Walking into a meeting room of an office I’ve never been in before, never a good feeling. Nerves jumping out of my skin, So wired that I jump as someone says “Coat miss?” cloak room attendant? of course it was! I handed my coat to him and said “Thanks, the weather is so bad outside”. The weather today has been awful with flooding on some of the roads throughout Bristol all morning, some people have not yet arrived. I am here in my new position with ‘Ollisters’ as the lead new business manager, replacing a man who had been in the job for many years. “You must be Pearl” an arm outstretched, “I am Connor Hulbert, managing director and owner, here at our small company, Hulbert and Sons ” He was an older chap with longhairs coming out of his ears and a very bushy pair of eyebrows. I shook his hand and said “yes that’s right I am, how did you guess?” “I make it a personal Goal to know each and every member of staff here and as this is a small meeting of 20 people today I figured I had a good chance of getting this right” he smiled intently showing me to the monitor and projector. “of course this is a smart monitor so you can just connect your laptop and away you go, Good luck” I was so nervous I could feel the myself becoming anxious.
The meeting took 2 hours, my job was to sell our transport network to Hulbert and Sons, as the best delivery option for their product. They are a small to medium sized company that produced weather resistant Clothing, they had been growing substantially in other countries and needed to outsource their transport and distribution to a transport company with international capability.
After the meeting, Connor asked If I would like a lift anywhere? I accepted the offer and was asked to wait in reception. A young man came down the stairs, “Hello Pearl I’m Peter nice to meet you, follow me. We went to the car park just under the building and he asked where he was to take me. I told him the hotel I was staying in we began the journey. Peter helped carry my bag to my room, “how long are you staying?” “oh just for the night, as I am going on to Devon for one more meeting tomorrow then I am getting the train back to London from there”. I poured a bourbon into a glass from the decanter and held it up to Peter as an offer “oh not for me thanks” Holding his keys and jingling them at me.“Shame, for a minute there I thought you were shaking your tic tacs at me” I smiled.
He was an attractive guy with a figure that I was totally aroused by, He wasn’t heavy set but definitely looked as though he did some sort of sport. “If you are stuck for something to do later though I would love to take you out for dinner, If you would like that is?”. He was embarrassed, and turned a little red, This was a massive turn on, as he was clearly not used to this at all. Well I am single I thought to myself, although the guy was definitely 5 years plus younger than me. The least of this will mean company for a night, and perhaps some much missed affection in the last year or two. Ok why not why not I thought “I will meet you in the downstairs bar at 8pm?”. “Ok later then!” Peter left and I could feel myself becoming very nervous, I’m so stupid what have I done here? The fact that I had not dated anyone for at least two years, and what would he see in me anyway as I was average at best and not exactly at his level. “Pull yourself together girl” I said out loud, and decided to go have a bath and relax.
The Hotel Phone rang five minutes after I got in the bath. I got out dripping water all over the carpet and picked up the phone, not caring about being naked and finding the whole situation of being asked out on a date very exciting and sexy. It was Connor asking to speak to me about the pitch I had made earlier, asking me to answer a few questions, I said fire away “Oh it would be much better if we did this over dinner, doing it on the phone seems, well far too cold don’t you think.? Did Peter drop you off Ok? Lovely man, I have just this minute sent him home early to his child as she is unwell at school”. “Oh Dear” I said “does his wife work?” my curiosity springing to attention like a lion about to pounce for his prey! “She works for us to, his partner is higher up in the company so when Lucy is in need of a parent, Peter always goes first, his partner is Jane you met her today”. My skin now full of goose bumps, becoming colder with water drying of my skin. Anger slowly running through my body as I felt hotter and hotter, this man has tried to get me on a date? I had just met his wife in the meeting? what a fucking jerk he must be.
What to do? should I say anything to Connor about Peter’s dinner request? In the end I said “Well Conner I would be happy to meet with you, but I need an early night so could we meet at 6pm and be set to finish around 7:30 ish?” Connor of course being an older gentleman, was fine with an early finish “Yes of course that will be fine I will have you picked up at 6 o’clock”, thinking it might be Peter as a driver, I replied “actually I would rather make my own way, where is it you would like to meet?” “ok if you wish, we can meet at my house at Chester court just outside Clifton downs” he gave me the postcode and we ended the call.
