New Year’s Eve 1999 came around all too soon, bringing her closer to her new life.
Three months ago she had set herself four life-changing goals.
- Lose weight
- Finish book
- Quit job
- Move to Portugal
She was pleased with herself, she had achieved three out of four of them in such a short space of time, even if Stephen King reckoned he could rattle off the whole shebang in a mere three months; she might have a journalistic background, but she was a virgin novelist. She had given in her notice at the end of October so number four on her list would be achieved on 1st February 2000, the date she had booked her crossing to Santander. She was proud of herself. Finally, she would be out of the self-dug rut, she had been in for too long.
She arrived at Adele’s during the early afternoon to help with the preparation for the party.
‘You look absolutely great, Li!’ She said, giving her oldest and best friend a hug. ‘And you’ve lost so much weight! How did you manage that over Christmas? Most of us put on pounds, not lose it.’
‘Ahhh, I’ve started jogging again, every day since I last saw you in fact.’
‘How’s the book coming along?
‘It’s done. It’s finished! The story was already there, in those dog-eared, coffee-stained manuscripts I bought back with me from London and I’ve been re-writing it for the last couple of years. Two weeks off over Christmas and I’ve finished it with the sagely wisdom and wit of a forty-year-old. I’ve started sending it out and about, with no great expectations. It was a therapeutic process for me and I’ve loved every minute of it. By the way …’ Her arm disappeared shoulder deep into her Mary Poppins-esque bag and dragged out a manuscript. ‘Happy New Year, Adele. I really want you to read it, more than anyone. Your very own copy… with love.’
‘I’d be pretty pissed off if you didn’t want me to read it! Thank you so much. Jack is dying to read it by the way. He’s hoping he might be included in the Dramatis personæ … as are we all.’
‘You do know it’s a work of fiction!’
‘Mmm, that’s what they all say. Anyway, Jack will be here tonight … Brenda-less and without the children. It’s such a shame. Josh and Amy were really looking forward to seeing their cousins.’
‘Oh? And why is that then?’
‘Apparently, Brenda doesn’t like fireworks.’
‘But surely the children do?’
She was always was a selfish cow, Lisa thought. Why on earth would Brenda feel the need be so bah humbug on Millennium Eve? It only happens every thousand years for God’s sake. Why on earth would she want to stop her children coming to a firework display and spend some time with their cousins? And why would she let Jack come on his own?
She hadn’t seen Jack for 18 years and already her heart was pounding.