Saturday, June 30, 2007

Chapter Fifty Two - The OhNo Moment!

If Rob can make me tingle just by walking beside me beneath an umbrella on a cold, wet night - just imagine what he could do to me if we were alone.... between some cool sheets... in a candle-lit room... our skin touching. Brrr... Just the thoughts of it send a shiver down my back. Suddenly the night seems colder and I find myself unable to hold back any longer as I slide my arm through his and enjoy the closeness. I’m skipping inside when he doesn’t pull away or stiffen up. I SO want to kiss him! I have to instigate conversation or I’ll be stopping and cupping his face in my hands and planting a soft, slow kiss right on those gorgeous lips.
“I thought it’d be nice to see Tamsin.”
“Yeah. Nice.”
“She’s all over the place at the moment. I’ve felt really strange since she started going out with Adrian.”
“Well, em, ha, em, you know. The way that it all started off and me and him kind of doing stuff together and then how it all went wrong and I realised how he was just using me for the Geezer bet. I felt like shit.”
“Yeah, he’s a lousy fucker. You didn’t deserve all that shit. But, you know Soph, there are nice guys out there. And all this ‘promise’ about staying single for the year? I think that you really have put yourself in the frame for a lot of it.”
I have to stop walking and look him in the eye. I can’t believe he thinks that I asked for all those married guys and unsuitable, useless male chauvinist pigs to mess me about!
“HOW have I?”
Typical guy, he shrugs when under the spotlight, “I dunno. I just think that you agreed to go out with anybody who asked you. You weren’t sure what you were looking for in a guy and so just went out with whoever liked you. I mean, where was your choice then? All this about CHOOSING to stay single. How about CHOOSING to only date decent guys!”
“Rob. You think I was desperate?”
“Yeah,” he shrugs again and pulls my arm tighter into his own as we continue to walk, “I sort of do think that. Anyway, bet you’ve learned a few lessons about yourself, haven’t you?”
I hadn’t thought of that, but he’s right.
I have learned many lessons.
And I’ve met enough men, had enough disastrous dates, and received too many hundreds of emails from men who want ‘true love’ to be able to know what I want.
And it’s standing right beside me.
Which, to be honest, terrifies the life out of me!!!

We continue to walk and I have to admit that I can’t really concentrate on what he’s telling me about his work. I feel all tingly and a little teary. The realisation that I have kept my emotions under lock and key for ages is a frightening one, especially when it’s suddenly crystal clear that I have serious feelings for Rob. Paul Ashkuri was fun, Adrian was an intense situation that I’m always going to remember - but I need to be mature enough to see that he ISN’T the type to commit to a relationship. Rob is everything I want, rolled into the one package. If only there wasn’t the huge question mark of Jennifer hanging over the situation. I’m desperate to know what he really thinks of her. It’s obvious that she’s making a play for him and I’d love to know what he thinks of her. She’s pretty great looking - with her fake tan and her fake teeth and her highlights and her great body. I mean what guy wouldn’t want to get her into bed? But how do I ever find out what he really thinks of her? If I ask then it looks as though I’m jealous of my own sister! It’s a strange situation and I just don’t know how to find out how he feels! I’ll have to think about it over the next few days and figure how I can throw her into the conversation really casually, without sounding as if I have an ulterior motive.
“Rob. Do you want sex with my sister?”
Fuck! Where did that come from? So much for being casual and calculated. I’m glad it’s dark. It means he can’t see me blushing furiously as he throws his head back and laughs.
“Your sister? You think I’m after Jennifer?”
OK. It’s embarrassing. He’s virtually hysterical.
I stop walking and look at him and realise that we’re near the end of Tamsin’s street.
“OK, Rob. I’ll go from here. Tam’s only around the corner.”
He continues to laugh. Irritating! Wiping his cheeks with the back of his hand he stops laughing and then looks at me again and begins to roar one more time! I cut in,
“Rob! I’ll catch up with you later in the week. I’m going to walk to Tam’s on my own from here. I’ll be fine. Your tube station is only down the road.”
He’s clutching the umbrella handle and I grab it, tugging it from his grasp. He holds onto it, refusing to let it go so I pull it hard and shake my head at him.
“Thanks Rob. Glad it was so funny.”
I feel humiliated and stupid as I turn and leave him standing in the rain, still giggling. The sounds of my boots, hollow on the silent street as they march through the puddles - the sounds of one pair of feet now more obvious, strangely. I hadn’t even noticed the sounds of us walking when we strolled together, but then again I was caught up in the whole tingly thing and probably just didn’t notice. I feel sick. And embarrassed and like I just blew it.
I DID sound jealous of Jennifer.
And now he probably thinks I have severely low self-esteem.
What a fool I am.

I’m so busy wallowing in self pity and self deprecation that I gasp with shock as somebody grabs me from behind, causing me to drop my umbrella as they grab my face and pull me tightly to them. I can’t even really see who it is, kissing me deeply and gently, soft and firm as they push their lips onto mine and gently bite my bottom lip as they lick my lips and push their tongue slowly and probing into my mouth.
But I don’t need to see.
I know it’s Rob.
I’m melting.
And I’m getting soaked to the skin...


It feels like hours, and yet only seconds, later when he stops kissing me and pushes his hands into my hair, holding my head steady as he looks straight into my eyes,
“Sophie Regan. No disrespects, but I wouldn’t fancy Jennifer if she was the last woman on earth. You, on the other hand, are amazing. You intrigue me, you inspire me, you turn me on and make me laugh. I want you. I want YOU.”
I’m gob smacked.
Before I can reply, he kisses me lightly on the nose and then on the lips as he says,
“You go on to see Tam. I’ll talk to you later.”
It’s hard to break away from his huge hug, but I do.
I turn and can see Tamsin’s house from here. It’s right at the other end of the street, but it’s within view.
“OK,” my voice is light and shaky, “talk later.”


Ade was freezing. He’d pulled the collar of his jacket right up around his ears but still the rain was seeming to find a way to trickle down his neck and back. He’d marched, head down for what seemed like ages, toward Tamsin’s house reciting what he was going to say to her. He hated hurting anybody’s feelings but this had to be done! He’d pounded the streets trying to filter out what he was, and wasn’t, going to pick out as the most fair points. Or should that be ‘excuses’. He’d already decided NOT to mention her scruffiness and domesticated laziness. It was obvious that she was on the rebound and he was going to pull on that, rather than admit that he’d only agreed to go out with her in the first place in the hope that she was a direct route to Sophie. As he turned the corner for Tam’s street he looked up and saw a woman walking towards him. There was something about the way she was walking that reminded him of Sophie. But then again, it was difficult to get her out of his head these days. He thought every woman he saw was Sophie, or LIKE Sophie, somehow. It was hard to see, and he knew it was a long-shot, but it really did look like Sophie. Her face was masked somewhat by an umbrella, but then again it wasn’t a complete long shot. She could be coming to see Tamsin too.
He perked up as he squinted in the driving rain to try and focus.
And yes.
His luck was in.
It WAS Sophie!


Rob was relieved that he’d finally plucked up the courage to kiss Sophie. He’d waited and danced around it for months, trying to respect her ‘promise’ to remain single. He’d witnessed her despair and confusion at the hundreds of offers of love and devotion that she’d received, he’d been her shoulder to cry on and had SO wanted to kiss her on numerous occasions when he’d been holding her as she’d rubbed her forehead and wondered what to do next.
And now, he’d done it.
And it felt damned good.

He’d stood and watched her walk towards Tamsin’s house, having no intention of walking away until he saw the light come from Tam’s open front door and Sophie disappearing through it. He’d noticed the man walking toward her, hunched in the rain, and thought nothing of it. And then he noticed the strange way that he was dipping his head as if he was trying to look at the woman who was masked beneath the umbrella. Something was a bit odd about him and then Rob felt sick as he watched the man block Sophie’s path and as if in slow motion, she raised her umbrella and stood talking to him. Rob side stepped off the kerb and stood behind a white van, hiding as he watched Sophie and this man, who he could only assume must be Adrian, as they talked for a while and then walked onwards, past Tamsin’s front door, until they both disappeared around the corner at the far end of Tamsin’s street.

Chapter Fifty One
Chapter Fifty Three

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Chapter Fifty One - The Bloke On The Arm Is Worth 2 Behind The Bushes??

