Yes Chef, No ChefBy: Susan Willis
Katie looked at her new black cocktail dress hanging on the wardrobe door and shivered with excitement - she couldn’t wait for the party tonight at The Savoy. It seemed forever since she’d spent any quality time with Tim and hugging herself with anticipation she did a little pirouette to reach the stool in front of her dressing table. Dreamily she thought of how the champagne would flow and how they’d dance the night away wrapped in each other’s arms - surely this would help to get them back on track, she mused, glancing at the bedside clock and praying he wasn’t going to be too late.
Her mobile rang and when she saw his name on the screen she snatched it up. “Where are you?”
With a note of wariness in his voice, he said, “I’m still at the restaurant.”
“But you rang at five o’clock to say you were on your way, and the taxi will be here soon.” Katie exclaimed.
Tim sighed with exasperation as though he was talking to a child, “I know, darling, and I’m so sorry but Jim phoned in sick at the last minute and I’m going to have to stay and cover service for him, and…”
“What!” she yelled into the mobile, imagining him holding it away from his ear and pursing his lips with irritation. She could hear the clatter of pans from the kitchen and an electric whisk whirling, and then a girl’s voice calling for him which made her want to scream in frustration. “Shit, you can’t do this, Tim. Not tonight of all nights?”
“Look, Kate, I can’t just leave the restaurant without a chef on duty. It’s my responsibility, you know that. You’ll be fine with all your work mates and friends,” he cajoled, “I know you’ll have a great time.”
But the hurt and disappointment was raging though her and losing her usual control she snapped, “But it’s my big night and you promised me nothing would stop you from being there. I mean, it’s The Savoy and the tickets cost a fortune, and I have my new black cocktail dress…” she tailed off seething inside.
“Bloody hell, Kate, I’ve more things on my mind than new dresses,” he shouted, “I’ll give you the money for the damn tickets!”
Tears of dismay were pricking at the back of her eyes. She couldn’t believe he wasn’t coming and letting her down again.
“Look, I’ll make it up to you later,” he crooned. “And keep your new dress on so I can see it when I get home.”
Her mouth was dry with anxiety and she only managed to click her tongue in amazement at his patronising tone.
The noise from the kitchen faded and he said softly, “Oh, come-on, you’ll still enjoy yourself. Just make an excuse about work pressures for me and then give them my apologies.”
You can grovel as much as you want, she thought lifting her chin in defiance, but you’re not getting the upper hand. She managed to clear her throat and speak in a calm but detached voice. “I’m sick to death of making excuses for you, Tim,” she said clicking her mobile off.
Her hand trembled while she poured herself a glass of wine. How could he, she raged, he’d actually gone back on his word again. The night had been planned for months and it was supposed to be her chance to impress the new management bosses from the company - everyone was making a special effort to attend the party to launch the new advertising campaign. Well, everyone except Tim of course. She’d imagined herself in the classy cocktail dress walking serenely with her arm through his, chatting confidently and making polite conversation whilst sipping champagne.
But now she’d have to walk around on her own, she seethed and glared at his happy smiling face in the framed photograph on her dressing table. ‘You knew how important this night was to me,’ she hissed and slammed the photograph face down. She took another mouthful of wine for Dutch courage and felt a surge of determination sweep through her - she wasn’t going to let him ruin her night, by God, she wasn’t, she’d go to the party on her own and shine like she’d never shone before.
Looking into the mirror she swept blusher majestically across her cheeks and admired the hairdresser’s handy-work with her usual brown mousey hair. The cut was excellent making the long bob swing effortlessly when she moved her head from side-to-side and the vibrant dark brown colour emphasised her hazel eyes. With a final nod of satisfaction she decided her make-up was as good as she was going to get it and swivelled around on the stool to look at the dress, remembering the day she’d bought it with her friend, Lisa.