I came home on Wednesday night realising that I had fallen hard.
It was the leaving drinks of one of the management team and much of the office was out for the party - Theo included.
I nervously watched the door of the venue until he came, the girls I worked with laughing at me for my childishness.
When he finally arrived it was a while before we spoke to each other, and when we did it was just casual and normal as it would be between any work colleagues. As the evening began to wear on we became more flirty and more separate from the rest of the crowd. He looked gorgeous as ever, his big brown eyes burning into mine and making me so hungry for him. I wanted to hold his hand, wanted to cuddle up close to him, I wanted to kiss him, I wanted to be open about our relationship, but I couldn't because people that we worked with were around. It killed me. It made me anxious.
At one point I turned wild with jealousy when I saw him talking to another girl from my department who I was not friends with and didn't particularly like. She was just talking to him. I turned flustered and paranoid to Luke, "Look! He's flirting with Sarah! Look! Fuck him!"
"Woah, woah, Ophelia, calm down, it's nothing ok, it's harmless. Listen, you are hot, ok. He's not going to flirt with other girls."
"Ok, listen, I'll have a word in his ear and be like, Ophelia's here, what are you doing, don't flirt with other girls - alright?"
"Oh would you do that?!"
And without me being able to think about it or stop him, he barged over and had a word in Theo's ear. I followed behind anxiously, and apologised, shocked that I had resorted to such a desperate measure.
As the bar started to clear out, I was briefly left behind inside putting on my jacket. Through the windows across the floor I could see Theo outside talking animatedly to Sarah again. The red mist descended immediately and I stood frozen to the spot, glaring at them from afar. A slimy guy approached me and I gave him a foul look. Theo should be with me to stop dickheads like that getting close to me. But no, he wasn't even thinking about where I was, he was outside talking to that fucking bitch again. I stormed out and grabbed hold of Rhianna's arm rushing away to follow everyone else walking ahead.
"Where are you going?" She asked, "What about Theo?"
"Fuck him!" I said loudly, "he's busy flirting with Sarah, I'm done, I'm going!"
It was Theo, rushing up behind me.
"Hey, hey, where are you going?! What's the matter?!"
I stared at him angrily.
"You can fucking talk to who you want, ok, it's fine! Do what you want!"
"I'm sorry! She was flirting with me, she was asking what a CDS was!"
"It doesn't matter ok, you're free to talk to who you want."
"No, no it does matter, I'm sorry. When I saw you storm off like that..." he trailed off and held my face in his hands.
I looked away.
I felt awful. I had overreacted like a jealous, mental, freak. I'd shown him my true colours. I was the one in the wrong - not him. We left everyone else and walked, finding bars that were still open, kissing, walking, finding fast food to eat.
"You look really cute tonight," he said, "really cute."
He told me that he admired me for the things I had been through. He admired that I was a fighter, he admired that I was so strong. I shook my head. "Look at me, I'm fucking insecure, I'm not strong - I pretend."
"You have a really messed up view of men," he said. "You've only ever known stereotypical boarding school boys, army boys, lads that see women for one thing." He was trying to tell me he was not one of them. But I couldn't believe him.
...He ran after me when I stormed off because I saw him talking to another girl. He comforted me, he told me I was beautiful, he made me feel so safe and happy and loved.
Yes, fuck it all, yes, I felt loved.
* * *
It hurts to write about this next part. I will write it down and then try and erase it from my memory - try to pretend that it never happened and neither of us will remember it.
* * *
So Friday was the office Christmas Party. Lots of things happened that are blog-worthy, but I will stick to the bear essentials so that I do not have to endure the pain of remembering and analysing too much of this night.
Of course I put in all the effort I could to make sure I looked perfect, including running for three hours on an empty stomach the day before and making myself feel immeasurably ill.
All evening I just watched him.
Became paranoid when I lost him.
Avoided talking to him if I could.
I just wanted him. I wanted him to come and find me, come and get me, come and claim me.
I can't write about this coherently.
Towards the end we were outside talking to one of his friends, James, who was asking about how we managed to keep our relationship separate from work. We didn't know what to say.
At one point my boss had come up to him and explicitly said, "Are you fucking Ophelia?!" It was apparent by now that everyone knew.
We left the party venue to go to a nearby club in the City.
I saw him pause and watch to check that I was coming along with the crowd. I was pleased.
But then, when we finally got in to the club he didn't come in with us.
I flipped. I was so angry. He hadn't come in with me, he was with other people, I didn't know where he was, had he gone home, had he left without me, how could there be other people he wanted to be with, how could I not be the most important thing for him.
I went to the toilets and cried. Another girl I worked with comforted me.
I was so angry.
He had proved Rhianna right. I was angry because he had proved her right. He didn't like me enough to stay with me, to claim me.
I picked up my phone to text him, "Goodbye, hope you have fun." I stopped myself and instead wrote, "Are u coming."
(Of course he fucking came.)
He was just outside, smoking and talking to a group of others - like I had known deep-down all along he was.
But the damage was done. I'd been broken.
I ignored him.
I was in so much pain. The anxiety had twisted me up into a knot and I was choking.
I couldn't control it, I couldn't reign it in, I needed him, I needed him all or nothing. I couldn't control the ridiculous, irrational, anxiety and it was impossible to make me see reason.
Theo slowly began to calm me down again and put the smile back on my face. We were outside smoking when the club closed and everyone remaining began to gather outside with us deciding what to do next. Theo knew what I wanted, we had made the decision on Wednesday to stay in a hotel together. And yet he wasn't making a move to leave them.
