Thursday 26 August 2010

The Bunny Boiler - Chapter 5

April is now officially closing its curtains and thankfully for me Kate has not reared her ugly head for a while. Don't get me wrong, she's still not subtle about how she feel about me and on occasions I would find myself cornered by her, or she would stare at me from across the cafeteria of the college with a look that says 'You better not turn your back.' But, no major scenarios had yet arisen and I was fully under the impression that she had well and truly let things go (well, as much as an insane person can let things go).

    "I'll pick you up at about half twelve and then we'll drive round to Becca's, OK?" Tia states as she starts to leave for her class.
    "Yeah, sure," I wave dismissively towards her, "That's fine," and make my way to English.
    Today is my friend Becca's birthday and since her parents have left the house in her ever so capable hands, she is hosting an all day BBQ. However, I have classes pretty much all day so the plan is to drop off the presents at lunchtime and then join the party properly at the end of the day.

    I'm late for English and stumble into the classroom knocking into everyone’s seats.
    "Sit down, please," comes the impatient voice of the teacher, and I do as I'm told. I struggle with the present, unsure as where I should leave it, so it just remains on my table, the purple bow occasionally blocking the board.
I look around the classroom to see that no one is paying any attention whatsoever to the teacher. Instead they're all looking at me - well, at the present actually. I move the colourful box around the table to see if their eyes will follow its trace - and they do.
    "Is it your birthday?" a whisper floats towards me from the row behind me.
    I turn to see Danielle (of Chapter 3 fame) smiling at me, motioning towards the present.
    "Umm, no," I reply, a little worried as to whether she has a motive or not. Afterall, her and Kate are quite good friends.
    "Oh," she says and attempts another smile. After a long pause, she whispers again, "What is it?"
    "A present," I say, a little impatiently, annoyed that I have to keep twisting my neck just to talk to her.
    I hear an "Oh," and then silence. I make a few more notes about the current book we're reading (Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf, if you were interested) and listen to the teacher once more, but my concentration is broken yet again by Danielle.
    "You're going to Becca's, aren't you?" she asks with a loud whisper, which once again makes everyone turn around and look at me.
    I nod quickly and turn back around mouthing 'sorry' to the teacher.
    How did she know that?
    "I might be going too," she states. I don't even bother to turn around. "So might Kate,"
    This time I do reply and spin myself so fast around the chair that I get dizzy. "WHAT?" I pretty much yell.
    "EXCUSE ME!" the teacher shouts. "Either be quiet, or leave," he bellows.
    I remain quiet. Although my thoughts are anything but.

    Tia is waiting by her car with Mikey when I finally make my way there and without a pause we make our way to Becca's house. We're only at the bottom of her road and already we can see just how busy her house is going to be. Her entire street is filled with parked cars (abandoned, badly parked cars).
    She opens the door without us knocking and shouts out our names in elation. Clearly she's had too much to drink.
    "Happy Birthday," we chorus when we see her, and throw the presents her way. She looks genuinely excited when she sees them but after two seconds of Oooing and Aaaing, they are thrown in a pile with the others, and most likely forgotten.
    "Everyone's in the back garden," she points towards the back of the house, "And some have decided to take the party to the roof," her perfectly manicured hand now points to the ceiling and she rolls her eyes. "My mum's going to kill them if they mess up the flower pots up there,"
    We chat in the kitchen with her for a while as she makes us drinks.
    "We can only stay for another forty-five minutes, then it's back to college, I'm afraid," Mikey states, but Becca just tutts.
    "Oh, please," she begins and hands me my drink. "Everyone's been saying the same thing but as of yet no one's left,"
    "And is Jamie coming?" she turns towards me.
    "He might tonight. He has an exam on Monday and he's getting a little worked up over it," I reply.
    Becca doesn't seem phased by it. She left school at 16 and has yet not looked back. And why should she? She’s already been on a gap year around East Asia, managed to get an internship with a finance company and is now enjoying being young.
    In a way, I envy her. It would be nice not to slave over studying and exams.
    It would be splendid in fact.
    "I don't miss all that," she says, pulling a rather dissatisfied face as she takes a gulp of her drink. "More vodka, methinks," and pours half a bottle into her plastic cup.

