Their eyes, and hands, met as they reached simultaneously for the last tin of Heinz baked beans on the supermarket shelf.
Her velour leisure suit hugged her figure in a series of lumps and bumps, and perfectly coordinated with the familiar turquoise label.
Instantly Sam looked away, embarrassed, but he still noticed her perfume, Katie Price Stunning Eau De Parfum, the last perfume he'd bought Chardonnay for Christmas, before they'd split up for the seventh time.
Lauren looked up at the last tin, her red hair pulled back, tight to her head, Croydon facelift style, her face, caked in La Bronze 43 fake tan, was a perfect match for the tomato sauce that coated those pearls of orange deliciousness.
As she held the tin, she saw her plastic, pound shop, fingernails lightly brushing the backs of Sams fingers. She knew she should stop, but somehow she couldn’t let go.
Was it Sams warm hands? His cute smile as he tried not to look at her? Or did she just really, really want those beans ?
Sam finally looked up, those few seconds had felt like, well seconds, but their fingers were still intertwined around the aluminium container and something had to be done to end this encounter. “Sorry, all yours” he said quietly, slowly disentangling himself from what, now, felt like a bear hug around his hand.
“Thanks....wanna share them ?” Lauren tentatively dipped her hefty size eights into the dating waters, it was out there now, no going back. She waited, her breath, flavoured with the aroma of Red Bull was shallow, her heart pounding out the latest Calvin Harris beat, her mind creating several emergency exit procedures.
“What? You mean half a can each ?” Sam really hadn’t thought that through properly. He was naive in the world of women, Chardonnay had told him that after their fifth breakup, she'd said he wouldn't know what to do with a real woman, even one that came with instructions, though over the sound of Call of Duty, Sam only heard, sandwich, Hellmans and construction. Who knows what went through a womans mind at times ?
Lauren stood, confused by his response, but went to def con two, eye fluttering, which was difficult when one of your eyes was slightly lazy, and an attempt at a sexy pout. “I meant wanna share them over a meal of beans on toast, you buy em, I'll cook 'em, a glass of Lambrini, that sort of thing?”
At last the penny dropped at the implication of his stupidity, “erm...yeah, yeah, I'd like that,” he was flustered, talking wildly, “What about the bread, should I get that, and the Lambrini, shall I get that as well ?”
Lauren tipped her head slightly, her large hooped earring, clattered heavily against her shoulder, making her wince, “I'm sure I have a few slices of bread, just grab a bottle”
They exchanged numbers, arranged a date and went their separate ways, Sam clutching the tin of beans as if it was a bar of gold, he wasn't letting those out of his sight.
On the day, Sam even managed to remember the bottle of Lambrini, its tartness cutting away at the taste of the most delicious beans on toast, he'd ever had. Afterwards they sat in the lounge, A DVD of Notting Hill played, in the background Ronan Keatings delicately precise tones singing “When You say Nothing At All”.
They began to talk, and talked late into the early hours, so late that Sam was invited to stay the night, on the sofa of course, Lauren wasn't that kind of girl, it took two dates to get her, hard to get, body into bed, mostly because it was upstairs and the climb had to be worth it.
The second date took place the following night. Apparently Sam didn't need instructions, well that’s what Lauren had told him anyway. That was nearly twenty years ago, and even now, they celebrated their anniversary with beans on toast and a bottle of Lambrini, ahh the good old days.