It was mid-morning on January 1st, the clock on the wall of the café said 11:13, and Rosie wondered if she should actually be lying in bed sleeping right now, just like everybody else seemed to be. The café was empty except for Rosie, an old man sitting on the other side of the room reading a newspaper and the girl behind the counter whose smudged black eye make-up looked like she had gone to work right from a New Year’s Eve party, and quite a wild one as well. Rosie sat at a table at the back of the café, occasionally sipped her coffee and looked out of the window into the street which looked unusually deserted, even for a Sunday morning. Rosie had gone out with some friends last night. She had had a good time and returned home around 3 o’clock, but she had woken up this morning quite hungover and had instantly known that she had to change something. She didn’t even know what that change was going to be yet, but in this grey light and with an uncomfortable pounding in her head, her whole life just seemed…unsatisfying. Right now, she didn’t like her job, her living situation or her relationship situation – if sleeping with inappropriate men even counted as a “relationship situation”. She decided that this needed to stop. The start of a new year was just as good a time as any to do something about this. But she didn’t see what could be done about the other two things that made her so unhappy lately. She didn’t have the money to move out of “mayhem flat sharing”, as she had dubbed her home, and it wasn’t like the employment market was just waiting for someone with incomplete business management training and some experience working in pub kitchens. Rosie sighed and continued to stare into her coffee mug. If this was as good as her life was going to get, she could just as well continue sleeping with inappropriate guys and have a bit of fun. “Excuse me.” A voice next to her table made Rosie give a start. She looked up, slightly disoriented from being inside her own head so much, and saw a man standing in front of her. She was alarmed to notice that she faintly recognised his face but couldn’t name it. This was not a good thing in Rosie’s experience. The man smiled. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. But didn’t we meet on that New Year’s Eve party last night? At the pub in Harlowe Street?” Rosie asked herself how drunk she had really been last night, because she had undoubtedly been at that pub, but didn’t remember meeting this guy. But her resolution was solid, and whatever had happened last night, it was not going to happen again.
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