Kaylie burst into her best friend’s bedroom. Holly looked at her, surprised, and gestured to the chair across from her bed, upon which she was currently sitting. Kaylie took it gratefully, glowering at her.
“What’s up?” Holly asked.
“You haven’t been returning my calls!” Kaylie accused, stabbing her finger in Holly’s direction angrily.
“It’s a nice day,” Holly returned with a shrug. “I was out.”
“So was I!” snarled Kaylie. “I was in line, about to buy your birthday present, when I remembered you had a date last night and you never called. So I ran here!” She gestured to the kitchen knife clutched in her hands and shoved it at Holly. “Here. I know you were looking for one that cuts well.”
Holly beamed, accepting the gift. “Rad. I’m going to call it Gregory.” She set Gregory in her lap and asked, “By the way, did you pay for this?” The anger drained from her best friend’s face.
Kaylie muttered, “I knew I was forgetting something.”
Holly shook her head in amusement. “Kay,” she prompted.
“Oh yeah! Tell. Me. Everything!”
Normally, Kaylie’s exuberance was infectious, but Holly frowned.
“It sucked,” she informed her friend. “He left without giving me his number.”
At this, Kaylie was suspicious. “Tell me everything,” she said.
Le Cédrat Colère was easily one of the fanciest places Holly had ever been to. The long line of reservation-less people outside the place gave her envious looks as she strutted by. Kaylie said it took months to get a spot on the list for this place. Her blind date had somehow managed to get them a place despite the evening having been arranged a week prior. This alone gave Holly a good feeling about what was to come.
There was a heavily-built man standing outside the restaurant who was blocking the door. “Reservation?” he grunted, when she approached.
Smoothly, she said, “Jonas Walker.” He disappeared within to check.
Holly took in the restaurant’s surroundings while she waited. It seemed to be the grandest thing nearby. A seedy cafe sat across the street and she shuddered as two men entered the alleyway behind it, faces carefully obscured.
The restaurant bouncer held the door open from within and she quickly entered. She made her way to the maître d' and was then led to her table by a strapping young lad who introduced himself as Jeremy, her server.
Holly had managed to resist the urge to stalk her date online, but she couldn’t help but peer around Jeremy’s back to catch any sort of glimpse of the man. She preferred not to accept the fact that she was an inherently shallow person; however, it wouldn’t be untrue to say that she had been fantasizing about being whisked away by a dashing millionaire to his private island estate. A more grounded part of brain just hoped that he would be attractive.
While Jonas Walker wasn’t the muscled British gentleman of her dreams, he certainly did not disappoint.
He stood up when he saw her, sending her a warm smile which she returned without hesitation. “You must be Holly,” he greeted.
“I assume that makes you Jonas,” she returned easily. His grin widened, and he walked around the table to pull out her chair. She allowed him to help her, quenching the offended voice at the back of her mind. “How chivalrous,” she commented.
Jonas seemed to take it as a compliment, returning to his own seat. “Might I say, you look lovely tonight,” he flattered.
“Thank you,” she said. “You look quite nice yourself.”
He gestured to the nice suit he was wearing. “I’m glad I got to wear it tonight. It was just lying around, gathering dust.”
“So this date was just an excuse to get all dressed up,” Holly teased. Or at least, she attempted. Jonas didn’t seem to understand that she was joking, and there was an awkward pause during which he seemed to be struggling to decide how to reply.
Luckily, Jeremy arrived and set two small plates in front of them.
Jonas explained, “Since I arrived here a bit early, I took the liberty of ordering appetizers. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Not at all,” she said, “as long as I get to choose my own entrée.”
The uncomfortable silence persisted. Another waiter appeared to place two glasses of a deep purple wine. It seemed a little out of order to Holly, but she didn’t comment.
“I, er, ordered us something to drink as well.”
Pretending to know anything about fine wines, she asked, “What is it?”
“Cerveaux de Limaces,” he replied, utterly failing at the pronunciation. An elderly couple at a table nearby gave them a disgusted look that Holly pretended not to see. Jonas went red. Feeling bad for him, she took a sip, swirling it around with her tongue in an attempt to look dignified.
She used the subsequent silence to look over the menu, noting that Cerveaux de Limaces and whatever the untouched dry baguette in front of her was supposed to be were both the cheapest things on their lists.
The waiter who brought the wine returned for their entrée orders, and Holly decided on a seafood dish. Sure enough, Jonas stumbled over the name of a pasta that cost approximately half of what hers did.
Holly wasn’t shallow; she pushed the implications of this out of her mind.
As the waiter left, she remarked, “I wonder what happened to Jeremy.”
Jonas gave this a moment’s thought. “Smoke break, probably. He’d need the stress relief when patrons like me bastardize the names of the food.”
“You’re not that bad,” Holly said sympathetically.
“Well, I’m glad my blind date is nice enough to lie so she doesn’t hurt my feelings.”
Holly laughed, protesting, “I’m not lying!”
“Sure…” he trailed off. “So, who set you up for this? For me it was my friend Patrick.”
“My best friend’s been doing this since I left my last boyfriend.”
“How long?” he asked, strangely intrigued.
