Saturday 24 April 2010

Why a Lady Should Stay in Her Own Hotel Room

A holiday isn't technically a holiday if the whole time you are wishing you are back home.  This happened to me when I was dragged to Italy with my family.  You see, saying no is not an option and even though I had a job lined up for the Summer and had made grand plans, I still found myself on the plane heading out to the Mediterranean.  Against my will.

My expectations for the holiday were incredibly low and I'd mope around the hotel feeling sorry for myself, counting down the days until I was on the plane back to England. 

It's an unbearably hot night and I can't sleep, so I slip out of my hotel room for some fresh air.  I go out into the patio area outside and get a little startled when I see there's someone else there also. 
    "Hello," says the voice.  It's still a little dark so I can't make out who that voice belongs to, but it's definitely a man's. 
    "Hi," I casually say back trying to edge closer.  A light comes on from across the road shining brightly on us and I see that the man is actually the hotel manager.  A young guy in his mid-twenties.  He's casually leaning over the railings smoking a cigarette. 
    "Can't sleep?" he asks and I'm astounded at his perfect English accent. 
    "No.  Thought I'd get some fresh air,"
    "Well if it's fresh air you want you shouldn't have come to this part of Italy," he smiles.  I can't describe it but his smile suddenly makes my stomach flip - like a nervous pain.  "I'm Oliver," he introduces himself and we stay out talking for about an hour.  I go back to my room feeling happy, replaying the conversation in my head. 

Suddenly, being in Italy isn't so bad.  I wake up the next day and tell myself that I'm in a gorgeous hotel, spending precious time with the family, getting a very flattering tan, and to top things off, have met a lovely guy.  That smile on my face doesn't seem to be so forced anymore. 

A few days later I'm feeling down again. I can’t get hold of any of my friends and feel so out of touch with my daily life. I’m missing it and want to go back.  I'm standing just outside the hotel doors for some fresh air, breathing in the view of the setting sun.  It's soothing and for a moment I don't feel so homesick.
    “Oh, you scared me,” I say startled as I see Oliver outside trying to ring someone.
    “I scared you?” he laughs and I nod.  He’s now leaning against the window of the bar looking at his phone. I breathe in the evening view; of peace and quiet. Not long till I get back to my precious life, I tell myself.
Oliver is still there and I'm not sure whether I should be making conversation, so wearily I say, “Don’t these dogs have owners?” as I see a few strays roaming the streets. He laughs and shakes his head.
    “They’re homeless,” he tells me.
    Silence overwhelms us once again for a few seconds, but he breaks it. “Are you leaving tomorrow?” he asks.
    “No. I’m here till Sunday,”
    “Oh right,” and his phone rings and he answers.  He talks on the phone for about five minutes.  When he hangs up he turns to me and says, “You’re always outside,”
    “I like being out here,” 
    “So you’re leaving on Sunday,” his eyes are burning down at me and I almost feel a little uncomfortable.
    “Do you want to go out tomorrow night?” he smiles and I almost melt.  He's just so amazingly attractive.
    “Go out where?” I ask.
    “Into town. Out there,” and he points towards the beach. “Wherever you want,”
    “I can’t. I’d have to wait for everyone to go to sleep,” I reply and suddenly feel like a fifteen year old all over again.
    “Well,then I’ll wait,” he’s still smiling. We look at each other for a couple of seconds.
    “And what would we do?” I say sheepishly looking at his aquamarine eyes.  We're suddenly surrounded by an incredible tension.
    He laughs. “Whatever you want. Go for a drink maybe,”
    “And what would we drink?” Gosh, I’m stupid.  Why did I ask that?
    He laughs again. “Whatever you want,”
    “How would we get there?” I ask him.
    “I have a car,” he smiles that unbearable smile again.  I'm seconds away from saying yes.
    “I don’t think I can,”
    "Think about it," he tells me and disappears back into the hotel.

It's 3am until everyone decides to go to bed and I can sneak back downstairs.  It's going to be harder than I thought, however, because all the waiters and the receptionist are still up.
    Oliver signals for me to meet him outside so I pretend my phone rings and move.  "Won't they find it suspicious that you're suddenly getting in your car with me?" I say to him.
    "Good point," he states and puts his finger to his lips.  After a couple of seconds, he begins, “Right,” he says and thinks. “OK, this is what you should do,” I listen. “Go up towards your room and meet me by the stairs at the side of the hotel,”
    I head back in and look at the group of waiters chatting away. I smile at them and do a fake yawn (which by the way was worthy of an Oscar). “Goodnight,” I say sweetly and head upstairs.
    I definitely feel like I’m fifteen again sneaking out of the hotel.
    "I'm not getting in your car," I say to him innocently and he laughs.  We settle for a walk along the beach instead as all the bars are shut now.

It’s all rather awkward as I’m not sure what to say and I don’t think he knows either. I look into the horizon of the dark night. The sea if sparkling in the moonlight and the whole view is a picturesque of romance.  My flip-flops leave footprints on the sand and I can see the path ahead is getting shorter. We stop walking and stand in the light of a shutting down bar looking around, avoiding eye contact completely. Oh gosh, I should never have come out.
    But out of nowhere I feel his hand at the back of my neck and he’s pulled me close. Our lips touch and even though I need to desperately tear away, I find I can’t.  I'm completely lost with him.  All rational thinking has escaped me and all I want is to be here.  With him.  As out lips part he smiles at me.   But reality sinks in.
    “Oh no,” I say covering my face with my palms.
    “What’s wrong?”
    “Ummm…” I don’t really know what to say.  I shouldn't be out here with this stranger.  I should be back in my hotel room.  I search my brain for an excuse. 
    “Do you have a boyfriend?” he’s asking, looking at me with a faded smile.
    Bingo!  I nod and see him look at the floor, brushing the sand with his foot. “Is he in England?
    "Yes," I say.
    "So what's the problem?"  What?  How is he even asking me that? 
    “I’m a good girl,” I tell him. “I don’t do this kind of thing,”
    “Look, don’t worry about it,” his smile is back in a sympathetic way. He’s not pushing anything.
    Oh gosh, I so badly want to kiss him again.  But I can't.  I shouldn't.  OK brain, please think of another excuse.
    “But I've been with him for a year. It’s not right that I’m sneaking out with someone else,”
    “A year?” He repeats. “Well, I have four years with someone,”
    I’m gobsmacked. Looks like he’s not who I thought he was. I stare at him but he turns away. I ask him why he’s out with me.
    “I really like you,” we’re walking back towards the hotel. “And since you're out with me that must mean you like me too,” He stops and looks at me. His lips twitch. “I want to kiss you again,” and I really want to let him but I shouldn’t.
    “I can’t,” I say. “I’m not supposed to be out with you,”
    He’s nodding as if he’s accepting what I’m saying. “OK,” he starts walking again. “Let’s take you back to your room,”

But I don't want to go back to my room.  I don't have a boyfriend.  There's no real reason why I shouldn't be out with Oliver.  Well, apart from the fact that he seems to be in a four year relationship.  And the fact that he's the hotel manager and perhaps being out with a paying customer is breaking some sort of rule. 
    We're inches away from the hotel and he stops, taking my hand.  With the other he sweeps back his short, brown hair.  "You want to go back to your room, or would you like to come back to mine?" he asks, his thumb rubbing my hand in a circular motion.
    What on earth have I got myself into?  I'm to shy to say yes, but also too shy to say no. 
    "I can't leave the hotel," I tell him.
    "I have a room here as well," he says edging himself nearer to me.  His lips land on mine again and I find myself saying, "OK, we'll go to your room,"

I'm sitting on the bed in his hotel room, asking myself why on earth I'm here.  Oliver sits down next to me getting closer and closer.  "I'm so glad you're here," he whispers as he leans in to kiss me again and suddenly I feel relaxed.  He must have some sort of potion in his mouth because every time he kisses me I'm utterly lost and can't think straight. 
    You shouldn't be here, my head is telling me.  But somehow I can't hear my own thoughts when he's near me. 
    "Should we get a bit more...comfortable," he says pointing to my top. 
    I freeze a little.  No, this is definitely not right.  He said the beach.  Something that seemed to have escaped my notice. 
    "Why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself?" I ask crossing my arms.  He looks at me bewildered.  This is probably the reason why I've never been able to have a one night stand. 
    He clearly doesn't want to answer the question because his hand is sliding up my arm and that amazing smile is back on his face.  "I'd rather get to know you better," he whispers trying to kiss me again. 
    "Well, in that case," I say, "I'm twenty.  Still at university.  I have a little flat that I share with my best friend.  She's a nightmare though.  Sooo messy.  I adore Doctor Who, oh and I also like Eastenders..." he cuts me off. 
    "As interesting as that is, that's not really what I had in mind,"  he continues, trying to lift my top up, but instinctively my hand stops him.  Something's not quite right.  He said something that wasn't right, but I can't quite recall it.  Oh, what on earth was it???
    "So what do you do?" I ask him with a straight face. 
    He stares at me and says,  "I'm the hotel manager!"
    Oh yeah.  Of course.  Perhaps that was a rather stupid question. 
    "Do you like your job?" I continue.
    He appears to be grumpy now.  "Look, I didn't wait until 3am just to talk to you about my job.  I could have gone home and slept," he leans in closer.
    I try to picture what his home looks like.  And then it hits me - his girlfriend.  He said he had a girlfriend!  How on earth did that escape my notice?
    I quickly rise from the bed.
    "What's wrong now?" he snaps. 
    "You said you've been with someone for 4 years," I snap back.  "So I've decided to leave," and with that I walk out, tip-toeing to my room.
     Please don't be so stupid as to find entertainment in a guy just because you're bored, I tell myself.  Never again!

