Campaign Ruby

Campaign Ruby by Jessica Rudd Read Free Book Online

Book: Campaign Ruby by Jessica Rudd Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jessica Rudd
Tags: FIC000000, FIC044000, FIC016000
whiter. It also made the molehills on my chest appear even smaller, so I rifled through my Toolkit for the One Cup Ups and made mountains of them, even if they were day-hike mountains as opposed to the more exotic altitude-sickness-inducing ones my ex used to climb for fun. It might have worked if he’d spent more time mounting me. I stepped into tan Miu Miu wedges—the open toe freeing my still-swollen digit—and fastened the clasps on the coral earrings Daddy had bought me in Positano.
    In the fogged-up corner of the bathroom mirror, I wrote:
    1. Call parents
    2. Check email
    3. Buy bronzer
    4. Stop writing To Do lists—you’re on holiday.

The party’s party
    A gunmetal-grey Aston Martin grumbled as it pulled up in front of the house. Its mechanical roof lowered, revealing Debs. ‘Shit, you scrub up all right,’ she said. ‘Jump in. I’ve just muted this conference call—client wants to embark on an IP dispute with a Chinese JV partner—mind if I do this on speaker while we drive?’
    â€˜By all means.’ I knew she was a successful lawyer, but her personality lent itself more to hard hat than wig.
    The sound of an under-populated boardroom on speaker-phone was familiar to me. Debs cut in across a distressed middle-aged man. ‘Listen guys, I could spin you a whole lot of bullshit about how we could stop these fuckers, but I’d be lying. Bottom line is this: Australia doesn’t have a reciprocal enforcement of judgment treaty with China, so even if we took ’em to court here and won, which would take time and cost millions, we’d end up with a bit of paper worth less than a square of loo roll in China. The Chinese have got a billion people to think about, so they couldn’t give a flying fuck about a bunch of Aussie lawyers with their undies in a twist. Here’s my advice: hang up, go forth and enjoy the rest of your weekend. Let bygones be bygones, gentlemen.’
    They took her advice. It was poetic: the best counsel I’d ever heard.
    â€˜When I was a banker, working on big deals,’ I said, hating the past tense, ‘I’d have called the lawyers every day if they gave commercial advice like that.’
    â€˜That’s the general idea,’ said Debs, plugging her iPod into the car and selecting some opera. ‘I love my clients and my clients love me cos I don’t bullshit them.’
    We zoomed around the valley, the high beams spotlighting a host of hand-painted signs pointing to tiny wineries. We stopped at one.
    â€˜Call us when you’re ready to be picked up.’
    â€˜Aren’t you coming in?’ I was suddenly nervous.
    â€˜Nah,’ Debs said, ‘you’ll be right—just find Benedict Jones.’
    I walked up the drive and was greeted by a gentleman wearing a hideous pinstripe suit.
    â€˜Finally,’ he said. ‘There’s a delivery drop-off point at the back of the building. Leave it there.’
    â€˜Excuse me?’
    â€˜The raffle prize.’
    â€˜I’m not a courier.’
    He held his hand up to silence me and pointed to a tiny bluetooth headset in his left ear.
    â€˜Sorry about that,’ he said, ‘we’ve been waiting on a delivery.’
    â€˜I’m looking for Benedict Jones.’
    â€˜You’re here for the fundraiser?’
    I wondered whether my Miu Mius would take me back down the drive fast enough to catch up with Debs.
    â€˜Miss…’
    â€˜Stanhope. Ruby Stanhope.’
    â€˜I don’t have you on my list—who are you with?’
    â€˜Myself,’ I said. ‘I was to be here with my aunt Daphne Partridge, and her partner Debs, Deborah…’ I didn’t know her last name.
    â€˜Sorry, I don’t have you here.’
    â€˜Look, Pansy had puppies today, which was unexpected, and neither Aunt Daphne nor Debs was able to make tonight’s party so I’ve come instead. They said to speak with

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