Updated: Jul 28
I was more nervous than I wanted to admit but I would be fine. Had to be fine. This was all going to be completely fine. I needed a distraction; something to focus on. There was a loose thread of the table cloth that I started to pull on. If I pulled at just the right angle, then it might come away from the cloth. “You must be Steph,” a voice said. I shot up in surprise and banged my knee on the table. I nodded at the man while holding my breath, damn that freaking hurt. I slowly sat back down again letting out my breath slowly. Henry was good looking and well put together. Very put together in comparison to me. “I’ve been told all about you,”
“Not much to tell now is there.” I let out an awkward laugh. That’s the line that I went with, what is wrong with me. “So where do you work exactly?”
“I don’t believe in defining yourself as just a job, a person is more than that.”
“Oh right…. okay…… but I wasn’t defining you…… just curious……. you know.”
He raised his eyebrows then looked down at the menu.
“Shall we order then.”
I nodded not trusting myself to speak. He ordered something that sounded French and fancy. Biting my lip I looked down at everything there. I couldn’t even see the thing he’d ordered.
“And you Ma’am?” The waiter asked.
“Can I just check that there are no nuts in the steak dish?”
“I believe not.”
“Ok check that with the chef and if its still a no then I will have the steak. If there is nuts then come back and I’ll order something else.” He nodded in that fake way that people do when they are annoyed at a request. I looked back over at Henry and freaked out. Then it just kind of fell out of my mouth; “I’m just going to go to the bathroom for a second.” I stood quickly and turned away. As I tried to calm my rapid breathing I failed to see a fallen spoon. I stepped right on it and went crashing to the ground. My first thought was now I’ll have a bruise on my ass to match my knee. I snuck a look behind me, Henry was not only looking at me but he was laughing. My face turned completely scarlet and I scampered away to the bathroom.
I splashed some water on my face to try and reduce the redness. “Come on,” I said to myself in the mirror. “It is just a blind date. You can do that, you can handle that. Be normal for tonight. Be cool.” I could do that. I straightened out my dress, I could keep my cool. When I walked back out I walked very carefully. No falling over this time. I spent so long recovering and psyching myself up that the food had arrived. “What are your hobbies?” I asked, that seemed like a solid question, safe. He started to babble on about skiing or surfing, something like that. I just focused on this steak; it was very tough. I couldn’t help but think the waiter sabotaged me.
“Do you want to try it?” Henry asked. I blinked apparently his speech had somehow led to him offering me some of his food. I blinked.
“Oh, sure.” I put the fork full in my mouth fully ready to nod and tell him how great it was. But instead I spat in across the table. Swearing I grabbed for my bag but it fell off the table. I followed it to the floor. I wrapped my handed around my EpiPen. Thank god. I injected myself and breathed a sigh of relief. How could I have been so stupid, always check for nuts in food. Especially with someone who doesn’t know about my allergy. I stood up and Henry was gone. Wow, of everything that happened he chose when I was dying to leave. What a class act. I rolled my eyes, all that worrying was for nothing. I guess this is why people never go on blind dates. They get embarrassed, bruised and in my case, poisoned. Well aren’t I lucky. But I could help thinking that if this was when he chose to disappear maybe I’d dodged a bullet.
“That was quite a performance.” I looked up to see a very handsome man speaking to me. He had a spark in his eyes that snagged me. “That guy looked too pretentious anyway. So maybe I could take you out some time. I promise I’ll pick somewhere a lot less intimidating.” He smiled down at me. I smiled at him, he seemed nice. A lot nicer than Henry anyway. They do say everything happens for a reason. So I gave him my number and I left with the feeling that blind date was not a complete waste of time.
First published on Writing Champions Project Website for winning a competition they hosted (no longer available)