He looks gorgeous. I must try my best to be cool. I still have time to convince him of my sanity. I casually reverse the car off the ticket machine, put the handbrake on and get out of the car.
I have perfected the art of styling it out. One simply acts as if everything is perfectly normal. People rarely question anything that is done with both confidence and conviction. Even with a throbbing, pulsating, neon lump on ones’ forehead.
I give him a warm hug, slip my arm through his and suggest pre-dinner drinks. Vodka will work just as well in the absence of traditional painkillers. I am nothing if not resourceful.
Several neat shots later and my head is feeling much better. Then I notice that the waitress is paying him too much attention. I ask her a direct question. She looks at him while answering me. I do this a few times just to confirm my suspicions.
Ok. I know that I am having dinner with a friend (who happens to be an ex) but she doesn’t know that. Therefore flirting with him is very disrespectful.
The final straw comes when she leans forward, flicks her hair ‘L’Oreal’ style (no love, you’re actually not worth it) and suggestively asks him, "is there anything else I can do for you?"
This really is too much. He waves her away dismissively and takes my hands in his across the table. I’m not sure if this is a romantic gesture or one intended to restrain me.
If it is the latter, then he has failed to take into account that my legs are still free. I uncross them and kick one out as she is walking past. I connect, considerably harder than I meant to.
She yelps. I smile as I say “Gosh, I’m so sorry”. Our eyes meet and we have that unspoken exchange that women are so good at (and men are totally oblivious to).
She correctly interprets my ‘back off bitch’ expression and hobbles off.
Anthony frowns at me “you did that on purpose didn’t you?”
“Yes” I say proudly, “I did”. I take another gulp of wine. My head has stopped throbbing. But I am starting to develop double vision.
I start drinking water. I am clearly unfit to drive. Anthony suggests I go home with him.
I decide on the way back that I am going to sleep with him. Then I remember Plan B. I deliberately didn’t shave my legs or my bikini line just in case Plan A (drive so I won’t drink and end up back at his place) failed.
I am always a couple of steps ahead of myself. Sometimes I don’t like being such a smartarse.
I knew I would never sleep with him if I had prickly legs and a knicker beard. Unless I can have a quick shave at his place. I’ll outwit the smug sensible sober me yet. I excuse myself as soon as we get inside and disappear into the bathroom.
Where is his razor? It must be in the cabinet. I start emptying it out like a woman possessed. How many bloody beauty products does one man need? There has to be a razor in here somewhere.
Then I’m distracted by his haemorrhoid cream. I remember reading somewhere that it is really good for under eye bags and dark circles. I’ve been meaning to try it for some time but didn’t want to be seen buying it.
I squeeze a little out of the tube and wipe it away with tissue. Just in case he has been applying it directly.
I squeeze out a bit more and dab it under my eyes. No visible difference. It just looks greasy. I lean forward to dab on some more when I spot the electric shaver on the wall next to the mirror. I slip out of my jeans.
Anthony knocks on the door “Are you ok in there?”
I shout back “I’m fine" then “do you have any shaving cream?”
He walks in. I watch as he takes in the scene before him. The entire contents of his bathroom cabinet are strewn all over the floor. I’m standing, half-naked, on tip-toes with one leg hoisted up into the sink holding his shaver in one hand and the haemorrhoid cream in the other.
"I forgot to shave my legs" I offer by way of explanation ‘"And you have to do it now? Why?""‘Because", I pause for dramatic effect “I have decided that I’m going to have sex with you!” – I say this in the excited manner of a game show host announcing the lucky winner.
He doesn’t look remotely interested. He comes over and helps me get my leg down from the sink. He takes the shaver and the cream out of my hands and says "You can have the bed. I’ll take the sofa".
I’m confused and more than a little humiliated. This is the first time a man has turned me down. Not because I’m irresistible but because men do not turn down sex. Ever.
I ask him to call me a cab. He firmly suggests I ‘just get some sleep’. I ask him why he doesn’t want to have sex with me. He says that he would love to have sex with me but not when I’m drunk.
"Don't give me that shit! if you're not attracted to me anymore then just say so! ".
I am about to continue my rant when he silences me with "I love you a lot more than I realised. It has taken me a long time to admit that to myself. And I would prefer you to be sober when we make love. Is that so unreasonable?" I shake my head and whisper ‘no’.
Then my eyes involuntarily start to water. He strokes my hair while I cry silently on his shoulder. He spoons me (fully clothed) all night.
I wake up in the morning with a pounding hangover. And the slow, awful realisation that I made a complete and utter arse of myself.
Then I remember what he said to me. I gently move away from him and out of the bed. I don’t want to be here when he wakes up. I wouldn’t know what to say.
I sit on the train feeling sick. And not just because of the alcohol swimming around in my body. I think I still love him. This could actually work. So why do I want to run for the hills?