{Sequel to Little Red Pompom Hat}

e’s eating his penne. His manners are impeccable, and Wren considers asking for wine. She’s intolerant. If she drinks, her head with drop on the table with a dull thud. Alternatively, if she’s still not done with her minestrone by then, then there will be a splash and bubbles around her nose. She wonders if the splatter will come off his white shirt and assumes that it probably won’t. That would be a horrible pity, really. It looks very good. He looks good. He looks so good that she’s considering downing a bottle of Merlot.

She looks… worse. She’s wearing her best dress – and she feels like a phony. She’s a single mum and a day nursery teacher. She wears comfortable frumpy clothes all day. She’s put on her only heels, and right now her most ardent desire is to take them off with a loud sensual moan. She hasn’t worn them since that wedding that she and her ex-husband went to – and had an argument about. On the way there, and on the way from there. And all through. Except during the vows, but definitely over three courses and cake. She was hissing, he was clenching his well-defined jaw.

When she was taking this dress out of her wardrobe two hours ago, she found a shirt. She properly doesn’t understand how an item of clothing can be forgotten in the flat of one’s ex-wife. There was all that packing, discussing, dividing furniture, crying on her part, glowering on his, as well as trying to figure out whose relative gave what, and so on, and so on… and still she found a shirt. It had been stuffed at the very back, because the sleeves were too short. He still wore it under jumpers, rolling up sleeves – and looking good doing so.

The man in front of Wren is also dressed in a white shirt, a grey grandpa cardigan over it. He looks nothing like a Grandpa. Except he is a Grandpa, to think of it. Their previous date was in a chippie shop, with Mira and his grandnephew. And it was ace. Wren only blurted out nonsense twice, and he was polite enough to let it slip.


She jumps up and stares at him like an emoticon consisting on two capital O’s and an underscore between them. ‘O’ indeed. He’s so fit that she has to blink frantically. That is the state called bedazzled. Obviously, she means the 1967 version, not the monstrosity with Liz Hurley.

“Um, yeah?”

He gives her a warm smile. All she can think of is how uncomfortable she is. She’s also anxiously wondering whether she put deodorant on. She could never understand why Pepper Potts mentions it in the Iron Man film, but now she can relate. She did put it on, and she even styled her hair in some semblance of a do. Still, she still feels like her carriage will turn into a pumpkin any moment. She’s got nail varnish on – and she’s even put mascara on, which she never does. She looks after twenty four four-year olds. She colours, makes play-dough monsters, and reads about Paddington all day long. When she comes home at the end of said day, she’s got glue, sparkles, pieces of string, shreds of colourful paper, juice, lotion, and sadly an extensive amount of snot covering her head to toe. She’s not a ‘teal jersey sheath dress’ kind of a person. Yesterday she wore a tee with Winnie the Pooh to work.

There is a big chance that – if a miracle happens and this date doesn’t end in disaster – another date happens and doesn’t either, which is almost improbable; and even still, the third one happens; and the two of them end up in a horizontal position, and some items of clothing are taken off; and then he most likely will find a temporary tattoo of Lightning McQueen on her ankle or a stamp with Clifford that Mira tends to gift her with, generously.

Also, Wren hates the taste of lipstick, currently mixed into the mouthful of her dinner.

He’s successful and refined. He’s drinking water to support her abstinence. It means that he will still be sober when it comes to deciding whether this date was any good – which makes her thing that it is their last one. Instead of her usual verbal diarrhoea, she’s experiencing the opposite aggro at the moment. Her previous ‘um, yeah?’ was the fifth phrase she’s said to him over the course of assorted antipasto, soup, and currently ricotta gnocchi. Maybe she’ll order some liqueur with her coffee. Then she won’t have to go through the humiliation of him promising to call and lying through his teeth.

“Is your dinner OK?”

His tone is caring, and she feels sad. She’ll never find out what his beard feels like. She goes for her usual approach in such situations. Pathetic whining and backing off ahoy.

“I’m sorry. I’m sort of— not feeling well…”

She’s sure she’s convincingly green around the gills. She’s nauseated when she’s nervous. Right now, she’s past ‘long road trip sort of sick’ and reaching the level of ‘stomach flu sick.’

