I am my own worst critic. I am fully aware that my low self esteem comes primarily from repeatedly beating myself up about past failures and although I am intelligent enough to recognise that most of my insecurities and paranoias can be easily dismissed with a little common sense, I just don’t seem to be able to appease my lack of self worth. This weekend, however, has proven to me that I don’t always need to be the one who pulls me up and puts me back together after a bout of the blues. This weekend has shown I have some amazing men in my life who can do it for me.
Saturday saw Billy and I heading to our own personal mecca, Stamford Bridge. I used to attend Chelsea FC games most weekends, but with work commitments, parenting and the ever increasing expense of being a football fan, I haven’t been able to attend a game in years. Billy found himself with a spare ticket and before I knew it, he was picking me up at my front doorstep with an entire itinerary of fun planned for us.
I was a little apprehensive about going to the game with him, if I’m to be honest. Hes a twentysomething lad who attends most games. He has his football associates and I was worried that dragging this old and knackered thirtysomething woman along to the match would in some way embarrass him. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The drive to London saw us chatting easily about his new girlfriend and my developing relationship with Tex, about family and work, finances and mental health. When we finally arrived at the Bridge, car parked and with an hour to spare, we made our way into the nearest Chelsea pub for a few pre-match drinks. There, Billy proceeded to introduce me to everyone as ‘a legend’, ‘a true Chelsea girl’ and ‘one of his closest friends’. I was greeted warmly and immediately included into the laughter and banter of this close knit, truly loyal True Blue group.
A one nil win against Norwich isn’t something Chelsea fans would usually be singing about, but our recent score sheet has been less than dire and any kind of win was going to be met with cheers and relief. Content that our team were on their way back up, Billy and I jumped back into the car and headed home. He was eager for me to meet his new girlfriend, finally, and I was looking forward to seeing Tex.
Tex. I still cannot believe that he and I are working out so smoothly. I’m waiting for some big revelation that knocks me on my arse, to discover that hes not really that into me at all and this has just been some kind of twisted game. I guess I can blame Captain C**t for that little insecurity, because absolutely nothing about Tex says he is anything less that genuine. Upon arriving back in our hometown and heading into a local bar, Billy walked straight into the arms of his beautiful Little Lady, and I was met by a smiley Tex holding out a vodka and lemonade for me. What can I say, the man is well trained!
I like Billy’s new girlfriend. Little Lady is exactly as her nickname suggests…a petite brunette full of smiles and friendly chatter. Confident and sweet, she has a great sense of humour and, quite clearly, is totally smitten with our Billy. I was so relieved she didn’t do that jealous girlfriend thing that some women do when faced with the close female friends of their boyfriends. Instead, Little Lady gave me a huge hug, gushed about how pleased she was to finally meet me and how highly Billy had talked about me, then proceeded to drag me to the toilets for the traditional bathroom gossip that us women are so darn good at.
The drinks flowed and the laughter became more rambunctious. I was loving the bubbly, bouncy atmosphere created by close friends and like minded people, but spending all day on a drink and football bender was beginning to take its toll on my old lady bones and…OK, that’s a lie. I wasn’t exhausted from spending the day with Billy and I was more than happy to wile away many more hours with Little Lady and her friends, but more than that, I wanted 5 minutes alone with Tex. I was apprehensive about too many public displays of affection because we ‘re not technically a couple and I didn’t want to embarrass him, but I was also desperate to feel his arms around me and his lips on mine. When he asked if we could go back to my place, ahead of the others, I didn’t need much convincing.
Back at my place, Tex and I put a movie on Netflix and curled up on the sofa together, a quilt thrown over our legs to keep out the winter chill. Then, we talked. I mean, really, really talked. We went through all the gory details of his past relationship and its inevitable break down, my recent dramas with a rebellious teenage son and our tentative relationships with our parents. We discussed my mental health issues, my breakdown and my suicide attempts, and I warned him that getting involved with me would not always be easy and if he wanted to back out now I would completely understand.
‘The emotional pain gets so bad I try to claw my heart out through my chest with my own fingernails,’ I confided, apprehensively, ‘Its not pretty and there is rarely anything I can do to stop it. Medication takes the edge off and limits my down days, but I still have them’.
Tex squeezed me a little tighter, ‘well I can just be here to help you get through that,’ he said confidently and with compassion.
A wave of comfort and security swept through me as he lent down to plant a kiss on my forehead. I’d never known a man not recoil at the thought of a crazy, over emotional woman with a load of baggage, let alone one who was prepared to stay around and witness it at its worse. Of course, he hasn’t actually seen me going through one of my meltdowns yet, but the fact that he is prepared to try spoke volumes.
With my arms and legs entwined around him like ivy, Tex and I were in a snuggly bliss when we were rudely interrupted by the arrival of Billy, Little Lady, her friends and brother, Weston and Star. The rest of our evening, or rather the early hours of Sunday morning, were spent drinking, dancing and chatting absolute nonsense together. We took turns choosing the music, a democratic endeavor that saw the most eclectic playlist ever to emerge from a group of drunkards, and made sure the joints were always rolled and the glasses never empty. By 7am Little Lady was beginning to lag and Billy, the doting boyfriend, wrapped her up in his jacket and escorted her and her pals to a waiting taxi. Weston and Star headed up to bed, leaving Tex and I alone once again.
We barely moved from the sofa all Sunday. We kissed, we snuggled, we binge watched movies on Netflix. We cursed the fact that we had to work in the week and couldn’t stay like that for a few more days. I made us a huge bowl of pasta and occasionally forced myself to leave the blanket fort we had created for ourselves in order to make steaming hot mugs of tea. We discussed our plans for his birthday, Christmas and Boxing day. It became very clear that this man wasn’t planning on running out on me anytime soon.
‘I’m sending my son to his grandmother next weekend,’ I told him, a slight smile on my lips.
Tex knew what this meant. Despite being incredibly affectionate and tactile, and despite both being incredibly turned on by one another, we haven’t actually got around to sleeping together yet. I haven’t felt rushed into sleeping with him, nor has he made me feel obligated in any way. In fact, he’s been completely respectful of the fact that I don’t want our first time together to be some quick, rushed fumble thats under pressure from the risk of being caught by my son! A weekend with the house to myself means a weekend with Tex to myself.
‘You know you’re not leaving the house next weekend for a full 48 hours, right?’ I grinned.
‘Absolutely!’ Tex laughed.
‘And we have to spend 90% of the time completely naked?’
Tex wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed me, ‘I like the way you think!’