Tats leaps into the car beside me. “God, sorry I’m late! It’s been manic here this morning, honestly.”

We hug with some difficulty across the handbrake; she is one of my closest friends – I seem to have known her forever – and instantly we are talking, and laughing; stories of family, work – all the normal girly stuff. As we park outside the café she shoves a card and gift into my hand. “That’s late too,” she grimaces “But you know how it is…”

I do. The card says ‘Being your friend gives me something to smile about’. The gift is the Duffy CD I have been coveting but have so far not found time to download. Tats didn’t know I wanted it; she just guessed I’d like it, because she does. In the same way that we bought exactly the same dinner service from Marks & Spencer without even knowing what the other had done.

I play the CD all the way home. And all the way to the client I am seeing this evening. I press the repeat button on ‘Mercy’ quite a few times.

I love you
But I gotta to stay true
My morals have got me on my knees
I’m begging you please, stop playing games
I don’t know what this is
But you got me good
Just like you knew you would
I don’t know what you do
But you do it well
I’m under your spell
You got me begging you for mercy
Why don’t you release me?



Owen flops down next to me. Maybe I was wrong about buttoned up; his shirt collar is open this time and he looks better for it, not so strangled, somehow.

“Get your interview OK?”
I nod.
“Anything juicy?”
“No, not really.” And we both know that if there had been, I probably wouldn’t have been able to use it.
“Listen, I’ve got to got straight out – the car sponsor – they’re going to put our leaflets in with their mailings – I have to take them over and speak to their PR people.”
“Cool. I’m just going to back up my audio then chill on the way home – my friend bought me the Duffy CD. Have you heard it?”

We are half way to our feet and he stops. “Not the whole album, but I love the single. When I was on holiday I looped it all the time.”
“What, ‘Mercy’?”
He nods.
“I’ll see if I can rip the CD for you.”
And after we hug goodbye we look at each other for a moment, our faces very close.

Of course, I go way over the top. I don’t only copy Duffy, I also make a compilation CD of similar stuff I think he might like. I think long and hard before including Sophie B Hawkins’ ‘Damn, I wish I was your lover’, but mentally balance it out by finishing with Texas’ ‘I don’t want a lover’. I wonder what he’ll make of it. Nobody, but nobody, shares my eclectic taste in music.

  1. hypothetically speaking i could be owen.. how do you know eh?


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