‘I heard from Germany today.’
This is what I’ve taken to calling him, him being Viable Prospect. Never has a pseudonym seemed more ironic.
Colleague looks excited. ‘Ooh you should have heard just now what Zoe was saying, about you and Tristan.’
Zoe is a colleague of ours. I frown. ‘Huh? What was she saying and when and why?’
‘It was just now and like, half an hour ago. She’s always talking about it. She was saying how she thinks you’re such a good pair and she’s sure you’ll end up together. Y’know, she’s got a sense about these things?’
‘She knows he has a girlfriend,’ she interrupts, ‘but she still thinks – you should have seen her! She was getting so excited, saying how he clearly really likes you, how he takes every opportunity to come over and see you, and–.’
‘He doesn’t. I mean, I know when he emails me rather than coming over, and – he doesn’t.’
‘He and his girlfriend need to break up,’ Colleague mutters, as if she hasn’t heard a word I’ve been saying.
It’s weird, being the voice of reason.
Something occurs to me. ‘I remember Zoe saying she loves romantic stuff, so I wonder – it might be that she’s looking for it.’
‘P-ossibly, but she’s usually right about these things.’
Colleague has a point. There was the time Zoe guessed that Beth was pregnant almost before Beth knew it herself, and there are other examples. But still…
‘I loved what you said, the other day, when I showed you the photo of his girlfriend!’ I say. ‘When I asked what were you expecting, and you said, ‘I think I was just expecting to see you there, Anna’.
‘It’s so annoying,’ she says. ‘They need to break up. When’s the office party?’
I laugh, thinking of Matthew. They’re so different.
‘The thing is, Tristan’s so decent, he would never cross the line. He wouldn’t even flirt.’
It’s weird. He’s funny, hilarious even, but it never feels like he’s leading you on, not really. Which, let’s face it, is a bugger. There’s too much about the guy to admire.
I pretend to do some work for a bit.
Colleague looks up.
‘… do you honestly think he fancies me – I mean, finds me attractive?’
‘Yes, and Zoe’s convinced of it. He clearly likes you, and you get on really well – and you’ve got loads in common.’
‘Yes, it’s a bit unnerving how much we have in common.’ I frown. ‘Now I’m annoyed. I wasn’t annoyed before! It’s your fault! And Zoe’s!’
I shrug. ‘But… there are other people you have lots in common with.’
Germany, for instance. He loves poetry, and music, and we have the same sense of humour. And… Tinder. We have that in common.
Single On Ice
A Lesson In Dating