Out damned spot, out I say!! Now I know what Will Shakespeare meant when he wrote that. I’ve got it fixated into my head that Jen is on a heat-seeking mission, with the bull's-eye tightly focussed down the front of Rob’s jeans! And I’m shocked and disgusted at myself to find that it really bothers me! The chilli chicken stir fry was to-die-for but I can’t bear the thoughts of spending the evening here. As cosy as I am, I’m simply not comfortable watching my sister flirt with a guy that, it seems, I really like! Stretching my fingers between the slats of the blind in the kitchen window I look out at the darkness, the thick raindrops clinging to the outsides of the glass. As grim as it is out there, at least I’ll be able to breathe. Which is more than I can do here. Sitting on the end of my bed I pull my black leather boots onto my socked feet, tucking my jeans into them snugly. As I stand and look in the mirror whilst I grab my black raincoat I realise that it gives off an almost Parisienne look!
How chic! And what a cheat! Hmmm, yes - all I need now is my umbrella and I’ll look just perfect for pounding the wet London streets.

Jen is sitting cross-legged on the floor, facing her laptop, or rather her webcam, and has her back to Rob. Regardless, she continues to talk to him, to talk AT him, regaling him with her boring stories about who she’s been talking to on webcam. A smile creeps onto my face as I notice that Rob is dozing off and I take great delight in speaking really loud and making them both jump,
“OK! I’m off out for a while.”
Jen doesn’t bother to look up, but Rob’s eyes pop open and he looks at me, imploringly,
“Where you going?”
“Oh,” I shrug, a feeble attempt at nonchalant, “dunno really. Couple of friends I need to call on.”
I notice him look me up and down, hopefully taking in the whole Parisienne babe look that I’m certain that I’ve mastered. He rubs his eyes, and pulls himself to sit upright in the armchair,
“Oh, well. I think I might go with you. I mean, I’ll walk with you. I should be cracking on home anyway.”
“OK, whatever you like.”
He gets to his feet, smoothing his t-shirt down over his torso with the flat of his hands and I can’t help but stare. Jen spins around to stare at us,
“You’re both going?”
“Looks like it!” I breeze, turning toward my front door and opening it. I hear Rob squeak, almost apologetically,
“Yeah, gotta go.”
She shouts at us as we close the front door behind us,
“Yeah! Don’t worry about me! Stuck here on my own! Thank god I’ve got my SECRET STASH UNDER THE BED! Some friends YOU are!”

My arm is twitching with desperation and desire to link into Rob’s as we
huddle beneath my brolly together and splash through the orange, oily puddles.

So I clutch the cold metal handle of the umbrella tightly with both hands, just to keep them under control.


Ade felt bad. But he’d made his decision and he had to break the news sooner rather than later. It wasn’t fair to keep it dragging on and with Christmas looming he knew that he had to bite the bullet now or wait for another 3 or 4 weeks! He’d been thrown a lifeline with the prospects of being the first Sophie Dilemma date and was already planning how to win Sophie over during the date. He had to give it his best shot and had every intention of making it all up to her. He’d decided that she was the one that he wanted and she was worth pulling out all the stops for. So he’d set himself the task of calling it off with Tam tonight. It was lousy that he’d only agreed to date Tamsin as a link to Sophie, but to publicly date Sophie at the same time, was pushing it - even by his standards.

The office was empty. It was a rare occasion that he was the last out, but he’d been working hard on his tactics to win Sophie - it was only a couple of weeks until the filmed ‘date’ and he wanted it to be perfect. The small clock at the bottom right-hand corner of his screen displayed 19.38 and he hit the ’shut down’ button and watched it disappear, along with his days work. Unhooking his Northern Rock jacket from the peg by the water cooler he slid his arms in and zipped up - it looked shit out there tonight and Tamsin’s house was a good 15 minutes away...

Chapter Fifty
Chapter Fifty Two

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chapter Fifty - The Ghosts of Christmas Farce

Relationship Rehab - week 33

OK, so what do Love Actually, Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Light of the Silvery Moon, Nigella Lawson and Anthea Turner all have in common? Apart from the fact that they’re all SO last year? They all nurture an unrealistic view of Christmas.

The harsh reality about Christmas is that it’s about kids and couples and a huge quest for retailers to suck as much from our credit cards in as short a time as possible! Forget the snowflakes and hot toddy, lose any dreams of log fires and sheepskin rugs! It’s all a farce! There’s no mention of the hundreds of pairs of socks that men get on 25th December, or the rows over the remote control and the hours spent standing, sweating, over an uncooked turkey the size of a 3-year old toddler! It’s just not worth it! And then there’s the songs - I’ll Have a Blue Christmas, Without You! It’s all for couples and I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be in L.A. At least Christmas with sunshine will be slightly easier to swallow.

With only a few months of Relationship Rehab to go I have to say that it’s been a tough year so far. I’d hoped that choosing to stay single would mean that I had loads of free time to be just ‘me’ - but the reverse has been true. As I’ve spent more time alone it’s given me lots of free time ... time for reflection, self-doubt and recrimination ... time to question why I serial-date losers and why, to quote the book, “If I’m so ‘wonderful, why am I still single?” It’s knocked some of the edges off of me, which probably isn’t a bad thing, and given me a slightly more realistic view of what a ‘good’ relationship means. But I’m still in no hurry to settle for a ‘better than nothing’ relationship.
So maybe this rehab is working....

I won’t wish you a Merry Christmas just yet - we have another 3 weekends of raucous office parties and drunk revellers to endure yet..


I’d promised myself a shopping trip after work but I’m just too tired. I know I’ll pick up something for Mum’s wedding in either Monsoon, Coast or Zara but, thanks to a spinach, pesto and pasta lunch I have an absurdly bloated stomach tonight. And no - it’s not because of something else! So I’m swerving the shops tonight and can’t wait to get home. It’s been a tough day and AJ was the most irritating women ever as she fussed and foosted about with the box of tired old Christmas decorations. She spent the afternoon draping worn tinsel over the guys computer screens and talked incessantly as she bent and shaped the wire branches of the ancient Christmas tree.

I think it was first bought when Woman To Woman opened - about 1968! I step out of work, in the dark again, to find that it’s cold and wet outside. Head down I brace myself, tightening the belt on my black raincoat, and make my way determinedly to the tube station. Can’t wait to get home and get out of these wet clothes. It feels like a night for pj’s and hot chocolate. Hmmmm..


I get home forty minutes later absolutely drenched. I’ve left my umbrella in my bottom drawer at work and the rain drops are dripping from my hair onto my cheeks and from the tip of my nose. Not a pretty sight. Forcing the key into the lock I stand on my door mat and peel my coat from me, only to hear Jen’s voice. It sounds as though she’s talking to herself, so when I check my reflection and see that my mascara has panda’d around my eyes and my hair is so wet it looks black, I make no effort to fix myself. She’s probably web-camming again. To be honest I’m a little concerned about her fixation with these dating sites and web cams. She doesn’t know I saw her, but when I got up late last night to go to the bathroom I noticed her, through the crack in her bedroom door, showing off on web cam. Showing off and showing all. She was cavorting on her bed wearing only a miniscule g-string and I was rooted to the spot, open-mouthed, as I watched her lift up her boobs and wiggle them to the camera with a giggle and pout. It’s like living with a recalcitrant teenager! So imagine how shocked I am to walk into my lounge and see her there - inappropriately dressed (I use the term loosely) in a pair of tiny shorts and vest. And Rob sitting in the armchair listening to her. I have to admit that I’m so shocked to see him here once again that I temporarily forget about my unfortunate appearance. I have to admit, he does look rather as though he’s losing the will to live. And I also have to admit that my groin kind of pings strangely as my tum flips - at the sight of his broad shoulders beneath his black t-shirt and his fabulous thighs, tight against the denim of his jeans.
“Sophie!” Jen jumps up as though I’d just broken in.
To my own home. She has the decency to blush a little.
“Look at the state of you, Soph! You’re dripping!”
It’s then I remember my wet hair, blackened eyes and streaked cheeks. Instinctively I bring my hands to my face and rub it,
“Oh, yeah. It’s hell out there tonight.”
Rob stands, unfolding himself before me and I feel myself slowly looking up into his rather handsome face. His voice is warm as he puts his hand on my shoulder and says,
“You go get showered and changed. I’ll make you something hot to eat.”
Obediently I trip along to my bedroom, sensing him go in the opposite direction to the kitchen.
And I can’t fail to notice the slight scowl on Jen’s face as she watches us both leave her to sit alone in the lounge.

I like having him here, but I‘m not sure about Jen‘s motives and I am a little rattled that he‘s here so much lately. He‘s my new best friend, not hers. And what is she up to, anyway? She looks ridiculous in the vest and shorts combo on such a dreadful day and she’s an unnatural shade of orange thanks to her sunbed addition. She’s a typical addict - replacing one addiction for another! I return to the lounge, feeling 100% better dressed in my jeans and black wrap top, my hair feels sleek and smooth after a wash and blow dry. I’ve already decided that I’m going to call around and see Tam tonight. I’m not too sure what Jen is up to, but if I give her enough rope, I’m sure she’ll tie herself up in knots... Rob has made me a sizzling chicken stir fry and it’s gorgeous. Jen has a bowl of it too, which she’s staring down her nose at - you can virtually see her computing calorific / fat / GI content. But I have to say that for her credit and debit approach to trying to stay young, I feel I need to point out to her that the organic blue berries and soya milk are not negating the effects of the sunbeds and cigarettes. Her skin is beginning to look dire - wrinkled and dry and parched.
Rob will never go for her!