Thursday 22 April 2010

The Delightful Cockney Snob

    "Why don't you just take this back and bring me one that has been cooked on the premises,"
These are the words that are coming out of my date's mouth.  I am sitting in a Pizza Express furiously twiddling with my hair as I'm watching my date argue with the waitress.  Already he has fussed around how this restaurant is filled with too many children (it's a Saturday night and it's Pizza Express - what do you expect?), has fussed about the fact that he had to park too far away from the restaurant, which resulted in the scrapings of his shoes, AND ordered the house wine, asked to taste it, pulled a horrified face and then sent it back.  It's official - I have hit a new low with this one. 

I didn't necessarily want to go on a date with Grant, but somehow I found myself sitting in front of him, staring at his receeding hairline, the stuffed napkin hanging from his collar, and his not so pleasant manarisms.  This was my only free Saturday night in a long time, but my friend asked me to entertain her out-of-town cousin and me, not being able to say no, happily obliged.  I just didn't realise that her cousin would be this specimen sitting in front of me. 

    "I've been to the finest restaurants in Paris," he pronounces 'Paris' like he's French, "Food just has to pleasure my palette just so," he continues to slur with his cockney accent.  "I've been to many wine tasting courses.  The proper ones!  You know, in France," he continues but I'm quickly losing interest.  "It just doesn't compare with the piss poor stuff served here in England," he takes a sip of water and snorts.  "Even the water has a better taste there," and lets out a huge chuckle. 
    "I'm sure living in France for so long has given you the manners and etiquette you so clearly display," I said sarcastically.  If he caught what I meant he certainly didn't show it.  He clicked his fingers at the approaching waitress and shouted, "Where's that cannelloni, love?"

When the waitress told him his food would be there in a few minutes, I knew we'd have problems.  Five minutes later and Grant is getting restless and keeps repeating, "You just wouldn't find this sort of behaviour in Pareeee,"
    That STUPID accent.  I want to yell, You're from Islington.  You only lived in Paris for three weeks!    But miraculously I refrain.
    We've been here two hours now.  My food came and I ate it without a complaint - that was an hour and a half ago now.  In that one hour and a half, Grant has been presented with an array of different options, all of which he has turned up his nose at and dismissed. 
    "Finally!" he states when the waitress presents his food.  "Now that wasn't so hard, was it?"
    She's about to walk away but Grant cuts her step by saying, "Hang on, let me try it first,"
The waitess and I are transfixed in awe hoping this mouthful with agree with him and there will be an end to his idiotic tantrums.  We stare as he chews (with his mouth open), and wait until he swallows.
    "Better," he says, digging in.  "You can go now," he orders the waitress when he notices she's still standing there. 
    "Well, aren't you a charmer with the ladies," I joke but he appears to not have heard me over his canelloni chews.  He really does look ridiculous when he's eating.  It's like all his face muscles are twitching in unison making sure he devours the food fully. 
    "Want some?" he offers a forkful which splatters a little on my dress.
    "No!" I snap a little harsher than I had meant to.  I wipe the splutters off my new Karen Millen dress and curse under my breath.  Why am I here?  Why am I not at home watching Strictly Come Dancing?

A couple of minutes later and his plate has been (literally) licked clean.  He's sitting back huffing at his fullness, pot belly proudly poking out.
    There is nothing attractive about this man.  Physically...well...let's just say he's an acquired taste, and as for mentally he's the most unattractive man I have ever encountered.
    There is nothing chivalrous about him.  An old lady asked him to scooch his chair forward so that she could get past and he pretended not to listen to her.  When she gave up trying he turned to me and said, "Bloody coffin dodgers!"

The desert menus are thrusted in front of us by a waiter with a beaming smile.  I have a feeling that smile will soon fade once he realises the sort of customer that's in front of him. 
    "I'll have the cheescake," I tell the waiter.
Grant is still perusing.  "Ummm, I'll have a tarte au citron," he shoves the menu at the waiter. 
    Oh no!
    "Sorry, what was that, Sir?" the waiter asks politely. 
    "A tarte au citron!" Grant enunciates every letter, then rolls his eyes at me. 
    The waiter is beginning to look uncomfortable.  "...Umm, I don't believe we do that, Sir.  We do a delicious lemon cheesecake.  Would you like to try that?"
    "Oh, please tell me you have a tarte au citron?" he asks, then looks back at me as if the waiter is being a moron.  "Every fine restaurant in Pareeee serves a tarte au citron,"
    "They don't serve that here!" I snap at him.  "Just order something from the menu!"  I'm getting rather impatient.  With any luck he won't order any desert at all and I might make it back in time for the Strictly Come Dancing results. 
    The waiter hands the menu back, and like a bad tempered child, Grant yanks it from him and starts browsing again.  "I don't want anything form the menu," he stomps his foot on the floor and crosses his arms. 
    Child!  Petty little child!
    "Fine, can we just get the bill please?" I kindly smile at the waiter who quickly leaves us. 
    Five minutes later he returns and puts a tray down on the table. 
    I dig my bag for my purse.  From the corner of my eye I notice that Grant isn't even bothered about looking at the bill.  He's still sitting there arms crossed looking around the restaurant. 
    "This is on you, yeah?" he asks as if it's general knowledge. 
    OK, I know it's wrong but I'm a little shocked.  Almost always when I go on a date I offer to pay, but the guy always fights back and doesn't let me.  But this one is actually blurting it out, not even offering to pay half for all the delays he caused. 
    "I guess so," I grunt and put the money on the table.  The water soon swoops past and takes it, handing back a tray of change mere seconds later.  "I'll leave a £5 tip," I say picking up the stray coins. 
    But Grant jumps in.  "Nah, nah!  Don't do that. They didn't do their job properly," and to my surprise he picks up the remaining coins and shoves them in his pocket!  "Now, let's go.  Dying for a shit,"
    Wonderful! We must do this again sometime!

Tuesday 20 April 2010

The Wedding Guest

Why do people keep saying that the best place to meet a guy is at a wedding?   I have to wholeheartedly disagree with this:
  1. Because these people clearly never went to my friend, Grace's wedding...
  2. If they did they would know that the whole wedding only consisted of about three males and fifty hundred females...
  3. And because the three men that were there were, well, gay!
Grace and Bobby were only twenty when they got engaged, but it came as no surprise as they had been together since they were fourteen.  Despite my disapprovals of marrying so young, I was maid of honour and I have to say that I have never seen so excited in my entire life.
    The day of the wedding seemed to have come quickly.  Grace had made sure every single detail was perfect.  The flowers had to match the glorious, pink curtains of the historic building, and in turn the white window panes that were gently covered by the pink curtains of the historic building had to match the elegant piano.  Every single detail rain its chain until every inch matched so amazingly that it created the most fantastic ambiance for a wedding.

