Stood Up Dinner Date

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: New Writers wanting Reviews


Rose is waiting for her fiance in a restaurant when she realizes she's been stood up. She begins to worry about where he is or what he's been doing, when a strange turn of events has her grateful
for his absence.

Submitted: July 27, 2018

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Submitted: July 27, 2018

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I stare at my phone, waiting for an explanation that I’ll never get. 
“Ma’am, I’m terribly sorry, but if you aren’t going to order anything, you’re going to have to leave…,” the waiter tells me for the fourth time tonight.
“He will be here just give it some time!” I snap back.
The waiter bows his head and steps away, a scowl playing on his face.
I tap my fingers on the table and sip some more of my wine. I’ve nearly gone through a whole bottle by now, waiting on Jeremy to finally show up.
Another call goes unanswered.
I think of all the things that could’ve happened. Has he merely forgotten? Is his phone dead? Did he over schedule himself? Is he still at work, in another meeting? Is he still at work, fooling around with his secretary again? Has he gotten into an accident?
I think of Martha. She’s the sleazy secretary, with overly curled hair an unnatural shade of blonde, eyebrows positioned so high that she looks forever surprised, a mole on her upper lip, and DD breasts that seem to always be spilling out of her too-tight clothing. She has bee pining after Jeremy since he started his new position at the law firm, and two months ago, she finally got her wish. I had thought she would pursue somebody else after then, but apparently her fixation on Jeremy revolves around the fact that he is engaged.
I drain my glass empty and signal for the waiter. He looks tired.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t give you anymore wine until you order.”
“I am trying to order something.”
“Order food, ma’am.” His scowl bores into my soul.
“Just give it a little while. He will be here! I am not ordering any food until he shows up.”
“You must either leave or order something other than wine. If you refuse to leave, I will be contacting law enforcement.”
I open my menu dramatically, even though I’ve had my order chosen for the last hour and twenty minutes. “How about some wine and a lovely order of mozzarella sticks?” I ask, my voice dripping with sarcasm.
“It would be my pleasure.” He sneers at me as he pulls out an order pad to write it down. Soon, yet not soon enough, he returns with a fresh bottle of wine and pours it without a word.
Another thirty minutes pass along with another glass of wine before my mozzarella sticks arrive. I devour them and my wine before I even know it. The waiter holds his scowl this time while he refills my glass.
I look over to see an older couple who was here after me are getting up to leave after finishing their whole meal. The woman sneaks me an apologetic glance as her husband grabs the last of her unfinished food. Just past them, a group of three guys and three girls, college-age at most, are sniggering and trying to sneak a photo of me. I hang my head in sorrow.
I would laugh at me, too.
Another wine glass later, the couple sitting next to me on my other side leave as well, but not before they ask if I'm going to be needing a ride home. I send them away disdainfully.
A scoff from my other side grabs my attention. I turn to see the waiter holding my bottle of wine and gesturing towards my now-empty glass.
“Actually I was thinking of just getting my check now.” I fold my hands in front of me.
“Lovely. I will be right back with that.”
He leaves, and a moment later he drops my check on the table and walks away without a word.
I’ve almost found my money buried under my makeup pouch when, as I’m pulling out the cash, the chair across from me slides out loudly.
When I look up, I expect to see Jeremy. Instead, I am greeted with a young man, aged about twenty-five, with sandy colored hair that sticks up in weird places and crystal blue eyes. He has freckles on his nose and an easy tan covering all of his skin, crooked teeth, and dimples when he smiles at me.
“Wow, I am so sorry for how late I am, babe. I couldn’t find my phone for the life of me, and when I finally decided to give up and come meet you, I got stuck in the worst traffic jam known to mankind.” The mystery man eyes my check. “I hope you haven’t already eaten.”
I open my mouth to ask him who he is and if he’s crazy when he leans in. “Just go along with it,” he whispers.
Stunned for a moment, I decide to do as he says and play along. “It’s quite alright. I’m just glad you’ve finally made it.” I smile tightly. “I’ve just had the wine and some mozzarella sticks. I tried waiting but they told me to either order some food or leave.”
“Shall we skip the appetizers then and go straight for the entree?” He cocks an eyebrow at me.
“It was a while ago, so if you’d like an appetizer we can go for that.”