    We head out to the back garden which is filled with people chatting, drinking and fooling around. This is nothing but a teenage bash, not some classy cocktail party, and I don't think any of us would have it any other way.
    "I'm going to the roof," I announce. I look up at the cascade of people standing over the wall of it, armed with water balloons. "I'd rather be on their side," and run to the stairs.
    "Oh dear," Tia and Mikey say in unison and both of them are now behind me, following me to the roof. The garden lot are clearly oblivious to what's about to happen. Happily, they're drinking and laughing.
    And then war breaks out.
   The three of us sit down on the patio chairs scattered around on the roof, looking at the mass of people bombarding the garden lot.
    "This is nice," I say and laugh at the excited screams that are heard from below.
    "Are you going to help out?" one of the balloon throwers asks.
    "I think you've got this covered," I say. "We need to go soon anyway,"
    He just laughs and takes two more water balloons from the pile.
    And then a blood curdling scream is heard.
    The water balloon war abruptly comes to a close and everyone is staring down at the garden. We make our way to the edge of the wall as well to witness what's happened. But we fail to see anything immediately. A few seconds later, Kate emerges in view, soaked in water, holding her left hand to her face. She screams in anger again and then looks up.
    I should have probably ducked. But I didn't. Instead, I remained transfixed on the spot looking down at her and trying my hardest not to laugh.
    "You bitch!!!" she screams when she notices me. "I'm bleeding!"
    "It wasn't me," I yell back but Kate fails to listen. She's now marching up the outside stairs coming up to the roof.
    The crowd of people part like the Red Sea when they see her coming.
    "You threw that on purpose. Look at me. I'm bleeding," she says as she takes her hand on her face.
    She's not actually bleeding - just very red where the balloon hit her.
    "Kate! I haven't thrown a single balloon!" I stand my ground but there's no point to it. Even if she believes me she still likes to blame me, so she carries on.
    "I've been nothing but nice to you considering what you did," she spits.
    "Nice? You think you've been nice?" but she doesn't listen to me. She carries on ranting.
    "I'm telling Jamie about this," she screams.
    "Tell him. He wouldn't care," I shout back.
    "He'd care if you hit me,"
    "I didn't hit you. It was a water balloon which I didn't even throw,"
    "He's believe me," she says in all seriousness.
    "And there are about 100 witnesses that would say otherwise," I wave my hand towards the crowd who are now silent, apart from the occasional whisper. "I didn't throw it at you, so please stop wasting my time," I turn to go towards Mikey and Tia. But Kate is marching towards me. It suddenly dawns on me that I'm on a roof and I honestly wouldn't put it past her to throw me over. So I move away from the edge (better to be safe that sorry).
    "I really hate you," she screams like a little girl.
    "Yes. I've gathered," I turn my back and shake my head when I see Tia and Mikey.
    And she punches me on the back of my arm.
    So I kick her on the shin.
    After she's recovered from the pain she charges towards me and within seconds a proper catfight breaks out. I've got to give it to her - at least she's determined. She tries to throw a few more punches but the boys that are now restraining her don't allow it. We finally part, and while I just catch my breath, Kate is still screaming.
    "You're insane," I tell her. "Just look at how you react to things,"
    But she doesn't listen.
    "Just leave," Becca tells Kate as she comes by my side. "Stop turning up when you're not invited,"
    "I'm always invited," she bellows like a spoilt child as she rubs her leg. I smile when I see she's quite clearly in pain (childish, I know).
    But just when we think she's about to leave, my lunges herself at the bucket of water balloons are starts throwing them towards me, one by one. Most landing on either Becca or Mikey.
    Once she's truly vented her anger, she leaves trying her best to looks composed as she holds her forehead.
    Meanwhile, the three of us are left looking like drowned rats.

    Jamie's already in Biology class on his own when I finally arrive. He's sitting down on his usual desk reading a textbook, but his eyes shift up when he sees me. He smiles momentarily but it soon fades when he sees I'm absolutely soaked. It's then replaced by a laugh.
    "What happened?" he asks shutting his book.
    I say nothing. Just give him a stern look that says 'Do you really need to ask?'
    "You've got to stay out of her way," he says sympathetically.
    I want to yell at him. I want to scream and shout with anger because this time I truly did nothing. I didn't antagonise her - I tried my best to stay out of her way, but she chose to come and blame me anyway.
    "I did nothing," I say through gritted teeth.
    I like to think he believes me, but he doesn't say anything. Sometimes I wish he would get her tantrums the same way I do. Then he would really understand just how insane she is.
    "You should have changed your clothes," he tells me as he sees water beads dropping to the carpet.
    "Becca already gave me a jumper. I'm too skinny for the rest of her clothes," I sit down and wince at the squelching sound. I can feel that Jamie wants to laugh, but he holds it. Instead, he stands up and comes over to me, stroking my wet hair away from my face and swirling it behind my ear.
    "She's crazy!" I tell him. But he just nods and edges closer, a wicked grin appearing on his face. He leans down and kisses me on the cheek, the warmth of it making me forget the annoyance of the day.
    "Promise me you'll definitely stay out of her way,"
    I want to say yes. I really do, but instead I just look at him, my head unable to nod in agreement.
    "Promise," he insists.
    "Fine," I lie.

