My stumbling progression towards life as a mad aunt with too many dachshunds.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The Good, the Bad, and the Belatedly Fugly: Part 3, The Fugly
So, cast your mind back to the last time I wrote. I was wandering happily away from the house, head full of Freddie, off to have a picnic in the park with Cora. Belatedly, here comes the Fugly part…
‘Oh NO!’ Cora said suddenly, looking despairingly over my shoulder as I nibbled tortilla chips and guacamole on our makeshift picnic blanket, ‘they FOUND us. Gah, Neenee looks annoyed.’ I sighed disgustedly. ‘She’s the sort of girl that probably always does. Oh well. Know your enemy.’ And I turned and waved at the approaching pair. Within seconds, my wish was being granted. Neenee, apparently, has an ardour for talking about herself that even I - a woman who repeatedly writes about her own life on the internet with the expectation that strangers will read it - find extraordinary.
They sat down and, coiling repulsively around Freddie like some pernicious creeper, Neenee squealed in delight at seeing Julianne Moore on the cover of Cora’s copy of Vogue. ‘Oh, I LOVE her, sooo beautiful, really unusual looking. She makes a great model, too, she has such an expressive face. I did some face-modeling a while ago, ‘beauty’ they call it, but I just didn’t find it, you know, um, creative enough? I’m a really creative person and I need to express that so I applied to art college with a specialism in photography. And, you know, I know it’s the right thing for me because that’s how I met my Fweddie.’ She giggled up at him revoltingly, whilst Cora tapped away furiously at her phone and I stared, transfixed, at Freddie’s blank expression.
‘But I don’t miss the modeling’, she went on, inexorable in her self-obsession. ‘It was so wrong for me, you know, and because I wasn’t tall enough for catwalk my agency didn’t give me the attention they should have done. I mean, I think I could have been really successful if I wasn’t so petite. But I’d rather be little, anyway. I think it’s more feminine, you know? And it’s great knowing it’s there, you know, that my face is always going to be looked at in that way? Cause, like, not everyone has the right look, you know?’ There was a blissful pause during which Cora sighed meaningfully and I read the text message she’d sent me during the diatribe. ‘GAHHHH. MISS BATES MEETS DEMON PIXIE. Is that a FAIRY tattooed on her ankle?! Hahahahaha.’
‘You could almost have been a model, Alice’, Neenee piped up again, surprising me in the guilty act of trying to look for the (there it was – alarmingly kitsch) ankle tattoo. ‘You’ve got the height for it, anyway,’ she added, smiling at me with her perfect little teeth, ‘and you know, it’s all about how you present yourself.’ She looked me over critically. ‘OOOOOO, you should let me style you.’ Freddie shifted uncomfortably away her. ‘Neenee,’ he said impatiently, ‘Alice is 25 or something, she doesn’t want to be styled.’ He glanced at me evilly. ‘And I’m pretty sure she only wears her frumpy cow-girl dresses for picnics. Normally she looks quite…’he grinned at me, ‘...groomed.’
I threw a grape at him and laughed. ‘I’ll have you know this is my D.H. Lawrence tea-dress, Freddie.’ He grinned some more and kicked me lazily on the ankle. ‘Call it what you want, Ally, it’ll always be the frumpy cow-girl dress to me.’ I giggled, Cora made a non-verbal sound of disgust and Neenee pouted furiously. ‘I’m sure I saw it in Whistles’, she muttered crossly. ‘Yes, that’s where I got it from’, I said, puzzled. ‘But you said it was…’ Neenee’s voice trailed off uncertainly, but Cora cut in, ‘She meant that she feels like she’s in a D.H. Lawrence novel when she wears it, Neenee. Alice has an infatuation with badly written melodrama.’ Freddie scowled and threw the poor grape at Cora’s face.
Neenee looked from one of us to the other and leaned towards Freddie. ‘Fweddieeee’, she wheedled, ‘Neenee wants an icecweam.’ Cora and I exchanged horrified glances which made her laugh a bit too loud and Neenee stared at her viciously and unfolded her tiny, evil form from the picnic blanket. ‘It’s been nice getting to know you better,’ I murmured up at her lamely, feeling that it had been anything but, but also feeling too English not to say it. ‘Um, Freddie,’ I went on, suicidally polite, ‘there’s a really nice Italian ice cream parlour over that way –‘ I pointed ‘-if you’d rather not have Mr Whippy.’