“Perfect.” He casually flips through the menu, occasionally sneaking glances at me and giving me a small smile. I feel my face heat up every time.
The waiter comes back to collect my payment. “Actually, we’ve decided to stay here. I think we’re ready to order as well,” my mystery man says to him.
Scowling, the waiter takes our order and bustles away.
I lean in. “So who exactly are you?”
“My name’s Eli. And who are you?”
“I’m Roseanne. Rose.”
His face lights up at my name. “I love roses.” Eli grins.
“Why did you do this?”
“You just looked so sad, and maybe even a little too drunk. Plus there is no way I’d let such a beautiful woman slide right from my fingertips when my opportunity is this prime.” He sips some of his wine and licks his lips. “Either way, now you owe me one.”
I raise an eyebrow. “I don’t owe you anything.”
“Ah but you see, that is precisely where you are wrong. You owe me one big, fat favor. To be determined. But there is no plausible reason to be discussing such horrendous things as debt.” He pauses as the waiter grudgingly leaves us our appetizers and salads. “So tell me, Rose, what exact kind of vermin decided it was okay to stand you up?”
I don’t reply for a minute. I pretend to be thoroughly chewing on my lettuce as I work through the wine fog in my mind. Finally, I supply him with, “I think my fiance is too busy having an affair with his slutty secretary to be bothered with calling me to cancel our dinner plans.” I stare at my date, my face void of emotion and my appetite dwindling.
“What a dick head. Are you gonna eat this?” He holds up the last bread stick and rips off a chunk with his crooked teeth when I shake my head no. “You wanna know what I think? I’ll tell you what I think. I think that most guys are assholes who focus on two things above anything else: food and sex. And the best way to test a guy is to present him with the two options.” He chews another bite carefully, staring into my eyes. I look down at my salad and force myself to eat. “If he chooses the sex, that’s natural and logical, because when a woman wants to have sex, you take them up on that chance, because you never know when it’ll happen again.” Eli waves the bread stick dramatically as he talks.
“And if he chooses the food?” I raise my brows.
Eli shrugs. “Then he’s hungry.”
I close my eyes for a moment. “What was even the purpose of telling me that?”
He shrugs yet again. “Men will almost always go for sex. The thing is that only decent men will only have sex with one woman. Shitty guys don’t care about things like commitment.”
I wish I had just left my pride here and walked out when Eli sat down. “Thanks for the insight.” I down my wine a little too quickly.
"You're quite welcome my lovely Rosebud." His lips spread across his white teeth, showing off bits of bread stick stuck between his two front teeth. At my giggle, his brows furrow and his smile slips away ever so slightly.
My hands cover my mouth like a child trying to smother a laugh during class. "First of all, only my mother has ever called me 'Rosebud.' And second of all, you have bread stick bits in your teeth."
I see his tongue work his way across his teeth behind his lips. Suddenly he shoves his first two fingers of each hand into the corners of his mouth and spreads his lips from his teeth. "Ish thish 'etter?"
A loud bubble of laughter bursts from my chest, letting a small piece of a mozzarella stick fall from my mouth.
"Wow, Rose, that's disgusting!" Eli roars, further increasing the volume of my laughter and conjuring a snort.
After our laughter dies down, Eli looks at me with his brows furrowed. "Why are you even with this guy if he's gonna be standing you up like this to be screwing some secretary?"
"Not that it is any of your business, random man who has taken pity on me, but it's because of our little Ben." I rub my lower stomach and look down affectionately.
Eli leans in incredulously. "He is doing the nasty with a secretary while you're carrying his child? How much of a douche could this guy be?" Suddenly, his eyes widen in horror. "Wait, you mean to tell me that you are pregnant and you've been downing wine like this?"
"Of course I'm not pregnant." My laugh rings across the whole restaurant.
Confusion fills his face for a moment before the realization hits, causing his mouth to transform into a crooked grin. "I cannot believe you just played me like that! We do not know each other well enough for you to be playing these kinds of jokes, Rose!" He playfully tosses a piece of tomato at me.
"It won't happen if you don't make it so easy." We both laugh as I throw an olive across the table in accompany to my response.
He laughs and tosses another piece of our salad at me. "Fair enough." We both are thrown into a fit of laughter when the lettuce bit he tossed my way lands into my full glass of water.
Our laughter ends abruptly when a voice from my left rings out across the room. "Rose? What the hell?"