Monday 16 August 2010

Azure Like It

Three weeks into my university life, it was clear to me that I needed to get a job.  1) funds were slipping from my bank account ever so swiftly, 2) the entire flat was empty because all my flatmates worked, and 3) it was about bloody time I joined the rank of the employed. 
    So my first ever job was at a high-priced clothes shop for women where from 9am to 6pm I was surrounded my bitchy colleagues, bitchy customers, and to a certain degree, bitchy children of the bitchy customers.  My initial feeling of excitement and joyful anticipation for the job soon turned into desperate bitterness within 5 minutes of walking through those glass doors.  It's safe to assume that I hated the place - I hated my manager who followed orders from Headquarters so religiously she actually ended up marrying the merchandising administrator because Headquarters had told her to make him feel as comfortable as possible (as he was new).   What she did to him that afternoon we'll never know.  I hated the rest of the Saturday girls who used to throw difficult customers my way and then take credit for their purchases.  And I hated the customers, especially the ones with more money than sense who mere days later would come back and return their truckload of purchases because their "husband would kill them if he found out". 
    It was now March - an uncommonly sunny day which made my trek into work just that little bit more depressing.  But I staggered on and made my way up the cobbled street and knocked on the heavy glass doors for one of the girls to let me in. 
    "Hello," the manager beamed and welcomed me into the shop as if I was an important guest.  (I should stress that her and the merchandiser dude were seeing each other at this point). 
    I smile back at her, ask how she is, forget what she says, and then run to the staff room to put my bag down.  I rummage around for no reason trying to waste as much time as I possibly can, and then head back downstairs. 
    No one else has turned up yet, and it's just me and Mel (the manager) who has such a cheesy grin on her face I almost feel that I like her.  Almost. 
    "Oh, delivery came yesterday," Mel raises her head from the counter she is wiping.  After a few sprays of Dettol, she looks up at me.  "I think your first job for today will be to try and push some of the new items,"
    I look up at the ceiling and almost fall to my knees and thank God.  Deliveries of new items were the only thing that made the job bearable.  That, and the 75% discount. 
    5 minutes later, I'm following Mel up to the stock room where we both look at the rack of new dresses.  My heart smiles, and my curious fingers creep up to touch them. 
    This is like Christmas.
    This is better than Christmas. 
    I let my mind swirl and dance in the vision of the new apparel, but my singing state is brought back to Earth by Mel's voice.  I realise that I've only tuned in to half of the conversation and she's in fact been hammering on for a while.
    " I think you should try to push these two," her slender finger points to a row of heavenly blue dresses. 
    Easy, I think.
    Mel scans the sheet that's stuck to the front of the box the dresses came in.  "Right," she says once she spots something of importance.  "As you can see, they come in two colours.  Azure and blue.  We've had strict instructions to be quite pushy with selling these.  Apparently they haven't done too well,"
    There's that word again - push.
One by one I take the racks of dresses down to the shop floor and choose a suitable rail to place them, which later Mel urges me to change because according to Headquarters they will do better at the back.
    "Make sure we get at least three of those sold," Mel's words float in my direction as the first flock of customers enter the shop. 
    I decide to approach a young, blonde girl who seems to be looking frantically around taking everything in with her blue eyes as if she's desperately searching for something.  I deduce immediately that she must be about 16 and therefore in need of a ball dress.
    "May I help you?" I ask her with a big smile.
    She takes in a sigh of relief when she sees me and then as if I'm the doctor who will save her life she says, "You have to help me.  Big party happening tonight and I don't have a dress.  I've been looking everywhere but they either don't have the right size or the wrong colour," she looks around the store again.
    I nod in understanding and walk her over to the new section of dresses.  This is perfect, I think to myself. 
    "You'll be pleased to know we've just had new stock delivered," and run my hand through the blue dresses, "So no one else at the party will be wearing one of these,"
    The girls' eyes light up immediately and she picks up one of the dresses to measure up against herself.  "This is gorgeous," she says and angles herself towards the mirror. 
    "Yes, I'm quite in love with it too," I tell her.
    "What other colours do these come in?" she asks me not averting away from the mirror, widening her blue eyes to see if they would match with the dress.
    "Well," I begin, "we have them in blue,"I point to the one she's holding up, "and azure,"
    The girls looks at me confused and then to the rail.  "So, you only have blue?" she asks confused. 
    I protest this for a while (even though I know she's absolutely right).  The 'azure' is barely two shades lighter than the 'blue', and especially here in the dimly lit part of the shop, the colours are almost identical. 
    "You see azure is just that little bit brighter," I try to sell the dress but I can tell that the girl has had enough of it.
    "Perhaps I'll look around," she says and walks straight out of the shop. 
    I sigh in utter disappointment at having failed such a simple task.  What's worse is that Mel is scowling at me and shaking her head in anger.  Perhaps even merchandiser dude cannot tame that shrew. 

