I was getting over a breakup when I met Elsie again, in the shopping centre. We’d shared digs at University and the last I’d heard of her she was completing her PhD in computing and some other obscure science or two. Elsie had more brain than it seemed possible in a human being. But it didn’t extend to her choice in men. She seemed to be a magnet for every weird psychological type you didn’t want to meet . Perhaps it wasn’t her fault . With naturally wavy blonde hair, blue eyes, cupid mouth and the sweetest little button nose, every male up to and including Frankenstein fell for her . Life isn’t fair. She didn’t deserve them.
I told her about my break up over coffee and she was as sympathetic as it is only possible for someone who had been through it themselves, more than once. But she was radiant. She looked – happy.
“You’re looking well”.
“Things going OK then?” I wasn’t going to ask outright if she had a boyfriend. She might have given up on men and found a rewarding hobby or a cat.
She twirled a lock of shining hair round a finger , looking at me sideways, then suddenly she laughed.
“Yes, I have a boyfriend”.
I found myself smiling. “And he makes you happy. I am so glad. After the trouble you had, you deserve it “.
We smiled at each other. When things have gone wrong for years it is good when something turns out right.
“I’d like you to meet him. Are you free this evening?”
“I’m free every evening” I sighed.
Elsie chuckled. “Dinner at my place. Is seven OK?”
I nodded and we parted to go back to work.
I was surprised how upmarket the block of flats was where Elsie lived. Her previous boyfriends had been leaches, living off her and running up debts in her name. Now she had a goodun it looked like she was finally getting to enjoy her own money. I walked across a small manicured garden to her door, which opened just as I reached for the bell. My heart leapt to my throat. It couldn’t be. He looked just like my boyfriend in my first year at University. Then he spoke, a sexy French accent, like a cat purring and I knew it wasn’t him. He was older, taller, a most enticing smile. He looked like a youthful Louis Jourdain.
He ushered me into Elsie’s elegant lounge, took my coat and returned with a sparkling drink in a champagne glass, then he smiled and disappeared somewhere else in the house. I sat there, enjoying the bubbles fizzing against my nose thinking, “Wow. How did she do it. Break her bad luck and not only find someone good but drop dead gorgeous”. Just then Elsie came into the room dressed in a swimsuit with another draped over her arm. Nodding at my drink she said, “Like to get into some bubbles?”
“You’ve got a whirlpool?”
She nodded at the door leading to the patio. “Just through there. Get changed and join me”.
As we sat in the warm, frothing pool, drinks balanced on the edge, she filled in what had been happening since she left University. She was now working for some advanced engineering firm in some computer capacity. Completely over my head. My subject had been languages. Then I told her how my long term relationship with Mark had broken down. That as far as I was concerned, he was the one. But he didn’t want to commit.
Elsie nodded. “A lot of men are like that. Between 35 and 45 is time enough to get married. But we don’t have the time”.
We sat in silence for a time relaxing in the warm bubbles, looking up at the starry sky. Elsie called out to Alan to put some music on, and soon the gentle tones of Eno filtered through the evening air.
“Doesn’t Alan like water?”
Elsie laughed. “He’s on cooking duty this evening. That’s why he hasn’t joined us. He is a very good French cook”.
“I am glad you finally got the man you deserved”.
Elsie sipped her drink, then put it down. “Getting him was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But it was worth it”.
“I’ll bet. No criticism of Alan, but most men in his position view marriage as a career move. They hold out for the highest status, richest woman they can get. Alan must be very special”.
Elsie laughed again. “Oh, he is – special. And I am not sure that wasn’t an insult”.
“You know what I mean”.
“I know what you mean, and sadly it’s true”.
Confessional over we withdrew from the pool and prepared for dinner.
Dinner was fabulous accompanied by fabulous drinks. But oddly, Alan didn’t sit down with us. Elsie told me he couldn’t. He was on a special diet. Too many allergies.
When Elsie popped out to powder her nose I lifted the dishes to take to the kitchen. It wouldn’t be fair to expect Alan to do everything .
Alan was sitting at the kitchen table, rock still, his finger in an electric socket. I screamed and dropped the dishes. As Elsie ran into the room I screamed “He’s dead!”
“No, he’s not silly, he’s just recharging his batteries”.
I must have passed out because I awoke on Elsie’s luxurious sofa in the lounge and gorgeous, concerned, male brown eyes gazed into mine. I flinched away, but he said soothingly “Do not worry, leetle one, eet is zee shock”. Elsie’s cheerful face appeared over his shoulder as he stepped away after carefully tucking the woollen throw around my shoulders, like an attentive father.
“Elsie! What have you done!” I virtually shrieked at her. “What, what…” grasping hopelessly for the right words and not finding any, I gestured weakly in Alan’s direction, who was lounging in an easy chair and sipping carefully from a small glass. He winked at me . I fell back on the sofa with a sigh.
Elsie sat on the sofa beside me and took my hand. She looked slightly abashed. Then blushing prettily with the slightest nod towards Alan, she said “He is perfect, isn’t he?”
“Apart from allergies and recharging from the national grid” I retorted, trying to hold on to my sanity.
Then I started giggling. I couldn’t help it. Elsie looked at me, then she started too. Alan stared at us clearly puzzled, then with Gallic dignity got to his feet and stalked off to the kitchen. Presumably for a top-up.
When we stopped laughing and wiped our eyes, I said, “Elsie, never, never do anything like that to me again”.
Copyright 2014 Prayerwarriorpsychicnot