The SAS And The Glam That Goes With It
Sam closed her eyes. She decided that she had overdone the wine, fallen asleep on the sofa and must be dreaming. It was only logical explanation. When she opened them again, she told herself, she would be sitting alone and there would be no note, because it simply could not be happening. She counted to ten, slowly and opened her eyes. The note remained, innocently resting on her lap.
Picking it up again, she rubbed the paper between her fingers, feeling the rough edge where it had been torn from a larger piece. Bringing it close to her face, she examined it in detail. It was thin, printed with faint blue lines and looked like every other piece of cheap notepaper she'd ever seen. Guiltily, she sniffed it; disappointingly, it smelt of nothing. Not even a hint of the deep, smoky cologne that had made her head spin. Oh for God's sake! What kind of man leaves notes sprayed with aftershave? She chided herself. What kind of man slips their number into a knitted breast? It was all a bit James Bond-y in a cheap, woollen sort of way.
Her stomach tingled. Cheap and woollen in might be, but it was still the single most exciting thing that had happened in her life for months. A shiver of excitement coursed over her body and she smiled to herself. She had a mysterious admirer. Things were suddenly looking up.
The next day, she went to work as usual. She tried not to think about the number, instead concentrating on the stream of women with their endless barrage of questions about the intricacies of babies both born and unborn, but by the end of the clinic, it was burning her, like an itch she couldn't reach to scratch. Finally, when the last woman had huffed and puffed her swollen belly out of the room, she snapped.
It took less than thirty seconds to type the numbers into her mobile phone, check them, check them again and then she was sitting with her thumb hovering over the button to start the call. She stopped. The room was suddenly very warm and very small. Sam took a deep breath in and let it out slowly. Easy now. Easy. She thought. She closed her eyes and concentrated on her breathing, trying to calm the sudden, pounding beat of her heart. It's just a phone call. Just a call to say...Her eyes sprang open. Christ! What am I going to say?
Sam pursed her lips; she hadn't thought that far ahead. Oh brilliant! The first interested man in months and what were you going to do? Breathe down the phone like a pervert because you didn't know what do say? You're such an idiot! She couldn't phone up a mysterious admirer and not have something suave and witty to say. She cursed under her breath, damning "John" for the benchmark of mysterious allure that he'd set. The number remained on the screen, mocking her.
"Hi." she said aloud, to the empty room. "It's me, Sam. The... boob lady." She groaned. The boob lady. Brilliant!
"Hi. It's Sam. The lady with the broken bag?" She imagined what he would say to this. She was trying to remember what his voice sounded like: he'd been English, but not local. She'd been in Hereford for two weeks and her ear was still adjusting to the provincial dialect. It didn't mean anything, because she herself was an interloper to the region, but it still aroused her curiosity about him a little more.
"Okay." She took another deep breath. "Not sounding like a crazy woman. We can do this."
She pressed the button.
Not daring to breath, she put the phone to her ear. It took a lifetime to connect and for a moment, she thought it was never going to. She bit her lip, trying to concentrate on being a confident, sensual woman who-
"Hi. This is Captain John Price. I'm sorry I can't answer the phone right now, but please leave me a message and I'll call you back as soon as I can." There was a long, synthetic beep.
She hung up.
"Bollocks!" she spat. She hadn't been prepared for an answering machine.
Hang on, Captain John Price? Captain? She hadn't been expecting that either. A dim memory surfaced from the start of the week: another midwife from the team talking about the base and the wives and some specific problems that she should look out for. She hadn't really been listening at the time, but now she wished she could remember what had been said. Something about how you wouldn't think to look at them, but... it danced tantalisingly on the edge of her memory, but she just couldn't remember what had been said. For a brief moment, she considered just going into the staff room and asking, but then she'd have to make up a reason for asking that didn't involve potential dates. She didn't think she could stand any more interrogation about her life as the new girl.
Captain Price. She felt a little excited flutter in her stomach. It sounded like a name from a Jane Austen novel: the dashing captain of the guard appearing to whisk away the heroine. Now Sam thought back, she remembered the deep green, ribbed sweater he'd been wearing, with the satin patches on the shoulder. She hadn't paid attention at the time, assuming that it must be the in thing to wear this year, but now she thought back it did have a bit of a military vibe. At the same time, he'd had longish, scruffy hair that seemed rather at odds with her idea of what a captain should look like. Her mild curiosity was transformed into a burning desire to know exactly who this mystery man was, and soon.
The afternoon was taken up with the home visits, which she was starting to enjoy. After five years tramping up and down mouldy and dilapidated stairwells, a heavy wrench tucked in her pocket as a defence against the more desperate residents, the lush countryside was a welcome breath of fresh air. Rolling the windows down to fill the car with the sharp, cool breeze she finally felt like she was starting to relax.
She was jolted back into reality by the sound of the phone: sudden, shrill and insistent. Quickly she pulled over, and without even looking at the number, answered it.
"Hello?" she said.
"Hi. I had a missed call from this number." Oh my God! His voice was exactly as she remembered: deep and intense, almost growling.
"Um... yeah. It's Sam?"
There was a confused silence from the other end of the line.
"Um... you gave me hand with my bag, yesterday?"
"Oh! The boob lady!"
Sam winced. In the background, she heard a tinny voice say "Smooth, John!" and laugh, followed by a muffled "Shut it!"
"Yes." Sam sighed, wearily. "The boob lady."
"Sorry. That was very rude of me."
"Oh no! It's fine!" She said, in what she hoped was a confident, and assured voice.
"I'd like to see you again." he said.
"Um..." It suddenly felt very warm, even with the window rolled down.
"What would you say to dinner?"
Sam was lost for words.
"Are you still there?"
"Yes! Yes I am! Sorry, phone cutting out." She flustered. "That would be... great! Um... Thursday?"
"Perfect. How about Massimo's? About 7:30?"
"Great! I'll see you then!"
Sam put the phone down very carefully on the seat, put her hands, gently, on the steering wheel and screamed for joy.