I am creeping out of the lady’s toilet at work with red puffy eyes and a handful of tissues.
Earlier I had to leave a training course on how to improve my statistics and have a small emotional breakdown in the loo over the following:
▪ Dan going back to Clara. Looking back now, if someone had used statistics to show the likelihood of Dan and I living happily ever after in a posh part of town with no ties or communication with Clara, they wouldn’t have been very high.
▪ Being thirty something with three kids, two ex partners, living in a shabby rented house and there being no sign of Prince Charming. Statistically I am unlikely to find a man.
▪ My weight. The wobbly bits on my hips and thighs are getting bigger. I could really do with some statistics on men who don’t mind their women to have thunder thighs.
Had to nip back into the toilet and go hide in a cubicle as the tears returned. I need to pull myself together. All this upset over a man, my life and my wobbly bits is not good.
I believed Dan when he said Clara was out of his life. I took his word and in my head planned out a wonderful future for us. We were going to spend our weekends wandering around our huge house, holding hands and gazing longingly at each other, whilst all our kids got along.
3. 20 P.M.
I am once again creeping out of the toilets. By the time I get back to my desk upstairs my eyes will have gone back to normal and no one will know that I have been crying in a toilet.
Keep repeating “I must get a grip!”
3. 21 P.M.
Turn corner in corridor and bump smack bang into Marcus, my senior manager. The one who I kissed over a photocopying machine at a Christmas party last year and the one who saved me in the cinema from my vampire date, a few weeks ago.
I have averted my sore eyes to the floor.
“Are you ok Roxy?'” he asks, softly.
This is the worst thing anyone can say to me when I am trying to stop being emotional.
I can’t hold it back.
Oh God here comes the emotion! Tears stream down my face as I start to sob loudly.
Marcus has escorted me to a quiet area of the staff canteen. He’s cancelled his meeting and has gone to buy me a coffee.
Crying in front of senior management is basically like hailing a ‘career taxi!’
Marcus has amazing blue eyes. He’s talking to me but I am not listening. My mind has transported me back in time to our Christmas party.
The party was held in the Italian restaurant next to the office. Every year the owner Antonio refused point-blank to host our office’s festive celebration, complaining about the mess we make and how the night always ended in an argument between the women from Accounts and Sales.
Last year Antonio was forced to call the police after Bev in Accounts made a comment about Trish’s adulterous husband. The year before Antonio had received a stray punch from Mel after she’d taken offence to something Sarah had said on Facebook about her gym outfit. Every year work somehow persuaded Antonio to change his mind. I often wondered why he ended up caving in.
As I pushed open the door to the restaurant, there was a cheer from the table in the corner. The organiser of the Christmas party; Helen, had sat me on my own with the men from the IT help desk. I seemed to be the only person in the office who got on well with IT and got computer problems fixed promptly. They always looked pleased to see me and I knew I would have a laugh on their table. I surveyed the other tables.
A wave of relief engulfed me as I saw the table full of stern looking management and a couple of ladies from the office. There was no fun to be had on that table.
I made my way over to my table and removed my fake fur coat, revealing my low-cut red glittery top and high-waisted skinny jeans. All eyes in the restaurant were drawn to my red top and a silence befell the restaurant. I knew they were all doubting my colour choice. Red is my colour and it goes with my wild hair. My wardrobe only consists of vibrant red.
As I sit down I notice a new face at my table. I glanced across at them and wonder whether the IT gang have got a new recruit. My heart accelerated at the sight of the stranger; his hair is dark with a grey fleck and an elegant quiff at the front. His sea blue eyes complimented his golden brown skin. He outstretched his arm towards me.
“Hi I’m Marcus, I work in our Birmingham office,” he said, with a soft gravelly voice.
His hand felt warm and sent a fluttering sensation up my arm.
My glass was filled by Bob, the burly manager of the IT help desk. He grinned at me, revealing a mouth full of yellow crooked teeth and gestured for a toast. “Its going to be quite a night for me sat next to you Roxy!” His eyes met mine briefly and then fell to my chest.
I tried not to stare at Marcus too much during the meal although it was a struggle. In all my years of work I don’t think I had ever met anyone as handsome as him.
Whilst Bob was chatting to some of the other men I managed to fire off a quick text to Shaz about whether she had ever been to Birmingham and on the basis of Marcus looks I would start filtering my online dating app selections and only consider men from the West Midlands.
More wine flowed and a warm glow started to heat up my cheeks. My shoulders started to relax and I could feel a smile creeping onto my face as I caught Marcus staring at me from across the table.
After desert shouts broke out on the table behind us. I let out a groan as I could hear the account girls screaming abuse at the sales team. Bob and the IT men erupted into a fit of laughter, turning around to watch the annual office Christmas party fight. I caught sight of a weary looking Antonio rushing out of the kitchens and raising his arms in the air with annoyance.
A voice distracted me. “Fancy getting out of here?”
I turned back to see Marcus gesturing for us to make a sharp exit. There was no decision to made; I either remained where I was to watch two women have a drunken cat fight or escape with a handsome stranger from Birmingham.
The crisp night air hit my cheeks as soon as we emerged from the restaurant. It made me take a sharp intake of breath and wrap my fur coat around me.
Marcus turned to me. “I have to pick up some folders from the office, someone has left me them at reception. Do you mind if we go get them?”
I shook my head and tottered along in my stilettos at the side of him.
Rob the security guard was busy watching something on YouTube as we approached the desk.
Marcus leant on the desk. “Excuse me, I think someone has left me a box to collect, my name is Marcus Hargreaves?”