Ohmigod - what made me say that???

Chapter Forty Nine
Chapter Fifty One

Where was I????

OK - If anyone can figure WHERE I was in Second Life, then I would be grateful!

I had intended to be giving a talk at a bookshop, but when i put in co-ordinates I found myself inside a series of funky pods - one of which was an erotic art gallery! Not quite what I'd expected.

Talk about rub it in!! Here I am - desperately trying to stay single, and where do I find myself? In an erotic art gallery. Some of the images were a little cringe-worthy, but not ALL of them.

Frustrating or what!!!

Sorry about the confusion - I'm going to have to try and figure where I went wrong...


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I'm giving a talk in Second Life - Wednesday 9pm GMT

I've been away from Second Life for a while - it was the singles holiday in Gran Canaria that started it off, and then since I've been back it's all been a rollercoaster of craziness - what with Ade and Rob and now the new Sophie Dilemma situation AND the impending Richard & Judy appearance!

I have met with the fabulous (and Queen of SL) Lythe Witte many times and if you want to get to know about the escapism of SL, then join us tomorrow at 9pm GMT.

I think we should try and meet up at the SL Bookstore, Keswick (co-ordinates 139, 70,35) - we can move on from there later if we feel like it!

Given my current situation, and how I'm supposed to be meeting up with surprise dates for Sophie Dilemma over this Christmas season, I was hoping to find a Christmassy venue in SL - but haven't managed to. So if anybody knows of any great places where we can host a Christmas Party in SL - please let us know!!! Either as comments here, or by email to

Please come along tomorrow - would be great to see you and I'll be answering questions about my experiences trying to stay single.. grrrr...


Pulling Power #19

These guys are STRAIGHT to the point!

Not for the easily offended....

Contact Pulling Power at

Monday, June 25, 2007

Chapter Forty Nine - A Hair Raising Point of View

I scurry out, brown paper bag clutched in my hand as I also balance a tray of 2 coffees and my handbag, and blast into reception, skidding and almost falling onto the wet tiles.
“Hey,” Ellie smiles, “mind the wet patch. The cleaner’s just been at it.”
“Ha, you don’t say! Here,” I rest down the coffees and fumble in the bag for her muffin, “I got you a soy chai and a skinny lemon.”
“Oh Soph,” she patted her non-existant tum, “I’m trying to lose a few pounds before Christmas.”
“You are? I should be! I’m off to L.A. in a couple of weeks for my Mum’s wedding.”
“That come around already? God, the year’s flown by hasn’t it?”
I clasp the hot cardboard mug and brown bag as I turn to go,
“You reckon? It’s felt like an eternity to me! What with this stupid staying single idea. And I’m not even near the end yet. Got about another 4 months to go after Christmas!”
“You’ve done really well though. Look at the newspaper and magazine and television coverage that you got. And you know what? It’s made lots of men and women question why they’re in unhappy relationships. You’ve become the Queen of the Singles!”
And I can’t help but think how strange it is that she says that, because right back at the beginning I’d coined myself with that title - and I’d meant it in a derogatory way! Which just goes to prove that everything is dependant upon point of view. Just like those excellent HSBC adverts - one person’s idea of ’information’ is another’s idea of ’invasion’, one idea of ‘perfect’ is another’s idea of ‘imperfect’.

But it's true - it is all
about point of view and I’ve decided in this split second that yes, I am the Queen of the Singles and simply because I am happy being just me! I’m going to go straight to my desk and write up this week’s Relationship Rehab with a revived verve and positive point of view!

By the time I’ve stopped off in the toilets to give my hair a quick brush through (hmmm, quite a few loose strands stuck in my comb I noticed - must Google that when AJ‘s not looking over my shoulder), and grabbed a plate for my muffin in the kitchen, I sit at my desk and turn on my computer only to look up and notice that Delaney’s office door is closed. I don’t think anything of it until I catch a glimpse of a rather broad back and a black shirt that makes me look twice. My blood runs cold as I narrow my eyes and try to focus through the half opened blinds. My god! It’s Ade! In Delaney’s office! What the fuck?
I can’t concentrate on my muffin at all now and I’ve just burned my tongue on my still steaming soy chai latte as I’m gulping and slurping, afraid to take my eyes off of him in her office. As I listen to AJ rattling away on her keyboard at her desk behind me I hear Delaney’s laugh. Flirty and loud. Shit. How do they know each other? A million thoughts rush through my mind randomly. Did she know about the set up with Trevor Malone and their bet? Was she in on it? I’m watching him - his shiny black shoes and trousers and striped shirt. My stomach is flipping. His shoulders, defined and strong, his great cute arse with the perfect curve. His strong jaw line, those toned thighs, the tummy-flipping sexy laugh.... I’m embarrassed to admit to you that I’m feeling a light stirring somewhere below my desk! All I want to do is to burst in there and kiss him! I’m desperate to know what they’re saying? Is she flirting with him? Shit, what do I do when they come out? How about if I just flirtily concentrate on my screen and play with my hair as if I’m in deep thought and haven‘t even noticed that he‘s in there. I‘m going to practise the look. If I rest my elbow on the desk - hide the muffin in my top drawer for now - and I will just do this.... I‘ll twirl my hair through my fingers lightly and then slowly pull a few strands down over my shoulder... Yes, that‘s it. And then I‘ll tease it into little light flicks that can just dangle over my right bosom. That‘ll do. So I‘m practising now and playing with my hair just ready for their appearance. And I look at my hand and, oh my god! It‘s coming out! My bloody hair is coming out in my hands! I now have wisps of long hair entwined around my fingers and stray hairs now dusted all down the front and shoulder of my black polo neck jumper! This is not a good look!
Ohmigod they’re coming!
And here I am picking the hairs from my clothes!!!


“So,” (Delaney is definitely flirting), “I’ve had a chat here with Adrian and I think it’s a great idea. A perfect idea. We can kick off the Sophie Dilemma series with you and Adrian on a perfect Christmas date. We’ll run the series for a few weeks and see what kind of response we’ll get, but Adrian,” she’s blushing as she nods towards him(!), “is right. It would be the icing on the cake for the most popular babe from Woman To Woman to be the one to make the naughtiest guy from Geezer to change his ways.”
I’m desperately trying not to curl my lip at Adrian. I look sideways at him and he’s giving me a really sexy, cheeky grin and shrugging his shoulders as if to say, “hey, sounds like a good idea to me.”
So what can I say?
Apart from..

It comes out rather as a choked burp, rather than that positivity I’d mentioned only a while ago.

I’m sure Ade’s trying not to laugh.
Delaney’s delighted.
I’m grief-striken!

Chapter Forty Eight
Chapter Fifty

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Chapter Forty Eight - Love Triangles Are SO Square!

I wish I could get this seasonal glow that everybody else seems to have right now, but it’s weird, knowing that I won’t actually be here for Christmas this year. Mum has changed venues for this wedding so many times that I’m still not 100% sure where it’s going to be. She started off by saying that it was in Los Angeles and over the course of the last six months it’s moved to a ranch in Texas, onto a boat somewhere off the Keys, a casino in Vegas and now we’re back to good old L.A once again. Wherever the wedding takes place it’s almost a dead cert that the weather will be better than English weather at Christmas. Forget the notion of thick snowflakes, we’re more likely to get rain and winds. It’s a little romantic, watching the red-cheeked shoppers bustling along Oxford Street, although I’m already sick of listening to all those damned Christmas songs that they drag out year after year. I feel so desperate for the shop assistants - they must be all Xmas’d-out by the time they lock up for 2 days at 5pm on 24th December. But I love London at Christmas time - the outdoor ice rinks, the Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square, the toy shops, the smell of hot chestnuts at every street corner. Makes me feel all tingly and childish and I love it. It would just be complete with that special guy to share it all with. Thankfully it won’t be an issue this year, as I’m jetting off to US with Jennifer in a couple of weeks time. Maybe it’ll make me enjoy next Christmas all the more? Maybe, by getting away from it all this year, I won’t feel so lonely at this ‘family’ time of year. Ironic, isn’t it!


