Story

Summer Collection 1999

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Faye looked in the mirror and realised things were probably going to be OK. Her legs were still her legs and her hips were still her hips but, wrapped in such a great suit, it didn't seem to matter. It was uncanny the way it changed the way she felt. Only ten minutes before she'd been a disjointed, lumbering thing and now here she was transmuted into a singularly well-proportioned being. Vanity was an entirely new experience for her so she decided to relax and enjoy it. For the sake of spending a little more time in front of the mirror she switched the skirt for a dress in the same fabric. The trick carried on working. 'Curious,' she muttered, resolving to buy all three pieces of the miraculous clothing. At the counter stood a little bust covered in glittering jewellery. Encouraged by the statuesque, but nonetheless extremely friendly, woman behind the desk she picked out a small, polite pair of earrings for the office and a rather more dramatic pair with that weekend's wedding in mind. Faye left the shop confident that she was now ready for anything. On her way to work the next morning Faye began to wonder why the world had conspired to be so kind to her all of a sudden. Just last month she'd been stuck in a tedious job in a tedious company, her frustration at work eclipsed by the even greater dreariness of her non-existent lovelife. She'd never have believed things could have

changed so fast. Now, not only was she working with Joyce Neenan - the Joyce Neenan, design and branding genius - but yesterday evening, as she was about to leave the office, she'd received an e-mail from Patrick in the graphics department asking her whether she'd like to go out for a meal after work the next night. Luckily today was Patrick's day in the City studio, so she wouldn't have to suffer the embarrassment of bumping into him all day. The plan was that they'd meet up in a bar near Old Street and take it from there. 'Who? Patrick? The Patrick that everyone fancies? The Patrick who can never be persuaded to go for a drink after work? That Patrick has asked you out to dinner?' squeaked Jasmine excitedly as Faye told her about the e-mail. 'I think so. Unless there's another Patrick.' 'Nope. He's the only one. But this is unheard of. It's unnatural. It's, like...Oh my God...' 'Don't tell anyone will you?' 'But...' 'Please!' 'Okay, but the condition is that you have to tell me everything.' 'Oh!' 'Everything.' Faye's third Friday at Neenan's passed in a blur. She probably sent some faxes, she certainly made some telephone calls, and she couldn't be sure, but it was likely that she looked at some portfolios. Finally

six o'clock arrived. As she waited apprehensively in reception for her taxi to arrive, a courier appeared carrying a huge box with a gold bow on top. On Saturday morning Faye woke up with rather more of a hangover than she'd bargained for. 'Don't think,' she told herself sternly as she went about her morning routine. 'There'll be heaps of time for that tomorrow, but meanwhile you have a wedding to go to, your mother will be there and, what's more, your ex-boss and your father's darling new girlfriend. You have rather more to worry about than whatever happened with Patrick. Got it?' Last night Faye had spent six whole hours in Patrick's company but, as far as she could remember, the only sensible moment she'd had all evening was the bit when she put her new jacket onto a hanger at the end of it. Patrick was definitely an experience. 'Don't think!' she repeated as she slipped into her new dress and pulled the jacket on over it. She was relieved to see that, despite the fact that she and the jacket already had a history, it still managed to make her look like every parent's ideal daughter. The wedding went smoothly. Both mother and father were entirely fooled by Faye's new, adult appearance. The dreaded ex-boss avoided her all day, clearly nettled by her blatant cheerfulness. And Daddy's new arm decoration surprised everyone by seemingly being in possession of a

brain.

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