Published in May 2019 / Updated in Aug 2021
This confession has been one of the most difficult to write. I find it easiest to write when I am listening to music…This time I am listening to Daniel Bedingfield’s “If you’re not the one”.
The last time I touched on Hugh we had just spoken and agreed to meet. As this was such a big opportunity for my career I invited my boss and her husband.
As we drove to the restaurant in the hotel we had all spoken about the fact that Hugh was an incredible businessman and that we couldn’t believe that he had asked to meet.
When we got there I asked the concierge if he could call up to Hugh’s room and advise him that we were there (at this time Hugh had thought he was only meeting me).
To my surprise, the concierge had said that they didn’t have a guest under that name…I was silently hoping that I wasn’t being taken for a ride and so I tried calling Hugh but it went to message bank.
My boss and her husband had gone to the toilets and I was standing in one of the grandest hotels I had ever seen. The marble floors, clean white and black lines with gold decor were incredibly beautiful!
As I looked around the hotel lobby the glass doors had opened and in walked a mature middle-aged, broad-shouldered, tanned gentleman dressed in Armani with such an air of confidence, talking heatedly on his phone. As I watched this man in awe he appeared to be walking towards me.
In an instant I knew it was him even though I had never seen what he looked like. He kept a low profile in the eye of the media and when I later googled him I found very few photos.
He walked straight over to me and oozed charisma as he held out his hand with a smile that touched his eyes. All he said was “Good Evening Ava” and at the exact time I said, “Hello Hugh”.
The moment I locked eyes with him everything flew out of my mind, I didn’t even realise that I was shaking his hand, his firm grip didn’t even bother me. I couldn’t look away from his eyes and the smile on his face disappeared as his head tilted to the side and he opened his mouth and started to say “I think I’ve met you….” at that moment my boss and her husband emerged and greeted him. The static is the touch of his hand leaving mine was like a jolt back into reality…my head snapped to the side as he kept looking at me before I finally found my words and fathered my thoughts to make introductions.
After that, we found out that he had not checked in and asked if we would mind waiting in the bar while he did and to order drinks.
As we turned towards the bar my boss and her husband were ahead of me, my mind was in a complete haze. I didn’t know what was happening…It was like I forgot why I was there…As I began to walk towards the bar in the restaurant Hugh grabbed my elbow and spun me around…My heart skipped a beat as I looked straight into his eyes…In a split second, he stopped himself and walked away leaving me confused. What the eff was going on?!? And why did I feel like I had seen him before, I felt like I knew him. It was the strangest feeling and it was literally like an electric shock every time he touched me that I actually jumped.
20 minutes later he joined us and we had a secluded reserved table at the back of the restaurant.
We were sitting at a rectangle table. At the far end of the table and to my right my boss was sitting, to my right, my boss’s husband was sitting and Hugh was sitting opposite me.
I kept quiet during the night while business was being discussed which is quite unlike me but I honestly didn’t have anything to say. I was trying my absolute hardest to not look him in the eyes because I have always been told that my eyes ALWAYS give me away. My mind was repeating one sentence “WHERE IS THE CLOSEST EXIT”. The more that I saw of him the more I knew that he was trouble. I found he had a serious charisma, he was trouble…..I actually was not attracted to him at all…There was just SOMETHING that made me keep looking at him. Every time I looked at him I caught him looking at me.
About an hour into the dinner was served and I had barely touched my dinner (which he asked if I wanted it reordered) as I couldn’t eat…my stomach was in knots, I felt his foot touch mine. I pulled it away as another shot of electricity ran through my body when I found his foot touching mine…I couldn’t look at him…I couldn’t breathe. Moments later he apologised and asked whos foot he had kicked as he thought it was my boss’s…..I said it was fine and then later found his foot tapping mine…I felt like I was being tasered…It was becoming painful and yet I didn’t want him to stop.
