“Ok, why don’t you give me your number instead?” Joseph says, looking quite serious as he pulls my glass and pours me a generous glass of the wine he has just uncorked.
“I mean…,” I start to hedge, “if I took your number I promise you I wouldn’t call. I am a firm believer in that men need to be the ones to make the moves.”
“Oh?” he cocks an eyebrow. “You struck me as the independent, go-getter type.”
“I am,” I reply. “I just go-get in my own inimitable, feminine way.” I grin and pick up my glass to take a sip while he smiles and nods.
“Fascinating,” he murmurs. “You must tell me more about this passive go-getting style and exactly how well it works. Over dinner, of course.”
I have opened my mouth to reply when Jo calls out my name from the living room and says it’s time to reconvene. Over the next hour, and as we play more group games and drink more drinks, Joseph and I do not have much time to talk… until I look at my watch and realise that it’s getting rather late and I have an early day the next day. I bid my adieus and stand up to leave, and Joseph offers to walk me to my car.
“So are you going to take my number or will you take my mine?” he asks as we walk through the parking lot.
“You are never going to stop pestering me about that, are you?” I ask, laughing.
“I’m serious. I really want to see you again.”
“Well, I haven’t decided if I want to see you, so you’ll either have to find the number from someone else – or resign yourself to the fact that this may be the only time we will ever meet.” We have just reached my car and I am feeling cocky as I pull out my car keys from my handbag and prepare to make my grand exit.
“Ok. Challenge accepted,” he sighs, finally realising that I am serious. “Goodnight, dear lady, I shall see you very soon.”
Later that night, at just about midnight, as I am tossing and turning in bed and attempting to induce sleep by reading a book, my phone trills with a text message. It’s from an unfamiliar number. ‘I told you I was determined. Did you get home safe?’
I don’t need to see the signed off name to conclude that it is the one and only Joseph. I smile and put the phone down. I shall get to it in the morning.
I wake up the next morning feeling quite startled because I can’t remember when I fell asleep. But it must have been quite suddenly because the book I was reading is still open on top of my bedspread, and my nightlight is still on.
I decide that I will have a leisurely Sunday morning all by myself, possibly including a big, hearty breakfast featuring the type of sinful items I don’t usually have in the week such as bacon and sausages. My mouth is watering as I contemplate cooking it all myself or heading out to a restaurant to be catered to, when my phone starts to ring. I pick it up – oh, it’s Joseph.
“You know when you didn’t reply last night I thought something had happened to you. I was preparing a search and rescue team to come out and find you,” he scolds when I pick up. I don’t know whether to feel cared for or controlled.
“I was asleep,” I lie. “I didn’t see your message until just now. In fact your call came just as I was replying to you.”
“I’m sure,” he says. I detect sarcasm in his tone. “What are you up to this Sunday morning? Can I buy you breakfast?”
“Breakfast?!” I mock-gasp. “I was holding out for a more substantial meal – like dinner.”
He laughs. “So you’re saying there’s absolutely no way for me to see you today?”
“Like right now? No,” I say firmly, but playfully. I hear him sigh.
“So then can I buy you dinner tonight?”
“No,” I laugh. “I had plans.” He sighs again.
“I can’t tell if you are trying to encourage me to keep chasing you or if you are not comfortable with my attention.”
“I answered your call, didn’t I?” I retort.
“Ok, I’ll call you later then,” he says. And then he hangs up, leaving me wondering if this is the last I will hear from him.