    "Stop tugging at my hair like that!" Grace yelled at me as the curling tongs I was holding released a perfect spiral of auburn hair.  
    "Wow, someone's nervous," I said and was greeted with Grace's angry glare through the mirror.  "Sorry," I apologised and noted in my head never to talk back to a bride.  
    "Just hurry up!"  she yelled once more, and in no time at all her hair was transformed into perfect curls.  Her eyes welled up as she looked at herself in the mirror and placed the tiara, the final touch.  
    "You look stunning," I tell her.  Suddenly her mood lifts when she looks at the clock.
    "We've finished early! Yay!" her smile beaming.
    I'm a little relieved - she had been snappy for a couple of days now; so snappy in fact that I was sure she was getting cold feet and contemplating jilting Bobby.
    We both sit down on the sofa and relax for a bit.  The other two bridesmaids are running in and out of the room informing us of the guests that have arrived.  
    "Another woman," Bridesmaid no. 1 says with a dissapointed look on her face.  A couple of minutes later Bridesmaid no. 2 comes into the room informing the same thing with the same look.  
    "Do you not know any men?" I ask Grace.  She's staring down at her engagement ring, telling herself how it won't look so lonely anymore.  
    "Of course I do," she drops her hand on her lap and turns to me, "Actually, I invited this one guy which I'm sure you're going to love!" she emphasises the last word.  
    Oh no!  I hate it when people do that - when they intertwine themselves into your love life because they think they can.  
    "I really do not want to be set up!" I argue back.   
    "I'm not setting you up.  I'm merely introducing," her tone is so high-pitched.  I can imagine what she would be like had she been born in the eighteenth century - setting her daughters up so they would have 'chance' encounters with lords and dukes.  
    Bridesmaid no. 2 enters again, "A man!" she yelps with excitement and heads for the window.  "Look," Grace and I follow her to peer out.  
    A tall man is just about to climb the stairs into the building.  A present under his arm he jumps them two by two, raking a hand through his dirty blond hair.  He is gorgeous.  There's no denying it.  
    "Oh, that's Justin," Grace jabs me on the arm and then points out of the window, miming 'that's him' to me.
    OK, maybe sometimes it is rather good when friends try to set you up with someone.  It looks like Grace had got it seriously right this time.  

The ceremony goes by beautifully with not a hiccup.  The guest accumulate to the gardens outside for pictures and after the photographer decides he has taken enough, I feel Grace's tight grip on my arm.  She is pulling me across the path to a group of guests near the fountain.  
    "Justin!" she yells out with a huge grin as she's dragging me along with her.
    He turns around, grey eyes sparkling in the Summer sun.  "So glad you made it.  I hope you've had a great time so far," and before he's allowed to respond, I've already been shoved right in front of him.  "This is my friend.  You know, the one I told you about," she says and I feel my cheeks go pink.
    She is officially embarrassing.  The one I told you about?  Why on earth has she been talking about me, and most importantly, what on earth has she been saying?
    Justin puts out his hand and I shake it, still a bit perplexed at what is happening.  "Lovely to meet you," I smile shyly.  
    Oh my, he really is gorgeous.  There is not a single flaw on this man - an amazing jaw structure, full lips and hair that is more glossy in the sun than mine.  He is outshining the bride.  
    "Oh, is that Bobby calling me?" Grace pretends to listen out for his voice, "I must dash and see to my husband," and like a flash she is gone.  
    "What just happened?" I joke.  
    "Would you like to go on a walk around the gardens?  They seem to be quite beautiful," he asks and I nod automatically.

The walk lasts about half an hour and we get to know each other well.  He is incredibly funny, and that smile - gosh, I had to stop looking directly at him in case I forgot how to walk or something.  
    "There you are!" the mother of the bride is marching towards me.  "We have to head off to the reception.  In the car NOW!" she yells at me and marches off.
    "Oh dear," I turn to Justin.  "I think I've just awoke the beast," and head for the car.
    "I'll see you there," he says and gently brushes his hand on my arm.  
    I walk away thanking Grace in my head.  

The reception is the opposite of the beautiful ceremony.  This is a proper party with a loud DJ, drunken dancers and creamy food all over the place.  I should really go and see how the bride is doing, since I'm the maid of honour, but my mind shifts to Justin, and I scan the room for him.  I spot him with a group of other guys, smiling.  Oh that smile!  Surely him and I would never work purely on the fact that he is prettier than me.  
    I haven't quite decided yet whether or not to go over, but it seems my legs have already decided for me.  He sees me and waves me over.  
    "This is my lovely new friend," he puts me in front of him and holds me by the shoulders introducing me to his friends.  "They all work with Grace as well," he tells me.  "Actually, it's rather loud in here.  You want to go outside?" he asks me.  The automatic nod surfaces again and I'm finding myself move outside.  My eyes shift to the two bridesmaids who are already whispering to one another.  
    When we're outside I breathe in the country air to calm myself.  I feel like it's been a year, not just a day. I tell Justin this and he agrees.  
    "I know what you mean.  I had to organise my sister's wedding last year," he tells me.  "I didn't leave my bed for a week afterwards- I was that exhausted,"
    I think how well Justin would look in my bed.  I immediately tell myself off as I've only just met the guy.  
    "Grace is an utter nightmare when it comes to organising.  Everything I thought I was helping with she decided that it was wrong, so it all had to be done again,"
    "Oh trust me, I know.  I work with her, remember?" he tells me, "She's terrible at work when it comes to the organisation stuff.  We're all too scared to talk to her," he lets out a childish laugh.  His attention turns to me.  "Now you, on the other hand, seem completely different to her.  How did you two become friends?" his eyes are burning into mine.  
    "Well, I asked her if I could borrow her skipping rope, and we've been friends every since," I smile at him suddenly feeling nervous. 
    "I see," he turns his head away.  "And does she not know many men?" he asks, one hand pointing to the building.
    I let out a laugh.  "I was thinking the same thing.  But I think it's because Bobby works as a primary school teacher and he's the only male there, and well, Grace has a family that only seems to produce females.  She only has female cousins, you know.  And there are a LOT of them," I hear him laugh, and wonder whether it would be too forward if I kiss him.  
    "Inside now!!  We're about to eat!!" the mother of the bride has poked her head out and is scowling at us.
    "I don't think you and Grace will be allowed to play with each other after this," he jokes.  "Was she like this when you were kids?" 
    I nod.  

At the table I'm about to sit down, when I feel Grace's forceful grip again.  "Up!" she orders.
    "You know, you and your mother aren't that different," I say but she doesn't seem to hear me.  
    "Over here," she plonks me on another seat which conveniently is right opposite Justin.  "And stop twiddling with your dress!" 
    I let go of the pink and white satin and lace, and gulp down some wine.  
    "Go easy girl," Justin says with a half smile.  
    The two bridesmaids are sitting on either side of me, looking as disappointed as ever with the sea of women all around them.  
    "Looks like you got the only good thing about this wedding," Bridesmaid no. 1 whispers to me.  I look at Justin who is talking to Bridesmaid no. 2.  "He's just so gorgeous.  You going on a date?" she asks so close that her hair clip is scratching my cheek.  
    "Umm, no," I tell her and let out a laugh as if she's being ridiculous.  
    Bridesmaid no 2's giggles attract my attention.  "Oh, you are a charmer," she tells Justin.  "So when are you taking this lovely girl out on a date?" she asks, holding my wrist.  With my free hand I lift my wine glass and take a gulp of it.
    "A date?" Justin sounds confused.  His eyes glance to mine and then flick away as if he doesn't know what to say.  
    "Yes, a date.  You two have been inseparable all day,"
    This is embarrassing.  Is she really still talking???
    "Oooohhh, are you two seeing each other?" Grace's mother has piped up, her mood lifted from earlier.       The entire table has hushed and is waiting for a response.  
    "Oh course we're not seeing each other," I laugh nervously.  
    Justin looks at his food.  "Actually, I'm seeing someone," he announces.  I almost choke.  "I have a boyfriend,"
    I try my hardest not to look shocked, but my cheeks have turned so crimson that it's obvious I had no idea.  I try to hide my face by having some more wine.  
    "Oh, I see," Grace's mother returns to her food.  Eventually everyone else follows suit.  
He's gay!!!  I am going to kill Grace.  I am never talking to her again.  
    I lift my eyes off my plate and move them straight to Grace.  
    "I'm so sorry," she mouths. "I had no idea,"
    "I'm going to kill you!" I mouth back.
    My eyes then flick to Justin who clearly is finding the chicken fascinating.  He hasn't raised his eyes once.  
    "I knew it," Bridesmaid no. 2 tells me.  "I just knew it!  He's far too well groomed.  He just wouldn't look right with you!" and she digs into her food.
    Choke, I think.  

Saturday 17 April 2010

The Bunny Boiler - Chapter 2

You'd think that the escapades of 'the bunny boiler' would be well and truly over after her little breakdown at the restaurant, but it turns out that that was just the beginning. The good thing about that 'episode' was that it made me and Jamie stronger - it reinforced to him that breaking up with Kate was definitely the right decision and we said goodbye to that evening knowing that everything was out in the open and no longer needed to keep things quiet.

