[troo-iz-uh m] –noun
1: If after five
years you have to ask yourself where a relationship is going, then the
answer is nowhere.
It was Monday, and was a slow day at the garage. Mind you Tony
wasn’t complaining. He’d worked his socks off the
week, and especially the weekend just gone. Toyota had a huge national
sales drive – TV and press advertising, the lot –
had sold his fair share of Yaris’s, Auris’s and
the hybrid Prius’s. Remembering, for some bizarre reason, his
Latin classes from almost twenty years ago Tony idly wondered to
himself if it should be Prii rather than Prius’s.
He was sat, well slouching if the truth were told, in the
visitor’s chair at Claire’s desk – she
franchise’s sales administrator – and she asked him
was making him smile. He shrugged it off with a “nothing
really”, and grinned back at her.
“You look nice today.”
“Why thank you, kind sir!”, she responded with a
wondering if that meant she usually looked a bit rough.
“Not that you don’t always, of course!”
Nice recovery, Claire thought to herself, as he looked across at her.
He couldn’t see the blue, pencil knee length skirt below her
desk. But he could see the white lambswool “V” neck
which showed off her cleavage really nicely. But best of all, she had a
long chained necklace with a pendant. He could pretend to look at that
and actually be looking at her ample breasts.
She’d say the same back to Tony – that he looked
in truth he looked really tired. She’d worked hard as well
week, and she had two teenage boys to keep her busy. There had been
little time since the divorce five years ago for anything other than
work, the home and the boys. But Tony, well although in a long term
relationship had little else to keep him busy.
“So what’s the matter with you, you look a bit
Tony said it was because it had been a pretty crazy week, but Claire
knew that wasn’t the whole truth.
“Cheer up, office Christmas Party on Friday. You bringing
Tony said that it was Steph’s party too, so she
there. And as hers was staff only, he’d be alone. For some
reason, Claire was pleased to hear that. When Claire said that that was
a shame, he looked at her with his dull blue, tired eyes.
“Dunno, Things are a bit weird between us at the
and before Claire could even ask why he went on.
“You know five years ago I was just bowled over by her. She
everything I thought I wanted – good looking (Claire nodded
smiled), good job and good fun. Sex was great in that first year
(Claire’s eyebrows went up, but she kept quiet), but I
it’s like that for everyone. You know, overcoming the
exploring new things and just doing it every opportunity you
Tony stopped and looked for a moment at his colleague. “You
I asked her to marry me back then?”
Claire was a bit taken aback. She shook her head, a bit unsure if the
question had been rhetorical. Tony went on talking about life with
Steph. She liked Tony, liked him a lot if she was ever honest enough to
admit it to herself. But although they often sat and talked when things
were slow, the conversations had never got onto sex, or the inner
workings of Tony and Steph’s relationship. Claire had learned
lot in her forty plus years, and certainly knew the signs of someone
whose personal relationship was in trouble. If only she’d
it in her own husband, maybe he wouldn’t have left her for
younger model he’d chosen.
Claire listened as Tony talked about how his and Steph’s
relationship had changed. She smiled and nodded in all the right
places, and recognized so much of what he’d been saying. How
relationships change after the honeymoon period of the first few months
often determines if they survive long term. The worst thing was when
the whole relationship becomes a habit – something that is,
because it always has been. After a while it just becomes easier to
stay where you are and do what you do rather than take a risk, survive
the agony of the breakup of a long term relationship, and start over.
In her own marriage they’d then gone on to commit an even
crime – having children in the hope that would bring the
back into their lives. Children of course almost always bring a
sparkle, but not necessarily into their parents’
That had been the case with Claire. But that was history now, and she
was content with her life. The boys were everything to her, but having
a man around would be a nice bonus. Claire recognized that although she
was never big into the physical side of their marriage, and that had
been a problem, she did miss the physical, touchy-feely side of a
relationship. She and John had always looked affectionate to the
outside world, and they were – but for some reason they had
really ignited in the bedroom. Like Tony and Steph, sex was great at
first – then it just got a bit too routine and frankly, a bit
dull – and John obviously thought so too – hence
(Clare without an “i”) the new “go
model. She knew the breakup was both their faults, she should have
tried harder in bed, and not always relied on John to initiate the
action. But running a home, running around after two boys and doing a
part-time job – she was just too tired. And sexy Saturday or
Sunday mornings were a definite no-no with a couple of toddlers around.
