I stepped off the train at Brighton yesterday at about five o'clock, made a quick phonecall and then stood under an old-fashioned clock. One more quick phonecall later, and I moved across to the digital clock. There she was. I gave her a quick hello, and she whipped around and grinned. For the first time in my life, I looked into the real face of my sex date.
She was shorter than me, dark-haired and pretty. I couldn't believe my luck. In fact, I found myself enjoying her company more and more as we went back to the hotel and dropped our stuff off. We talked about each other and there was a sort of effortless rapport which isn't usual with two extremely shy people who have met for nothing more than some sex, so I felt much more at ease with Kitty than I have with many people who I actually know well!
She took me around Brighton. We saw an old cinema with a pair of legs on it, walked along the seafront and up to the end of the pier (cheese-tacular, but worth a look). It gold cold quickly and Kitty, who actually moved to Ireland to escape the place, started to tire of walking about. She suggested food, I suggested Italian; we went to the restaurant she likes and had a great meal... so far, so good.
Back to the hotel we went, and there followed a rather awkward period of sitting in the room listening to music and wondering what to do. The music, by the way, was the score from Final Fantasy VII, but that's not really important.
"I'm going to the toilet, and when I come back, you have to have had an idea," Kitty smiled, and as she got up and waltzed off, I saw a flash of fishnet pantyhose. It looked... interesting.
A scene from Jake's Booty Call flashed in front of my head: "go for it" / "let her marinate". Hardly my style. I reminded myself that I'm not Jake. I'm Innocent Loverboy. And he's a nice boy. Besides, I could hardly say, "okay, let's have sex," could I? We were there for sex, sure, but we'd have to go to bed at some point later in the night, and I assumed she's indicate when. I decided, in the end, that the best thing to do would be to go to the hotel's bar and have a couple of drinks. After that, we could have sex. This seemed like a Good Plan.
A couple of drinks in the bar later, and we were chatting away merrily. The jangle of Kitty's mobile interrupted our discussion about fiscal policy, or whatever it was. I watched her take the call, and the suddenly arrested look on her face heralded trouble.
"What is it?"
"It's my dad," said Kitty. "He's being taken to hospital; what should I do?"
We raced back up to the hotel room to get her other phone (yes, she has two), and the plan that seemed to be forming was that she should go and see her dad. Her house wasn't far from the hotel and she could easily take a taxi. What didn't fit into the equation was where I'd come in all this, but at the time I didn't consider that; I was worried for her and her dad.
"What would you do?" asked Kitty.
My head would say that logically, she should have stayed in the hotel, and then go and see her dad in hospital tomorrow, but my heart - the part that rules my all - came out with ILB's Failsafe Selfless Kind Treatment Plan™: she should go and see her dad. It wasn't until she had packed her things that I realised I was still a part of what was happening.
"I'll wait here," I said helplessly. "I'll wait in the room, and you keep me posted, okay? You make sure your dad is okay, and I'll... I'll wait... here."
"Okay. I'll come back, I'll come back when I know what's happening. I'll come back soon, and I'll text you to let you know."
She left the room, and suddenly I was alone.
There's an episode of Heroes that has Ando waiting for Hiro in a bar for a very long time. Well, I suddenly felt exactly like that. I was alone; I had no idea what was going on. I didn't know when Kitty was going to be back - if at all - or what to do. I never got so much as a kiss, but that wasn't important. What was important was, what should I do? What do you do for two or so hours while waiting for someone? No computer, no internet. No console. No radio, no books. I switched on the TV, and quickly switched it off when I realised there was nothing but news and sport and soaps.
So all I did was wait.
The seconds, the minutes, the hours snailed by. Every time I heard someone outside, or thought my phone was beeping, I thought there'd be news. Her dad was okay; the hospital had discharged him; she was coming back for whatever reason. Sex wasn't on the agenda any more, although a small, bitter part of me was still thinking that she'd come back, announce everything was okay, and then make passionate love to me for seven hours straight. In the end, while lying on my back on the bed, I got a text.
"He's having an operation," Kitty announced via text, "and when he's out, I'll come back to you."
"Okay," I replied, "I'll wait for you. Take care of him and be strong."
Nothing happened for another couple of hours. I ended up watching a repeat of The Friday Night Project and decided to myself that I'd go to bed by the time it finished. (If Kitty came back and found me in bed, then that would be even better!) Midnight came and went, so I slipped off my clothes and crawled into one side of the double bed.
I lay awake. Should I try and sleep? Would it be wise? What if Kitty came back, and couldn't get into the room? While I was pondering this, I got another text announcing basically the same thing as before. I said I'd wait for her a little longer. The fantasy in my head now involved me telling her I'd been waiting all night, and her telling me I was the sweetest boy in the world; stuff like that makes me happy.
It was snowing. Dawn. I must have drifted off after another two hours of silent boredom. I grabbed my phone - no texts. Just an alarm. I reeled off a quick text to Kitty, asking her what had happened. When I got no reply, I couldn't think of anything to do but have breakfast.
Kitty's father had had a stroke... during the operation. He was okay, but unconscious. She was waiting for him to wake up along with her mother. I understood that perfectly. Breakfast on my own, however, was a lonely vigil. At least I had food, however.
"I'm checking out," I told the girl at the counter. "The lady who was with me got her card authorised, so if you could take the money off that - she said you could do that - I'll leave my keys here." I had nothing else to do; it was clear Kitty wasn't coming back. If it were my father, I may have done the same. But then again, I wouldn't have had my phone on to begin with. Hmmm.
"You can't pay like that," the counter girl said. "Sorry. You'll have to pay for the room yourself."
This threw me off completely.
"What?!" I ejaculated. "How much is it?"
"It's one hundred and twenty-nine pounds," she said.
Well, I had no choice. I handed over the money. That's over a quarter of what I get paid per month, and I'd just spent it on an entire night of waiting for something which didn't happen. I couldn't help but feel disappointed.
As I trudged back to Brighton station through the snow, Kitty sent me another text. Her dad had woken up and was going to be okay. As I sat down in the train, with a long journey home ahead of me, three unopened condoms and £130 less than I'd originally had, that was the only positive occurrence that I had to ruminate on for the next two hours.