    A whole morning goes past with the same response from customers. 
    "But they're the same," they keep telling me, which is soon followed by a walk in the opposite direction.  No wonder all the other stores have had such difficulty selling these dresses.  I've seen people get confused by the word 'lilac', let alone 'azure'.  Especially when it's spoken in an English accent. 

    By mid afternoon, I want to scream.  I've already had a telling off from Mel who's decided to blame this whole debacle on me.  My lunch break has been pushed to 3 o' clock, and my shoes are well and truly digging into my skin.  I just want to go home and reclaim my Saturdays.  But as I'm standing on the shop floor carefully observing the customers, I notice a tall guy enter the store.  He's alarmingly good looking with chestnut drown hair which he keeps raking his fingers through, and a charismatic smile that made even Mel trip over a pair of Mary Jane's with were left haphazardly on the floor. 
    "I'm looking for a dress," he tells me as he's making his way over.
    His words don't register straight away and my brain's focus is concentrating on stopping my knees from buckling beneath me. 
    "It's for my brother's fiance.  She's had an accident involving a butter-cream cake.  Nothing to do with me," he puts his arms up in a surrendering manner and laughs at his words. 
    Meanwhile, I'm smiling like a loon.  It takes a while for reality to seep into my skin again, and once it does, all I manage is: "How do you feel about azure?"
    "Beg pardon?" he speaks, one eyebrow raised in a questioning manner.  "Azure?" he ponders at this for a while and then looks straight at me with those warm, brown eyes.  "If you tell me what that is I'm sure I'll love it,"
    I smile and walk over to the far end of the shop floor and pull one of the azure dresses from it's home.  "This," I say, "is azure,"
    He eyes the dress up and down and then looks back at me, "So it's blue," he states, which makes me chuckle.  It's cut short by a loud groan coming from Mel's direction. 
    "Actually, this is blue," I inform as I pick up Azure's sister.  I hold them next to each other but I can tell from this guy's blank expression that he cannot note the difference.
    "They're both blue," he confesses smiling at me.
    "Oh, all right.  Yes they are," I finally admit, "but there are slight differences,"  I take the dresses with me to the front of the store, fully aware that Mel's gaze is burning into me.  I hold the dresses up once more in the natural light and ask, "See?"
    This time I know he does see.  "Oh, yeah," he comes to realise.  "The azure glistens far more," and his mouth forms a cheeky smile.
    "You don't see, do you?" I say as if my entire life depends on this very moment - on him understanding me.
    "I do.  I really do.  And in fact, I'll take it.  The azure, that is.  Not the blue," he smiles as he says this, which in turn makes me smile. 
    "Wonderful," I say and mean it.  "If you'd like to follow me to the till-"
    "I'll run that through," Mel says as she claws the dress from my hands.  "If you'd like to follow me, Sir," she says through a faux benign smile.  "You," she looks over at me from her left shoulder, "are on front cover until close, so please go and stand by the door,"
    I obey, although not happily and make my way towards the glass doors, smiling at the approaching customers as they're coming and going. 
    "Thanks again," the guy's voice pierces my thoughts.
    "You're very welcome," I say and smile.
    "I'm Anthony, and I'd definitely like to see you again," he says with a confident air as he hands me over his card.  "Hope to hear from you soon," and with that, he's out of sight. 

