Civvy Street

Civvy Street by Fiona Field Read Free Book Online

Book: Civvy Street by Fiona Field Read Free Book Online
Authors: Fiona Field
her return, she said, ‘Changing the subject, are you going to the curry lunch on Sunday?’
    ‘And give Camilla the chance to patronise me? I don’t think so.’ Susie put on a sing-song voice and did a remarkably accurate impression of the CO’s wife. ‘Ooh, Susie, you must be finding life so exciting at the moment. Fancy being able to choose your own home instead of relying on army housing.’ She gave Maddy a wry grin. ‘If only it were like that.’
    ‘It must be quite nice, though, to choose what sort of heating your house has, or just have the opportunity to paint the walls some colour other than magnolia.’
    ‘If only.’ Susie took a deep breath and stared at her mug. Then she raised her gaze to meet Maddy’s as she made up her mind to share with her friend what the score really was. ‘This is strictly entre nous but Mike has run up some debts so his credit rating is through the floor. The mortgage broker won’t touch him with a bargepole.’
    ‘No!’
    Susie nodded. ‘So, if I’m the only one being considered for a mortgage I’ve got to get a job or we’ll be renting till the crack of doom.’
    ‘Oh, Susie, I am so sorry.’
    ‘Yeah, well... don’t be too kind or I might cry.’ Already Susie felt tears in her eyes. She swallowed. ‘In the great scheme of things it’s not the end of the world...’
    ‘No,’ said Maddy, reaching across the table and putting her hand on Susie’s. ‘But it’s a total bugger all the same.’
    Susie nodded. ‘Only, can I ask a favour... don’t tell Seb. I don’t think Mike would forgive me if he knew I’d told you, but I had to tell someone. Do you mind?’
    ‘Mind? Of course not. And no, Seb will never hear of this from me. Trust me.’
    ‘Thanks.’ Susie went quiet for a second or two. Then she added, ‘There’s another thing...’
    ‘What?’
    ‘I want McManners’ job in the mess.’
    ‘Oh?’ Maddy’s eyebrows shot up.
    ‘Don’t sound surprised. The pay’s not bad and I used to be in catering before I married Mike. Not canteen stuff, either – posh dinner parties, that sort of thing.’
    Maddy looked dubious. ‘But will the mess committee...?’ She stopped, looking a little embarrassed.
    Susie came to her rescue. ‘Employ me?’
    ‘Well, you know,’ said Maddy, diffidently. ‘Being an officer’s wife and everything.’
    ‘That’s exactly what Mike said. But I told him I completely understand the 1 Herts’ ethos and I understand about catering.’
    ‘I suppose.’ Maddy didn’t sound convinced. ‘And is catering the right background? I’m not being mean, Susie, but as manager you won’t be doing the actual cooking, will you?’
    ‘No, but I understand the principles and I can do accounting. OK, not like a proper accountant but I can do basic bookkeeping. All those hours of running the sodding thrift shop might finally pay off.’
    ‘There has to be some payback for doing that job,’ said Maddy, with feeling. ‘Camilla is already trying to rope me into running it.’
    ‘Run... run away!’
    Maddy laughed. ‘You see, there’ll be lots of things about being an army wife that you won’t miss.’
    ‘And being at Camilla’s beck and call won’t be one of them.’
    ‘So why don’t you cock a snook at her and come to the curry lunch? Just think, you could cut her dead or tell her to get stuffed.’
    ‘Actually, that’s really, really tempting.’

Chapter 4
    Sam was standing at the bar in the mess as the married pads, looking forward to the Sunday ritual of a curry lunch, began to drift in; some herding reluctant teenagers, some hauling in babies and toddlers and all their paraphernalia. Slowly the bar filled and the noise level crescendoed and Sam spotted Maddy, pushing Rose in her buggy, making her way over towards her.
    ‘Good to see you,’ said Maddy, when she was in earshot.
    Sam felt a twinge of guilt at seeing her – she still hadn’t got over the fact that it was her best friend who had had an affair with

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