So that was it, Peter was just another user, but what was I going to do with him? I mean; it’s not like I would have ever chosen to see him again, and this would have just been me using him the same as him me? Hmm but wait, the overriding factor here is that he was and is in a relationship and that’s not at all.
Later I met with Connor and answered his questions with his wife over dinner, his wife was lovely and the meal was briem, a Greek style medley of roasted and seasoned vegetables, the taste of which was much better than the looks. The answers must have been satisfactory and I eventually got the nod from Connor that the business would be ours. He said we could firm up the details next week, and we shook on it. I left in a taxi at 7:30pm.
As the taxi was driving out of the end of the street I realised I had left my purse on the dinner table at Connor’s house, I asked the taxi to return, when I got back, I saw Peter at the front door, I asked the Taxi driver to turn of his engine and lights and wait a moment, then heard Connor saying to Peter, you leave the girl alone, she doesn’t need your bloody type in her life. The exchange was a little tense, with an undertone of anger from Connor.
Peter drove away, I went to the front door and knocked. Connor answered “hi, sorry I seem to have left my purse” he laughed “wait here I will get it for you”. Connor brought me the purse and I was soon on my way in the taxi.
I was flustered, and confused at this point. I had it all set out in my head what I was going to say to Peter, as he was due to meet at 8pm, and now I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do at all. I mean what was Conner’s meaning “your type?”, I decided to play along out of interest to see what Peters type really was, although I half expected the comment to just be that he sleeps around?
As I arrived at the bar, Peter was already there waiting for me. He was ten minutes early and already sipping on some kind of cocktail. I went in, “good evening, Peter”he replied, “hi you’re early, what would you like to drink?” “Vodka and orange Please, and could we skip the meal as I have just eaten with Connor and his wife?” Peter looked up from his drink, “Of course I had heard you were over there this evening, and I don’t feel that hungry myself to be honest”, He was probably being polite I thought. We sat and chatted for a couple of hours, he was trying to be arousing, with comments of how beautiful I was and his direct approach of how he felt like he knew me already. After a few more cocktails he whispered in my ear that “all is not how you think it is?” I found him very attractive and his warm personality was a real turn on for me, I kept saying to myself ‘just find out what he is hiding, and then make your excuses and leave’. Peter made a reference to when he was different, a few times and I let these phrases pass, thinking he would eventually let the cat out of the bag, as he seemed to be talking about everything to do with his life.
Peter said, “look can we go to your room”, He held his palm up and said “If you ask me to leave at any point I promise that I will, this’ll give me a chance to tell you something about myself”. I considered it for a moment and said, “well ok but just for one more drink, and then we need to call it a night”. When we got to the room I poured a bourbon, and handed it to Peter, then poured my own. He said “Are you ready?, perhaps you could sit down.” I had suddenly thoughts he was a person who played the swapping wifes game or something, a swinger that’s it, he and his partner and even conner were all swingers perhaps? “you’re a swinger aren’t you! Well I am not into that stuff matey, so you can just” He burst out laughing, then said “no no you have it all wrong”. I felt so embarrassed, “well what is going on Peter, just tell me please”.
Peter began to speak about gendered intelligence, and slowly explained that he used to be a woman, and that he was in fact the mother of Lucy, although she did not know this. Peter said he really liked me and wanted to see me again, but that he understood if I felt I didn’t want to see him. He explained that the woman who is believed to be his wife was in fact his sister. and that Connor knew about him, but just couldn’t accept it, “I Guess it’s a generation thing” He said.
He left saying “well you know where I am if you want to talk”.
I felt taken by surprise, shocked by the story he had told me of his past, and began to wonder if he could sense that I was not exactly the most straight forward person myself? Relationships have always been difficult for me as I am a bisexual, jealousy is a trait; all my past partners seem to have for their opposite sex, no matter the gender. Perhaps Peter was a man that could manage this? Either way the next time we meet, will be a chance for my life to become more exposed and I will gauge his responses. I smiled to myself, as I had already decided that I just had to see him again.