In the British Christmas tradition of dramatic plotlines in TV soap operas I have a treat for readers this year. Ever wondered what happened to Barry and Sandra? Here’s where we catch up with them…
Sandra stands sideways in front of the mirror and sucks in her stomach. She has a slight belly pouch, despite wearing her best ‘control’ pants. But still, her black sparkly dress with a floaty skirt looks pretty good.
She has just had her roots done and her hair looks soft and shiny. As she puts on her lipstick she is filled with excitement and nerves in equal measure – could something good happen tonight or will she remember how low she has been feeling the last few months?
It is the office Christmas party and she knows Barry will be there, and they will set eyes on each other, after weeks of hiding behind desks and ducking into doorways to avoid any awkward exchanges. Barry worked in a different office, so it hadn’t been that hard to avoid him, after he unexpectedly dumped her by text message.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud flush. “You look nice, hun. Who are you trying to impress?” Rasped Stacy, Sandra’s rather loud and large work mate. Stacy winked and didn’t wait for an answer before she breezed out of the office loo.
Sandra glanced at her watch – “Bugger!” It was nearly time to go. She grabbed her bag and dashed out. Her and four colleagues were walking together to the Queen Rose Hotel where her work had hired a function room for turkey dinner and disco.
‘Walking together’ was rather a euphemism, seeing as they were all, including Sandra, wearing spiky high heels which they were already teetering in, before a white wine and soda had even passed their lips. They were clearly hoping for someone to lean on by the end of the evening.
As they walked through the double doors a voice boomed out: “Blimey, girls did it take that long to trowel it on? There’s only half an hour to get the drinks in before the food comes out.” It was Martin the sales manager and Barry’s partner in crime. He was always rather red-faced and Sandra didn’t like the way he regularly looked her up and down and stood too close to her whenever they shared the lift or used the water cooler at the same time.
Barry was there, but sitting at the bar, pretending to read a beer mat, avoiding Sandra’s gaze. He felt bad about what had happened, but was scared to commit, even though he knew Sandra was totally smitten. Deep down he knew he loved her, but kept it buried at the bottom of his mind. His strategy for the night was to get quietly wasted, numb his feelings and slump into his bed when he’d had enough.
Sandra spotted him, but he continued to read the beer mat, despite it only having a handful of words printed on it. With his short dark hair, slightly ruffled and greying at the temples and his straight, handsome features and broad shoulders and blue shirt, he looked sexy. For a second she admired the view, and then remembered the hurt he had caused her. Stacy also tugged her arm to usher her along. “Forget him, love,” she whispered, “Time to move on. You could have anyone you wanted, looking like you do tonight.”
Barry slowly emerged from behind the beer mat, watching Sandra walk across the room. Her bottom looked peachy and round in her dress and her hips had just the right curve for him to encircle with his hands. He thought about holding her from behind and nuzzling his face against her neck.
“Another pint?” Shouted Martin and jolted Barry back to reality. He quickly turned his thoughts to beer and banter and the fact that he was happy on his own, no woman to tie him down, nag him and stop him having a life.
So, Sandra chatted with her friends about shoes, make up, kids and TV and Barry focussed on football, beer, politics and silly jokes with his. They were surviving the night without disturbing one another. Dinner came and went – the usual two thin slices of turkey, soggy veg, runny gravy and small block of stuffing followed by a stodgy lump of pudding.
Tables were hastily cleared and the lights were turned down before the familiar sounds of Boney M blared out, courtesy of Phil Pop, the local mobile DJ. Sandra and Stacy groaned at the cliché soundtrack, which probably hadn’t changed for over 20 years. Barry and his friends retreated to the bar. They, of course, were too cool to dance to this shite (as Barry put it). But he wasn’t too cool to keep glancing over at Sandra, now the beer had zapped away some of his self-control.
TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR PART 2…