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That weird relationship of theirs though, I almost choked on my Pina Colada when Max had told me that it was ‘open’, that if she wanted,  she could go outside the normal realms of their relationship, to wander off and seek solace in the flesh of another man.

“Actually, believe it or not Dan, she’s not my wife, she’s just my girlfriend – she doesn’t want the commitment of marriage, all that shit.

I met her, by chance, some fund raising event I’d been invited to, out in Ethiopia. Been a drought, for months and months until I arrived and then it just started pissing down, soon as I got off the ruddy plane.

Got soaked, she saw me, suggested I changed in her tent, ended up fucking each other senseless, missed the entire event and we’ve sort of ended up shacked up together ever since. You see, Dan, nowadays, there’s no fucking point in making silly little restrictions is there?” Max continued explaining to me, his ardent listener.

“I mean, if she wants to screw someone, why the hell shouldn’t she? She’ll tell me all about it later anyway. I mean after I’ve hooked up and had my cock up some other woman, I always tell her.

On her last mission out in India, she got shagged by some Dutch doctor, a Danish professor and his aging German assistant.” He laughed. ”She told me all about it said there was nothing much else to do.” And Max had been just so casual about it, as he’d told me about it, his girlfriend, having had sex with three different men – chatted about it to me as if she’d been out shopping with her mother, buying  sausages for tea at Sainsburys. I wanted to know of course, if she’d done it with them one at a time, or all together, but I’d been too drunk to ask.

Trouble is, at that particular drinks do, after what Max had told me about the open arrangement thing he has with Imogen, my tongue, already hanging out, now armed with this delicate, for my ears only insider information, I just had to make a move on her, didn’t I?

I made my move. She didn’t mince her words.

Piss off.” She’d said loudly, looking at me as though I was worse than shit smeared on the sole of one of her designer stilettos. Drunk as I was, I’ll never forget those two simple little words? Hardly words of interest are they?

More of rejection I’d say. I’d heard those words before but never quite spoken so viciously nor so venomously with such conviction and contempt that lay behind how they were now spat out at me on this  occasion.

Ninety nine point nine percent of all men would have backed away, pursued some other easier prey, or gone off to be violently ill in the toilet. But not me, the lunatic point one of a percent. No, I just wouldn’t give up would I?

Staggering a bit as he circled her, trying my best to focus on her, I just had to have another stab at her and when that prat she’d been speaking to about third world investments in replenishable resources had moved off to bore some other unfortunate human being, I went in for the kill and tried again.

”I wouldn’t screw you if you were the last fucking man on the planet.” And this time, her more than harsh words did hit home, more or less striking the nail square on the head in that thick alcohol sodden skull of mine.

Dejected, foolishly, I attempted to take yet another cocktail and as I staggered off into a corner to hide, most of the fruit falling in abundance on to the plush Axminster carpet en route, somehow, with one eye closed, still vainly attempting to focus, I watched disconcertedly as that prat returned to start discussing that shit he was talking to her about earlier.

I just hadn’t considered what the consequences of my actions might be though, had I?

Asking someone to have sex with you, particularly a neighbour, someone who lives right next door in a house that’s actually attached to yours, well, it’s hardly like asking them the best time of year to prune roses, or how to eradicate bothersome insects from your organic fruit trees without the use of chemicals, or come to that, their preferences when it comes to eating at McDonalds, is it?

No, it’s slightly more involved than that and no doubt the woman I’d selected to make this sadly rejected invitation of mine to, in this case the beautiful Imogen, is hardly likely to forget in a hurry that rather coarse exchange of words I’d had with her at that party and at some point or other, is almost certain to have mentioned this little intimate, but rather indelicate tête-à-tête I’d had with her, to none other than, of course, her boyfriend, Max.

“Oh yes, by the way, you’ll never guess what? The other night, that little shit from next door, he actually asked me to shag him, for God’s sake.”

But then, I hadn’t also considered that perhaps Max may have secretly known all along that I’d get no joy with his girlfriend? After all, he definitely ain’t no Olly Murs, Michael Buble or Justin Timberlake – am I? Or then anything, even close? I’d just been set up, so then, after I’d had a fruitless go at his girlfriend, I’d would have armed Max handsomely with all the ammunition he’d need to get a crack at my own wife, the pretty Chloe.

And ever since that night, I can’t be absolutely certain, but, he’s pretty sure it’s been open season, with Max’s precision laser sights targeted squarely on his wife’s young pussy. The dilemma being though, that in this case, Max, being a fairly famous, tall, good looking handsome guy in his mid thirties, whom no woman could possibly fail to swoon over, the bottom line is Dan can’t be absolutely sure whether or not she’s told him to “Piss off.”

Perhaps if he confessed all to Chloe, tell her what happened, that would help? She’d no doubt be upset, but then, she’d get over it, wouldn’t she? It’s not as though anything actually happened. But then Dan won’t tell her, will he, because he’s so afraid of the possible consequences, that she’ll be really pissed, tell him to fuck off, right out her life. So now Dan’s created this dilemma which has resulted in this paranoia of his, a fear that something could be going on between his pretty Chloe and his handsome neighbour, Max – but he’s just not sure.

Now, once again Imogen’s away, some charity affair out in the darkest of dark Africa, somewhere. She’s been nominated for an OBE or MBE or something. I mean, hats off to her for what she’s done, she’s like a female version of Bob Geldof. But far, far more beautiful, isn’t she Dan? And on those occasions when she is home, when she’d not arranging her next fund raising venture, she’s off with her stable of horses, show jumping, somewhere.

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