‘Oh God,’ Ryan says, ‘it’s like something out of Miranda.’
Which is ironic, given it all began rather beautifully…
It’s past 8 when I ring the bell of Sarah’s flat, the task of decorating myself with paper snowflakes having proved more difficult than expected. I follow her up to the kitchen where a dozen or so people are gathered, some standing, most seated, nearly all familiar. Introductions ensue.
‘…and,’ she concludes, ‘I think you’ve met Olly?’
Quite a good impression of someone who hasn’t spent an inordinate amount of time putting together a fun but (hopefully) sexy ensemble on the off chance that the man now standing before her would a) turn up and b) find her attractive. Olly asks if my feet have recovered, a reference to the dance we shared the last (and first) time we met.
‘Getting there,’ I say, with a grin.
There’s competition in the form of a petite brunette. For the first hour or so she doesn’t speak. That is, we manage a brief Q&A (no prizes for guessing who’s Q) but it’s not until Olly gives her the time of day that she perks up.
‘I think Olly likes that girl,’ I say to Sarah, refilling my glass. ‘The one he’s speaking to.’
‘No, I don’t think so. You should talk to him.’
I already have and it was fun. It was also the only conversation of the evening which felt unfinished, in a good way.
Petite Brunette leaves around midnight. I decide to shelve the possibility of catching the last tube and instead focus on the possibility of catching Olly. That is, I don’t really do catching, instead taking the view that if it’s right it will just happen. Fortunately Sarah belongs to a different school of thought and when everyone has taken a seat for drinking games – everyone except Olly who’s standing just behind me – she pretty much orders him to share my chair. I’ve had more red wine than usual by this point, and the fact that I’m not paying great attention to the rules of the games means I’m not doing very well at them. But with Olly’s arm around me, ostensibly to keep him balanced on the chair – though the idea that anyone would anchor themselves to me in my current state to ensure stability is a bit of a joke – I’m not likely to be paying attention.
The next round is karaoke which I swear I used to be good at. At one point I go through to the kitchen to get some water. Olly’s emerging from the bathroom. We meet beside the cooker and kiss. It’s gentle and soft and surprises me. In a good way.
(TO BE CONTINUED)