Rob took a deep breath as he clicked the red button on his mobile to disconnect the call. His credit card was still in his hand as he went to the kitchen and poured himself a cold beer from the fridge. He’d taken the elk by the antlers now. He loved this time of year and knew, from the many late night chats with Sophie, that she did too. But was this going to be too much? Would she think he’d completely taken leave of his senses? It had started out with him wanting to ask her to go with him to see the tree going up in Trafalgar Square, and then he’d begun to stress over how to ask her. He didn’t want to sound like one of those corny chat up lines that she’d been receiving by the sackload. And so his imagination had started to work overtime and he’d really pulled all the stops out now. The truth for Rob was that he knew that he was in love with Sophie and he wanted her in his life for a long time. He’d never made any moves on her, but how he’d wanted to over the last few weeks. There’d been many an evening when he’d been laying on her sofa chatting to her as she’d been curled up in her armchair wearing her shorts and vest pyjama combo as she’d sat, completely free of make up and with her mussed up hair, and they’d talked for hours about their earliest memories, their favourite pet, how they felt about their parents or siblings and what their ultimate ambitions in life were. He had so wanted to sit up and lightly grasp her wrists and pull her across to him. He’d so wanted to lay her down beside him and cup her face and kiss her deep and slow on her pretty mouth. There’d been many nights when she’d called him after another horrendous date or a ‘situation’ with the paparazzi and he’d shot round to her place and had poured her some chilled pinot grigio and listened to her moan or cry or even shout about the stupid promise she’d made to stay single for a year. She’d looked fabulous some of these evenings - he’d particularly liked the black taffeta skirt and shiny black shoes that made her legs look overwhelmingly sexy. He’d been closely involved in her life for long enough now to have seen the ups and the downs of Sophie Regan, along with her quirks and her irritating habits - like relentlessly interrupting and talking in her sleep - to know that she was the woman that he wanted. He wanted her long term. And dare he even begin to think it, but for the first time in his life, he could see himself getting married at some stage far away in the future.

Lowering himself onto the kitchen chair slowly he drank from his pint glass, ignoring the frothy white moustache that the drink left over his top lip. He looked down at the brochure on the table and couldn’t quite believe that he’d just paid over £600 to hire the log cabin in Scotland for the long weekend. But he had. It was helped by the new contract that he’d just signed with a high-profile Tour Management and Personal Security company that were well reputed media favourites. They’d signed him exclusively to work with their fleet of prestige cars and it was guaranteed to be a nice and regular earner for him. Now all he had to do was to, somehow, persuade Sophie to go with him. He wanted to show her the whole cosy Christmas deal. It was bad enough that she was going away for the holiday season, but made it all a whole lot cheaper. The same log cabin over the Christmas weekend would have set him back over £2000. He wanted to snuggle up in front of the huge open fireplace and toast marshmallows and drink hot chocolate with her. He wanted the whole dream. He wanted her to go to her Mum’s wedding in America with him firmly planted in her mind and in her heart.


It’s a surprisingly bright morning for early December and I’m determined to get my head together in preparation for this wedding. Jen has promised me that she’ll stay with me until the wedding and then when we return to UK in early January, she’ll spend a couple of days getting her stuff together and book her flight back to Ireland. I’m rather miffed with the whole S.O.S call from her. She arrived looking great and has become rather a social butterfly since arriving here. I’m convinced she’s still partial to the odd ‘line’ most days a week, given her hyper personality coupled with the paranoia and moodiness, but I’m not her mother! She can do what she likes. I’m feeling so breezy this morning that I even feel brave enough to face Starbucks, brazen to the suggestion that Adrian might be in there. If there’s ever a morning I’m up for a Soy Chai Latte and Skinny Lemon Muffin, it’s today. And I’m even going to buy one for Ellie too. I’m still puzzling over Jen’s motives with Rob and as I stand in the short queue (no Ade, I checked!) I can’t shake off how I was shocked, the other day, to find Jen and Rob having a cosy heart-to-heart around my kitchen table. I felt a shocking twinge of jealousy and it was, well, shocking! I still can’t quite figure out whether it was jealousy because Rob was there for Jen (and I wanted him only to be there for me!), or jealousy that I think Jen is interested in him. I know that she only ever goes for men with money, but there’s no denying that Rob is charming and cute and rather sexy too.
Did I just say that?
He is?
Now, I’m more confused than ever!
Oh no. And here’s Adrian. I now have to stand in this queue with him behind me. Which means that he can check me out and I can’t do the same to him.
Although I have noticed that he has a drop-dead sexy black shirt on today which really makes his shoulders look defined and his chest rather broad.
Rob who.....

Chapter Forty Seven
Chapter Forty Nine

Friday, June 22, 2007

Chapter Forty Seven - Suddenly I See!

I’ve just realized that my best-friend (my long-term one, as opposed to my new one (i.e., Rob!)) is a serial girlfriend. When she was with Pete she displayed characteristics that made me suspect it, but after the conversation that we’ve just had on the phone I’ve decided that it’s a dead cert. The woman has drifted from Pete to Ade seamlessly. From what she’s saying it’s as if she hasn’t realized she’s with a different guy! OK, so she’s mentioned that Ade is far better endowed that Pete (I didn’t want to know that – for 2 reasons! One – I don’t even want to know about Pete’s wedding tackle and Two – the thoughts of her playing around with Ade make me green with envy!), and she’s commented on Pete being more emotionally mature than Ade – which is no surprise given that he’s about 15 years older! She’s talking to me as though she’s living a dream that she’s still with Pete and he’s left his wife. Listening to her mooning about moving in with Adrian and how he’s the only man that she wants to have sex with for the rest of her life is rather bizarre. They’ve only been together for a month. Talk about fast-tracking! I can just imagine Adrian cringing at all of this. And it’s obvious that she’s not telling me in a girlie-secret way - she’s quite open and honest about it all with Ade too. But maybe he isn’t cringing? Maybe he wants the long term deal?
Which is all rather hard to take on board.
Have you ever spoken to a friend and listened to her rant or coo over something, but you just know that they’ve got it all wrong? What do you do? Speak up and tell her and risk bursting her bubble, or simply nod and agree until the time is right for a cosy chat? It’s a taboo subject for me to discuss with her – the whole concept of ‘Adrian’. Then again, she didn’t hesitate to jump in there once she knew that I was well out of the way.
If I was with a new guy, ‘Adrian’, no! Just a new guy that I really liked then I’d want to be made to feel special – not even made to feel special, just to feel special naturally! I’d want some quality time for us to get to know each other – something more to build some special memories on rather than watching him on his laptop on a Saturday night or being complacent as he turns up in his shabby jogging bottoms night after night. There’s enough time for all that ten years down the line! I want to look forward to that excitement about meeting up, the flapping and fussing over how to make the effort to look dead sexy and to watch his face light up when he sees you. I want to see that lust in their eye, that wanting, greedy look as they look at you across the table. I want the frisson, the fun, the thrill of being in company or being in a sweaty, packed nightclub or pub and knowing that they just can’t wait to get you home and have you all to themselves. I’d be desperate for the excitement and turbulence – which would be the cause of hundreds of phone calls to my friends – as we’d ponder and over-analyse every move, every word as I’d try to dissect whether he’s as much into me as I’d be in to them….
And then it would find a calmer level as we’d move into that tranquil zone of the warm glow as we’d have the intrigue and interest that takes place over the following months as we’d have got all of that frantic sex down to a fine art and we’d begin to learn about who we are and about our lives and families.
Tamsin must be mad, fast-tracking through these potentially heady weeks. She’s Dr Who’ing by living in the future – but it’s a future that Ade isn’t ready to learn about. I’d estimate that she’s about 4 years ahead of herself and all she wants is for Ade to go to her place and to cook for him. She’s sloppy in her shorts and ‘homely’ t-shirts and vests and looks forward to snuggling up and watching DVD’s together. But you can’t do that every night!
Can you?
And I was seriously surprised at the aggravated tone in her voice when she told me that he’d refused her offer on Saturday night, to bring his laptop around to her place and for him to work on her new idea for his Geezer column, in front of the television. She’s trying to bury the Ade Gets Laid tag and is encouraging him to write a new one to replace it – Gimme The Pipe & Slippers! No, not really, but it might as well be. She wants him to approach his boss with a new column idea that embraces the notion that all a man really wants is Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen, Sienna Miller on his arm and Miss Whiplash in the bedroom!

Strange then, that she seems to have turned into Andy from Little Britain!


Ade sat at his desk, dreading the thoughts of the weekend. He used to love Fridays – a few beers at lunchtime with the lads and then a few more after work, followed by a curry somewhere unsavoury. He’d always made a point of cooking something really funky at some point over the weekend and often a mate or two would call over and they’d watch the footie together. During his Ade Gets Laid hey-day he’d be out on a Saturday night looking for his next conquest. A complete contrast to his life now! He’d have been more than happy to settle for something in between that lifestyle and this one. It had really gone from a Peter Stringfellow existence to a Jim Royle one. Tam was a nice girl. But a boring one. And where he’d initially thought that perhaps her coming onto him was a prelude to pave the way for Sophie, the trail hadn’t so much gone cold so much as frozen over entirely.
He had to say something to her, but he hated hurting people. It was obvious to him that he was simply a replacement for Pete and that she was space-hopping her way through this rebound.
He had to do it before Christmas.
It was a shit time to break up a relationship by any standards, so to have it out of the way before mid December was crucial.


