So, for the next chapter of our tale, I’m taking over and re-counting a specific event. In hindsight, it was hilarious, if a little bit frightening. I want to say that this was some sort of turning point in our fledgling romance, but the whole event was just us in a nutshell: a late-night encounter, fuelled by alcohol, and a sense of secrecy. Find the preceding parts of our Love Story posts here.
In St. Andrews, one of “the most anticipated events of the year”* is the Mermaids Christmas Ball. It’s your typical fancy, black tie affair – totally not my cup of tea. I don’t do dresses and dancing, and at the time, I wasn’t really any good at that sort of socialising, so unsurprisingly, I wasn’t going. Carley, however, did have a ticket, as did my flatmates.
My flatmates that year were the best, most ridiculous girls I’ve ever met, and I look back on my time with them wonderfully fondly. A few of them were a great deal more sociable than I was, and I’d often be up late and still be awake when they got home – it wasn’t unusual for us to have a silly blether at stupid o’clock. Anyway, this was one of those times – I was up late (playing on my computer, most likely!), and was anticipating my flatmates’ return home after the Christmas Ball. However, things didn’t quite turn out like that.
It was about three in the morning, and my phone rang: it was Carley. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t been expecting the call – I knew she was at the Ball, and it wasn’t usual for us to text when one of us was out with friends – we kind of did our own thing when we were apart. I can’t for the life of me remember exactly what she said, but she definitely said something like “I want to see you”. It wasn’t “I’d like to see you” or “Would you mind if I came over?”: there was a sort of command about it. I hastily agreed, we said goodbye, and I expected to see her within about half an hour.
Just to give a bit of clarification, whilst on the phone, I was sure that Carley was sober enough to make the journey between her flat and my own. It was a short distance, taking about fifteen minutes, and we had made the trip countless times before. I guess the point I am trying to make is that I wasn’t expecting Carley to get lost. I think you can tell where this is going, right?
I did receive a text, though. I don’t remember the exact wording, given it was years ago now, but it was something along the lines of “On my way to yours, see you soon”. Fair enough, I thought, but a longer period of time than expected passed, still without any sign of Carley. Eventually, I realised she was taking far too long to get there, and decided to give her a call.
She was in tears when I phoned, and I had an awful bother trying to get any sort of coherent information out of her. Turned out that Carley was actually slightly more drunk than I had assumed(!) Eventually, I managed to learn that she’d got herself lost, that she didn’t know where she was, and that she’d accidentally sent that text to most of her contact list, emptying her credit, so she couldn’t let me know that she’d got lost. It was all a bit of a trauma, to be honest.
So, I dutifully put some outside clothes on over my PJs, braced myself for the bitter weather, and went out in search of Carley. I was expecting to have to trawl through “The Badlands”, the area of St. Andrews that was too far from the university buildings to be of any interest to students. It was just a residential area where all the streets and houses kind of look the same – not the best place to end up if you’re not exactly sober(!) Things weren’t quite as bad as I had anticipated, however. Luckily, Carley was just five minutes from my flat.
End of the story, right? WRONG.
What came after that was one of those ridiculous, “couldn’t be making it up if I tried” sort of situations. I had to try and get Carley back to mine as quickly as I could, given that it was freezing cold, and snowing. Carley wasn’t playing ball though. She fought me the whole way back – it was only FIVE minutes, I’d like to remind you.
“I don’t want to walk any more,” she said. “I’ll just sit on the pavement here,” she whined. “I hate you. Why is it so far?” she demanded to know. Exasperated, I ploughed on, coaxing her along the road.
We’ve all been there, right? Drunken faux-abuse from a friend or loved one as they drape themselves across you, suddenly without any ability to walk properly. I wasn’t really prepared for what else Carley said, in amongst all the pseudo-insults.
“I think I’m in love with you.”
What do you say in response to that? I mean really. We’d known each other for a couple of months. I just sort of laughed it off, and we stumbled the last few yards to my front door. Finally, we got back inside, but my next mission was to get Carley in my cramped single bed to sleep. She was still wearing her ball dress, but had put on PJ bottoms underneath and stuck a rugby shirt on over the top. “I don’t want to take my dress off,” she whinged. It really was like dealing with a small child, you know when they are just too tired to cooperate? It was like that, except substitute “tired” with “drunk”(!)
Carley was out like a light, once she finally got that dress off.
I don’t really remember much after that, but I lay awake beside her for a short while, over-thinking what she’d said about thinking she was in love with me. I had no idea what to do about that. I just … I was attracted to Carley, and I liked spending time with her, but she’d told me repeatedly that she didn’t date. I took it with a pinch of salt, you know? I didn’t want to read too much into it, because I didn’t want to get myself hurt. We joked about it the next morning, and I often re-told the story by way of poking fun at Carley around our friends, but in actuality, it really confused me. I had no idea where I stood with this elusive enigma of a girl anyway, so for her to (admittedly drunkenly) come out with something that contradicted everything she’d said prior to then, well, that was just fantastic(!)
Carley has said that the next post will cover a little of what she remembers from this night – which includes stealing a chocolate crepe, telling her friends she lived in Tesco, and then getting lost on the way to Stacey’s flat – as well as the tale of what happened when her flatmate started to become suspicious of our ‘friendship’. Just another highly dramatic instalment of how we first got together!
* Not my words, for the record(!)Stacey