Jamie picked me up on Monday morning and drove us to college. The chilly British weather was more evident that morning than ever. A thin layer of frost had enveloped almost everything in sight, and the freezing wind made it difficult to leave the car...that, and the fact that I really didn't want to face anyone just yet. I had told my friends about the encounter we had with Kate and I could imagine them all now sitting at the college cafe waiting for me to arrive and fill them in with the exact details.
    And I was right.
    The Gossip Hyenas were waiting at the far table, waving me over through the busy crowd. I kissed Jamie goodbye as he departed to his friends, and settled myself between them.
    All eyes glared at me, waiting for me to speak. I wasn't ready to repeat the entire story yet again and just sat there, rubbing my hands together for some warmth.
   "Well, I just can't believe that happened," Mikey spoke out, slapping his hands on the table. "The cheeeeeek of the girl!" he exclaimed. I raised my eyebrows in approval.
    "I always thought she was a nutcase," Tia continued. "I saw it straight away. The girl dispised you as soon as you and Jamie became friends,"
    "I just want to forget about it," I say to them.
    I look over at Jamie. He's the only one talking and his friends are listening intently to him. Clearly, he's telling the story too. The only difference is that his table is taken over by the occassional gasp followed by laughter, whilst on my table it's just sympathetic shock.
    "Do you think she'll be in today?" Tia asks and I shrug my shoulders.
    "With any luck her family have got her sectioned," Sofia inputed and went back to slobbering all over her boyfriend.
    I say a little prayer in my head - Please God, don't let her be in today. I need to forget about it for the time being - But no such luck.
    I can already hear her shrill voice echoing in from outside. The sheer noise of it raises everyone's attention.  
    Jamie and I clap eyes and then both look for the nearest exit to see if we can make a run for it.
    Kate walks in...but surprisingly she's not mad, nor is she crying. She's actually laughing. Real, loud laughter with not an ounce of fakeness about it. Perhaps her parents did get her sectioned and now she's all cured.
    She's linked arms with her friends as if they're in secondary school and makes her way to Jamie's table.
    Oh no, I think - not another scene.
    She sits down near him, all smiles as if nothing ever happened.
    I'm confused. This is not the same girl who was weeping on a restaurant floor. She just can't be.
    Mikey nudges me with his arm, "What's she doing?" he asks looking agog.
    "I have no idea," I reply.
    Another loud laugh escapes her mouth as if she's heard the funniest thing ever, but Jamie and his friends just look confused.
    "Should I go over there?" I ask my friends, but they're too enthralled by Kate to notice what I'm saying.
    Nope. I definitely should not go over. NO...ummmm... Nope. No, I shouldn't go over. I've decided.
    "I'm going over there," I tell them, and lift myself from the table. Mikey tries to pull me down but he fails.
    "No, don't!" I hear him whisper but I'm already on my way. His footsteps are tapping after me and he grabs my shoulder, but we've already reached the table.
    "Morning," I greet. The guys reply and smile, but Kate and her clan remain silent.
    "Come and sit down," Jamie says and scooches over. I'm just about to sit down when Kate beats me to it. She has leaped from her seat to go next to him, getting so close that she's cornered him against the wall.
    MOVE, I want to yell but stop myself. Instead, I take the seat she left behind and sit on the edge of it so that Mikey can sit too.
    Silence has fallen over the table. The guys are throwing me awkward smiles, while the girls are throwing me daggers - their eyes so veiled by an evil stare that I swear they turn a devil red.
    "So how is everyone?" one of the guys says trying to break the silence.
    No one answers.
    "...I'm very well. How are you?" I reply.
    "I'm brilliant. Heard a very funny story about a specific date-" he speaks but a sharp kick from Jamie makes him stop. "-I'm very well," he decides to say.
    "Good good,"
    And then silence once again.

This is really unbearable. We're all just sitting there, staring at each other but not saying a word. Jamie's friends occasionally mock Kate when she turns to look away, but other than that, no one is talking. It's driving me crazy.
    JUST GO, I want to yell. Just go away!!
  I turn back to look at my friends. Even Sofia has found enough time to tear herself away from her boyfriend's mouth and is looking over.
   "We should probably leave," Mikey casually whispers in my ear. I give him a look that says 'No sodding way'
   "Come and sit here," Jamie smiles at me and tries to edge Kate away with his arm. But she's not budging. He tries again, but she's having none of it.
    He then snaps.
    "Kate, just move so I can sit with my girlfriend!" he shouts expecting her to stand up. But she doesn't move. She's ignoring him and biting her fingernails.
   "This is ridiculous!" he shouts and leaps over the table, grabs me by the arm and says, "Let's go sit over there!" Once we're seated he shouts, "You coming boys?" to his friends.
    The army leave the table and come over to us - Mikey trying not to laugh.
   "What a freak!" one of the guys says and takes a sip of his drink. The conversation is suddenly flowing freely.
    Jamie wraps his arm around me and whispers, "I'm so sorry about that. You OK?"
    "I'm fine,"I respond. "It's just a bit weird," and he nods.

The rest of the morning goes by without a hiccup and I walk back to the cafe to meet my friends for lunch. Surprisingly, Kate and her clan are still sitting where they were as if they haven't left the table.
    I walk past and give Kate a smile which she doesn't appreaciate, and sit down to wait for my friends.
    But she walks on over, her clan trailing behind her.
    "What's up, Kate?" I raise my head to look at her.
   She leans on the table, her face incredibly close to mine. So close in fact that I can see the edges of her contact lenses.
   "You're so pathetic," she mouths at me, sitting down. "Jamie is just going through some weird phase of wanting, well, you, but when he comes back to his senses just know that he's running right back to me,"
   "I'm pathetic?" I let out a chuckle. "I'm not the one who cried in the middle of a restaurant for an hour, screaming and shouting because I've been dumped," I tell her.
    "I just can't believe how pathetic you are," she says once more. It's like my words wash over her - she doesn't listen to anything. "Jamie and I were practically engaged,"
    "No, you weren't. You just went out for a long time. There's a difference, Kate," I pull out a magazine from my bag and begin flicking through it.
    "I have a ring and everything," she says.
    "Let's see it then," I ask not lifting my head from Marie Claire.
    She lifts her left hand up immediately, revealing a pink, plastic ring with a blue, plastic stone on it.
    "Wow, that's beautiful," I mock. "That must have cost him a fortune,"
    She doesn't say anything.
    "Can you just go, please!" my tone slightly raised.
    But she doesn't.
    I sigh heavily when I see Mikey coming over towards me, his face scrunched up from the confusion of seeing Kate.
   "Kate," he begins. "How was the restaurant last Friday? Would you recommend the salmon or the sea bass?" he teases and plonks himself next to me. "Oh before I forget," he turns to me, "Jamie told me to say that he'll be here in about twenty minutes. Something about petrol," Mikey waves his hands in the air.
    "He didn't tell me anything about this," Kate strangely replies. She's staring at Mikey now. "Will he be able to drop me off home as normal?"
    "No," I tell her. "Because he's going out with me now!"
    But she doesn't seem to understand.
    "I need to get home before half one," she's telling Mikey.
    Wow, she's really lost it.
    "We've made these plans a while ago," she says again. "There's just no way Jamie would let me down,"
    I'm too shocked to answer.
    "Well, he's clearly not driving you home because it's almost half one now and he's only just set off," Mikey explains.
   Kate's face is a picture of pure worry, and then confusion, and finally anger. I can sense the explosion coming up. It's like the Bunny Boiler Richter Scale in my head goes crazy as soon as her voice is slightly raised.
    "BUT HE PROMISED!" she yells in full volume. One of the clan members tells her to shush but she refuses to listen.
   "Kate, you and Jamie are not dating anymore. He's my boyfriend now," my explanations are of no use. She's off on one again, screaming her head off in the cafe. Nothing seems to calm her down.
    "Let's just leave," I say to Mikey. "I'm not too sure what to do here,"
    "Kate, you're being ridiculous. You're acting like a child," Mikey tells her. This just sends her over the edge.
     "I AM NOT ACTING LIKE A CHILD!!" She yells at him. I fear that she may hit him.
    Her clan have now left and are watching her just like all other spectators. "HE MADE ME A PROMISE AND HOW HE HAS TO KEEP IT!" she continues to yell.
    Mikey is terrified. His face turns to mine, "Phone Jamie. Tell him to get here quick!" he orders and I do as he says.

