I checked my email one morning last month: accountants, a friend, the Viagra folks, Jennifer Aniston.
I opened it up with a tingling sensation. This is what it said:
Jen Aniston here. This is out of the blue, I know, but I heard you were good to hang around with and I could use some good at the moment. My love life is all over the place. Arrrggghhhhhhhhhh!
I was wondering if you would like to come over to Malibu to spend the week-end with me? Courteney might be around too, as her marriage is on the skids and she wants me to cook her a lasagne.
Do you think you could get a flight?’
Well, I read it over a couple of times and then I actually thumped the table with my fist and said ‘Excellent’ out loud.
Then I thought about how I was going to reply. I wondered if I should be mysterious or grateful.
In the end I opted for simple: a woman like that is busy.
Do Easyjet fly there?
Well, they don’t but other airlines do so I booked myself one up.
I grabbed some magazines from WHSmith before I went, to do some background reading. As Jen’s not a fan of gossip I wouldn’t tell her that. But I felt I should know the word on the street.
It said she is still stepping out with John Mayer but her ex Tate Donovan wants her back- sorry, but he’ll have to change his name first.
Jen didn’t come to the airport to meet me but she sent a driver so I still felt special. I fiddled with the window controls and contemplated my catalogue bikini. I knew I didn’t need a designer body though; the pressure would be all on her.
When we arrived I was bowled over by her sumptuous pad but even moreso by her. She’s just everything she’s cracked up to be and very kind to her staff too.
‘Welcome, welcome,’ she gushed warmly.
‘You’re tiny!,’ I blurted out, somewhat inappropriately.
We went on to have a seriously good week-end, boogie boarding and chatting. And she’s not stupid either: she beat me at a variety of board games.
Courteney didn’t materialise in the end but Jen still made a lasagne. I prefer meat ones but it wasn’t terrible.
One afternoon Jen really opened up. She got up close and looked into my eyes.
‘Do you know, Sophie, I panic if I don’t exercise regularly. I’m terrified I’m going to get a fuller Greek figure and start to lose roles. And men. It’s almost a neurosis.’
‘I understand you, Jennifer,’ I said at just the right time.
‘Really?’ she replied, eagerly.
‘Yes. I worry that if I don’t run every day I won’t sleep very well.’
Jen sat up straight and looked at me for a while without speaking. I couldn’t read the expression on her face so I quickly added, ‘I love Greek yoghurt.’
I think it must have resonated with her because after that she said she needed some air and went onto the terrace.
Presently, I’m In The Mood For Dancing came on the sound system and Jen ran back in to turn it up.
‘This song is awesome!’ she exclaimed. And with that she jumped onto the glass coffee table and started shaking her perfect bottom around.
Oh, God, no, I thought. This is not how I want to remember this trip: awkward rhythmical movements to The Nolan Sisters. I want to recall the beach volleyball and the wink she gave me when she put the umbrella in my Schnapps cocktail.
I disappeared into the bathroom and came out when I heard the song fade.
‘You look like you’re about to tell me something you don’t want to,’ she said perceptively.
‘I’m not sure about John Mayer,’ I confessed.
‘Do you know him?’ she asked, alarmed.
‘Not exactly. But I know his type. Too young and pleased with himself. Rank old tattoo too.’ (I laughed at the ‘too too’ at the end of my sentence. She looked at me the way people look at mime artists in shopping centres.)
‘I appreciate your honesty but I’m in love,’ she whimpered a bit drippily.
‘Yes, I know. And tick-tock,’ I said, squeezing her hand.
Then I asked her if she wanted another twiglet but she said no thanks, she was full.
When it was time to leave she said she had a surprise for me and came back 10 minutes later on a vintage Ducati motorbike with a spare helmet.
It was one of the coolest trips I’ve ever taken. I felt like Kelly McGillis in Top Gun, even with the sidecar buckling under the weight of my lugguage.
She might have done it to avoid any heart-to-hearts about Brad but I’m too sensitive for that. Plus I’m hoping Angelina may get in touch one day.
Or maybe she’s fed up talking about Friends but I doubt she knows much more about the cast than I do.
‘I like you, Sophie, because you’re real,’ she said when we kissed goodbye.
‘And I like you, Jen, because you’re not,’ said I and spent the flight home re-living my perfect riposte.