I mentioned in my previous post that I know The Journalist likes me. The story of how I know this is a particular favourite of mine, so please indulge me while I take a trip down memory lane...
Some months ago, I attended a launch party held by The Journalist's publishing house. There was champagne, and there was wine. My colleagues and I have a hugely inflated sense of how much we can drink at the best of times, and we'd had a long week. We drank some champagne, and we drank some more. We ran out of champagne and started drinking Pinot like it was water. Except nobody drinks that much water. The Journalist's colleagues were not much better.
At some point, one of two things happened. Either, the event ended, or the booze ran out. I genuinely don't know which. However, we weren't yet ready to call it a night, and headed off into the night in search of a pub. We found some little boozer with sofas and sambuca, and that's when things started to get interesting.
The Journalist was off at the bar, and I was sitting with a mixed group of my colleagues and his, when I realised I'd been in conversation with the same lad for some time and had no idea who he was. I politely pointed out that we hadn't been introduced, and he told me he was The Designer from The Journalist's magazine. I said, "Hi, I'm Ruby from The PR Agency," and he burst out laughing. He actually threw his head back with mirth and howled "So you're Ruby from The PR Agency!"
This concerned me, as well it might. I waited for him to calm down and wipe the tears from his eyes, and then questioned where exactly he knew me from. He explained, "The Journalist has a picture of you on his desk." At this point, I relaxed a bit. The Journalist and I have attended many events together over the years. We have been in the same place at the same time on numerous occassions, almost all of them the type of occassion where a camera would be present. Admittedly, I couldn't think of an exact time where we'd been photographed together, so I asked, "Really? What picture is that?"
The Designer descibed the picture. My hair was longer then, he said, and hanging over my face. I was wearing animal print. I may have been mid-dance. I recognised this picture. The Journalist is not in it. It was not actually taken at an event where The Journalist was present. In fact, it was not taken at a work event at all. It was taken on a night out with Forces Wife some years ago, before I even met The Journalist.
This came as something of a shock.
By this point The Journalist had started glancing over, perhaps concerned at the level of laughter and multiple looks being thrown his way. He looked at me, bemused. I beckoned him over and waited for him to sit down. I then said, "Do you have a picture of me on your desk?"
The look on his face would make a superb photograph. In fact, it did, as The Designer, ever more thrilled with his storytelling, was waiting for this moment with camera at the ready. There was horror, and confusion, and humiliation, and finally resignation. There was a grimace, and a hand over the eyes. I asked exactly how my picture came to be on his desk.
The Journalist explained, without entirely meeting my gaze, that he talked about me so much that for his birthday two of his colleagues (who I also knew well) had found the picture on Twitter and turned it into a birthday card, which ten months later was still pinned to his desk. I'm not sure what I did during this time. Laughed, I think, and expressed an opinion that it was "a bit stalky."
The rest of the evening is a bit of a Pinot-induced blur, but two things stand out. The first of these was that, some time further into the conversation, The Journalist gave up trying to defend himself, sighed, and said, "But you know I fancy you, right?" at which point I explained that, no, I did not know. The second is a recollection of myself at the bar with a colleague, repeating the words "Who knew?" over and over again. Because really, who knew?