I’m going to move things on a little bit, in more ways than one.
It is about a month since the dog incident and Daniel and I are progressing nicely. We have been out a few times, the cinema, the pub, restaurants, a couple of lovely drives in the countryside. On one of these drives we ended up on a beach in the South Hams and wandered along it hand in hand before arriving at the end of a beach which was just a tiny spit of land. We sat right at the end, drunk some water and kind of just stared in the mass of sea. The sun was out, the sky was cloudless, it was kind of lovely. A little bit too romcommy perhaps but you know what works for Jennifer Aniston is pretty much ok for me.
Then the Red Arrows appeared, three of them. I say appeared, I mean I heard them and then suddenly they were just there emerging from behind some big cliffs like Godzilla in one of those tacky Japanese films of the seventies.
Now I love the Red Arrows, I love their closely choreographed displays of daredevilry. I love to gasp and to ooh and aah as they fly within inches of each other. It turned a lovely afternoon into something near perfection, a lovely walk that ends with an almost private Red Arrow display. I mean what’s not love about that.
“I asked them to turn up about now” Daniel said looking at his watch. Which was pretty much the right thing to say I think. Of course they were out practicing for an air show nearby, and it was pure luck but you know the sentiment was right. It was to be precise the moment when a mass of blue, red and white smoke filled the air after a particularly dangerous flying manoeuvre that I decided that I needed to and wanted to move this relationship on. I’m not sure if that’s a metaphor or not. Also I’ll add that I didn’t mean right now there and then but I had decided that I was going to ask Daniel to stay the night.
I linked my arm through Daniels and kind of perched my head on his shoulder like a hungry Barn Owl and he just kind of smiled at me. When the Arrows had finished showing off, we walked back to the car park. I was driving that day, and when we got to Daniels house, I turned the engine off and we kind of had a chat about random nonsense.
Now, this guys, is the point, when after a lovely day, a wonderful afternoon, when it is acceptable to turn round to your date and ask them in for a cup of tea or something without sounding pushy because the chances are that your date will agree. Daniel didn’t do this he just opens the door, leans over and kisses me like I’m his aunt or something and tells me he’ll see me later. To say I was cross didn’t come close.
As I drove home, (and this where the music comes in as ‘Definitely Maybe’ was playing on the stereo that evening) that exit niggled at me, perhaps I have been over reacting or something perhaps he didn’t feel the same way. I don’t know. Something else hit me, as I recalled the afternoon with Alice on the phone – I had never been inside Daniels house. He is always waiting for me by the gate when I arrive to pick him up. I mean he’s been to my place several times but I didn’t even know what colour his carpet was and guys that’s really important because if its mauve I don’t want to come in anyway.
Alice as usual was blunt and to the point.
“It’s one of four things” she said. I heard the sound of something like wine being poured into a glass and a cigarette being lit. I hope that she is not having this conversation in a public place. “Firstly he’s married or has a significant other.” There is a fairly large gulp and what sounds like smoke being inhaled.
“I don’t think it’s that though” She continued, “because you would have seen a sign earlier and he would have definitely tried to fuck you by now, rather than just copping a feel on your sofa”. I find myself blushing and tell myself not to be so open with Alice in the future but I also agreed with her. Daniel was definitely not married, he was too introverted, too agreeable if that makes sense. I had asked him to be patient with me explained about the break up and all that and he had quickly and without argument agreed.
“Secondly, his house is an absolute shit pit, dirty pants over the floor, porn mags, tissues, crisps and he forgot to clean it”. I find myself shaking my head and cringing slightly “he lives with his mum, she will have done his washing” I tell her about his dad’s accident to which she responds.
“Yeah so he says – but there’s your third reason – his mum is clingy, protective and will ask you about a thousand questions before the tea’s been served and he’s embarrassed. The chances of him smuggling you in at midnight and then you being woken up my mummy serving him tea and biscuits along with a clean shirt in the morning are too high and he won’t really want to be seen as a wam bam thank you love, do you want to shower before you leave type of guy”. She then tells me a positively disgusting story about her and a French guy she met in Cannes who did that to her. I’ll save it for another day if you don’t mind (SWC adds Actually I have asked KC to ask Alice to write something on here).
I decide that this is probably the case. He’s not embarrassed by me, but is worried that I will think he is a mother’s boy. I mean I already think that but he is scared that it will put me off or something. I find myself smiling. Then I ask, and I wish I hadn’t
“What’s the fourth thing?”
There is a short silence, probably refilling the wine glass.
“Well this is the most likely scenario” she says “and it’s startlingly obvious from where I’m sitting. He’s a virgin, because any sane experienced person would have given their mother a tenner and sent her off to bingo for the night and given you a relatively pleasant 100 seconds or so.” (SWC and Badger add – Damn right)
She laughs. I laugh. I say I hope that 100 seconds is an estimate. Eventually Alice says
“Invite him round, tell him he can stay if he wants, see how he reacts, or ask him if he fancies a weekend away, you can come here if you like”
Not bloody likely I tell her. She’ll be outside the door shouting encouragement whilst holding a stopwatch.