First Date. Short Story.

Hope everyone had a good weekend.

I had a house party on Friday which was pretty good, not as stressful as usual either, which made things much more enjoyable for me. There was all sorts of fun things like Malteaser vodka, rum soaked, chocolate dipped strawberries, strawberry daiquiris, and punch. It’s also my birthday today, though I’m not really doing anything for it (well, besides the house party and dinner with my family on Saturday).

I feel like I should be freaking out or something, but I’m not. I dunno. I mean the only real difference I can think of is that I’d need to pause to figure out how old I am, but I already have to do that.

 

On with the show!

_______________________________________________________________

He sat in the restaurant, trying not to look nervous. He had arrived ten minutes early, which in retrospect seemed like a bad idea. He took a sip from his water glass and let out a breath, he just had to stay calm, that was all. They had been talking for a few days and they got along well, though getting along well in text didn’t mean they’d get along in person. No. He wouldn’t think like that, he couldn’t. If he was going to think that well, he might as well just leave now because the date would go terribly. He checked his watch. It was still a few minutes until their meeting time. He looked around the restaurant again, studying the people present, it was distracting, gave him something to do. His gaze lingered on a woman at the back, her neck was a smidgen too long and her face seemed curiously flat. She turned her head slightly giving him a better view. Poor woman. He felt the urge to go over to her, talk to her, but he ignored it. He was retired now, it didn’t matter how simple a job would be, he wasn’t going to do it. Someone walked into the restaurant and instantly he turned to look at them, it was her. He knew it, he could feel it. She was stunning. A red dress hugged the curves of her body, her long dark hair curling down her back. He stood from the table, smiling, as she approached he felt a brief flash of panic, what did he do? Did they shake hands? Hug? Kiss on the cheek? Then she was there, arms wrapping gently around him, enveloping him in her scent, the subtle aroma of wild flowers. She stepped back from the hug, smiling and together they sat down.
“Donald, it’s nice to finally meet you in person.”
“You too Lillian, you look stunning.”
The waiter appeared and took her drink order. She picked up the menu,
“Have you eaten here before?”
“No, though I’ve passed by it a few times on my way to work, always heard good things about it.”
“Me too, though it’s a bit out of my way so I could never find an excuse to come.”

“So, you said you work as office admin? What’s that like?” Donald leaned on the table, trying to move slightly closer.
“Well, it’s…boring. Incredibly boring. I mean most of the work is done in the first half hour and I spend the rest of the day sitting around trying to look busy. Occasionally I get some stuff to do, but it’s always done as fast as it comes in.”
She shook her head, “Honestly, they don’t even really need me, they’ve five people, they could narrow it down to just one, but I’m not gonna be the one to tell them that. What about you?”
“I enjoy work, though sometimes it’s a little stressful. There can be sitting around sometimes, but it’s usually cos we’re stuck on something, then there’s a mad rush to get it all done.”

They waiter appeared again and they ordered, after he left, there was silence for a moment. Lillian toyed with her water glass, then looked at Donald. “So…do you miss it?”
“All the time. You?”
“Same. The pull is just always there. I’ll be sitting somewhere and see something and then suddenly it’s all I can think about.”
“Me too! Waiting here for you I spotted a few people and I was just so tempted to go to them.”
“How long have you been out?”
“Ten years, you?”
“Six.”
“When did you figure it out?”
“Well, I suspected when we were talking, I didn’t know for sure until we hugged, then I could feel it from you.”
He nodded slightly, “I knew the second you walked in, I could feel you.”

She blushed slightly, “Sorry, it can happen when I’m nervous. I try to turn it off and it mostly works. I pass for regular all the time. It’s quite handy actually.”
Donald shrugged, “I get away with it as long as I don’t touch another one. Then I’m fine.”
“Any close calls?”
“Once, at work. IT guy came up, brushed against me getting by and he didn’t even make it slightly subtle, he full on stopped walking and just stared for a second, open mouthed. I think he thought I was still working, probably shitting himself that I’d caught him while I was thinking the same.”
“What happened?”
“He ran, I tracked him down, we talked and he decided to quit the next day.”
“What if he’s caught? Aren’t you worried he’d spill about you?”
“No, not really. We’re on different levels. They’d never believe he found me. What about you?”
“No, I’ve been lucky. Only people and they never figured it out, why would they?”
“You’re taking a bit of a risk being here, with me.”
“So are you.” She sighed, “Look, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone, I want to be with someone. I don’t want to have to lie to them all the time, I want to be free to relax and let my guard down, I don’t want to worry about keeping lies straight. It’d just be too stressful. If we get along and date for a while then great, if we don’t well, that’s just too bad, but I’d rather date someone in hiding than have to keep my life a secret from someone.”
Donald nodded, “I had a cover story cooked up, but even the thought of living like that is just exhausting.”
“Oh, what was your cover going to be?”
“Salesman. Sold a bit of everything over the years.”
She laughed, it was breathy and low, “It’s not really a lie then.”
“well, I wouldn’t have revealed what I actually sold to people.”
Lillian started to talk, then stopped, the food was arriving.

They ate and talked animatedly for the rest of the night, sharing anecdotes and after finishing dessert and coffee, they stood outside the restaurant, neither wanting to leave.
“I would like to do this again sometime.”
“Me too, how about we go for a drink this Friday?”
“That would be great, say seven at The Duck?”
“Great.”
She stepped in closer to him, their lips met, she wasn’t hiding it now and it hit him full force. She pressed herself against him, then as quickly as it began, she stepped away with flushed cheeks and a devilish grin, before he could do or say anything else, she called out one last goodbye and with that she was gone. He stood for a second, gathering his wits before he too turned and started to walk home. Damn, he should have escorted her, if not home then at least to a taxi. Donald knew she could take care of herself, but it would have been polite.
Still, they seemed to have a spark, and it was lucky, after all, they were both trying to be better people, trying to reform. He didn’t know exactly what she was, but he had some guesses that he thought would be pretty accurate. She already knew he made deals, hell they had spent a good ten minutes discussing who wanted what in that place. He even shared a funny anecdote about the man who wanted to be muscular then spent four hours tweaking the size and placement of the muscles. As he replayed the date over and over, he decided that it had gone very well, and she must have thought so too, after all she was the one who suggested a second date. They understood each other, they knew the struggles that they were going through, even if the romantic side of things fizzled out, it would be good to have someone to talk to openly and honestly. He knew before he started that life for ex-demons would be tough, but maybe, just maybe it wouldn’t be all that bad anymore.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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