It’s 16.39 on a Friday afternoon and I’m desperate to get out of here and go home. Jennifer has said that she’s working on late shift at Tanfastic – which is Fan-fucking-tastic! It means that she won’t be home till late. The shop closes at 10pm and then they’ll all go out in a little bevy of orange glow and with the scent of burning skin as they bundle into the nearest wine bar. I have an evening completely to myself. So why do I feel the urge to spend it with Rob? Am I being needy? That dreaded word! Maybe Rob has plans? I’ve been thinking lots this afternoon about the Adrian and Tam situation and it’s made me see that things aren’t as rosy as they seem. And that has made me wonder about lots of things. I suddenly have 20/20 vision and can see with immense clarity that I’ve been on a right downer for the last few weeks. I’ve been really selfish and it’s all been about ‘me’. I haven’t once really considered how things are for Ade. Maybe he was telling the truth when he relentlessly apologised for his lousy behaviour. Maybe Trevor Malone was a key player in setting up the hideous situation.
But it’s too late now. It would seem wrong for me to contact him and any comments I make to Tamsin suggesting that she cool off a little, would be seen as bitterness and envy.
So I’ll say nothing.
For now.

Chapter Forty Six
Chapter Forty Eight

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Chapter Forty Six - Sisters, Are Doing It For Themselves!

I’m traumatized after speaking to Darren and Ross. They were so bloody hip and cool and SO fanciable and made me seriously question my quest to stay single. I’m not in a good place right now, either. You know one of those days when you’re suddenly pissed off with how you look? And it seems to last for weeks? It’s as if, without realizing it, you’ve become bored with how you look. That same old face in the mirror every day, that same hair and same lipstick. Added to it is the fact that, despite physically being trimmer than I have been in years, I still continually have ‘fat’ days! I’m sure I’m suffering with the S.A.D’s. This ‘promise’ has forced me to look at myself too in a close-up, under-the-magnifying-glass way that screams ‘Mutiny’ – oh no, I mean ‘Scrutiny’ - it just feels as if I want to jump off of SS Sophie! It’s been heart-warming, receiving messages and emails from guys and I’ve realized how I’ve missed those innocuous comments that mean so much - the “are you OK?” and “how was your day?”
And it makes me rather shy and terrified to admit that I wait for Rob to call and ask me those very things. My day isn’t complete unless he’s called and asked me.
And he does.
He’s a gem.
He texts me in the morning to say:

Morning! Keep smiling & have a good 1 ;)

And then calls me every evening to ask if I’m alright and what my day was like.
He’s my rock.
My new-best-friend – but don’t tell Tamsin!
If only he had the charm and sex appeal of Ade, he’d be my perfect man….


As flippy as I am about Ross and Darren’s involvement in anything to do with my life (given their great looks, charm and highly-charged, positive energy) I am a little unsure about their Sophie Dilemma idea. I’ve been tossing it around in my head for the last couple of days and still can’t decide whether it’s a smart move or a shit one! They want me to go on some dates over the Christmas period and they want to film them and stream them live on the internet. They’re going to cut off the filming at a random moment during the date and then throw it out to the public for their idea as to what will happen next! Talk about lay yourself open for criticism! The idea behind it is to portray me as a woman who is subconsciously sabotaging my chances of love, and to involve the public by asking them where they think I’m going wrong! Why am I attracting married men? Why do I only get a few dates before I’m dumped? And why do I choose the wrong men?

Yes – horrific isn’t it?

As I’m being battered and shoved between commuters on my journey home, breathing in the spicy smells and bodily odours whilst sardined on the tube train, I decide that I need to talk this through with Rob. He’ll know whether it makes sense or not.
My very own TVR - The Voice of Reason.


“So Rob,” as Sophie closes her eyes just as the smelly short man bumps into her on the tube train, Jen is sidling up toward Rob across Sophie’s kitchen table. If you were shorter than about 100cm, then you would see her crossing her bare legs beneath the table and twisting her foot lightly around Rob’s ankle. If you were one of Sophie’s fridge magnets, especially the one that states “ I’m on a
30-day diet.
So far I’ve
lost 15 days”,

then you’d have direct sight of Jennifer’s face – overly tanned and forcing a pouted, coy expression as she tries the puppy-dog eyes and wet-lipped look. If you were the toaster, you’d see Rob. Looking panicked and slightly on edge about the lusty glint in Jennifer’s eye and slightly shell-shocked by the foot thing that’s going on under the table. He hates himself for it, but he jumps when he hears Sophie’s key in the door. Jen grabs his forearm and pulls him closer to the table. He stiffens up but it’s too late. She has him in her clutches and he knows that Sophie is staring at them with her mouth open.
He counts to seven, his own mouth stretched into a beaming grin, as they stare at each other. Seven, eight, nine - before she speaks. Her voice is light and breezy, strained and forced into a jovial swing as she drops her handbag onto the sofa,
“Heyyyy,” she sings, “what are you two talking about?”
He notices the flash across her face and wonder’s who she’s mad at - him or her sister. Jennifer replies first, pouting a sad face and speaking like somebody who coo-s and ahhh’s at a baby.
“Oh, well,” her bottom lip is in danger of doubling up as a frying pan if she pushes it out any further, “it’s just that I wanted to talk to somebody who would understand.”
“Oh yeah,” Sophie squeaked, pouring herself an orange juice from the fridge and keeping her back to them, “about what?”
“That gorgeous guy that I was talking to at work. I’m disgusted in him. Sophie?” she twisted in her seat and stretched her eyes wide - all for impact. “You won’t believe what he does for a living?”
Sophie turned and stared her in the eye. “What?”
“He’s only,” Jen began to whimper, straining her facial muscles until fake tears appeared in her eyes, “he’s only... a.... a..... drug dealer!”
Sophie threw back her head and laughed.
Rob wasn’t sure whether it was genuine or fake.
But he wasn’t about to find out. In his experience, when women laughed at something that clearly wasn’t funny - it meant only one thing.
They were either mad-in-the-head - as in bonkers, or they were mad as in furious!
He scraped back his chair on th e tiled floor, kissed Sophie on the cheek, touched Jen on the shoulder and made for the front door.


As he walked home he was annoyed at himself for letting Jennifer cajole him into going around for a chat. In all honesty he’d only agreed to it in the hope that Sophie would be there too. It was a perfect excuse to call in! And there was the added bonus that Sophie would think he was fantastic - being there to listen to her sister’s tales of woe. How wrong he’d been! Her sister was scary and nothing like his best-girl Sophie. He’d been plucking up the courage to ask her to go to see the Christmas lights being turned on at Regent’s Street next week. He knew she loved kiddy things like that and he’d heard that David Beckham was being rumoured to ‘press the button’. She’d joked many times about how he could press her button anytime, and so he’d thought it humorously apt.
The huge Christmas tree was going up in Trafalgar Square too and he wanted to make this Christmas the one that he finally spent with a woman that he had warm feelings for. But how to tell her? She’d spent the best part of the year confiding in him about how she thought all these men had ulterior motives, so how to make her trust him?
And what was he going to say to make her realise how much he liked her?
After hearing all the chat up lines that she’d been exposed to over the last few months, any line now sounded cheap and seedy.
But he had to act fast.
The Christmas lights weren’t going to wait for him.

