She hadn't even wanted to go. It was Brenda who had wanted to go, the same Brenda who had got married this afternoon. At that time she had been in pursuit of some chap – Todd? Toby? Robyn couldn't remember. Nothing came of it anyway.
But Brenda had persuaded her to devote her precious once-a-week night out with the girls to some stupid student party in some revolting student flat with mis-matched, rickety furniture and vile wallpaper.
And now Brenda had disappeared into the smoky interstices of the flat, leaving her alone amongst a crowd of people she didn't know and didn't want to know.
It was a typical student party. Far too many people crowded in a small space, smoking and clutching cans of beer. There was even the mandatory group of medics, two of them dressed in surgical gowns and masks, eagerly reciting the “Dead Parrot” sketch.
She felt too old for this. She was, in fact, the same age as most of these students, but marriage and motherhood had set her apart, made her more mature.
If she hadn't met Neil in her last year at school and fatefully got pregnant, she would have been one of these carefree students, having intense discussions about obscure topics.
She didn't regret missing it. It all seemed a bit puerile now. And she loved Neil and the baby of course...
She looked up and her eye fell upon a man dressed as an Arab. His outfit didn't have the hastily–assembled look of most of the others. In fact, if not for his fair hair and blue eyes, he could have been mistaken for a genuine Arab.
He looked up and their eyes met, and something passed between them – some connection. His eyes widened in surprise and he began walking towards her, still holding her gaze. She found herself unable to look away and was gripped by a mild panic.
But all that happened was he said, in a perfectly pleasant and ordinary voice, “Is there room for another on that sofa?”
She gave the sofa a dubious look. “There's room,” she said, surprised at how normal her voice sounded, “but whether it can support the extra weight is another matter.”
He laughed and sat down. The sofa creaked alarmingly and lurched slightly, but remained intact.
“That looks genuine. Is it?” she said, indicating his robe.
The man looked down. “Oh, the Djellaba?” he said. “Yeah, I lived in Morocco for a while.”
“It would be entirely convincing if your beard was darker,” she said, thinking she was being clever.
He met her eyes and again that strange communication passed between them, almost like an electric current.
“Oh, but there are Arabs with fair colouring,” he said. “The Berbers.”
Jenny Twist was born in York and brought up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Heckmondwike, the eldest grandchild of a huge extended family.
She left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant, she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.
She stayed in Oxford working as a recruitment consultant for many years and it was there that she met and married her husband, Vic. In 2001 they retired and moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat.
Her first book, Take One At Bedtime, was published in April 2011 and the second, Domingo’s Angel, was published in July 2011. Her novella, Doppelganger, was published in the anthology Curious Hearts in July 2011, Uncle Vernon, was published in Spellbound, in November 2011, Jamey and the Alien was published in Warm Christmas Wishes in December 2011 and Mantequero was published in the anthology Winter Wonders in December 2011.