He’s all concern and polite helping her into your coat, then catching a cab; and you are sipping from a bottle of water that he made a waiter get for her. He helps her out of the car, pays, and is supporting her elbow, while she’s trying not to impersonate one of the burglars from Home Alone on the porch of her building.

And then her cursed verbal inconsistence wakes up.

“Would you like to come in?”

She wonders if there was some alcohol in the sauce to her pasta. There isn’t a single good reason for him to agree on that. Except he might want to avoid an awkward but honest answer of ‘why would I?’ Also, her flat pretty much looks like the continuation of her work place. Last night she and Mira made a giant spider out of a Danish biscuit tin and pipe cleaners; and it’s hanging from the chandelier in the drawing room. It’s also wearing Mira’s sunglasses, shaped like stars. The spider’s name is Webton John. On her kitchen wall there are drawings of pumpkins. He won’t be able to tell, but the initial shape is made by dunking one’s bottom into paint and pressing it to the wall, while stripes and stems are added later. They also have two rats living in a giant cage in the bathroom. There’s a notice on the cage door that says, Pinkie and No-Brainer live here. She pretty much lives in a mad house, and she adores her life – but nothing about it says, ‘This is a woman whom a successful hydroengineer with a mind-blowingly fit arse would want to shag.’

“Gladly, he answers. “If you’re feeling up for it.“

Her nausea intensifies.

“Yeah,” she answers bleakly.

“I’d be glad to see Mira,” he adds. “Last time she didn’t finish telling me about the rocket she’s building in her bedroom to go to the Moon like Wallace and Gromit.”

She wonders if that was well-veiled sarcasm and he’s a sadist – or he’s even more perfect that she thought.


She lets him into the flat; he slips on a tiny wind-up car in the hall and lands on his backside. He hisses, still managing to suppress a swearing, and her Leary-Tourette kicks in.

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry! There are toys everywhere!” she hollers. “Please, do swear if it helps! Mira is staying over at her friend’s house tonight! They’re having a sleepover, probably watching Frozen again. I really don’t understand what it is about this cartoon. I liked Brave more, but it’s probably because the protagonist is ginger. And again, I’ve always liked archery, I even won a trophy at school. Also, I much prefer bears to reindeer. And again, I’m so sorry for the car!”

She continues blathering, grabs his arm with both her hands, supposedly helping him to get up. It’s an unsuccessful endeavour since he’s not trying to rise; and she’s unstable on her ‘stilts.’ She wobbles, he grabs her around her waist – and she’s on his lap. She’s terrified that she fell on some sensitive areas, when she notices that he isn’t particularly dischuffed with this arrangement. He gently cups her face, there’s a moment of eye contact, and she sees a question in his eyes. Her inner feminist cheers to this obvious consent seeking – while her inner ‘bird who hasn’t had any since her divorce’ internally screams that Wren should grab him before he comes to his senses and bolts.

He leans in, and she close her eyes. His lips brush at hers tentatively, and she’s holding her breath. She really hopes he’s a good kisser. Let’s face it, even if he isn’t, she probably won’t care. He tastes amazing; his lips are soft and warm; and her fingers curl gathering the collar of his cardigan. She’s the first to cross the line between middle school kissing and a proper grown-up snog. She runs her tongue along his bottom lip – and then seven months of abstinence make her libido roar and rush into an attack.

She would like to say that she comes to her senses when the buttons on his shirt are already open, her dress is pooling around her waist, and she’s kissing his stomach – but the truth is… she doesn’t. She’s still enthusiastically sampling all this luxurious delicacy under her, when he suddenly sits up, gently pulling her up, and he cups her face again.


She hums to show that she’s listening while unbuckling the belt on his trousers.


This time his tone is cautioning. Is he warning you against unwise life choices?


The blasted contraption is stuck, and she growls in frustration.

“We are on the floor in your hall.”

“It’s the least messy room in the flat.” She dive in and gives a little bite to his beard-covered jaw. Finally!

And the official verdict is… Oh. My. God.

“A bed would surely be more comfortable,” he purrs.

She peeks. He’s squinting his eyes like a cat. Good to know it’s working for him too. He doesn’t look like he’s planning to bolt. She gives him a suspicious look over. He’s dishevelled, his shirt is open. He’s got a hairy chest, which she never liked. Right now the view might speed up her crisis. His pupils are dilated, his eyes are burning. He looks properly turned on. Unbelievable!

