Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Chapter Seventeen

Relationship Rehab – week 3

Wine Not? should be renamed ‘Whine Not!’ given the whining that goes on when sampling 6 new drinks in 3 hours. The advert insisted that you need not be an oenophile (a word bandied about between gulps - a lover or connoisseur of wine) yet the wine buffs were there regardless. The opportunity to meet 20 guys, mingling in groups as we sipped on new wines was lost on me as I had to listen to these wannabe connoisseurs slurp and comment on the ‘fruitiness’ or ‘dryness’… It was worsened by the prospects of being ‘ticked’ for post event emails – if a guy ticked your name, the organisers pass on your email address. I’m not sure whether I’m dreading looking at my inbox for the fear of Giles or Warren’s name popping up – or for the humiliation that none of these whiners liked me anyway! It’s a relationship roulette out there and the closer you stand to the furnace of dating, the hotter the competition! My closing thoughts on wine dating are that it’s all rather pointless. I doubt that the whine notters appreciated my simple, ‘Like it? Drink it! Don’t like it? Leave it!’ approach, but what is there to say? We can’t change the drinks! We’re not being flown out to the vineyards to give our respected opinions so that they can change the recipes! As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t like the taste it leaves in your mouth, move on. Kind of like the way that you do with men…”

Sophie xxx


I’ve spent huge chunks of the last 48 hours staring at horrendous photographs of me in newspapers and magazines and it’s been surreal. I have resorted to practising getting in and out of cars with tight skirts on; with the help of my kitchen stool and an upturned hula hoop. I know that the stool is somewhat higher than the front seat of my car, and the hula hoop isn’t the same size as an open car door - but I’ve nearly perfected the knock-kneed look that it requires. Hopefully I won’t need to use this newly developed skill; there’s been a little backlash – a slight quiver of furore over who I actually am, but I haven’t seen any more photographers, thankfully. I returned the H&M dress to Tracy, in fashion, who was thrilled that some of the newspapers had commented on the fabulous dress, and I was devastated when she showed me the photographs in Heat magazine today –a yellow circle highlighting a close up of my bikini area! Choosing to stay single? I won’t have any choice now – what with my inner thighs as centrefold! Perhaps things will die down over the weekend. I’m relieved it’s Saturday morning - I need a couple of days to relax and spend some time with Tam. I’m desperate to get dressed up nice and to go for a relaxing meal - somewhere with no agenda of meeting guys or researching the singleton lifestyle – I just want some ‘me’ time.


Tamsin had been furious with Pete. He’d promised to take her out for dinner last night, arranging to collect her at 8pm and he hadn’t arrived until after eleven. He’d stood on her doorstep, clutching a huge bouquet of flowers and had cupped her face in his hands as he kissed her hard and deeply. She’d tried to resist, but found him completely irresistible, then hated herself for not being more defensive. He’d lifted the discarded flowers from her welcome mat, handing them back to her after their kiss and she’d marched into the kitchen to look for a vase.

“So why couldn’t you have called me? Or to have text me even?”

Pete had leaned in the doorway, looking great in his jeans and black t-shirt. She loved the bulge of his forearm and the dark hair that swept across it. She tried to remain angry,

“I’m sick of being second best Pete. It’s just not good enough fobbing me off with flowers. It’s not fair on me.”

She’d been aware of him watching her fuss with the flowers, irritated at a lily on a particularly long stem that continued to flop over the side drunkenly. Her blonde hair, blunt cut at the shoulders, fell over her eyes and she’d suspected that he was concealing a laugh as she tucked it tightly behind her ear, for it only to fop forward after a few seconds. He’d taken her breath away, grabbing her by the shoulders and turning her to face him. He had kissed her again, pushing her back until the backs of her legs met with the cupboard door. And then he’d pulled at her skirt, tugging it up, and over her thighs.


Tamsin woke, curled on her side with Pete tight to her back. They’d been spooning for hours now, his deep breathing relaxing her into a contented slumber. She loved these early hours – this 3am-5am slot where the night slowly crept towards day and the air was still outside. With no traffic sounds it was like a vacuum of time that she didn’t want to leave. She knew the day was inevitable; knew he had to leave, which only made her want to freeze frame the moment and hang onto him for a little longer.

She needed to talk to Sophie about this and was pleased that they were meeting tonight with no agenda – no venue for dating scenes or research – just the two of them and a quaint Italian restaurant. It was time to tell but she still wasn’t entirely sure how Sophie would react. Tamsin wondered whether, after seeing the dire dating scene for herself, she might now understand more why things had to be this way for her.


I love Saturday mornings and to be woken by fabulous stripes of sunshine as they pour through the open slats in my window blind completely lifted my mood, washing away my anxieties about the photographs. I lie in bed for ages this morning, letting the sunlight creep up and along my white duvet as the day came to life. It’s a luxury to just relax and not think; letting random thoughts float in and out of my mind and I let them, feeling a huge wash of contentment, as though I am floating. A short burst in the shower invigorates me, just as the blurb on the container of shower gel promises, and I feel great. Drying my hair into loose curls I grab my car keys and bag, sliding my shades onto my eyes, and head for the supermarket.

I arrive home two hours later to find Rob unloading paint and dust sheets from the boot of his car. He’s in my parking space, so I pull up beside his car and open my window,

“Hey! You coming to see me?”

“Yeah,” he smiles, “That OK? Thought I’d sort that ceiling for you.”

“That’s fine.” I point to the back seat of my car for some bizarre reason, “I’ve just got to find somewhere to park, and then I can bring in this shopping and make us some lunch, if you fancy it.”

He nods as I turn to pull away. Within seconds he’s standing beside my window,

“So where are you going to park? I’ve nicked your place, haven’t I?”

“Yep. No worries, I’ll find somewhere, oh, about a mile up the road.”

“No, let me move my car,” he grapples in his overalls pocket for keys.

“No! Really! I’m only joking. I’ll find somewhere up there.”

“Well then,” he opens the back door of my car and reaches in for the shopping bags, “at least let me take this lot in for you. You might has well have walked from Tesco if you knew you’d be parking that far away.”

I’m impressed. I watch him in my side mirror as he rustles the bags behind me.

“Do you always wear overalls?”

He laughed, “Yeah, feels like it.” He carries all of the bags at once, his two hands clutching about 4 bags each. He is walking towards my house when he looks back and smiles at me, “And sometimes I even wear clothes underneath them…”

I’m blushing.