Hearts and Diamonds

Hearts and Diamonds by Justine Elyot Read Free Book Online

Book: Hearts and Diamonds by Justine Elyot Read Free Book Online
Authors: Justine Elyot
aren’t you? Do a makeover or whatever, except not just with my looks. You’re going to do what you do to those people on the show – what did they call it? Starmaking. I did see a few episodes of it, and I remember you looking straight to camera, all cheesy like, with massive hair and saying, “Time for some starmaking.” It was, like, your catchphrase, yeah?’
    ‘Yeah.’ She cringed a bit. It did sound cheesy, when he put it like that. ‘There will be an element of that, I suppose. If you can look on it as part of the job, you know, dressing the part, working the room . . .’
    ‘Whatever. I know. I know what you’re going to do to me. And I know it’ll piss me off, however necessary you think it is. I’m not a fucking dressing up doll.’
    ‘I know you’re not, I—’
    But he waved a hand, indicating that there was more for her to hear.
    ‘I haven’t said what my idea is yet. Do you want to hear it or carry on with the Starmaker Manifesto?’
    ‘No, sorry. Say what you want to say.’
    She flicked her eyes over to the counter where a group of people were leaning in to the barista, talking and casting covert looks in their direction. She kept her sigh inward. Incognito was over for the day.
    ‘Here’s my proposal,’ said Jason, leaning forward and holding her eyes with the pokeriest of poker faces, as if he’d watched too many films containing Bigshot Business Deals. ‘If you mess with me, it’s only fair that I should mess with you.’
    ‘I don’t . . . Not sure what you’re saying.’
    ‘You’re going to ask me to change a lot of things – the clothes I wear, the way I speak, the way I act. I want to do the same to you. I want you to know how it feels.’
    ‘I do know how it feels. Once Deano’s band started getting press, we had to reinvent ourselves. We had to learn fast, and we didn’t have anyone to help us. We had to use our intuition – to know when the journos were looking down their noses at us and making fun of our Bledburn accents, and to tweak accordingly. It’s not easy, Jason, and what you don’t seem to realise is that I’m trying to protect you from that. You might not want to believe it but the media in this country is still hugely London-centric and if you don’t want to be classed with the bumpkins . . .’
    ‘Don’t get all arsey with me. I’m not refusing to do it, am I? Just listen. I do what you ask . . . and you do what I ask. Isn’t that fair enough?’
    ‘But I don’t understand . . . What are you going to ask of me?’
    ‘Nothing that’ll make a difference to your precious public image, don’t worry. This is a private game.’
    He winked and light began to dawn on Jenna.
    ‘You mean . . .’
    ‘Fun and games for Jenna and Jason,’ he said. ‘Let’s start one here. I’ve agreed to come to London and see your gallery friend, so you owe me one and I want to collect. I’m torn, though, between asking you to come over here and give me a proper snog with tongues in front of all those people . . .’
    ‘I can’t do that!’
    ‘Why not?’
    ‘It’s just not professional. Not when we
know
we’ve got an audience. Outside or in the car, fine. But not in a coffee shop.’
    Jason rolled his eyes.
    ‘That makes me want to do it even more, but all right. Not that, then. Not yet. It’ll have to be the other thing.’
    ‘What’s the other thing?’ The trepidation in Jenna’s voice seemed to please Jason. He dragged the anticipation out with deliberate enjoyment.
    ‘I’m warning you,’ he whispered. ‘It’s naughty. Very naughty.’
    ‘Just tell me. As long as nobody over
there
knows about it.’
    ‘Oh, they won’t know. They might guess . . . but they won’t know.’
    ‘Jason! Cut it out with the suspense.’
    ‘Go to the Ladies’ and take off your knickers. Put them in your handbag and come back out again.’
    ‘I can’t do that!’
    ‘Of course you can.’
    ‘Jason!’ Her face flamed red, but the idea was more exciting than she

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