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Queen Bee by Jane Fallon

Queen Bee by Jane Fallon

Author:Jane Fallon [Fallon, Jane]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781405943352
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Published: 2020-07-08T18:30:00+00:00


27

Stella is on my doorstep, and the two sullen-looking Mini Mes stand behind her, hands on hips like twin teapots.

‘Taylor and Amber would like to ask Betsy to hang out with them,’ she says through gritted teeth. I hadn’t anticipated this. I’d hoped for an apology, but I’m not sure I’m happy about my daughter spending any more time than she has to in the company of these two precocious monsters.

‘Oh,’ I say. ‘How nice.’

Betsy appears behind me like a dog who’s heard the word ‘walkies’. ‘Hi!’ she says eagerly, straightening her wonky glasses.

The Mini Mes both give her sickly forced smiles. ‘They also have something they want to say, don’t you, girls?’

‘We made a mistake; your mum is not a slut,’ they chorus in sulky unison. They’ve obviously been rehearsing. It’s said robotically, completely without conviction, but Betsy takes it at face value and gives them a big grin.

‘Can we play in the woods?’ she says, and I immediately jump in with ‘No! Stay where we can keep an eye on you. No further than the gate.’ I don’t trust them not to turn on her once they’re out of sight. I swear, if they make her cry again, I’ll kill them both.

Luckily, it’s a beautiful day. ‘Can I have your make-up bag?’ Taylor says, and Stella digs in her Louis Vuitton. I look at Betsy and she’s looking excited, so I leave it. So long as it keeps them occupied with something other than being mean, I can live with it. Just about. Stella hands it over. ‘I do need to talk to Laura in private though,’ she says.

Taylor snatches the bag. ‘We’ll sit on the steps outside.’

‘I’m right here if you need me,’ I say to Betsy as they lead her off, trying to keep the desperation out of my voice. Stella closes the door behind them and I open it again, just a crack.

‘Coffee?’ I say.

‘Not that awful instant stuff. I’ll have Pilar make a cafetière.’ She fishes her phone out of her bag.

‘No!’ I say, more forcefully than I intended. She’s going to have to get used to not being waited on hand and foot. ‘You can have tea.’

She perches on the sofa. ‘Do you have any matcha?’

‘PG Tips,’ I say, dropping a tea bag into a mug. ‘I can’t afford matcha, and neither can you any more.’

She’s very pleased with herself when she tells me that she’s signed up for online access to her bank accounts and that the trial PayPal payment just showed up as PayPal and a series of numbers, nothing that overtly linked it to her.

‘Of course, if he ever investigated it properly, he’d be able to trace it easily,’ I tell her. ‘The idea is never to make him so suspicious that he does.’

She nods. ‘OK.’

‘Just keep to fairly small amounts for now. We’ll think of a way to do some big ones.’

More nodding. I put her tea down in front of her and she delves into her bag again. Comes out with a Cartier box.



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