Yes Chef, No Chef - By Susan Willis Page 0,1

hazel eyes. With a final nod of satisfaction she decided her make-up was as good as she was going to get it and swivelled around on the stool to look at the dress, remembering the day she’d bought it with her friend, Lisa.

They’d been in Selfridges at the end of an exhausting four hour shopping trip and just when she was about to give up she’d spotted it. Plain black crepe in a sleeveless classic style, the dress fitted her figure perfectly from the moment she slipped it over her head and wriggled it down over her slim hips.

“Even the two inch length above my knee is perfect for me,” she’d said to Lisa who’d nodded in agreement.

“It’s just right, hon,” Lisa had said, “Because although you want to show off those lovely slim, tanned legs you don’t want to look like a slapper in a mini dress. Yep, it’s simple, yet chic, and just the thing to impress the bosses.”

Katie had hugged her in thanks and then later when her other close friend, Sarah, joined them she had loaned her a fine string of pearls and pearl stud ear rings which complemented the outfit perfectly.

Picking her mobile up she pressed Lisa’s number.

“Hey, there,” Lisa said. “How’s the dress look?”

Katie moaned and told her what had happened, and then held the mobile at a distance ready for the blast of derisory comments.

“The bastard!” Lisa fumed. “What the hell is going on with this guy?”

In the past she would have defended Tim to the end of her days but now she simply couldn’t find the strength anymore. “I don’t know,” she said. “Within the last two months alone he’s missed his parent’s silver wedding, my cousins’ engagement, and Sarah’s thirtieth birthday party, and that’s without arrangements to meet after work to see a film or go to the quiz nights at the pub.”

She could hear the pathetic whine in her voice and struggled to keep the lump in the back of her throat down. She pleaded, “What am I going to do, Lisa?”

Lisa’s voice changed instantly as she went into full support mode. “OK. At the moment you’ll do nothing. You’re going to get to that party and knock the socks off them. And then on Saturday we’ll meet with Sarah for lunch and talk it through together and try to sort this crap out.”

Katie swallowed hard and took a deep breath. “You, know, I could kill him for doing this to me at such short notice, Lisa, and what makes it worse is that if I’d known he wasn’t coming earlier, either you or Sarah could have come instead of wasting £150 for the ticket.”

Lisa giggled. “Oh, sweetheart, I would have done but I have a hot date with this gorgeous guy who’s just to-die-for…”

Katie smiled. “And Sarah is out with Mark, too,” she said. “So, I’ll just have to go to the ball like Cinderella and make the best of it.”

“Tsk,” Lisa tutted. “But you don’t need him. I’ll admit he would have been an asset to have by your side because he is so passionate about food and it does make him charming to talk to but you’ll be fine on your own, won’t you?”

Katie took another deep breath and reassured with Lisa’s support she agreed she’d be OK with as much conviction as she could muster.

“Of course, you will,” Lisa replied firmly, “I mean, you’ve slogged for eight years since you joined the company as a junior and now look at you, a fantastic team leader ready to step up to the project manager’s position. You can do this job standing on your head and as for selling yourself, well…”

Katie grinned at her friend’s confidence in her. Lisa Harding worked in PR and everyone they knew reckoned she was the best at what she did. Lack of confidence wasn’t even on Lisa’s radar and if anyone knew how to pitch themselves it was her. Katie wished her luck with the new guy and then listened to another round of instructions: shoulders back, smile on your face, and knock ‘em dead.

Draining her glass of wine she thought fondly of Lisa who had the knack of turning a bad situation around so that you always came away feeling better, and then realising the taxi was due she slipped the dress on. She smoothed her hands over her hips and for a moment saw herself how she hoped Tim would have seen her, generous breasts with a tiny waist and