I glanced up from the calculations on the table and peered at the sheet of paper my bookkeeper mother was waving at me.
“It’s a receipt. It needs to go along with the other expenditure stuff.”
“I can see it’s a receipt. But why are you putting in an invoice from a hotel? And why is there someone else’s name alongside yours?”
Grabbing it from her I scanned the text. There was, as her eagle eyes noted, a man’s name printed next to mine; the room reserved for us both (although paid for by me, Mr Tax Man, in case you are reading this). Memories of the night flashed through my head: the long seduction; the champagne; the slow fucking that went on all evening – and all morning too. Christ we had some good sex, damn...
Instinctively I smiled, recalling what fun he and I had got up to and then realised my mum was staring at me, a confused expression on her face. Trying to regain my business-like composure I stopped grinning, and handed back the receipt, dismissively motioning for her to include it with the rest of the pile in front of her.
“It’s an expense,” I explained. “It needs filing alongside the others.”
“Expense? Exactly how does this fit into your business?”
I thought for a moment, trying to articulate an appropriate response. “It was research.”
“What type of research?”
I felt myself blush. “Um, research for my next book.”
My mum’s face reddened to match my own scarlet cheeks as it dawned on her what I was alluding to.
“Oh. Research. With a man. I see.”
I nodded. “Yes. Research, like I said.”
“Right.” She quickly placed the hotel receipt into my expenses file and we both continued the process of trying to make sense of my annual accounts (left to the last moment, as always).
A few minutes passed by as we worked. Then my mum stopped rifling through my paperwork, breaking the silence with a pointed question.
“Was the research, um, productive then?”
I paused. “Definitely. Worth one chapter, at least.”
We both laughed and then continued to file my accounts; I think each of us was content and relieved not to pursue the matter any further.