Chapter Forty Five
Chapter Forty Seven

Pulling Power #18

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chapter Forty Five - My Cartoon Life

I should feel great, but I don’t. I feel depressed and grey. Kind of like the weather. I should wake up every morning like Jennifer does. She’s relentlessly straight into the shower, exfoliating her entire body in preparation for yet another 6 minutes under the sunbed and then in front of the mirror, perfecting her hair for the best part of half an hour with the straighteners. It isn’t helping that she’s got a part time job in the sunbed shop. It’s made her even more image conscious and it’s going to be tough, confronting her and telling her she’s starting to look like Donatella Versace, but it’s going to have to happen soon. Sadly, her presence is having a profoundly negative effect on me and I feel like I did when we were children – as if I’m constantly baulking in her shadow. And to think that she’d came here as a rescue mission! I’d forced myself to be so giving at a time when I really hadn’t wanted to, and now I feel worse than ever. I’m bored and pissed off, opening my front door every morning to charcoal clouds and then rain, which only frizzes my partly straightened hair anyway – so what IS the point? I feel as though I’m living two lives. The life I feel stuck in at the moment is the downtrodden and tired life where I want to move to the country – preferably somewhere hot and exotic like Western Australia – and be hopelessly in love with a macho sheep shearer where I could live comfortably in ripped jeans and white t-shirts. My figure would be fantastically toned due to the physical exertion of being a human sheep-dog and rounding up the sheep, coupled with a to-die-for tan. There’d be no need to choose to stay single or be bothered by men as my muscled hunk would completely love me for who I am and no other guy would dare approach me out of respect for him. And because they would know that our love was indestructible. But instead, I have this life. Schlepping to work, like a reprimanded teenager, every morning in the dark is no fun. I’ve given up trying to put on a plastic smile for the paparazzi and, probably because of this, they’ve become bored of me too. Ironically and bizarrely my quest to stay single has actually made me rather lonely! It’s made me realise that I have been lonely, all along. The insurgence of emails and bouquets was magnificent and overwhelming at first, but the gestures soon revealed themselves as shabby, flimsy bolstering of male ego. So I continue to trudge to Woman To Woman, slowly forcing my good old English ‘stiff-upper-lip’ as I prepare to laugh and charm my co-workers, the general public and the legions of media contacts that I now have as a result of this stupid idea. I trip off the train and march, head-down, along with the other suits as we scurry like robots and dissipate off to our office blocks. I feel like something from a Disney cartoon. We’d all be painted in greys and browns, our offices tall and imposing giants set against a backdrop of, hey, more grey! I’ dream of re-painting myself onto a scene where everybody has a vivid colour to depict a life outside of work. There’d be all the glorious gay guys flourishing in cerise pinks, the lesbian lovers reading magazines like Diva and checking funky sites like Biva as they hold hands and jump over those bizarre rainbows that lesbianism seems to be associated with. The children would be bright yellows and reds and blues and we would all smile as we breezed into work in technicolour. And of course, the sky would be permanently azure… OK, so that made the walk to work slightly more pleasant! Reality check kicks in immediately,
“Regan? Could you come straight in here please? Angela? Any chance of some coffees too? Oh, and could you ring and order some bagels please too, Angela?”
Dear God – why does Delaney do that? It’s the last thing I need – her rubbing AJ up the wrong way, and surely it could have waited until I’d taken off my coat? Time to shoe-horn on my smile and Miss-Happy-Go-Lucky-Personality. This is tedious!
I enter Delaney’s office and am shocked to see that there are two other people already in there. I smile, rabbit-in-the-headlights, at the two gorgeous men who both immediately stand and shake my hand firmly. Delaney chips in,
“Sophie? This is Darren Ellis and Ross Byrne. They’re from a media company and have a fabulous idea to work with us on Relationship Rehab. They’re setting up a website called Sophie Dilemma and they have some brilliant media ideas for us.”
Inwardly I’m groaning. Just when I thought I could hide under a rock for the duration of the winter months and let the days drift into months until this farce is all over! Now I have to change gear and rev myself up! Once again I paste on the cheeky grin,
“Oh, how interesting! OK,” I shuffle in my seat and blush. Darren is exceedingly handsome with his glistening blue eyes, shaved hair, perfect teeth and Ben Sherman shirt. How embarrassing! I can feel my neck and cheeks as they heat up and now even my eyes are hot! I bet he’s super-impressed with me! ‘Sophie Regan the legacy of independent women who choose to stay single!‘ What a joke. What a fool. Thankfully, Delaney breaks the silence but not before I notice her frowning slightly at me, a bemused ‘what the fuck’s going on with you? You’re like a beetroot!’ look sparking in her eyes.
“OK,guys. So tell Sophie what you’d like to do.” Before they can begin, she stands and opens her office door,
“Angela? Any word on those bagels?”
I turn to see AJ scowling as she looks up from her computer screen and half-mumbles,
“They’ll be here in 5 minutes.”
“Great!” Delaney sings and closes the door once again. “OK, Darren, you want to kick off?”
He looks at me and I feel a ping somewhere in my groin, as if my knicker-leg elastic has broken. Only I’m wearing my big knicks and know that the elastic is more than generous. The ping is purely down to Darren’s direct stare.
Just like when I used to look at Adrian.
Oh no, not again!
Jennifer adored living with Sophie again. It was just like when they were children, only better! Sophie was still the sensible one, tidying up as if it was her life’s work and being all domesticated and boring. But Jen figured that it was great - as long as Sophie insisted on keeping the house nice it simply gave her more time for herself. She was looking fantastic - better than she had done for years and she was convinced that this new lifestyle she’d conjured for herself was the complete raison d’etre. And talking of her linguistic skills, she’d met a gorgeous guy in the sunbed shop last week. He’d called in quickly between deals and she’d got chatting to him - after buying a few grams for herself. Sophie would go bonkers if she knew she was still sniffing the odd line here and there, but all the girls and the customers at TanFastic were all doing it, so she would look like a dried up old hag if she didn’t join in. Anyway, she knew instantly that he was not to be let walk out of her life. She’d got chatting to him and he’d asked her what her French was like. She bluffed and bullshitted and basically lied through her teeth as she’d inflated her basic ‘can I have a beer please’ and ‘do you speak English’ into a fluent bilingual talent. He’d gone on to rub his forehead as he’d told her that he’d been over in France to acquire some more ‘produce’ and had parked his car in a public car park only to return and find that somebody had hit it and caused over £12,000 of damage to his Range Rover Vogue V8. He’d laughed it off then, claiming that the money was a ‘drop in the ocean’, but on principle wanted to chase it with the insurance company. He’d parked beside the ticket machine and the surveillance cameras would have been directly aimed at his car too. Of course she hadn’t wanted to disappoint. She’d thought it slightly bizarre that a guy who had so much money around him was fretting over a paltry 12K, but it was evident that he was minted and if that meant that she had to pretend to speak French, then she was bloody well going to pretend she could!
She nodded and smiled at him, looking down at her gel nails which desperately needed filling in and decided at that moment that she was going to do whatever it took to get this man.

Chapter Forty Four
Chapter Forty Six

Monday, June 18, 2007

Chapter Forty Four - Full of IF's and BUTT's

The reality check of writing this week’s Relationship Rehab has shaken me. I’ve continued to read up on reasons WHY I’m choosing to stay single, mostly due to the fact that, in the light of Tamsin and Ade, I feel perpetually sick and disappointed. I found a website, which is stuffed with advice on how to stay single and be genuinely happy. It discusses how, rather to look for a soul mate, it’s more about having a healthy soul, to enjoy your relationship with yourself and to enjoy being with YOU. It suggests I should getting some good sleep, surround myself with a stable of close friends and to enjoy my work.
Not easy when my work IS all about an effort to try and enjoy my singleton life and ‘being happy’ in my skin. It would all be so much easier IF.
IF Ade wasn’t still dating Tamsin,
IF Jennifer wasn’t living with me and outrageously flirting with Rob every time he calls around,
IF Delaney wasn’t insisting on pushing me into the media spotlight,
IF my mother wasn’t getting married in a few weeks time,
IF I wasn’t suffering from Winter Blues
IF I wasn’t asking myself some serious questions about how I feel about Rob.


Jennifer had initially said that publicising my ‘inadequacy’ wouldn’t help me find a decent man. Well, perhaps she was right. It’s helped me to attract a legion of male admirers and more male attention than I could shake a bottle of Viagra at, but I’m not sure how many are DECENT men. I caught Jen playing with my laptop last night and she was so animated and excited by the emails and messages that I’ve been sent and she’s already signed up to MSN and is twitching at the webcam, just dying to kick off some interaction with these strangers. I couldn’t help but notice that she’d gone into the bedroom and re-emerged with a startling low-cut t-shirt and some rather hot-chick red lipstick. I pretended to ignore her as I stared at Big Brother, but I was really watching from the corner of my eye as I scrutinised her wiggling in her seat and pouting towards the web cam and she giggled and played with her hair.
Ridiculous as it sounds, I felt like a gooseberry, so I made my excuses and went to bed.
I can only begin to imagine what she got up to in front of the camera after I’d gone.
But I’m going to click the ‘History’ icon when I get in from work and have a look at her MSN ‘friends’ and then I’ll have an idea what she’s doing and with who. After all, I need to check that she’s signing in as her and not me!


It had been nearly a month since Ade began dating Tam and he still kicked himself for his lack of courage. He was lying in his bed waiting for her to return from the bathroom. She was in a sexy mood and he took a deep breath as he listened to her tinkering in the bathroom with her toothbrush and perfume. Despite the fact that he was feeling particularly horny he knew that didn’t want to BE with Tamsin. But he wasn’t really sure how to tell her. She was a nice girl and pretty good in bed - if a little shy and unadventurous - he’d much rather be with a woman who wasn’t afraid of her body. He felt like shit, knowing how lousy he was being by hanging her on a thread, but he tried to stay positive by continuing to live in the hope that he’d patch things up with Sophie and that everything would fall into place. In the meantime, he could feel Tamsin falling for him. She’d begun to whimper and whisper the ‘L’ word during sex and there was nothing LIKE that word to swiftly made Ade lose his erection. It was those times that he really had to imagine that he was with Sophie. That bought it back quickly enough. But he knew that IF Tam had any inkling that he still had lusty thoughts about Sophie, he’d be alone again. As the thoughts of that shocked him into reality, he heard Tamsin close the bathroom door and he turned his head to watch her. As the streetlight shone in through the landing window he felt a slight twinge beneath the covers as he looked at her firm and rounded butt. Now THAT coupled with thoughts of Sophie were a dead cert for a promising night....

