Jess is talking about the vampire like it really exists. She twists and tugs on her stringy hair, points to her skin, especially pale in the winter sunlight. ‘I don’t even recognise myself,’ she says, brooding on her reflection in the smeared window. ‘And look how much weight I’ve put on.’ A pair of black boys in tracksuits seated adjacent glance at her; one of them sucks his teeth. ‘It’s the Lexapro,’ I say, ‘it’s only synthetic.’ If this mood persists, she won’t make it to Limelight. Then Dominique will be cross with me. A private lounge, icing-sprinkled cupcakes, beakers of Bloody Marys, it won’t be the same we all know if Jess isn’t there; she’s our sustenance. Of course this morning’s meeting with her prayer group in Starbucks hasn’t helped. How could it, a bunch of stiffs in chinos holding hands to ward off their Freudian nightmares. ‘You need a Bloody Mary,’ I tell her, meet her liquid eyes. Now on the bus jogging towards Mornington Crescent she’s like a paper lantern, so tremulous and light-filled, but I shush her and stroke her hair and cheek, and where beads of sweat have formed gently ease the collar from the throat.