A lot to be Proud of

Despite the slightly anti-climatic end to our first date with when we shared our first kiss I had the most amazing weekend before I headed home to London to really celebrate my birthday in London. The weekend ended on a high, Megan managed to slip away for a couple hours to say goodbye before I would head back to London for the week.

The sunshine had made a welcome return and we met at a local woodland walk through Vallis Vale. After we both parked up we went for a short stroll and found a nice secluded area off the beaten track. We sat in the sunshine and didn’t talk much, we were too eager to pick right up where we’d left off the night before, with lots of passionate kissing. It would have been too easy to get carried away, but there was a temporary goodbye that needed to be said.

We eventually managed to tear ourselves apart and head back to the cars. I really did have to get back to London at a sensible hour for work the next morning, even if it would be my birthday. I had a busy week planned, Monday night I’d be out in Ealing with my housemates, Wednesday in Soho with my friends, the weekend would be Gay Pride and one of the rare weekends where I wouldn’t be coming back to Somerset. It made the goodbye that Megan and I had to share that little bit harder, so much could happen in the time that we would be separated, everything was still so new and fragile.

As I drove back to London that night I was on cloud nine, everything looked so promising. Megan and I were falling in love, there was no other word for it. It was intense, romantic, passionate and completely unstoppable. I remember that I’d listen to the radio on these long trips back and forth. I’d mostly listen to Kiss FM but there would always be a section of the motorway where I wouldn’t be able to pick it up, that’s when I’d switch to Heart for a while and the late night love session was playing. I was singing along at top volume to all the mushy love songs, I was belting out the classics so hard that I even had a sore throat by the time I arrived home.

I remember getting home and sharing a song that I’d particularly enjoyed on Facebook so that only Megan could see it. It was just one of the little secrets we shared over Facebook in those months. Setting custom privacy settings so that only each other could see our statuses and every night at midnight I’d send Megan a late night message. It would typically be quite a bit longer than your average text and either attempt to be incredibly romantic or a little raunchy… one time I even tried my hand at poetry. I was a living walking, breathing cliche and I didn’t care because I was in love.

This new and exciting relationship wasn’t the only thing to be proud of. I was excelling at work and had recently applied for an advanced position within my department, I was hoping that everything was starting to fall into place with my career like I had initially planned for. I got on with everyone on my team so well, they even made a fuss of me on my birthday by getting me a choccie cake and a card that had done the rounds through the department.

To cap it off, just afterwards I was given the honour of employee of the month, it all seemed to be happening at once. Happiness bringing more happiness and fortune. We had a wonderfully relaxed environment during this time since the Olympics were here in London. The general atmosphere was amazing, the weather was perfect and I was often able to bring my iPad to work with me and follow the sports and get my work done at the same time.

I had a sensible few drinks that evening when I got into Ealing with my housemates at the North Star, a couple of my friends even came across London to join me. I knew that the real party wouldn’t be until mid-week. I was finally 27, it really was an age I had been looking forward to. I was all set for the year ahead to really be the prime of life and to start taking everything I had ever wanted with both hands. Since it was off to such a great start, I couldn’t see any reason now why I couldn’t have it all.

I was in constant contact with Megan throughout the week, by the time Wednesday came around I was ecstatic to let me friends know about the most recent development between us and how promising everything was beginning to look, even with the distance playing a factor.

Wednesday night started out brilliantly, work had been great, the sun was shining and during the tube ride into central London the driver announced another meddle to Team GB and many of the commuters cheered. I’d be meeting the girls at the Montague Pyke on Charring Cross Road (standard behaviour) to start the night out. I’m habitually early and I didn’t mind if I’d be the first person there, I’d be able to scope out a table in the busy bar and wait for the rest to join me.

Before too long it became apparent that it was going to be one of those nights. The shots were on offer and I’d tell anyone who would listen about my theory of being 27 and it being the prime of life and the year of awesomeness. I total enthusiasm for turning 27 seemed to amuse my friends a lot and before too long we were racking up the empties. It was all ‘to being 27!’ and each time one of us went to the bar we came back with a tray of brightly coloured shots for the table. It wasn’t long before we decided that since 27 was such a grand number that should be my mission for the night, 27 shots. I was happy enough to accept the challenge, I can handle my alcohol.

