I’m surprised at you. I thought you were still too hung up on Charlie, or at the very least too cautious, to go home with some guy you just met. But Jed’s appeal is clearly pretty potent.

In fact you’re not the only one drawn to him. He gathers a small crew together – the young Bob Dylan and his lanky mate are among them, as is a girl who looks like a model who’s been hanging around Young Bob all night.

‘All back to mine to put some records on then?’ says Jed, one arm around your shoulder, the other around the model’s skinny frame.

You nod, hoping it’s close by, and allow yourself to be steered by him. As you walk along he calls a couple of mates, shouting down the phone for them to come and join him at what he’s billing ‘the after party’. He has you practically in a headlock when he makes the calls with his arm still around your neck, but you don’t complain. You’re drunk and not a little star struck.

Jed’s place is a short stumble away from The Lock, happily. It’s a chaos of guitars, bottles and cigarette papers, random items of clothing and empty pizza boxes, strewn across a huge interior-designed flat.

A couple of the art school boys, clearly used to the drill, head to the stereo and the wall of CDs. This looks like the only part of Jed’s life where order reigns. A friend of Jed’s who, brilliantly, you recognise as The Heat’s drummer (from that video where he drums using chopsticks on takeaway cartons), shows up with a Camberwell Carrot already smoking in his fingers.

‘Alright,’ he says to you. ‘Skin up, could you, babe?’

Far be it for you to point out he already has a joint on the go. Resourceful as ever you look around for papers and tobacco. You don’t have to look far.

So the strains of Sid Barrett play out from the huge speakers, a couple of joints are passed around, chased by a bottle of JD, and somewhere in the corner of the room some kid is chopping out lines on a glass tile.

You text Billy’s number. ‘You guys home okay?’ ‘Yes... you okay?’ ‘Yup, don’t wait up.’

‘Cool phone’ says the drummer.

‘Thanks,’ you say, looking at it. ‘I don’t really know how it works – I borrowed it from a friend.’

‘It’s got that cool thing where you can take loads of frames at once,’ he says, quite seriously. ‘My brother’s got one. You don’t even get that on some digital cameras, you know.’

‘I didn’t know, no.’

‘Fuck!’ roars Jed, leaping to his feet. With a theatrical growl he asks, ‘He on about phones again? Jesus Brian! Why don’t you just go back to working at Carphone Warehouse mate?’

‘It’d be a lot more fucking creatively stimulating,’ glares Brian.

The two of them run at each other – it’s so clearly a familiar move, it looks almost stage rehearsed – and roll around the floor mock-wrestling. You giggle and use Alice’s phone to take pictures.

When the fight breaks up you ask Brian how to take those cool photos and he takes you into the kitchen so he can show you the functionality without being mocked. You take a slug from a bottle of JDs as he snaps you, and the model appears, as if conjured up by the flashbulb.

‘Take one of me with Brian,’ she asks, and drapes herself over him.

He submits for a second then grabs the phone back. ‘Now one of you two, come on, get in close.’

You do as you’re told but it’s not enough.

‘Come on girls, make it sexy, let’s have some girl-on-girl action for the camera.’

You giggle, but the model, who’s clearly had some practice, puts her hand straight to your breast, which she fondles, licking your neck while Brian clicks away.

‘Hey hey,’ says Jed, ‘what’s this?’

You take advantage of the interruption to step away from the model.

‘Right, me and the girls, come on Brian, imagine you’re demonstrating the phone’s home porn capabilities.’ Jed stands in between the two of you, and pulls the model close so her back is pressed to his chest. ‘Does that thing have a video?’

As he mimes taking the model from behind, he kisses you, his tongue straight down your throat and one hand pulling your hair to hold your head to his, and in the turmoil you wonder where your boundaries lie. You suspect you’re about to find out.

It seems the model’s boundaries are more closely patrolled than your own, as she pushes him off with a pout. She takes Brian’s hand and leads him back across the living room.

‘Aye aye,’ says Jed, snapping them as they go. ‘Our Carly’s up to her old tricks I see.’

‘Looks like it’s just you and me,’ you say, relieved. Before he can rustle up any other distractions you give him a long, lingering kiss, and move your hands towards his fly.

 

You decide to leave within seconds of waking up – or coming to. This was a fun flat to be in when you were wasted but now you feel the need to reach safe ground again. You step over Jed’s copper jeans and a litter of empty bottles, tiptoe past the young Bob Dylan crashed out on the sofa, and close the door very quietly behind you as you go. It’s 9am, you must have had about 3 hours sleep, but you have plenty of energy. You’re probably still a little wired from last night’s indulgences. You just hope Alice is up to let you in, or you’ll have to cool your heels in the delights of Sunday morning Camden.

Fortunately Alice had already dispatched the art school kid, and is eager to hear your news. But by the time you get home your hangover has kicked in, waves of nausea over the phony coke alertness, and you are barely capable of speech.

Alice insists on taking Simon out for brunch, to apologise for not making his party and share enough gossip for him to know you had made the right call. You don’t have the strength to resist.

‘Has she spoken yet today?’ he asks.

‘I’ve had a grunt and that’s it.’