“You know you’re really great to talk
Tony’s comment brought her full attention back to him.
“You’re just like the big sister I never
“Great”, thought Claire, “big sister!
“Hmm, but I couldn’t look at my big
sister’s tits or
at the way my big sister walks in a tight skirt and think what I
think!” was the thought that flashed through Tony’s
The smile she gave him hid her thoughts of disappointment at being a
big sister. Tony adored that smile, sure she had a few more lines on
her face than Steph (why was he comparing her to Steph? Steph was his
partner, and Claire was just a mate!). But her brown eyes
by wavy auburn hair always seemed to be smiling at him.
They pretty much spent the rest of the day together, going through the
previous week’s orders. The chat was friendly and relaxed but
steered clear of sex and what had happened to Tony and
relationship. Occasionally they would make eye contact and smile, and
Tony found every opportunity to touch Claire’s arm or hand as
they worked together.
2: If someone is a
good kisser, then they are also a good lover.
Tony spent much of the rest of the week thinking about the conversation
from Monday morning. Where was the relationship going? Was it his fault
that things had become stale? Should he be trying harder? The truth was
he wasn’t sure he wanted to try harder. Somewhere deep down
his subconscious he was aware that, brilliant as Steph was, she
wasn’t who he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. But
thought wasn’t something he wanted to face. They had bought a
flat, a home for God’s sake. They had a cat. A DVD
No, he and Steph would have kids and settle down and things would be
Friday evening found Tony and Steph putting on their glad rags. She
looked great – little black dress, blonde hair, freshly
straightened, with those few strands covering her left eye. The
necklace he’d blown two months’ commission on for
birthday complemented the low cut of the dress superbly. Four years ago
he’d have grabbed her and they’d have shagged each
senseless before going out. But now, he knew if he tried,
just tell him to stop because she was late and had to get ready. So he
didn’t even try.
“Ah well, I suppose I may get my leg over later, if
both awake and sober enough!” he mused to himself.
He gelled his dark hair and looked in the mirror. Not too bad for
someone just the right side of thirty! His belt had expanded a notch
over the last couple of years but he was in okay shape – five
side football saw to that. He wished he and Steph had kept up the Ceroc
dancing. They’d gone a few times but she didn’t
crowd – a bit “old” for her taste, but he
The taxi came and they got in together. When they got to her venue,
they kissed goodbye as she jumped out to be greeted by some colleagues,
a girl and a couple of guys, who had also just arrived, and off she
went. Tony looked at her long legs in the short dress, and for the
millionth time realized how stunning she was, and how lucky he was.
The taxi rolled on to his venue – a restaurant cum casino cum
nightclub. As usual, all the Toyota and Lexus dealers from the area
were there. A good bunch, fun people and some good looking girls it has
to be said. Maybe tonight wouldn’t be too bad after all.
Tony was at the bar with a couple of people from his dealership, and
was just about to take a sip of his drink when there was a huge slap on
his back, followed by:
“Well, well, if it isn’t the supersalesman of the
Tony turned to his old colleague, already looking slightly the worse
for wear but none the less, looking genuinely glad to see him. Tony
hugged him and wondered what he had meant. Colin had done really well
for himself. He’d left the dealership to take a position with
sister company that sold Lexus’s, and he’d been
manager there within six months when his boss moved on. After a few
minutes chat about old times and football and golf – the
“men” talk, Colin paused:
“Look, I’ve got an offer for you. I’ve
by Lexus Head Office, and my boss says I’ve got to recruit my
replacement before I go. I wanted to get someone really good, but they
weren’t available, so I’ll have to make do with
Tony looked at him, speechless. Was he serious, have I really just been
offered a promotion?
“No I’m not. There never was anyone else, you were
choice”, Colin smirked.
“Jesus, you are serious, aren’t you? Look,
to need a nano second to think this over. But yeah, if the
anything like I’d imagine. Definitely!”
“Okay, look I’m too pissed to go into details now,
besides this isn’t the place. I’ll come over on
we can talk, alright?”
This was turning from a promising night to a very good night!
