The coco pinchard boxset.., p.65
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       The Coco Pinchard Boxset: 5 bestselling romantic comedies in one!, p.65

           Robert Bryndza

  I asked what kind of car it was.

  ‘It’s a blue one,’ said Wayne.

  ‘Can you be more specific?’ I asked.

  ‘A lovely, small, blue one,’ said Wayne fiddling with the umbrella in his Sex on the Beach.

  ‘What kind of blue?’ asked Rosencrantz.

  ‘Sort of dark, warm, like those speedos Oscar wore when we went on holiday last year…’

  ‘Oh, that was a nice blue,’ said Rosencrantz. ‘Mum, you should totally get this car.’

  God bless gay guys for helping with shopping, I thought. But as far as cars were concerned they are hopeless.

  When I got home, I tried on the clothes for Adam.

  ‘You look gorgeous babe,’ he said. ‘I especially like these heels,’ he said. ‘I think you should take everything off, apart from these heels.’ He raised an eyebrow and flashed me a grin.

  ‘Later,’ I said. And I told him about the guy who was selling his car. I phoned the number Wayne had given me. A young guy answered and told me it’s a Ford Ka he’s selling with only 15,000 miles on the clock.

  ‘I’ll be at d’Cambridge Theatre tomorrow at free, innit,’ he said. ‘I’ve got a permit to park outside, innit.’

  ‘And can we give it a test drive?’ I said.

  ‘Yeah you can totally get in it, innit…’

  ‘He sounds like a bit of a wide boy,’ I said when I got off the phone.

  Adam said we should check it out. Then my phone rang, it was a producer from ‘This Morning’. She asked a few questions about Agent Fergie and Adam.

  ‘We’re not going to dwell on his conviction and subsequent acquittal, but it makes a good interview,’ she said. ‘Phillip Schofield is a big fan, he’s reading both your books.’

  I came off the phone buzzing with excitement. So many things were happening!

  Tuesday 3rd April

  Agent Fergie has gone up to #23,450 on Amazon! Who knows what it will be after ‘This Morning’. The show gets millions of viewers!

  We went to see the car today. We were waiting outside the theatre with Wayne when the little Ford Ka pulled up. A huge muscular Greek guy got out of the driver’s side with some difficulty, and came to shake our hands. He was almost seven feet tall.

  ‘This is Atlas,’ said Wayne clasping his imaginary décolletage and gazing up approvingly.

  ‘Alright mate, love,’ said Atlas shaking our hands. He was so tall, he even towered above Adam. The Ka looked brand new, the blue paintwork shone, the tyres looked excellent, the interior was immaculate.

  ‘Why are you selling it?’ I asked, looking up at Atlas.

  ‘I’m too tall innit? I had like a growth spurt, you know what I mean?’

  He opened the door for me, and Adam got in the driver’s side.

  ‘Atlas had a huge growth spurt,’ said Wayne. ‘Last year he was five foot four.’

  ‘Me legs are too long, innit,’ said Atlas. Wayne and Atlas piled into the back seat, and Adam took it for a test drive around theatreland.

  ‘It purrs nice innit? Just like me wife!’ laughed Atlas. He had a mouth of enormous crooked teeth. Wayne pursed his lips at the mention of Atlas’s wife.

  ‘Iss got a wicked sound system innit?’ said Atlas. He leaned between the seats and flicked on the radio. A deep bass beat boomed out, and a row of speakers against the back window lit up with coloured lights.

  ‘Sweet innit?’ he said. The bass vibrated through me right to my stomach, the kind that’s so annoying when it pulls up beside you at traffic lights. Atlas saw my face and turned it off.

  ‘Iss all included, I’m gonna get me an even sweeter sound in my new car, innit.’

  We drove back round to the Cambridge Theatre and left Wayne and Atlas saying we needed a few minutes to talk it over. We walked down to the Starbucks on the Strand and perched on the chairs in the window with a latte each.

  ‘I think we should buy it,’ said Adam. ‘It’s in good condition, it’s a steal.’

  ‘And there’s room for a baby seat,’ I said. Our phones both beeped. Mine had a confirmation from ITV studios that my car would arrive at 8.15 on Thursday. Adam had a text to say he could start work Monday 16th April!

  We both sat back and took in the view through the picture window, red buses rushing past, people scurrying in all directions. London felt so alive.

  ‘We sat here just over a year ago, remember?’ I asked.

  ‘God, yeah. I was facing a big court case,’ said Adam.

