Connie has been happily married for a year. She's just met John Harding. Imagine the sexiest man you can think of. He's a walking stag weekend. He's a funny, disrespectful, fast, confident,...
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Connie has been happily married for a year. She's just met John Harding. Imagine the sexiest man you can think of. He's a walking stag weekend. He's a funny, disrespectful, fast, confident, irreverent pub crawl. He is also completely unscrupulous. He's about to destroy Connie's peace of mind, her grand plan for living happily ever after with her gentle, loving husband Luke. It's against the rules. It's the closest thing you'll get to an affair, without actually having one. Before the invention of networking people simply met, social climbed or licked arse. Now it's more hygienic. Now we have networking conferences, in Blackpool. I don't know, which is more depressing.I walk into the hotel lobby, late, to demonstrate my mind set. I shake the April showers from my umbrella and I'm immediately splattered with boisterous laughter from the hotel bar. The evening's entertainment is already underway. My esteemed colleagues are tipping sand buckets down the stairs and racing shots, badly, so that pink sticky liquid comes out of their noses. My heart sinks, I don't want to be here. I want to be at home with my husband, curled up in bed, reading or making love. Husband! I love that word. It's my favourite word and I've used it excessively over the last nine months, since I netted him.I know the whole conference will be a fearful bore; too much testosterone and not enough intelligence. I work for a large Management Consultancy (Looper Jackson) and in six month time we are merging with a mammoth Management Consultancy (Peterson Wind) to form a huge, dick singing one (Peterson Windlooper - I'm unsure what is to become of Jackson). The purpose of this conference for the management to identify natural leaders, team players and losers in a bid to reconstruct departments. I imagine preferred scenarios. I want to be on a beach in Barbados, I want to be in All Bar One with the girls, The King's Road, I want to be just about anywhere, other than here. I Pause. Except the office.
That was a very miserable thought. Best to check in, clean up and face it.I drop my bag, sigh, cast a glance around the chintzy bedroom, then call my husband. Disappointingly but somewhat predictably, he isn't in. The bathroom is large and white, with hideous gold swan taps, a butchers window at Christmas time. I run a bath, emptying the Crabtree and Evelyn salts into the lunging faucet. After bathing I dress. It's a black tie evening and every woman will opt for a conventional flouncy dress. To provide contrast I dress with a nurtured, rebellious streak, choosing a black sheer trouser suit. The top parts to show a tantalising flash of my stomach; currently flat, brown and sexy. I pile my hair on top, it looks too serious, so roughly, hurriedly I pull down random strands and twist them into dreadlocks. I check the result in the mirror and I'm pleased. I'm still more delighted when I thread my way through the white table clothes, black suits and predictable, unflattering ball dresses.It's the usual corporate dinner thing; vast, unseemly and profligate. Everyone is really going for it, a scene from Sodom and Gomorrah. Beery, bleary men stand in pulsing packs leering at the women. Red, drunken faces lurch forward, slurring their words and thoughts. The women wear their make up smudged around their eyes and their noses, their foreheads are shining, hardly vogue. Tomorrow will be the day for embarrasses nods and painful headaches but fuck it, tonight is the time to go for it. Sod them and tomorrow. By contrast my plan is, dinner, excuse, retreat, retire and ring my husband. I find my table and name plate, sit down and pull my face into a practised, polished social smile.His eyes are unfair.Too big, too blue, too overwhelming to allow any female a reasonable attempt at indifference. He has fine, transparent skin with a sprinkling of freckles. He is lean, taught, well defined, athletic. Not an ounce of unnecessary about him. He smells clea
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