Chapter Forty Three
Chapter Forty Five

Pulling Power #17

A word from our elders.

Who said that true love was dead?

Send your love stories to Pulling Power at

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Chapter Forty Three - Keeping The Faith

OK, so I’m struggling. It had all been such fun during the summer months. I’d swanned along to speed dating and Wine Not?, slightly nervous but carried along on the promise of a fun summer. I’d taken a glorious week in the intense singles heat in Gran Canaria and have had thousands of hits on my Woman To Woman website. But now things have become all rather grey and drab. I’ve won and lost Adrian to my best friend! And I an only be thrilled for them....(!) I’ve dated mega celebrity Paul Ashkuri only to find that I’d been made a fool out of, and have met and spoken to so many guys that I no longer really know WHAT I want! On top of this, Jennifer has arrived and is rapidly taking over my life - it’s like a strange osmosis, the way that she is slowly depleting my personality whilst gradually getting her life back on track. These November days are short and cold and I’m tired and bored of the rain. It seems that where I’m missing my summer wardrobe, feeling drab and boring in my winter clothes, somehow Jennifer is positively glowing! I know that her part time job in the sunbed job helps no end, but it’s the way that she’s embraced the whole autumn ‘look’ and looks fabulous in her tight jeans, knee high boots and huge chunky knits. If I ever wanted somebody to snuggle up to in these cold nights, it’s now. And I’m desperate for a special ‘friend’ to share my life with. In all honestly, if it wasn’t for Rob calling in and texting a few times a week, I don’t know what I’d do. Tam and Ade have been dating steadily for the last few weeks and it’s all rather painful. It’s a subject that Rob and I don’t discuss - and that ADDS to the discomfort of it all.
I’ve debated numerous times over the last few months whether staying ‘single’ means remaining celibate - would that one night stand with NO intention of a long term relationship qualify as staying single? I’ve also questioned whether I should be dating at all? But does one date mean I’m not single anymore? It’s a grey area and all rather confusing! It was an email that I received from ‘Christian Carter’ that got me thinking about how, ultimately, we all want to be with somebody. Nobody chooses to be lonely, and being ‘alone’ is entirely different from being lonely. So I get this email, ‘Finding Love Online’ and it made me think about the concept of Mr Right! I’m savvy enough to realise that there IS no Mr Right, and yet I’m hopelessly romantic enough too continue hoping that I’m wrong. So I’ve decided to go with the advice - I won’t be ordering the CD collection, but can see some sense in checking out where these ‘smart and successful’ men are. I’m going to dive right into my account and see whether I can make some genuine ‘friends’....

Delaney wants me to check out more stuff for dating scene and wants me to check out more millionaire dating sites! I‘ve had a reassuring trickle of ‘interest‘ from the guys on but none of them are what I‘d be looking for. I‘m not sure if it‘s the money, but there‘s an air of arrogance - guys saying how NOT to waste their time if you‘re not fun-loving/attractive/slim/open minded, because they‘re REALLY fussy. And it‘s all led me to remind myself about WHY I wanted to stay single in the first place. It’s especially difficult when you find yourself falling for somebody. It’s tough when you have that ‘special someone’ in your life who is there and then suddenly isn’t and then is, once again. It slightly pulls the rug from beneath your feet and so I decided that this weeks relationship rehab is in loving memory of why I began this crazy project ...

Relationship Rehab - week 29

November sucks. Short days and long nights coupled with empty beds and cold sheets is NOT what I’d signed up for. So here are my reminders WHY I wanted to stay single for a year...
- When you’re single you can do WHAT you want WHEN you want.
- You don’t have to think before you speak and don’t have to spend 65% of time doing what someone else wants.
- You CHOOSE to be single, which means deciding NOT to stay in watching Lost and wading through cookery books.
- You’re amongst a huge chunk of the London community -
apparently there are nearly 2,500,000 singletons in London alone! So, surely, it can’t be that bad.
- You are free to go out with your friends and go wild whenever you want to - or THEY want you to!
- Your mind is free and primed to concentrate on your career.
- It’s liberating to find people attractive without feeling the need to take it any further. It’s nice to remember that, just because THEY like YOU, it doesn’t mean that you have to reciprocate it. Deciding to remain single means accepting their kind words and attention as flattery but remembering that you don’t need to dive in!

I’ve also become an expert at escaping Quasimodo who invariably corners me in any nightclub that I find myself in. My avoidance/escape tactics now include,
- pretending that my mobile is ringing/vibrating,
- pretending to fall asleep,
- rushing to the toilet, only to return to the bar via the ‘scenic’ route,
- dancing really weird so that he’s freaked out,
- starting to talk about what ‘our house’ will be like in the future, preferably with a dreamy-like look in my eyes,
- be sick and feign drunkenness - preferably on his shoes!

Yes - I’m shoe-horning myself into being convinced that being single for a year WAS the best decision. And I’ve only got about 5 months left to go..... My biggest hurdle will be Christmas, slap-bang in middle of those 5 months. I’m already cringing at the prospects of the season of coupledom, Doris Day crooning in the snow, kisses under the mistletoe and George Michael twinkling Last Christmas. I always wanted to stay in that log cabin with all those gorgeous and fun-loving people from that video......

I can see that my resolve needs to remain strong!


I’m busy minding my own business at my desk when my fabulous assistant calls me over to look at some messages on-screen. On my account, a John Pamenter has sent me a friend request and he’s looking rather mysterious, what with his silhouette photo and severe lack of ‘profile’. With a url name of ’let me love you one more time’ I can deduct that he’s either a mega George Benson fan - or an egoistical gigolo...

I’ve been at my desk since 7.15am - it’s tough living with Jen again after so long - we haven’t lived under the same roof since we left home in our late teens and it’s worse now than ever. She’s even more untidy and lazy than ever and I‘m not convinced that she‘s not still indulging in the odd line of coke now and again too. I found a light dusting of powder on the kitchen worktop but she was aggrieved when I mentioned it to her - insisting that it was icing sugar from the pastries that Rob had bought around last night. She annoys me, the way she is with Rob. She is overly flirty and it’s all rather embarrassing. Mind you, she’s generally showing an all round unhealthy interest in my legion of ‘admirers‘, although, as far as I’m concerned, she’s welcome to them!

She’s already asked me whether she can stay until Christmas, with the plan to travel to Mum’s LA wedding together and promising that she’ll head back for Dublin straight away on our return. I’m just not sure. I’ve got a lot of thinking to do and I can’t help but feeling a little down and miserable. Nothing is right at the moment, and she just doesn’t help. Things have to get better. Don’t they?

