Chapter One

"Wow, you look like shit."

A big brown eye opened, but then squinted in pain at the bright surroundings of the apartment. All the windows had been opened and it appeared she'd crashed on the couch last night.

"I feel like shit," she grumbled, voice croaking. "What the fuck did I do last night?"

She heard the opening of the fridge and the clinking of glass bottles, before it was slammed shut and a bottle of Evian water was set down on the oak table in front of her.

"Hell if I know," the dyed luminous redhead shrugged, collapsing on the matching cream cushioned love chair to the right side of the table. "One minute you were getting jiggy with this gorgeous blonde, and then the next you were gone."

The brunette closed both her eyes tight shut and pressed her thumb and index finger into the corners, massaging slowly. "This was at Blue Lotus, yeah?"

The redhead unscrewed the bottle-cap off her own bottle of Fanta, "Yeah," she nodded, taking a swig.

The brunette slowly swung her legs off the couch, sitting up, despite the protest of her aching limbs. "We've gotta stop going there, crazy shit always seems to happen."

"And yet we're going again tonight," the redhead mused, a cheeky smile on her face. "Suck it up, babe, you know it's the best place to pull."

The brunette shrugged lazily - it was true, after all.

"I'm not entirely sure I want to pull anyone after last night; my body has given up on me."

The redhead snickered, "That's just the tell-tale signs of a good time, babe."

Torrance grabbed the water and slunk back into the cushions. With much effort, she managed to kick off her black strappy heels, then rinsed away the bad morning taste from her mouth as she gurgled and swallowed.

Her dark, shaped eyebrows suddenly rose up as she squinted to look at the bottom of her dress.

"Bonnie, is that…blood?"

"I dunno, are you on your period?" she asked sarcastically, her laughing continuing as the brunette threw her a less than impressed glance.

"Shut up, I'm serious."

Bonnie gave her a sceptic look and leaned over the couch, dipping her head down to the large patch on Torrance's slinky gray dress. She sniffed at the fabric and her brow creased in disgust for a moment, before she straightened back up to a seating position.

"Yeah, that's Lambrini."

Torrance blew out a sigh of relief, "Thank god. That would've been a bitch to get out."

Bonnie grinned at her and the brunette flopped back down onto the couch, her arm lazily lying over her eyes to block out the sun.

"Oh, Torr."

The brunette turned her brown eyes to look up sleepily at her.

"It's 9:30."

"Motherfuck!"

The redhead snorted and then laughed wildly as she leapt up to grab the remote for the TV, as her short friend jumped up in a frenzy and ran through the living room and into the back where the two separate doors to their bedrooms were.

Torrance threw the door open and tripped over the stack of clothing she'd thrown out of the built-in wardrobe the night before while looking for something to wear, and then stumbled into her bed in the centre of the room, stubbing her toe on the wooden legs.

"Fuck!" she whined, flopping onto the rose-coloured sheets of the double-sized bed, curling up in the foetal position as she cradled her toe to her chest.

After a good few swear words being slurred under her breath, she rose to her feet and winced at the stinging pain. "Bonnie, skin-coloured tights?" she shouted, shimmying out of the tight crinkled dress and changing into a matching red and white spotted underwear and bra set.

There was a brief pause, "Check the laundry basket."

"I have," she answered as she was pulling out the clothes from the white wooden-woven basket in the bathroom, making yet another pile of clothes on the floor. "These all have holes in them!"

"Not my fault you're a kinky bitch," the redhead mumbled to herself, but nevertheless got up off the couch to assist her fumbling friend.

She grabbed a box of 4 tan-coloured tights from the top drawer in her own bedroom and trekked across the apartment to throw it on the bed for her roommate.

"Buy me another when you get off tonight."

"Will do," Torrance grinned cheesily.

Bonnie shrugged in reply and collapsed back on the sofa with a tub of cheese and onion Pringles and the remote, flicking the large black flat-screen on and settling on watching Sex and the City, and then balanced the remote on her stomach.

Torrance threw on her tights (but not before slapping on two plasters on the back of her heels) and then her usual form-fitting black secretary-style skirt and a white fitted blouse.

Not having the time to do much else, she threw her long slightly curled - off the position she'd been sleeping in - hair up into a messy bun in the middle of her head and used make-up wipes, before re-applying a coat of mascara, rosy blusher and a thin coat of liquid eyeliner on her top lid.

Grimacing in the mirror at her appearance, she grabbed a small black handbag from the chair at her desk and exited her room.

"My face looks like shit today," she reported, her face grim and unimpressed.

Bonnie cast her eyes over to her, "Too much foundation?"

"Maybe," she mumbled.

