One week back at work and already I’ve got myself into trouble. Well, potential trouble.
I bump into a colleague, Ben, and we start having a chat by the water machine. I know, what a cliche.
Ben, it turns out, has just had a baby too, with his Norwegian partner. I’m interested/ relieved to hear this as Ben and I have history and right up until I learnt this snippet of news, I’ve tried to avoid all encounters with him.
We had a thing, which wasn’t really much of a thing, long before I met my husband, and I really liked him but didn’t fancy him and I handled it badly and have felt awkward around him ever since.
But now Ben not only has a partner (and a Norwegian one at that) but a baby boy and so I don’t have to feel any awkwardness at all. I hear the tone of my voice changing as he breaks his baby news to me.
“Ah that is great news. GREAT NEWS.” I gush. And then I babble on about J and bombard him with questions about this little boy and we laugh and chat for the next 10 minutes until Ben has to go and do something else.
I still have sod all to do so make my way to the coffee bar for yet another cup of Earl Grey and a KitKat (yep, losing those last baby pounds is going swimmingly…).
Then, later on that day I get an email from Ben asking if I’d like to grab some lunch with him at Rosina’s next week (Italian wine bar under our building).
Damn right, I do. I haven’t been asked out for lunch by anyone since I got back to work. Sandwich on a bench around the corner from the office for me these days. There’s not so much as a hint of a even a client lunch in my diary. So without a second thought I say YES! Xxx
And I’ve been regretting this ever since because a) the speed at which I replied and the content of my email smacked of desperation and b) I’m really looking forward to it and that makes me feel guilt. I’m a married mother. Ben is attractive and we have history (although I DON’T fancy him, still don’t). What am I getting myself into?
Then, last night (Sunday) at about midnight I’m running around the house trying to get all the washing together because the cleaner comes on Monday and I find a Coney & Barrow (wine bar in the City) receipt in my husband’s pocket for £175 – one hundred and seventy five pounds and sixty nine pence to be exact, I’ve got the piece of paper right here.
“Bloody hell, someone’s been treating themselves right,” I yell, flinging open the bathroom door and brandishing at him as he’s brushing his teeth. “Ah yes,” he says sheepishly. “A gang of us went for lunch the other day and I lost a bet and had to pay for the whole damn meal.”
If it wasn’t for my lunch date with Ben, today (yes, today!), I’d have torn him to shreds there and then for his stupid, immature bets and his shameful self indulgence when he has a young family to feed but I simply feel exonerated.
“Idiot!” I smile, shoving the receipt into my pocket for future reference.
If he can go out and enjoy lunch with colleagues (who he might or might not have had a thing with in the past, who knows) then so can I. There must surely be some benefits to being a married working mother?!
And besides, there is absolutely no way that my lunch will cost even half that.
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