Day 32 – The Date – James

Word count: 912

James stepped out from the shower into a cold spray wash of deodorant anti-perspirant. The sink was a sea of shaving foam and splodges of stray stubble. The mirror was fogged up but he could just make out his clean shaven chin and floppy wet fringe.

He had just over half an hour to get to the restaurant and he was still attempting to locate the other half of his pair of socks. In nothing but a towel he danced around his room picking up laundry debris in the hope that he would find the black sock with the pinstripe patten down the side underneath. He dived under the bed in vain and ransacked his sock drawer. All returned no results. He was beginning to worry now. What would happen if he wasn’t able to wear paired socks?

Twenty five minutes.

“Plenty of time,” he assured himself, grabbing the nearest available shirt and jeans. He looked down, “Damn!” There was a slight stain on the thigh. James attempted to flick it off to no avail. Jeans only half on, he hobbled over to the bathroom sink and splashed a handful of water on it. The stain stubbornly remained whilst the sodden patch mocked him.

It was the first date James had ever had. He wasn’t really a date person, he was more a get-to-know-them-see-what-happens sort of guy, which he would be the first to admit, has the flaw in that you have to meet the girl before you stand any sort of chance with that tactic. Unfortunately for James, he had had only one practised this modus operandi once and failed miserably two weeks in. He wasn’t exactly a social butterfly, or indeed caterpillar. He preferred to think of himself as more a social silk worm – slow but getting there eventually.

Nineteen minutes, he really needed to brush his teeth by now. Toothbrush, toothpaste, scrub: he threw back a shot of mouthwash and swirled. Sixteen minutes.

He grabbed his coat and made a dash for the front door in his tiny studio apartment. Just as he threw open the door though, he heard a dull thud following by a chinking. Turning around he saw what he had expected to see: the entire contents of his wallet sprawled around where it had fallen from his jacket. Fifteen minutes.

James was now racing down the street. It had been raining. The familiar stench of rain was everywhere, it almost made him vomit. He kept on going though, running passed the piles of partying girls and hysterical hen coops otherwise known as nightclubs. He was grateful he’d chosen somewhere close to his flat, otherwise he’d never have made it. He checked his watch as he ran – there was no time to get cash out. He needed to be there in exactly forty-three seconds.

As he turned the corner into the main street, he slowed down to a steady pace of calm and collectivity. James was master of his emotions and tamer of timekeeping. He inhaled, exhaled, inhaled, saw her.

She was standing looking bored in a little black dress and shining brunette hair. She was just as he remembered her from the party. James couldn’t help but let a grin escape.

They were in the restaurant, sitting down. James struggled to believe it. Olivia was actually here, in front him. He looked across the table at her – she was looking intently at her menu, fidgeting. She’d clearly chosen her meal but was too nervous to speak. He blushed for her and steered the conversation his way.

The starters came and went – he was barely noticing the food for the great conversation was so overwhelming. They were talking about his love of cards and the different skills and tactics, decisions and challenges. She seemed really into it – she laughed at all his jokes and – his heart fluttered a bit – touched the top of her bosom. Was she inviting him for something?

James was getting nervous himself now. He hadn’t ever gotten on so well with a girl before in all his life. There was such chemistry, such rapport. But the easiness at which this night was coming to him was distracting him: was it too fast, too much?

Olivia scoffed down dessert. There was a small smudge of chocolate sauce at the side of her lip, James didn’t have the heart to tell her. Olivia even paid the bill – she refused his attempts to get them to split it evenly!

They were outside now. It must have been raining whilst they were inside for there were fresh puddles on the pavement. This was it, the moment. James could feel his insides tensing up. Olivia turned around and smiled.

“Thank you for a lovely evening,” she grinned.

James’ smiled from ear to ear and the warm touch from her eyes kindled his heart. This was it. He amassed all the courage in his weak and feeble body; he forewent planning and to helled with thought. He was going to walk on the dangerous side of pavement and take a risk for once in his life and as he meticulously reassured himself of the exact reasoning for his behaviour, the words formed from his lips…

“So, I’d like to do this again sometime, what do you say?”

James could not sleep that night with excitement. He’d danced like Gene Kelly on the way home. Next Thursday. Bar Theophilis. Eight o’clock.

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~ by S.G. Mark on November 8, 2011.

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