‘I cannot allow myself to fall in love with you. I will get terribly hurt. And…’ he drops his voice so I can hardly hear him, ‘I cannot have sex without love…’
I take onboard what he’s saying, resenting the fact that it was fine for him to have ‘sex without love’ just a few days ago.
I suddenly decide to give him a proof copy of The Toyboy Diaries. Maybe it would work like homeopathy – treat the sickness with the sickness. I take one off the shelf and drop it into his lap.
‘Instead of imagining the worst, why don’t you read it?’ I suggest. ‘It’s nowhere near as bad as you may think, especially since most of it is made up!’
My nose grows by at least an inch and my tone is possibly half an octave harsher than usual. I’m still smarting from the No Sex Please – We’re Skittish comment. He recoils as he lifts the book gingerly off his lap and holds it at arm’s length as if it’s a ticking time bomb.
‘Please don’t throw things at me,’ he bleats ‘and don’t shout…’
I apologize, and consider that, should we ever by any remote chance get it together, I might have to temper everything I do around him: my voice, my mood, my personality, my behaviour. Christ! Do I really want to live like that?
He turns the book over frowning deeply as he reads the back cover. I stand there chewing my thumb, like a schoolgirl whose father is reading a letter from the Headmaster informing him that she’s been caught in the toilets giving the gym teacher a blow-job.
‘How can it possibly work out between you and me?’ he asks despairingly having scanned the best of the worst of my story. ‘You’ll always be looking over my shoulder for the next 19-year old!’
‘I will not!’ I cry defensively. ‘That affair happened twenty years ago and I’m so over all that now…’
How far can you bend the truth before it snaps?