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Just One Destiny

By:Jade Winters

rudi asked. ‘I’d completely forgotten. How did it go?’

‘It didn’t.’ Carissa glanced around to make sure no one was eavesdropping. She didn’t want everyone to know that she was unemployable. Satisfied the passengers had better things to do with their time, she continued, ‘They cancelled on me and didn’t even have the decency to tell me.’

‘Bastards. What was the firm?’

‘LJ Interior Designs.’

‘LJ ….’ Trudi said slowly. ‘Never heard of them. If you want, I can pull some strings and get you an interview with Gibson’s. They’re a really hip and forward thinking company. I think you’d be a good match.’

‘I appreciate the offer, but no,’ Carissa said quickly. ‘I don’t want you to pull any strings for me. I want to get a job on my own merits.’

Trudi seemed to know everyone in London, regardless of the sector they worked in. That’s what happened when you were the editor of an insanely successful gossip magazine. Z-list celebrities, who thought they could be on the next hit reality TV show, hoped by being mentioned in Trudi’s magazine, they would be one step up from obscurity.

‘That’s very admirable, Carissa, but it’s also misguided. What’s the harm in having a little help in life?’

‘Nothing at all,’ Carissa replied. ‘It’s just not how I want to start out. I have an undergraduate degree—’

‘Who the hell doesn’t these days?’ Trudi interrupted.

‘And I have some decent internships listed on my CV,’ Carissa continued, ignoring Trudi.

‘Internships are not the same as a job,’ Trudi said. ‘It’s about who you know these days.’

‘You know I don’t believe in that kind of thing,’ Carissa said. ‘Sorry.’

‘No need to apologise to me. I’m not the one who’s unemployed.’

Carissa suppressed a sigh and tried to think of a seamless way to change the subject. ‘So, your birthday’s coming up soon. I was thinking of arranging a night out with the girls. We could go to the Shard for drinks. If we’re not too pissed, we could go clubbing afterwards—’

‘That sounds great and everything—’

‘But?’ Carissa asked, hearing the hesitation in her voice.

‘I’m going to Paris that weekend,’ Trudi said with an excited little lift in her tone.

‘With who?’

‘That would be telling. Let’s just say she’s sizzling hot.’

‘Am I going to meet her?’

‘Doubt it. You know what these “In the closet” celebs are like.’

‘Oh … right … okay then.’

‘We can always catch up the following week.’

‘Yeah, I suppose,’ Carissa said wistfully. ‘The Shard has nothing on Paris with a hot celebrity.’

‘Precisely!’ Trudi agreed readily. ‘Besides, I haven’t been to Paris since I was a kid.’

‘You went five years ago,’ Carissa reminded her. ‘As I recall, you missed my eighteenth birthday because of it.’

‘Eh … did I?’

‘You did.’

‘Of course I did, but it’s not exactly a romantic getaway when you go with your parents, is it?’

‘Suppose not.’

‘Believe me, it isn’t,’ Trudi said.

The bus stopped at Kings Cross and most of the passengers disembarked. Carissa was relieved to have a little more privacy.

‘Anyway, how’s Lara?’ Trudi said after a moment’s silence.

‘Lara, yeah she’s good.’

‘You don’t sound too sure,’ Trudi pointed out. ‘Things not going well on the home front?’

‘It’s probably nothing,’ Carissa said glancing out of the window at the street crawling with shoppers. ‘She’s been stressing out about her job.’

‘Are you sure that’s all it is?

‘Yes, Trudi,’ she said with a sharp edge to her voice. ‘What else could it be?’

‘Chill out. I’m just making conversation.’

‘I know and I’m sorry for biting your head off,’ Carissa said. ‘I think Lara’s stroppiness is starting to rub off on me.’

‘Give the woman a break. Lara’s a free spirit,’ Trudi observed. ‘She’s never going to be happy doing a mundane nine to five. I’m surprised she’s held out this long. You should just tell her to quit. Give her your blessing.’

Carissa rolled her eyes. ‘It’s the job she said she always wanted, and it pays well. Her salary is the only thing keeping us afloat at the moment. I can’t afford to give her my blessing.’

‘Maybe that’s what’s causing the friction between you both.’

‘I didn’t say there was any friction between us, it’s just … oh I don’t know … things will sort themselves out.’

‘Have you thought of moving back to your mum’s until you get on your feet?’ Trudi’s voice faltered a little. ‘Give you both some space.’

‘We don’t need space, Trudi.’ Her tone was curter than she had intended. Carissa swallowed down her annoyance and softened her voice. ‘If Lara’s really unhappy with her job, then, of course, I’ll support her if she wants to quit. I just think she should give it a real chance before she does something impulsive.’

‘Are you two still having sex?’ Trudi asked out of the blue.

‘For God’s sake!’

‘What?’ Trudi asked innocently. ‘We’re both adults. Surely we can talk about—’

‘Not while I’m on the bus we can’t. Look, I have to go now. It’s my stop.’

‘Really, Carissa, you can be so prickly about these things.’

‘I’ll speak to you later, okay?’

‘Fine. Give Lara my love.’

‘Will do.’

Ten minutes later the bus came to a stop outside Highbury and Islington Station and Carissa quickly disembarked. She zigzagged her way through the crowded street, only stopping when she got to Tesco. Rushing through the aisles, Carissa decided on what she would cook for lunch on the fly. She was good at putting together pasta dishes so she decided to stick to her strengths and go for a simple pasta dish. She bought prawns, a packet of spaghetti, onions, garlic, a tin of tomatoes, and a bottle of white wine. The wine pushed her ten pounds over her spending limit, but Carissa reasoned that you couldn’t put a price on a romantic afternoon.

Once Carissa had paid for her shopping, she headed straight for home, grateful that it was only a ten-minute walk. Her building was a cramped little block of flats that had been squeezed in between a launderette with yellow washing ma