Ellie put her butterfly pin in Polly Prince’s book at page 101. Having a butterfly pin as her bookmark helps her when reading tediously boring novels. Admittedly she’d had to do this with the most recent E. E Burns novel but wasn’t going to admit it in current company. That being of Jamie. If he knew she actually couldn’t stand Burns’ writing, he’d be devastated. She was taking one for the team, as E. E Burns is very hard to track down. He’d only ever met with Tallulah once in the past 10 years and he’d been prolifically writing for the past 16 years. Ellie had been most surprised that Jamie had been able to arrange a get together so quickly but then again he probably assumed he was going to the pub with a few old friends.
Jamie had coughed so loudly that Ellie looked up at the clock. Five already! Time to clock off, but as Ellie, Jamie and Tallulah knew Ellie’s job didn’t end there. I’ll get another chapter in before we go out tonight, Ellie promised herself. Ellie was out of the building five minutes later after bidding farewell to Jamie, who was coming over to their flat at 6.45 to pick Ellie up. Ellie didn’t think of this as anything more than a friend helping out another friend and she was grateful for the perspective she’d assigned it. Thinking it was anything other like a date would leave her disappointed. It was for the best.
Jamie left the building and was bacck at his 10 minutes after clocking off time. He had assured Ellie he’d come and pick her up at 6.45. He felt excited. Finally he’d have her to himself, on pretence of it being about Edmund Burns who was going to show up for maybe half an hour before taking his leave. Jamie started to get into the clothes he’d picked out last night. He put on his exotic aftershave, his saved for special occasions scent.
Ellie put on her black off-the-neck dress. She felt good in it. Maybe a little tempting but it wouldn’t be a bad thing to have boys’ looking. It might even inspire… Ellie erased this thought from her mind. How many times? Feeling good, surely that is enough? She sighed but didn’t change out of the dress. She’d taken too long deciding what dress to wear, she only just had time to do her make-up before Jamie arrived. She went for a powdery blue on her eyes, a touch of blush on her cheeks and just a glimmer of gloss on her lips. Almost like he’d been cued, the doorbell rang the very moment she put down her lip brush.
‘Wow. You’re very on time,’ Ellie told him, welcoming him into the flat. He laughed.
‘You look great,’ he said looking at Ellie.
‘You too,’ Ellie bit the inside of her cheek. They were standing in the hallway. ‘Had we better be going?’ Ellie asked, anxious to get this meeting over and done with.
‘Oh yeah, yeah,’ Jamie said rather hesitantly. Ellie wheeled in front of him and then he took control.
When they were at the bar Jamie got the first round of drinks in. Jamie bought three drinks, a pint expectant of Edmund to arrive. While they were waiting Jamie drummed up conversation. ‘So Polly Prince, real name or print name?’ He asked, joily squinting at an empty glass at the next table. ‘Hmm, people do have strange names! I think it’s real!’ Ellie returned giggling. ‘How have you heard of-’
‘You are reading it!’ Jamie laughed. They giggled together for a moment, before being greeted by Edmund Burns.
‘Hiya old pal,’ Edmund broke into the conversation, patting Jamie on the back.
‘Hey Ed, this is Ellie,’ Jamie introduced the pair.
‘Ooh, you never told me you had a girlfriend!’ Edmund beamed at Ellie.
‘Oh no I’m not – ’ Ellie started to say.
‘Lovely to meet you,’ Edmund said, interrupting her. Jamie winked at her. The wink that told her ‘to just go with it, it makes things easier’. She returned him a flirty, playful smile. She turned her attention to Edmund who had downed his first pint by the time she looked at him. ‘I’ll get the next round, same again everybody?’ Edmund asked boisterously. Ellie looked at her drink which she was only halfway through at this time. ‘Yeah, Ok mate but we are not doing shots this time,’ Jamie laughed.
‘Ok, ok,’ Edmund giggled like a high-school girl. While he moseyed on to the bar Ellie got her notebook out of her bag. She had some questions. Jamie agreed that the best way to get him to talk was by getting him merry and he needed no help getting there. He returned with a shot of sambuka for himself, another pint for Jamie and another vodka coke for Ellie. When she had finished nursing the first one she moved with quick ease to the notebook.
Interrogation time! ‘Edmund, what does the other E in your name stand for?’ It wasn’t a question she had written down she’d just always wondered. ‘Eugene,’ Edmund replied. ‘Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?’ she asked looking down at her notebook, ready to write an answer. ‘From reality, then I exaggerate them, say have you read my book Mother’s Ground?’
‘Yes, I actually just finished it yesterday,’ Ellie told him.
‘Well, my mother had been taken for a rough ride by some youths, I added a family into the mix and bam! There’s your story!’
‘Clever!’ Ellie nodded absorbing this new information.
‘Where did ‘Claire’ originate?’ she asked, again without the question actually being in her notebook. She was intrigued now.
‘My ex-wife,’ he said. ‘She was actually called Laura, but by using another name I could get away with doing what I wanted to her,’ he went on. He had had his shot by this point and was looking over at the bar longingly, like he thought it’d stop existing if he didn’t stare at it. Jamie noticed this. ‘I’ll get you one more,’ Jamie opened his wallet. ‘Oh no, really it’s my turn,’ Ellie butted in, getting out her purse. Jamie suddenly appeared at her shoulder. ‘Honestly, you have no idea how much this man can put away,’ he stage whispered to her.
‘But it’s time I pay my dues, what d’you want Ed?’ she asked.
‘Actually, I think I’ll be heading off,’ Edmund said following the signals from Jamie. ‘Oh Ok, it was lovely to have met you Ed,’ she exclaimed as he pickedc up his coat from where he’d been sitting. After putting that on and telling Ellie and Jamie to have a fun night, he left.
Ellie started getting her coat on also. ‘It’s been great Jamie. Really fantastic, but I’ve got to finish reading Miss Polly Prince’s book by tomorrow,’ Ellie told him and with that headed towards the door. Jamie was left all alone wondering if Ellie had enjoyed the time she’d spent playing his girlfriend, stopping the mythering thought that she hadn’t.