Eli and I turn to see Jeremy standing a few feet away, his face red as a tomato and his small hands balled into fists. "I was at the office. What the fuck happened to our plans?" He defies logic by raising his voice every step he takes closer to our table. I feel my face turn white and my stomach tighten. "I might be just a little late, but that doesn't mean that you should invite some twelve-year-old looking fag join you to take my place."
I look to my half-empty plate. "Lower your voice. You're making a scene."
Jeremy puffs up his chest. "Oh, like you weren't just making a scene here with your new boyfriend while you were having a romantic little food fight? I wouldn't even be making a scene if when I showed up, you were alone and waiting for me like a good fiance would be. But instead you're sitting here with this loser."
Silence takes over me. I am unable to look up from my plate, and Jeremy throws his fist down on the table inches away from my hand. I quickly pull my hands into my lap.
"Look at me, you fucking bitch. I am not going to stand here without the explanation I deserve. Tell me who the fuck this kid is and exactly why he is sitting here in my place. Who even gives a fuck if I was, like, thirty minutes late?"
I do not meet his eyes. "It was nearly two hours."
Jeremy stands abruptly. "So fucking what? What the fuck is it to you? At least I have a job. All you even do is write a few stupid fairy tale stories on your laptop for barely enough money to pay for the damn groceries." I flinch as he slams his fist onto the table. "Well? What the fuck is going on? Huh?"
Eli stands, nearly a head taller than Jeremy, and says, "I think you need to cool down, brother."
Jeremy's lip curls up into a snarl. "Don't you dare call me 'brother.' I am not your fucking brother. Why don't you just sit back down and search for another girl you can try to steal?"
I look up at Eli, then at Jeremy, and then, when I look back at Eli, he is staring at me inquisitively.
"You see, brother, stealing your girl wasn't my intention." He meets Jeremy's eyes once more. "I came in alone for some dessert when I saw Rose sitting by herself, and I decided to join her, thinking she was also eating alone. You can't quite blame me for my mistake when she was lonesome for forty minutes until I finally decided to cancel my request for my table and joined her."
Jeremy's eyes flicker as he looks between Eli and I. "So what you're saying is that this cunt decided to lie about the fact that she was waiting for me? You stroll up and she just tells you that shes by herself and you can join her?" He cracks his knuckles.
"No, sir. What I am saying is that after sitting alone for apparently two hours, she merely got tipsy enough that when a striking young lad like myself sat across from her and saved her from the humiliation of paying for her own wine and mozzarella sticks, seeing as that was all she had allowed herself to order without you, she just decided to let us chat until you either showed up or until the food was finished, which was when we would go on our separate ways." Eli raises his chin at Jeremy and lowers his voice. "I do not want a fight tonight. But you do not intimidate me. I will do what needs to be done."
I see Jeremy's eyes flicker once more. Finally he turns to me. "That's it, babe. We're fucking out of here. This kid can take the bill." He lifts Eli's still full wine glass and drains it slowly, all while maintaining eye contact with him. Setting it down with purpose, he turns to me and lifts one brow. "Are you gonna move or what?"
My eyes shift between an angry Jeremy and a resigned Eli. "I"m sorry, Jer, but I do want to wait for my food, if that's okay with you."
Jeremy rolls his eyes. "Fine, whatever." He waves down the nearest waitress. "Yeah we need her food to go. His can be for here, whatever it was."
The waitress, looking a little fearful, glances between Eli and I. "I'm sorry but I'm not their server for the night. If you would like I can send their server this way for you, sir."
"Do whatever the fuck you gotta do. Just get us the hell out of here."
Nervousness flashes across the waitress's eyes as she glances to me and rushes towards the kitchen. Moments that feel like years crawl by, and my snarky waiter comes back with the bill. "I have been told that her lasagna will be to go, but I'm terribly sorry, it will be another ten minutes for the food to be ready. Although, if you would like, sir, you can pay for the bill now while you wait." He smiles at Jeremy as he offers him the bill.
Jeremy scoffs. "I think I'll let this fag take it," he says, gesturing towards Eli.
Eli purses his lips in irritation, but says nothing. He nods to the waiter about the bill, and finally meets my eye. "It was very lovely meeting you tonight, Roseanne." He smiles, but it doesn't reach his eyes.
"Actually," I interject towards the waiter before he gets the chance to walk away, "I think I would still like to eat my food here."
Eli's eyes widen slightly in shock and turn towards Jeremy, who flares his nostrils and clenches his fists once more in anger, and the waiter rolls his eyes one final time as he retreats to the kitchen.