I got left talking to the dickhead of the office, John, who I had fallen out with one night back in October when he ignorantly made a joke about bulimia.
That pushed me over the edge.
He was doing it again, he wasn't claiming me.
"I'm going," I said bluntly to John.
And I walked off, tears brimming in my eyes. I wanted Theo, we were supposed to have a lovely night together.
Halfway down the road, I stopped.
I was being stupid.
This behaviour wasn't going to get me what I wanted.
I walked back.
I had a missed call from Theo. I was too embarrassed to answer.
I walked back over to him. John laughed in my face. I probably swore at him.
I ran over to the little shop across the road, intent on buying food to stuff my face. Theo stood outside anxiously watching me. I probably swore at him too.
he came inside the shop and I put my hands to my head to agony. "I want to eat. But I can't."
He took me outside and calmed me down. John was standing across the road staring at us. I was on edge and flipped. Theo was clearly upset by my behaviour and anxiously held on to me as he asked me what was wrong.
"I'm sorry," I said, "I'm so sorry. Please, can we just get away from here?"
"Can we just go away from here!"
How hard was it to understand what I needed Theo? I needed you. I just needed you.
He did his best to comfort me, "You're so gorgeous, how do you not see that?"
"I just don't ok."
"How can you not wake up in the morning and see how beautiful you are. How can you not wake up and think, yeah, I'd fuck that - I would."
I couldn't even laugh, I just hung my head with sadness.
It was - it is - incredibly sad, that a guy can sit there, hold her hand, care about her, tell her she is beautiful, believe that she is beautiful, and yet the girl he speaks to is fighting back the tears because she cannot believe him.
When we got back to the hotel, I was still incredibly tense and anxious. I looked in the mirror and saw the ugliness. I wanted to smash it, I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. But I would spoil everything.
my memory is patchy now. We had sex, but then I fell apart. I cried.
Fuck it, I cried in front of him again. I turned away and refused to explain why I was so upset.
I think I told him something about being really insecure. I can't remember. I probably told him it doesn't matter, he wouldn't understand. Nothing. It's nothing.
All I could think about was how ugly I was, and how he had seen that now, especially now I had cried.
I woke up in the morning feeling cold, empty and horribly sober. I peeled myself out from underneath his arm and hid my face as I ran off to the bathroom to shower and fix the damage. I banged and crashed around the bathroom, still full of anger, huffing and puffing like a spoilt child, anxious in case he woke up and saw my face. With sober eyes it really wasn't that bad.
I remembered my behaviour last night and felt cold.
This was how I lost Alex. Exactly the same. That morning with him I had woken up insecure about the way I looked and acted like a spoilt child who hadn't got her way. I had hidden away and refused to go to breakfast with him.
I had done the same with Theo. I had gotten insecure because he (understandably and naturally!) hadn't stayed by my side all night and I had cried, run off down the road, come back and acted like an insecure freak.
I crept back into bed silently, full of shame. His back was turned to me.
It broke my heart.
His back was turned to me the way Alex's back had been turned to me on the morning when our relationship had come crashing down.
I looked at Theo's cold back and knew that I had lost him. I had lost him because of my insecure, irrational and childish behaviour - exactly the same way that I had lost Alex. I cuddled up to him and tried to get him to put his arm around me again. He wouldn't. He was fast asleep.
I needed him to wake up, I needed to know that it was all ok.
I had no one but myself to blame. Theo had done nothing wrong. It was my insecurity that had painted him as the bad guy. I had acted completely out of line when all he had done was act normal and kind to me.
I slowly woke him up with kisses - maybe I can cure this with sex, I thought - maybe I can pretend like nothing happened, maybe he will not remember, maybe I can say that someone else upset me, that there was a reason for it which had nothing to do with him, or with me being mental.
Somehow, thank God, it was alright. I apologised and everything went back to normal. I hadn't lost him, he wasn't cold to me, he was lovely, I still had him. We laughed and talked and played and had the most perfect sex, thank God, thank God. It was alright.
It is still going to be alright though? I don't know. He won't forget the way I behaved. He won't forget the tears rolling down my cheeks and the pain that was reflected in them. He's smart in the way that he sees these things.
Later he asked me again if I was completely over my eating disorder. I told him again that I was, yes, but it was going to be something that I would always have to fight.
"You saw what happened last night. Sometimes I have a bad moment and I have to fight the insecurities again. That will never go away. I will never wake up and love what I see, I will always have to fight this."
Ultimately, I nearly lost him because of my insecurity and my eating disorder. If I learnt anything from my relationship with Alex it is that I cannot hide my problems from someone forever. They will find out because it will come out, and they will not be able to handle what they see. Friday night was proof that I still do not have control over my anxiety and irrational, insecure behaviour. And I have got to get a grip. I have got to work hard to fight it. I cannot brush this under the carpet any longer. I cannot be an actress on a stage for one night at a time. If I want anything more with Theo I will have to drop the act because I could never hold out a long term role like that. So, I either let him see the real, broken, torn and unhappy side of me and the horrible, sick world I live in; or I stop behaving like a reckless hedonist and mend, and heal and become a real human girl in a real human world.
While I sit in bed at my laptop writing this, he is probably sitting in bed analysing everything as well. I only have myself to blame if he comes to a logical conclusion and walks away.
In a crazy way, I probably acted as badly as I did on Friday because I realised that I was falling in love with him.
I'm falling in love with Theo.
And that makes me petrified, because the logical conclusion... is not a pretty one. If he doesn't ruin it, I will.
Hillary Clinton meme
9 months ago