Age Is Only A Number

Iím really jealous cus a friend always seems to be "bumpin" into the lads...and I know Iím just never gonna get my chance.

One day my mate rings my mobile and she's hysterical down the phone. "The lads are here, and they're doing the Pepsi chart, and they look sooo good, and omg they are sooo close"

Iím like really pleased for her and smiling and sort of cringing at the same time...why can't it be me? Next thing my mate takes a breath and then I hear this voice talkin to her, and I can hear the bloke saying "Hi, you havin a good time?" I can hear the conversation and I know that voice...but it can't be, but yeah it could, after she's there and they're there. I can't believe it when this male voice talks down the phone....omg he's talkin to me, taken the phone from her and really talkin to me!! His gorgeous Irish accent. I feel really foolish but we start chatting. Heís saying what a good time everyone is having and my mate is just stood lookin at him with her mouth wide open.... thatís why he took the phone. He's laughin, god that laugh. I can picture his face. Iím trying not to sound stupid and I seem to be not babbling down the phone. Then............... the phone goes dead. I sit staring at the phone...did I dream it?

My phone rings again..."Hiya, it's Kian again. Your mates phone cut off and I thought it was rude to just end the conversation there. Iím on my phone now; she dialled your number for me. Is that ok?" OMG... I try to sound cool and we chat for a while. He says what they were singing, who did what etc. Trying to paint a picture of what Iíve missed by not being there with my mates. We say our goodbyes and Iím grinning from ear to ear looking at my mobile. I really can't believe Iíve just been chatting to Kian of Westlife.

Later that evening my phone rings again.
"Hello mum, is that you?"
"Oh sorry I must have caught the redial button. The lads have gone out early, I had some things to do on my laptop and felt a bit homesick. Thought Iíd ring home for a chat."
We chat for what must by an hour before he says he really aught to ring home before it gets late.

The phone calls start to be a regular thing. We chat like old friends.
Itís on the run up to Christmas and I tell him that I have tickets for the Smash hits tour next week and that he has to wave to me at the Sheffield gig. Of course we've never met so he wouldn't know me if he fell over me. He makes me promise to come and say hello when the first act is on.

At the gig, I leave my two mates sat in their seats and go to the walkway around the arena where the food/merchandise stalls are. I call him on my phone and Iím talking to him.
" yeah, Iím here, just walking round the walkway bit. What do I look like?"
I laugh." Errr Iím 5ft 2, got shoulder length reddish/ blond hair, brown eyes...what am I wearing?" I look down. "Jeans, a black shirt, denim jacket and boots.... you can see me!!! Where are you?"
I turn round to see Kian and Mark waving at me like idiots through the glass panels on the fire doors which separate the stage side with the side the public are. I'm still talking on the phone and waving back, walking closer to the doors. The doors fly open and I get dragged in. I laugh and switch off my phone. We hug like we have been friends for ever and then Kian introduces me to Mark. We head for the stage bar. A security guard is coming towards us.....

The security guard asks...
"Who are you and what you doing back here?"
"She's...." Mark pipes up
"I'm Kians sister-in-law, Gavin moved up here years ago to teach" I say looking at Kian for help.
"Yeah, when Ann said she would be here with friends, I insisted she call back here to say hello. Hell Iíve not seen her since last Christmas. We don't all get together very often, what with me being away so much and Gavin teachin at uni here."
The security guard looks totally convinced and digs into his pocket for a pass on a long chain to put round my neck.
We head for the bar laughing. Ki's phone rings, it's his mum. After a quick chat he says his goodbyes. Laughing he says that he was dying to tell her she had a new daughter-in -law!! Just then Bry, Shane and Nicky arrive. We all have a drink before they have to go to get ready for their part in the show. I hug them all and there's kisses all round.
I take my seat and *Wham* there they are on stage. The shows soon over and they're gone.

The phone calls continue, I get cards from all my new family at Christmas. It's like we are old friends that always keep in touch, not seeing each other very often but always in each otherís thoughts.