During one part of the conversation we began talking about music and he asked me who my favourite band was…I was able to mutter Matchbox Twenty….my boss’s husband had said “Oh who cares about them” laughingly and Hugh piped up saying “Well obviously she does” with an oddly protective tone before the conversation returned to normal.
30 minutes later he had asked where the bathrooms were and I offered to show him. We walked together in silence with his hand on the small of my back as we rounded the corner and I almost jumped out of my skin at the close contact. When he went to the bathroom I found myself waiting in the foyer of the hotel blindly watching the television before I caught myself waiting and walked aimlessly back to the table in the restaurant.
All night his phone had been ringing but he refused to answer it. When it started vibrating on the table he apologised and took a call.
“What?” he snapped while he looked straight at me… He said to the voice on the other end that he couldn’t meet as he was at a business dinner but they obviously persisted and he agreed to meet for a drink…When he finished the call he said “I am so sorry for what is about to happen, I haven’t caught up with a friend in a while and this could be painful” and he continued to apologise profusely. We didn’t realise just how painful this was going to be until I noticed a leggy blonde walk in from behind me and he muttered “Oh God”.
We greeted the woman politely as she sat down and began making demands of the restaurant and that she wanted something to eat even though the restaurant was closing.
I ended up speaking to her mostly during the night as I was intrigued by the company he kept.
I had seen that he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring and there was no white band around his finger. My boss and her husband kept speaking with Hugh and I talked to “The Blonde” that was shortly after nicknamed “Pain”. When she asked me how we had met the conversation at the other end stopped and I could feel Hugh’s eyes burning into me. I told the story of our call and my voicemail message…she in turn told me how lucky I was that he responded as it takes him 2 weeks to respond to her text messages and they hadn’t seen each other in 18 months……She was desperate for his attention and alarm bells went off in my head saying “He’s just not that into you my dear!”.
Hugh then spoke up and said that he had around 300 messages that day and when he listened to my voicemail he could barely understand me because I was speaking so quickly…but that he felt he had to call me back …. that there was something in my voice that made him want to…The whole table went quiet.
Straight after that Hugh ordered drinks and dessert and upon looking at the menu he strategically placed in front of me I said to my boss that the strawberry sorbet with custard tart sounded delicious…Hugh agreed and smiled at me as I kept my eyes from moving their way up to meet his as it felt so natural and right. She caught his smile and stated “You like the tarts don’t you Hughie?’. We all stopped what we were doing and our jaws dropped looking at the two of them. My eyes locked onto him at that moment and he turned to look at her with a purely disgusted look and said “NO” and she replied laughing “Oh that’s right you like the SWEET tarts!”.
The conversation from there became extremely uncomfortable and after dessert, we decided to leave as we all felt the tension rising between the two of them and Hugh’s entire demeanour changed as she continued talking.
As we got up to leave my boss and her husband were ahead of me and “pain” went straight to the bar. As I followed closely behind my boss Hugh grabbed my arm with such a force and turned me towards him that I thought he was going to break it…He looked me straight in the eyes and was about to say something before I returned his gaze and my boss turned to say goodnight.
I broke the connection, thanked him for his hospitality, and walked away without a further word said.
Moments after I got in the car and we drove off my phone began being bombarded with text messages of apologies for what had happened and he asked if he could see me again. Little did I realise that he had asked my boss if he could borrow me the following week to attend a national event with him and that it would be great for business…of course she had agreed.
I text him back a few times saying it was not his fault about what had happened and that I would think about the event and check my schedule. We ended up exchanging messages until 12:30 pm when I finally said goodnight.
I couldn’t wait to get home and stop thinking. I had escaped someone who I was so confused about. I have always prided myself on being able to read people but this man had thrown the rule book out the window…I didn’t know what to make of him and his confidence and charisma were incredible…it was like a drug…I wanted more but knew I shouldn’t.
What happened the next morning when I woke up was the beginning of something I could not escape…Fate has a way of catching you by surprise and what it had in store for me…I certainly wasn’t looking for it!