"Lay off so much make-up and put on some moisturiser when you get back in," the bright haired girl offered half-heartedly, her eyes back to the TV.

Torrance hummed and slipped on a pair of simple black heels by the door and grabbed her house keys from the kitchen, which was just opposite the living room to the left in an open-plan setting.

After depositing the keys into her bag (which contained her BlackBerry, small purple and white spotted purse and a few bits of make-up), she took her thigh-high black coat that was strewn across the adjacent love seat to the 3-seater Bonnie was now lounging on.

"I'm assuming you called in sick?" she asked as she buckled the belt on the coat.

Bonnie waved her hand in the air dismissively, telling her she was correct.

"Text me if you want anything brought in," she meant shopping-wise, Bonnie assumed, "Don't answer the door to any strangers, now," she teased and closed the door behind her to the sound of the redhead chuckling away to herself.

Torrance walked through the bright hallway, with its dark beige carpeted floors and cream walls, and patted down the wooden steps to the bottom floor of the building.

The building was 3 stories, with a grey stone exterior and large brick steps leading out of the front door. Baskets of flowers hung at either side of the entrance, and bright flowers bloomed at either side of the black metal fence that lined the steps.

Bonnie often mentioned how the building was similar to that of Carrie Bradshaw's, but Torrance knew it was just her freakish obsession with the show that made her think that. After all, they most certainly did not live in New York - however, the apartment was nice enough, and certainly catered to their needs. Plus, with only having to pay £550 each a month for the place, it was practically a steal.

She unlocked the large black front door (with the steal being intricately designed with patterns and swirls, and often had Torrance mesmerised when she was in a particularly giggly and drunken stupor) and was met with the intense English weather.

Torrance pulled her coat further around herself and held a hand up to her face, shielding her eyes from the stray curls of hair that were blowing in her face. The wind bit at her bare legs as she hopped down the stone steps and strode down the street, the clicking of her heels against the pavement echoing with the howling of the wind.

A few streets later and Torrance had finally reached the metro station, and she reluctantly started climbing the winding case of stone steps that led up to the platform.

Upon reaching the top, Torrance wasn't so surprised to notice she wasn't the only person waiting for the metro into town. The bitter weather wasn't stopping people from getting up and going, apparently, and she noticed more than a few other suits waiting anxiously for the train to come.

She paid for a return ticket from one of the machines and sat down on one of the bench seats that ran like a rail all the way across the platform.

The sound of the metro could be heard before the hulking machine was seen, and the bodies sluggishly moved to the many opened doors as the long yellow and black metro came to a halt in front of them.

Torrance checked her phone and noticed, annoyed, that it was 2 minutes late.

The annoyed brunette boarded the vehicle and found a plush red carpeted seat next to a young blonde teenage boy who was minding his own business, casually gazing out of the window as his music blared for the rest of the immediate occupants of the carriage to hear.

"Stand clear of the doors, please." The automated voice, a woman, it seemed, told the passengers as the doors shut and the large round buttons turned from green to red.

And so Torrance's journey began.

Living in the outskirts made it so that, by metro, Torrance lived 15 minutes each way from both the city centre and the ocean.

The neighbourhood wasn't bad - there was the occasional fight here and there, but she lived further outside of the city that there were no drug deals (unless they were kept incredibly secret, she supposed) or gang fights in her street; and she could live with that.

"Next stop Central, Newcastle," the same automatic voice announced, but Torrance paid no mind to it until the doors opened, and she was up and out of the unloading metro very quickly.

Torrance ran up the escalators and grabbed her phone out of her handbag as she was walking through the upper train station, dialling a number in her phonebook and holding it to her ear.

"Where are you!"

Torrance winced at the abrupt answer, and she was glad she was no longer on the populated metro for the, frankly, lack of privacy she would have received.

"I'm at central, I just got off the metro," she reported, her tone flat and business-like, "I'm sorry, Claire, I'll be up in a-"

"Save it, Torrance!"

The dial tone sounded in her ear and she scoffed under her breath as she shoved it back in her bag.

"Bitch."

She exited the building, weaving her way through the white pillars lining the station, and paced the zebra crossing, quickly running through a red light to get to the opposite side of the fairly broad street, a few drivers honking at her on the way.

She reluctantly passed the Starbucks on the same street opposite the station and resisted the urge to pop in for a Cappuccino. She almost stopped walking, even, but continued on at a leisurely pace, but not before casting a sad glance back at it.

A few minutes later of struggling to walk properly because of the wind on Abbey Road, Torrance finally turned into a tall grey building in the heart of the city centre, walking through the revolving doors and into the empty reception area.

"Morning Miss Luvell," the receptionist, a pretty young blonde with thick rimmed glasses and a slight plump frame, greeted her with a bright smile.

