It was never long before the loneliness kicked in. Twenty, maybe thirty minutes sitting on his own and he would feel it. Like a familiar ache in his bones or that hollow feeling inside.
When was he going to find her?
He knew she had to exist; the one who was meant for him. Every friend he had just continued to tell him it was only a matter of time. A matter of time. He had had far too much of time lately. Every night was the same routine: he ate alone, caring not to cook for just himself, a sandwich or a takeaway; he sat, watching tv, not caring for what the moving pictures showed, his mind elsewhere, and then he'd go to bed; get undressed and slip under the covers, yearning for another body to chase away the cold.
So when the shrill ring of his phone interrupted the silence that night at dinner, it was all he could do not to choke back his meal. It was a sound he had begun to expect not to hear again, and he answered it cautiously as though the caller may change their mind and hang up.
And so he found himself at the Ritz. One of the most upscale clubs in town: a place he would not usually set foot in. It was a private gig, all distant relatives and so-called friends. He didn't know a single one of them. Except for his brother, the one who, after an entire year of no contact, had rang him out of the blue and expected him to come here. If there had been anything at all he would have done instead Alexis would have refused. But there wasn't, and loneliness always had been the pheremone for disaster.