She had been besotted with her latest acquisition.  None of her other possessions could compete: not her jewels, not her collection of Jimmy Choo shoes, not the designer clothes and handbags in her large walk-in wardrobe − not even her new lover.

Jessica had never needed to write a CV, but if she had it would have been brief: 

Left school with no plans.  At age 18, joined a successful advertising agency as a general dogsbody.  Worked my way up to becoming the owner’s PA.  At 26 married him.  At 28 widowed (husband perished in a helicopter crash).  Inherited everything. Never looked back.

Now aged 32, with a mews house near Harrods, a country pile in Hampshire and a holiday cottage in Cumbria, not to mention sole ownership of a thriving advertising agency employing 50 talented people, Jessica lived a carefree, hedonistic existence.

‘What ya doing today?’ enquired Matt over a leisurely breakfast, whilst flicking through the pages of Plumbing Weekly.

‘Hmm, not sure,’ Jessica adjusted her silk dressing gown which, though comfortable against her skin, had a tendency to slip open. ‘I think I’ll buy a new car.’

‘A new car?  Shit, you’ve got four already.’

Jessica chose to ignore the implication that four were sufficient.  ‘Yes but I’ve seen one I really fancy.  Jeremy Clarkson gave it a five star rating.’

‘Oh, what is it?’  Matt gazed at her over his magazine.  She loved his doleful, dark brown eyes.  They reminded her of how, when she was a teenager, her pet labrador used to look longingly up at her when he wanted a walk. 

‘None of your business.’  She knew he didn’t really care.  

Jessica did everything on a whim, as the mood took her.  Matt was a case in point.  He had come to quote for the installation of a new en suite bathroom which, needless to say, could only be reached via the main bedroom with its generous four poster bed.  As he busied himself taking photos on his mobile, and measuring this and that, she’d dallied, enjoying his broad shoulders and bulging biceps.  She’d wondered how far his tattoos extended beneath his jeans and shirt.

Now, six weeks later, both the en suite and Matt were fully functioning installations, though, if history repeated itself, Jessica knew the former would definitely outlast the latter.

Jessica lay back in her huge cast iron bath, resplendent on its ball and claw feet, her buxom body submerged beneath a generous carpet of bubbles.  She knew she should do something about her weight but she enjoyed Matt, lithe and muscular, with a six pack he could ripple, exploring her curves and crevices.   She resolved to take herself in hand post Matt, whenever that might be.  She gave a contented sigh, turned on the gold tap with her big toe and topped up the hot water.  

Back in her dressing gown, Jessica phoned her office.  On days when she didn’t put in an appearance she was in the habit of getting an update from the general manager, a competent man on whom she increasingly relied.  He assured her all was well and  told her that McLaren, the F1 team, had invited them to tender for a lucrative advertising contract.  She entered the time and date for the presentation in her electronic diary.  She excelled at pitching for new business, shamelessly flaunting herself before groups of mainly male company directors.     

Smiling to herself, Jessica took her laptop outside and sat under the parasol by her swimming pool.  She clicked on the Top Gear website and reread the opening words of the review.  ‘A real supercar, there’s nothing to compete.  Even when parked, it looks like it’s having fun.  Don’t over-think it.  Just do it.’   

Don’t over-think it.  She loved that advice, wise words, perfectly summing up her philosophy of life.  She’d have them printed on a T shirt  −  far more profound than the one she often wore with the words ‘All this and brains too!’ emblazoned across her ample bosom.

She searched for the nearest dealership and watched a video, drooling over the images: the sleek wedge shape, the doors that opened like a bird of prey taking flight, the massive air intakes reminiscent of a Harrier jet, the obscene exhausts, the vulgar spoiler, the black aluminium wheels with bright yellow brake pads, the stitched leather seats, the array of electronics in the cockpit.

It was drop-dead gorgeous. She had to have it!  Jessica picked up her mobile and phoned the dealer’s number.  After three electronic rings a voice said, ‘Good morning.  You’re through to Adam.  How may I help you?’

‘Thank you.  It’s your lucky day. I want to buy one of the cars in your showroom.’

‘Certainly madam.  Which one?’

‘The Lamborghini.’

There was a pause. ‘The Lamborghini?  Are you sure?’

‘Of course I’m sure.  The purple one with yellow brake pads.’

‘You mean the Aventador with the V12 engine? You say you want to buy it?’

‘Yes, I want to buy it.  I want it delivered this afternoon.’

‘Delivered?  For a test drive?’

‘Never mind a test drive, I want to buy it.  A cash sale.  What’s your best offer?’

‘A cash sale?’ the voice sounded incredulous.

‘For God’s sake stop repeating everything I say!  Put me through to your manager.’

‘My manager?’

‘Yes, your bloody manager.  Now, pronto!’

‘May I have your name?’

‘Jessica Slaughter.  Now put me through to your manager.’

The phone fell silent.  Jessica waited, feeling increasingly aggravated.   She was temperamentally unsuited to waiting.

‘Hello,’ said a new smarmy voice. ‘Maurice speaking.  I understand you are enquiring about the Lamborghini Aventador?’

‘No, I’m not enquiring.  I want to buy it.’

‘You want to buy it?’

‘Yes,’ screamed Jessica. ‘I want to buy the bloody thing!  Right now.  Today!’