He had been staring, as far as I could see, at Neenee’s purple-painted toe nails. Either he had a foot fetish, I reasoned, or Neenee’s baby-voice had been pushing it even for him. When I said his name he looked at me with a slightly annoyed expression. ‘Alice, I don’t want an ice cream at all. I don’t like ice cream,’ he remarked in cryptic irritation. Neenee leaned down and stroked his hair possessively, saying, as if he’d been addressing her, ‘I know you don’t, honey bunny, but Neenee does.’ Cora squeezed my hand desperately and I thought Freddie winced. He got up, all the same, said he’d see me later, and walked off in the direction I’d suggested. Neenee simpered an insincere goodbye and trotted off after him, pretending that she couldn’t keep up till he threw her, in her annoying Katy Perry shorts, over his shoulder. She screamed in delight. I choked back vomit. ‘Oh Alice,’ Cora said, pityingly, ‘I’m sorry, but she is FUNNY.’
See, I told you. FUGLY.
And then things got even fuglier. Fugliness has been, it would seem, all around me, much of it frustrating my efforts to blog. Liz, the other assistant at work, was made redundant in the company’s belated response to the credit crunch, leaving me with double the workload and double the attention from Mad Mary. Ahh. My personal hell. Then the nice men next door that Laura and I have been flirting with to get free access to their wireless internet for the last two years moved out, to be replaced by a sweet two-child family that doesn’t have internet at all.
After almost two weeks of peculiar, fraught squabbling over internet packages (Jamie wanted Sky, Laura wanted the cheapest thing available, Freddie wanted Virgin and I just didn’t care at all) Freddie lost his temper and got us Virgin XL without warning anyone. He announced it in a terse email sent round to us all while we were at work. ‘Got us Virgin. TV etc. £12 each monthly. Hope ok. Fred.’ I arrived home at 10.30 that evening after working late and then meeting poor Liz for a drink, to find Freddie sitting in the garden, drinking beer while Laura and Jamie checked Facebook feverishly in the living room, apparently having recovered from their yearnings for other broadband deals.
With no one to talk to, I went out to the garden. ‘Ally’, Freddie said brightly as I hovered in the doorway, ‘how was your day?’ He patted the seat next to him. ‘Fiiiine’, I said, sitting down with him, ‘yours?’ He nodded. ‘Not bad.’ He waved his beer bottle at me. ‘No thanks,’ I told him, before realizing he wanted another. I rolled my eyes and fetched one, feeling dangerously wifey. He put his arm round me as I sat down again. ‘Thanks, gorgeous’, he grinned, evidently feeling provocatively husbandy. I rolled my eyes and slapped him lightly on the leg, and then leaned against him, because he was nice and warm and frankly the weather wasn’t, especially.
He sniffed my hair appreciatively. ‘You smell nice. Good shampoo. Speaking of – you’re running out of that Yin Yang stuff you use on your face. Can you get some more? I quite like it.’ I leaned away and scowled at him. ‘YOU get some more. They’ve got an internet site, just go and order some, it’s not hard.’ His arm tightened around my waist. pulling me back against him and I could feel him laughing. ‘Don’t they have it in shops? Need some to take to Kenya with me.’ ‘Kenya?’ I asked, my voice higher pitched than it ought to have been. ‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘got some money to make a documentary over there – wildlife and the environment thing. Be out there for three weeks.’ ‘Oh!’ I said, ‘That’s what you do.’ Then, voice tragic, ‘When are you leaving?’ ‘Friday,’ he said, his fingers unexpectedly weaving between mine and squeezing hard. ‘This Friday?’ I asked, too surprised to pretend I didn’t care. ‘The day after tomorrow?’ ‘Yyyeaaahhh, ‘It’s ok, I’m coming back,’ he teased. ‘Would’ve thought you’d be glad to have a break.’ I breathed in deeply and smelled beer on his breath. ‘Well…I’ll miss you’, I admitted, softly. ‘I’ll miss you too,’ he told me, and his hand found its way back to my waist. I sighed and looked down. He pulled me even closer, and put down his beer.
And then, by all the rules of the RomCom, we ought to have kissed. I wanted him to kiss me. I could tell, by the way his fingers were tickling my ribs, that he wanted to kiss me. But what actually happened was that Jamie and Laura shouted that they were going to bed, and too many moments passed, and I remembered that he was my flatmate and he had a girlfriend, albeit a demon pixie one, and this was a bad, bad idea. ‘Freddie’, I said, pulling away, ‘I’m going to bed.’ ‘Yeah’, he said, letting me go, slightly to my disappointment, ‘me too. Um, email me which shops they sell your cream stuff in.’ ‘Mmhmm’, I agreed, trying to remember what we’d been talking about before he’d done the rib-tickling thing, and stumbled off into the house. When I got home the next day there was a note in the bathroom: ‘Ally – left already. Thanks for email. No time for shop, took our moisturizer. See you in three weeks. Fred.’ Unexpectedly, I cried. Fuuuugly.