Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Sophie sighed as she put down the phone. Why does Mum always have to make life so complicated? All I wanted was for her to arrange Dad’s present with Ella. At least she seems to have everything under control for the party, thought Sophie, but then again it isn’t as if she has anything else to do.
Getting up from the desk in her study, Sophie paused by the large mirror on the landing. Not bad she thought, running her fingers lightly through her newly cut hair, thank goodness this new hairdresser had been an improvement on the last one. That silly girl hadn’t understood the simplest of instructions. It wasn’t rocket science, a trim, highlights, low lights and a blow dry, how hard could it be? Walking along the landing, she was replacing her earring as she heard the front door open.
‘Hello darlings, did you have a good day in school?’ she called to her daughters as she made her way down the stairs.
‘Yes Mummy, Mary took us to Regents Park to see the ducks on the way home but Grace was stung by a huge wasp and cried and cried’ gabbled her oldest daughter Olivia. Olivia always wanted to be the first with any news, no matter how gruesome.
‘Let me see darling’ said Sophie lifting Grace’s arm to see the red welt glowing just above her elbow. ‘Oh you are a brave little girl that looks sore’
‘Mary put cream on it and made it better Mummy’ Olivia announced
‘That’s good darling. Now off you both pop and wash your hands’ said Sophie distractedly as she patted Grace’s head and looked around the hall for her briefcase.
‘Do you mind staying in this evening Mary? Asked Sophie, turning from her search to look at the children’s latest Nanny. ‘Alistair isn’t due home until eight o’clock and I have a meeting at five thirty.
‘Not at all Miss, no problem’ said Mary.
Thank God this one doesn’t have a boyfriend that she wants to rush out to every night, Sophie mused, the last girl was an absolute nightmare.
‘Did you want me to take the girls to their French class as well?’
‘Oh flip, forgot about the French class. Would you be a dear and take them, I won’t have time before my meeting.’ said Sophie.
Mary stood at the kitchen door watching Sophie as she rushed into the study to find her bag. ‘I have my mobile if you need to get me urgently but I am sure that you will be able to cope. Bye-bye darlings, Mummy has to go to work now. I’ll see you both tomorrow’
‘Bye bye Mummy’ called the girls from the top of the stairs to Sophie’s back as she rushed out of the front door.
‘Come on girls, milk and cookies before your French class, otherwise you might faint with hunger’ laughed Mary as Olivia and Grace raced into the kitchen.
They are such good girls, thought Mary. If I was their Mum I would want to be at home with them of evening, never mind sending them to all these after school classes. Swimming, French, music, gym and ballet there wasn’t one day of the week when they could come home from school and just relax.
Picking up her cavernous shoulder bag Mary sighed and said ‘If you’ve finished your snack we’d better get a move on. So best foot forward young ladies, it’s time to parle vous francais’
‘Oui mademoiselle’ giggled Olivia.
‘Oui oui mam sill’ stuttered Grace as they followed Mary out of the house.
Sophie sat at the traffic lights on the Edgware Road and seethed. She had planned this afternoon out so well. She’s arranged to work from home so that she wouldn’t get called into an unexpected meeting in the office. She’d even scheduled in the phone call to her Mother out in Spain still leaving her with plenty of time to get across London for her meeting with the Americans. Sophie prided herself on her ability to organise her life down to the last minute but all the planning in the world wouldn’t make the traffic in London move any faster.
She was determined that nothing should go wrong with this meeting, it meant far too much to her career. Getting a partnership with the firm before her thirtieth birthday would be a fitting reward for all the hours she had given to Crabtree and Wright. It was time she knew that she should have been spending with Alistair and the girls. But all the sacrifices would be worth it when she could look at that five figure salary in her bank account.
With the annual bonus the promotion would bring, she knew that she would at last be able to afford a smart little summer house in Tuscany. Alistair had been hinting for ages that they should be looking for a bolt hole somewhere. Somewhere they would all be able to spend quality time together. Tuscany was just the place, thought Sophie. Lots of their friends had places out there. Plenty of sunshine and quaint little mountain villages to explore and with internet access she could still be in touch with the office, it would be perfect.
This deal with the Americans could do it for her. If she managed to pull it off the partners wouldn’t have any excuse for not promoting her.
Simon Crabtree himself hadn’t been able to convince the Texans that Crabtree and Wright would be able to provide all their investment banking needs in London. It was only when Sophie had taken over the negotiations that they had started taking the deal seriously and she was determined that Amtex Inc would be signing the contract tonight.
Finally pulling off from the lights Sophie took a shortcut that she knew came out behind Selfridges. She was determined that three months of hard work was not going to be wasted because of the chaotic traffic in London.
At five twenty Sophie parked her Audi coupe in the underground car park at Hyde Park and dodging the rush hour traffic, ran across Park Lane to the Dorchester Hotel.
Sophie entered the hotel lobby, made it she thought, with 2 minutes to spare. But then her heart sank when she saw that of Amtex’s more junior accountants was already standing there waiting for her. Damn, she had been hoping to arrive in time to prepare herself properly for the meeting, so much for Ken Livingstone reducing traffic congestion in London she seethed.
‘Sophie, good to see you’ Tom Allen walked towards her. ‘Mr Wegryn is waiting for you. Would you follow me please?’
Sophie followed Allen into the lift and glancing at the mirrored walls quickly straightened her jacket and smoothed back her hair. ‘Lead on Tom’ she said smiling at her reflection, let battle commence.