This week’s Beginning of Us comes from Rachel over at RachelSwirl. Rachel writes about everything to do with motherhood and life with her two beautiful children. You can find her over on Facebook and Twitter – and here Rachel is to share her story…
After completing a three year Teaching Degree in Sheffield I was desperate to return home to The Lakes. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing particularly wrong with Sheffield but I was a home bird at heart.
Whilst I managed to get through the three years of studying, I struggled greatly with depression in a city which was fairly alien to me, I became terribly home sick and so jumped at the chance to get back to my roots despite having no career prospects.
Considering the lack of job opportunities within my local area, I was lucky to acquire a teaching job fairly quickly. It was only a few hours per week but it was a start at least. As much as I craved desperately to be back home, I didn’t actually wish to live at home. I looked into renting a house and soon this became my reality, sadly it didn’t match my financial reality and so I knew it wasn’t going to last forever.
Whilst living alone had its benefits, it also had huge drawbacks for me. I became a bit of a recluse and my self-esteem plummeted. I was in my early twenties, I was meant to be having ‘the time of my life’, and instead I found myself falling back into the depths of depression.
It was at this point that I made a friend within the school in which I was working. She was also finding things difficult career wise and was having to work as a Supply Teacher to make ends meet. We hit it off straight away and were soon sharing the usual girls banter in the staff room, including discussing which male members of staff we deemed to be ‘hot or not’. I was reluctant to share all at first, but soon was admitting to the fact that I personally found the IT Technician rather dishy. I had never spoken to this guy, I didn’t even know his name, nor did I think that I would ever have the courage to ask.
Paul (said IT Technician) was the work place hotty. He had the look of the late Heath Ledger (when he starred in 10 Things), he had long dark curly hair, a goatee almost chinstrap and stubble I desperately wanted to run my hand over. He was a perfect ten, whilst I on the other hand was way out of his league. By that, I do not mean that I saw myself as far better, I literally mean that I wasn’t even on the scale, I wouldn’t even class myself as a one by any measure.
After spilling my soul to my so called friend and openly admitting to having ‘a bit of a crush’ upon the unknown Technician, it soon became apparent that she would know far more about this guy than I would probably ever have the chance to. Within a week they were dating, I wasn’t jealous don’t get me wrong, I had nothing to be jealous about. After all, I didn’t even know the guy, but I was annoyed to say the least. What kind of friend asks you to tell them all about your current crush, then goes out of their way to make that very person their newest squeeze?
As it turned out she was far from what I could describe to be a friend, she made it her business to rub my face in her new relationship as often as she could find fit by sending me texts to regularly update me upon her relationship with the Technician, whose name I now knew as Paul. At one point she even consulted me for ‘bedroom advice’. I tried desperately to ignore her but it irritated me endlessly, so I was relieved when her contract ended suddenly and I no longer had to face her each day. The texts however continued.
It was Christmas, the staff party was planned and I really didn’t see the point in attending an event where I knew it was likely that I would have to see her again. I therefore offered to carry out a bar shift (another of my many part time jobs to earn some pennies). I remember working doubly hard that night just to distract myself from wondering about what exactly I was missing, as it turns out the only thing I was missing was the truth…
My so called friend continued to grace me with texts throughout the festive period telling me all about her cosy Christmas with her new fella. I didn’t even bother replying. Instead, I got cosy myself with three of my favourite fellas, Ben, Jerry and Jacob. Before you start wondering whether I’m into group sex, I am referring to ice cream and the necessary evil, wine.
It was soon February and the school were holding an Information Technology showcase day based upon Animation. Unfortunately, one of the key teachers had to attend a course and so I was called upon to cover for the day. Looking back, I smile fondly now realising that this was actually a setup which I had fallen hook line and sinker for, much like the Technician a few months previously.
I arrived early, trying to make a good impression. Whilst I had been working at the school for a few months, I still felt that I needed to be showing interest in the job and demonstrating other skills which I could offer outside of the few hours I was contracted for. I gathered my resources and went down to the room which I had been allocated for the day. I was expecting the room to be empty so I could setup the lesson ready for the children arriving. However, I found everything had already been setup and there, walking around looking mind meltingly rugged was the Hot Technician.
