“She's pretty.” came the voice that stirred Tony from his sleep.
“Wha..?” he replied groggily.
“The girl you were dancing with the other day.” explained Alison.
“I did what?” remarked a bemused Tony. “I don't dance!”
“Well either you are dancing or you appear to be having some kind of seizure.” Alison smirked, showing Tony the picture.
“Jesus. I was dancing. I don't remember doing that.”
“With quite some energy it seems!” Alison joked. “She is pretty though, isn't that the lady who was on your show the other day?”
“Yeah. I bumped into her and her friend Sam while I was out.” explained Tony. “We had a few drinks, and apparently I also danced.”
“Well, don't go dancing with too many pretty girls please. I want you for myself thank you!” Alison half joked.
“Hahaha.” Tony chuckled nervously. “Of course not.”
Alison gave him a kiss, and Tony sat down to read the page of the newspaper that showed him and Abbie dancing.
'Is TV Host Dating Hairdressing Star?'
Tony raised his eyebrows and bit his lip. These papers know how to turn anything into a half story. A quick dance becomes a date, a coffee becomes a relationship, a shopping trip becomes marriage. Apparently getting past middle age was no longer a guarantee that the cameras would point in a different direction.
It wasn't the first time that the newspapers has printed false accusations against him.
Back in 1985, three years after he and Judith has moved into their cottage home in Yorkshire, a particularly distasteful article had appeared which linked Tony to the pop star Beverley Griffiths. Despite him having only met her once, briefly while on a night out with Judith, they saw it fit to paint him as a cheat. Perhaps if they had even considered the feelings of those involved he might still be with his first true love. Instead of realising that they had chatted for five minutes while Judith had gone to the ladies room, they presumed he was, by virtue of talking to a member of the opposite sex, some kind of love rat.
Their complete disregard for the truth led to a string of photos and articles that speculated about affairs whenever Tony was seen with another woman for more than two minutes. Eventually Judith was unable to take the strain of being seen to be humiliated every fortnight in a national paper.
Tony was devastated. He had never so much as contemplated cheating. While he was friends with some of the ladies in question, he was friends and nothing more.
Tony thought about suing the papers, but under legal advice decided not to. Essentially, the lawyer was really interested until finding out which paper had printed the story, at which point even the prospect of a big money national case was not enough to sway him.
Essentially, the newspaper had been entitled to secretly take pictures of him, make up rumours and lies, repeat those lies and create new ones, break up his marriage.
From that day forward Tony had never spoken to the newspaper in question ever again. He never said anything against them publicly for fear they would try the trick again, but he privately was looking forward to having a Sword of Damocles moment sometime in the future.