Dinner was served and Tony’s dealership were spread across
adjacent tables. It was just after sitting that he noticed Claire for
the first time. Christ, she looked stunning! She might be more than
thirteen years his senior, but tonight she’d give any woman
the place a run for their money. She wore a black cocktail dress, very
low cut, which seemed to shimmer and sparkle in the light. Her glasses
were gone - Tony knew that like him, she wore lenses sometimes, and
she’d obviously spent a lot of time on herself. Come to think
it, she hadn’t been around this afternoon at all. Well it was
time well spent, no doubt about that.
She was sat almost directly opposite him and he managed to catch her
eye. He mouthed a “you looked terrific”, and she
back at him, almost shyly. He wished he were half a dozen places round
the table, but she was flanked by the notoriously single Service
Manager and the recently separated MD, both of whom were giving her
plenty of attention. The dinner culminated in a couple of speeches and
wards for Best Dealership etc. - the usual boring stuff. Names and
dealerships were called out and there was a procession of semi sober
people up to get their awards. Tony was sharing a joke with the
salesman next to him when he heard his name called out. He found
himself up in front of everyone getting a certificate and an envelope,
not even sure what it was for. Looking at the certificate it seems he
was the best performing salesman of the recent campaign. So
that’s what Colin had meant. He celebrated in the time
fashion by ordering a couple of bottles of champagne for the table, and
they all toasted him – Claire blowing him a kiss in the
The night had gone from an okay one, to a good one to a great one. Now,
all he needed was … he looked at his watch, only 10:30,
was no way Steph would be home before one – at the
earliest. Ah well, time for a few more drinks.
As the evening went on he found himself talking, drinking and
occasionally dancing with whole raft of people. He looked for Claire to
dance with but she was having way too much fun – probably due
all the attention she was getting. There was no doubt she was
definitely the most popular girl, well woman, at the party.
He spent more time with people he liked, but could never seem to get to
talk to or dance with Claire, so he decided to go home and wait for
Steph. He turned to leave quietly – he was sure no one would
notice or miss him, and bang! There she was blocking his way.
“Funny, it looked like you were sloping off – and
haven’t even danced with me. What’s the matter, do
into a pumpkin at midnight? Don’t answer that, come and show
some of your Ceroc moves.”
“God, it’s ages since I went, I can’t
“But I can, you enjoyed it so much that I decided to give it
try – I’ve been a regular for ages now –
so come on,
I’ll be gentle with you.”
Tony found it was like riding a bike – the moves came back,
Claire was easy to dance with. They laughed at their mistakes, and
every time they trod on each others toes. But more than anything, Tony
enjoyed the physical contact – holding hands, putting his
around her and watching her dress fly out as she spun. She was a good
dancer, and really good fun. Once again, Tony had thoughts about her he
would never have had about a sister. He looked on admiringly as she
flashed more of her thigh as she spun, and her breasts swayed
invitingly as they moved. The best part of it was the eye contact
– she hardly took her eyes off his as they danced, and the
– God that smile was a killer. There was no mistaking the
affection and the “come on” look. Tony found
sweating after a few dances, and she suggested they go outside for a
They’d been holding hands as they danced and so they
held hands as they walked out. Once outside, she let go and leaned into
Tony with her back to him, grabbed his arm and put it round her waist.
“That was fun! Thank you.”
“It really was a pleasure, I think you’ve just
to retake up dancing. Sod Steph if she doesn’t want to
Claire smiled, and told him he should because he was good at it. Then
she turned quickly towards him and asked what had been in the envelope?
When he told her he hadn’t opened it, she looked at him
“Well let’s find out!”
So Tony fished it out of his pocket at ripped it open…
She moved round alongside him so she could see what had caused the
“Christ! That’s fantastic – two weeks in
you and ‘a friend’! Steph will love it.”
Tony was a bit shell shocked and the next words tumbled out almost
before they’d even formed in his head.
“It says a friend, and right now I think you’re the
thing I’ve got to a friend.” Then with a smile
“At least, one I want to spend two weeks in the Caribbean
“That’s a lovely thing to say,” and with
reached up and kissed him briefly on the lips. Tony looked down into
her eyes, and brushed back a few strands of auburn hair that had
escaped across her face in the frantic dancing.
“The thing is – I meant it!” He stroked
her cheek and
closed his eyes, and his mouth closed on hers. Locked together they
slowly opened their mouths and their tongues met and all Tony could
feel was an amazing exhilaration and excitement – like he
hadn’t felt for years when he kissed Steph.
