Fay tried to be honest. She thought of saying:
“No Sonya, the girl sounds dreadful. Just because she’s driven you mad, I don’t see why I should be driven mad too.” She really believed that life would be better if everyone was honest. She thought of saying:
“I do a lot of favours for you, Sonya. This one is going too far.” Or even:
“I’m rather offended that you think I’ve got nothing better to do.”
She pressed the telephone to her ear, and made a stern face at herself in the hall mirror, but her voice came out in a whine.
“But I don’t even speak French. Only schoolgirl. It’ll be dreadfully old fashioned.” Sonya laughed. A great, gurgling laugh that sounded to Fay, as if Sonya was relieved. As if Fay had already agreed to take the girl on.
“You needn’t worry about that, Fay. She never says a word.”
And indeed, Fay was already leafing through her diary. “We could have her Monday, I suppose. But only if Isobel’s free.” She tried to make it clear from the tone of her voice that she was not smiling as she spoke. “ You know what teenagers are like. Isobel may have plans that she hasn’t deigned to tell me, and I don’t think I could manage this on my own.”
So she agreed to spend a day with Sonya’s French student. It was bad enough last year, with Isobel’s French exchange. All the gesturing, the nervous laughter round the bathroom in the morning and her ill disguised distaste for English suppers. There was no scope for honesty with someone foreign in the house.