  ‘I told you it would all turn out okay.’ I grinned and Adam leant over and kissed me.

  ‘Come on miss know-it-all, let’s buy this car.’

  We did the deal by the kerb. Adam sat in the car with Atlas, filled in the forms and wrote him a cheque.

  ‘Drive safe, innit,’ said Atlas handing over the paperwork and the keys. He strutted off towards Charing Cross station.

  ‘He’s happily married isn’t he?’ said Wayne staring after him wistfully.

  ‘I think so,’ I said kindly. I pecked him on the cheek, and we drove home in our new car.

  When we got home Meryl was all dressed up in a glittery long dress with a matching clutch. She looked like she was off for dinner at the captain’s table on the QEII.

  ‘I’m taking you for a girls’ night out Coco,’ she said. I looked at Adam.

  ‘Just me?’ I asked.

  ‘Yes, you said I should get out there. I’d like to get out there with you…’

  ‘I can’t,’ I said.

  ‘Why not?’

  ‘I’m tired and…’

  ‘Come on Coco, you’re about to have a baby. Your next night out might not be for years. I’ve heard so many stories of the fun nights you had out with Marika and Chris. Come on, let’s paint the town red!’

  I couldn’t imagine Meryl painting the town red. Ecru maybe, but not red.

  ‘Please Coco, I’m cooped up here, far from home… Let’s have some fun!’

  ‘I can look after Wilfred,’ said Adam grinning. I wanted to kill him, I really did.

  ‘Okay,’ I said. I figured a night out with Meryl would be done and dusted by half nine. Bearing Rosencrantz’s style tips in mind I pulled together an outfit (with flatter heels) had a shower, and got ready.

  When I came back down, Meryl was just finishing a sweet sherry, and apologising to Adam. Wilfred had eaten three pages of his GQ magazine.

  ‘Oh Coco, we look a bit odd together,’ said Meryl. ‘Haven’t you got anything jazzier?’

  ‘None of my ball gowns fit,’ I said. I told Adam I wouldn’t be long and we set off for Marylebone High Street to flag down a taxi.

  ‘Do you fancy a pub in Covent Garden?’ I asked.

  ‘Ooh, yes!’ said Meryl. ‘I want to do exactly what you do when you go out with Chris and Marika.’

  It was getting dark as the taxi dropped us outside the Royal Opera House.

  ‘Look at all those boring so and so’s,’ said Meryl pointing at the queue of men in tuxedos and women dressed just like she was.

  We walked through the market and Meryl dived into the first pub we came to.

  ‘Come on, first round is my treat,’ she trilled. The pub wasn’t too busy as it was still early. Meryl put her clutch on the bar and a cute young bartender came over.

  ‘I’ll have an orange J20,’ I said.

  ‘She’s pregnant, but I’m up for it,’ said Meryl. ‘I’ll have a small Emva Cream.’

  ‘A what?’ said the young bartender. He was very cute, and sported a pierced lip and eyeliner.

  ‘Emva Cream sherry?’ said Meryl.

  ‘I’ve never heard of that,’ he said.

  ‘What about Bristol Cream? Woodpecker Cider? Dubonnet?’ He shook his head at all of these. Meryl might as well have been reading him the shipping forecast.

  ‘I’m so unfashionable,’ whispered Meryl biting back tears.

  ‘Ok. Can we have a Cosmopolitan, and scrub the J20, I’ll have a virgin Cosmo,’ I said.

  The young barte
nder sprang into action.

  ‘Can we have a Cosmopolitan, and scrub the J20 I’ll have a virgin Cosmo,’ repeated Meryl as if she were learning lines. ‘You’re so with-it,’ she said wistfully. She watched the young man shake our drinks and then pour them out. He had lovely muscled arms. He gave Meryl a wink when she paid. We made our way to a table by the window and sat down.

  ‘Do you think he’d have sexual intercourse with me?’ asked Meryl.

  ‘What?’ I spluttered choking into my drink.

  ‘The barman. He’s quite, sexy,’ she said and blushed.

  ‘Steady on with your Cosmo, you’ve only had a sip,’ I said. Meryl pulled her phone out of her little clutch and dialled a number.

  ‘Surprise surprise he’s not picking up!’ she said. She waited whilst the call went to voicemail. ‘Hello. Tony. It’s me. I’m out in London at a pub called Allbaroné,’ she said affecting an Italian accent. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that we were actually at All Bar One.

