The prince and the pauper

by Jenny

The boats in the marina rose and dropped in the glare of the headlights. Sophie had spent fifteen minutes silently categorising fruits and vegetables in her head and now she began listing cartoon characters.

It was hard to say when she had switched off altogether. Somewhere between the third story about his Ferrari and the bit where he showed her pictures of other cars he thought he might buy.

The date had been an unmitigated disaster. Sebastian had not realised this yet. He’d picked her up from her mate Sharon's house in the estate. She never let Tinder dates see her place; she knew what they'd think of her and she wanted to make sure their first impression was of her, not her house.

He had eyed the place, took in the peeling plasterboard walls and threadbare carpet then made sure to flash his Rolex, name drop several prominent celebrities and mention the fact that he owned two very expensive cars, all in the first five minutes.

Then he’d told her he’d take her for a real treat and they had spent the evening in a restaurant that had served Sophie two mouthfuls of something undercooked while Sebastian explained nouvelle cuisine to her. Sophie watched enviously as he polished off his steak, dreaming of a Big Mac.

“Bet you’ve never been to a place like this before have you? Well this is what it’s like with me. I look after my girls. While you’re with me I’ll see that you want for nothing. Babes.”

Then he had started on the first Ferrari story.

After dinner he’d driven them to the marina to look at boats he was thinking of buying. He’d parked up, launched into another story and was still laughing uproariously at himself.

“The chap on the bike tried to make me pay for the repairs. I told him he should be paying for the scratch marks his stupid face left in the side of my Porsche!’

Snoopy, Captain Underpants, that one from Beauty and the Beast. Shit what was his name? Gavroche? No…

“Anyway I sort of had to cough up a couple of hundred quid in the end. For that sort of money it’s not worth the fuss. Just gave the prole his cash and off he pedalled - ah haha aha!”

Gaston! That was it!

“I mean, honestly, what kind of person cycles? Same poor chaps who think Big Macs are food. Not like the food I ordered for you tonight. I can tell, just by looking at a woman, what she likes to put in her mouth...”

Sophie had had enough. She pulled out her phone and quickly tapped in a message. Within minutes, to her immense relief, the gleaming Bentley slid soundlessly up next to them.

Startling him, Sophie opened the door and got out, clutching her black leather Hermes bag to her chest.

“Goodbye Sebastian, it’s been interminable. I asked my chauffeur Jerry to come and fetch me. Oh, I’ll be seeing darling Elton on the weekend - I’ll tell him you said hello, I’m sure he’ll be thrilled. Jerry can we please call at the McDonald’s Drive thru on the way home? I’m fucking starving.”