Long before it came into sight, Jessica heard the guttural roar of the car’s vast engine.  Even when it had turned into the drive, it clung so low to the ground that it could only be glimpsed as it passed the occasional gap in the yew hedges.  An online transfer of £449,950 had finally convinced Maurice that she was serious.  The car drew to a halt, the engine fell silent, the doors raised up magically and Maurice emerged, looking sheepish but clutching a bottle of Champagne and a huge bunch of flowers.

‘Apologies for the misunderstanding, Ms Slaughter.  We usually only sell these to Arabs or Russian oligarchs.  I’ve never known a woman buy one before.’

‘That’s as may be,’ snorted Jessica, enjoying his discomfort.

She signed the paperwork, took delivery of the instruction manual with pages of incomprehensible technical data and declined his offer to take her for a familiarisation run.

‘Wow!’ Matt exclaimed when he came home.  ‘You said you were going to buy a car, not a fuckin’ Lamborghini.  Are you sure you can handle it?’

Uncharacteristically, Jessica bit her tongue. 

The next day, after Matt had left in his white van with its collection of toilets and hand basins, Jessica parked the Lamborghini on the lawn so that she could admire its flowing lines whilst sitting by the pool.  She opened the leather-bound manual and read and reread the introduction:

Giving a glimpse of the future today, revolutionary thinking is at the heart of every Lamborghini.  Whether it is the aerospace-inspired design, or the technologies applied to the V12 engine, or the carbon-fibre structure, going beyond accepted limits is part of our philosophy. Your Aventador, coming from a family of supercars already considered legendary, advances every concept of performance, establishing itself as the benchmark for super sports cars.  Each and every detail of your Aventador, crafted by skilled artisans, bears the hallmarks of the House of the Raging Bull. It is a true masterpiece of design that expresses dynamism and power, with an interior that combines high-level technology and luxury equipment.’

Jessica paused, adjusted her sunglasses and leant back on her sun lounger. Like an actress learning her lines, she mouthed, ‘A glimpse of the future today….a benchmark….crafted by skilled artisans….a masterpiece of design’.  She roused herself and walked over to the car, shimmering in the morning sunlight.  She circled it slowly, like a lioness sizing up her prey, then she lay flat on the grass, gazing in wonder at the huge chrome exhaust pipes. After a while, she got up, brushed herself down, and pressed her fob to open the doors.  She watched them swing up obediently.  Then she closed them and did it again, and again, just for the hell of it. 

She lowered herself into the cockpit, the crafted driving seat hugging her body, and ran her eyes over the array of instruments.  She started the engine, engaged a gear and the car crept forward.  She opted to drive slowly along the country lanes, her foot resting lightly on the accelerator, relishing the throb of the engine and perversely enjoying its subjugation. 

The day for the presentation to the McLaren management team arrived.  Jessica rose early, bathed, carefully arranged her hair, did her make-up and squeezed herself into a designer dress that showed off her curves. 

‘Blimey, you’ve scrubbed up well.  Going somewhere?’ Matt asked at breakfast.

‘Yep.  McLaren.’

‘What car ya taking?’

‘The Lamborghini of course.  Should make a good impression.’

‘Not the gold Merc?’

‘Nope.  Definitely the Lamborghini.’

The drive to the McLaren Technology Centre was uneventful.  Jessica chose to drive in the slow lane, amused at the honks and thumbs-up overtaking motorists gave her.  She arrived in good time and parked in a lay-by to check her mascara and redo her lipstick.  As she approached the impressive building, a security guard leapt out and guided her to a parking place nearest to the front door.  She opened the wing doors, slipped on her high heels, and with some difficulty hauled herself upright out of the cockpit.  She checked in at the reception desk, was issued with a visitor’s pass and handed in her fob.

The presentation went well and Jessica was pleased to see the all-male audience gazing at her more often than looking at the PowerPoints. They laughed at her jokes and nodded approvingly when she answered their questions.  The marketing director wound up the event by thanking Jessica profusely and inviting her to lunch in the management dining room.  Jessica flirted shamelessly with her escort throughout the meal and, when it was over, he leant forward over his coffee to whisper conspiratorially that the advertising contract was ‘in the bag’.

Three hours later, back at reception, Jessica surrendered her visitor’s pass and asked for her fob.  The receptionist looked puzzled.  Jessica was asked to wait while a phone call was made.  Shortly after a man Jessica hadn’t seen before arrived looking flustered.

‘Am I to understand the Lamborghini was yours?’

‘Yep.  Where’s my fob?’

‘I’m afraid there’s been a mix-up.’

‘A mix-up?’

Yes, your car has gone to the stripping lab.’

‘The stripping lab?’

‘Yes, I’m so sorry.  Your car is in pieces.  We mistook it for the Aventador we had ordered,’ adding, as if it were an adequate explanation, ‘we learn so much from stripping down competitors’ models.’

Jessica returned home in a chauffeur driven car, courtesy of McLaren, with the advertising contract signed and sealed and a cheque for £449,950 in her handbag. 

‘Where’s the Lamborghini?’ Matt smirked. ‘Written it off already?’

Jessica didn’t hesitate.  She made an irreversible, ‘don’t over-think it’ decision: it was curtains for Matt and curtains for supercars.      

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