Back in the UK Rob, my ex-boyfriend, was waiting for me at the airport. It was really sweet of him to come to meet me but I did feel guilty as I’d already decided to dump him. I didn’t know if he’d make a scene so I had to choose the right moment. I’d almost decided before the holiday but the snog with Waine was the clincher. I needed a bit of excitement in a relationship.
As I came out of the baggage area I could see him waiting for me in his ridiculous blue suit. He did look a prat. What had I ever seen in him? Rob was plain boring, too subservient, too impressed by my flashy car, my dad, our mansion and anyway he had awful dress sense and was embarrassing to be seen with in public. Never-the-less he was reliable, did spoil me and, to give him his due, was quite good looking.
I gave him a hug and a quick kiss. Luckily he didn’t like displays of affection in public. He took my luggage off me and walked me to his car. We didn’t talk much on the way home. Rob didn’t like to talk and drive at the same time. He was a cautious driver and I wanted to take over as I was impatient to get home but I said nothing. Anyway I was preoccupied with coming home thoughts. These had been on the back burner whilst I was away but they came flooding back on the journey.
Dumping Rob wasn’t the only one reason I wasn’t looking forward to coming home. The other was work. Dad was essentially a bully and had insisted I work for him in his retail pet business. I hadn’t really any idea of what I would do if I had the choice so I didn’t put up much of a fight and it paid well and gave me a company car. Dad’s instruction was that I spend a month in each department so that I’d know every aspect of the business before I started the job he had in mind for me, whatever that was. So far I’d just done the office, checking the invoices against the delivery notes and booking out goods to the stores, sitting in with the buyers when reps showed their wares, that sort of thing. My next assignment was to work in one of the stores on Festival Park receiving the goods and pricing them up.
The permanent staff all knew I was the bosses daughter and treated me accordingly. No way could I have a normal relationship with any of them. They were too obsequious. I knew if I found it difficult working with office staff having day to day contact with ‘the workers’ was going to be even more challenging. I couldn’t be part of their world. I was being paid probably ten times what they earned and really I was just an assistant at best. This was their life, what they did every day, what they were likely to be doing for the foreseeable future. Still I had to try.
It was different for Dad, he knew he was boss and they were his employees. He’d interviewed and set many of them on. He could have an honest relationship with them. I admired the way he treated them. He knew their names and odd bits of personal information about each and every one of them, unless they were new, and with ten outlets that was a lot of employees. He saw that as an important part of his job.
When we arrived home, I still lived with my Dad I’m ashamed to admit, I thanked Rob but didn’t invite him in. I said I needed to recover from the journey. He said he had booked a table at The Yellow Broom, an expensive restaurant about 30 minutes drive away as he knew I was going to be on my own. That was typical of his thoughtfulness. I offered to drive and he eagerly accepted. He loved my Audi TT more than he loved me I think. I wanted control of the evening and to get the split over as soon as possible so I didn’t have it hanging over me.
I picked him up from his flat in Congleton around 7. He still had his awful suit on but he had changed his tie and I didn’t think it went. I had the radio on and pretended to be involved in the programme so I didn’t have to talk. I was feeling tired and apprehensive about the evening. I’d decided not to say anything until we were on the way home and that I would try to enjoy the evening and be as pleasant as possible.
We were shown to a table for 2 right in the centre of the room which made me feel very uncomfortable. Apparently they were very busy and we were lucky to have got in at all. That didn’t stop me asking the maitre di if we couldn’t move. No joy.
Rob started to talk once we’d ordered our pre-dinner drinks. Before that he’d seemed out of sorts, nervous even, and I was wondering if he’d sensed something in my mood.
“I’ve missed you loads” he said, “Did you have a nice time?”
“Yes thanks, it was fine, considering SHE was there.”
“Oh, you still not getting on?”
“She’s just so …uhg.” I couldn’t think of what she was so … Actually In reality I didn’t dislike her. She was a gold-digger, that was obvious but she did care for Dad. She was very good to him.
“Did you miss me?”
“Of course,” I said, like a hole in the head I thought.
“Did you meet anyone?”
Rob was very possessive and became jealous very easily. He stifled me.
“Not really, although a couple of lads came aboard one night for a beer.” White lie, I thought – it’s not my fault he’s jealous.
“Were they nice?”
“One of them was alright but the other was a complete wally. I only saw them once.”
“I missed you.”
Just then the waiter appeared and invited us to order. I really found this difficult as my mind was on how to dump Rob with the least pain to both of us and I didn’t want to ruin the meal. I was a bit naughty as I deliberately chose expensively from the menu and I did rib him a bit without making it obvious that I was taking the piss. The meal was excellent even though I had to restrict my drinking to one glass of wine. I was so determined to enjoy it I ate slowly and savoured the flavour of each mouthful.
I drove very fast on the way back and I could see Rob was quietly terrified. Then when we were nearly home I slowed down and did my worst.
“That was a lovely meal, thank you. And thank you for picking me up today.”
I was feeling guilty so I forced £50 on him for my share of the meal. I knew I could afford it more than him.
“Listen,” I said as we neared his flat, “I’m sorry but it isn’t working for me.”
“Us, you know, me and you.”
“Why, what’s wrong? I thought we’d been getting on really well I know I’m not the greatest lover but I’m going for treatment and I’ve been told it’s only a matter of time.”
Well that was a gift, an easy way out. Thank you Rob, I thought.
“Well Rob that is only part of what’s wrong, but I’m sorry it is an important issue. Actually I think the reason you’re having problems is because deep down in your psyche you know we’re not right for each other. If you really fancied me – well we’d be at it all the time.”
We were back in Congleton by then and I felt you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. When we’d reached our destination I kept the engine running as I didn’t want to give Rob the chance to drag this out. In spite of my obvious, I hoped, impatience he did put his hand on my knee and made a vain attempt to try to kiss me which I shrugged off as gently as I could although I could feel my levels of irritation rising.
“Well,” he said in a weepy voice, “I’m shocked. I thought you loved me. I was thinking of proposing this coming Christmas when I’d saved up enough money for a deposit on the kind of ring you deserve.”
“I’m sorry Rob, marriage to you was never on my agenda. I’m sorry if I’ve given you the wrong impression or led you on at all.”
“You got off with that bloke you met on holiday, didn’t you? I bet he gave you what you want.”
I ignored that and he went into a sulk.
All this time the engine was running and I just wanted Rob to go so I went on the offensive.
“I don’t think you really know me, or are that interested. You just like what I represent – money, wealth, glamour. You see yourself hanging on my coat tails, swanning around, boasting to your friends and so on.”
“That’s not true. I love you for you.”
At this point he started to cry which just made me angry. Snivelling, feeling sorry for himself.
“Anyway I’m sorry but it’s off. Thanks for a lovely meal.”
“You can’t just do this to me. I love you. I’ve done everything for you but that’s not enough. I’m not good enough am I? I’ll kill myself if you leave me.”
“You won’t and I’m not impressed that you even said that. I’m sorry it had to end like this. I was hoping you’d have a bit more dignity.
“Can you leave now. I’ve work tomorrow.”
He didn’t move so I got out of the car, walked round, opened the passenger door, grabbed his arm and pulled him out. He was still blubbing like a baby. I couldn’t believe it. What a prat! I suppose I should have felt remorse, felt sorry for him, but I just felt revulsion.
I was still angry when I got home but once I’d got ready for bed my mood changed and without any warning I was crying like a baby. What for I didn’t know. I knew I’d been brutal at the end but what choice did I have? Was there a less cruel way of ending a relationship? Fortunately I fell asleep easily.