7th August 2015
I know I shouldn't complain about the quiet in the office. It should be a chance for me to clear out the stationery cupboard, file the backlog of expenses and clear out my bottom in-tray of non-urgent items which I don’t really know what to do with. But we've got the whole of August to get super organised and career focussed so to escape the stony silence I slip into my favourite fantasy: holidays! I can’t resist the urge to have a quick peep at Facebook and Instagram and be transported into the holiday images of sun, sea, happy smiley faces, which are crowding my News Feed making me beyond nostalgic for my trip away.
This spurred me on to some thorough research on the best fake tan to keep speedily fading self on par with the best of my Mediterranean looking friends with their sun-kissed bodies returning from their private, yachts, villas and chateaus. Next morning I was excited to see my legs had turned a brown which even a lifetime on a beach wouldn't have mustered. The thrill was quickly replaced with horror as I spotted the patchwork of smudged brown on my should-be white palms. Horror turned to panic as the desperate scrubbing with bleach had no impact. I side tracked past Boots on my way in to work 20 minutes early to get the antidote for the fake faux pas. Urrrrgh roll on autumn when I can get some thick tights on and hibernate the hairless, cooked Wall’s sausage bod.
On another note, my constant search for a new style salad is running out of steam and tucking into a bottle of Rose with a punnet of olives and strawberries is becoming the after-work ritual with or without Fran. Whilst the extra lumps and bumps I’d built up around my torso have mysteriously disappeared, I'm regularly waking up in the early hours sweating about my liver and promising myself to stop. And then 8 o'clock comes round and despite trying to distract myself, I crave and then justify with a promise of “just one”.
My pitiful lack of willpower playing on my mind as I stirred the sugar into my cappuccino in the kitchen, I blurted out my Rose obsession to Priscilla. Imagine my surprise to get concern not for me but for her penchant for a G&T with ice and slice. I swear she was salivating as she said “gin and tonton”. The talk of drink had the opposite effect and we agreed to go for a quick one after work to discuss and, after the fizzy water and nuts, we took advantage of the sexy waiter teasing us with happy hour cocktails. The waiter was Charlie’s double which prompted a rendition of Priscilla's disapproval of Charlie’s new girlfriend. I gorged on the systematic assassination of her inappropriate behaviour and dress at the christening on Sunday as well as the wine, which I was quaffing like Ribena, as I feigned concern and gently prodded the nest every time she started to lose steam.
The next bottle anaesthetised the embarrassment recalling the Charlie date fiasco as I staggered back home humming Beyonce's Xo. Next morning’s dry mouth justified with “important work bonding meeting and the need renew my flirtation with Charlie” and anyway, it’s summer, the sun’s shining and while the cats are away, the mice will play.
I’ll start the booze diet in September when they’re back. Definitely.
14th August 2015 - 50 Shades of Lucy...
“Hey, hope you’re good. Sorry to contact you out of the blue but I’m a bit stuck. Need a hen party venue – where was your mate’s stag? Lx”
“Luc, great to hear from u! Stag was Barcelona. Fancy a drink to discuss? Cx”
Wooah! Forced myself to wait until next morning to respond with “Yeah sure, when? Lx”
“Tonight after work?” Yes but noooo why didn’t I reply yesterday?! I looked despairingly at my less-than-Friday outfit.
Eeeeeeeeeeeek! This is just what I need to spice up the summer haze. Now what to wear? Obvs I have to get something in lunch break – hit TopShop for a mini and pumps. So glad the fake palms have faded and I’ve built up a great look on the legs. Feeling good and sooo excited watching the clock slowly tick tock tick tock all afternoon and keep having to snap myself out of daydreaming and focus on filing.
I rocked up at the bar 10 minutes late and melted and heart pumped at the sight of his back hunched over a paper with a beer at the bar. The curly bits on the back of his neck made me want to kiss them but I tapped him on the arm as he whirled round and gave me his twinkly smile as his arms wrapped me up like a long lost lover.
