For the first time, I had Linda to myself, as Hayley kissed the face off Ste, leaning and writhing all over the bar like some cheap straight-to-video "erotic thriller". The staff and customers didn't bat an eyelid, they were seasoned to such behaviour.
Indeed, many people in the place seemed to have coupled up, as the banging music, cheap alcohol and general feel-good atmosphere got under skins and lowered inhibitions. It didn't matter that the music was mostly middle-of-the-road bile - The volume and familiarity was too overpowering to resist.
I found myself dancing - well - shuffling-lamely-foot-to-foot - would be a more accurate description.
It must have been the booze.
Linda was up close to me, hands lightly resting on my waist.
The brief snarl with Ste was soon forgotten to me. It was more my own selfish frustration with his relatively late appearance to absorb Hayley's irritation of me that had bubbled over, rather than what he had said. Perhaps I had overreacted somewhat. It wasn't in my nature to be aggressive.
I just got quickly tired of smart-arse people who in actuality, had nowhere near the level of intelligence, passion and character I possessed.
Not a boast, mind.
A statement of will and self-belief.
It must have been the booze.
I switched my attention back to Linda, rocking gently against me with an enigmatic, Mona-Lisa smile on her face. I'd waited so long to express myself, I'd run so many different approaches and questions through my head in the past. But now, despite the lager running through my veins, I was struggling.
"Funny how things turn out...innit?" was about all I could offer.
"Certainly is.... Remind me, how exactly did we split up in the first place?" she replied, the slightest hint of sarcasm in her voice.
I winced when I thought about it. It was really originally down to me and my own stupidity.
I felt I should keep it stark, honest. There way no other way.
"Yeah...that's it. That particular weekend, I was skint, remember? And the the Matthew Street Festival was on...And I couldn't afford to go out. And I remember calling you to tell you that and you were so disappointed.....But at the last minute Peter lent me £20 and I went out with a few of the lads...But I didn't call you to arrange to meet up...So quite rightly you were fuming with me when you found out....And things just sorta broke down between us..."
She raised an eyebrow expectantly.
Something vital was missing.
"Listen, I'm so sorry Linda. I was acting like a dickhead, I admit, totally. I should have treated you so much better than that, it was out of order of me to do that to you - to lie, I mean. But that was nearly 5 years ago and I'm different now.....I've matured.."
Her frown dropped and she smiled once again. Perhaps I had convinced her.
"Was that so hard to say?" she simply said.
"Well yeah.....and no. It was easy for me to admit I was wrong...but waiting so long to say it to you face-to-face was hard work, you know?"
"I know.... It's always tough, breaking up...Never easy is it? But I can see that people can change.."
The simplicity of what she said rang true, that was for sure. It made me want her back even more.
I'd missed being on the level with someone. The train-wreck relationships of the past still haunted me. Another shot at the title with Linda would be worth working hard for.
It seemed that if there was ever the right time to say it, it should have been there and then, in a good mood.
"Not planning on going anywhere else tonight...are you?"
She took her face away from my chest and glanced up at me, her eyes sharpening.
"Wasn't planning on it...why?"
I squeezed her waist and pulled her back close to me.
"It's just...If you fancy we could go to mine...my flat likes..."