Saturday morning in the height of summer, Hot Richard calls me, just as he said he would. He tells me he’s preparing a picnic for us, and asks if I’d like to accompany him to Greenwich to eat it. Of course I do.
Today is the first day in weeks that it begins to rain. I should of known better.
I meet Hot Richard outside the Royal Exchange. As I walk up to him, a naughty smile teases across his mouth, but he doesn’t lean in to kiss me as a greeting. Instead he picks up the picnic bag, and motions towards the train. We travel to Greenwich amicably, chatting. As we wait on a train platform, he touches me for the first time that day. He lifts me, as though I were a small child and he were checking my weight. He is, as it turns out. He puts me down and says,
“You’re heavier than you look.”
No girl likes to be told that.
He tells me about moving over to London from Australia. He says that he had a girlfriend until only a few short weeks ago, and it sounds to me, although I don’t ask, as though she’s possibly still on the scene somewhere. I suspect she’s staying in his flat. He mentions that he hasn’t worked in a while, but I don’t prod, I don’t pry. I’m looking to preserve the perfection at all costs. Let’s ignore for now that guys like this do not go out with girls like me. Hot Richard skilfully evades my questions, redirecting conversation to be about me.
I was willing to do anything to make Hot Richard seem like the perfect gentleman. He was attentive, interesting and courteous. He had brought a picnic blanket and a spare jumper for me.
In many ways, Hot Richard had put in time to building a relationship with me over the preceding week. He’d called me at 5.30am the previous day in response to my despair that I found it lonely to get up so early and go to work on my own. He had messaged me religiously. I was primed and ready to be romanced.
Walking through the park, we found a relatively quiet area on a hilltop, and Hot Richard spread out the blankets. He constructed sandwiches and I laid next to him and enjoyed the novel sensation of being able to touch him whenever I liked. A subtle graze of my hand on his, my leg crooked over his.
He looked over at me lazily, and in his aussie drawl, he asks me breathily,
“Why do I like you? You’re a pretty girl, but there are loads of those.”
And then he kissed me.
It struck me as an odd thing to say. Was he trying to keep me on my toes? Don’t ask, don’t tell seemed to be the only way to preserve the romance.
When it began to lightly rain, Hot Richard covered me with his body, and the blanket, and kissed me deeply. I had never wanted anyone as much as I wanted him right then. He was astonishingly handsome, and seemingly completely wrapt with me. Running my hands over his body, I could feel every muscle in his torso, he kissed my lips, my face, my neck and breathed me in. He was obsessed.
When it began to rain in earnest, we packed up the picnic blanket, and began to walk around the park. He didn’t try to hold my hand, but he talked about the trees and the wildlife, and growing up on a farm back home. He told me how he was a very private person, that he had tried Tinder out for a week, but he had resented that it meant that he had to get a Facebook account, and it invaded his privacy. He would hate that I am writing this.
Hot Richard wanted me to laugh at my divorce instead of be upset by it. This doesn’t stop him being fascinated by it, just like anyone else to hears about it. It’s quite rare in London to be a 29-year-old-divorcee.
On the train back to Bank, his eyes are burning into me, as he stands opposite me. Whatever it is that I’m feeling for him is reciprocated.
I guess I had expected that he would invite me back to his place, but he doesn’t. He tells me that his flat is a mess, which I guess could be true. But it probably isn’t.
By this point, I’m beyond caring. His attention to me is like a drug that I need more of. We go back to my flat. I ask if he’d rather go to a bar, or get dinner, but he says,
“I only want to spend time with you today”
I thought that was romantic, sentimental, cheesy but adorable. I was invested. This date was continuing towards a bed, the details were irrelevant. Hot Richard loved my flat, he was enthusiastic about the location and the space. I fix gin and tonics, and we talk, respectfully, companionably. He asks me about my ex-husband, and why we split up. I tell him that his feelings towards me had changed over time and he didn’t find me attractive once I had become a more independent woman. Hot Richard is incensed by this,
“That’s pathetic. There’s nothing sexier than an independent woman.”
We buy wine and pizza and lay on the floor, drinking, kissing, exploring one another’s bodies. He takes off my clothes as though I am an unexplored present, but then he ties my wrists to the sofa with his belt and leaves me bound and frustrated whilst he sat just out of reaching distance and talks to me. Telling me all of the things he’d like to do to me. He kisses me, he strips me naked, and lazily teases me. Eventually I wriggle free of the belt and whisper to him
“Come to bed”
“Has anyone ever tested your pain threshold?”
The pain of being with Hot Richard is exquisite. He knows how to tease me and dominate me. He fucks me carelessly, and without wearing a condom. I’m too drunk and too horny to complain, even though I’m not on the pill. I will worry for weeks afterwards. He is rough, he grips my arms and my legs and he bruises my skin.
His lack of restraint makes me feel so desired that it compensates for the incomprehensibility of why this beautiful specimen of a man would want to be in bed with me.
We sleep, briefly, before waking at dawn and in the morning to screw again. He doesn’t tie me to my bed, but he is rough, dominant and demanding. He doesn’t force me to do anything I don’t want to do.
He tells me that I’m like a cat to sleep with, napping briefly, then waiting and pawing him awake to play with me.
I wanted his attention and his love.
In the morning, we drink coffee, and as he showers, I reflect on the way that he sleeps. He sleeps like a man waiting to be attacked. Any attempt to cuddle him or touch him after sec was rebuked, roughly, and he almost pushed me out of bed. He said he wasn’t used to share a bed.
After we part at the train station, I become paranoid that this is the last I will hear of him. But it isn’t. He continues to message me. I breathe a small sigh of relief.