I couldn’t help the grin that was pulling from ear to ear as I burst in on Monday morning at a few minutes to 9. This was soon replaced with a panicked frown as I remembered the Chairman was in meeting a client at 8.30. With the guilt of seeing that Priscilla had prepared everything I quickly cranked up the computer, shook out some papers from my filing tray and dashed to the loo to check myself out to make sure everything was in place. I was mortified to see that my skirt had been hitched up by my bag from who knows when on my journey in. And who knows who had had that eye-full. At least no one in the office; I was last in. I slammed the door on the thoughts that tried to flood in of me innocently strutting the streets from Green Park as the Mayfair world looked down on my knickers. The image was replaced with a questioning raised eyebrow from Priscilla. “I’m so sorry! I got stuck on the tube, and my mum called just before I left and then my train was cancelled, and, and … I’ll make up the time tonight!” Oh god. Why didn’t I just tell the truth? She came back with a coffee and went back to her desk without a word. That said more than anything that she was less than impressed. Bang goes the friendship when I need it most. A vibration from my pocket and my hand was there in a flash. “Morning, you looked too peaceful to wake up when I left. I hope you weren’t late. Cx”
As I chew the end of my pen, I start to replay the last 60 hours. I’m either the luckiest or most gullible girl in the world. How could I get from Friday when I thought Charlie was dating a Made-In-Chelsea model to here Monday morning gripping a text from him floating like a bubble that might burst at any moment. No games, no waiting just cut to all-out trashy Jilly Cooper passion. We established early on that Milly was a no-go and had lasted less than three dates ending with a very awkward christening when she clearly didn’t fit in to the family setting. With a clear conscious I relaxed into the evening fuelled with Tequila and talk. That’s it. No solids till after midnight meant everything was soft focus, with a pleasant fuzz in my head. Everything was bigger, brighter and better. We were on the rooftop of his Boathouse studio flat with a Dick Van Dyke view of grubby rooftops that were the perfect backdrop to the perfect evening. It happened when we were lying on an old sun lounger cushion as he attempted to romantically identify the crowds of stars who I could see were silently willing this one to work. And then the kiss. I’ve got it captured in ultraslow motion so I can replay it over and over like reading the kinky bits of Lady Chatterly’s Lover when I was a kid. The first touch of his tongue and I’m a mass of electrons bouncing off the walls as my mind jumps on a pogo stick. Outside I can see I’m calm. I relish every second expecting it to be the last; so happy when it’s not.
“Lucy!” Bang, I jump out of my skin and knock the mug of coffee which hasn’t been touched since she left. How long had Priscilla been standing there?! I felt like she’d seen the whole film unfold by the way she was looking at me. “Penny for your thoughts!” “Oh, eerrr, sorry I didn’t get much sleep last night”. I was truly relieved to hear Priscilla ignoring me and confirming Charlie’s story as her best friend had confirmed he had dumped Milly. Clearly this had not been a great match for either party. I wonder what Priscilla would think of me as a replacement? I’m definitely not intending on finding out. I can’t kill this floaty feeling of perfection just yet. Just as Charlie swept round the corner with the excuse of photocopying needed. All the promises I made to myself of not dating anyone in the office had blown up in my face.
Friday 21st August - More Fiction Than Fiction
When RMS asked me to write a weekly diary after they had found me my new job I must admit I was a bit nervous. They wanted it to be entertaining and informative mainly to candidates at secretarial college or to other candidates with similar experiences and maybe give them a sense of solidarity. I’m not sure I’ve been particularly informative recently but hopefully it’s been entertaining. I’ve tried to keep the love life at bay but failed on that front last week with my 50 shades (more on that later). The most exciting bit about writing this for me is getting your messages and feedback. It’s great looking back over the weekly posts and sparking the memories of my time here. I love sharing my experiences and getting the PMs and comments from you and best of all reading about everyone else’s stories usually more fiction than fiction and all the more entertaining when they’re “based on a true story”. We are looking for your more fiction than fiction story which I’m sure other candidates will love to read. RMS has agreed to run a competition this week so send me your real life is better than fiction story of something that’s happened at work by email via RMS at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment at the end of this post. They are giving away a £25 John Lewis voucher to the winner.
