I had settled into the uncomfortable “friend” role with my quarry. She was sharing a house with two other students who I had got to know quite well. I was invited to one of the girls’ birthday parties, in a terraced house in the heart of University Area.
I arrived with a bottle of cheap wine. The party was well underway. There was a DJ playing hip-hop in the corner. He had a sound system set-up and was wearing baggy clothes, a Boston Celtics basketball jersey and a baseball cap on backwards.
He couldn’t be trying any harder, could he?
I said a few hellos and shook a few hands and settled myself with a mug of wine. Yeah, a mug. This was a student house, no Tipperary crystal goblets here.
Some friend of a friend was telling me all about a terrific book they had read. This was before The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Twilight, but it was something along those lines. I feigned interest.
Another try-hard. Anyone else?
Then the birthday girl entered. Her long ginger hair was tightly braided. She wore a long pastel summer dress, cherry red Doctor Martin boots and a push up bra. I had been in her company many times but never noticed how hot she was. Maybe it was the way she entered the room, pausing, framed in the doorway, looking right at me: eyeliner expertly applied.
Maybe the DJ skipped a beat, but time froze. At least it felt like it. I wanted to hear angels sing. She was effortlessly beautiful.
A couple of nights later I called round. Ginger hadn’t gone home for the weekend as usual and had stayed up in the city. The other two weren’t in. We went for a walk and popped into a few bars. She was talking quite flirtatiously, which was out of character. She had a new found confidence.
It was getting late. We went back to her place and watched TV. There was a hullabaloo from the hall as one of the other girls’ boyfriends struggled with the lock and crashed into the front room half-pissed.
We exchanged small-talk and then Ginger reached over and grabbed my hand. The boyfriend twigged immediately, made his excuses and left. Ginger waited until he was gone and snuggled in to me. I kissed her. She kissed me back. We sat in the dark for over an hour. Going for it. I asked what was happening with her boyfriend. They had split up. I was in.
I met the ex-boyfriend the following week. He told me how special she was and told me to take good care of her. He shook my hand. Little did he know I was to take care of her in the front seat of my Nissan Micra parked down a side street after a night at the local comedy club.