my needs and a couch that couldn't do enough for me. Time was too precious to waste an entire evening out enjoying myself.

And I was so tired. I guess the clue is in the word: Specifically, entertainment law. After we'd gotten married, Garv, on account of his general fabulousness, had been sent for five years to his company's Chicago office.

I'd worked for one of the big legal firms there, so when we'd returned to Ireland three years ago, I'd claimed to be well versed in U. The kicker was that even though I'd done night classes and gotten some qualifications in Chicago, I wasn't a proper lawyer. Which meant I got tons of the work, most of the abuse, and only a fraction of the moola. I was more of an interpreter, I suppose; a clause that meant one thing in Ireland could mean something different in the states, so I translated U.

I lived in vague but constant fear. Sometimes, in those dreams, all my teeth fell out as well. Other times, I'm sitting in the office and I look down to find that I'm naked and that I need to get up and use the photocopier. Anyway, the day the balloon went up, I was very busy.

So busy that my new fitness regime had gone by the board. I'd recently realized that biting my nails was the only exercise I was getting, so I'd hatched a cunning plan: But no time for such self-indulgence that particular day. A deal with a film studio was about to fall apart, and if the contract wasn't finalized that week, the actor who'd attached himself to the project was going to walk.

Take my word for it, it was as glamorous as a cold sore. Even the occasional business lunches at expensive restaurants weren't all that. I could never truly relax; the client always asked a question requiring a long and detailed answer just after I'd put a forkful of food into my mouth. The scriptwriter—my client—was desperate to get the contract all sorted out so that he could get his fee and his family could eat.

And his father might finally be proud of him, but I digress. The U. Late in the day we dotted the final i and crossed the final t, and even though I was wrecked, I felt light and happy.

Then I remembered that we were supposed to be going out with Liam and Elaine that evening and a cloud passed over the sun.

It wasn't so bad, I consoled myself; at least I'd get a nice dinner out of it—they were fond of fancy restaurants. If only it was our turn to cancel! And then, just when it seemed that we were beyond all hope, the call came. Give me a cell phone and a curling iron and I'm happy. Then I remembered myself: I was just about to call them and pretend our house had been burned down or something.

Well, see you back at the ranch. Should I pick up something? I'll do it. Trying to keep my prone-to-quaver-under-pressure voice free of telltale traces of fear. No, actually it wasn't. She was talking about yet another contract, one I hadn't even started on.

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There was no point whining to Frances that all day I'd been frantically sewing up a great deal. She rarely left the office, and popular opinion not that she was popular, of course had it that she slept under her desk and washed—like a bag lady—in the staff toilets. As she hammered her heels back to her office I looked appraisingly at the computer I'd just switched off.

Should I stay and do a couple of hours on it then and there? But I couldn't. I was all out. Of enthusiasm, of work ethic, of whatever. Instead I'd come in very early tomorrow and do it then. I hadn't eaten much all day. At lunchtime, instead of stopping work, I'd foraged in my desk drawer for a half-eaten Mars bar that I'd vaguely remembered abandoning some days earlier.

I brushed off the worst of the fluff and paper clips and, I must say, it was delicious. So as I drove home I was hungry and I knew there would be nothing in the house. We subsisted, like most people we knew, on microwaved stuff, takeout, and meals out. Now and again—at least, before things had gone weird on us—when we'd cleared our backlog of ordinary worries, we'd spend a bit of time worrying that we weren't getting enough vitamins.

So we'd vow to embrace a new, healthier way and download a jar of multivitamins, which we'd take for a day or so, then forget about. It was only when it became clear that the food had to be eaten that the trouble would begin. Immediately, events always set about conspiring to thwart our cooking plans: The ensuing week was usually spent in edgy awareness of all the fresh fruits and vegetables clamoring for our attention.

We could hardly bear to go into the kitchen. Slowly, day by day, as the food went bad, we'd furtively throw it out, never acknowledging to each other what we were doing. And only when the final kiwi had been bounced off the inside of the trash can did the black shadow lift and we could relax again.

Give me a frozen pizza anytime, far less stressful. Which is precisely what I bought for that evening's meal. I ran into the grocery store and flung a couple of pizzas and some breakfast cereals into a basket. And then fate intervened. I can go without chocolate for weeks at a time. Okay, days. But once I have a bit I want more, and the fluff-covered lunchtime Mars bar had roused the hungry beast.

Who knows what would have happened if I hadn't? Garv was already home and we greeted each other a little warily. We hadn't expected that this evening would be just the two of us; we'd been kind of depending on Liam and Elaine to dilute the funny atmosphere between us. Says he thinks it's sexy, but she's afraid she'll look like a gorilla. What's good for the goose and all that.

For the office his hair was Ivy League neat: There are some men who are so good-looking that meeting them is like being hit on the head with a mallet. And she really loves shoes. But then Claire's husband had an affair and left her, so everything works out for the best in the end, I suppose. How was yours? I had a nice ten minutes between fourfifteen and four twenty-five when I stood on the fire escape and pretended I still smoked.

