8.15 P.M. Dan and I are on our hands and knees, trying to coax out my son Toby’s pet rat Bob from underneath the bed in our luxury hotel room.
My hopes of a romantic evening with Dan were dashed when my son’s pet rat decided to be a stowaway in my overnight case.
‘I think we’ll need to move the bed’ I say peering underneath it.
‘I’d forgotten how crazy life is with you Roxy!’ exclaims Dan, scratching his head.
‘I think I’m jinxed when it comes to posh hotels. I did warn you’ I say.
Dan’s phone bleeps. He reaches in his trouser pocket and checks it.
Bob the rat starts squeaking from underneath the bed.
‘Well come out then you silly rat!’ I exclaim in my shrill mother voice which works well on children and ex-partners, never tried it on furry creatures, until now.
Dan is still looking at his phone.
‘Why don’t you search Google for ideas on how we can catch a rat in a hotel room?’ I suggest.
Dan seems preoccupied and continues staring at the screen of his phone.
I go back to calling ‘Bob….here Bob….come to Roxy!’
8.20 P.M. Bob the rat makes a run for it. I shriek at Dan. ‘Get him!’
Dan jumps out of his skin at the sight of Bob scurrying across the floor.
Sometimes in life a woman has to step in because her man is backed up against a wall trembling in fright.
Grabbing my white hotel towel robe, which is lying on the bed, I chuck it over Bob and then quickly scoop him up in it.
‘What are you going to do now?’ shrieks Dan, pointing at the wriggling rat in my towel robe.
‘We need to get him home’ I say. ‘Grab your car keys and lets go!’
‘Are you serious?’ cries Dan. ‘He’ll escape in my sports car!’
‘Trust me I am used to dealing with rats!’ I say, securing my grip on Bob, who has calmed down in my arms.
‘How are we going to get out of the hotel with a rat?’ shrieks Dan, running his hands through his hair.
‘Empty my case quick!’ I say gesturing towards the bed.
Dan makes some odd faces at my underwear selection as he places my stuff onto the bed.
I place Bob in my pink fluffy overnight case, leaving the zip open a bit so he can breathe.
Dan and I then leave our room and head for the car.
8.45 P.M. Pull up outside my house. Grab pink fluffy suitcase with rat inside and totter into house at speed.
Open Bob’s cage and place him inside. Lock the cage and wipe brow.
Sometimes I amaze myself at the situations I get out of.
8.47 P.M. Dan is stood in my kitchen checking his phone.
I thought I checked my phone a lot. Must be football related.
‘Right shall we go back to the hotel?’ I ask checking my silver dress from River Island still looks amazing.
Now that Bob the rat is back home I can get on with having some romance.
Dan seems engrossed with his phone.
He looks so handsome in his smart grey suit, standing with his back against the fridge freezer.
8.48 P.M. Just imagining Dan stood at the church waiting for me on our wedding day.
I can feel a little burst of happiness shoot through me. We are back together and we will probably get married, move into some posh house and make some beautiful babies.
Hang on I already have three older babies and he has two older babies.
8.49 P.M. Still gawping at Dan and debating (in my head) whether we will have kids together.
Make decision to stop thinking about having more kids.
There has been no mention of Clara, Dan’s best friend, who I have assumed is nearly married by now. Dan has been telling me how much she’s changed with her new man.
All my previous worries and insecurities about Clara have gone. Dan chose me.
This feels too good to be true but I am going to go with it.
Roxy Collins is finally in a relationship! Yay!
Roxy Collins is going back to a fancy hotel for the night with her man! Yay!
Roxy Collins will soon be married! Yay!
Bob squeaks from his cage.
‘You can keep quiet!’ I whisper to Bob. ‘You nearly ruined my night of passion!’
‘Dan?’ I say.
Bob continues to squeak at me. I smile to myself as I recall Toby telling me the other night that Bob gives him secret messages via squeaks.
When I probed further into this communication with his pet rat it became apparent that Bob mainly tells him to fight his brother Harry, hide his sister Matilda’s make-up and refuse to eat vegetables at dinner time.
Toby insists that Bob the rat can communicate. I glance at Bob squeaking like mad at me from his cage.
‘Dan’ I say a bit louder. I wish he would put that phone away as I am going stir crazy thinking about our future children and whether my son’s rat can communicate with humans.
I need a drink and some romance!
Dan nods. We leave the kitchen and I can still hear Bob squeaking like mad.
‘What’s wrong with the rat?’ asks Dan.
‘Toby swears the rat gives him secret messages’ I chuckle. ‘Ignore him. Now drive me back to that hotel for some romance!’ I say taking Dan by the arm.
He opens the front door for me and cries ‘come on Clara! Let me get you back to our hotel!’
8.53 P.M. Time has stopped. I am rooted to the spot, mouth open, staring at Dan.
‘What’s the matter?’ he asks holding open the door.
‘You called me Clara!’ I snap, feeling blood start to sizzle in my veins.
‘I didn’t!’ he cries.
‘You did Dan!’ It’s amazing how fast tears can well up in my eyes.
‘Roxy I didn’t say Clara!’ he says, his voice tinged with irritation.
His phone bleeps again.
‘Is that Clara?’ I demand as the penny drops inside my head.
He looks away.
‘Dan what’s going on? You have been odd since we got in the hotel room.’ I demand, sensing trouble.
I watch as he rubs his face and looks away.
I can feel the blood draining from my face.
Bob is still squeaking from his cage.
‘I’m sorry I can’t do this Roxy….. I’m so sorry’ whispers Dan, avoiding my gaze and looking down at his shoes. ‘I thought Clara and I were just best friends but…..she’s been texting me tonight and she says….’
‘GET OUT!’ I scream. I knew it was too good to be true.
That woman Clara has her claws dug so deep into him.
I wish he’d never come back into my life.
Tears are streaming down my face as I shove him out.
9.56 P.M. I am sat in the conservatory with a bottle of red wine, a large glass, a box of tissues and a squeaking rat, sat in his cage.
Dan brought my suitcase from the hotel. He tried to explain on my doorstep about how she’s messed with his head. I ignored him and closed the door.
‘Oh Bob!’ I sob. ‘I should never have gone back with Dan!’
Bob squeaks in agreement.
‘Ex boyfriends are bad for my health!’ I cry wiping away hot tears.
Bob squeaks in agreement.
‘I am going to be a sad and lonely old spinster!’ I sob.
Bob stops squeaking. I think this means something.
Loud wail followed by huge slurp of wine.