“I’ve kind of made things complicated, haven’t I, Tam? By not defining what staying single actually means?”
“I have! Because now it’s like open bloody season! And I don’t know where I stand anymore. With anybody! I know it sounds awful, but I’m getting flowers from people I don’t even know and the Paul Ashkuri incident still makes me cringe. What do you think, Tam? Do you think he really liked me for me or was I small cog in his huge wheel of male ego?”
The silence is deafening and for a split second I think she’s gone.
“Tam? You there?”
“Yeah,” and she sniffs, which turns into a sob and suddenly Tamsin is crying.
“Tam? What’s going on?”
“I can’t tell you, Soph. You’ll go bananas.”
“You can tell me anything. What is it?”
She wails and blurts, “It’sPeteHe’sMarriedAndILoveHimAndHisWifeIsPregnant!”
Great – all the time I’ve been banging the drum about the foibles of married men; my best friend is hooked up with one!
“I’ll be over straight after work!”
I hate this. I am so tired and confused! AJ is being strangely nice – which in itself is bizarre, and I have looked at my web page to see hundreds of messages – either from women championing my decision to stay single, or from men convinced that they can change my mind. This is ludicrous and I’m tired of the game-playing. On checking my work email I have a message from Geezer magazine and a message from Adrian Ford’s personal email account - talk about spoiled for choice. Trevor from Geezer was charming and called me cute but Ade is sexy and good-looking, kind and funny – I feel really comfortable with him. Let me see what they say:
RE: Interview and Guest Column with GEEZER magazine
Malone, Trevor <TMalone@geezermag.com>
To: Sophie Regan
Morning sexy – Hope you’re liking the flowers – nothing but the best for a cute chick like you. Loving your column and I’d like to invite you to write a guest column for Geezer next week. I’d appreciate an interview too – perhaps to run concurrently with your guest column – but have to insist that you let me take you to the most sexy Italian restaurant for dinner afterwards. Go on – you know you want to. Promise you’ll love it…
I’ve taken the liberty of booking the best table for the Saturday night – so how about we meet at around 5pm and then we can go on for dinner afterwards.
Can’t wait to see you.
Can’t stop thinking about you.
I have to give it to him – he’s cute and charming. The other email is from Adrian. I feel my stomach flip and a pulse in my neck as I open his mail:
RE: Dinner? Please?? Need to see you!
To: Sophie Regan
Sophie. Sorry to do this by email, but I have to see you. There are things I need to say to you and they can’t wait. I know that you’re busy – Paul Ashkuri eh? Wow – bet he’s mad about you already – although I bet you weren’t too impressed with the photographs in the national papers. You don’t deserve all this aggro. But I need to talk to you! Please will you meet me for dinner? How are you fixed for Saturday night? There’s a gig on in Lambeth – new band called Ben’s Brother – really good. Fancy coming? We could grab some pasta or tapas first maybe? Please let me know – would love to have some fun with you!
Anyway – waiting to hear your reply.
Wow – so now what! Looks like I have some decisions to make for Saturday night…
After work I head straight for Tamsin’s. As I approach her front door I take a last bite from my apple and chuck the core into a wheelie bin. I’m trying to decide what to say to her. She knows my lowly opinions of married guys who cheat and it’s going to be difficult to be compassionate and sympathetic to her. I truly believe that anybody who goes with a married person is equally as bad as the married one! But it’s Tamsin and she’s devastated, so I’m going to have to be nice about this.
I knock on her door, picking a small shard of apple from between my front teeth and jump when Rob opens the door.
“Oh, you’re here.”
“Yeah,” his face looks pained and as I step in over the doorstep I can already hear Tamsin wailing.
“Not good…” he whispers to me.
“Oh dear. What we gonna do?”
He shrugs and puts his hand on my shoulders, directing me toward Tam’s bedroom, stopping me before we get there.
“We’re gonna have to help pull her out of this, Sophie.”
“Of course we are!”
“No,” he whispers, “she’s really broken. We need to be here to support her. What you doing Saturday night? Thought maybe we could get out some funny DVDs and spend the evening here with her.”
3 dates for Saturday night.
And how do I choose?
The suave charmer who sends me flowers and calls me cute – the best table in the poshest restaurant?
The guy who I really fancy who wants to grab some tapas and see Ben’s Brother gig – (that’s the one I really really want to do)
Or rush to the aid of my best friend and her trusty brother in her time of need.
There really is no choice. One look at Tam’s huge swollen eyes and red face tells me that she really needs me right now….
Chapter Twenty Eight