But in my opinion it's a mistake to equate number crunching with being boring; one of the most boring men I ever met was this idiot novelist boyfriend of Donna's.

Can you be more specific? Now we're getting someplace. It might have to be put down. Of course I knew. Every time I went into town with Garv we had to stop at the electronics department in Brown Thomas and stand before said telly, admiring it in all its twelve thousand pounds' worth of glory.

Though Garv was well paid, he didn't earn anything like Liam's telephone-number chunk. And one day soon you'll be able to afford one of your own. As soon as we finish furnishing the house. With a slight spring in his step, he helped unload the shopping.

And that was when it happened. Are they following us? I hadn't a clue as to what he was talking about. My brow furrowed with curiosity, I stared at him. He stared back at me and, quite suddenly, several things occurred at once. The playful light in his eyes exited, to be replaced with an expression of fear. Horror, even. And before the thoughts had even formed themselves into any order in my consciousness, I knew. And the moment had been recently. I felt as if I was falling, that I would go on falling forever.

Then, abruptly, I made myself stop. And I knew something else: I couldn't do this. Shocked into stillness, our eyes locked, I silently beseeched his expression, desperate for him to say something to explain it, to make it all go away.

But his face was frozen in horror—the same horror that I felt. A sudden stab of agony shot up into my back tooth and, as though I was dreaming, I found myself leaving the room. Garv didn't follow me; he remained in the kitchen. I could hear no sounds of him moving around and I presumed he was still standing where I'd left him. This, in itself, seemed like an admission of guilt. Still in my waking nightmare, I was picking up the remote and switching on the telly.

I was waiting to wake up. Perhaps I should have been shrieking for details—who was she? How long? But at the best of times that wasn't my way, and after all we'd gone through over the past while, I'd no fight left in me. But I'd been born without the diva gene, so when devastation hit me I usually kept it inside, turning it over and over, trying to make sense of it.

My misery was like an ingrown hair, curling farther and farther under my skin. But what goes in must come out, and my pain invariably reemerged in the form of scaly, flaking, weeping eczema on my right arm. It was a cast-iron barometer of my emotional state and that night it tingled and itched so much I scratched until it bled.

I went to bed before Garv and to my surprise actually managed to fall asleep—the shock perhaps? It was probably four A. Four in the morning is the bleakest time, when we're at our lowest ebb. It's when sick people die. It's when people being tortured crack. Then, wincing, I faced the repulsive revelation head-on: Garv and this truffle woman, was he really having a thing with her?

In agony, I admitted that he probably was; the signs were there. Looked at from the outside I'd conclude that he definitely was, but isn't it always different when it's your life that's under scrutiny? I'd been so afraid of something like this happening, so much so that I'd half prepared myself for it. But now that it seemed that it had come to pass, I wasn't at all ready. He must be up to something. But that was too much to take on and I was back to not believing it. I mean, if he'd been messing around, surely I'd have noticed?

The obvious thing was to ask him straight out and put an end to the speculation, but he was bound to lie like a rug. Worse still, he might tell me the truth.

Out of nowhere, lines came to me from a B movie. The truth? Accompanied by a curled lip. The thoughts kept coming. Could she be someone he worked with? Might I have met her at their Christmas party? I shuffled through my memories of that night, endeavoring to locate a funny look or a loaded comment.

But all I could remember was dancing the hora with Jessica Benson, one of his colleagues. Could it be her? But she'd been so nice to me. I was ashamed to have even had that thought, but I couldn't help myself; suddenly I trusted no one and suspected everyone.

She and Garv always had a great laugh and she called him Dr. I went cold as I remembered reading somewhere that nicknames were a surefire indication that people were up to high jinks. But, with a silent sigh, I released Donna without charge: Plus, for reasons best known to herself, she was mad about Robbie the flake.

Unless he was an elaborate red herring, of course. But there was one thing that convinced me above all others that Garv wasn't having an affair with Donna and that was the fact that she'd told him about her corns. In fact, she'd pulled off her boot and sock and thrust her foot at him so that he could see for himself just how gross they were, and if you're having a passionate fling with someone, you don't do stuff like that.

It's all about mystique and impractical bras and round-the-clock upkeep on hairy legs, or so I'm told. Or what about my friend Sinead? Garv was so kind to her. But it was only three months since she'd been shown the door by her boyfriend, Dave. Surely she was far too fragile for an affair with her friend's husband—and far too fragile for any normal man to make a move on her. Unless it was her fragility that Garv liked. But wasn't he getting enough of that from me? Why go out for broken crockery when you've got it in absolute smithereens at home?

