“Hi Joanne, how are things? Sorry I’m late.”

“Sit down Laura. I need to tell you something! “

“err… ok….. but….I kind of had something I wanted to tell you as well….”

“It can wait! This is serious!”

“Right… Go on then…”

“Well…..well…………It’s only bloody Tony isn’t it?”

“….yes …well ….I…?”

“The last few months….. All these late nights ! – I thought he was working overtime? – at least that’s what he said…. but you’d think, that would mean more money, wouldn’t you?”

“Well yes I…”

“Do you think I can get him to hand any of it over? I tried to get money off him for the council tax last week, but he just brushed me off saying he’d take care of it next month! They drag you to court if you’re late with that stuff, don’t they?”

“I think so. I heard…..”

“He used to be so carefree with his money, even when times were tough, but now he’s become a real skinflint – and it’s just since he started working lates. You’d think with all that overtime coming in he’d be feeling more flush, but no…..so it got me thinking…”

“…right….emm….”

“Well, I was thinking….. maybe he’s started gambling! With all the adverts for casinos these days, who could blame him? And he always liked a bit of a flutter – but never nothing serious mind. Just 30 quid on the way back from work on a Friday. He never tells me but I always find his bookie slips in his pockets …. but …..”

“What?”

“Afternoon miss, what can I get you today then?”

“Oh Alfonse, ….errr….. I’ll just have a coffee. White no sugar, thanks. Joanne?”

“I’ve already had mine.”

“Ok Joanne, look I need to come clean here…”

“Hang on Laura, before I forget – your catalogue stuff just arrived. Here you go perfume and undies. Chanel and…Oooh! These are a bit racey for you aren’t they?… Funny, Tony has a thing for red too…”

“I know…it’s just…..”

“Course he might be having an affair…”

“..hrmm! ..what?”

“Nah, just kidding! ‘e ain’t that stupid! Knows I’d chop his balls off if he did…….and her tits…..heh……”

“Here you go madame. White coffee, no sugar. Would you like to order something else?”

“..er no…..er..thanks…no, not just now….”

“Enjoy!”

“So anyway, what was it you were going to tell me?”

“eehhhh…..nothing…..never mind. Really it was nothing…..”

“Oh that’s good then, cause I’ve got to hurry back. Want to knock off early tonight. Malcolm from accounts is leaving so me and Stace said we’d go down the Royal with him for a couple…..you should come along if you like – might get yourself a man perhaps?”

“No….actually I ….I’ve already made plans….but thanks….”

“Oh! Miss popular now? Well have fun, don’t do anything I wouldn’t! See you Thursday?”

“yeah…..see you Thursday.”