Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Chapter Fifty Four - I'll Have A Blue Christmas Without You

Rob had the radio turned up full blast, but wasn’t really listening to the deluge of Christmas tunes that were ricocheting around the walls of his garage. His hands were black with grease and he stood beneath a car with the spotlight, focussing on the underside, spanner in his hand. He wasn’t concentrating. He couldn’t. He was annoyed at himself for trusting Sophie so quickly. He’d gone from worrying that he was dragging his feet with her - which had led him to book the log cabin in Inverness-shire as a romantic surprise for the two of them. And now, he felt that he’d rushed in too quickly. If only he’d waited a few more months until the year was up, then he could have stood back and watched how things panned out for her, and what decisions she’d make. But as things stood he’d forked out over £300 for a long weekend for 2, somewhere that was a nine hour drive away! And then there was how to tell Tamsin too! Or SHOULD he tell her? How could he break the news that her best friend was seeing her boyfriend behind her back? Talk about a double betrayal! His mobile vibrated in his pocket and he pulled it out, knowing it was Tamsin again. She’d already rung him a few times this morning, but he didn’t have the words for her. She’d probably be all bright and breezy and he was going to find it hard to sound chipper. He frowned and looked down at her name, flashing in lights in his hand and decided to answer it. He pressed the button with the green phone on it,
“Hey, babe. How ya doing today?”
He was shocked to hear her crying.
“I’m not. Doing. Today. I HATE today.”
“Tam? What is it? You at work?”
“No! I didn’t go in. I couldn’t. Not after last night.”
His stomach churned as he climbed out from beneath the car, clambering up the steps leading from the pit.
“What?” his voice was measured and amazingly calm, “What happened last night?”
He heard his sister sniff as her voice cracked,
“Ade. He dumped me.”
“Jesus! He what? Did he say why?”
“No!” she shouted at him, “He didn’t say why at all! He just called around about an hour later than we’d planned, soaking wet smelling of beer and said that we needed to call it a day. I mean Rob, what kind of an excuse is that?”
Rob was furious. This news reinforced what he’d suspected - that Sophie and Ade were back together and were shuffling about, trying to keep it all a sordid secret. He’d been foolish enough to think that Sophie couldn’t be that callous, but he’d clearly been wrong. It severely jarred his ability to character-judge people now. He’d thought that he knew Sophie really well and look what happened! Talk about getting burned!
“Tam,” he tried to remain calm, for her sake, “listen, Ade was never right for you. He’s a playboy and you deserve better. I know you don’t wanna hear this right now, but he’s not worth it. Listen babe, I’ve got something for you. I’ll call over after work and see you. Did you get any sleep last night?”
“No,” she sniffed, “hardly any. It’s just too much, so soon after Pete.”
“I know. That’s why people try to avoid rebound dating. It’s all too painful too quick. Try and get some sleep this afternoon. I’ll be round after 6.”
“OK, thanks Rob. You’re the best.”
“No prob sis. Get some rest.”

He sat down on his rickety ex-office chair and stared at his open diary. He’d written
tell Sophie about log cabin
in red pen and had circled it. The writing had an air of flamboyance and promise to it, with it’s rounded shapes and swirls. He’d been so excited at finding the romantic 2-berth log cabin in Scotland and he’d booked it immediately. He’d been even more excited at telling Sophie about how he’d planned to take her away for a few days. It all had seemed so much more precious, after their kiss last night. But how short-lived THAT high had been!
And then he knew what to do. He would give Tamsin the short break in Scotland and suggest that she spends a long weekend alone. It would do her good to go and relax and to think about what SHE wants out of life, rather than seamlessly dating the wrong men. There was the added bonus that she’d mention to Sophie how he’d given her the opportunity for the log cabin break and that might get her thinking too... He wasn’t going to reveal what he’d seen last night. It wasn’t fair on Tamsin - but he had every intention of telling Sophie how disgusted he was in her.