“3 months.” He recoiled at her icy tone.
Jeremy 2.0 brought them their meals during this lapse in conversation.
They ate in silence. Holly finished after Jonas, and he seemed be trying his hardest to avoid staring at her while she ate.
Their first course over, Jeremy 2.0 arrived to take their plates and give them the dessert menus. They decided to share a slice of the kitchen’s special chocolate cake for dessert. Without food, they were stuck without distractions, and the well of small talk topics had seemingly run dry.
Holly was about to say something about the weather when Jonas laughed suddenly, giving her a sheepish grin. “I never know what to say,” he admitted. Holly laughed too.
She replied, “Me neither,” which seemed to bolster his confidence.
“Pretty girls tend to leave me tongue-tied,” he quipped.
Holly laughed again. “I’d say the same about handsome men.”
“Oh, so you only like me for my looks,” Jonas jested, pretending to be offended. “That’s fair. Anything about handsome men you can’t stand?”
“I really don’t like it when they pretend to be something they’re not.” Jonas’ expression flickered. “What’s something you hate in pretty girls?”
“Jealousy,” he answered easily. “The last girl I dated was terrible, no matter how many times I assured her she had nothing to worry about.” Holly forced herself to keep smiling. There was an awkward pause, and Jonas cleared his throat.
“You know, Michelle w-” Holly twitched, startling Jonas into stopping his thought mid-way. Her left hand shot into her purse.
“Michelle?” she asked. Jonas nodded warily.
From the bag, she pulled out a wickedly sharp dagger. In a single movement, she thrust it at him, the point stopping a millimeter from his throat.
“Michelle!” she growled with a dark smirk, drawing the attention of everyone in the vicinity.
“M-ma’am,” said Jeremy 2.0 nervously, backing away from their table, dessert in his trembling hands.
Jonas abruptly stood from the table, his chair clattering backwards. Swiftly, he fled.
Kaylie frowned, a disappointed look on her face. “You know you’re not supposed to bring Michelle on dates.”
Holly hung her head in shame, absentmindedly stroking the handle of Gregory on her lap.
“She’s the easiest to hide…” she said, softly. Her head shot up, a petulant expression on her face. “How was I supposed to know he was talking about his ex-girlfriend? I just thought he wanted to… You did tell his friend about my babies, right?”
Kaylie sighed. “I just told him you had some ‘unique interests’.”
“Oh,” said Holly.
“Oh is right,” Kaylie replied. “Why won’t you let me set you up with any knife enthusiasts? That probably has a better chance of working.”
Resolutely, Holly said, “Not after Shane. The wounds are too fresh.”
“Sweetheart,” Kaylie began slowly. “His wounds are fresh. You stabbed him in the thigh, remember?”
“That’s what he gets for running off with gun-girl. Seriously, I don’t get people who like like those things.”
Kaylie rolled her eyes, but didn’t comment. Instead, she declared, “Boys suck! Let’s go to the beach.” Holly cheered, jumping off the bed and padding to the closet to grab a swimsuit.
Her friend started to walk out the door to give her some privacy, but paused in her steps and turned around. “Dear, please don’t bring Miranda. I don’t care how small she is… you’re wearing a bikini - people are going to ask questions.”
“I freaking ran,” Jonas said, concluding his tale of the dangers of one’s date not sticking to the conversation cue cards memorized the night before.
“Seriously,” Patrick said, chewing slowly on a slice of pie. He looked away for a moment to take a Sprite from the hands of a rather pretty waitress, sending her a cheeky grin. She giggled in response. Across the street, the elegant script of Le Citron Colère stood bright against the blackness of the night sky.
Jonas sighed and took a bite of his half-eaten sandwich. He waited a few seconds before waving a hand in front of Patrick’s face to snap him out of his lovesick trance.
“Hm?” Patrick asked. “Oh! Yeah. Um… what were we talking about?”
“You were about to make a stupid comment about my date last night,” he replied, nearly choking on the tuna as he tried to talk with his mouth full.
Instead of helping his violently coughing friend, Patrick laughed until a few seconds after Jonas was breathing again. He announced, “Ah, priceless,” and wiped the tears from the corners of his eyes. “Anyway… seriously, man. You already had those reservations for the restaurant from back when Michelle was, like, The Better Half, and you couldn’t just let them go to waste. I even lent you my best suit so you could impress Mystery Girl. So… if you factor in all of that, like… how bad can a date get?”
Jonas just groaned.
Thankfully, as he was prone to do, Patrick turned his attention to other subjects. Namely, the prior-mentioned waitress.
“Aw, man,” he said, starry-eyed. “I would so tap that.”
“Nah.” A bearded man who looked to be in his early forties leaned over the back of Jonas’ seat from the booth behind them. Without any sort of introduction, he continued, “I’ve seen her, like, black-out drunk, collapsed on the dumpster behind this joint. Why was I there? None’ya business.”
Patrick took the interruption in stride. He pouted, eyes darting to the girl who winked at him. Suddenly, his gloomy expression brightened, and he locked eyes with Jonas.
“Bro, you should so tap that.”
Jonas threw the rest of the sandwich at him.ns 220.127.116.11da2