Torrance gave her a sharp nod and a smile, "Morning."

The reception was really quite bare, with a few grey suede C-shaped chairs (that were for show, opposed to comfort) off to either side of the room with a coffee table in the middle and a few magazines scattered across them, with a few rather excessively tall artificial plants towering over them.

Black heels clicked their way towards the two rectangular holes set back in the white walls where the lifts were, and she pressed the button, to which it turned a luminous red around the edges, and the doors opened.

Thankful to not have to wait, she pressed the button with 14 labelled above it, and proceeded to frantically check her dishevelled appearance in the waist-to-ceiling connected mirrors that lined the lift walls.

The doors tinged, and Torrance jumped lightly, surprised, and bolted out into the huge, open-plan floor.

Floor 14 was generally for the more "well-known" clients - Torrance had no idea how she'd been promoted to the job, but she'd been star-struck more than once in the space of the year she'd been working for the firm. And for having such a demanding job, she was almost certain she should have been paid more than the £26,000 a year salary she was on.

Torrance's job at [I]Laurel & James'[/I] was accounting. With only 5 buildings in the country, Torrance was surprised she even had the job - but it also meant that they had a lot of business.

The walls were a light beige, with the carpets a darker tone, and light oak desks were scattered across the room. Not many worked on the floor, give or take 25, but the space was enough to fit everyone. In the top right corner of the room sat a glass box that served as the main office for the Boss of the floor, as was custom of practically every other floor in the building. And then the large windows lined the walls in spaced out, long rectangular ways that flooded the room with light.

Torrance glided over to her work station to the left-hand side of the room and unlocked the top drawer of the oak desk. She grabbed a manila envelope labelled "JULY '11" and shut the drawer again, throwing her handbag under the desk and discarding her coat on the back of her chair.

"You're screwed," a voice sung at her, and Torrance looked over to the back of the room, where she was greeted with Claire's amazingly disgusted glare.

"Not the first time," she pretended to laugh, "Boot up my laptop for me, Em?"

She, for the first time, looked towards the slim blonde girl that was leaning on the desk next to hers, spying over to see Torrance's frantic actions.

"Sure. Good luck."

The brunette laughed, short and fake, and then paced very slowly towards Claire's office, envelope in hand.

All eyes were on her as she entered the room, and Torrance felt uncomfortable under the scrutiny.

"Torrance," Claire was smiling, but Torrance noticed the usually non-present second-hand director of the company sitting to the front of the table, and figured she was mentally stabbing the brunette with a stapler and various other shark work utensils. "You have the documents, yes?"

Her eyes shifted from Ellingston's slowly raised brow, to Claire's overly-cheerful expression.

"Yes, Danika was delayed due to security having to check the ground floor," her excuse seemingly flew over the director's head, "And she said Mr Affleck sends his regards."

"Hm. Toby Affleck?" Ellingston asked casually, his intonation suggesting he was either impressed or disbelieving.

Torrance nodded, smiling, "That's right, sir."

"Mr Affleck was most pleased with the level of security we provided here, and he praised the handling of his several accounts most vigorously," Claire picked up at the given opportunity. "He was most gracious. In fact, he recommended several other clients to us."

"I wasn't aware the transaction was that smooth." Ellingston hummed, and then waved Claire off. "You may proceed now."

Torrance mentally exhaled, and Claire looked as if a great amount of grief had been lifted from her shoulders.

Torrance smiled at a couple of the employees that made up the meeting, and laid down the files in front of Claire. Said redhead gave her a stern look, jaws flexing for a moment, which told her she hadn't gotten off as easily as she'd initially thought.

Torrance smiled cheesily in response and took a seat to the right of the oval oak desk, in-between a tanned man with short blonde hair, and a small pixie-like dark-haired girl.

"Smooth," the man raised his brow, the side of his lip turning up, amused.

She kicked him under the table, "Not funny."

"Now, we can finally begin," Claire stated, her fake cheerful expression plastered on as she faced the room of financial advisers.

Torrance slid back into her chair as Claire used a remote to change the screen on the overhead projector to another slide, this one showing charts.

"Yawn," she whispered as the redhead barrelled into statistics for that month, "Drew, wake me up when it's finished," she joked.

"You fall asleep and your ass is finished," he could barely contain a smirk, glancing at her from the corner of his unusual green eyes.

Torrance shrugged and smiled cheekily, slumping back and spinning around in her chair to face the front, but behind Drew's build, it was entirely probable that Claire wouldn't be able to meet eye contact with her.

It was exactly meetings like this that made Torrance glad she had a muscular animal of a man for a friend. It meant, with her hangover, she could hide behind him and breeze through the next hour practically sleeping with her eyes open.