We met in Spring and I picked a few of the daffodils poking through the snow as I walked to see her for our second date. It was at the cinema, showing one of those romcoms couples seem to watch early on in a relationship when she wants to see if he has a soft, caring, romantic side and he wants to get in her pants enough to try having one. It took three more dates before she let me but I still have no idea what the film was.
I had her name written in white icing on a Thornton’s chocolate egg, with a little heart squiggled next to the last letter. And a furry thing of some kind carrying a basket of pastel chocolate eggs, probably a rabbit I suppose, for Easter. I didn't really expect anything from her but she did share the little eggs with me. The large one she left in its package and displayed it on a shelf in her room, next to the rabbit thing. £20 that cost me and I got to look at my generosity each time I rolled off her and laid there wishing I smoked so I could have a post-coital fag.
Summer came late but eventually she began wearing short skirts and skimpy tops every day. It was so nice to have my own girl to think about dressed like that so I didn't only ever fantasize about women I saw in the street. They came off more quickly too and we spent much of the summer sweating from sun or sex or from both.
It was too soon to go on holiday together, she said, so we spent most of the hot days and long weekends in the gardens of friends or sometimes at the beach if we could get a lift. But she eventually agreed we could go somewhere still warm when we’d been together six months, so we planned a late break to a cheap Greek island.
There was a chilly autumnal bite to the air when we landed back at Gatwick and she asked for my jacket for her shoulders. I would probably have unpacked it and offered her anyway, but she beat me to it. She mostly wore jumpers and thicker tops from then onwards. None of them offered a glimpse of nipple as I remember. One showed an outline if it was really cold, but she usually wore a cardigan on top with that one.
We had settled into a regular routine, which was comfortable. It was good to know where we were and which nights I could see the guys. And when she saw her friends at the same time, we didn’t usually go to the same places. Only once did we end up in the same pub. One of my mates fancied one of hers so we all formed one big group. She was looking really hot that night and I swung between being a bit angry she dressed like that when I wasn't out with her and getting hard as I watched her throw her head back and laugh with her friends. I didn't drink much more and sex that night was the best we’d had in a while.
I don’t usually bother too much with Christmas but she was so excited with all the gold and red and greenery that I started seeing it as more than an opportunity to stay off work and drink too much. I did buy her quite a lot but thinking about the joy I’d see on her face make it worthwhile. My Mum did most of the wrapping for me but I used those sparkly little bags stuffed with tissue too. Hiding it all was fun but she didn't come round that much in the run up to Christmas anyway.
At the last minute she couldn't come to my work’s party but I still had to go. Probably as well she wasn’t there because Fi from accounts was slaughtered and made free with the mistletoe. I hid from her but she found me ladling punch into a glass and grabbed me from behind. The liquid splashed over my hand and I licked it to stop it splashing on my shoes. She kissed me and as I pulled away she ran her tongue over her lips, sticky from the punch on mine. I left the party soon after and in bed tried to hold those skimpy summer girlfriend memories in my mind instead of Fi’s pink tongue, sliding and glistening.
My birthday was a few days before hers and we shared a party with all our friends and family invited. I was surprised how few joint friends we had after almost a year together. The room was divided almost like two sides of a church, her side and my side. Only a few waved across the gap although our parents did meet up at the bar for a while. I made an effort to work some of her side. Not sure if she did the same with mine.
A few of the presents we received were joint ones but not many. Some would live at my flat, some at hers and we even did a swap with our own ones we didn't like. She came back to mine after and we had a bottle of champagne together and danced slow in the dark. In bed she began snoring almost at once, even though she swears she doesn’t snore. I tried to feel frustrated about it, then to think back to the summer and even to that pink slippery tongue, but nothing happened.