The place was packed, not just with her colleagues from the show but friends and family and strangers happening to be around Elstree Studios on a Saturday night. Helen kept looking at her phone and scowling.
"So, what's old Johnny's problem with you on this?" Nikola asked, shoving a large glass of red wine in front of her.
She shrugged. "He's sent more my way."
"Tweets, messages, emails. If I have an account he's sending me notes." Her phone pinged. She looked down,grimaced, and opened the screen. Nikola sipped his own wine, waiting.
"Damn Helen, why is your screen so bright?" he all but yelped, taking the offered handset.
Helen, you look amazing.
Will you answer the phone?
I just want to talk.
Answer the phone, Helen.
Pick up your phone.
Why aren't you picking up?
The texts were all in that vein, but in such a number that-- "Has he nothing else to do?"
"Obviously not on a Saturday night," she replied, taking the phone and opening the next app. Her Twitter feed was just as bad. Not as obviously weird, but half the mentions were from him.
They should change the awful Serb dancing with @RealDrHelenM.
You look splendid @RealDrHelenM.
Short dresses suit @RealDrHelenM.
Individually, it wasn't bad, but again, the volume was staggering.
"The emails are the worst," she explained, looking around. "He doesn't send many, but they're… long, and rambling. Usually with a link to an article from a tabloid. Did you know we're sleeping together?" she asked.
"Us two?" he asked back, using his finger to indicate the two of them. Helen nodded. Nikola shook his head. "But we're not?"
Helen's eyes went wide, silently saying, Obviously not.
"Then why…?" He groaned. "Those paparazzi."
She nodded. "I'm telling you this as he might set his sights on you." Drowning the last of her glass, she added, "He's also six foot three, and a ENT consultant. He's often said he could make a murder look like an accident."
"Because that's a healthy thing to say!"
"Why do you think I divorced him?"
Nikola sighed dramatically. "I thought you divorced him so you could one day meet me and fall madly in love."
She laughed, loud and bright like the studio lights they just escaped. "Come on, let's get another drink before I have to go home. Same again?"
Nodding, he watched as she walked up to the bar. She smiled at everyone, even though her phone (left on the table) kept flashing every few seconds with another notification.
"You alone, Nik?"
"Not at the moment," he replied, looking pointedly at Nigel in front of him.
"How come you always get the good ones?"
"Lucky? They're contractually obligated to give me someone with feet that work? Lucky?" he shrugged. "Sorry you got voted out."
Nigel batted the commiseration away. "Mate, I got to dance with a model. It's all I've ever wanted in life." They laughed,
"Hello, are you joining us, Nigel?" Helen asked politely, holding two full wine glasses.
"Nah love, just keeping Nik here company until you came back. He can get into all sorts of mischief when left alone." Standing, Nigel held the chair out for her. "Your jive looked great, by the way. Craig's just blind."
Watching him leave, Nikola leant in and asked, "Is there any way you can stop him?"
"John?" He nodded. She shook her head. "It's never threatening, just a lot of hot air."
Later, back at home, Nikola remembered the look on her face. Maybe it was hot air now, but he had the feeling it wasn't always that.