My front door rings one day in January. I open it to find Ki and his little brother Colm on my doorstep....MY DOORSTEP!!
We have a coffee while Colm goes upstairs to play with my kids. Then we go out to the local National park and kick the ball round with the kids. We walk round the park and my arm is linked into his. I feel so comfortable. That night we go over to Sheffield to meet my *Husband* Gavin. They are all so friendly and when it's time to go I really don't want to say goodbye. Ki kisses my cheek and says he'll ring tomorrow when he's flown back home.

Sure enough the phone rings. We chat about things, his schedule etc and it seems that I have a weekend off next time they are in London, performing at GAY. Kian invites me down to stay at the hotel with them. Kerry will be there and he says she'll be glad of the female company.
I arrive by train to be met by a hotel car at the station. The hotel is enormous. At the reception, the lady rings Ki's room. In minutes all the lads plus Kerry appear. We go for something to eat and when we get back, take my bag up to my room, which turns out to be Kians room!!
I'm sharing with Mark, he says he doesn't mind. We go out to the club and it's a fantastic night. We all get split up though. Me, Ki, Kerry and Bry go straight back to the hotel to the bar. Mark, Shane and Nicky head for a nightclub. It's late, or should I say early in the morning, Kez and Bry went to bed hours ago. There's no sign of the three lads and Ki is rather worse for wear. We go up in the lift hoping the guys passed us and are already up there. I prop Ki up (lol) and knock on Marks door..... No answer. I look round, I can't leave him there can I? I open the door to the room Iím staying in and sit him on the edge of the bed. I go back to knock again on marks door. Still no answer. When I get back to my room Ki is passed out on the bed (mmm...I wish). I take his shoes off and his clothes, down to his boxers. Roll him over to one side of the bed and cover him up. I go in the bathroom, wash off my face and put my nightie on. Back in the bedroom he's fast on. I go round the other side of the bed and get in.

*KNOCK KNOCK* I jump out of bed and answer the door. Mark is stood there looking at me, and then I remember I am wearing the tiniest nightie ever. "You seen Kino?" He looks past me and smiles. I throw my arms up in the air and head for the bathroom. "Nothing happened Mark, you weren't here, I couldn't leave him in the corridor could I? No matter how cute he may be I wouldn't take advantage, we're mates. We just shared a bed, ok?"
When I come out of the bathroom, dressed Mark is talking to Ki who's still in the bed. "Who took my clothes off?"
"Must have been that bloke you brought back from GAY!" I smile and wink at Mark. Mark takes me to breakfast while Ki gets showered.
There are plenty of laughs the rest of the weekend, but we have to say goodbye at the station.

On valentines days flowers and balloons arrive "lots of love from your best mate". Phone calls, e-mails are daily. Ki rings to invite me to go to Ireland to meet his family and friends. "Bring the kids too. It's the holidays and Colm would love to see them again"

Me and the kids arrive at the airport in Dublin.
There's a big sign at arrivals that says, "Welcome to Dublin airport, home of Westlife". This feels really bizarre. Kians sister and Colm meet us and take us to the car where Ki's waiting. "Didn't want to cause a stir in the airport, thought it was safer to stay here in the car" he's smiles... god that smile melts me every time. It's not easy remembering we're just mates and Iím way too old for him anyway. I look at the kids, I have two boys. Never easy finding new love, especially when you have a family already. They have to fall in love with the whole package.

We get to Sligo and get a big family welcome and what a big family he has.... brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins galore. Seems like it's any excuse for a party. We meet all his friends too. Mark and Shane are home too so everyoneís invited. Iím having a brilliant week. The kids are getting on fine with Colm and his friends. Ki's mum and dad are wonderful.... Me and Ki spend time alone, watchin head buried into his chest when a gory bit comes on. We take late night walks along the beach. We talk about stuff you keep to yourself. On nights out he tries setting me up with mates and I point out girls that I think are his type. Then on St Patrickís Day, after a late night out with his mates at the pub, we stagger back to the house. He's fumbling in the lock with the key and Iím laughing at him. I take the key and between us we just about manage to turn the key. He's so close, we stop laughing and there's one of those moments when time seems to stand still. We're looking at each other...getting nearer.... and his mum opens the door and we land in a heap on the carpet! When the end of the week comes its time for goodbyes again...god it gets harder to say every time.
He promises to phone and says he hopes I have a good birthday the following week. We won't be seeing each other 'til May for the concerts in Sheffield.