Beside me, I realized that Garv was awake too—his fake deep breathing was the giveaway. So we could talk. Except we couldn't, we'd been trying for months. I didn't hear the intake of breath that precedes speech, so I was startled when the ink-dark silence was violated by Garv's voice. The worst thing he could have said. The word hung in the darkness and wouldn't go away. In my head I heard it echo again, then again. Each time fainter, until I wondered if I'd just imagined hearing it.

Minutes passed. Without ever replying, I turned my back to him and surprised myself by falling asleep again. My eczema was back in force and I'd have to start wearing gloves in bed again if this continued. But would it continue? Again I got that falling sensation. Despite sidestepping Garv, I ended up getting to work late. The contract wasn't on Frances's desk by nine-thirty. It's meant to reach the parts a chewing-out doesn't and make you feel shitty and ashamed. However, I appreciated not being shouted at.

Not the reaction Frances was looking for, I suspect. I felt entirely lost, but at the same time unnaturally calm—almost as if I'd been waiting for a catastrophe and it was a weird sort of relief that it had finally happened. Because I had no idea how to behave in these circumstances, I decided to just follow everyone else's lead and immerse myself in work.

Wasn't it strange, I thought, that after such a dreadful shock I was still functioning as normal? For seconds, I'd manage to lose myself in a contract clause, but all the time the knowledge surrounded me: Something is very wrong. All I said was I was surprised by your downloading a brown one. I would never download a brown skirt; don't you know the first thing about me?

I'd been wrong. But this time was different, I was horribly sure of it. At lunchtime I just couldn't find it in me to care about my urgent piles of work, so I went to Grafton Street, looking for comfort. Which took the form of spending money—again. Unenthusiastically, I bought a scented candle and a cheapish relatively speaking copy of a Gucci bag. But neither of them did anything to fill the void. Then I stopped at a drug-store to get painkillers for my tooth and got intercepted by a white-coated, orange-faced woman who told me that if I bought two Clarins products—one of which had to be skin care—I'd get a free gift.

Rachel's Holiday

But back at work, when I opened my present, it was a lot less exciting than it had looked in the picture: Anticlimax set in, then, in an unexpected reprieve of normality, came guilt, which swelled big and ugly as the afternoon lengthened.

I had to stop spending money. And before I'd made it back to the car, my eye was caught by yellow flowery flip-flops in a shoe-shop window and, like an out-of-body experience, I found myself inside, handing over my credit card. It wasn't safe to let me out. That evening I went to a work thing and did something I didn't usually do at work things—I got drunk.

Messy drunk, so bad that on one of my many trips back from the loo, when I met Stuart Keating, I ended up lunging at him. Then we were kissing, but only for a second before I had to disengage. What was I doing? From across the room Frances watched me, her expression unreadable. When I got home, Garv was waiting, bolt upright, like an anxious parent. He tried to talk to me, but I mumbled drunkenly that I had to go to sleep and lurched to the bedroom, Garv in hot pursuit.

I stripped off my clothes, letting them lie where they fell, and climbed between the sheets. Too tired, drunk, whatever to get on my feet and go to the bathroom, I slipped them out and plopped them into the handily placed glass of water, promising myself I'd rinse them good and proper in the solution in the morning. But when morning came my tongue was Super Glued with dryness to the roof of my mouth. Automatically I stretched out my hand for the glass of water and gulped it in one go. My contact lenses.

The third time in six weeks. They were only monthly disposables, but all the same. And the following day, as luck would have it, I lost my job.

I wasn't exactly sacked. But my contract wasn't renewed. It was a six-month contract and since I'd moved back to Dublin from Chicago it had already been renewed five times.

You were hardworking and reliable. That sounded like me all right. On a good day. Of course I'd known that in my head, stuff hadn't been great, but I'd thought I'd done a pretty good job of presenting a convincing business-as-usual facade to the outside world.

But I remained sitting like a plank, my face closed. It was no one's business but mine. Yet, paradoxically, I felt she should have seen that something had been very wrong over the past months and made allowances for me. I've had more rational moments, I suspect. In fact, the last time had been when I was seventeen and baby-sitting for a neighbor.

I'll never forget it: Damian was standing at the top of the stairs and his expression was deeply malevolent. To be honest, it was nearly a relief. But since then I had never been fired. I was a pretty good worker—not so good that I was ever in danger of winning the employeeof-the-month award—but fairly reliable and productive. I don't really understand why.

Because, you know, it's not easy to leave someone. Not in real life. In fiction it's all so cut and dried and clear: Or if he's having an affair, then you'd be a total idiot to stay, right? But in real life it's amazing the things that conspire to keep you together. You might think, okay, so we can't seem to make each other happy anymore, but I get along so well with his sister and my friends are so fond of him that our lives are too interwoven for us to be able to extricate ourselves.

