Home > Just Haven't Met You Yet

Just Haven't Met You Yet
Author: Sophie Cousens

 


Chapter 1

 


   “Shall we begin?” I ask the couple on the sofa. “If you just tell me your story as naturally as possible, and remember to keep your eyeline to me rather than looking directly at the camera.”

   Sian and Paul both smile and nod. She is a redhead with neatly drawn makeup. He is a bodybuilder type with a jaw square enough to put him in a Marvel comic. While the cameraman, Dylan, makes a few final lighting adjustments, Paul whispers something in Sian’s ear, gently stroking her knee with the back of his hand. In the small studio, I am close enough to see the skin on her leg rise into goose bumps. When was the last time another person’s touch gave me goose bumps? Seriously, when? I literally can’t think of a time, unless you count two weeks ago, when someone barged into me holding a frozen chicken in the freezer aisle at the supermarket.

   “All set,” Dylan says, and the light on his camera stops flashing and settles to a constant red.

   “So, Paul, Sian, tell me—how did you meet?” I ask. It is the question I start all these interviews with.

   “Well, it’s a little embarrassing,” says Sian, pressing her fingertips to her lips like a fifties pinup girl. “I was criminally drunk after a friend’s hen do, and when I got back to my flat in the early hours, I had the silly idea of making popcorn on the stove. Of course, I then forgot all about it and passed out on my bed.”

   “We got a call from a flat across the road, saying someone’s kitchen was on fire,” says Paul. “I’m a firefighter, see.”

   “I think they can see that, honey.” Sian smiles, framing his torso with her hands to show off the fireman’s outfit I asked him to wear for the interview. I don’t know how he isn’t boiling alive under all those layers. The studio is tiny and windowless; it’s a single-camera setup with just a couple of studio lights, our distinctive red sofa, and the Love Life logo prominent on the wall behind. The lights heat the room up fast, but Paul and Sian still look like freshly unboxed Barbie and Action Man. Maybe it’s only me who’s feeling hot and flustered.

   “I was oblivious to any of this.” Sian laughs.

   “I had to kick the door down, put the fire out, and rescue the damsel in distress,” Paul says, turning to give the camera a brooding pout.

   “Only I didn’t think I needed rescuing. I was still a little hazy after too many gin slings.” She gives me a wink.

   “I had to carry her out over my shoulder—”

   “A proper fireman’s lift—I was kicking and screaming all the way down the fire escape.”

   “I got bruises,” he says, eyebrows knitting together in mock hurt.

   “I’m sorry, honey.” She kisses him on the cheek, he squeezes her knee, and they give each other a love-soaked look. I can practically hear the crackle of electricity between them.

   If you put “hot fireman to get rescued by” into Google, I’m pretty sure a photo of Paul would come up. If I were to ever set my kitchen on fire, I guarantee, it would be a scary schoolmarm-type firewoman coming to save me. Someone who would give me a stern lecture on smoke alarm maintenance. As I look at Sian and Paul gazing into each other’s eyes, I’m torn between being super happy that they found each other and just a tiny bit jealous that these situations never seem to happen to me.

   “So, we sent Sian to hospital to get checked for smoke inhalation, standard procedure,” Paul goes on, “and once my shift ended, I figured I’d go check how she was doing.”

   “Do you do that for everyone you rescue?” I ask, turning to give the camera my best knowing look.

   “Well, she might have stuck in my memory more than most.” He lifts his hand to stroke a tendril of her wavy, red hair. “This is one flame I never want to put out.”

   “Awww . . .” I say, feeling a genuine pang of emotion at their evident connection. Our viewers are going to love this guy—body of iron, heart of a marshmallow.

   “He came to see me in the hospital,” she says, fluttering her eyelashes, “but I’d sobered up by then. I was worried where my cat had got to in the fire, so I sneaked out before being properly discharged.”

   “We were in the same lift before I realized it was her.” He’s started caressing her leg again.

   “Then the lift goes and breaks—would you believe it?” Sian sighs, nuzzling into his shoulder. “Forty-five minutes later, I was in love.”

   “It only took me ten minutes to know she was the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life talking to.”

   How many times have I been in a lift in my lifetime? Probably four hundred. OK, that was a complete guess, I’ve got no idea how many times I’ve been in a lift. But it’s a lot, and not once have I been in one that’s broken down, and I’ve certainly never been trapped in one with a remotely eligible guy. Maybe the part of the universe that is in charge of meet-cutes also has jurisdiction over lift malfunctions.

   “Sweetie,” Sian whispers as she tilts her face toward him.

   They kiss for the camera, and it’s not a demure, other-people-are-in-the-room kind of kiss; it’s a proper let’s-race-home-and-rip-each-other’s-clothes-off kiss. I bet she gets him to wear his fireman’s outfit in bed. I shake my head, trying to stop my mind from wandering down these inappropriate thought alleys. But then I look back up and she’s nibbling his earlobe.

   Maybe it was easier to do these interviews when I wasn’t single. My ex, David, and I weren’t exactly having goose bumps–inducing sex, but clearly it was enough to stop me from feeling jealous when faced with crazily loved-up couples.

   What if I never find a connection like these two have? The thought brings a lump to my throat. Everyone assumes single girls approaching thirty spend their time stressing about whether they’ll ever get to have a wedding or a baby. But for me, I’m more concerned that I’ll never know what it feels like to have that kind of life-altering connection with someone, and that I’ll never get to experience sex like they have in the movies. I know, I know, movie sex isn’t real—it’s all choreographed and everyone orgasms together, like a perfectly conducted orchestra, but surely someone must be having mind-blowing sex like they do in The Notebook. These guys, these guys are having sex like that.

   “Don’t try this at home, people,” I say, turning to the camera with my most cheerful not-thinking-about-sex-voice. “We don’t advise burning your house down to find your perfect partner. Ha-ha. If you’ve got a great story of how you met and would like to feature on How Did You Meet? please get in touch via the website. We love hearing your amazing real-life love stories! I’m Laura Le Quesne, reporting for Love Life—‘Love what you buy, buy what you love.’ ”

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