‘Wow, what did you girls get up to last night? When you should have been at my party?’

‘We were out in Camden, hunting for boys – sorry darling but we just thought there might be more in it for us, you know. And we met all these cute art school boys. Young, but hot. Anyway, I took one of them home with me, which was fun, and our Sassy here went off with... Brace yourself, you’re going to love this... Jed out of The Heat.’

‘What?! Talk to me Miss Smith!’

‘Carnage,’ you say. ‘It was absolute carnage.’

‘Brilliant. That’s a good start. Do you need another coffee? We want to hear every detail.’

‘Hey!’ Alice exclaims, ‘I said, “I took one of them home with me”. Don’t you want to hear my story?’

You nod eagerly, but Simon fixes her with a look.

‘Alright, alright, I’m not serious. Let’s hear about Jed. First.’

‘I could tell you,’ you say, with a teasing smile.

‘Tell us, tell us!’

‘...or, I could show you...’

You pass them the phone. ‘Alice, do you know how to get to the photos?’

‘You took photos?! Oooh, yes you did.’

To murmurs and squeals and ‘what’s going on there?’ they look at the photos, and the brief video, and collapse in a heap of disbelief and delight.

‘That girl looks just like Carly Woods,’ says Simon.

‘She’s called Carly. I think she’s a model,’ you say. ‘Who’s Carly Woods anyway?’

‘It IS Carly Woods, oh my god! Sloping off with that drummer. Blimey.’

‘You sound like you know her. I didn’t know you were such a model fan.’

‘She’s the one who’s been dating George Clooney – the girl who’s finally tamed him, you must have seen the stories?’

‘I don’t read gossip rags’, you lie, snootily.

Alice snorts her coffee back into her cup through her nose, she is laughing so hard.

You look again at the picture on your phone. She looks more like the girl in the magazines, somehow, on the screen than she did in person.

Your food arrives, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for Simon, full English for you and Alice. You tuck in, and use the food as a cover for a change of subject. Alice tells you the sad story of the little art student who couldn’t. As the two of you make cruel quips about men who go soft, Simon mounts a defence of the man under pressure, painting a moving picture of the evils of performance anxiety. Alice is flattered to think her beauty and experience might have overwhelmed him – it takes the sting out of what she saw as rejection.

‘Now’, says Alice, mopping up her baked bean juice with the last piece of toast, ‘Come on. Tell us the whole thing from start to finish. I want a full commentary on each of these photos, and anything that happened in between two.’

Considering how drunk you were, your memory’s pretty good. Patchy in places, but you remember enough of the events of last night to give them plenty of juicy titbits. They hang on your every word, and you enjoy it – talking about Charlie never gave you such an eager audience, funnily enough.

‘You could sell this for a fortune, you know,’ says Simon.

‘What, and be all over the News of the World as some massive slapper?’ says Alice.

‘Come on, you’d get enough money to pay for a new haircut and plastic surgery if you wanted.’

You shake your head. It’s amusing, but really not a serious proposition.

‘Come on Sarah, you could seriously make money out of this. Why not?

‘Well, for a start, I’m not sure what my parents would make of the whole thing.’

‘Something tells me your parents don’t read the New of the Screws, do they?’ Alice chips in.

‘No, no. Nor do any of their friends. But still, plenty of people do. I might as well just tell the world I’m a complete slag who goes home with any Tom Dick or Harry.’

‘You don’t have to show them your little 10 second porno, if that helps. And I’m sure you could tell the story in an ‘I just went to listen to some music and it all got out of control’ sort of way.’

Alice looks like she’s giving this serious thought. ‘Do you really think she could make that much money?’ she asks – but is distracted from the answer by a beep from her phone.

‘Definitely! Even if she tones it down – and doesn’t do the underwear shots – I bet you could get fifty grand for this. You could finally go travelling after all those years of talking about it, lie low on some exotic beach somewhere till the furore died down. It’d be so worth it. Here, let me give you the number of this guy I know... alright.... shagged a couple of times.... He’s at the Sunday Mirror, they’ll definitely be interested.’

‘Hey hey hey!’ says Alice, looking up from her phone with an excited, eyes wide, smile. ‘Something’s up!’

‘What?’

‘Nita texted to say she and Jay have news and want to catch up with us.’

‘Ooooh,’ you say. ‘Get them over here.’

‘I am, they’re on their way.’

‘ What do you think it is?’

‘She’s knocked up,’ says Simon.

‘No way,’ you say. ‘Her parents would kill her. I bet they’re engaged.’

Alice tuts. ‘Of course they’re bloody engaged, I can’t believe it’s even up for debate.’

 She’s right, of course, though you all do your best to look surprised as Nita and Jay break their big news. Throughout the story of Jay’s proposal, his asking her dad for the OK, her tears, their plans, your mind is on something else.

Fifty grand, you keep thinking. Would it be enough to make up for the indignity of tabloid shame?

Well?

To call Simon’s mate at the Mirror and find out more, go to Chapter Six XVII to face the consequences
If you decide you definitely don’t want to sell your story, go to
Chapter Six XVIII to face the consequences