    I stumble though the front door of my flat and am greeted by Jo, my housemate.
    "Ooooh, what did you buy?" she screams in excitement as she notices my carrier bag stuffed with pretty tissue paper. 
    I pull out a dress beneath the masses of unnecessary wrapping and sway it in front of her.
    "That's a gorgeous blue," she says as she launches her hands towards the dress.
    "It's actually azure," I say and smile at the recollection of the day, and know full well from her expression that she needs some convincing too. 

Thursday 12 August 2010

Vanity Fair

    "Did you see her?" Phillip exclaims as he eyes the backside of a passerby.  "She was completely checking me out," and with that he lets out a laugh.
    Now, I witnessed this 'checking out' and by no means were this girls' intentions anything more than a glance - a normal glance which happens when you walk past someone.  And yet Phillip is still glaring at her back as she strolls down the road away from him.  He helps himself to another chuckle and continues walking.  I say walking - it's more of a strut.  This man is Derek Zoolander.  There is no other character that can describe him better. 
    We've spent the last hour in a cafe.  It was my idea really as I hoped it would give me a chance to get to know him better, but in the entire hour I only managed to utter two words, 'Shut' and 'up' and both of these were muttered under my breath.  So after a while I gave up on trying to have a conversation and just let Zoolander, I mean Phillip, talk at me. 
    And now we're on our way to a fun fair, probably because Phillip wants to see just how better looking he is than everyone else there (Whilst at the cafe he said, "I am 80% more attractive than anyone else here!").  He's not even walking alongside me.  He's very selfishly taken the 'leader' position and I'm just trailing behind him like a little child. 
    Why why why am I here?  Why do I continue to torture myself with these awful human beings just to avoid that ever so tragic, "No, I won't go on a date with you,"
    But, I'm looking at this as a learning curve.  For example, Phillip has very kindly pointed out that I have an oily T-zone and drastic action must be taken against it.  He's even jotted down the name of the skincare brand I should be using.  See, it's not all bad...
    "Fancy going on the Dodgems?" I point out trying to inject some fun into this date.
Phillip ponders this for a while and then comes to a stiff conclusion, "No, it messes with my hair,"
    How?  You have used at least 3 cans of hairspray on it.  There's probably an O-Zone hole the size of France hovering above you!
    I look around desperately trying to find something that he might be able to enjoy.  I refrain from pointing out the House of Mirrors just in case he has a heart-attack when he faces himself looking short, fat and incredibly ugly.  Actually, on second thoughts...
    "What would you like to do?" I ask him.
    "Huh?  Oh.  Nothing really.  Just thought we could get some candy floss and sit around,"
    What a great idea, Phillip.  Sitting around will make the time go faster. 

    We've found a semi-quiet spot on the far end of the fun fair, and ten minutes into sitting with him I find this strange urge to throttle him.  He's been talking non stop without taking a breath and not once has he asked any questions about me.  I can now understand why at the age of twenty-four he has never had a serious relationship.  Clearly, the only person he has time for is himself. 
    "I was the champion at boxing at university," he continues. "But my coach forced me to stop because he thought that I was far too good looking,"
    I almost choke on the candy floss.  "Huh?" I question quizzically. 
    "Well, you know.  It would be horrible if someone were to hit me on my face and I had to walk around with one of those noses," he pulls an ugly face as he says it.
    "It would be absolutely tragic," I say clearly meaning it to be sarcastic.  But if he heard me, he gave no indication.  Instead he just continued to talk about himself. 
    "My last girlfriend was a Playmate," he spills out. 
    "OK," I say awkwardly.  How am I meant to respond??  "And how did you meet her?"
    Phillip faces me with excitement written all over his expression.  "Funny you should ask," he begins.  "One of my good friends is a photographer.  I went out partying with him and he introduced me to this gorgeous, little blonde.  Apparently, she took one look at me and asked my friend for my number,"
    He says this so casually.  This man does not own a single gram of modesty. 
    I'm stuck on what to say now.  He's rambled on about himself for such a long time now that I think even he is burnt out. 
    "Maybe we should take a walk along the river," I suggest, looking ahead at the sparkling water.  "It's really lovely now that the weather is warmer,"
    But Phillip just looks at me with a raised eyebrow.  "Really?" he says in a patronising tone.  "You think this is lovely?"  He points out at the stretch of the Thames that's in view.  Boats are trailing along, and on this side of the river bank people are out picnicking.  It's a romantic picture and if Phillip needs to question that, well he's just not human. 
    "I've been on the Nile," he begins.  "Now that was lovely,"
    My hand clenches into a fist and I swear to you, I'm seconds away from it meeting with his nose.  I've had enough of this.  Even I am not this patient. 
    "Phil, this has b-"
    "It's Phillip," he corrects me.
    "Phillip, this has been rather special, but I must head back home now,"
    "That's fine.  I've got to get ready for a private party anyway.  There are going to be so many hot girls there," he almost punches the air with his fist as he says it.
    "That's...great," I say and begin to edge myself away. 
    "Come and hug me then, darling," he orders with his arms open.
    I do as I'm instructed and make my way to him, my arms wrapping around his body.  He squeezes me so tight my feet leave the ground for a split second. 
    "Speak soon," I say to him with a little wave and walk away. 
3 months later I hear that Phillip has been banned from several gyms around London.  Apparently he was getting too 'touchy' when comparing abs...

