Nigel was feeling pretty good about life. Bloody invincible frankly. Lets take the brakes off and just admit he felt like a newly discovered god. At forty-six he felt more than pleased to be himself and sitting opposite the twenty two year old Russian vision of beauty possibly known as Adviga: a recent capture from his on-line dating adventures. She was armed with a limited supply of the English Language but had a figure which posed a threat to any male wallet.
With his self knowledge kept firmly in check, Nigel was confident that it may have been his newly acquired millions which attracted her to step outside her comfort zone into his new found luxury, but it was his wit and wisdom which kept her hanging on to his every credit card. He was sharing a bottle of Krug with his friend Derek, a self confessed sage of the race track.
Currently Derek was bestowing a lavish supply of attention on Adviga’s chest, a small amount of which was covered by a fabric of unknown origin. However hard Derek squinted at or near the fabric, the label remained tantalizingly out of view. ‘Nige’ was forgiving in that department, “Look but don’t touch” was his motto, unless you happened to be talking about his schoolboy crush, Peggy, whom he was determined to charm and win over with his new-found wealth, grooming and all round class. Peggy, the only dream who Nigel viewed with something near unschooled emotion. Who brought him to a love unmarked by irony was an obsession .Winning her would be the final sign that he had arrived. In the meantime Adviga was happy to be the stop-gap who also trained him in the arts of courtship: modern style.
As with most people of limited ability who are plucked from misfortune by a twist of fate, Nigel had considered every approach to life before settling on cockiness for which he found he had a natural aptitude. The next day, as soon as he’d purchased his Bentley, complete with steering wheel and a small bag of male vanity products, Nigel had made sure to park, by accident, near the Jaguar garage of his former school-boy rival who had snatched the love of his life from under his nose. He’d wandered into the garage and accosted ‘Geoff’ with a smile made all the more perfect by a recent bout of cosmetic surgery and said, “Still selling cut price motors then.”.while nodding in the direction of his new car. Geoff did not seem all that pleased to see him, but Nige, as he was often known these days, was not the man to be put off by a lukewarm welcome.
One thing Nigel had learnt was that in the fast moving world of networking and wine bar assignations, impressions were more important than reality. As his friend ‘Ducker ‘ had told him in a recent strategy meeting at some swankery in the middle of town. “Never stay around long enough for them to check your references.” Ducker had a phrase for every eventuality.
Fortune, that makeshift trickster, threw Nige a curved ball and arranged for Peggy to enter the garage just as he was boasting to her husband. That fragile delicate vision not seen for many years and with a beauty made more precious by her modesty. An image treasured and remembered so powerfully from his youth, had morphed, Nigel now saw, into something resembling a large rippled pyramid of flesh with a head stuck on top of it: the last word in calorie abandon. Nigel searched for a sign of that quiet and disturbing beauty but could not find it. “Hello Nigel” she said. “Are you keeping well.” Her eyes, still sweet and understanding, peered out at him from a sea of gentle fat. “Don’t worry ” she said, “All I ever offered you was awareness.”