Twenty minutes later and Jamie bursts through the doors.
    "She's gone off again," I say although there's no real need for an explanation. Kate is huddled on a chair crying. "I've tried to calm her down but nothing seems to be working,"
    The spectators have now got bored and don't seem to be that interested in her. I'm thankful for this. I've had enough of 'scenes'.
    "Kate," Jamie approaches her like she's an angry lion. "You OK?"
    "I'M NOT BLOODY OK!" she growls. "You said you would drive me home at half one!"
    "When did I say this?"
    "Ageees ago!"
    "Riiiight," Jamie turns and shrugs his shoulders.
    "I really hate her!" she points at me, her tears finally drying up.
    I want to throttle her.
    "Well, I happen to quite like her," Jamie tells her and moves towards me, clasping his hand with mine. My heart smiles at the gesture.
    "Oh please," she rises from the seat. "You and I are engaged!" and points her childish hand at him.
    "You're being ridiculous," he tells her, "We're not engaged. That was some stupid ring you won from a Christmas cracker,"
    I hear Mikey snort.
    "Kate, you have to stop this," Jamie tries to reason. "You and I broke up. I have a new girlfriend now. Just leave us alone," he pulls my hand and we both leave the cafe.
    From outside her screams sound louder then ever. We turn to find Mikey running out.
    "She's lost it," Mikey says worryingly to Jamie. "I'd get a restraining order if I were you,"

Thursday 15 April 2010

Pride and Prejudice in a Posh Picnic

    You can't compare any love story to those created by Jane Austen, and Pride and Prejudice was my absolute favourite book. I don't think there are many girls out there that can say they do not wish for an Elizabeth and Mr Darcy love story. I always craved that - that unknowing love between two people blossoming at the most unexpected of time. It just shows how much of a fine line there can be between love and hate.
    Daniel was a nuisance. He was rude, annoying and never knew when to stop talking. He had spent most of his life in public school and knew very little about the true reality of society. His pride conveyed rudeness, and his lack of understanding "the homeless" made him seem heartless. He was an utter arse.
    I'm not too sure how Daniel fell into my group of friends, but I remember my stomach turning at the thought of going out and him being there. My feelings were clear - I detested the guy. But on a night out with friends, my view would suddenly change.

    "Oh, he's so selfish," Lisa and I pushed the toilet doors open as we left the loudness of the bar.
    "He's acting like a bit of a prick. I can't believe he glared at that waitress when she gave him a lemon in his Corona instead of a lime," Lisa said, staining her lips with a deep pink lipstick.
    "Oh please, that was him at his most polite. He actually asked if his martini was shaken and not stirred!" and we both burst into laughter.
I reapply some eyeliner and sweep a nude lipstick over my lips.
    "The guy is a nightmare," I continue, "I can't imagine how he's had all these long term relationships. He's horrible,"
    "Well, he's a bastard but he's good-looking," she paused and thought, "Hmm, what else? Oh, he's filthy rich. He's well educated..."
    I interrupted, "Well educated? He thinks Krispy Kreme is a cartoon character!" and we laugh once more.
    "He really gets to you, doesn't he?" she asked.
    "Yes!" I retort, crunching my wavy hair with my hands. "He's a wanker!"
Lisa sat up next to the sink and sprayed herself with some perfume before choking when the overpowering fumes became too much. "So who would be your perfect man?" she said, a huge grin spreading over her face.
    "Umm...Gordon Brown?" I joked. "I don't know, I suppose Mr Darcy, but a man such as that will never exist," I sigh jokingly.
    Lisa jumps off from the sink, "Well, if you think about it, Daniel isn't really that far off,"
    "Don't be so absurd," I scold her, shuddering at the thought.
    "Well, it's almost the same story," she continues walking out and I push her out of the doors.

Back at the table, Lisa's words play on my mind. Daniel is now sitting next to me and being unusually quiet. With his mouth shut he's actually quite attractive, I think. Oh stop it, I yell at myself. He's a horrible human being. There's a reason you don't like him. Please, do not start fancying him.
Daniel's face turns towards me and he smiles. OK, he's very good looking. But he's still an arse. His hand edges close and touches the tips of my fingers. It's unexpected and it sends shivers through me. I look up, a little startled. He's looking at me, his hand now gripping mine.
    "I really like you," he speaks in my ear, his breath tickling my skin. "Let's meet tomorrow afternoon,"
Something in me has clicked and changed. My mind is flicking through Pride and Prejudice and I'm likening the two stories, obviously because I wanted it so badly.

Daniel had set up a little picnic at a park. The scorching Summer sun was slowly melting behind some trees, it's red rays surrounding the distant clouds. It was a romantic setting - no argument in that.
    "Sit down, darling," he took my hand as I plonked myself on one side of the blanket. I'm not sure I like the way he says 'darling'. He says it as if I'm lucky to be called that.
    "Chardonnay or Merlot?" he pulls out two wine glasses from a basket. I'm rather confused as he pulls out the two bottles.
    "Umm..Merlot?" I say, too scared to ask whether his Mary Poppins basket contains some orange juice.
I had spent the entire night convincing myself that this was my Mr Darcy - that his pride was exactly that of my book hero, and here I was on a date with him - and I really wanted to be somewhere else. Anywhere else.
    I'm looking ahead of me but I can feel his eyes burning into my skin. "I'm so happy you're here," he moves closer to me, his hand resting on mine. Oh, he's not that bad, I think. With any luck, I may even grow to like him soon. I turn my head and smile.
    "This is really lovely," I say sipping a little bit of my wine.
    "I'm really glad you like it. Didn't take that long," he said casually as if beautiful picnics are his gift.
    He's moved much closer to me now and I feel that he may want to kiss me. I try to change the subject.
    "Gosh, this place looks amazing at this time," I say scanning my surroundings. "I love seeing so many people about," The park is beaming with life. You can hear children laughing and playing all around it. People are laying lazily on the grass, and playful dogs seem to be tiring out their dog walkers. It's a gorgeous atmosphere.
    "Some cake perhaps?" Daniel asks edging away and I breathe in as if I can finally do so. Out of the basket, he pulls out an amazing looking cake. "It's carrot cake," he reveals and I cringe at the thought of it. Who decided to put vegetables in a desert?
    "Yum," I lied.
    With the shiniest cake knife I have ever seen, he cuts into the cake. I'm almost too scared to touch the fork laid out in front of me as it's gleaming so much in the setting sun. I don't think he knows that plastic cutlery exists. I want to joke with him about this, but I refrain. I don't think he would see the funny side of it.
I've barely noticed that a small child has walked over to us. With dirty knees he bends down staring at the cake. He's about four. "May I have some?" he asks with an adorable glint. I almost melt at his cuteness, and look over at his mother sitting on a nearby bench. She smiles at me, approvingly that we may give him some cake.
    "Let's cut you a little piece," I say to him but Daniel stops me.
    "This isn't for children," he glares at me seriously.
    "But he's a little kid," I say.
    "NO!" Daniel stubbornly puts his foot down. "Now run along," he tells the child who quickly scampers off to his mother.
    I'm shocked. I want to pick the cake up and just shove it in Daniel's face.
    "Now," he says, the expression on his face all smiles, "Let's dig in to some lovely carrot cake," he scoops a bit with his fork. "Bloody delicious," he says.
    "Are you not hungry?" he stares down at the untouched slice. "Have some," he pushes the plate to my mouth,"
    "I'm really not hungry," I push the plate back down, but he's being persistent.
    "It's bloody good," his public school voice becoming more and more evident.
    "In a bit," I tell him.
    "It's the best carrot cake in all of England. Had it ordered from this bakery in Dorset," the carrot cake is once more pushed towards me.
    "No, thank you," I say calmly, although I want to snap at him.
    "Fine," he sulks. I've clearly hurt his pride.
What am I doing here? What on earth was going through my head when I considered 'this' to be like Mr Darcy??
    "So, what made you decide to move to Surrey?" I ask, hoping desperately to cheer the mood up.
    "Got bored of moving around the whole time," he said. "Plus, had a psycho of a girl chasing me at the last place I lived at. The bloody bitch didn't know what 'no' meant," he laughed to himself, his back still turned at me. "Some girls just don't know when a one night stand is a one night stand," his chuckle even louder now.
I want to hit him with something. I pray for one of the running dogs to suddenly turn vicious and tear him to shreds - he'd deserve it.
    "She was such a filthy whore," he swigs some wine and continues, "She dropped her knickers in an instant. The silly girl," he laughed.
    I'm disgusted at his words.
    "I think I have to go," I pretend to look at my phone as if I've received an alarming text. "Trouble at home," I say and stand up quickly.
    He stands up too. Looking rather smug with himself he moves towards me, putting his hands around my waist. "This is probably the best bloody picnic you've had, right?" I let out a fake giggle. His head leans in and gently he whispers, "May I kiss you?" He smells my hair.
    I think about this.
    "NO!" I say and walk away.

