Lottie Moggach has worked as a journalist for 15 years, writing for publications ranging from the Financial Times to Time Out. She lives in north London. Kiss Me First is her first novel.
Tess has never met Leila. But if she wants to slip away from the world unnoticed, she needs to trust Leila with her life. Leila has agreed to assume Tess’s identity, so that no-one will know she has gone. But first, she needs to ask some questions: In an email dated 27/12/08, William wrote, ‘Thank you for ruining lunch’. What did you do to ruin lunch? And why is he thanking you? At various points you claim that ‘You’re Nobody till Someone Loves You’ by Dinah Washington, ‘Natural Woman’ by Aretha Franklin and ‘I Want You Back’ by The Jackson Five are all your ‘favourite song ever’. Which one is it?
In an email to your mother dated 03/06/07 you say she was a terrible mother when you were a child, yet in your psychologist ‘autobiography’ you say you had a relatively normal, happy childhood. Which was it? Your sign-offs are inconsistent, even in correspondence with the same person. Sometimes you will end with one ‘kiss’, sometimes two, sometimes many and sometimes none. What are the rules governing your sign-offs? There are no emails or trace of you between February and April 2008. Where were you and what were you doing during that time?
As Leila is soon to discover, there is much more to a life than the facts, and more than one side to every story...