The Diary of Bridget Jones

Sat 4 March

8st 12, alcohol units 2, cigarettes 0, calories 998 (excellent, v.g., perfect saint-style person)

A week of ups and downs - on the Daniel Cleaver front in a depressingly metaphorical sense. On Wednesday I slunk into the office, crippled with embarrassment about inadvertently leaving a message on his answerphone suggesting a drink. (Not my fault. He drove me to it by suggesting it first, then not calling me.) I had resolved totally to detach myself from him, but then he appeared looking unshaven, tall, lean, dark and unnervingly sexy, and started making all the secretaries laugh so that I went all to pieces.

I was all over the place. Perpetua, who has dumped all her work on to me while she nurtures Hugo through his cauchemar with Barings, kept ringing me up with more tasks and hissing about "that little shit, Nick Leeson". Is it just me who has strangely positive feelings about Nick Leeson? - more, funnily enough, than about Liam Neeson, even though they wear the same spectacles. I so much wanted him not to be caught, but to roam the Far East like James Bond, shooting at pursuers in a dark suit, being firm and specific about his cocktails. Clearly I have lost all moral sense and am unable to distinguish between right, wrong and celebrities, even though I have not yet seen Natural Born Killers.

Suddenly, MESSAGE PENDING flashed up on the top of my computer screen.

THANKS FOR YOUR PHONE CALL.

CLEAVE

was the message. The man is a sadist. The phone call was suggesting a date. Who replies by saying "thanks" and leaves it at that? Had this happened in the flesh I would have behaved like a fish. But the beauty of the computer messaging system is that it gives you time to compose yourself, and think out replies before you need them rather than after. It removes all barriers of rank - the perfect medium for flirtation. After a little thought, I sent back,

PLEASE SHUT UP. I AM VERY BUSY AND IMPORTANT.

JONES

And after a few moments more, he replied,

SORRY TO INTERRUPT JONES, PRESSURE MUST BE HELLISH. OVER AND OUT.

CLEAVE

P.S. I LIKE YOUR BUM IN THOSE LEGGINGS.

And we were off. Frantic messaging continued all week, culminating in the Sunday night date. Sometimes I look around the office as we all tap away and wonder if anyone is doing any work at all.

(Is it just me or is Sunday a bizarre night for a first date? - all wrong, like Saturday morning or Monday at 2pm. Plus I have to attend my godson Harry's birthday party in the afternoon which gives me little time to prepare.)

Sun 5 March

8st 11, alcohol units 0, cigarettes 29 (v.v. bad esp in 2 hours), calories 3,879 (repulsive)

11am. Luxuriate in bed with the papers. Breathless stories about two year olds taking tests for nursery school make my heart sink at the impending tea party with its ex-career-girl mothers and their Competitive Child Rearing. Magda, once a commodity broker, lies about Harry's age now to make him seem more advanced than he is. Even the conception was cut-throat with Magda trying to take eight times as much folic acid and minerals than anyone else. The birth was great. She'd been telling everyone for months it was going to be a natural childbirth and 10 minutes in she cracked and started yelling, "Give me the drugs, you fat cow." Must get up.

6pm. Back in flat after a nightmare scenario: me plus a roomful of power- mothers one of whom had a four-week-old baby. "Oh isn't he sweet?" cooed Sarah de Lisle, then snapped "How did he do in his AGPAR?" I don't know what the big deal is about tests at two - this AGPAR is a test they have to do at two minutes.

Recently Magda has been boasting around the nanny circuit that her son is a defecational prodigy, triggering off a round of boast and counter- boast. The toddlers, therefore, clearly of the age when they should be securely swathed in layers of rubberware, were teetering around in little more than Baby Gap G-strings. I hadn't been there 10 minutes before there were three turds on the carpet. A superficially humorous but vicious dispute ensued about who had done the turds, followed by a tense stripping off of towelling pants, immediately sparking another contest over the size of the boys' genitalia and, correspondingly, the husbands'. "There's nothing you can do, it's a hereditary thing. Cosmo doesn't have a problem in that area, does he?"

I escaped and rushed home with my stomach fluttering about tonight. Two hours to go. My legs are smooth. The fridge contains a full range of breakfast items. Outfit choice is down to a shortlist of three. However, there is still facial-steaming, bathing, moisturising, hair and make-up and eve- of-battle phone call to Tom to do, so must press on.

7pm. I can't believe this has happened. On the way to the bathroom I noticed the answephone light was flashing: Daniel. "Bridget, sweetheart, [sweetheart?] I'm not going to be able to make it tonight. I've got a meeting at 10 in the morning and two manuscripts to get through. Sorry, love. Maybe we'll make it another time."

It is not fair. I had been doing so well on the no-smoking for Lent and now I have let myelf down and also eaten four chocolate croissants. Never mind. Wednesday is National No Smoking Day. I might as well carry on till then, and then make a completely fresh start.

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