“You’re crazy,” she replied.
I persuaded her to come with us. “I don’t like the thought of you and Yasmin going there alone,” she said. I think she saw us as clueless, or just not very streetwise, and felt she needed to chaperone us if we tried to go anywhere too adventurous.
After work we went to Yasmin’s to get ready. Mainly because Yasmin had lots of great clothes we could borrow, and because her fridge was always well stocked.
We were at Yasmin’s flat drinking wine when Kathleen’s phone rang. I watched her face crease in disbelief. She swore, which is unusual for her, and began looking round for her bag and coat while still on the phone. She snapped the phone shut and said, “ I’ve got to go, I’ll call you tomorrow,”
“What’s wrong?” asked Yasmin, I could see that she was made uneasy by Kathleen’s air, unused to seeing her friend flustered,
“One of the holding companies we invest in is mixed up with a big Chinese brothel,” she said, “I need to get to the office, try and sell before anyone finds out. Fuck. Fuck. If any of you mention this, you are so dead,” she added this realising she was probably not supposed to tell.
“I am so not surprised,” muttered Connie,
“What?!!” yelled Kathleen, “my fucking career is on the line and you’re making sarkie comments, fuck off,”
Yasmin looked uncomfortable, unsure who to side with. Connie’s eyes narrowed. I could tell she wanted to slap Kathleen, but she would never do such a thing. “Don’t tell me to fuck off,” she said calmly. “You work in hedge-funds. You’re bound to be exploiting someone somewhere down the line. If you actually gave a fuck about anyone other than yourself, you wouldn’t work at a merchant bank,”
Kathleen was floored by this. “I need to go,” she said, kissing Yasmin and marching out of the door. Connie cradled her face in her hands. “I’m really sorry,” she said to Yasmin. “I just snapped at her.”
I felt like the air had cleared. The tension between Kathleen and Connie had been palpable for so long. “Connie’s right,” said Gina, “she shouldn’t work at a big bank if she can’t handle what they do,”
Lina laughed. “Not all bankers are evil,” she said. I had forgotten that Lina’s brother was a trader. He was a bit of lad, but he was likeable enough. “It’s ok,” she said, “he mainly buys oil shares, he’s just wrecking the environment, he’s not involved with the sex trade.”
Yasmin poured more wine. There wasn’t really anything we could do about Kathleen and her crisis, and in truth I was glad she had left.
Image: Bordello Girl, by Connie