Wednesday, 6 October 2010

A Surfeit Of Roses And An Unexpected Arrival, Not To Mention A Reference To Miss Joan Collins

Blimey, it seems to be a week of unexpected gestures. I'm working away just before lunchtime, when there's a buzz on the intercom. A delivery.

I send Greg to fetch it as I am too busy. (So far this diary business is coming in quite useful at getting me out of making coffee and walking up and down stairs, though I'm still waiting to hear the detail of The Boss' plan to deal with the Marie-Louise situation.)

"I thought you said you didn't shag Johnny?" Greg says, coming back into the office.

"I didn't," I say. "He nearly knocked himself out, and than he turned into Doctor Kildare 'cause of his daughter's chickenpox, remember?"

"Oh yes," says Greg. "Actually, are you sure that's not what's wrong with your face?"

"Ha, bloody ha. He didn't even kiss me properly. Anyway, why are you asking me about Johnny?"

"Because of these," says Greg, reaching behind him into the lobby and producing three vast bouquets of red roses. "The card says "Enough of the delaying tactics - when do we do it again? Johnny. Kiss.'"

"You what? You opened it, and read the card?" I am outraged, though I'm more astonished. Johnny - sending flowers?

"Well, yes, I did take the liberty of taking a peek. To protect you, of course. You can't be too careful, Molly - these bad boys might have been sprayed with anything."

Greg looks me up and down, as if he's never seen me before, then continues, "You must have done something pretty spectacular to get him to send all these."

"I don't think I did," I say, "but I'm certainly going to need a pretty spectacular excuse to explain them to Max."

I'm so surprised by Johnny's super-sized gift that I go tingly all over - unless it's a hot flush. God knows how much all these roses cost! No, I am not going to think about that, as then I'll start considering all the things I need and can't afford - like an urgent scale and polish, and some new thick tights that don't feel like sandpaper as a result of too many washes. Especially when I can't possibly keep the flowers, anyway.

But, oh, they are so beautiful, and they even have a scent, not like most shop-bought flowers these days. I decide to drape them around my office - just for a little while - before making Greg drive them over to the hospice, but then the intercom goes again. There, I knew it. They're going to say there was some mistake and the flowers were meant for a totally different Molly Bennett.

And from a totally different Johnny Hunter. Ah. Hmmm. That would mean that both our names are wrong. Is that likely? Oh, Christ! Max walks in behind Greg, who is rolling his eyes in a silent (and grossly ineffectual) plea for mercy.

"Couldn't stop him," he mouths.

"Bloody hell," says Max. He looks at me, then at Greg, and back at me. "Who are this lot from?"

"The Boss," says Greg, at the same time as I say, "Joan."

Joan? Have I lost my mind? If there's anyone less likely than me to be deluged with floral tributes, it's Joan.

"Joan Collins," I say. "From The Boss. They've been delivered to our office by mistake. Should have gone to Westminster so he could give them to her in person. Some gala do."

Greg's nodding so hard he's going to give himself a brain injury if he's not careful.

"Bit over-the-top, aren't they?" says Max. "I've always thought red roses a bit naf, myself. You had your lunch yet, Mol? I've got a free half hour, so I thought I'd surprise you."

"Oh, you have," says Greg.

I glare at him, but Max doesn't seem to have heard. He takes down my coat from the hook and hands it to me.

"Come on then, let's go to Pret and I'll buy you a sandwich. I know how to treat a woman," he says.

"Indeed you do," says Greg.

I fix him with a glare and run my finger across my throat, before I turn and follow Max down the hallway towards the stairs. God knows what my blood pressure is now.


  1. Gosh - thank you very much! I am overwhelmed. Must be the day for it!

  2. Oh you really are in a right old pickle aren't you darling?

  3. That might be to understate the case :-(

  4. I know I can't compete (on a physical basis) with Max (Johnny? - switch 'em round, does it matter?) but it's still true. Go, girl, go!

  5. How do you know if you can compete with Max. Or Johnny? You aren't Mr Beales, are you?

  6. Sorry! Paranoia comes with the job ;-)