It would have been embarrassing if it hadn’t felt so good. Effie, the conscientious one, stood under the flow of the next morning’s shower wondering at what point during the Christmas party things had got out of hand. Her head ached. She’d have to face them all. She’d have to face him. Andre from Policy, who all the girls eyed longingly. He’d been, so it was said, solidly attached. Out of bounds. The available males, pimply clerks from the third floor or the boozers in Accounts, hated Andre. His self-possession, his charm, his aloofness. Yet she’d finished in his arms, his hand accentuating the sweep of her back, his kisses sweeter than the punch that had undone her.

Effie caught an early train. Better that than be late. She grabbed coffee at the station, window shopping as she went. But she couldn’t delay forever. As she walked across the forecourt there was a voice behind her. Andre, looking as fresh as if he were returning from leave, not throwing off a hangover.

Heat crept up her neck. ‘Andre. Hi. Look. About yesterday——.’

‘Are you free on Saturday?’ he said, slipping his arm into hers, climbing the stairs together. He stopped at the door to wave at the faces in the windows on level four.

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