afraid,’ she warned him ruefully. ‘From now on you’ll be lucky if I can afford to buyyou that tinned food you consider so much beneath your notice‘!Cats, she was sure, weren’t supposed to be able to look at you with scepticism anddisdain, and yet that was exactly what Monty was doing at this moment. He hadseveral easily readable expressions, from ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’ to the smug‘Aren’t I lucky to own an accommodating human like Abby?’. At the moment it wasdefinitely the former .’It isn’t my fault,’ Abby assured him with another wave of her champagne glass— which definitely needed replenishing, she decided, and did exactly that. ‘It’s thatman’s fault.’ She took a huge swallow of her champagne. ‘I mean, whoever thoughthe would do such a thing‘?She wouldn’t cry. She wouldn’t cry!But of course she did, her tears accompanied by huge, heaving sobs.How could he have done that to her? And on public television, live, in front of millions of viewers.Oh, God!…Every time she even thought of that she felt her humiliation all over again.’Weeks and weeks—several weeks, anyway,’ she amended tearfully. ‘Well, okay,seven.’ She sniffed inelegantly. ‘All that time I’ve been gently trying to persuade thatman to come on my show. Yes, I know you liked him, Monty.’ Her voice rose withindignation on her bland-faced pet’s behalf. ‘So did I,’ she admitted heavily. ‘But if you only knew—if you had only heard—I had no idea, Monty.’ She shuddered.‘Absolutely none!’ If she had she would never have got out of bed this morning!In fact, it was worse than that. If she had guessed in any way just how deep her annihilation was going to be this evening she would have taken a one-way trip toBolivia earlier today and spared herself all the pain.She had always liked the sound of that name. Bolivia. It sounded so romantic, somysterious, so different. But, knowing her luck, it was probably nothing like that atall. She had always liked the sound of the so-called Bermuda Triangle too, but nodoubt that was just another myth…She had probably had too much champagne.’Okay, okay, so my thoughts are wandering,’ she acknowledged, as Monty seemed tolook at her with derision. ‘But if you only knew, Monty.’ She began to cry again, thetears hot on her cheeks. ‘If you had only heard what that man said to me! You wouldhave been shocked, Monty. Shocked‘!Abby had actually passed being shocked where this evening was concerned. She hadreached surreal now, able to envisage that whole humiliating experience as if in slowmotion—like a reel of film going round and round in the projector .’Oh, God, Monty!’ she sobbed. ‘I can’t ever leave this apartment again! I’ll have to barricade the door, put bars on the windows. I daren’t ever go out in public again!’She took another slurp of her champagne, the salt of her tears mixing with the bubblywine. ‘Once our supplies run out, we’ll both simply starve to death!’ she addedshakily.Four months ago it had all looked so promising. As the weather girl for a breakfasttelevision show—an interesting career move, considering she couldn’t tell a cold frontfrom an isobar!—she had been asked to stand in for the female half of the presentation team while the other woman went on maternity leave for several months.She had made a impact, and a well-known producer had approached her with an offer to do six half-hour chat shows, to be shown live the following spring.