"The fuck do you mean?" Jeremy advances towards me so suddenly that I do nothing but drop my head into the protection of my arms and choke back a cry.
I hear a couple chairs slide out at once, and I look up to see Eli standing behind Jeremy, as two strangers stand on either side of me. I look to my right to see an older woman's face smiling kindly at me. "Let's take a walk to the bathroom, dear." This strange woman slips one arm around my back and grasps my forearm with another. She does not let go as we walk to the bathroom.
Her bright red dress stands out on her caramel colored skin. Dark brown hair surrounds her heart-shaped face, and her deep brown eyes appear copper with her impeccable eye makeup application.
"Do not worry about the men. I don't need to know what the details of your situation are, but from the looks of it, they are no good." Her words are encased in a thick, Spanish accent. "Please do not go home with that angry man; I will worry for your safety all night. However, it is your life." She wets a paper towel as she speaks, dabbing it on my shoulders. "I will not ask for your story. But I wish you'll listen to mine.
"My name is Andrea. Seven years ago, I had married the man I thought to be the love of my life. Tall, dark, and handsome, just as yours is. He was always kind and loving, until one day he wasn't. As days went by, I thought he was merely having a bad week. Sooner or later, the week turned into a month, then the month turned into three, then the three months turned into a year, and soon I was fearful of when it was time for him to come home from work." She smooths my hair back over the top of my head and lightly grasps my chin, forcing me to meet her eyes. "It was no life. It will be no life for you either. I was on my own for a while. It was tough. But soon enough, I had met my Danny. And soon you will meet your Danny as well, and there is no telling how amazing life will be once you do.
"You must make a choice of how you will live your life. Will you be an enabler to your abuser, or will you find your happiness?" She lightly touches my cheek, her eyebrows knit in concern for me - a stranger she has just met. "I pray you choose your happiness."
She stands and offers me a hand. "I will walk you back now if you wish."
Hesitantly, I accept her help, and along with it, her advice.
She leads me back to the table, arm in arm, where I see not Jeremy, but Eli sitting and waiting for me. Andrea gives my hand one squeeze before returning to her table.
Flustered for a moment, Eli begins. "The waiter - I guess his name is Paul, did you know that? - kicked out Jimmy."
"Jeremy," I correct.
"Right, Jeremy. Well he said to tell you to not bother going home, and that your things will be at Marissa's in the morning?" His brows furrow at the name.
"Melissa."
Right, so sorry. Well Jeremy left and your things will be at Melissa's. I really don't think he will do it though, if you want I can drive you home now and you can talk to him. Look, I honestly feel terrible - this was really all my fault." His eyes sadden. "I really thought I would be helping you by sitting here. Do you need a ride home? Or I can take your to your friend's house if you'd like. I really am sorry - this is my fault, please just let me help in any way that I can."
Hesitantly, I smile. "I think you did help." I slowly sit and lift my wine glass to my lips.
Eli stares at me for a moment, confused. "So did you still want to eat here then? I can go if you'd want me to. I'll ask the waiter to just get my food to go." He raises his hand towards the waiter.
I push his wine glass towards him. "You wouldn't leave a girl to dine all by herself, would you?"
Eli grins at me. "I guess it would be an absolute horror for such a fine young lady to be all on her lonesome on such a beautiful evening."
Just at that moment, the waiter arrives, food in each hand and a scowl on his face. "Bon appetit, Rosebud." Eli says, lifting one forkful of pasta.
I grin large enough to crack my skin around my eyes. "Bon appetit, Eli."
We smile at each other as we silently eat our meals together, followed by the dessert Eli had planned on ordering. After dinner, Eli covered the bill, and offered me to call me a cab, to bring me home, to rent me a hotel, or crash at his place - only to sleep, not for the "other" things - whichever I would prefer. I take him up on the offer of his place, and, after some insistence, I manage to finally convince him that it would not be intruding on my privacy for him to share the bed with me rather than taking the couch - after all, he did already intrude on my dinner tonight.
It is not until I wake up the next morning that I realize that maybe Andrea was right - I did not owe Jeremy anything, and life will be so much better if I just accept that the only person I owe my happiness to is myself.


© Copyright 2019 halleyann01. All rights reserved.

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