Saturday 10 April 2010

The Office Bitch and The Date That Never Was

    There's nothing more magical than London in December.  Every inch of its frost is warmed up with glowing Christmas lights.  It doesn't matter where you are, you can still hear the jingle jangle of Jingle Bells echoing from somewhere in the distance, and surprisingly for grumpy Londoners, everyone is friendly.         There's an ambiance that always feels like home and dispite the cold, you can't help feeling the warmth. You fall in love with it. And it's also the best time to fall in love.
    I don't care what people say. I swear to you, falling for someone feels different pre-Christmas than it does at other times of the year. Perhaps it's the dawning of the new year filling you with optimism that adds to the tingly feeling. Or it's London. Or, it's because you've had so much mulled wine that that tingly feeling is probably from numbness. Nethertheless, I strongly recommend falling in love in December.
    This particular December I was feeling especially optimistic. I had a date with Noah, and as I filled my apartment with tinsel and crowded the tiny Christmas tree with fake snow, I couldn't help but smile. This time my luck would be different and I would encounter my first, totally fabulous, date.

    I met Noah while we both worked at a small sales company. Among the bottle blondes, the expensive aftershaves and fake smiles, Noah was the only one that was truly helpful. It's hard being the new girl without feeling completely out of place as well, but Noah made sure I fitted right in.
    "Morning," I greeted everyone at work and sat down at my desk. I got a grumpy hi from Carl, a grunt from John and just a sneer from Tiffany. Gosh, I'm so glad this is only a temp job.
    "Have you done the list I wanted?" Lucy walks over and sits on my desk. I almost choke as her perfume surrounds me. What does she do, marinate herself in the stuff?
    "Yes, I'll email them over," I tell her but that's still not enough for her to leave. She's towering over me as if she's building herself up to say something.
    "...So..." she begins and I breathe in ready for her sting. Lucy has this horrible ability to be intensly malicious without trying. "...I hear you and Noah are sitting in a tree. K I S S I N G!" and she sings the last bit.
    I smile politely. "What on earth are you talking about, Lucy?" I reply, playing the innocent card.
    "We've all noticed it," she looks around the room pointing to a couple of people with her perfectly polished fingernails. "I've seen the way you look at him," she clicks her tongue and smiles.
    I don't reply but just dismiss her by carrying on with my work. "Just emailed the list to you," I tell her. She jumps off the desk with one swift movement and crouches down to my height.
    "I've been here for three years," she tells me. I nod because I have no idea what to say. "I've been told I have great potential," she looks like she's about to cast an evil spell. "Yeah, you know Eric? The owner? Well, he told me I'm next in line for a career boost! And there's always been a spark between me and Noah..." she rotates on her heel and walks away.
    Ah, I see. She's clearly a career slut looking to sleep with someone for a promotion. Why do women like her even exist? Surely survival of the fittest should have wiped them out by now?

    I don't think about Lucy and her burning desire for a payrise for the rest of the day and look forward to going out with Noah. That thought really gets me through the day. I'm nervous, of course, but before-date excitement is too overpowering. I watch the clock as it tick tocks away to half five, and before I know it everyone has wrapped up warm and are leaving the office. Noah smiles at me and stands with the door open so that everyone leaves one by one. Everyone except Lucy who is still sitting at her desk typing away.
    "Not finished yet?" I ask.
    "No. This bloody manager won't pick up his phone and I need to make a deal before he buggers off to Spain," she informs.
    OK, it would be rude to say to her, "Lucy, love. Can you please leave now so that I can have my date with our boss? Perhaps you can go and torture small children, or eat live bunnies, or whatever you do in your spare time!" But I refrain and look over at Noah to tell him, "I tried,"
    "You honestly don't have to finish now," he tells her. "I'm sure the deal will still be fine when he gets back from Spain,"
    "Just five minutes, Noah. Just five minutes and I'm sure he'll pick up the phone and I'd have made this company some money," she cackles like a witch - probably because she is one.
    But five minutes go by and she still hasn't budged. She's still punching in the phone number every couple of minutes, holds it to her ear for a few seconds and then slams it on the cradle.
    "I'm so sorry about this," she apologises to Noah. "But I think it's vitally important for the company that I do this deal." She then pretends to only just notice me. "So, why are you still here?" she asks.
    "Well, I promised I'd give her a lift home," Noah jumps in and I nod in agreement.
    "Oh, well I shan't keep you waiting much longer," her red lips spread across her face to form a smile. She looks more like the Joker, to be honest.
    "Look, just leave it for today. We're all tired and need to get going," Noah tells her and goes to the coat rack to grab her jacket. Lucy flinches in action and immediately picks up the phone again.
    "Just once more," and grabs the phone. Well, at least now we can leave, I think. "Hello? Mr Hunt?" she says down the phone and Noah and I look at eachother in disbelief. "It's Lucy Mead. I'm calling about the order you placed and just wanted a confirmation. What's that? Call you back in fifteen minutes? OK, Mr Hunt. Bye bye," and the phone is back on the cradle.
    The coniving bitch. He never answered the phone! She clearly just wants to disrupt the date.
    "I'll just wait a while," and she sits back on her chair crossing her legs. "I'm so sorry, Noah," she apologises.
    I move over to the window and glance outside at the vast city. Oh, I want to be out there having a pre-Christmas date. I want to be hearing Carol singers even though they're highly annoying. I want to walk past a crepe stand with Noah and buy a crepe even though I probably won't eat it. I want to sit in a lovely restaurant, drinking red wine. My mood lifts just at the thought of it, but it comes crashing down when I'm reminded that Lucy is unfortunately Lucy.
    Noah has now gone back to his office and Lucy is at her desk filing her nails. "It's been fifteen minutes," I remind her.
    "Sorry, what?" she casually lifts her head up.
    "The phone call?"
    "Oh, of course," and springs back into action. "It's ringing," she tells me. "Still ringing," and a second later the phone is back down.
    "Perhaps it's best to just leave it for today. Try again tomorrow," I suggest.
    "It's Saturday tomorrow! Gosh, it's things like that that mean I'm better suited for a high flying career," she snorts.
    Noah steps out of his office. "Are you done yet? I need to lock up," but Lucy just shakes her head.
    "He didn't pick up," she says 'annoyed'.
    "Look, it doesn't matter. Let's leave it for today," and gestures Lucy to leave her desk.
    "I'm so sorry Noah, but you know how much of a perfectionist I am. I can't leave here until I get the job done," and the phone is once again in her hand. "Mr Hunt? It's Lucy Mead again," He clearly hasn't answered. That much is obvious. She laughs as if he's said something funny. "Yes, I just need you to confirm your order. It won't take long at all...oh, you're still busy? Honestly, I just need a confirmation of your card details and it's all done. Oh, I see. OK, Mr Hunt," the phone is down again. Noah and I are looking at her waiting for her to speak.
    "He'll ring back in five minutes," she smiles.
    We look at eachother and smile and it sends shivers through me. Oh, he's so gorgeous. His eyes sparkle when he talks and faint laughter lines are developing just beneath them. He's leaning against the wall looking though some papers. His tie is loose and the top button of his shirt is undone. Every now and again he ruffles his hair with his hands. I want to kiss him.
    I avert my eyes away to see that Lucy's are hooked on me. She's staring like her eyes have lazers. She clearly hates me, but that's OK. Can't say I think much of her either.
    "Has he phoned back yet?" I ask.
    "Not yet, but any minute now," she tries to look hopeful but it comes across like she's constapated.