On my birthday, I get a card and flowers. The next day we speak on the phone and I'm telling him how I pulled this bloke in the club. He asks if Iíll see this bloke again...."nah he wasn't my type".
Kian hangs up his phone. Staring out the window, his mum says..."When you gonna tell her?"

He turns to look at his mum.
"Tell her what?"
"That you've fallen in love with her."
He smiled, "how'd you know?"
"A mum always knows. You talk about her constantly. Your face lights up when you speak on the phone to her. Before she came here, I had my suspicions. Then when I saw you together it was obvious. I've never seen anyone make you so happy and that makes me happy. But you have to tell her."
"I guess I only just really knew for sure myself when she said she had met someone on her birthday night out. She said he wasn't her type."

After a few more weeks we are finally meeting up again. His birthday was a few days before and I threatened him with a birthday kiss down the phone. The 1st of May 1st gig at Sheffield. Ki tells me not to drive over; he'll send a car from the hotel to pick up me and my mate from Leeds that's stopping with me. I'm really excited about the gig....and seeing Ki again.
A car horn peeps outside.
"you ain't gonna believe this" Sandra says.
A white stretch limo is outside. Out we go, mouths wide open. Inside the limo all the guys are there. "Thought we'd come over for the ride, Anto wasn't best pleased at us going AWOL so near the show, but hey we couldn't wait to say hi again"
At the gig we take our seats and WHAM they are on stage. Kian says that he's missed a special friends birthday and they sing Fool Again to me.
Later, after the show we all go to the Players club for drinks and to chat, play pool etc. Me and Ki are inseparable. That awful time of saying goodbye again. He suggests that the following three nights I stay at the hotel with them as my mate is going back home.
"I'll sleep in Marks room" Ki says.
"Yeah, like last time" laughs Bry.

The 2nd night I go over early to meet friends at the gig, I leave my bag in their car. As soon as the gig finishes I get lifted over the barrier by Paul and get whisked away with them in one of the cars. Back at the hotel, Ki takes my bag and we go up in the lift. Once in the room he puts the bag down and I make for the door. I turn to see Ki looking out the window.
"Ann, I need to tell you something.... please sit down" I sit on the edge of the bed. "Whatís wrong Ki?" "You know when we were in Sligo in March, you kept pointing out what you thought was my ideal women. Well Iíve found her."
I smile "Good, who is she?"
My smile is gone, I can't believe he's just said that. "I think I fell for you the first day I saw you. I don't have to think before I tell you something; I feel you're my best friend and more. That night in London, I woke up around 3am and when I saw you laid next to me I didn't want to leave you."
My face is blank.
"I don't want to spoil this friendship by what Iím saying and I can see you don't feel the same so...."
He goes to the door and starts walking down the corridor.
I go to the door "Kian"
He turns.
"Do I get a chance to speak?"
He walks back inside and stands with his back against the door.
"Ki, Iím way too old for you"
"No, you're not. Age is just a number."
"I've been married and have kids"
"I love your kids to bits, they're great. As for being married before that doesn't matter."
"It would matter to your family"
"Mum says I shouldn't lose you because of the past, it's the future that matters. She was the one that said I should tell you"
I smile at him. I walk over and kiss him. We seem to be locked together.

The next bit is cert 18 girls.

Later we go down to the bar holding hands.
As we walk in all the others turn round.
"Where you two been" Mark says.
Nicky digs him in the ribs.
"About bloody time you two got your act together" Bryan smiles.

Ann Cooke (Kianscookie)