Something New

Posted on

CC Image courtesy erin_everlasting on Flickr

‘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.


CC Image courtesy of Lotus Carroll on Flickr

Related Posts:

Winging It

Laughing Matters

The Games We Play

Civilised Company

Posted on

(Continued from Crowded Room)CC Image courtesy of jjMustang_79 on Flickr

I push the door open with my foot.  Its trajectory is blocked by a sewing box which usually lives downstairs.  ‘Coffee?’


‘Would you like milk?’

‘Err – if you’ve got it.’


His costume is back in place, and he looks a little uncomfortable.  I go back downstairs, add milk to both mugs, and linger there a moment in case he follows.

Flatmate’s step on the stair makes me start.  I wait until he’s passed the entrance to the kitchen, before making my way back upstairs.

Ben takes the cup.  ‘Thanks.’

I sit down on the bed.  He follows suit, perching on the edge.  This is foreign territory.  I’ve never been offered coffee at a guy’s place after staying the night.  On the contrary, it’s usually a race to leave before (God forbid) he notices my presence.  It’s why I don’t do it anymore: that feeling, like you’re nothing; and on his side, a palpable desire to erase you from his life as quickly as possible.

I don’t know if it’s Ben, or my desire to civilize the whole thing, or the fact that I want a coffee so naturally make one for my guest; but here we are, nursing mugs which are still too hot to drink, making polite, if not entirely relaxed, conversation.  It’s like a date in reverse.

We discuss our plans for the weekend; he tells me about his parents’ work; we exchange restaurant recommendations.  There’s no suggestion that we might at some point visit one of them together, which saddens me a little, but not too much.

‘Well, I’d better get going,’ he says, rising.

We both have trains to catch.


My hand on the latch, we kiss.



I close the door on his retreating back.  He didn’t ask for my number; I have no expectation that I’ll hear from him again; and I feel… OK about it.

CC Image courtesy of chichacha on Flickr

Related Posts:

Fish Out Of Water

The Final Act

For Old Time’s Sake

Foreign Climes

Posted on

CC Image courtesy of meli66a on FlickrWhat with the red face paint, it’s hard to be certain, but I’m pretty sure the devil at the door is Nice Guy’s flatmate.  He was also at the club, in Clapham


‘So… that’s your flatmate?’ I say, nodding towards a tall, athletic guy.

‘Yes – Dan.’  Nice Guy smiles.  ‘But hands off.’

‘Oh I – I’m not–.’

But I understand.  With his broad smile, pleasant manner and muscular physique, Dan must have an easy time of it, attracting women.  Nice Guy is slight by comparison, and a little awkward.


I fancy Dan looks a bit uncomfortable on seeing me.

‘Hello,’ he says.


A couple wearing Hawaiian shirts and flower garlands are loitering in the hall.

‘The theme is – is Halloween, right?’ I say.

Hawaiian guy looks over.  ‘Yeah, you’re fine.  I know, we’re not very scary.’

I laugh.  ‘Just checking!’

Dan is looking thoughtful.

‘I – I think we’ve met before?’ I say.

‘Y–es.  You were with Andy – in the club, in Clapham?’


‘I’m Dan.’

We shake hands.  ‘Nice to see you again.’

‘What was the name of the club?’

I laugh.  ‘No idea!’


I follow him through to the living room.

‘So, who do you know here?’ he says.

Well, aside from Andy…

I scan the room, in search of a familiar face.  ‘Err well anyone he was at uni with maybe?  From the same college, at Oxford?’

Dan gestures towards a blond girl dressed as an M&M.  ‘Ellie was at Merton.’

Don’t know Ellie.  And Andy wasn’t at Merton.

‘Hmm I don’t think so…’

‘Frankie?  She was St. Hugh’s.’


‘Let me get you a drink – and then I’ll introduce you to some people.  What would you like?  You can have whatever you want.’

‘Err… wine?  White wine.  Thanks.’

I get chatting to a guy and girl standing nearby.  They misunderstood the event description and came as a pun on Pussy Riot.  A board proclaiming ‘Down with Minge’ is propped up against the window.  They’re friends of Dan’s.

‘Who do you know here?’ the guy says.

‘Um… Andy?’ I say.  ‘I can’t see him though…’

Not that I’m looking; not that I’ve shaved parts of my body I didn’t know existed, draped myself with bin-liner, and navigated foreign sections of the London transport system, just to see him.

The guy frowns.  ‘Andy?  Oh, the other flatmate.  Yeah, he’s not here.’

‘Scuse me?

‘Where is he?!’ I say.



‘Yeah, playing cricket.’

I don’t care if he’s saving whales, what the fuck is he doing in Benidorm?!


CC Image courtesy of comunitatvalenciana on Flickr