  ‘I’m drinking a Cosmopolitan served by a very handsome young barman, who winked at me… I might have sexual intercourse with him Tony, who knows?’ she ended the call triumphantly.

  We people watched for a bit. Meryl seemed to be preoccupied with what ‘sexual intercourse’ would be like with various men. In the end I had to escape and go to the loo.

  When I came back Meryl was standing at the bar. She had ordered me another virgin Cosmo, and a small tray of shots for herself.

  ‘You’ve lost the table,’ I said seeing a couple settling down by the window where we’d been sitting. The bar was now crowded.

  ‘This is Luke,’ said Meryl, indicating the cute barman. ‘He’s an Emu!’

  ‘Emo,’ said Luke.

  ‘Sorry, Emo. He’s also got a tattoo on his bottom!’

  ‘It’s a scorpion on my arse,’ he grinned.

  ‘I hope it doesn’t sting me,’ giggled Meryl.

  ‘If you’re lucky…’ he said. She shrieked, and then went to serve someone else.

  ‘What are you doing Meryl?’ I said.

  ‘Having fun Coco, come on, have some fun!’

  She then downed three of the shots.

  ‘Ooh, that certainly isn’t Emva cream!’ she said. I realised we might be painting the town red after all.

  Wednesday 4th April

  Adam woke me up with a cup of decaf coffee. Sunlight was pouring into the bedroom.

  ‘What time is it?’ I asked.

  ‘Just after lunch. What time did you get in?’

  ‘Two-thirty,’ I groaned.

  ‘You didn’t drink?’

  ‘Not a drop. I wish I had though.’

  ‘I thought it was going to be done and dusted by nine thirty?’ he said.

  ‘Someone had to keep an eye on Meryl, she was wild.’ I told him how we’d stayed in All Bar One until closing, and then Meryl had dragged me along to a Karaoke bar with Luke the barman and his friends.

  ‘Did Meryl sing?’ said Adam.

  ‘Yes, she sang, a lot,’ I said.

  ‘Can she sing?’

  ‘No. But her rendition of ‘Bootylicious’ is etched on my brain. I’ve never known anyone make I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly sound like she’s telling everyone off at a kids’ birthday party.’

  When I’d finished my coffee we came out onto the landing. Adam stopped suddenly outside the spare room.

  ‘Shhhh!’ he hissed holding up his hand. I heard Meryl’s tinkly voice, then a male voice murmuring. She burst into a shriek of laughter.

  ‘Did she bring someone back?’ whispered Adam, horrified.

  ‘No, we came home alone,’ I said. ‘It’s not Wilfred?’

  Adam looked at me.

  ‘Does that sound like a two year old? It’s some random bloke,’ he said. I dragged him away and we came downstairs.

  ‘We can’t just barge in,’ I said when we were in the kitchen.

  ‘Why not? It’s our house,’ said Adam.

  ‘She’s our guest.’

  ‘And she should have asked if she wanted to bring round some mucky one night stand.’

  ‘I’m sure Meryl will have checked behind his ears. He’ll be clean… Where’s Wilfred?’

  ‘Watching a film,’ said Adam.

  We went through to the living room where Wilfred was curled up with Rocco in his dog bed, watching ‘The Goonies’ on the TV.

  ‘Are you okay love?’ I asked Wilfred.

  ‘Nice doggy wuff wuff,’ said Wilfred cuddling close to Rocco.

  ‘Why is he in there?’ I asked.

  ‘It was the only place he’d settle. I’ve spent the morning trying to stop him eating bog roll…’

  ‘Do you think it’s okay to leave him there?’

  ‘He’s fine. Rocco loves him.’

  Rocco gave a contented snort and closed his eyes.

  ‘Meryl might not be happy, that we’ve put her son in the dog’s bed.’

  ‘Meryl can’t really judge. She’s up there doing God knows what,’ said Adam. ‘Actually, I’m going to go up there now and haul this bloke out.’

  ‘No! Why are you suddenly so moral?’

  ‘I don’t know. She and Tony seemed rock- solid. If they can’t make it work, what chance do the rest of us have?’

  There was a frantic banging on the front door and the bell rang repeatedly. Ethel was standing outside in her mac and see-through rain hood.

  ‘Where is she?’ she demanded. Her eyes were wild.

  ‘Meryl?’ I said.

  ‘She’s in the spare room ain’t she? Still in bed? Getting up to all sorts!’

  ‘She’s asleep,’ I said.

  ‘I’ll be the judge of that!’ Ethel pushed past us and darted up the stairs.