    Another hour goes by. Noah has been in his office now for half an hour actually doing work, and I'm texting my friends, telling them that I'm still at work. I almost get angry that Noah is so soft when it comes to employees. If I were him I would have told her to do her work when it's actually time for work. She's still sitting there, now flipping through a magazine, occassionally lifting her head and saying, "I met Johnny Depp once," or "That Sienna should have never left Jude,"
    I want to scream. It's late. It's really late and I'm fed up. The phone has not rung once, because Lucy invented an imaginary friend. Her life must really be pathetic if she has nothing better to do on a Friday night.
    Noah emerges from his office again.
    "Lucy," he now seems cross. "I'm tired. I want to go home. Please get up from your desk and leave. You do realise I can't pay you for this overtime?"
    She finally moves. "Oh, of course Noah. I'm just doing it because it would have made so much money if Mr Hunt bought the main deal," she's putting her coat on.
    The main deal? What is she talking about? I sold that a few days ago. I rummage through the pieces of paper on my desk and there it is - a bright, shiny sheet saying that the main deal was sold to Regi Hunt on Wednesday.
    "I don't mean to burst your bubble," I try not to gloat, "but Mr Hunt already confirmed that order on Wednesday," I lift the sheet up. Noah looks up and Lucy's face has turned puce.
    "That can't be right," she begins to defend herself. "I told you to email me the list of all confirmed sales," she begins to get defensive.
    "I did this morning. You saw me," I fight back.
    Noah takes the sheet from my hand and scans through it.
    "Well, you clearly didn't include that sale then, did you?" her hands are on her hips. "There's just no way I would have made a mistake," she takes the printed copy of the list I emailed and scans through it. I watch her and almost want to laugh at her facial expression when she notices the name. Noah has noticed it too and I can see his face wanting to crease into a smile.
    "Just an oversight?" he says mockingly.
    "We all make mistakes, Lucy," I say.
    But she has nothing to reply with. She's just wasted two hours of her boss' time over absolutely nothing.
Noah briefly goes back into his office.
    "Well, you're not going on your little date now, are you!" she tells me as if she's ordering me. "There's no way you're getting promoted over me!"
    How can someone be so cocky even after they've made a fool of themselves in front of their boss?
    "Yes I am," I begin. "To be honest, I'm quite thankful you've kept us here this long. It just means we skip the dinner and all the boring bits and head straight into the good stuff," I smile.
    "Whatever," she charges out of the office.
    Noah comes out and leans against his office door. His arms are crossed and one foot is casually tapping the other.
    "It's a bit late," I say and he nods his head.
    "Some other time?" he calls out as I'm leaving and I turn and confirm.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

The Bunny Boiler - Chapter 1

 Jamie was amazing. He was funny, intelligent, had a wonderful personality and to top it all off, he was incredibly good-looking. But Jamie had baggage, and that baggage came in the form of Kate.
    It wasn't planned. We both had the same class and after we got talking, it was like something clicked into place. We got on instantly, felt comfortable with one another and most importantly, could be honest. At first it started out as a great friendship, but as time went on we both realised that there was definitely something between us.
    Getting together was clearly not even an option. Jamie was Kate's and I was certainly not going to ruin a year long relationship.
    But things changed when Jamie phoned me up sounding miserable and upset claiming that Kate was being completely unreasonable and this time they had broken up for good. A few weeks later, we had started seeing each other.
    It was my idea to keep it a secret until Kate moved on as well, and for the first month everything was going incredibly well. 

"Jamie's taking me out tonight," I whispered ecstatically to my best friend, Mikey, who was the only one at the time who knew. He smiled at me and I continued, "We're going to that new French place and afterwards to the theatre,"
"Lovely. Just make sure you dress well. None of those tightless dresses. It's about -2 outside," he joked (although I did take his advice).
    That night, Jamie and I settled in to the warmth of the restaurant, ordered rather a lot of food and talked and laughed. Everything was so picture perfect; a lovely warm fire at the far corner of the restaurant, food so delicious that you never wanted it to end, and of course, the great company.
     But then it all gets ruined.
     "Jamie?" a shrill voice comes from a few tables away. We both turn to be greeted by Kate.
    "Kate! Hello," I say with a smile,although inside I just want to die. She doesn't say much. Just looks at Jamie, and then back at me. I can practically hear the clocks in her brain working to put 2 and 2 together.
    And then it clicks.
    "OH. MY. GOSH!!!" she exclaims in full volume, the restaurant echoing her voice. Jamie has emerged from his seat and is trying to quieten her down.  "I CANNOT believe this!!" tears are escaping from her eyes. I grab her hand to reassure her that nothing is actually going on (obviously a lie but what can you do?) but she just shakes it off. "Get off me!!" she screams.
     OK. This is now officially a scene.
    "Kate, please calm down. What are you getting so worked up about?" I try to sound jokey, hoping that everyone who has glued their eyes to us will kindly avert them and go back to eating.
    "What am I getting so worked up about?? Umm, well, where do I begin?" she patronises. "How about the fact that you're here with MY BOYFRIEND!!" her yelps are making my eardrum pound.
    "We broke up," Jamie is saying. "Katie, we broke up."
    Two waiters have walked over and are asking me to move this outside but I tell them it's just a misunderstanding that will be resolved.
    "You said we needed a break!" Kate is shouting at Jamie. Her tears are causing her make-up to melt away. There's masses of them. I'm expecting to see an Alice in Wonderland style scene any minute, where I will be washed away through a keyhole.
    "Please stop crying," I stand up and try to put an arm around her. She pushed it away with quite a lot of force.
    I turn to see that the entire two tables behind us are filled with Kate's cousins, aunts, brothers, uncles - the list went on and on. I try to smile at them but they're just scowling. A woman rises from the table and walks over to us.
    "Kate, dear," she says. I'm assuming this is her mother. They have exactly the same hair - colour and style. "Just come back and sit down, love. Don't get yourself worked up," but she isn't listening. She's crying hysterically as if someone's actually died.
    The two waiters tap Jamie's shoulder and whisper that we're causing a scene and disturbing the other guests. "I can't bloody help that, can I?" he responds. I feel for him. It couldn't have been easy to see his ex fall into little pieces right in front of him, and on top of that, the family that he's spent so long convincing how much of the perfect guy he was, to be looking at him in utter disappointment.
    "WE DIDN'T BREAK UP!" Kate keeps saying over and over again. "WE WERE ON A BREAK!"
    Jamie looks at me. I can see that he wants to reassure me but he can't in front of Kate's family.
    "Kate, please come back and sit down," her mother tries again but it's of no use.
    "NO!" she screams out like a little girl.
   "We went through this. We broke up, remember?" Jamie is explaining to her again hoping that she'll see sense. There's no answer from her. She's now on the floor clutching her arms like a small child.
    OK, where are the cameras?  Clearly this has got to be a joke. 
    "We're just 2 friends going out for dinner," I say rather loudly hoping she'll hear.
    "You're lying!" she shouts back. Well, yes. I honestly thought that would help.
    "I knew you'd cheat on me with her!!" she's turned to Jamie now. "Ever since that time when I saw you two walking together. I knew it! I knew you'd do this to me!!" She's so angry and her face is in such a scowl that it's hard to imagine what she looks like normally.
    "I'm not cheating!!" Jamie says. "We broke up!"
    "Oh please! This has clearly been going on for ages. I'm not stupid!" Kate continues to scream.
    Well, clealy you are because you're sitting on the floor in the middle of a restaurant crying your eyes and occasionally grabbing a baguette and throwing it!

I'd like to say that this whole thing only lasts a few minutes and soon the misunderstanding has been resolved and life goes on as normal. But that doesn't happen.
    After Kate refuses to get up, two of her uncles try to lift her from the floor. They fail. She just sits there crying and screaming at how she's been betrayed and keeps repeating over and over again that she'll never trust another man again.
    The manager tries to tell the family to get her out, but they all just shout at him and say that she's having a breakdown and moving her would do more harm than good.
    I have no idea what to do. What would you do?

A couple of hours later, it's all ended and Jamie and I are out of the restaurant. One of Kate's aunt managed to persuade her to go home, and luckily she obeyed.
    "We're not cheating," I say to Kate's mum. But she just looks at me like I'm scum and walks away. If looks could kill...

Monday 5 April 2010

Mr Right, but not right now!

We all get sick of the guy our age and go through a phase of preferring the older man. To me, this phase struck me at 18. I had just started university and being surrounded by childish boys that constantly let you down and had an obscure sense of humour, it was decided that the 'older guy' was definitely for me.

I bumped into Matt at a cafe (he let me go in front of him because he needed to answer his phone) and got talking. He seemed so genuine and 'wholesome' - like a good boy that you'd be proud to take home to your mum. He asked for my number and a couple of days later asked me out on a date.
    I was rather excited about this and ran to my flatmates like a giddy, little girl telling them that I had a 'grown-up' date. I honestly felt like I had aged a couple of years and the term 'teenager' no longer referred to me.