There is always a lot of banter when we get together, I’ve said more than once that we should be on some sort of ‘fly-on-the-wall’ documentary because we’re just too hilarious when we’re out and about. I think I remember thanking my friend Cat for forever changing the dynamic between Megan and I, it was because of her that we went from cautious friends to outright flirtation as on the last night we’d all met up she’d stolen my phone when I was showing them pictures of Megan and liked a select few photos of her in her bikini looking like a super model in the shallow water on a beach. I’m pretty sure Megan has never believed me when I claimed by friend did the deed.

We’d sampled every shot on offer at the bar more than once before we decided it was time to move on to Candy Bar, it was a quiet night in Soho since it was Wednesday but all of us seemed happy enough to stay out late, even if we all did have work in the morning. Wednesday night at the Candy Bar meant just one thing, Karaoke. By this time I was completely wasted and had absolutely no inhibitions, my relatively new friends had never been witness to my slick dance moves and karaoke addiction, they would be in for a treat.

I somehow managed to stare through my blurred vision and pick out my signature karaoke tunes from the big book of songs. I went to my ‘go-to’ choices of Etta James’ I just wanna make love to you and Infernal, From Paris to Berlin. When the singing paused and the music played I would bust out on the dance floor since it was a lot more empty that night than I had ever seen it before. I think my friends were surprised more by the dancing than the singing. I’m not one to hold back when I’m drunk and I really do think I resemble something off ‘Stup Up’ until the sore head and flash backs start the next day.

I had already mastered the 27 shot challenge and I wasn’t really intending on drinking another drop of alcohol that night, I had already missed that last tube home and would have to resort to the night bus. The night bus was an experience I had yet to endure and I had planned the first time I would be slightly less drunk and not alone, but I was 27 now. I could manage such a trifling this as the night bus surely?! Well, I only managed it because of Vicky. She managed to look up what bus I would need and what stop I’d need to stand at. It was about 3am and we had stayed until closing time after I had sung my heart out with gusto accompanied with dance moves any drag queen would be proud of.

After Vicky had managed to prop me up at one of the bus stops she had to dash off to find her own bus that would be heading off in a completely different direction. I remember waiting for ages for the bus to turn up, I started to worry that I was standing in the wrong place, so stupidly I went wandering from bust stop to bus stop around trafalgar square just making sure, only to end up right back where I started just in time to get on (thankfully) the right bus back to Ealing.

By the time I made it back home to Ealing it was getting on for 5am, I’d literally have about two hours sleep before I’d have to get freshened up and head back into the office. I’d had such a great night and I was still riding the ridiculous high from the weekend that I didn’t even feel the faintest stirring of a hangover (probably still drunk!) and I made it in with barely a grumble and enjoyed telling my colleagues all about my night out.

From Wednesday it was all downhill to the weekend and London Pride, I was really looking forward to spending more time with my friends here in London. I had never planned on London becoming a permanent move, it had always had a shelf-life on it and a purpose which was solely to progress my career and then head back to the country enriched with improved career prospects. However now I could see myself making a life out of it all, it really is a lot of fun.

As the week went on I was constantly thinking of Megan and I was completely distracted with the idea of not getting to see her at the weekend. I was also completely conflicted since I didn’t want to miss going to World Pride with my friends. Megan was equally unhappy about the prospect of not getting to see each other over the weekend so we compromised on meeting in Wiltshire on the Sunday and spending as much of the day together as possible.

With this to look forward to the weekend couldn’t come quickly enough. My work were planning on marching in the Parade and had gotten branded Pride t-shirts for everyone. I had fully intending on meeting the guys from work for the march and joining up with my friends after however the late nights and early mornings were beginning to catch up with me and I had overslept. I made it into soho around half two and met up with the girls in Trafalgar Sqaure.

That was the day we all met Zoe for the first time. I might need another post to do that story justice. Or I could just summarise it in a few insensitive sentences and potentially get the whole thing wrong. One of our friends Amber had been talking to Z. online and thought that their meeting was something like a date, when Z. joined our group she had all the subtlety of a brick and asked Amber if Vicky was available and expressed a bit of an interest. It was awkward from that moment on, Amber didn’t like the situation very much, she even left early much to everyones dismay, it took us a while to notice because of the teeming crowds throughout the area. It didn’t look like we were going to see much of Zoe again after that.

It ended up with Vicky and I sat in a bar just off of The Strand having a chat and a few drinks, we talked through the randomness of what had just happened. It wasn’t going to be a late night, I was far too excited about the prospect of meeting up with Megan the next day and enjoying spending some time together away from any distractions. It was an unexpected treat to end the week with and it wouldn’t disappoint.

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