And this is our house, and see those lupines in our little back garden? I planted them. Well, not planted planted, I didn't actually put them in the ground with my own hands, it was a weird old man we hired named Michael who did, but I masterminded the whole thing. Leaving someone is a big deal. I was walking away from a lot more than a person; it was an entire life I was saying good-bye to. But the shock of losing my job had triggered the conviction that everything was falling apart.

Losing a job? Why not go for broke and lose a marriage as well? Ours had suffered so many body blows during the past months, it was over in all but name anyway. By the time Garv came home from work, I was in the bedroom, waist-high in a pathetic attempt at packing. How anyone manages to do a midnight flit is beyond me. Most people if they're anything like me accumulate so much stuff. He stood and looked at me and it was like I was dreaming the whole thing. He seemed surprised. Or maybe not.

I'm leaving you! It's OVER. Such resignation in it. He agreed with me, it seemed. What happened? I'll take care of it. Maybe I should have been angry with him and truffle woman. Perhaps I should have despised him for not jumping into the breach and promising me passionately that he wouldn't let me go, and that we could work it out.

But the truth was, right then, I wanted to go. That's how I'd like to describe my family, the Walshes. Well, actually, that's not how I'd like to describe my family. I'd like to describe my family as the prototype for the Brady Bunch. I'd like to describe my family as the Waltons of Walton's Mountain. But alas, maintenance-level dysfunctional is as good as it gets.

I have four sisters and the credo that each of them seems to live her life by is The More Dramas the Better. Sample thereof. Claire's husband left her the day she'd given birth to their first child; Rachel is a [recovered] addict; Anna doesn't really do reality; and Helen, the youngest, well, it's kind of hard for me to describe… But I've never been fond of chaos and I couldn't figure out why I was so different. In my lonelier moments, I used to entertain a fantasy that I was adopted.

Which I could never truly relax into because it was obvious from my appearance that I was one of them. My sisters and I come in two versions: Model A and Model B. The As are tall, wholesome-looking, and, if left unchecked, have brick-shit-house tendencies.

I am a text-book Model A. My eldest sister, Claire, and the sister next in line to me, Rachel, are also Model As. Model Bs, on the other hand, are small, kitten-cute and gorgeous.

With their long dark hair, slanty green eyes, and slender limbs, the two youngest sister, Anna and Helen, are both clear-cut examples of the genre. Sometimes even our mother can't tell them apart—although that's probably as much to do with her not wearing her glasses as their appearance, now that I come to think of it.

To make it easy, Anna—a neo-hippie—dresses as though she's been rummaging through the dressingup box. Helen is the one with the air of psychosis. Model As share the common characteristics of being tall and strong. Not necessarily fat. Not necessarily. Indeed, Model As have been known to look willowy and slender. If they're in the grip of anorexia, that is—not as unlikely as it sounds. It's certainly happened, although not, sadly, to me.

I'd never really had an eating disorder; apparently I didn't have the imagination, Helen told me. However, I mightn't have an eating disorder, but I suspected I had a mild problem with another form of bulimia—shopping bulimia.

It seemed as if I was always splurging on stuff, then trying to return it. My parents wholly approved of this sepiatinted version of me, but my younger sisters—affectionately, mind—treated me as a figure of fun.

Most of the time I humored them, but that particular day I suddenly balked against being—affectionately, of course—depicted as life-crushingly dull. I bet you've a huge stash of cash in a cookie tin under your bed. She has her savings in a high-interest account. I don't have any savings!

And I'm always downloading things I don't need. Sometimes they only give store credits, so that's the same as spending money. So overwrought was I that eventually Mum made Helen apologize. You know the way Garv sees the good in most people?

Well, he suspends such altruism around most of my family. I'm not a totally plain-vanilla, well-adjusted good girl?

I could have moved in with Donna except she'd recently managed to get on-again-off-again-I'll-just-get-my-head-out-of-my-arse-if-you'llgive-me-a-second Robbie to live with her, so I wasn't sure she'd welcome the presence of a third party.

Or I could have asked Sinead except Dave had kicked her out and she was currently even more homeless than me. And I could have tried my best friend, Emily, who has plenty of room.

The only problem is that she lives in Los Angeles. Not exactly handy. So, cap in hand, I have to return to the bosom of my family. First, though, I have to tell them why and I'm dreading it.

Perhaps it's never easy to disappoint your parents, but in my case it feels extra difficult. Now, after successfully avoiding them for all those years, it was my turn for the baleful looks. I paused at the front door before letting myself in. Just taking a moment. Filled with a fierce need to run away, leave the country, avoid facing my atrocious failure Then, with a sigh, I shoved my key in the lock.

There was a racket coming from the television room and it sounded like all those currently domiciled in the house—Mum, Dad, Helen, and Anna—were actually present. Helen, at twenty-five, still lived at home because of her on-off relationship with gainful employment—she's had many career changes. Two or three years had been spent wasting time at college, and after a spell of unemployment she'd tried to be a flight attendant but couldn't manage to be pleasant enough.

