All too quickly, we were back on air and waiting for the viewers’ votes to be announced. Nina was out of sight, talking to Will but we could hear her. ‘Now then, Will, the audience here and at home has been voting. And what we want to know is, Could This be It? for you and…’
There was a sickening drum-roll as lights flashed across all three of the booths, where we girls waited with beating hearts.
To a cacophony of cheers, my heart raced. This was not supposed to happen.
‘But first, let’s introduce you to the two girls who didn’t convince the audience they were right for you…’
As the other girls stepped from their booths and trotted off to meet Will, my brain surged into action; swooping over possibilities and swerving hideous consequences. I began to feel nauseous. Get a grip! I told myself. Think of it like an athletics challenge. That’s all it is – a challenge. A pentathlon.
Suddenly, the glass door to my booth popped open. It was my moment in the spotlight. I stepped cautiously out, which was evidently not the thing to do, since I could see Stewart in the shadows wind-milling his arm for more reaction – from me. I recalled the shows I’d seen where girls shrieked and performed victory dances. I pulled a delighted grin – I think. Maybe a couple of handsprings would be fitting? I raised my arms in preparation but thought better of it, as the stage beneath my feet began to rotate towards Nina and Will. So I waved maniacally.
As Will came into view, I locked eyes with him – kind of like a raccoon might fix on the headlights of an approaching Cadillac. He had a broad smile too. It looked genuine – but maybe he thought the same about mine.
As the stage ended its quarter turn, Nina stepped towards me, holding out her hand. ‘Okay, Will, tell us what you think of the lovely Toni.’
In my head, I groaned. Even if I’d looked like a granny in liquid satin, he’d still be expected to say something nice. Just don’t be vulgar, I prayed.
‘I’m really pleased,’ he said. Of course he would. ‘You have very pretty eyes.’ I wasn’t expecting that.
‘And how about you, Toni. What’s your first impression of Will?’
Second impression, maybe even third or fourth. ‘He’s in good shape and he has a kind face.’ There was a nauseating ‘Ahhh!’ from the audience.
‘Does he look fit enough for you? From a sports therapist’s perspective, I mean.’ She followed this with a wink at the audience.
‘I’d have to take him circuit training to find out,’ I said, as sweetly as I could.
‘Are you up for that, Will?’
He was still smiling at me. ‘Could be fun.’
‘It could be fun!’ Nina echoed. ‘You have plenty of time to find out because this week, Will and Toni, your romantic destination is skiing in Val Thorens!’
The audience whooped.
‘So, everybody, all that remains to be seen is …’
‘Could This be It?’ the audience yelled.
‘Could it, indeed!’
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