Chapter Twenty Four

I’d organised an evening out with Sarah and a couple of other friends and partners. We met at Lee Chung’s a Chinese in the centre of Newcastle. I was really looking forward to it and had dressed up in some of my recent purchases that I’d never worn before, hoping for a compliment from Tim but not getting one even though I told him how smart he looked. Admittedly I’d actually chosen his clothes as what he’d chosen doesn’t bear thinking about. I don’t know if he was sulking because it was his turn not to drink or whether something had happened at work to put him into a mood.

Three couples were already there when we arrived but Cherie had texted to say they wouldn’t be there until 8:15, a good half an hour away so we sat with the others and ordered a drink. Tim just asked for tap water which embarrassed me. He made a big song and dance about it, how he was driving and how he wouldn’t touch soft drinks because of the amount of sugar and/or sweeteners they contained. I had a large glass of the New Zealand Cabernet sauvignon. The girls sat together and chatted away merrily. Nothing of any consequence just girls enjoying themselves. The men didn’t really know each other apart from a couple of them who seemed to be entertaining the others. That is apart from Tim who really looked bored. I think the two entertainers were swapping dirty jokes. Anyway they were certainly getting the laughs. Tim is such an awkward bugger. I think he’s a snob. If he feels the company is beneath him he just dismisses and ignores them. I find that aspect of his character extremely frustrating.

Cherie and her partner didn’t make it until nearly nine so all the drinkers were quite boozed by then. The staff obviously wanted to get things moving as we’d per-ordered the banquet and that has 12 courses. So we took our seats, boy, girl, boy, girl but not next to our partners round a large circular table and the food started to arrive. I was sat between Mike, Sarah’s partner and Jimmy, a lad I hadn’t met before. He was partner to Cherie and it was his fault we were so late eating. Apparently there’d been an accident on the M6 between Stafford, where he worked, and Junction 15 and it had been a nightmare getting to the restaurant. They both seemed nice lads, a bit full of themselves, and I was having a nice time. Tim was sat between Sarah and Cherie and seemed to be enjoying himself at last. I think he found them both attractive. Sometimes this would have made me jealous but I felt so distant from Tim I almost hoped he’d get off with one of them.

The food was fantastic and kept coming. We weren’t able to finish every course and I knew how upset Tim would be for he can’t bear wasted food. I did drink rather a lot of wine and I suppose became rather overexcited. I did notice that Tim was looking fed up again. Both his female dinner companions had turned away from him and were talking to people on the other side leaving him on his own. As soon as we’d just finished the last course and were expecting our china tea Tim said he wanted to go home. I wasn’t ready to go so I ignored him. So he got up and came round to me so he wasn’t shouting across the table. When I told him:
“I’m not ready yet. Can’t you see I’m enjoying myself? I’ll come after we’ve had our tea.”

He said, “Look I’ve a busy day tomorrow. It’s 11:30 and if you won’t come now I’ll go by myself and you can get a taxi home when you’re ready.”

I was furious and embarrassed to have this confrontation in front of everybody but I dragged myself away as I didn’t want to make more of a scene. Tim said goodbye to everyone, shaking the hands of all the men and kissing all the women saying someone had to be the first to go and he had a busy day the next day. I smiled wanly and left trying to look as if nothing was wrong but I’m sure everybody sensed how cross we were with each other.

We had a furious row in the car going home. I gave him hell, telling him what a spoilsport I thought he was amongst other things. He shut me up good and proper with his reply. He said he’d been bored, didn’t have anything in common with anyone there, even insinuated he thought my friends were superficial. Next morning I don’t remember seeing Tim at all. I had a crashing headache and stayed in bed until the phone woke me at about 11:30, somebody about car insurance.