Arnold considered remaining in his room instead
of appearing at Troy’s Party, but didn’t want to
On Friday, a rather charming young woman named
Elspeth came to do the catering, and they instantly
began exchanging recipes. As he loved to cook,
Arnold took on fifty percent of the work.
They shopped together. His knowledge of wines
dazzled her, as her knowledge of herbs stunned him.
He demanded to prepare dinner for her, and she agreed
as long as he allowed her to bake the dinner rolls.
They were in ecstasy over each other’s cooking, and
never before had Arnold spoken so easily to a woman,
nor had Elspeth found a man with whom she could
discuss the secrets of a curry.
The Party was a resounding success, Arnold and Elspeth
beaming at each other as the guests gobbled up the food,
and exclaimed over the clever wines.
Troy and Alicia ducked out of the party, went to her flat
to consummate the evening.
The Party went on until two a.m., and then Elspeth helped
Arnold do the clean up. They took their time, busy discussing
all manner of topics, from literature to politics, and it was
past four when they could certify the flat in perfect order.
As it was too late/too early for Elspeth to leave, they sat
on the sofa, drinking wine, eating a light meal, for neither
had consumed anything that night, so nervous about their
At six am Arnold walked Elspeth home, and they decided
to meet on Tuesday evening at the Museum of Natural
History where there was to be a lecture on recent finds
in the Rift Valley.
Both had a passion for archaeology/anthropology, and
had actually minored in the subject at their respective
Troy quietly slipped out of Alicia’s flat at ten, having
thoroughly enjoyed himself. Alicia would be flying out
that evening to Paris, she’d call him when she returned.
He went to his Co-op expecting evidence that a Party had
occurred, and thought he might be in the wrong apartment.
The place was spotless and everything perfect, there wasn’t
even the smell of a cigarette lingering.
He showered, went to the gym, then home, and to bed,
awaking sometime around nine p.m. checking his messages,
sorry he hadn’t spoken to Alicia before she left.
Arnold seemed to be in a great mood, for a change, and he
complimented him profusely.
“Oh, Elspeth did most of the work,” he replied generously.
“I see you and she hit it off.”
“Well it’s quite wonderful to meet someone who shares your
interests and talents,” he replied, then excused himself.
On Tuesday Elspeth was at the Museum early. This was
NOT a Date, she told herself. This was simply company
for a lecture she would have attended alone.
Arnold thought of buying a flower or some token, but then
did not want to be embarrassed. This was not a gentleman
asking a lady to dinner, this was two virtual colleagues
stepping out for a drink.
With lowered expectations they met, and were at first
very shy and uncomfortable in each other’s company.
When the lecture over and questions allowed, Elspeth
brought up an intricate point that Arnold had been
He quickly fed Elspeth a few observations which she
inserted into her retort to the response, and afterwards
they went to the coffee shop to discuss it, and returned
to their warm and comfortable relationship of Saturday/
Alicia had met Hugh on the flight back, and he wanted to
take her to dinner. She didn’t like going out in ‘uniform’
so he’d drop her at her place to change first.
In a rush, she never checked her messages. She had
no idea Troy had called inviting her to the theatre.
She went out with Hugh, they had a fantastic time, and
ended the evening at his flat, where she spent the night.
Troy, not hearing from Alicia, and learning from Elspeth
that she had not returned; (Elspeth hadn’t been home when
Alicia arrived) rang up Samantha and took her to the theatre.
Sam was an on again/off again filler in Troy’s social
calendar. She was a very pretty empty head who never
seemed to notice that he always called her at the last
The evening ended in his bed.
Elspeth and Arnold began to officially date, and after
three months, were engaged.
Alicia looked at the tiny diamond and smiled;
“How nice for you,”
thinking to herself she wouldn’t consider a man
who couldn’t afford at least a one carat diamond.
The wedding was set for June, (how boring!) and Alicia did
agree to be a maid of honour, having assisted poor Elspeth
in selecting decent dresses, for the poor thing had absolutely
no fashion sense.
She ran into Troy at the wedding, but he was with Anita
and she was with Frank, so outside of cheek pecks and
“I’ll call you”, they didn’t spend much time together.
Both were depressed for the same reason; they would
have to replace their room-mates, and it didn’t seem
possible they would find such prizes again.