Monday 9 August 2010

Love Drunk

I think I've been a bit unfair on my date stories. So far I have only told the tales of the bad dates where it has been down purely to the guy. But the truth is that us girls are sometimes at fault too, and believe me I have a few tales of my utter stupidity also.

It's been a dull day. Well, actually it's been a dull week. I'm still awaiting job interviews and am in the midst of application forms, but nothing has really occurred yet. My lazy Summer days are being spent parading up and down my local High Street hopping from cafe to cafe to swot up on marketing. But there's only so much of 'Marketing for Dummies' that a girl can read and once I've finished my 6th latte of that particular hour, I put my book down and gaze dreamily out of the window. I'm not too sure what exactly I'm thinking about, but the next thing I notice is a tall, handsome guy with piercing grey eyes and brown hair who was towering over me.
    "May I sit here?" he points at the comfy sofa opposite me. I feel guilty for taking up a table with 3 armchairs plus a sofa when I'm not expecting anyone.
    "Yes, of course," I reply, eyeing him up and down when he's not looking.
    He sits down, sipping at his coffee and reading The Times. I'm now pretending to read my book once again, but I'm paying no attention to it. Instead my eyes are transfixed on this beautiful man. I'm not being very subtle. Every time his eyes rise up and meet mine, I turn my head quickly the other way. Let's face it - it's pretty obvious.
    "Is something wrong?" he asks me, a gentle smile announcing itself.
    "Nothing at all. I'm just looking out of the window," I say defensively and glare out of the window behind him. The only thing of interest is a bald man dragging a disobedient dog.  He turns his head to be greeted with the man who is now shouting at the little Labrador. "Come on, Earnie," we hear, and immediately both burst into laughter.
    "I'm Tom," he says reaching out a tanned hand towards me. I smile sweetly and introduce myself. For the next hour we really get to know each other and already he's announced that he wants to see me again.
    "When?" I say, perhaps a little too eagerly.
    With a laugh Tom says, "Tonight?"
    "Tonight. Hmm, what am I doing tonight? ...tonight," I say as if I'm really thinking about it, trying desperately not to sound that interested. "I think I'm free tonight,"

I thank my lucky stars that my week has finally got interesting. Tom is perfect!! He's gorgeous, interesting, funny and incredibly smart, and for the rest of the day I'm completely buzzing and far too excited to see him again. I'm so excited in fact that I've forgotten to eat. Instead, the remainder of the day has been spent going into London and choosing the perfect outfit.

I've opted for a pale pink Topshop mini dress and am making my way to Giraffe, the restaurant that Tom and I agreed to meet at. He's already there, sitting on a table outside enjoying the setting sun that's dipping behind the buildings.
    "Hello," he stands up to greet me.
   "Hi. I hope you haven't been waiting long," I say and he immediately dismissed it with a 'not long' but looking at the almost empty pint of beer in front of him I can see he's been here a while.
    Am I late? I question myself as I look at my phone to check the time.
    "I thought that perhaps we could sit out here and have a few drinks first before dinner," he explains and sits back down ordering the waiter to bring a menu.
    I scan the cocktail menu once it's been handed to me and order a mojito. Tom begins to tell me more about himself and the conversation flows for about an hour. In this one hour I've ordered 5 cocktails, and now standing up to go inside for dinner I can already feel my tipsy head swooning and making everything just that little bit dizzy.
    The fact that I haven't eaten anything all day has not helped.
    "Can we get a bottle of wine as well," Tom calls out after the waiter who soon returns and tops my glass quite generously.
    Oh no.
    "So tell me something else about yourself," Tom starts.
    I think about this - probably a little longer than I should and begin to tell him my entire life story. It starts with my first memomy of putting on red lipstick all over my face when I was three, and ends with that funny squirrel I saw in London earlier that day.  My slurry words are already showing evidence that I have had more than enough alcohol.     
     "Are you alright?" he finally asks.
    "Yeah, perfectly happy, thanks," I say with a big smile, but Tom looks dubious. He's already began to edge the bottle of wine away from me.

