They figured that the best way to introduce Anna to Jake was at the football – Jake would be distracted by the game and might have fewer questions. As it happens, a good move.
Calling in a favour from Pat, Paul managed to get hold of three seats in the Executive Box – there was even a warm buffet, where they could help themselves to snacks throughout the game. As it happened, Arsenal delivered, too, thumping Aston Villa by the resounding score of 4-1.
The verdict? Well, from her side, he was a ten-year-old boy, a lot of his interests were weird.
From his side, she fancied his dad, so a lot of her interests were weird. It helped, of course, that she liked the Arsenal, too. Little did he know…
Paul had his speech prepared. As Arsene Wenger would be giving his half-time team talk, so too Paul was giving his. Nothing would change. Had Jake noticed any change in the last six months? No? Well, that was roughly how long he’d already been seeing Anna.
– What about mum?
Again, Jake had seen nothing different these last six months, had he? He’d been with Anna all that time, and still stayed on good terms with his mum. In fact, Beth had known that Paul had been seeing somebody for a few months, just not who, and the pair had never met – Paul was quite determined about that. Present meeting Ex was the very last thing he wanted. If it ever did happen, he wanted to be a long way away!
The football helped. Jake seemed to concentrate more on the game than on Anna. Anna felt she had got off quite lightly, Jake had had very few questions. She left it to Paul to get Jake back home and after the game, the three went their separate ways.
Paul broke the ice.
– What do you think of Anna?
– She’s really your girlfriend? But she’s beautiful, why is she going out with you?
– I wish I knew, buddy, but that’s girls for you. Mad, every one of them!
Jake conceded eventually that she had been okay.
– So, you don’t mind if we meet her again?
– Guess not
– Besides, I’m counting on you to teach her the offside rule!
The seeds had been sown.