...‘You’re a writer too?’ He traced his finger along her arm. ‘I won’t disturb you then. Not now.’ He turned to walk upstairs and then turned back. ‘Come when you’re ready.’
'Come when you're ready.' The
She hovered behind the sign
Ah. Saved by the phone!
'I've been reading your steamy novel,' Franny launches in, 'but I'm not sure about the 501s.'
'I thought they had to be 501s.'
'No. They aren't that trendy any more - he should be wearing Diesel jeans. And I'm not sure about the leather jacket with the rakish white silk scarf. I thought that was a bit Rupert Everett.'
Honestly. How come Franny's so up with current trends, living in the depths of the country where the height of fashion in a man is a pair of red trousers?
'I'll tell you where that came from,' I say. 'I once met this very sexy guy who turned up to dinner on a Harley Davidson, wearing a white evening scarf with his biker kit.'
'No,' Franny admonishes. 'The white scarf is very 80s.'
'I suppose it was the 80s when I met this bloke.'
'My pin-up would be lovely and tall,' she continues, 'with nice faded jeans, a T shirt and a baggyish chunky wool jumper - I don't like men who try too hard and look vain. Definitely cut the leather jacket and white scarf.'
'Anyway it's all immaterial,' I say. 'I've gone off the whole thing. The editor of the Erotic Review says I've got to push the envelope, so I'm doing lots of sexy M&Sy foodie bits which cross over nicely into the cookery book genre, but I need to put in some S&My bits. The hero was about to pull the heroine into the ladies for a quickie, but I've gone right off him now. It's all a bit seedy. Like cottaging.'
'Oh no, he sounds a bit pervy. He should grab her mind first before he does that.'
'The trouble is, I can't think of anything for him to say.'
'He just needs to do more of a seduction act. He needs to engage her mind and make her feel gorgeous. Then they've got to go and have a coffee somewhere. I don't really want them cottaging in the loos at this stage.'
'You're right, I'm going to have to dig deep, like the editor said.'
There's a pause for reflection before Franny says, 'What about bringing an Alsatian into it? You were obsessed with them when we were in India.'
'Something about an Alsatian licking you all over?'
'Or maybe it was a dream...'
Or somebody else entirely! Honestly! 'I've gone off the whole idea now. I was all fired up yesterday when he was looking like Duncan and being all mysterious and they were just going to look at each other meaningfully and eat chocolate brownies by the fireside, but now he's turned into a brute who's into bestiality.'
Franny chuckles. 'I think you just need to find a more homespun guy whose wife has died and he's got a little child and a beach house and he wears big fisherman's jerseys and lights a really good fire.'
'Oh yes, he sounds gorgeous.' I'm scribbling frantically. Franny really is missing her vocation.
'And make sure he has the right pants. Cotton check boxers.'
'What about those T-shirt-materially ones that fit snugly around their lunch packet?'
'They're ok, but they're a bit too much information. As long as he's not wearing Shreddies.'
'What are they?'
'You know, those Aertex pants that your father would have worn that come above your tummy button and they've gone grey in the wash. You see them hanging up on the Aga.'
There's a sudden volley of barking at her end. 'Oh! There's somebody at the door, hang on. Oh! Hooray! It's the rubbish men, I'm going to call you back.'
Hmmm. Shreddies. Daddy pants. Franny might have hit on something there. Love for the over 60s is going through a revival, what with Hilary Boyd's new book, Thursdays in the Park.
I know! A pot-boiler for the pot-bellied: 50 Shades of Grey Underpants!