Even with food inside me, my drunkenness does not seem to shy away anytime soon. In fact, it's probably been made worse with the occasional gulp of wine after each bite. Let's face it, I'm well and truly trolleyd.
    "Can I get you any desserts or coffee?" the friendly waiter asks after the meal. I'm about to shake my head (not exactly shake, more waddle it) but Tom speaks immediately.
    "Black coffee," he says looking at the waiter and then at me.
    Oh, come on. I'm not that I?
    The waiter places the black coffee in front of Tom, smiles and walks away. The coffee cup just stays there with no one touching it. I'm a little confused at this point - since this is meant for me should I reach over and take it?  Hmm, very puzzling. I'll wait a little and then decide.
    4 minutes later Tom is still talking, but the coffee has remained untouched. I should probably just reach out and take it. After all, he did order it to sober me up.
    "Excuse me," I say politely and move Tom's arms out of the way. Slowly, I drag the cup of coffee towards me and take a sip. The talking has now stopped and Tom is staring with a stern look as he watches me drink. "Yummy," I say aloud and beam another smile his way.
    But he doesn't smile back. He gets the attention of a nearby waitress and asks for the bill. In utter silence, he pays for the entire meal and we walk out.
    "How are you getting home?" he asks.
    "I'll walk," I reply, expecting him to offer a lift.
    "Ok, I'll call you," he calls out, now about 10 steps ahead of me, with heavy strides making his way to the distance.
    ...That coffee wasn't meant for me, was it?
    He never did call.

Friday 6 August 2010

The Bunny Boiler - Chapter 4

    "How sure are you this is her house?" Mikey whispers in my ear as the two of us are crawling along the front garden.
    "Absolutely certain, now be quiet," I tell him and edge forward a little.  To be honest with you, I'm not too sure what I'm supposed to be doing.  All I know is that last week one of my best friends had to get a pixie crop which really doesn't suit her because a certain someone decided to throw (a badly-aimed) bowl of hair removal cream.  And now I'm finding myself face down in her front garden, avoiding the flower beds so that I can get back at her.  The problem is that I'm not exactly sure how to do that.  It was a spur of the moment really.  Mikey reminded me of the incident and suddenly I flipped.  Next thing I know we're both here.  In broad daylight.  Not the best time to be sneaking about. 
    "We should really go," Mikey announces and tries to crawl the other way, but I grab his arm and stop him. 
    "No!  We're here now.  We might as well get on with it,"
    "Get on with what exactly?" he reminds me, but I ignore him.  I'm far too angry at the moment to think rationally.  I hear him mumbling something under his breath before he shuffles towards me.
    "You're insane," he hisses. 
    "Did you have to come with me?  No.  So shut it," I hiss back.  We both remain silent for a moment as I think of the next strategy.  But my brain fails me.  So we just lie there, on the damp grass like hungry snakes waiting for prey.
But it's not long until the cheerful chirping of the birds is drowned out by people talking.  Mikey and I exchange panicked glances.
    "Oh my gosh, they're coming out!" he whispers a shout.  "What the fuck are we going to do???"
    "I don't know," I tell him.  "I knew this was a bad idea," but Mikey just looks at me annoyed.  We both scramble to our feet and do a little 'panic' dance as we decide which way to go.
    "Through the back garden," Mikey pulls me, but I don't let him.
    "No, they'll see us there.  Let's just leave," and I drag him my way.  But it's too late.  We both hear the door creek open.
Please don't let it be the mother.  Please don't let it be the mother.
On the other side of it is a face I do not recognise.
    "Oh, hello," the face speaks.  "Can I help you?"
    "Hello," I begin awkwardly.  "Umm, is Kate there, please?"
    "She's just popped out.  Can I take a message at all?" the face carries on.  "I'm her sister,"  and a cheery smile is thrown our way.
    "Actually, you can," I think about this long and hard, and deep inside me I know this is going to be a bad idea, but I wanted revenge, and revenge I shall get.  "We want to be as discrete about this as possible.  We understand it's a very difficult time at the moment for your family," the words roll out.
Kate's sister just looks confused. 
    "But, we wanted to come here personally to have a sit down with Kate.  We can't imagine how scared she must be feeling,"
    "Scared about what?" Kate's sister edges forward intrigued. 
    "Oh, you don't know?" I say innocently.  I have no idea how but I can feel Mikey disapproving behind me.  "We're both nurses from the hospital.  Kate came to see us about a week ago.  Well, it turns out she's not only pregnant,"
   Kate's sisters' jaw drops ten inches.
    "she's also caught gonorrhea,"
And with that we leave.

