‘Elizabeth, may I say you brighten up this old place.’
Elizabeth blushed when he handed over his application form. He stroked the ridges of her knuckles. Thomas didn’t let go until it was on top of the others.
‘I know you’ve said no, but please accept my offer of dinner. I’m beguiled by your beauty.’
‘Thomas we hardly know each other.’
Thomas raised his hand to his face. ‘Then I’ll have no choice but to leave this world a lonely man. Goodbye my sweet world.’
She giggled like a teenager, as he swept across the room, and pulled apart an imaginary heart.
Before she knew it, they swapped numbers.
‘I’ll send you a text of where and when Miss Moneypenny,’ Thomas said, imitating James Bond’s accent.
Now, here she was, alone, with a huge bill just for a bottle of wine.
He waltzed in the room, a single blue carnation in his lapel. A bouquet to match all the flowers she had been given since their first meeting in his hands.
‘I’m so sorry I’m late Elizabeth, my car wouldn’t start.’
Elizabeth considered driving, but the car parks cost a small fortune in Windsor. It was cheaper to get a taxi instead. She heard the driver complain that road works had backed up the Windsor relief road.
He picked out a blue carnation from the mixed bunch. Presented her with the final colour of the rainbow. Thomas waved over to the waiter. ‘Can we have your finest bottle of champagne? This is a special occasion.’
‘I love this colour blue’ Elizabeth said.
He reached over to put it in the top pocket of her black dress. ‘That’s better.’
‘You’re spoiling me Thomas.’
‘Because you’re gorgeous Elizabeth, and I’m the luckiest man alive.’
Elizabeth didn’t consider herself beautiful. She had the figure, but most of her clothes were for work. Her outfit was last worn at her mother’s funeral – the only thing that even suited a date.
For the next hour, they drank champagne. Thomas finished off the wine. He treated her like a queen. He was curious about her life. Offered nothing of his own, apart from subjects relating to work. It was nice to be listened to for once.
‘How long have you worked for Simon?’
‘About five years, I worked at Mars before then.’
Elizabeth put her hand on top of the champagne flute, but Thomas gently pushed it to one side. Their eyes locked. Before Elizabeth knew it the bubbles popped at the top of the glass.
‘I can’t drink this whole bottle alone.’ Thomas said.
‘It’s just I don’t drink very often.’
In the past she only drunk a glass of wine with Christmas dinner. By the second drink she found the room spinning.