Chapter 1 Jen looked up at the large, gray building in front of her and tried to convince herself that she was doing the right thing. Somehow it had seemed easier when it was just a matter of telling her mother she'd do the MBA. She'd had visions of herself spying on board meetings, eavesdropping on conversations as she walked down long corridors, compiling a dossier of information and bringing the perpetrators and their heinous crimes to justice. In her mind she'd been the heroine of her own little film in which she (pretty much single-handedly) saved the world and got a thank-you letter from the Queen. Even Angel's protestations that she had finally lost the plot completely hadn't deterred her. In many ways, they'd made her feel more of a rebel, made the whole idea more appealing. And then she'd got the application form. She'd had to write essays, sit tests, and be interviewed by men in gray suits whom she'd had to convince that a career in business management was everything she'd ever dreamed of and more. But now she was actually about to walk right into the Bell Consulting offices and go to her first lecture. Somehow in her daydreams she'd missed out the bit where she actually had to do an MBA. It can't be that hard, she told herself. Just boring. Like being back in a physics lesson at school. Or a Durkheim lecture at university. Jen had taken sociology for a term, thinking that she'd get an insight into people's motivations, thinking that she'd unlock the key to human happiness, but instead she'd spent weeks learning why people commit suicide less often in wartime. Apparently it had gotten more interesting later on; those who stuck with the course kept telling her how great it was. But Jen couldn't wait that long; she'd switched to philosophy and never looked back. Well, not until she'd had to endure lectures on Hegel, but by then it was too late to switch again. Anyway, she reminded herself, the point was that she just had to get into a role. Everyone here would think she was a perfectly normal MBA student; all she had to do was to go along with it. Pretend she found it interesting. She shuddered. She'd read the brochure cover to cover, and they were going to be learning about things like "business process reengineering" and "managing the bottom line." It was too hideous to even bear. Still, at least she was doing something worthwhile. The truth was that she'd been kind of wondering where her life was going recently. She had started to feel just a little that she was just killing time at a desk at Green Futures and had even started wondering whether she'd been right to split up with Gavin. It was as if she wasn't entirely sure if her place in the world was the one back in London, wasn't entirely sure who she was anymore. where her life was going. She'd thought it would be different, somehow, working for Green Futures. When the firm had started up, her mother had been huge, talked about by everyone. Hers was the first consultancy firm to talk about corporate social responsibility, to suggest that businesses couldn't just go around doing what the hell they wanted just to make bigger and bigger profits. When Jen had been at school and university, everyone thought she had the coolest mum and she'd thought so too. She'd been really proud, which had been quite nice really bearing in mind that her father was a total bastard who advised companies to do the absolute opposite, focusing on profits alone and not giving a shit about anything so inconsequential as peoTownley, Gemma is the author of 'Learning Curves A Novel of Sex, Suits, And Secret Affairs', published 2007 under ISBN 9780345496010 and ISBN 0345496019.