I'm walking down the street with a smile of my face.
    "Proud of yourself?" Mikey asks once we're both out of sight.
    "You do realise that the only person Kate could have got pregnant with is Jamie.  And Jamie is now your boyfriend, so you've not only opened a can of worms for her, but also for him,"

    "You've done WHAT??" Jamie yells at me down the phone when I tell him. 
    "I'm sorry.  I panicked and just went with whatever was in my brain.  Somehow gonorrhea made its way there," I apologise.
    "Her parents are going to ring my parents!!" he suddenly sounds alarmed.
    "Of course they won't.  Kate will get back and set them straight," I try to reassure him.  "It was only meant to be a temporary solution until I think of something else-"
    "NO MORE!!" he shouts.
    "You've just put ideas in her head, babe," Jamie continues.
    "Oh, don't be silly.  Plus, it's been 4 months since you two broke up.  She should have a balloon belly by now," I continue.  You can see why I never did well in Biology at school. 

But Jamie was absolutely right.  Psycho Kate must be a real optimist deep down because she turned this situation to her favour.  She didn't deny the pregnancy to her family.  Instead she told them it was absolutely true, and lo and behold, later that evening Kate's parents made their way to Jamie's house.  I watched from Jamie's window as Kate trailed behind them, head down, playing the victim once again. 
    "Why is she here?" Kate points at me as we all sit down in the living room.
    "I may be your child's step-mother, Kate," I say in all seriousness.  Jamie holds a laugh which comes out as a snort.
    "She'll just upset my daughter again," Kate's mum pipes up.  "Is there any real reason for her to be here," Every one's looking at me now.
    "Oh, more than you know," Jamie whispers to himself.
    "Perhaps you should go home.  It might be upsetting for you," Helen, Jamie's mum tells me.
    "Oh stop it.  She's not actually pregnant," Jamie says with a smile.  "It's a long story which I'll explain later, but trust me, there's no way she's pregnant,"
    "Of course I'm pregnant Jamie!" Kate stands up and shouts.  "And it's your child,"
I try to stand up and shout back but Jamie pulls me down before I get the chance.
    "Well, we're going to need proof," Helen says.  This isn't taken kindly by Kate's parents.  "Sorry, dear," she continues, "but we haven't heard the nicest things about you.  And, well, you were rather extravagant when you and Jamie were together,"
At this moment I want to ask Jamie to marry me, just so his mother is my mother in law. 
    "And you're not exactly showing, are you," Helen says cautiously, desperate not to upset anyone. 
    "Well, she does have a small frame," Kate's mum jumps in to defend her daughter.  But I can tell that even she is beginning to doubt it. 
    "Even so, Carol.  She would definitely begin to show by now," The two women continue to argue it out. 
Jamie and I have been left out completely, so we just talk amongst ourselves, occasionally laughing in the midst of arguments that are being thrown around the room. 
    "Do you want to leave?" he asks me with a grin. 
    "But if I leave it looks like Kate has you all to herself," I say.
    "I'm coming with you, you muppet,"
We both stand up. 
    "Right, we're off.  As fun as this has been we can't really stick around.  Lots to do," Jamie announces to the entire room.  Everyone just stares at him as if he's insane.  "Oh, and Kate.  Please refrain from sleeping with anyone just to get pregnant.  You might actually get gonorrhea,"
    "My daughter would not do that!" Kate's dad snaps.
    "Oh, your daughter would," Jamie says as he grabs his jacket.
Meanwhile, Kate has finally figured it out.  "It was YOU!!" she screams my way.  "You're the one who came round and told my sister I was pregnant!!!"
I start to look a bit uncomfortable.  I'm about to say, 'You deserved it' but Jamie stops me once again.
    "Kate, you can play this out as long as you want.  We don't care anymore, OK?"
And with that we walk out.
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