  ‘Ethel! Wait!’ I shouted, and we followed her up. We heard a scream from Meryl. Then lots of shouting. When we got to the spare room, the door was wide open. Meryl was in bed with the sheets pulled up to her chin. Ethel was standing over her, and the barman Luke was in his underwear, frantically trying to get back into his trousers. He had the most beautiful body, taut and lean. For a moment I wondered how Meryl had bagged such a hottie.

  ‘I’ve ad ’er ’usband on the phone,’ said Ethel. ‘Did she tell yer she was married?’

  Luke looked terrified. He got his flies done up, and pulled on a t-shirt. Ethel yanked open the curtains and the light poured in.

  ‘Mum, please!’ groaned Meryl. Luke grabbed his jacket and came to the door. Adam put an arm out to stop him, but he ducked under and was down the stairs in a flash. A moment later the front door slammed.

  ‘Now you listen to me young lady,’ said Ethel looming over Meryl. ‘I didn’t bring you up to go round the pubs getting up to all sorts, bringing home waifs and strays, it’s disgusting! And you should know better Coco.’

  ‘She was on her own when we came back,’ I said.

  ‘An’ to think I told your Tony not to worry. I ’ad him on the blower sayin’ you were up to all sorts with a barman at some Italian pub called Allbaroné.’

  ‘It was All Bar One,’ I said.

  ‘Tony said you put a picture on Facebook of you draped over that lad!’ said Ethel.

  ‘Only because he posted one of him and Mai Ling having dinner at the Harvester. Our Harvester!’ shouted Meryl.

  ‘’E said that was a business lunch! That Chinese girl’s Dad is flogging ’im some coffins!’

  ‘And you believe Tony over me?’ said Meryl.

  The argument went on, Meryl told Ethel that she’d missed out on life, that she made her marry Tony even though she didn’t want to.

  ‘Tony was a catch!’ said Ethel. ‘I’d ’ave given me eye teeth to marry an undertaker with a full ’ead of hair. There’s good money in death. ’Ave you ever wanted for nothing?’

  ‘I’ve wanted to experience life, like Coco!’ she shrilled.

  ‘Gawd, to think I’ve raised two kids who commit adultery!’ said Ethel.

  ‘Ha! I know you got pregnant with m
e before you were married!’ shouted Meryl. ‘I know your Dad sent you up to Scotland so no one would see the bump!’

  Then Ethel slapped her round the face. Meryl slumped back in the bed crying.

  ‘Stop it!’ I shrilled.

  ‘That’s it!’ Adam shouted. ‘You’re upsetting my wife, and no one is hitting anyone in my house!’

  ‘Oh! Your house, is it?’ said Ethel.

  ‘Right. Get out,’ he said. ‘Ethel. Get out.’

  ‘I’m not finished with you young lady,’ she said to Meryl. And still wearing her see-through rain hood she stalked past us and off down the stairs. The front door slammed again.

  ‘Thank you, Adam,’ said Meryl.

  ‘My patience is rapidly going with you too Meryl. You need to find somewhere else to live. Fast. My wife shouldn’t have to deal with this, she needs peace and quiet. She’s too nice to tell you to go, so I am.’ Adam then walked out. Tears were running down Meryl’s cheeks. I passed her a tissue.

  ‘I came quite alive under Luke’s touch,’ said Meryl wistfully.

  ‘When did he come over?’ I said, sitting on the end of the bed.

  ‘A little while after you went to bed. He climbed up the wisteria. It was so romantic.’

  ‘Were you safe?’

  ‘We used a French letter. Yes.’

  ‘Meryl, call it a condom for goodness’ sake,’ I said.

  ‘He was so solid and manly, Coco… And the things he did to me. I’ve only really read about them in the Daily Mail, and then they were described as obscene. But Luke made them wonderful…’

  ‘Okay. That’s enough info Meryl,’ I said getting up.

  ‘I suppose I just have to forget, don’t I? And go back to being me,’ she said bitterly. ‘At least I’ll always have Allbaroné in my memories. No one can take that from me.’

  I patted her hand then left. I went and ran a bath. As I was soaking in the hot water, Adam came into the bathroom. He had an odd look on his face.

  ‘Cokes,’ he said. ‘Your phone rang, and I picked it up. It was the producer from ‘This Morning’…’


  ‘They’ve cancelled your interview.’

  ‘Oh,’ I said, crossing my arms over myself. Bad news seems even worse when you’re stark naked. ‘Did they say why?’

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