I quickly adjusted my hair and tried my hardest to look ‘cool’. At that moment I felt so far from cool that I considered turning around, going home and feigning sickness. I could feel myself becoming red in the face as I became flustered. I had absolutely no idea why he had this effect upon me, especially considering that as far as I knew he was still dating an ex colleague. Somehow, I found it within myself to say ‘Hello’ and after initial greetings I was informed that this guy, this chiselled, Adonic hunk was going to be present within the very room in which I was working all day.
Rather than beat around the bush, I decided to address my inner issue fairly quickly and so asked Paul how things were with his girlfriend and whether she had found a new job yet. He looked confused, I assumed he wondered how I might know about his relationship with this girl and so explained that we were good friends prior to her leaving the school. Paul still looked completely stumped and it was at this point that the truth prevailed.
As it turned out, they had been on a few dates together, but it hadn’t really worked out. In actual fact, the last time that he had seen this girl was just before she had left the school in early November, probably the same time I had last seen her. I was shocked and briefly explained that perhaps he ought to be aware that this wasn’t what she had been telling people, including myself. Paul could barely believe what I was saying and soon we found ourselves laughing about his so called cosy Christmas.
The class soon arrived and I began teaching the lesson. The students seemed to work well, which was lucky as I was completely distracted, hardly able to concentrate upon anything remotely related to Animation. My mind was far too busy coming to terms with the fact that everything I had believed to be true was actually completely made up and there, across the room from me was this guy, the guy… the one that made me feel all flustered and the one which I was suddenly beginning to notice was making regular eye contact with me.
I wasn’t the only one that noticed the eye contact that day, it seemed the entire class of children and the Learning Assistant had also picked up on the chemistry going on between us. As I mentioned previously, it had been a setup from start to end, The Head of Department had actually arranged for me specifically to take this lesson and for Paul to remain as IT help throughout, it was no coincidence. Pretty much the entirety of the staff seemed more aware of our ‘obvious attraction’ than us ourselves.
Whilst I desperately tried to teach to the best of my ability that day, I was completely off the wall as I simply could not distract myself from the obvious. We chatted on and off throughout the day, mostly on… Actually, we chatted almost none stop. It felt completely electric and so at the end of the day I decided to ask Paul if he fancied a drink sometime. He agreed and said that he’d love to, at this point I gave him my number. To save time, I asked him to ring my phone, then I would have his number to write down later on in the day when I had packed up my teaching resources. I felt my phone buzz as it rang and so gave him the thumbs up, he then left to go back to his office to clear up for the day while I did the same.
I managed to pack away after being interrogated by the Teaching Assistant who was desperate to know everything as she was sure that there was ‘love in the air’. I escaped to my car and quickly pulled my phone out to save the last caller as ‘Paul’.
Unfortunately, the last caller was displayed as ‘withheld’. My heart sank, maybe he intended to do this as he didn’t actually want to swap numbers or maybe it was a genuine mistake…
I for one thing knew that I hadn’t imagined any of what had taken place that day and so decided to go back into the school, to see if I could find Paul and let him know about the number being withheld. I went into the Hall where I hoped he would be, it was there that I bumped into Craig, his work colleague. He asked who I was looking for, I for some reason decided that I couldn’t admit to wanting to see Paul again after spending a whole day with him and so claimed that I was actually searching for my scarf. Craig laughed and asked me openly “Are you looking for Paul?” and rather than just admitting to that, I insisted that I had misplaced my scarf and so we both began searching for my fictitious pink scarf. To this day, I have never owned a pink scarf!
