Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Chapter Fifty Eight - Agendas & Suspenders

Rob was feeling shit and angry. He hated to admit it, but he’d been naive in thinking that Sophie was genuine. If she’d been THAT genuine then why was she trying to stay single? She looked great and had a sparkling personality and had really wormed her way under his skin over the last few months. He wasn’t short of female admirers - he was a fit, good looking guy and saw lots of women that he liked the look of, a few that he’d meet in the pub that he’d chat with and would instigate an interest, but not enough to get involved with. The truth was, Rob hadn’t had a relationship for a couple of years. He’d been so busy building up his business and he knew that he wouldn’t be able to commit 100% because of that. He’d had his share of unfulfilling one-night stands and had always liked Sophie. In a way he could now see why she’d opted out of the dating game – he’d forgotten how painful it all was, how insecure it made him feel and how you could rush from high to severely low in a matter of seconds. It bothered him intensely that he’d begun to lose himself in Sophie’s kiss beneath that umbrella and how he’d been on the verge of telling her that he’d made the grand gesture of booking the log cabin. He’d worried that it might freak her out - that she’d think it was too much too quickly, but then he’d figured that they’d been good friends for a while now and that they’d manage it.
And then he sees her kissing Adrian Ford.
Getting angry once again he pondered over all the grey areas that he couldn't define - like how long she’d been seeing him?
Had it been since they’d first met?
And what about Tam and their friendship?
There was so much he wanted to say to her - to ask her and to tell too, but his stubbornness insisted on standing in his way with it’s arms folded.
Bah humbug - so much for the warmth of Christmas.
He dreaded the thoughts of yet another Christmas Eve out with the lads and getting drunk again.
He was SO ready for ‘something more’, if only she had been honest, and ready, for him....


Rob and Ade were at extremes. Whilst Rob felt alone and desperate, Ade was excited and on a high as he prepared for his ‘date’ with Sophie. It had been his idea to go to the outdoor ice rink at Kew Gardens - it was the perfect Christmas venue and it was impossible not to have some laughs. Without being witty, it was the ideal scenario for breaking the ice as it involved lots of touching and laughing as he imagined them wobbling about under the twinkling fairy lights. He used to be good at ice skating and had spent hours at the rink at Streatham in his teenage years, even being asked to join the under 16’s ice hockey team. He was confident that he had every capability of having lots of fun with Sophie and make her realise that they SHOULD be together. He’d been wishing that the rain would stay away as he wanted just one last chance to make her see how much he liked her. Determined to be fun and extremely hands-on, without being creepy, he’d prepared it all right down to the last detail. OK, those ’extras’ had cost him a small fortune, but he was certain that it would be worth it. He wanted this chance to put right all the wrongs – the Trev Malone wind up, the Geezer involvement in Sophie’s Staying Single quest, the many ways that he’d seemed flippant about the way he’d treated her. The first Sophie Dilemma date was his chance, possibly his last chance, to make a public display of how serious he was about a relationship with Sophie and he intended to pull out all of the stops.


Tam was pulling out all of the stops as she got stuck into the back of her wardrobe. She began to fear that if she delved any deeper she’d come across a giant lion and a half-man/half-goaty type thing, but it didn’t stop her. She was beginning to sort out some clothes for her long weekend in the log cabin and was chucking clothes onto her bed at a ferocious rate. Her frenzied excitement was escalating alarmingly, despite the slight niggle at not really knowing what clothes to pack. Would it be cold in Scotland? Would the log cabin be cold/double glazed/centrally heated? Looking back at the jumble of fabrics and colours made her realise how dowdy and scruffy she’d been lately. A pang of disgust punched her in the stomach as the true horror hit her. She’d let herself go, big time. No wonder Adrian had called it off with her. He’d have been a fool to stick around.
In the same way that Pete would have.
Been a fool.
She was stunned at the hoards of colourful and gorgeous clothes that she had here - clothes that she used to delight in wearing before she’d stolen Pete from his wife. Suddenly it all fell into place. She’d been flattered by Pete’s attention - it was strangely intensified by the knowledge that he was married - somehow made it MORE flattering that he liked her, despite having a wife at home. She couldn’t figure it out now, but it had struck a chord with her at the time. And so she’d gone from the wearing sexy, sassy clothes that had attracted him to her in the first place, to slipping into domestic doldrums of tracksuits and t-shirts.
There was time for this procrastination and that’s what she supposed Rob had been thinking, when he handed her the booking info for the Burnbank lodge. She needed to remember WHO she used to be. Sophie was a fantastic friend and knew her so well. She’d got it right when she’d said that to be happy with somebody you have to be happy with yourself first. Tamsin could see how she’d spent years going from man to man as if they were all the same person. Scooping up the mountain of clothes she dropped them clumsily into the tub chair in her bedroom. She was going to keep everything as simple as possible from now on. Pulling her favourite jeans from her wardrobe door she packed some of the chunky knitted jackets and her Timberland boots into her small holdall. She needed to spend some quality time with HERSELF and hoped that she’d have plenty of chances to enjoy walking through the Scottish forestry and beside the lake and remember WHO she was, and what she wanted to be. Rob had truly pulled an ace out of the hat with this one. It was the best Christmas present that she’d ever received.
Although she was more than a little curious as to why Rob had initially booked it for two people.
Perhaps he’d hoped to go with her and now couldn’t.
But she suspected that there was more to it than that.
But Rob? Have a girlfriend? He surely would have said something to her.
Then again, Tam realised, she’d been pretty much myopic lately when it came to her friends and family. And so 3 weeks before New Years Day Tamsin made her first new years resolution.
It was time to fall in love again.
But this time with herself.