Chapter Forty Two
Chapter Forty Four

Friday, June 15, 2007

Chapter Forty Two - The Vultures in Chicks Clothing

It was a slow-motion moment, as I stood with my mouth open as Tam told me about how she’d rang Adrian and asked him to go out for a drink (or something!) with her. I know that she’d seen the flash of irritation in my eyes as I’d stood and told her how pleased I was for her. She’d tried to grab my arm as I’d breezed past her and into the kitchen, but I’d swerved her grasp and flung open the fridge door, clutching at the chilled bottle of Soave and glugging straight from cool neck of the green glass. I can hear her shuffling and scratching her head at the doorway.
Keeping my back to the door, I wipe my mouth with the back of my hand and raise my voice,
“You might as well come in and say it. I know it’s killing you - wanting to apologise and wanting me to be pleased for you at the same time. I know you like him and I wish I could be happy for you. But I just can’t. You know how I feel about him and what an unscrupulous bastard he was to me. And his damned sidekick, Trevor Malone too! In all honesty I can’t even believe that you went behind my back like that. I mean, you’re my closest friend and...“
I’m cut short as Rob’s voice cuts in,
“Em, Sophie?“
I spin around to see him standing in the doorway, smiling awkwardly at me,
“Em, Soph. Your sister’s here.“ He whispers, an uncomfortable expression on his face. I frown and whisper at him,
“What’s wrong, Rob? Where is she?“
He shrugs and indicates toward my front door by flicking his right hand to his shoulder, “She’s at the front door. Bringing in her luggage.“
“Oh, OK.“ I put the half empty bottle of wine down on the worktop and then think twice about it. If Jen sees that there she’ll be drinking within minutes! As I open the fridge door again, the yellow light shines onto my face as I feel Rob’s warm hand in the small of my back.
“Sophie, when I say she’s bringing in her luggage, I really mean bringing in her luggage.“
I stand upright and frown at him again, pushing my hair back from my face as tendrils stick to my lips,
“What are you talking about Rob? What’s the problem?“
He tries to answer me but is drowned out by Jen’s shrill voice, shouting from the lounge,
“Hey, Sophie ya bitch? Your big sister’s here! Get the wine out of the fridge. I’ve only come from Ireland but feel like I’ve been travelling for the whole frigging day!“
I can tell that she’s already been drinking - probably since she arrived at Dublin airport in the early afternoon and Rob watches my shoulders sink. It’s then he holds me firmly and looks into my eyes,
“Sophie. She’s brought 3 enormous suitcases with her. How long is she staying, again?“
“Oh my god, you’re not serious?“
He smiles at me sympathetically and lifts my chin so that our mouths meet. Ready to lose myself in his kiss once again Jen appears at the kitchen doorway,
“Holy fuck tonight, Sophie! Thought you were meant to be staying single for a year?“
And as Rob and I grimace at her drunken words, she walks in and slaps Rob hard on the bum as she opens the fridge door,
“OK, so where’s the wine, then?“
And so this is what it’s going to be like with my sister staying. Ice breaker and ball breaker wrapped into one, is our Jennifer.
And by the way she’s giving Rob the eye, I can tell that I’m going to have to be extra firm with her.
For once in our lives.


AJ was hunched over her laptop as she sat, cross legged on her bed. She’d been stuck in that same position for hours, but was still glued to the newspaper archives and the genealogy sites that she’d subscribed to. She was determined to dig out the Ben Scott story. She’d hoped that Trevor Malone was going to do that, but he was obviously not up to it! It pissed her off that she had to do everything herself. The silence in her flat was becoming deafening and she wished that her mobile would ring - or even bleep once in a while. She found it slightly embarrassing - her severe lack of friends, but continued to hide behind her steely facade that she was a one-man-band and needed nobody to enrich her life. She’d been fixated in the same akimbo pose for hours and was surprised to see that it was approaching 3am. The small clock counter that timed her online usage flashed discreetly that she’d been connected for what was approaching 8 hours. Her shoulders were beginning to ache and her hips felt stiff from a perpetual cross-legged pose. But it was all going to be so worthwhile. She already had lots of what she needed, but was extremely excited and driven by the prospect of what she was going to do when Sophie appeared on her next prime time television slot. The Richard & Judy show was a massive cult following for Channel 4 and AJ have every intention of making as much a monkey out of Sophie as possible. She wanted to humiliate her as publicly and as harshly as was possible, and she’d heard Delaney harking on about the Richard & Judy show once again, so knew that it wouldn’t be too long to wait.

It was all going to be so worthwhile.....

Chapter Forty One
Chapter Forty Three

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Chapter Forty One - Cake & Eat It Syndrome

It’s been 3 days since Rob kissed me - as snotty and slippery as I was! And he’s still here... Yes, he hasn’t gone home yet and I’m in heaven. As for what lies beneath the overalls? Trust me - you wouldn’t be disappointed. The sexual chemistry between us is overwhelming - just listening to him telling me what he’s going to do with me causes a pulse to beat somewhere in my head, which makes me feel dizzy. But there’s more to it than simply sex. We’ve sat up for hours talking and we’ve had to drag ourselves out to work every morning. It’s as if we’ve known each other forever and I can honestly say that I’m struggling to remember what life was like before I ‘knew’ Rob. He said he’s liked me for ages and was gutted when I revealed my public vow to stay single. Apparently Tamsin has been telling him about the insurgence of bouquets that arrive at work every week and how I’m not on first name terms with the porters at the hospitals simply through donating my flowers there. Rob said that he’d made a decision to come and reveal his feelings for me, for fear that some ‘hunk’ would come and sweep me off my feet. My arms are polka dot blue from where I’m still continually pinching myself to believe this and there’s only one blot on the horizon. Jennifer is due to arrive later today, typically in time to come and burst my bubble of romance. Tam’s calling in shortly too. She knows about Rob and I already. We’d tried to keep it quiet for a while - so we could have it just for ‘us’, but she’d known something was up when she called around yesterday after work and picked up on the body language between her brother and me. She’d squealed, delighted that her brother and her best friend were getting together and she’d hugged us both and said,
“It’s great! My two favourite people, together at last.”
But I’d been a little unsure about things when Rob had shrugged and said,
“Don’t rush things Tam.” There was something about the tone of his voice that made me feel weird.
Tamsin had news. It was obvious, the way she was shuffling excitedly from foot to foot and scratching her head (a dead giveaway that Tam had something to say...)
“There’s something I’ve got to tell you,” she finally spouted when Rob had gone into the kitchen to open a bottle of red.
“OK, tell me then,” I’d smiled, an air of serenity and contentment about me, which only came from a marathon sex session with somebody who is bonkers about you. I’d slid off my flip flops and was tucking my feet under the cushion on the sofa when she’d said,
“I’ve finished with Pete.”
“Well thank goodness for that! At last! Married men are a complete waste of time on the dating stakes, Tam. All you’re doing by dating them is stroking their egos and belittling yourself.”
“OK!” she’d rolled her eyes, “no lecture, please! I know I’m naive, Soph, but I’d really believed him when he said that he wasn’t sleeping with his wife anymore. But her pregnancy bombshell soon shed a harsh light of reality on that! And once that trust had gone, nothing would bring it back.”
“Trust?” I knew I was raising my voice, but simply couldn’t help myself, “How could you ever have trusted a man who had so few morals he was continually lying to his family?”
“OK, OK. It’s over now, anyway. But I’ve met someone else.”
“What? Already?”
I noticed her blush and fidget in the leather armchair as she scratched at the side of her head ferociously. “Yeah, well, sort of. I already knew him, so technically, haven’t just ‘met’ him.”
“Really?” I sit upright and hug my knees, intrigued at this new man. I’m a sucker for a bit of romance and delighted that Tamsin has made a move away from Pete, finally! Whoever he is, it’ll be an improvement on Pete.
“Go on, then,” I urged her, “tell me. Do I know him?”
“I do? Excellent! Who is he?”
“Well,” she was shifting in her seat and playing with her fingers as she replied, “I met him with you. You see Sophie, I decided to be positive. I was all empowered after telling Pete it was over. I’d really wanted to just text it to him, but decided that I’d face up to it. That texting is lousy, isn’t it? Anyway, em, I knew him before this. So I wanted to make a move on someone who’d be good for me. And I think this guy will be. But Sophie. I don’t think you’re going to be too pleased with me.”
I stood up at this point, feeling slightly on edge at her long speeches and the way she was dancing around telling me. My fears and anxieties were confirmed when she blushed and couldn’t help herself from grinning as I watched her struggle to keep the guilt from her eyes as she said,
“Ade Ford. I rang him at Geezer this afternoon and asked him out.”


Adrian didn’t feel great about himself and it wasn’t improving. It was becoming increasingly difficult to look at himself in the mirror lately - he’d been despising himself anyway about the shallow Ade Gets Laid column, which then escalated after he’d conned Sophie. He’d came to the conclusion last night that he was going to leave her alone now. His weeks of apologies were remaining to be unacknowledged and he’d listened when Trevor had suggested, in a mocking, laughing way, that Ade was making it worse by hassling her. He’d been completely shocked but flattered this afternoon when Sophie’s friend Tamsin had called him at work and had asked him to go out with her for a few drinks. He had to admit that he was certain that there was more to this than met the eye, and suspected that it was possible that this was a move instigated by the strong-willed and stubborn Sophie. But Ade would do anything to get closer to Sophie again, and if that meant playing along with Tamsin’s little game - then he’d do it.
Again and again and again.


OK, this is humiliating. I shouldn’t be aggravated. But I am! I’ve spent the last 3 days with Rob and he’s been seeing his way to slowly bonking any memory of Adrian Ford from my body and then Tam goes and does something like this! It’s too much to bear and I wish that she could have orchestrated something to help me get Ade back on track again, but no, this is all about her! I know that he kept apologising, but I can’t face up to seeing him again. I know too, that I should be pleased for Tamsin, but I can’t be. If I couldn’t have him, then I certainly didn’t want him dating my best friend. I know that Rob caught a glimpse of my broken expression just as Tamsin told me who her new man was. Rob was just coasting round the corner as he came from the kitchen with our wine glasses and I know he clocked my change of expression - poor devil. His kisses and love making are so special and tender and I have to admit he’s completely fabulous in the sack. I should be delighted but Tamsin’s news has shattered it all.

Chapter Forty
Chapter Forty Two