9.15 a.m. Receive a mixed reaction from the office to my new vibrant red hair colour.
Martin, my line manager, takes one look at me, grips the desk and says ‘good grief Roxy what have you done!’
The nice men on the IT helpdesk give me a thumbs up and then ask me to fake an IT problem so they can spend time with me.
The young trendy girls in the office give me a ‘OMG – cooooooool hair!’
The older women in the office cast me a puzzled look and ask me whether the colour is permanent.
If I am honest, Wayne did get carried away with the colour of my hair. I was left speecheless when he gave me the mirror.
Matilda, my teenage daughter, arrived home from her Cheerleading training session, took one look at my hair and rolled her eyes. I then overheard her, later in her room, making a YouTube video titled ‘When your mother thinks she’s 21 again’.
9.25 a.m. Marcus, my senior manager, walks past my desk and gives me a smile. The weird fluttering sensation in my chest returns.
10.05 a.m. Receive text from Matilda, my teenage daughter, asking whether she can stay over at her new boyfriend Matt’s house tonight.
I am not sure whether Matilda thinks that I am suffering from amnesia. I have been saying no to this request for months. This is not happening. She’s not staying over at a boy’s house!
I text back ‘NO!’
Text back from Matilda ‘relax Mam, it is just like a girlie sleepover but with a boy!’
I text back ‘NO!’
Text from Matilda ‘Lou [her best friend] says her Mum would let her stay over with a boy’
I text back ‘I am not Lou’s mother!’
Text from Matila ‘Matt and I both hate you!’ and eight devil emojis.
10.20 a.m. Sat in a meeting where Marcus is presenting some business statistics.
All the department are sat on chairs in rows. Some of us are listening, some are nearly asleep (Mike from Finance), some are bored rigid, some are staring out of the window and some of us are drooling at Marcus.
For some unknown reason I can’t take my eyes off him; his fitted pink shirt, his grey pin stripe trousers and his styled grey flecked hair.
10.24 a.m. He’s still talking but I have noticed the occasional glance in my direction from him.
10.25 a.m. He’s done it again. Looked at me from across the room.
I am so glad no one else has noticed this.
I am tapped on the shoulder, from behind, by Helen from Accounts. ‘Why does Mr Hot keep staring at you?’ she whispers.
I shrug my shoulders and keep my eyes firmly fixed on Marcus.
‘Maybe he likes your new hair colour’ Helen whispers, making me nod in agreement.
‘Maybe he fancies you!’ she whispers into my ear. The idea of Marcus being attracted to me starts to take shape. I am consumed by the fluttery sensation in my chest again and I can feel my cheeks heating up.
In an instant my brain runs through how our wedding day will look and whether or not I will invite anyone from the office to the evening celebration.
‘He’s a senior manager Roxy’ Helen whispers. My fantasy starts to crack.
‘Unlucky honey – he couldn’t date you anyway in his position of authority’ she hisses.
I turn around to glare at her face which is taut and twisted.
Helen has never really moved on from the blonde surfer who broke her heart. She hates to see anyone else getting some attention from the opposite sex.
My fantasy with Marcus is broken.
He gives me a look and I smile. The daydream was nice whilst it lasted.
For the record if I did get married Helen from Accounts will not be invited to the evening celebration.
10. 34 a.m. Get back to my desk and see email from Marcus. He wants to me come to his office as he has an update for me.
10.36 a.m. As I walk towards his office my phone bleeps. I casually peek at it and gasp. Its from Shaz, my heavily pregnant best friend.
‘I have pains – think its labour’ Shaz texts.
Quickly I text back. ‘You are four weeks early. Its probably Braxton-Hicks’
‘It hurts’ texts Shaz. She also includes eight crying emojis.
‘How many Snickers bars have you had?’ I text back.
‘Ten – why?’ texts Shaz.
‘Stop eating Snickers bars!’ I text back.
‘Are you still going to be my birthing partner?’ texts Shaz.
‘Yes – always – get some rest!’ I text back.
10. 37 a.m. I sit opposite Marcus and I can’t stop the fluttering sensation in my chest. It must be my breakfast repeating on me.
As he is on the phone I check my bag for some indigestion tablets. I don’t have any so I pop a mint.
10. 50 a.m. He finally puts down his phone and holds my gaze.
‘Roxy’ he says in his sexy smooth voice. I notice that his sea blue eyes are not sparkling today.
‘I am leaving the company’ he announces.
My heart sinks.
For a moment we both sit and stare at each other.
My phone starts ringing.
I let my phone ring. A lump has risen in my throat. I am actually sad to hear Marcus’s news.
‘There will be a formal briefing later. I wanted to tell you myself’ he says, breaking eye contact and shuffling some folders around his desk.
My phone starts ringing again from inside my handbag.
‘I am so sorry Marcus’ I say, trying not to cry. It is not good for your career to cry when a senior manager says they are leaving. All emotion must be kept to a minimum. I just hope I am not asked to sign his leaving card. I struggle with writing comments on leaving cards as my emotions run wild. I have been known to give people the wrong impression. Kevin from Accounts, who left the company, still thinks there is something between us six years on.
My phone will not stop ringing.
‘I think it is my daughter calling to tell me she hates me’ I moan, praying that whoever it decides to stop calling. I just hope Matilda has not taken it upon herself to accept Matt’s invitation of a sleep over and is now calling to tell me.
It will not be the first time that I have to physically remove her from a boy’s house. These teenage years are really hard.
Matilda seems to be a magnet for boys. I think we need to have a mother and daughter heart to heart.
‘i just wanted to say….’ he pauses. He takes a breath and looks away.
‘I will miss you’ the words fly out of my mouth and take me by surprise. I do struggle when my brain and mouth decide to disconnect.
His eyes widen and I watch his mouth fall open.
My phone is ringing. This has to be an emergency. I just hope Matilda is not over at Matt’s house having her own version of a sleepover…during the day.
I check the screen. Its Shaz. Quickly I answer it.
‘I need to go to the hospital Roxy, the pain is really bad’ groans Shaz.
‘Marcus’ I say. ‘I have to go, my best friend thinks she’s in labour and I am her birthing partner’
Marcus looks shocked and runs his hand through his grey flecked hair.
‘Isn’t the father about?’ he enquires.
‘Sadly not, he doesn’t want anything to do with her. It is a long story. He’s a postman’ I explain.
‘Do you have a car?’ he asks.
I shake my head. ‘I will get a taxi’ I say reaching for my purse.
‘Let me help you’ he says, rising from his chair and grabbing his jacket.
Now it is my turn to be shocked.
‘But you are the senior manager’ I say grabbing my bag.
‘I am leaving Roxy’ he says, whilst giving me a huge smile.
11.30 a.m. Marcus is driving at pace through town and towards the hospital.
Shaz and I are in the back of his Jaguar. I am holding Shaz’s hand whilst she groans and mumbles ‘Snickers bar….someone get me a Snickers Bar…help me!’
He keeps catching my eye in the mirror.
I am nervous for Shaz but I am consumed once again by this fluttery feeling.
11.40 a.m. Marcus and I are pushing Shaz in a wheelchair, up to the Maternity section of the hospital.
‘You didn’t have to do this!’ I shout as we race along.
‘I like rescuing you Roxy’ he says and turns to look at me.
We both stop pushing the wheel chair and stare at each other.
The world around us seems to stop.
All I can hear is the thudding of my heart.
‘Really?’ I ask.
‘That’s all I want to do’ he says, holding my gaze.
‘OMG Roxy I am in labour and you are on the bloody pull!’ shrieks Shaz.