After You (Me Before You, #2) by Jojo Moyes Read Online (FREE)
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The big man at the end of the bar is sweating. He holds his head low over his double Scotch, but every few minutes he glances up and out, behind him, towards the door. A fine sheen of perspiration glistens under the strip-lights. He lets out a long, shaky breath, disguised as a sigh, and turns back to his drink.
‘Hey. Excuse me?’
I look up from polishing glasses.
‘Can I get another one here?’
I want to tell him it’s really not a good idea, it won’t help, it might even put him over the limit. But he’s a big guy and it’s fifteen minutes till closing time and, according to company guidelines, I have no reason to tell him no, so I walk over, take his glass and hold it up to the optic. He nods at the bottle. ‘Double,’ he says, and slides a fat hand down his damp face.
‘That’ll be seven pounds twenty, please.’
It’s a quarter to eleven on a Tuesday night and the Shamrock and Clover, East City Airport’s Irish-themed pub, which is as Irish as Mahatma Gandhi, is winding down for the night. The bar closes ten minutes after the last plane takes off, and right now it’s just me, an intense young man with a laptop, the cackling women at table two and the man nursing a double Jameson’s waiting for either the SC107 to Stockholm or the DB224 to Munich – the latter has been delayed for forty minutes.
I’ve been on since midday, as Carly has a stomach-ache and went home. I don’t mind. I never mind staying late. Humming softly to Celtic Pipes of the Emerald Isle, Vol. III, I walk over and collect the glasses from the two women, who are peering intently at some video footage on a phone. They laugh the easy laugh of the well lubricated.
‘My granddaughter. Five days old,’ says the blonde woman, as I reach over the table for her glass.
‘Lovely.’ I smile. All babies look like currant buns to me.
‘She lives in Sweden. I’ve never been. But I have to go and see my first grandchild, don’t I?’
‘We’re wetting the baby’s head.’ They burst out laughing again. ‘Join us in a toast? Go on, take a load off for five minutes. We’ll never finish this bottle in time.’
‘Oops! Here we go. Come on, Dor.’ Alerted by a screen, they gather up their belongings, and perhaps it’s only me who notices a slight stagger as they brace themselves for the walk towards security. I place their glasses on the bar, scan the room for anything else that needs washing.
‘You never tempted, then?’ The smaller woman has turned back for her scarf.
‘To just walk down there, at the end of a shift. Hop on a plane. I would.’ She laughs again. ‘Every bloody day.’
I smile, the kind of professional smile that might convey anything at all, and turn back towards the bar.