I watched as Rob stared blankly at us both. “Sorry mate, don’t know anything about a box”.
Marcus’s face fell. “Oh Pete swore he left me them!”
Rob shook his head and returned to his iPad. Marcus turned to me. “Sorry Roxy, I need to make a call, do you mind waiting, I really need these folders.”
I smiled and found myself feeling light-headed as he held my gaze for a little longer than necessary.
Marcus made a call to Pete from the legal department. I knew Pete and by the sounds of it he was also enjoying an office Christmas party. At one point Marcus was shouting into the phone and try to be heard over loud pulsating dance music.
“Ah he’s left it on his desk!” growled Marcus, shaking his head. “I have no idea where Pete sits.”
Words flew out of my mouth. “I can show you!”
Rob struggled to take his eyes off his you tube video which contained dancing blonde bikini clad women as we went through the security barriers. He lifted his arm to wave at us.
Marcus and I stood staring at each other in the lift. Normally I would be distracted by my reflection in the mirrored walls of the lift and let out a cry of dismay at the state of my unruly hair. However my eyes were firmly fixed on Marcus’s face.
We walked to Pete’s desk and collected the box of folders. As we turned to head back to the lifts our arms brushed against each other. Electricity sizzled throughout my body.
By the lifts is a photo copying machine. We walked past it and Marcus put his hand on my arm. I stopped. Without talking he placed his cardboard box down and looked deeply into my eyes. All I can remember is thinking how I must start visiting Birmingham more often. In a flash we were kissing against the photocopier. He ran his hands through my hair and kissed me passionately. The rest is history along with 100 copies of my jean clad bottom.
Rob raised his eyebrows at me as both Marcus and I staggered past him sometime later. Marcus forgot all about his cardboard box.
Once we got outside Marcus suddenly remembered he was meeting someone and left in a hurry. I never saw him again and it was announced he was going to be my new senior manager four months later.
Ok so I am now telling him everything. All the stuff with Dan comes out, my fears of being a spinster and my wobbly bits.
Oh God I have just told my senior manager I have wobbly bits that are getting bigger!
Marcus is being sweet. He says that I am bound to find someone else and that I need to stay positive.
Just asking him how his dating life is going. I think it’s fair that he gives me an update too.
All the females in the office know Marcus is on the dating apps. He is so attractive for an older man. We all sit and talk about what we would do if someone like Marcus liked or winked at us on a dating app. The majority of single women in the office reckon they would wet themselves in shock and a small minority say that they would run out into the street screaming.
His dating life is not going very well. I try to hide a smile.
Apparently there is someone he has his eye on but its complicated. There would have to be some changes in his life and he’s not sure whether that person feels the same way.
I watch his lips move as he tells me about his feelings for this person.
For a moment I am back against the office photocopier kissing him like crazy.
Walking back to the office. Marcus has left me as he has a meeting. As we parted in the corridor there was a weird silence between us. I can’t explain it but it was like he wanted to tell me something but couldn’t find the words.
I thanked him for the coffee and made no photocopying offers.
Having my hair done in my lounge by Wayne my mobile hairdresser.
I am sat eating a huge bar of chocolate whilst Wayne eradicates my grey hairs and makes me a brighter shade of red.
This is what you do after a relationship falls apart; dye your hair and eat chocolate.
My wobbly bits are a lost cause. I might as well enjoy myself.
“So Roxy tell your Uncle Wayne everything!” says Wayne, whilst performing some hair magic using some bits of foil and a foul-smelling substance.
I download everything about Dan and I.
“Nasty business. I wouldn’t have trusted him with that Clara woman,” says Wayne, shaking his head in disapproval.
‘Thanks Wayne,” I say, before wedging a huge chunk of chocolate into my mouth.
“So when are you getting back on the dating apps?” asks Wayne, grinning at me.
“I don’t think I am destined to be with someone,” I say, letting out a sigh and reaching for more chocolate.
“Rubbish Roxy!” snaps Wayne, tapping me on the hand as though I am a naughty child stealing chocolate. “You are a beautiful and vivacious red-head. It would be a waste, a travesty if you were left on the shelf!” he cries.
“I don’t think I can face another relationship,” I moan, feeling tired at the thought of getting close to someone else and being heartbroken again.
“Nonsense!” barks Wayne. “Get out your phone now, log in and we can have a little nose at who is out there!”
“No Wayne I can’t!” I whimper, feeling tears prick my eyes.
Wayne stops fiddling about with my hair and bits of foil. He stands directly in front of me with his hands on the hips of his silver metallic jeans.
“Excuse me Roxy!” he screeches. “You are NOT giving up on love! Your hair is going to look amazeballs and you are one hot lady!”
“I am destined to be a spinster!” I cry.
“You will be if you don’t stop snivelling and get back out there Roxy, now come on where is your fighting spirit?” cries Wayne, glaring at me.
I reach across to the coffee table and grab my phone.
Wayne squeals as I open up my favourite dating app.
Marcus is staring back at me from the dating app. His profile is on my list of suggested dates.
“Whoa look at him?” says Wayne staring over my shoulder. “My goodness he looks just like George Clooney!”
‘That’s …Marcus…my senior manager’ I say feeling an odd fluttery sensation inside my chest.
“You are one lucky girl working for him!” purrs Wayne before letting out a sigh. “If I worked for him I would have countless HR issues so he’d have to spend all his time locked in a private room with me.”
I find myself gazing into Marcus’s eyes and wondering whether he ever remembers our kiss.