On the day of the date I made sure my dress and make-up combination shouted out 'sophistication' and even splashed out on a new pair of (expensive) shoes just so I could show this guy how mature I really was.
    We met up at a quiet bar. All the men were wearing suits, grumpily chatting to one another. In one corner two women with glossy, blonde hair stirred their martinis whilst gossiping, occasionally tapping their fingernails on the table to the soothing classical music.
    It was a strange feeling. As soon as I scanned my surrounding, I was sure that this was the place for me, and my stomach flipped with excitement.
    "Let me get you a drink. A gin and tonic?" Matt asked. Oh, I thought. I was thinking more a malibu and coke but perhaps that'll do. I had no idea what a G and T was. My alcohol habits only extended as far as JD and coke, and the occasional red wine.
    "Perfect," I smile at him and a couple of minutes later he returns with the drinks.  "So tell me about yourself," I ask, still so excited.
    He takes a sip of his drink and begins, "Well, I'm originally from Hertfordshire and moved to London to be closer to work. I'm in finance, by the way,"
    Lovely, I think.
    "Just bought my first house as well," his face beams with a smile as he says it. Immediately I think how stupid I've been for messing about with guys my age. Here's where the gold really is.  "It's just a bit empty. Need someone to fill it with," he continues, his smile slightly vanishing.
    I'm about to say that it all sounds lovely but he speaks before I get a chance, "Broke up with my girlfriend of seven years a couple of months ago,"
    ...7 years??? 7 years ago I was 11!
    "She said she wasn't ready for marriage and kids so we went our separate ways. His facial expressions almost convey grief.  "But," he beams up again, "It's time for change,"
    "Absolutely," I say.
    "I'm not exactly getting any younger," he says, "I'm 32 next month. How old are you?"
    Well, that's my first thought. After the slight shock I immediately want to know what moisturiser he uses. He does not look 32. 
    I look down at my drink to hide my expression and then realise that he asked me a question which needs answering.
    "I'm 24," I lie.
    Yes, I have just aged 6 years.
    He smiles at me and tries to hold my hand as if to say that he likes my answer.
    "So I suppose you'd want to settle down soon?" he guesses optimistically.
    Umm... what on earth is the right answer here???
    "Just taking things as they go. If the right guy comes along...well, you never know, do you?" I say and his face lights up even more.
    I want to go home. I actually want to go home.

Poor guy. He's clearly lovely and exactly what women are looking for. But perhaps not an eighteen year old's perfect man.
    He's now talking about his sister and how she's just starting out as a fashion designer but it's difficult because she had two children. He's now saying that he wants children.
    Oh gosh, what if he says, "Let's elope!" All these bizarre thoughts are stirring in my head, but I dismiss each one as they're obviously stupid.

After a couple of hours, we leave the bar and he drives me home.
    "I'll walk you to the door," he says.
    Oh dear, I think. That means I'm going to have to kiss him.
    We're now right by the door and he's looking at me with adoring eyes. Oh, if only I liked you!
    "I've had a great time tonight," he smiles and leans in. I have no idea what to do so I just let him kiss me.  It's rather awkward. I'm not doing much movement - just letting him do the work. He finally moves away and brushes my cheek with his hand.
    "See you soon, yeah?" he asks whilst walking away.
    "Definitely," I lie once more.

Friday 2 April 2010

The Fate of the Womaniser

    Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
    Let's update that saying.
    Hell hath no fury like a woman who had been stood up for the billionth time in a row, left out in the rain, hungry and cold. Oh, believe me when I say that when this happens, there will be trouble. An hour of waiting on your own turns you from a dolled-up girl quite content with the world, to a wet mess seeking revenge.

    Hugo and I had been dating for a few weeks. Firstly, I should have taken my friends' advice and not dated someone called 'Hugo', and secondly, I should have seen from the very beginning how unreliable he really was.
    Since the very first time he asked me out problems started. It was a very lovely April morning and we were both walking to our lectures. We had always been flirty with one another so it was no real surprise when he asked me out. I replied with a coy 'yes' and we continued the rest of the walk holding hands. It was a picturesque romantic moment. Here I was on this beautiful Spring morning, walking alongside a gorgeous guy. As far as I recall we were walking along a fresh meadow, flowers all around us, butterflies fluttering their wings and birds were holding a heart-shaped frame with their beaks. Ahhh, perfection.
    I was completely in my own little dream world, and the only thing that shook me out of it was a sudden drop of my hand. Hugo had let go of it and was now walking towards a girl he had spotted a few feet away.  
    I follow, feeling a bit nervous as they're looking rather close. I don't want to interrupt what appears to be a reunion.
    "Hi," I say as I get nearer and introduce myself to the girl.
    "I'm Linda," she replies.
    Hugo looks rather uneasy, "Yeah," he begins. "We were just walking to Uni. She's just helping me with some studies," he explains to Linda.
    Wait, what?
    "Oh, that's a shame. I'm just heading to Starbucks. Was hoping for some company," she smiles at him like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, shoving her chest right in his view and touching his arm.
    Oh per-lease!!! I know that trick, I thought.
    "Well, actually I don't really need to do any work today. That can always wait," and before I know it I'm holding the book Hugo needed to return to the library and am standing there like a complete loser waving them off. What just happened?? Did my (sort of) boyfriend just ditch me for some bimbo???
    A couple of hours later I get a text saying: 'Sorry babe. She looked down like she needed company'.
    Oh yeah, she looked completely devastated from where I was standing. Moron!

    I should have stopped it right there and then but Hugo seemed to have a supernatural apologising power and I always forgave him. I forgave him when he didn't turn up as my date to my friend's party, and I even forgave him when he left me outside a MacDonald's because he needed 'to help Hannah and Faye fix their shower'. There were countless occasions like this - we would be heading out and abruptly he'd have a change of mind because some damsel in distress needed his urgent DIY skills.

    "I'll make it up to you, I promise," he apologised for the thousands time. "Let me take you out tomorrow night to that restaurant you love," he smiled at me, put his arms around me and suddenly it was like I was a gullible fifteen year old, lapping up every word.
    "OK," I smiled.

    The next evening I was so excited. I spent ages choosing the right dress, perfecting my make-up and selecting the most seductive perfume.
    My shoes click-clacked across the pavement as I made my way to the restaurant. Hugo had called me and said he made a reservation under his surname, so I said the name to the waitress who scanned her black book.
    "I'm sorry. We don't have you listed," she shakes her head and looks at me with pitiful, green eyes.
    "But I'm pretty sure a reservation was made," I tell her, not ready to back down.
    She shrugs her shoulders and dismisses me. "You can sit and wait there for him," she says pointing to a row of velvety red seats.
    "I'll wait outside," and walk out annoyed. I dig out my phone from my bag and search it for Hugo's number. I expect him to pick up and tell me that he's running late and he'll meet me soon, but it just goes straight to voicemail. I'm about to give up and walk home until a text from him arrives and says '2 minutes. Sorry babe.'
    See, I told you he'll be here, I tell my brain.
    Little rain droplets have now emerged from the sky. It's OK. Just a little water. He'll be here any second and before I know it we'll be inside in the warmth eating lots of lovely food.

    It's an hour later and Hugo still hasn't turned up. I'm soaking wet. My bag is dripping more water out of it than the sky, and my perfect curls are now just wet strands that keep sticking to my cheeks.
    I am not amused!!!
    I grab my phone and leave an abusive message to Hugo, and once I've let out that little bit of steam, call my friend to pick me up.  She's not surprised in the slightest when I tell her what happened.
    "So why did you wait for him for so long?" she asks.
    "Because the twat kept sending me texts every fifteen minutes saying that he was almost there,"
    "Shall I drive you home?" Jo asks.
    "No, can you take me to his place, please," I ask whilst holding my bag in front of the car heaters.

    We pull up outside his flat. And there is Hugo, smoking a cigarette on the steps whilst talking to three girls.
    "Babe!" he shouts out with a smile on his face as he sees me. "I was just about to head off and meet you," he tries to kiss me but I push him off.
    "I've been waiting for an HOUR!!" I scream.
    He seemed puzzled, like he hadn't quite grasped what on earth I could be shouting about.
    "Just got sidetracked. You know how things are," he tried to explain.
    I'm in such a rage that I can barely speak. I ask him if we can go somewhere private and talk but he says no. I can't blame him for that - with the state I was in I would have probably murdered him.
    "You can't keep promising one thing and then doing another. You can't just leave me outside a restaurant on my own," I tell him but nothing is getting through. It doesn't matter how much I explain to him that he was in the wrong, he just didn't get it. At one point I got so infuriated with him acting laid-back about it that I whacked him on the arm with my bag. It didn't do much - just a load of water squelched out onto his shirt.
    This was clearly going nowhere. This guy did not care about me at all. He was too much of a womaniser to be a reliable boyfriend and I was the idiot for not seeing it sooner. Even now that he could see how upset I was, he refused to leave his three female companions.
    It was like a glass had smashed and woken me up from my dazed state. I could see him completely clearly now. All his faults weren't cute, but incredibly annoying. I needed to get back at him.
    "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU CHEATED ON ME WITH DAVID!" I shouted out in full volume so that everyone could hear. The three girls immediately moved away from him and everyone had turned and was looking at us. "I should have seen it coming all along. You two were always abnormally close!" I continued angrily and turned towards the car to leave. It was a completely cheap shot but sooo worth it. His reputation with women did suffer for the next two years of university.

    PS) Come to think of it, I never did take that library book back.
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