“May I be of any assistance?” You swing round from the row of adverts in the window to see a handsome young salesman dressed in the inevitable crisply-pressed suit and tie, towering over you. The most startling turquoise-blue eyes twinkle down at you and the term ‘stunning’ springs to mind. No doubt a result of reading too many romance novels, you scold yourself. Stop it! After all, you are here on business.
“Erm, yes please. I’m looking for a…. I need a… erm… I want to buy a car,” you say and immediately want to kick yourself. Nothing like stating the obvious, is there? In a rush to redeem yourself you mumble that you are thinking about a small car, maybe a Golf or a Kia or possibly a Twingo. Flashing you a wide schoolboy grin revealing perfectly aligned teeth, the man informs you that you have come to the right place.
Spellbound by the man’s pearly smile, you find yourself staring back at him, utterly lost for words. Somehow, you find yourself rabbiting on about how you need to replace your little old green car you call Albert which you have owned for the past five years. The man raises his left eyebrow and continues to look at you with a little smile. He has cute little dimples, you notice, your mind wandering. With a start, you realize he is expecting you to carry on,
“Well, that is, until some crazy idiot at the traffic lights didn’t stop and ran into the back of us last week and completely wrote him off. It was a Thursday and it was raining. I was on my way home from work. I was heartbroken! I’ll never be able to replace him. My friends all used to tell me Albert’s colour matched my eyes exactly,” you continue, before realizing you are waffling and making a complete idiot of yourself. With a conscious effort, you manage to drag your eyes away from his in order to study your feet, only to realize with horror that you are still wearing your still slightly muddy gardening shoes. Talk about embarrassment! You cringe and hide under your fringe, thanking your lucky stars you still haven’t been to the hairdresser’s for that overdue trim.
It turns out that Mr Sex on Legs just so happens to have a cute little number he tells you he knows will suit you down to a T, and offers to show you right now if you are interested. It is a Kia Forte, three years old with extremely low mileage and has only had one careful owner, no less. You are not too sure about that last dubious-sounding fact, but decide to give him the benefit of the doubt and let it slide.
“And it’s exactly the right tint of green,” he adds with a little wink which sends your stomach fluttering into spasms and instantly transforms your face into a seriously unflattering shade of scarlet.
Following him meekly past the rows of gleaming Mercedes and BMWs towards the second-hand car section out the back, you cannot help but notice his socks and your opinion of him plummets in dismay. It is a pet hate of yours. As you always say, anyone who chooses to wear dazzling white socks with a charcoal grey suit and stylish cream silk shirt definitely merits the most severe disdain. The poor man must obviously be colour-blind, you reason in his defence.
“Here’s the little beauty I was telling you about,” says Nigel. You can see that is his name from the shiny metallic name-tag gracing his lapel, “So, what do you think?” His voice sounds like your grandmother’s treacle toffee, is what you think, although obviously you don’t tell him that. You always adored your grandmother’s treacle toffee.
Actually, you like to believe you are quite savvy about cars, yet right now you cannot think of a single sensible question to ask. He is still waiting for you to speak but your mind has somehow turned to mush,
“Does… does it have a big glove box? I need one with plenty of space… For my handbag.” The very instant those ridiculous words leave your mouth, you regret them. In response, he turns to face you, now sporting an amused expression and you want to slap yourself. Why, oh why do you keep on saying the most stupid things?
Within half an hour and a quick test drive around the block, the sale is concluded. The emerald-green Kia which matches your eye-colour precisely, is now all yours. Oh yes, along with a five-year loan at a mere eighteen percent interest rate, that is.
Dangling the car keys over your hand, he flashes you a little smile. It is probably the most enigmatic smile you have ever seen and you are not quite sure how to take it. Does it mean you have indeed just snapped up a bargain, or is that look telling you he has just hoodwinked you into making the biggest financial mistake of your life?
Maybe you’ll be able to tell us all a little more after your hot date with the man this evening, you inform us later with confidence. You only agreed to going along so you could use the situation to set things straight once and for all with this man. After all, there’s no way you would ever let a mere car salesman get the better of you, is there?
As you leisurely roll up to the arranged spot opposite the restaurant in Albert’s replacement you’ve baptised Nigello, you check the time. Perfect. As intended, you’ve arrived fashionably late. The only problem is, it looks as if Nigel is going to arrive even more fashionably late, damn him! Yep, that’s him sauntering up now, sporting his sheepish schoolboy grin complete with dimples and waving a bouquet of pink and white peonies - your favourite flowers in the whole world. How could he possibly have known? Your pulse races and your knees wobble. Who’s kidding who?