Part twelve – the penultimate part – of ‘The man who dated his RL boss (without her knowing it).’
Check back tomorrow for an extra long instalment as the story comes to its thrilling conclusion!
They agreed on a hotel in London. Although they had never formally told each other that they both lived in the UK, Curiosity said to him that this was obvious from the synchronicity of their hours. She didn’t want to know where. She asked him, “Would you be able to get to London for, let’s say, nine o’clock in the evening?” He told her that he would.
They settled on a three star in Lambeth. “I’ll pay,” she told him. “I don’t want the messiness of trying to split the bill, and anyway it was my idea. If we ever do it again then it will be your turn.” They agreed that she would aim to check in at eight pm, and that she’d email him the room number as soon as she knew what it was. “How will I get in without a key card?” he asked her. “I’ll hang the ‘Do not disturb’ sign over the handle,” she replied, “and I’ll tape the key card to the back of it.” He would get to the room for nine. As soon as he was inside, he would identify himself with the single, whispered word, “Curiosity.” She would reply with, “Cando.”
They agreed to do it on a Friday night. “How long should we wait for?” he asked her. “Maybe we should give ourselves a cool-off period.”
“I don’t want to wait,” she told him, “for that exact reason. I’m a very logical person. Once I start thinking about actually doing this I’ll start doubting my decision. It’s Wednesday today. I’ll book us a room for this Friday.”
They spent the rest of that evening rehearsing. Curiosity would wait for him on the bed (Cando had suggested an armchair and she had rejected the idea, telling him, “armchairs are for talking; we’re not going to be doing any of that”). She would lie on the side furthest from the door and he would lie down next to her. They would begin by just holding hands. Sex, it was agreed, would not be any sort of definite, but if they found things going that way then they would let it happen unless one or the other said to stop.
On Thursday after work Nick went shopping. There was one very obvious purchase he had to make, but also there was the issue of scent. Curiosity’s throwaway comment about the importance of him smelling good had given rise to the thought that it might be sensible to make sure he smelled different from the way he ordinarily smelled. He did not see this as a breach of his ‘do as the innocent you would do’ rule, since the innocent him might well wear something different for an occasion of such magnitude as this. He spent nearly an hour looking at the many different brands of cologne and trying to decide what sort of smell was right for him. In the end, he settled for a bottle of Old Spice. Yes, it was a cliché, but it was a strong smell, it was meant to be manly and it was completely different from anything he ordinarily wore. If the worst came to the worst, he could laugh it off as a joke.
He took a long shower when he got home on Friday and doused himself in the stuff after shaving, hoping that an hour on the train and the subsequent walk to the hotel would not wear the scent out. He put on a linen shirt. He took a last look around his flat before turning off the light and leaving, and suddenly his heart started beating as though he would never be coming back. The careful, rational Nicholas made a sudden reappearance and, with it, made one last attempt to talk him out of this plan. Don’t go, he told himself. Email her. Tell her you can’t go through with it. Even if she doesn’t understand, she can’t hurt you if she doesn’t know who you are.
But Nick didn’t even bother to attempt a counter argument; he just turned the voice off in his head. Last minute nerves, he reasoned. Brave people never listened to stuff like that. It would all be fine. And he left.
Want to read another story by me set in SL? I’ve also serialised ‘The man who had an affair with his wife’ – the first part is here (scroll down past the text on NaNoWriMo to get to it).