Jean's back was against a wall, quite literally. She was pinned against the antiquated Melbourne building while Susan Tynneman blathered on endlessly about the best shops and the best tea and Jean wondered what she was thinking when she decided to go out of town to do some shopping. If Ballarat was a small town somehow Melbourne always seemed smaller. Finally at a pause in the story Jean attempted her escape.
"I'd love to stay and chat Susan but I'll be late for my bus!"
"The bus! Well. You know I'd offer you a ride back but I gave my driver the afternoon off and I'm meeting a friend for drinks at their club, you probably don't know it, and..."
"I appreciate the thought but I really must go. It was lovely talking to you."
Jean pulled her parcels close to her chest and darted out into the sidewalk, strait into a man hurrying down the street. Her parcels tumbled to the ground. Waving the man away with an apology Jean dove for the ground but it was too late. A spray of lacy pink unmentionables lay forlornly on the sidewalk. The straps of something made of red satin peaked out from underneath.
Susan stood, towering over the seductive mess in deathly silence. The color that drained from Jean's face seemed to be picked up by Susan, whose cheeks were getting more red by the minute.
"Well I never. It's Lucien, isn't it?"
Jean tried to speak but only a strangled squeak came out. Finally she just nodded her head.
"Well that is just shameful."
Jean stood eyeing her discarded parcels in horror as Susan's outrage continued to build. Time seemed to stop.
"The nerve of that man. It's bad enough for him to keep some fancy lady, but to you make you buy gifts for her. It's disgraceful!"
Jean nearly burst out laughing. Instead she made a grab for her belongings, shoving them back in the bag as best she could.
"Yes Susan, it's absolutely terrible."
Susan put a consoling hand on her shoulder.
"Listen dear why don't you give me a call on Monday? I'm sure we can find a place for you. In the kitchens."
Jean stared at her in disbelief.
"That's very kind of you I'll let you know."
Before Susan could say another word, Jean rushed out into the street in search of the bus.