Beatrice comes back in. ‘You don’t have to leave.’
‘No, it’s fine,’ I say, reaching for my bag. ‘It’s only… I don’t know what to do!’
‘How did you leave it?’
‘He said he’d be in touch today, to arrange where to meet.’
‘Does he know where you are?’
‘I said I had a thing in Old Street til, like, 8.’
‘And you haven’t heard from him all day?’
I should have learnt the first time. Or the second time. Or last night, when he rang…
‘So,’ he says, ‘I’ve ordered food for two, just in case.’
I laugh. We’ve been here before. I say no, he asks why, and I say I’d rather meet for the first time ‘not at one of our flats’.
‘So… bye?’ I say.
‘No!’ He steers the conversation in a different direction.
We leave it that the following evening, after my friend’s birthday party, we’ll meet for a drink. Somewhere public, though he does joke that he’ll book the whole place out.
Beatrice, one year older and definitely wiser, tells me what only good friends do. That I’m worth more than this. That he knew I was busy til 8 and he still hasn’t been in touch to make a plan. That I shouldn’t contact him.
Wednesday night. I’ve just got into bed. My phone buzzes into life. I recognise the number, partly because of our call history, partly because of the number of times I’ve deleted it from my phone. I let it ring out.
When he calls again, I do a quick Google and install the relevant app.