So this week’s been surprisingly busy despite my bosses being away mainly because of our Chairman, Richard. He was in the office last Monday with a client which opened the door to a stream of requests after I offered to get his lunch which apparently was “just the job”, progressing to him calling me every day with one job after another. The first was to pick up his reading glasses from the Lansdowne Club. He reminds me of my granddad, such a sweetie, an old school gentleman, talking at half the pace of everyone else and yet being twice as interesting and informative. If bowler hats were still in fashion then I’m sure he’d be wearing one with his immaculate look; white slicked back hair, braces and Savile Row suit and shiny shoes. I’m slightly concerned that looking after him may be a problem when the others get back but I have a problem with saying “no”. He doesn’t come into the office very often so it’s mainly on the phone which is fine but I think he forgets that I’m on reception and need to take other calls. Priscilla is happy to take the calls that trip to her automatically but I do feel guilty. On Tuesday I had to use up my lunch ½ hour going to the Landsdowne Club to pick up his reading glasses. He is so polite and grateful and more importantly he is the Chairman. Missing a liaison with Charlie that lunch had its advantage too. By the time we met after work we had to skip the planned cinema trip and head straight to the company flat for which I have keys to meet the “cleaner”. Now that little secret would definitely not be on here if you knew who I was and where I worked which, by the way, despite requests, I cannot reveal (sorry)!
Charlie has the potential of taking over my every thought despite trying to push him out of my head and stay focussed on work. It doesn’t help knowing he’s one floor away. I was doing really well until this afternoon I picked up an external call for Charles Munro, from a forthright sexy girls voice. I sparked to life then froze in panic when she said her name was Milly Butler. Not Milly, the christening girlfriend. Yes Milly. The Milly, who’s drop dead gorgeous. I put her through with alarm bells ringing like mad through my head and fell into a dark place trying to work out if Charlie had pulled the wool over my eyes. I wasn’t due to see him tonight. I needed to discuss and analyse with Fran.
Friday 28th August 2015 Bank Holiday Friday
Firstly, thank you to everyone who sent their incredible real life is better than fiction experiences, the girls at RMS and I had a hoot reading through your entries! The winner will be revealed shortly so keep an eye on your inbox…
Secondly – to the Milly issue. My heart plummeted when I put that call through to Charlie last week. I am really starting to like this boy, with his unspoken confidence, with his thoughtfulness, with his soft curls that bounce on his collar line and make me want to twist my fingers through them and snog his handsome face right off! My heart plummeted because the perfect little dream I’d been living shattered like broken glass: how can I compete with a beautiful reality TV model, in her beautiful reality TV world; whisking him off to film premieres, strolling from complimentary champagne to complimentary champagne through Chelsea and Belgravia, having all day to dedicate to blow dries; eye lash extensions; manicures; facials while I’m sprinting around Mayfair with frizzy rain hair and my skirt tucked into my pants. I spent the weekend agonising over this whilst systematically drawing Hitler moustaches over Milly’s face in all the old Grazia and Heat magazines that litter our little flat.
Then my worst fears came true – on Saturday night a mutual friend instagrammed a picture of a house party, and tucked cosily into an armchair in the corner were Charlie and Milly – her long legs draped over his lap and both of them in stitches of laughter. I found it on Sunday and felt instantly sick. It was at that point that I got a stiff G&T and a pep talk from Fran: ‘Lucy, stop it. He’s told you they’re just friends and you have no real reason to think otherwise. Do you want to ruin this for yourself before it’s even started?’ No I do not.
This week the game is on – I’m not going down without a fight. Charlie hasn’t mentioned Milly to me and I haven’t mentioned her to him, but we’ve been for stolen lunchtime dates, drinks after work and he even leaned in for the briefest naughtiest peck on my lips in the kitchen when I made him laugh with an impression of Priscilla slurping tea. Been feeling very Bridget Jones, wafting around the office in a mini skirt, and applying crap loads of Touche Eclat to try and hide the hangovers. I know next week will kick off again as everyone returns to the office from there summer breaks so I’m savouring these last summer hours, stealing little glances and smiles with Charlie. This morning he sent me a link to Secret Escapes – a boutique Brighton hotel – with the title: ‘Just booked this. Join me for the bank holiday?’
Am I dreaming? YES PLEASE. As I’m finishing up this afternoon I’m humming happily to myself and planning what to pack. Milly who…?