As they stopped, she looked at him and giggled.
“I haven’t felt like that since I was a teenager.
nearly as good a kisser as you are a dancer.”
“Well I guess I need more practice…” and
met hers for an action replay. Her hands were round his neck and he had
one hand stroking her back, and one gently caressing her left buttock.
She moaned quietly, as the hand on her back moved round to cup her
breast. But with a crash, the door opened and a crowd of happy, pretty
drunk revelers fell out of the club in search of cabs.
“That’s probably enough excitement for one
she smiled, and with one peck on the cheek, led him back inside. They
danced some more, but Tony’s head was all over everywhere.
up to the close at 1am, as the music got slower, he held her close to
him and their bodies seemed to fit perfectly together. She rested her
head on his shoulder and he once again gently stroked her back.
“Can I take you home?” he whispered.
“Do you mean to your place or to mine?” she asked
He just tilted his head – there was an unspoken understanding
between them now that Steph was not a topic for tonight. She smiled
back, kissed him briefly and said that the boys were with their dad, so
if he wanted to come back for coffee (that with a distinct smirk), then
that would be nice.
3: Best friends
make the best lovers
The hot Caribbean sun had heated Tony’s body to the point
it was now either swim or shade. Staying where he was –
the view he had – was no longer an option. He looked at the
lounger next to him and sighed; the gorgeous tanned legs, the skimpy
white bikini, her blonde hair tied in a pony tail to make sure it kept
out of the way for her tan. She looked fantastic and would turn the
head of any man here. The three months since Christmas had been
difficult, but ultimately he knew he’d made the right
He thought back five years ago to the first few months with Steph, and
how in the time since Christmas those feelings and newness had been
reignited. From behind his sunglasses he admired the shape of her
profile as she faced away from him; the smooth undulating shape of her
thighs, hips, waist and upper back. He loved the way her light,
European skin had assumed a golden brown colour in contrast to the
“Excuse me, sir,” came the soft voice from his
“but I think you should cool down with a swim.”
Tony turned and looked into the brown eyes, smiled his best cheeky grin
and said he was just thinking of doing just that.
Claire raised her eyebrows and shook her head. “Yeah right,
were indeed just thinking … probably about sliding that log
have between your legs between the breasts of Miss Bayern Munich in the
Tony sat up and faced her, she was lying on her side resting on one
elbow with her head on her hand, and giving him a look that defied him
to deny it, but with a grin that oozed confidence in their
relationship. She knew damn well he’d had his fill of
looking blondes. Tony had soon learned that with Claire, the best form
of defence in these situations was attack.
“I know I can’t fool you – it’s
thirteen years more experience that an old woman like you has over a
young stud like me. And what’s more …”
… but he got no further. Moving much more quickly than
he’d thought possible (but maybe those Pina Coladas had
him down), Claire had leaped up grabbed his arm and hurled herself
backward into the pool, dragging him in after her. They surfaced
together laughing like ten year olds – though the white
wasn’t laughing, she’d just got soaked.
Tony ignored the look because he didn’t even see it. His eyes
were only for the wonderful woman he held in arms.
“I still can’t believe it took us five years to get
to kissing each other, then all of two hours after that to get round to
shagging each other. Actually that’s not correct, it was
love, not shagging.”
“Yes, but it still took you two more months to
Tony kissed her, stroked some wet hair from her face and said that it
was only because he was scared to death she would say no… or
that her two teenage thugs would beat him up.
Claire shook her head and sighed.
“The boys think you’re brilliant. They think
great having two dads go and watch them play football. Besides,
they’ve seen how happy I am. Come on, it’s been
since I last had you in a bed. We both know this will wear off, because
it always does – but right now I want to capitalise on it.
you and that log of yours up for it?”
She didn’t need to ask, she could feel the response against
“Listen, it doesn’t have to go stale, boring and
after a few months. It will only happen if we let it. We’re
experienced enough to recognise it. But more than that, because we were
friends first and lovers later, we learned how to talk about
everything. So when it starts to happen, we’ll talk about it
sort it. If we want to, it will still be like this in thirty years
Claire looked at him, and shook her head.
“God I love you, now shut up and let’s go to