January 5th, 1990
I’d have been happy staying out late tonight but I had to be home by ten, for the start of standby.
For once, I’m hoping to get called out but I must admit, it’s a strange feeling knowing just one phone call can take you anywhere in the world.
Spent so much time on the phone today that I was in great peril of becoming lodged in the phone chair. Until Ben rang.
“Oh, hello,” I responded, in my best “I’m not at all upset with you,” voice.
“Whatcha up to?”
“I’ve been catching up with my friends.”
“Are we not friends anymore?”
“You tell me,” I said, curtly.
“I hope we are.”
“Really?” I sneered.
“Yeah, I do. I think we’ll always be friends.”
“If you say so,” he snapped back.
The not so little voice inside my head was screaming; “Hang up the phone! Hang up the phone!”
Of course, I completely ignored it and blurted, “So, what are you up to?”
“I’m meeting Ian at the Barn later and I was wondering if you’d like to come?”
My inner voice continued; “Don’t. You. Dare. Say. Yes!”
“Yeah,” I breathed into the phone. “That’d be nice. I haven’t seen Ian for ages.”
“I know you like the food there.”
“Of course you know that. We’ve been going there together for almost seven years,” is what I should have said, but instead I wimped out with, “I do, yes.”
“So, you’ll come?”
“Sure, why not? I’m not doing anything else.”
“Come and pick me up?”
But, of course.
My little heart was all a flutter when I pulled up outside his house. So much so in fact, that I waited in the car for a few minutes before I got out and knocked on the door. While I waited, I took a few deep breaths in an effort to calm myself. When Ben opened the door, he had a huge grin on his face that made me want to kiss and throttle him, all at the same time!
We talked with ease all the way to the restaurant and laughed a lot over dinner with Ian. Popped into the lively Nags Head afterwards and bumped into a few people we knew from school. I expected Ben to stay at the pub with Ian but when I said I was leaving, he grabbed his coat.
When we pulled up outside his house, I felt my heart rate quicken and with him sitting so close, it took everything I had to ignore the overwhelming urge I felt to reach over and grab him. Surprisingly, I managed to maintain my composure and continue talking.
“I really need to go,” I said, glancing at my watch. “I start standby in ten minutes.”
“Ok,” he grinned.
Ahhhhhh, I thought. Please don’t look at me like that.
“Let me know if you get called out.”
“I will,” I nodded.
He leaned in for what I thought would be a goodbye peck on the cheek but somehow, our lips found each other.
I missed the first twenty minutes of standby.