Peter Wilson, a 29-year-old systems analyst from Solihull, was said to be ‘upset and bewildered’ after his Valentine gifts of a wilting bunch of carnations and a box of Maltesers from the local Esso garage were received with an enthusiastic hug and kiss from his long-term girlfriend, Clare.
The last-minute present, which even had the price left on, was supposed to have been the final straw in a three-month campaign of obnoxiousness intended to make his girlfriend realise their relationship was over and leave him. However, after she found the gifts on the sofa where he’d dumped them, Clare skipped to the kitchen to complete a romantic dinner, leaving Pete to write complaining texts about her attitude on the iPhone she’d got him to mark the occasion.
Yearning for the single life, but hoping to keep their rented flat, Peter had launched his campaign by buying Clare a dustbuster for Christmas. He went out of his way to be rude about her friends and showed up drunk and three hours late when her parents came to dinner. He ‘forgot’ their anniversary, a task made all the more difficult by the fact it was also her birthday, and New Year’s Eve. Yet through all this Clare had remained upbeat and understanding, leaving Peter completely exasperated.
‘I’m running out of options,’ complained Peter, cutting his toenails and watching the women’s beach volleyball on Sky Sports 3. ‘For the past month I’ve been raising my eyebrows every time she has a biscuit and asking if she ‘really thinks she needs that?’, but she won’t take the hint. If this goes on much longer, I’m just going to have to tell her I’ve been sleeping with her sister.’
While Clare admitted she had been a bit dreamy of late, but said that was to be expected ‘in her condition’. However, she’d made sure she’d focused for the evening to prepare a lovely meal, and ‘couldn’t wait to see Pete’s face’, when she exercises her prerogative to propose in a leap year, ‘the timing is just perfect!’ she said, lovingly adjusting the browning carnations in her best vase.