The ‘disco’ part of the evening was well underway and even a few of the women from Sandra’s office had taken to the dance floor, swinging their hips and side-stepping to the usual recycled party tunes, such as The Time Warp, Birdy Song and Oops Upside Your Head.
Sandra and Stacy continued to grimace at each other as Phil Pop churned out one ‘classic hit’ after another.
“Another white wine and soda?” Offered Sandra as she got up to go to the bar. “It may anaesthetise the effects of the DJ.”
As she walked around the square of lino that formed the dance floor, her face dropped as she remembered that Martin and Barry were still propping up the bar.
“Your arse looks nice in that dress, love,” Ventured Martin, which was rather bold, even for him.
“Sod off, Martin,” Sandra replied. Barry was oblivious to the exchange and had moved on from reading beer mats to gazing vacantly at his ale. Sandra ordered the drinks, handed over the money and was about to beat a hasty retreat, when she felt a hand touch then pinch her derriere.
She jolted in surprise but managed not to lose the drinks. As she spun round, the red face and slightly bloodshot eyes smirked at her.
“What do you think you’re doing?!” Was all she could muster when the answer was blatantly obvious.
Undeterred, Martin said: “Come on, love. You know there’s an attraction between us. I know you are gagging for it.”
“No, I am bloody well not!” And with that she looked to Barry for support. Even now he surely couldn’t ignore this. But Barry was away with the fairies, still unaware of what was happening.
“But look at you, tits on show, arse sticking out. You so want it. Barry’s had his chance. Now it’s my turn.”
“You absolute dick head!” She screamed and threw her white wine and soda in his face.
“Ooh, feisty! Come here, now and give me a kiss.” And he reached out to grab her arm, even though his face, hair and shirt were now sodden.
At this point Barry was roused from his reverie. He quickly took in the scene and guessed what had happened. Martin was his mate, but he knew he was a lech. He had accepted this, but could not if it involved Sandra.
Without a second thought, he jumped up from his bar stool so swiftly that it fell and hit the floor with a crash.
He pushed Martin so that he lost his balance and stumbled over backwards in a heap. He then went over to him, helped him up and dragged him out of the room.
“Let’s go after them,” Exclaimed Stacy who had dashed across the room to see what was happening.
“No, leave it, please. Let’s just go and sit down. I want to forget about it and enjoy the rest of the night,” said Sandra. She didn’t know whether to be more shocked by Martin’s actions or Barry defending her corner. She couldn’t believe that, after weeks of avoiding her, he would step in to help.
Ten minutes passed. It felt like an hour. Then the door swung open and Barry walked in, alone. He looked a little dishevelled, slightly weary.
Stacy waddled across the room again. “I think you deserve a drink, Barry. What you having?” He accepted quietly, but barely glanced at her. He was looking around the room anxiously.
“She’s over there,” said Stacy. “I’ll bring over your drink, then pop to the loo.”
Sandra was slouched at her table, her chin resting in her hands, her mind running over what had just happened. She watched the coloured lights above the dance floor. Then her view was blocked by a man in a blue shirt.
“Hey, wake up, daydreamer,” Nudged Barry. It was the first time he had spoken to her for so long, yet still his tone was light-hearted and jokey.
Sandra didn’t know how to respond. She just gazed into his chestnut brown eyes. She felt her own eyes fill with warm tears and tried to blink them away. She looked down, having nowhere else to hide the fact she was about to cry.
But Barry sat down next to her and took her hand. With his other hand he gently brushed away a small tear before kissing her softly on the lips. It was just a small kiss but enough to press the right button in Sandra. She threw her arms around him and used all her strength to push him closer, forcing him to kiss her again, this time long and hard, tongues and all, dissolving every last scrap of pink lip gloss. Sandra’s right leg had also managed to raise itself to wrap around Barry’s hips. (“Thank God it was a flarey skirt on this dress,” she thought.)
As they kissed, the music and everything around them seemed to fade into a muffle. That was until a very loud “Woo!” became too hard to block out. It was Stacy trundling back to the table.
“You did it!” She bellowed. “You two belong together. He’s a keeper, hun.”
Barry and Sandra smiled shyly, feeling a little awkward that their reunion had been so public and guessing that it may be the subject of office gossip next week.
Then a familiar tune rose from the speakers. “Oh, maybe he does know how to play something decent for a change,”said Sandra, belching on soda bubbles.
As Paul Weller’s ‘You Do Something To Me’ started up, Barry gave Sandra a look she understood without words. They both stood up at the same time and he took her by the hand to the dance floor. Wrapped around each other, Sandra’s head nestled in Barry’s chest they did a slow dance which was more like a swaying hug. But they looked contented and in love.
“Aw bless,” Sighed Stacy to no one in particular.