In Los Angeles Sophie’s Mum was also preparing. Thrilled to be getting married in Orange County she’d just spent 10 minutes on the phone instructing the wedding planner to scrap the tasteful white and gold balloons and replace them with orange ones! Bobbie Jo had made her think of the ‘orange’ theme at her bachelorette party last week and she’d already asked for orange icing on the wedding cake and orange lights around the marquee. Snatching the phone up from the garden table she punched in Sophie’s number, secretly hoping that Jennifer would answer.
Sophie was a darling, but she was SO dry. Jennifer really was a girl after her own heart - knew how to party and how to really let her hair down.


Ben Scott loved Facebook. It was everything that MySpace was and more. The networking opportunites! The combing through media contacts ‘friends’ lists!
He was in heaven.
Apart from the stretched elastic strip that was beginning to cut into his bum cheek.

Chapter Fifty Seven
Chapter Fifty Nine

Chapter Fifty Seven - Seasons Bleetings!

Relationship Rehab – Mingle as a Single at XMAS....

Let me get one thing straight.
The stigma of being a singleton at Christmas is potentially bigger than being an ex-Big Brother contestant and trying to launch your own lingerie/perfume/autobiography. The ‘It’ll Be Lonely This Christmas’ ethos is potentially damaging to the ego and can be like watching a party that you’re not invited to, through a smoky window. It’s a bizarre race to be ‘ready’ for Christmas and if YOU isn’t TWO then it’s set to be a little lonely. Now don’t mistake me for a cynic - I’m not! I can get into the swing of it all along with the rest of the population - strangling their credit cards and depleting the notion of financial freedom for the next 10 months, all in the name of ‘goodwill‘. Forget the 80% of the world that are starving, if we don’t have a gold platter of mixed nuts that would make the fattest squirrel jealous, then we’re just NOT in the game! Everywhere you look there are schmaltzy tunes, pissed, puking office party-goers or chocolate box families.
But the bright side as a singleton? The absence of in-laws, no money arguments, the freedom to go Christmas shopping when YOU want and the budget to treat yourself to a pressie. If I’ve learned one thing over these last 9 months it’s that being SINGLE doesn’t mean being ALONE. And I won’t be. Despite turning a seasonal shade of green when my friend told me that she’d been treated to a long weekend in a romantic log cabin in Scotland, it got me thinking how I’d really LOVE to do that. Especially at Christmas. But we never get that snowy scene do we? More like grey skies and deep puddles. So this year I’m decamping to Los Angeles for a truly American-style Christmas. My mother is getting married on Christmas Eve and I’ve heard that LA in December is in the seventies - so roll on sunny skies!

So this will be the last Relationship Rehab until the new year, but before all that frivolity I have 4 dates, 4 guys and 4 dilemmas to face. With mere days until Date 1, I‘m a little nervous. I know it‘s at Kew Gardens Ice Skating Rink, followed by hot chocolate. I don‘t know yet what the other 3 dates will be - but I do know that I‘m going to need your help in deciding what to do! So watch this space - all will be revealed in the next couple of days. And in the meantime keep an eye at - it'll all change when you're least expecting it

So for now, I‘ll sign off and let you help me with my dilemmas - and while I can‘t guarantee that you‘ll have snow at Christmas or that I‘ll have scorching sunshine, I CAN guarantee one thing...
I certainly won‘t be breaking a leg to catch that bridal bouquet!


Chapter Fifty Six
Chapter Fifty Eight