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Pen Your Pride


215 10 4

The first advert really did appear in London's Evening standard, everything else is my imagination running riot.

'To the sexy brunette running down Wandsworth Road last Friday: I'm sorry I couldn't catch you. Hope your foot is Ok. Call me,' I read out the advert in the personal columns of the Evening Standard.

'Catch you?' Michelle scoffed, 'he tripped you up then practically threw you on the ground.' Michelle shares a house with me. We are mates, but we see the world from opposite ends of the spectrum.

I lowered my paper, annoyed Michelle should break into my romantic fantasy, 'He did try to catch me.' The bruise on my leg was itching again.

'He dropped you.'

'I think it's romantic,' I said.

'What, tripping you up, or dumping you?'

I was losing sensation in my bum again so I shifted awkwardly to the other cheek 'Putting something in the paper to say sorry. And he was kind of cute.'

'You could tell that from your position on the ground, could you?'

'He had a cute bum.'

'About all you could see from your angle - except, of course, the hairs up his nose,' she glared at me. 'You're not going to phone him. Are you?'

'No. Absolutely not. Thought hasn't even crossed my mind,' I said. Michelle glared at me suspiciously. I hid myself behind the paper again. It was kind of true: I would like to have replied to his advert, but I didn't have the courage. Besides I had already made other arrangements.

Michelle turned back to her own copy of the paper. She would find it soon.

'Do you think Amanda should phone him, Barry?' Michelle addressed the hunk in whose arms she sprawled.

In Barry's circle of friends he's considered something of a guru. They think he's 'deep' - which says more about his friends than it does about Barry. He thought about it for a while.

'Dunno,' he said. Which for Barry is about as deep as it gets.

I want a guy who thinks before he acts; who speaks only after considerate thought, who loves me and me only, who is there to catch me if I fall - or at least to make the effort. Not someone who refrains from straying only if he's kept on short leash (Barry's circle of admiring friends is a lot smaller since Michelle captured him). Is that too much to ask?

She was going to get to it any moment now.

'Here's another one,' Michelle shrieked, 'To the brave knight who tried to catch me outside Starbucks. Thanks. I think you're gorgeous. Phone me.'

'Some people are real suckers for romance.' Barry grunted - his idea of romance is a bottle of warm plonk served with a grin.

Then the penny, and Michelle's jaw, dropped, 'Amanda, tell me you didn't.'

'I didn't,' I lied.

'Then he must go round town tripping women up and hoping they'll fall for him - is that desperate or what?'

Barry Grinned, 'Sweet.'

Michele laughed, ''Do you remember that guy from Peckham, Amanda. The one you dated after you bumped into him and he picked up all your shopping? He was ok.'

'A gent,' Barry grunted.

'Yeah, not like that twat you shunted at the crossroads who wanted to marry you.'

I hid my face, I wanted to crawl under the sofa with embarrassment - the trend was so obvious even Barry should see it by now.

'And what about that doctor who tried to hit on you after you broke your leg,' Michelle was in full flow and I was feeling no taller than a flee.

Suddenly the phone rang shattering Michelle's reminisces about my appalling love life.

Barry reached out a muscular arm and lifted the receiver, 'Ullo.' He listened for a moment before holding it out to me, 'for you, Amanda. Some guy from Wandsworth says he's gonna sue you for assault.'

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