It all starts when Max has to leave early for work this morning, and tells me he hasn't had time to make any sandwiches.
"That's okay," I say. "You can buy yours, and I'll make my own. I can easily slap a bit of *Dairylea between two slices of bread."
Max looks appalled by my lack of epicurean standards - yet again - but doesn't actually say anything in response. He just pats me several times on the shoulder. Rather too hard, as if I was a particularly blokey mate of his but, by the time I've thought of a suitably ironic comment, he's already left the house.
Honestly, romance is fast becoming something I can only recall in dreams. And then it's always Max who takes the role of Romeo. Johnny never shows up while I'm asleep and, even when I'm awake, I do wish he wouldn't insist on saying, "Keep up, woman" during virtual sex. It's hardly up there with *Shakespeare's Sonnets, is it?
It's time to do something about the emotional desert I'm bogged down in. (And yes, I do know that's an oxymoron. Apart from the first three letters, the word pretty much sums up how I feel, after what happens next.)
I decide that Max and I need to spend more quality time together - away from Josh and, most particularly, Dad - so I walk down to his shop to find out if he's free for lunch. I don't phone first, as it'll be a nice surprise. And there you have my first mistake.
There's no sign of Max on the ground floor, so I tiptoe up the stairs leading to the first, where his desk is situated in a far corner of the shop. I've forgotten to bring my distance glasses with me, so I can't quite see what's going on, but he appears to be busy with a customer. Maybe he's actually going to make a sale, and there'll be some commission at the end of the month!
It's best not to interrupt him when he's working, though - so I wander around a display of furniture at the other side of the room until I figure enough time to sell anything has elapsed. Then I start to walk towards his desk.
Oh, shit, shit, shit. That wasn't a customer. It was Bambi. Or is Bambi, to be more accurate - sitting perched on Max's desk and talking nineteen to the dozen. I'd love to know what she's talking about. Max looks positively rapt.
There's so much stock in the shop, that there's probably enough cover to allow me to make it almost as far as Max's desk without being spotted, if I'm very careful. I zig-zag my way across the floor, bending double while out in the open, and pausing behind various sofas and sideboards to recce the situation along the way.
Thank goodness for all the stalking practice I've had during Greg's DIY CRB Checks, that's all I can say. At least I do a better job than Special Forces did in Libya. William Hague will probably phone me next time he needs a hand.
I'm really close to my target by now, but I still can't hear what Bambi's saying. I can see the way she's crossing and uncrossing her legs all too well, though - and that annoying Princess Di thing of giving coy little glances from under her fringe.
There's nothing for it but to try to reach the rotating display stand directly opposite Max's desk. It's a good job I'm small enough to hide behind it, though I'm a bit worried about the CCTV camera overhead. Oh, well - needs must. And I'm used to denying the screamingly obvious, if it comes to that. I do work for an MP, after all.
My sang-froid seems to be wearing off a bit by the time I'm finally in position, though, and my heart's making such a racket that all I can hear is a worryingly-fast boom-boom noise, interspersed with that sounds like, "brownie" and "roast."
So I wait for my pulse to slow down, while my legs start to shake a bit as a result of standing stock-still. My ears are probably shaking too, from the effort of straining so hard to hear.
"And look at this, Max," says Bambi. "It's so-o-o good, you are going to want more."
What is the woman talking about? And what exactly is she offering Max? I try my best to work out what's going on, but this damned stand is so tall that I can't see over it, and I can't see through it, either. Not unless I can swivel it around a bit - about a quarter of a turn. It should only take a little push.
Oops. Oo-ops. Oh, bugger it.
He helps me up, gathers the brochures that have fallen off the still-spinning stand, and then turns to Bambi, who is staring at me as if I am quite mad. Some people have no sense of when to leave the scene of an accident.
"Here you are, Max," she says, passing him a brown paper bag. "As I was trying to tell you - it's an organic Scotch Egg. With pepper, chilli and paprika. You could even say that it's orgasmic - so I know that you'll enjoy it."
Is that a wink, or do annoying women just have a tendency to twitch while using foodstuffs as tools for seduction? Dervla Bloody Kirwan has no idea what she started.
*Dairylea - viscous yellow cheesy spread, perfect for really lazy people like me, and for whom food is merely fuel.
*Shakespeare's Sonnets - rather better than the stuff Greg and I were forced to listen to at last week's poetry reading. And sadly absent from my daily life.