More unemployment followed, then she took an expensive course as a makeup artist, but she'd hoped to work in theater and film and instead ended up doing wedding after wedding after wedding—mostly the daughters of my parents' friends. But Mum's efforts to drum up work for Helen weren't appreciated and, in high dudgeon, she told me that Helen had sworn that if she ever had to make up another six-yearold flower girl, she'd gouge her eyes out with her taupe eyeliner.

It wasn't clear whether she was talking about her own eyes or the flower girl's. Helen's problem is that she's burdened with high intelligence coupled with an unfeasibly short attention span and she has yet to find her true calling.

Unlike Anna, who has yet to find any calling, true or otherwise. She's resisted any encouragement to embark on a career path and has eked out a living waitressing, bartending, and reading tarot cards. Never for any sustained period, mind; her CV is probably as long as War and Peace.

Until she and her ex-boyfriend Shane had split up, they'd lived a hand-to-mouth, free-spirited existence. They were the type who'd pop out for ten minutes to download a Kit Kat and the next time you'd hear from them they'd be in Istanbul, working in a tannery.

Actually, that's a complete lie. I'd have hated it—the insecurity, never knowing if you could eat, download exfoliator, that sort of thing. There was a time when we felt her sweet, absent nature was caused by her fondness for recreational drugs, but she kicked that habit about four years ago, around the same time that Rachel did. And though she's possibly a little more lucid than she used to be, I couldn't say for sure.

She'd moved back in with my parents a few months before, when she'd broken up with Shane—though she hadn't been given the same sort of grief as I expected to get. One, because she hadn't been married, and two, because they seemed to expect her to be unreliable. Cautiously I opened the living room door. They were clustered on the couch watching Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? I'm not about to lose ninety-three thousand pounds.

We subsisted, like most people we knew, on microwaved stuff, takeout, and meals out. Now and again—at least, before things had gone weird on us—when we'd cleared our backlog of ordinary worries, we'd spend a bit of time worrying that we weren't getting enough vitamins. So we'd vow to embrace a new, healthier way and download a jar of multivitamins, which we'd take for a day or so, then forget about. It was only when it became clear that the food had to be eaten that the trouble would begin.

Immediately, events always set about conspiring to thwart our cooking plans: we'd have to work late or go out for someone's birthday. The ensuing week was usually spent in edgy awareness of all the fresh fruits and vegetables clamoring for our attention.

We could hardly bear to go into the kitchen. Slowly, day by day, as the food went bad, we'd furtively throw it out, never acknowledging to each other what we were doing. And only when the final kiwi had been bounced off the inside of the trash can did the black shadow lift and we could relax again. Give me a frozen pizza anytime, far less stressful. Which is precisely what I bought for that evening's meal. I ran into the grocery store and flung a couple of pizzas and some breakfast cereals into a basket.

And then fate intervened. I can go without chocolate for weeks at a time. Okay, days. But once I have a bit I want more, and the fluff-covered lunchtime Mars bar had roused the hungry beast. Who knows what would have happened if I hadn't? Garv was already home and we greeted each other a little warily.

We hadn't expected that this evening would be just the two of us; we'd been kind of depending on Liam and Elaine to dilute the funny atmosphere between us. Says he thinks it's sexy, but she's afraid she'll look like a gorilla. What's good for the goose and all that. For the office his hair was Ivy League neat: sleeked back off his face and shorn close at the neck, but off duty, it flopped down over his forehead. There are some men who are so good-looking that meeting them is like being hit on the head with a mallet.

And she really loves shoes. But then Claire's husband had an affair and left her, so everything works out for the best in the end, I suppose. How was yours? I had a nice ten minutes between fourfifteen and four twenty-five when I stood on the fire escape and pretended I still smoked.

But in my opinion it's a mistake to equate number crunching with being boring; one of the most boring men I ever met was this idiot novelist boyfriend of Donna's. Can you be more specific? Now we're getting someplace. It might have to be put down. Of course I knew. Every time I went into town with Garv we had to stop at the electronics department in Brown Thomas and stand before said telly, admiring it in all its twelve thousand pounds' worth of glory. Though Garv was well paid, he didn't earn anything like Liam's telephone-number chunk.

And one day soon you'll be able to afford one of your own. As soon as we finish furnishing the house. With a slight spring in his step, he helped unload the shopping.

And that was when it happened. Are they following us? I hadn't a clue as to what he was talking about. My brow furrowed with curiosity, I stared at him.

He stared back at me and, quite suddenly, several things occurred at once. The playful light in his eyes exited, to be replaced with an expression of fear. Horror, even.

And before the thoughts had even formed themselves into any order in my consciousness, I knew. And the moment had been recently. I felt as if I was falling, that I would go on falling forever. Then, abruptly, I made myself stop.

