‘He told me to move,’ Ryan says. ‘He said, ‘I want to talk to Anna’.’
I look over at the man who supposedly wants to talk to me. This is surely what my mother and flatmate would call a clear sign of… not interest – that wouldn’t fit in the circumstances – but something. I pick up my things and go over to him.
‘You’re on Tinder?’ he says, surprised.
‘Yes, well, everyone is – aren’t they?’
‘Well, I’m not, but I’m married…’
The previous autumn there was a leaving drinks for one of our colleagues. Cheesecake was served.
‘Who made it?’ I say, taking a slice.
Colleague looks disbelieving when I tell her. Her funky dairy-free diet doesn’t permit cheesecake, but even harder to digest is the news that Tobias – elegant, stylish Tobias – has a wife.
For six months or so after finding this out I was invincible. No matter that his gaze made me weak at the knees or that we crossed paths in the kitchen too often for it to be a coincidence. The guy had a wife, and one who baked decent cheesecake at that.
I was invincible when he told Ryan to move in the pub so he could talk to me; when he brought in a DVD of one of the films we’d talked about for me to borrow; when he told me about his family’s history of divorce, about his father’s second marriage to a much younger woman. I was even invincible when he offered to relieve me of some of my workload.
Then, one day, he came over to talk to Gus at the neighbouring desk.
He has a strange way of walking: hurried, impatient, not quite graceful. His hair sticks up a bit at the back and his eyes have this intense, brooding expression.
I look up from what I’m doing and meet his gaze. And that’s when it happens. I fall. Fuck, do I fall.