a) I'm feeling guilty about something and want to ease my conscience;
b) I'm bored to tears with you and thinking of having an affair;
c) I have this hidden fantasy that I've never told you about but now I feel confident enough to explore it because you make me feel so safe; or
d) I love you so much I'll do anything you want, even the things I don't really like.
"You could have sex with another woman and I could watch," I proposed, taking a chance it was a c) or d) situation.
"That's so predictable, Robert. You're a typical man." But then Caroline smiled sweetly and said, "But if you really want me to sleep with another woman, I will, just for you. But I couldn't have you watching, not the first time. I've never gone far with a woman, just the occasional drunken snog and that fooling around with Antonia in Spain. But I promise I will tell you every detail."
So that was a 'yes' with two 'buts'. Not bad, better than a 'no' anyway, so I asked for specifics.
"So if you had sex with a woman, who would it be with?"
"Oh, I don't know. Just someone I met casually. I would be too embarrassed with a friend. Someone like... the woman I told you about, who gave the presentation today. The one with the lovely coffee coloured skin."
I began to suspect that this was something Caroline had been planning before this evening.
"How would you go about asking her? You can't just go up to someone after a business meeting and say 'I'd like to experiment with same sex sex and I like the look of you.'"
"You really are a man, Robert. Women are more subtle. We send out little signals. So, for example, I said to Amber - the woman I'm talking about - I said, 'I liked what I saw, but as the investment would be over a two hundred thousand, you'll have to come by my desk and run through the figures again.' Then I made her sit right next to me and share a computer screen. She smells heavenly, too."
"Are you going ahead?" I asked.
"Well I think the new IT system would pay for itself in nine months, so yes."
"No, I meant..."
"Of course you did. I told Amber I would think about the IT system. She really wants the business so she invited me to dinner on Thursday. She's staying over in a London hotel for a couple of days - we're not her only customer target."
"Did you get a signal back?"
"I'm not sure. She just said she would be delighted to meet me again in more relaxed surroundings. There did seem to be some tension in the air."
I made a note on my smartphone calendar that C would be late home on Thursday.