Chapter Two

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None of my friends knew about Fred, not even my closest, Jo. I'm not quite sure why. Maybe I just never got round to it, maybe I didn't want to be laughed at or criticised. In the grand scheme of things, I guess it was so trivial. She'd had enough on her plate without worrying about my pathetic love life - or rather pathetic lack of it. Though I'm pretty sure she'd have understood; maybe I should have told her. Perhaps it would have made her realise why all my past relationships failed.  

None of them compared to Fred. 

Julian was my first long-term boyfriend. He was such a sweetheart. Very cuddly and loving, and he had always wanted to hold my hand when we were out in public. I went out with him when I was seventeen, for four months. Everything was going fine until we had sex. We were both virgins at the time - not that that had anything to do with it. It was awful and wonderful at the same time - he was so gentle and it could have been an amazing experience, if I hadn't made the stupid mistake of calling out Fred's name in the heat of the moment, that is. 

I tried to pretend I'd said something else, but I couldn't think of anything that sounded remotely like it, at the time. Naturally, he was rather upset. So much so that he never spoke to me again. I heard from a friend of a friend that he'd been heartbroken. As far as I know, he never did tell anyone what caused us to break up. He must have felt totally humiliated. I would have done too. 

He's since settled down with a sweet girl who was in our class at school. I've seen them together in the street, but I usually turn away and cross the road quickly. I'd rather spare him the embarrassment of having to speak to me.  

I didn't date anyone for a couple of years after that. It was probably because of the humiliation - and fear that I would give a repeat performance when things got hot and sweaty.  

Throughout my early twenties I had loads of flings - some of the guys were absolutely gorgeous and real sweethearts - but because Fred was always in the back of my mind, I knew I couldn't lead them on. One of them even proposed. It was awful, because I hadn't realised he was that serious. Understandably, he was very upset and very confused when I told him that wasn't what I wanted. I ended our relationship the same night.  

Last December, on my twenty-eighth birthday, I met a guy who was tall and slim, with jet-black hair and piercing deep blue eyes. I almost wet my pants when I first laid eyes on him. 

It was in a club in Lincoln. A few friends and I were staying in the area (I'm sure you can imagine why I chose Lincoln - it being relatively close to Skegness and all) to celebrate my birthday. I glanced across the room and towards the door, when this gorgeous guy walked in. He was wearing a crisp, white long sleeved T-shirt and a pair of dark blue jeans. His wavy, shoulder-length black hair made his blue eyes stand out like sapphires on a bed of lush black velvet. He was with a couple of friends who were pretty cute too, but not my type.  

I could barely take my eyes off him. As he walked up to the bar to get a drink, he turned, gazing around the room until he spotted me. I swear he looked me right in the eyes. It was intense. Ignoring my pals nattering away at our table, I was so completely and utterly mesmerised that I stood up and shook my long dark hair. I was so pleased I'd made an effort that night, wearing my favourite short blue dress. I have to admit, I felt pretty good.  

Walking towards the bar, with my hips swaying from side to side, I looked at him and licked my bottom lip. I could tell he was impressed by what he saw. He looked me up and down and, quite indiscreetly, licked his lips too. I had never felt sexual chemistry like it.  

I wasn't exactly sure what I had planned to do, or say, but as I approached him, he moved away from the bar and gently placed his hand on the base of my back and gently guided me towards the dance floor.  

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