And I knew something else: I couldn't do this. Shocked into stillness, our eyes locked, I silently beseeched his expression, desperate for him to say something to explain it, to make it all go away. But his face was frozen in horror—the same horror that I felt. A sudden stab of agony shot up into my back tooth and, as though I was dreaming, I found myself leaving the room.

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Garv didn't follow me; he remained in the kitchen. I could hear no sounds of him moving around and I presumed he was still standing where I'd left him. This, in itself, seemed like an admission of guilt. Still in my waking nightmare, I was picking up the remote and switching on the telly. I was waiting to wake up. Perhaps I should have been shrieking for details—who was she? How long? But at the best of times that wasn't my way, and after all we'd gone through over the past while, I'd no fight left in me.

But I'd been born without the diva gene, so when devastation hit me I usually kept it inside, turning it over and over, trying to make sense of it. My misery was like an ingrown hair, curling farther and farther under my skin. But what goes in must come out, and my pain invariably reemerged in the form of scaly, flaking, weeping eczema on my right arm. It was a cast-iron barometer of my emotional state and that night it tingled and itched so much I scratched until it bled.

I went to bed before Garv and to my surprise actually managed to fall asleep—the shock perhaps? It was probably four A. Four in the morning is the bleakest time, when we're at our lowest ebb. It's when sick people die. It's when people being tortured crack. Then, wincing, I faced the repulsive revelation head-on: Garv and this truffle woman, was he really having a thing with her?

In agony, I admitted that he probably was; the signs were there. Looked at from the outside I'd conclude that he definitely was, but isn't it always different when it's your life that's under scrutiny? I'd been so afraid of something like this happening, so much so that I'd half prepared myself for it. But now that it seemed that it had come to pass, I wasn't at all ready. He must be up to something. But that was too much to take on and I was back to not believing it.

I mean, if he'd been messing around, surely I'd have noticed? The obvious thing was to ask him straight out and put an end to the speculation, but he was bound to lie like a rug. Worse still, he might tell me the truth. Out of nowhere, lines came to me from a B movie. The truth? Accompanied by a curled lip. The thoughts kept coming. Could she be someone he worked with? Might I have met her at their Christmas party?

I shuffled through my memories of that night, endeavoring to locate a funny look or a loaded comment. But all I could remember was dancing the hora with Jessica Benson, one of his colleagues. Could it be her? But she'd been so nice to me. I was ashamed to have even had that thought, but I couldn't help myself; suddenly I trusted no one and suspected everyone.

She and Garv always had a great laugh and she called him Dr. I went cold as I remembered reading somewhere that nicknames were a surefire indication that people were up to high jinks. But, with a silent sigh, I released Donna without charge: she was one of my best friends; I truly couldn't believe she'd do that to me. Plus, for reasons best known to herself, she was mad about Robbie the flake.

Unless he was an elaborate red herring, of course. But there was one thing that convinced me above all others that Garv wasn't having an affair with Donna and that was the fact that she'd told him about her corns. In fact, she'd pulled off her boot and sock and thrust her foot at him so that he could see for himself just how gross they were, and if you're having a passionate fling with someone, you don't do stuff like that. It's all about mystique and impractical bras and round-the-clock upkeep on hairy legs, or so I'm told.

Or what about my friend Sinead?

Garv was so kind to her. But it was only three months since she'd been shown the door by her boyfriend, Dave. Surely she was far too fragile for an affair with her friend's husband—and far too fragile for any normal man to make a move on her.

Unless it was her fragility that Garv liked. But wasn't he getting enough of that from me? Why go out for broken crockery when you've got it in absolute smithereens at home? Beside me, I realized that Garv was awake too—his fake deep breathing was the giveaway. So we could talk. Except we couldn't, we'd been trying for months. I didn't hear the intake of breath that precedes speech, so I was startled when the ink-dark silence was violated by Garv's voice. The worst thing he could have said.

The word hung in the darkness and wouldn't go away. In my head I heard it echo again, then again. Each time fainter, until I wondered if I'd just imagined hearing it. Minutes passed. Without ever replying, I turned my back to him and surprised myself by falling asleep again. My eczema was back in force and I'd have to start wearing gloves in bed again if this continued.

But would it continue? Again I got that falling sensation. Despite sidestepping Garv, I ended up getting to work late.

The contract wasn't on Frances's desk by nine-thirty. It's meant to reach the parts a chewing-out doesn't and make you feel shitty and ashamed. However, I appreciated not being shouted at. Not the reaction Frances was looking for, I suspect. I felt entirely lost, but at the same time unnaturally calm—almost as if I'd been waiting for a catastrophe and it was a weird sort of relief that it had finally happened. Because I had no idea how to behave in these circumstances, I decided to just follow everyone else's lead and immerse myself in work.

Wasn't it strange, I thought, that after such a dreadful shock I was still functioning as normal? For seconds, I'd manage to lose myself in a contract clause, but all the time the knowledge surrounded me: Something is very wrong. All I said was I was surprised by your downloading a brown one. I would never download a brown skirt; don't you know the first thing about me?