She’s suddenly terrified that it is the teal dress, stilettos, and makeup that led to his large hands groping her arse. Cue Leary-Tourette again.

“I’m wearing knickers with koalas.”

His glacial blue eyes widen, and his thick black eyebrows jump up.

“I didn’t expect you to see them so I put on what I usually wear,” Wren elaborates with a machine-gun speed. “I wear silly underwear, and I’m not classy. Or confident. Or sophisticated. And we had Crunchy Nut Clusters for supper last night. I never have nail varnish on my hands, and I often wear colourful hair bands. I cry every time Aladdin sets Genie free, and I sing in the shower. I’m tone deaf, and I sing Disney songs there. I can’t shag you now and then pretend it didn’t happen.”

He’s studying her nose. She holds back an impulse to rub it.

“I’m a single mum! And I love my job, but twenty four weans can drive you bonkers! If we get up now and start walking to the bedroom, I’ll change my mind. You’re properly fit, and intelligent, and funny, and considerate! You’re just… wonderful! And all I wanted from you was a couple of orgasms! But I don’t think it’ll be enough now, and I can’t—”

She choke on her tirade and takes a spasmodic gulp of air, pushing it into her empty lungs.

He tenderly kisses her jaw. Apparently it’s an erogenous zone. Although at this stage, even through the haze of embarrassment and terror that she feels, every inch of her skin is an erogenous zone.

“You are classy. Oddly chatty, but classy,” he murmurs, and she melts. “And I fancy it that you are a day nursery teacher,” he goes on. “And I love that there are kids pictures on every wall I’ve seen in your flat, which is only three so far.” He chuckles, squinting his brillinat eyes, and his tone is warm. He might indeed be simply wonderful. “And I love it that there is a bit of some sparkle glue behind your ear.” She’s momentarily distracted from her swooning, but then he continues, “Can you please wear knickers with koalas when we finally get to shag?” His shoulders are shaking from laughter. “Are you the shag on the third date type of a person, or do I have hope for it next time? I really want to see the koalas.”

His joking is light, but she’s already sobered up. The daze from all this copping off on her hall floor is wearing off, and she’s sharply cold.

“Depends. If you’re going to disappear right after it, then we might just get it out of the way today.” Oh god, what kind of idiot says something like that?! That is exactly why men run from starved women like you. “Are you planning to run away?”

“It depends on the shag, I suppose,” he says in a calm, amicable tone. He’s pushed his fingers into her hair, and his hands are so large that he manages to stroke her jaw with his thumb at the same time. Is he actually answering your daft remark?! “I mean, if we are incompatible in bed, we can’t build a relationship on personal admiration alone, right?”

She jumps off him, grabs his hand, and propels towards the bedroom. He said ‘build a relationship’ and ‘personal admiration.’ Even if it’s pull talk, she’s fine with it.


They are compatible in bed. He’s breathing under her, raggedly, taking big gulps of air with his open mouth. She falls on his chest. Definitely liking the hair.

“God, Wren, what was that?! I think— I’ve just seen— what’s that expression? Stars? Specks?” He pressed the heels of his palms over his eyes and laughs.

He sounds like after cheering at a footie match plus two periods of extra time and five penalty shootouts.

“I really like you,” she murmurs and gently bites into his pectoral muscle.

He tastes salty.

“I like you too, but— that was what? Orgasm number five for you?”

“It’s six for me, it’s five for you.”

He grabs her around her waist and flips her on her back. His blue eyes are studying her face with merry disbelief dancing in them.

“We are dating now, right?”

She’s grinning from ear to ear, and he quickly pecks your lips.

“God, really didn’t see it coming…” He’s shaking his head in amusement. “I hoped you weren’t frigid, since I properly fancied you, but seriously—”

” Are we dating?” She decides to confirm, just in case.

“We are most decisively dating, if you are in.”

Wren eagerly nods, and he guffaws.

He pretends to bite her shoulder and announces, “I’m starving now. Can I also have Crunchy Nut Clusters for dinner?”

Awww, and he listens. Definitely wonderful.

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