I bend my steps in the direction of the RA. It’s Toby’s choice of venue; he’s a Friend of the Academy.
We meet in the courtyard and walk towards the entrance.
‘Are you a Friend?’ he says, on the threshold.
My answer is swallowed in the revolving doors.
Over coffee, we discuss the dating game. There’s a pause. Toby says,
‘So, for example, I went on a date with someone on Wednesday…’
I wait for the stomach flip; it doesn’t come.
‘…. and she texted this morning to say she’d had a good time. Was she just being polite?’
I smile. ‘No, she’s keen. Did you reply?’
‘Yes, I said I’d like to see her again.’
‘That’ll be music to her ears.’
Take it from someone who knows.
We continue on the subject for a little while. I haven’t seen him like this before: vulnerable, anxious, seeking reassurance. We chat for another hour or so.
It’s time to leave; we hug.
‘Let me know what happens with la femme!’
He gives me a look. ‘Hmmm.’
I laugh. ‘Good colour by the way,’ I say, gesturing towards his shirt. ‘Vast improvement on beige.’