I'd been wrong. But this time was different, I was horribly sure of it. At lunchtime I just couldn't find it in me to care about my urgent piles of work, so I went to Grafton Street, looking for comfort. Which took the form of spending money—again. Unenthusiastically, I bought a scented candle and a cheapish relatively speaking copy of a Gucci bag.

But neither of them did anything to fill the void. Then I stopped at a drug-store to get painkillers for my tooth and got intercepted by a white-coated, orange-faced woman who told me that if I bought two Clarins products—one of which had to be skin care—I'd get a free gift.

But back at work, when I opened my present, it was a lot less exciting than it had looked in the picture: funny-colored eye shadow, a mini-mini-mini tube of foundation, four drops of eye cream, and a thimble of vinegary perfume. Anticlimax set in, then, in an unexpected reprieve of normality, came guilt, which swelled big and ugly as the afternoon lengthened.

I had to stop spending money. And before I'd made it back to the car, my eye was caught by yellow flowery flip-flops in a shoe-shop window and, like an out-of-body experience, I found myself inside, handing over my credit card. It wasn't safe to let me out. That evening I went to a work thing and did something I didn't usually do at work things—I got drunk.

Messy drunk, so bad that on one of my many trips back from the loo, when I met Stuart Keating, I ended up lunging at him. Then we were kissing, but only for a second before I had to disengage. What was I doing? From across the room Frances watched me, her expression unreadable. When I got home, Garv was waiting, bolt upright, like an anxious parent. He tried to talk to me, but I mumbled drunkenly that I had to go to sleep and lurched to the bedroom, Garv in hot pursuit.

I stripped off my clothes, letting them lie where they fell, and climbed between the sheets. Too tired, drunk, whatever to get on my feet and go to the bathroom, I slipped them out and plopped them into the handily placed glass of water, promising myself I'd rinse them good and proper in the solution in the morning. But when morning came my tongue was Super Glued with dryness to the roof of my mouth. Automatically I stretched out my hand for the glass of water and gulped it in one go.

My contact lenses. The third time in six weeks. They were only monthly disposables, but all the same. And the following day, as luck would have it, I lost my job. I wasn't exactly sacked. But my contract wasn't renewed. It was a six-month contract and since I'd moved back to Dublin from Chicago it had already been renewed five times. You were hardworking and reliable. That sounded like me all right. On a good day. Of course I'd known that in my head, stuff hadn't been great, but I'd thought I'd done a pretty good job of presenting a convincing business-as-usual facade to the outside world.

But I remained sitting like a plank, my face closed. It was no one's business but mine. Yet, paradoxically, I felt she should have seen that something had been very wrong over the past months and made allowances for me.

I've had more rational moments, I suspect. In fact, the last time had been when I was seventeen and baby-sitting for a neighbor. I'll never forget it: Damian was standing at the top of the stairs and his expression was deeply malevolent. To be honest, it was nearly a relief. But since then I had never been fired.

How did you like the book?

I was a pretty good worker—not so good that I was ever in danger of winning the employeeof-the-month award—but fairly reliable and productive.

I don't really understand why. Because, you know, it's not easy to leave someone. Not in real life. In fiction it's all so cut and dried and clear: if you can see no future together, then of course you'd leave.

Or if he's having an affair, then you'd be a total idiot to stay, right? But in real life it's amazing the things that conspire to keep you together. You can get addicted to nearly anything these days. Ostensibly for Helen and Anna, but really for himself. So Mum got on the phone and made discreet enquiries. The Cloisters! Dad exclaimed in relief. It was driving me mad not being able to remember. The Cloisters cost a fortune. I nearly said Thanks but remembered in time. The usual scenario was that I would say Really?

Have I? Oh Christ, no, said Helen, still at the top of the stairs. How long are you staying for? Despite sleeping with all her professors or so she said , Helen had failed her first-year exams in university. Instead she spent the time hanging around the house, annoying Mum, badgering her to play cards. And then she appeared at the top of the stairs beside Helen. I had the sensation that there was an elevator in my chest that had plummeted out of control to the pit of my stomach.

Faintly I could hear Helen complaining, But I hate him. So I figured she was dangerously angry. She gave me a sad, little, martyrish smile and I felt a violent pang of guilt that nearly sent me groping for my Valium bottle there and then.

The elevator inside me was going haywire by then. I was getting the plummeting sensation so often that I felt sick. Guilt and shame mingled with anger and resentment. Rachel, she said with an edge of hysteria to her voice, you were rushed to hospital in an ambulance and had your stomach pumped. It was not! And you have a drug problem, she said. Brigit said you do, and so did Margaret and Paul. Yes, but… I tried to explain. While simultaneously feeling a burst of explosive rage at Brigit, which I had to file away for a later date.

