The Switch by Beth O'Leary

The Switch by Beth O'Leary

Author:Beth O'Leary
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Flatiron Books

* * *

When Letitia opens the door I can tell right away how nervous she is. Her shoulders are drawn up to her ears, her chin down to her chest.

“Come on,” I say bracingly. I’m not in the right frame of mind for this event either, but we made a commitment, and besides, I am proud of what we’re doing with that space downstairs, even if I won’t get to see the Silver Shoreditchers’ Social Club come to life.

“Do we have to?” she says mournfully.

“Of course we do!” I say. “Come on. The sooner we go, the sooner we can leave.”

Martha and Fitz are coming too, though I’m not sure Martha can get down the stairs these days, with that enormous bump of hers. She can’t manage the journey into the office now, so she’s usually set up on the sofa with her feet on the coffee table and her laptop balanced precariously on her stomach. And there’s still no word from Yaz on when she’s coming home. I purse my lips as we head down toward Rupert and Aurora’s flat. I’d quite like to give that Yaz a piece of my mind.

“Mrs. Cotton!” Aurora says as she throws open the door to the flat. “I owe you an abject apology for my hangry behavior when we first met.”

“Oh, hello,” I say, as she sweeps me in for a hug. She has a strong Italian accent; perhaps “hangry” is an Italian term, although it doesn’t really sound like one.

“And you must be Letitia,” Aurora says, cupping Letitia’s face in her hands. “What magnificent earrings!”

Letitia’s eyes dart toward me with unmistakable panic. I think the face-touching might have been a little much for her. I take Aurora’s arm and give it an encouraging tug.

“Do show me around your lovely flat, won’t you?” I say.

“Of course! Your flatmates are already here,” she says, gesturing to the stylish gray sofa, where Martha has already settled, feet up in Fitz’s lap. I feel a startling pang of fondness as I watch the two of them bickering idly with one another. I’ve not known them long. I ought not to have got so attached; tonight, I’ll have to tell them I’m leaving.

“This is my latest sculpture,” Aurora is telling me, and I give a little squawk as I follow her gaze. It’s a gigantic penis made out of marble, with a marble parrot sat on the top. Or the … tip, I suppose I mean.

I can’t help myself. I glance over at Letitia. “A sign from the beyond,” I whisper to her; her lips twitch and she disguises a giggle as a cough.

“Marvelous,” I say to Aurora. “So … evocative.”

“Isn’t it?” she enthuses. “Now, if you follow me into the kitchen, I’ll mix you up a cocktail…”


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