*

I check my calendar in Outlook as I begin to check my emails. Loads from Delaney and a few from Ross and Darren too. Yuk. Hmmm, 7th December today and only 17 days to go until the dreaded wedding.Yet, this morning everything seems lighter - as if a huge burden of doubt has been lifted. I know that it’s all down to the kiss with Rob. He’s gorgeous and I never dreamed that we’d be a couple. Well, OK, I had DREAMED about it, but didn’t actually think that we’d get it together. I’d been convinced that he was hanging around to get closer to Jennifer and I was blown away last night when he kissed me. It was electric and my skin was tingling all over simply through the lip contact. To be honest I felt absolutely nothing when Ade stepped out in front of me, and I was still buzzing about Rob an hour later - when I sat in the pub with Ade. I’d nursed a WKD and listened to his flimsy story about Trevor Malone and the ego of the men working at Geezer. He’d said many things about thinking I was great, and funny and smart; sassy and sexy and honest and gorgeous. Things that might have got me naked within seconds, only a few months ago. But now I have Rob, the Ade bubble has burst and he’s just a good-looking but shallow guy. Simple as that. I have no interest in him. I was secretly chuffed that I got it right about his feelings for Tamsin. He was bored of the cosy domestic routine and felt a little cheated that she only wanted to slob about in her joggers, her most energetic moves being when she swings her legs up onto his lap as they settle down for yet another episode of Friends or Will & Grace. He was going to call it off with her before Christmas, he said. And I think it’s tough, but only fair. At least if Tam’s single for Christmas it might force her out to join in the relentless office parties and Christmas socialising. I obviously won’t be around to join her, as I’ll be shuffling awkwardly in the 70degree heat as I watch my mother get married in Los Angeles. I’m dreading that too. I have to go and get a dress this weekend and it makes sense for me to splash out a little more too, in lieu of the Sophie Dilemma nights. I wish I felt excited about being filmed on these 4 dates, but I don’t. Now I have Rob I’m not interested in spending social time with any other men. So I should be glad really that there’s only 4 sessions. Darren and Ross have booked the slots on Tuesday 11th, Thursday 13th, Tuesday 18th and then Thursday 20th December. They’ve chosen 2 midweek dates based on the New York ethos of dating which dictates that you NEVER go on a new(ish) date on any of the weekend nights for fear that you give off a vibe that you don’t have any friends. So it’s midweek dating for me. And Delaney emailed me yesterday afternoon to say that Richard & Judy want me on one of their Christmas shows - probably the Thursday 20th one - which is the afternoon just prior to the last Sophie Dilemma piece. And then I’m jetting off to Los Angeles the following day. Myself and Jen are booked on a flight on Friday 21st, giving ourselves a couple of days to recover and prepare for Mum’s Christmas Eve wedding. I don’t know which is worse -the thoughts of Mum’s false and pseudo-Americanisms for a fortnight, or the false and relentless Christmas party scene in London - all those hoards of drunk men in suits make me feel nauseous.

Just as I’m inwardly cringing at the beginnings of excitement at a different kind of Christmas this year, I begin to wonder whether it’s too late to ask Rob to come to Mum’s wedding with me. It would be the icing on the cake for me - I wouldn’t be stuck in Jennifer’s shadow for the duration and it would give me and Rob some fantastic time together too. My telephone rings and makes me jump. I grab it and say,
“Sophie Regan!”
“Sophie?” Ellie’s voice is always bright and warm, “call for you.”
“Do you know who it is?”
“Says his name is Rob.”
“Great!” My voice is overly exultant and I sense that Ellie is a little surprised at my lack of composure, but I don’t care. I’m a little stunned then to hear his deadpan, flat tones,
“Sophie. Rob. Forget last night. Forget everything. The friendship, the kiss, everything I said. Actually, you might as well forget about Tamsin too. You’re not the woman I thought you were. In fact, you’re lower than low. All what you said about Jennifer? She’s streets ahead of you. I can’t believe you, Soph. Just forget it all.”

The line goes dead.
And so does my heartbeat.
My stomach is filled with rocks.
My eyes sting as they begin to fill, involuntarily, with tears.
My god.
He must have seen me walk away with Ade.
And he obviously thinks that I’m deceitful and wicked enough to have planned it all.....

Another fuck up.
And a big one this time.

Chapter Fifty Three
Chapter Fifty Five

1 comment:

Christy said...

Oh no!!!!!!