Except maybe to make me laugh. She looked stricken and I felt like slapping her. She was from a generation that went into spasms of horror at the mere mention of the word drugs.

I fought back the rage that filled me. My brush with death ensured that I had toppled Claire from her position and I now wore the crown. Well, no illegal ones anyway. Which was very adult and sensible of me. Now, there was a boy who knew how to enjoy himself! Shane, as they say, lived life to the full. To overflowing. To bursting point. It was Valium. I would have appreciated something to take the edge off it all. But I managed not to take any of my little magic white pills because I was really looking forward to going to the Cloisters.

I slept an awful lot in the two days. It was the best thing to do because I was jetlagged and disoriented and everyone hated me.

I tried to call Luke a couple of times. As it happened, I just got his answering machine and I had enough of a grip on myself not to leave a message. I would have tried ringing him a lot more. I had compulsions to do so for most of my waking hours.

But Dad had recently gotten a very large phone bill something to do with Helen and had mounted a twenty-four-hour guard around the phone. So any time I dialed a number, Dad tensed no matter where he was, even if he was four miles away playing golf, and cocked his ear intently.

If I dialed more than seven digits, I would barely be started on the eighth when he would come barreling into the hall to shout Get off the damn phone! Which ruined my chances of talking to Luke but was worth its weight in gold in the nostalgia stakes. My teenage years came rushing back to me. All I needed was for him to say Not a minute past eleven, Rachel. Now, I mean it this time. Although why would I want to be that?

You try being fourteen and five foot seven, with size-eight feet. Relations were even more strained with my mother. Christ almighty. Her voice was shaking. Where did you get all those terrible bruises? My stomach and arms and ribs were a mess of dark purple blotches.

Oh, I said in a little voice. I suppose that must have been from having my stomach pumped. God above. She tried to take me in her arms. When I got dressed or undressed after that, I avoided looking in the mirror. Luckily it was February and it was freezing, so, even in bed, I could wear long-sleeved, high-necked things. Where I dreamt—surprise, surprise—that there was someone in my room, someone menacing, who meant to harm me.

I was paralyzed. I tried and tried to break through to the surface, but I suffocated under the blanket of sleep. I dreamt that I fell off cliffs, that I was in a car crash, that a tree fell on top of me. I felt the impact every single time and jerked awake sweating and shaking, never knowing where I was or whether it was day or night.

Helen left me alone until the second night I was back. I was in bed, afraid to get up, and she arrived into the room, eating an ice-cream cone. She had an air of restlessness about her that spelled trouble. And where am I going to get money for drinks? I asked in surprise. OK, OK, I said mildly. Anyway, I agreed with her. Paul was cheap. Even Mum once said that Paul would eat his dinner in a drawer and peel an orange in his pocket. God, imagine! My own sister in a loony bin.

A treatment center! She scoffed. People will cross the road when they see you coming, she said gleefully. This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue? Upload Sign In Join. Save For Later. Create a List. Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes. Summary The fast lane is much too slow for Rachel Walsh.

Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. HarperCollins Released: Mar 17, ISBN: Publisher 1 They said I was a drug addict. You know, strong. It really pissed me off. Roars of laughter from all the other gods. He was a lovely man. Fearfully, I tried to set things right. But he was having none of it. My job, for example, I said. Suddenly, I found myself staring into the abyss.

You did WHAT? I could hardly speak, I was so afraid. What had they told Dad about me? I spoke to them at your work, repeated Dad in the same level tone of voice. I swallowed. To who? Eric, said Dad. He said he was your boss. Oh God, I said. Oh no, the game was up. Dad knew!

Eric must have really gone to town on my shortcomings. Let me tell you what this Eric said… No chance! I could hardly bear to think about what Eric said, never mind hear it. Let me go? I said faintly. As in, fire me? Dad sounded very matter-of-fact. Well, great, I said tearfully. Thanks for ruining my life. There was silence while I tried to absorb the fact that I was once more without a job.

Margaret will settle that with Brigit, said Dad.

Someone new? I shrieked. But this is my home. He said nothing. An awful lot, I said, much more wetly. But I have a cat, I lied. You can get another one, he said. But I have a boyfriend, I protested. You can get another one of those too, said Dad.

Easy for him to say. In your dreams, I muttered. Brigit says… Never mind what Brigit says, I interrupted. Margaret looked doubtful, then she said, But you do seem to take an awful lot of drugs. I spotted the flaw in his argument. And I have a job, I reminded him. He smirked. I hated him. We all hated Paul as much as he hated us.If I dialed more than seven digits, I would barely be started on the eighth when he would come barreling into the hall to shout Get off the damn phone!

But despite her adherence to protocol, my temperature was normal.

Eventually Emily's mother called her and asked Emily would she mind if she wore the long, navy, spangly dress to Mr. I had expected the question of my apartment would totally stump Dad. Perhaps you need a vacation?