HOW about this one?” asks Noel, hauling a capacious green item into view. It resembles a hefty tarpaulin from my boy scout days.
Emma looks at me. I’m idly fingering a rail of backless, ivory silk dresses. “Well?” she asks.
“Darling, I don’t know why you want to come. I mean, I’d love you to come. Ordinarily. But not so close to your due date.”
“But that’s exactly why David. They’re going to be fine now and it might be our last chance to go out. And I want to see you win your prize.” I’m nominated for City A.M.’s International Corporate Financier of the Year. Running through diary dates with Emma a couple of weeks ago I made the schoolboy error of mentioning the nomination. Then Gina, my thoroughly malevolent PA, revealed to Emma on the telephone – under no pressure whatsoever from what I can tell – that Sir Roderick was sponsoring a couple of tables and would be attending himself. Nudge, nudge…
So here we are. Looking for a dress.
Emma also knows that Caroline Davison is nominated and that Juliette, along with the rest of my team, will be attending. After all, the nomination recognises the hard work of all… yes, ok, I admit it – I have rehearsed an acceptance speech.
“I’m not going to win,” I insist. “And what if you go into labour during the dinner?”
“It’s going to happen sometime,” says Emma. “You’d either go home with the prize or with the twins. Isn’t that what you call a hedge? So, the green tarpaulin? Very practical if you have to deliver twins in a crowded hotel dining room.”
“No,” I say.
An hour later we leave the shop with an elegant, utterly ravishing, charcoal, silk Empire line dress. It must, indeed, be love.