Never Have Sex With Your Ex

By: Kitty French

‘I don’t care if he’s signed the contract! He goes or I do, Art, it’s as simple as that.’

Of all the men in all the world Art could have chosen to replace Stanley with at the last minute, why did he have to go and choose Reuben Turner? Stanley is the leading man in the new West End production I'm starring in and I have to practically hump him, which is fine because I’m an actress and I can detach. Even a last minute change of actor shouldn’t pose too much of a problem, except for the small matter that I used to be married to Reuben Turner and there is no way on God’s earth I’m having sex with him, even simulated sex with my knickers still firmly on.

Fucking Hell! Maybe I'll be able to appreciate the irony of starring in a play called ‘Never have Sex with Your Ex’ with my actual honest to god ex one day, but that day is most definitely not today.

Bloody stupid, ridiculous Stanley! Who the hell goes skiing a couple of weeks before they're due to open as the leading man in one of the most hotly-anticipated West End productions of the year? Months we’ve been rehearsing for this, and it’s all down the drain for the sake of a stag do piste up that's left him in plaster from the hip down and out of action for the foreseeable.

I wouldn’t mind, but he was bloody hot and call me shallow, but that matters when I have to pretty much boff his brains out in public every day for the next three months.

But this…Three months starring opposite Reuben. I can’t do it. I won’t! Bloody hell, he was a prize cock to me at the end of our marriage.

He of the sexy Irish accent and sparkly brown eyes. Women go gaga for him, so much so that their underwear just dissolves as soon as he looks in their direction. I grew tired of it.

We were too young to be married really. Everyone said so and they were all quite right. True to form, he’d left me standing in the dust when an undeniably exciting job offer whisked him off to the bright lights of Hollywood and my commitments kept me here in London.

Oh, we tried to keep things going for a while. A token effort really, sexting each other, naked Skype, those kind of things… actually, those bits had been quite fun. But the fun had stopped abruptly when he’d moved to the arse end of Africa for a six-month filming stint on a big budget movie. Sketchy net coverage and beautiful co-stars proved to be our undoing in the end; we’d been away from each other for the best part of two years and the cracks yawned so wide we both fell down them. Or he did. And then he clung on by his fingernails, begging me to help him, to take him back and try living together again, anything but split up.

Do you know what I did? I stamped on his fingers and let him tumble. I don’t regret it. If he was so easily seduced away once, he’d always be that way. I always maintain that I saved myself a lifetime of heartache by screwing my stiletto heels into his nail beds that day.

And now here we are, one week from curtain up on the show that everyone who's anyone is claiming will be the one that propels me into the big time, and according to the director, Reuben has stepped bravely into Stanley’s shoes and saved the fucking day. Well, step aside, Nicolas Cage. My ex-husband always did have a hero complex.

‘Lisette, we’re incredibly lucky to have him,' Art scolds me like a sulking child. 'His acting credentials are second to none, and even you can't deny that the man is electric on stage.’ His voluminous shirt billows around him as he struts and flounces around the set. Lord knows how he ended up directing, he's an actor begging to happen.

Reuben is electric in bed too, I think, and then I hate myself for remembering that so easily. There is no denying it, though; no one since has come anywhere close to making me feel the way he did. Two sets of neighbours moved out of the flat next to ours when we were first married, and I’ve no doubt it was due to the volume and frequency of our filthy, crazy, beautiful sex life.

If we’d had chandeliers in that grotty one bedroom flat, I have no doubt he’d have had me swinging from them.

‘You do know I used to be married to him, right?’

Art waves his hand in the air, a 'comme ci, comme ça,' gesture that infuriates me. It's all very well for him to be flippant; it's not his heart under threat.