For whatever reason, pride mainly as I really believed that people would laugh at me for ever thinking I might even have a chance with the Technician, I left for home. I didn’t get to see Paul, nor did I get to explain about the withheld number. Instead, I spent the evening sulking with those three favourite fellas of mine…
The next morning I had a Music class scheduled. It was the last lesson before the February half term and I felt fairly glum. The Learning Assistant, Karen (a different staff member to the lady which I had worked with and been interrogated by the previous day) noticed my low mood and enquired as to why I was ‘down in the mouth’. I was good friends with Karen and so I explained the withheld number dilemma giving no names away. In an instant, Karen said “It’s Paul isn’t it?” I admitted that indeed it was Paul. I certainly did not expect what happened next to take place…“Oh my god, I knew it! He’s my Nephew! I will ring him tonight and tell him” Karen suddenly shrieked. It was then that I realised that perhaps my parents were right when they had joked about everyone being related to everyone in my local teaching area.
I begged Karen not to bother Paul, as it was highly likely after all that he meant to conceal his number. Karen refused to take ‘No’ for an answer and so I resigned myself to the fact that at least it was half term and I would have seven days before having to face him again.
That night I decided that I would be better off with some company and so propped up the local bar to drown my sorrows. I had originally planned on just having ‘the one’ then driving home, but somewhere along the line my plans changed and I was catching the train. It was several drinks later that my parents decided that they too were going to frequent the bar that night. Rather than allowing me to catch the train, they kindly offered to allow me to stay at their house that night and so a few hours later I fell into my childhood bed, completely sozzled.
The next morning I awoke with a mouth as dry as Gandhi’s flip flops, my head banging and my Mother waving my mobile phone at me. It was all a bit bright, confusing and darn right disorientating considering that I was expecting to wake in my rented house. I had apparently left my mobile in the kitchen the night before, My Mother was muttering something about it being a nuisance making too much noise. I wondered what she was nattering about considering that I never usually received many phone calls or texts, and so glanced at the screen bleary eyed. There was a load of texts from an unknown number, I realised then that it was Paul! I sat up quickly and composed myself, I had to make sense of these messages and my hangover was making deciphering anything fairly difficult at this point.
It soon became apparent that Paul had meant to phone me, but had assumed that I would have his number and so was waiting for me to phone him. I know they say “Ladies First” but really!? I sent a message back explaining that I hadn’t answered his texts earlier as my phone had been upstairs in the kitchen. Seconds later my phone began to ring, I answered it with shaking hands. It felt strange talking to Paul on the phone, especially considering that I was sat in my childhood bedroom feeling fairly childlike myself. Once again we got so stuck into conversation and what felt like minutes had turned into over an hour. We arranged to meet up that Sunday for an evening at the cinema and it was then that the nerves really began to kick in.
To be honest I was fairly sure that the date would amount to either nothing whatsoever or a one night stand as quite frankly, I saw Paul to be way out of my league. He was a ten, I was a two at best (I felt my rating had gone up at this point due to spending time with such a stunner) and so rather than the usual five-ten minute rush to get ready, I spent a fair amount of time straightening my mop and sticking on the slap whilst simultaneously smoking like a chimney to steady my nerves.
He arrived on time, there were only a few moments of awkwardness whilst we decided how to spend our time prior to the film. Following that we went to a pub and talked endlessly, so much so that we forgot to order anything to eat! We then ventured to the cinema to watch a horror flick. We must have been starving by that time as for most of the film we ate each other’s faces … Sorry that was way TMI but yah, I wasn’t wasting any time especially when I was doubtful it would last long!
The film was … What am I saying? I wasn’t watching the film. What I will say is that I enjoyed being in the cinema that night. Not quite as much as I enjoyed the “coffee” back at my place afterwards. I wasn’t expecting what happened to happen and I really didn’t think he’d be there the next morning …
We were literally inseparable from that point onwards, spending almost every day together. Within a few months we moved in together as it just felt right, and that Christmas we became a family of three after getting our first dog Molly. A year later we got engaged and the following year tied the knot. We now have two beautiful children and whilst it may have been eleven years since we got together, little has really changed for me (apart from in size following having carried two kids) as I still fancy the pants off Paul, just as much as the first time I saw him because he’s still ‘my perfect ten’.
Thanks Rachel for sharing your story. It sounds like it all turned out perfectly in the end – despite everything you went through to get there with liars and unknown numbers!
If you would like to read the other posts in the series you can see them all here and remember to come back next week for another lovely story!