Hello again guys! It’s been such a fun month so far with submissions, and I can’t actually believe I’m having fun with writing. In fact, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had with writing, so I feel that short stories may be a thing I may work on more. Either way, I’ve got a prompt from Tim, which is a date that doesn’t go as expected.
Here’s Tim’s prompt! Have fun with it!
Natalie stood outside the restaurant for five minutes, trying to compose herself before making her way through the doors. She had not been on a date in five years, and her new work colleague Tina felt it was her prerogative to set her up on a date, and it wasn’t as if Natalie had refused, Tina couldn’t help herself.
‘But Nat, you need to get out there. There’s plenty of fish!’ Tina attempted to persuade her.
‘Look, I’m not interested. I don’t really want to date after what happened.’
‘Listen, Nat – not giving yourself another chance at love will be your downfall. And I know the perfect man! He’s smart, around the same age as you, and he’s single!’
‘You go out with him then!’
Tina refused to budge on the matter and started making immediate reservations at the fanciest restaurant in Chester. And here Natalie was, about to go on the first date in five years, and she was nervous.
There was only one problem – deep into her 30’s, Natalie knew that men her age only wanted (or had) one thing – and it wasn’t something that she could give them. If only she were more prophetic in choosing her life partner, that way she would not have had such a gristly divorce that saw her lose everything, and now she lives in a cube of a studio apartment.
She finally approached the front of the hotel and spoke,
‘There’s supposed to be a table booked under Cooper at eight?’ The host looked at his reservations, and nodded,
‘Indeed, there is. I will show you to your table.’ The host took two menus from the podium, and Natalie followed him to a cosy table in one of the far corners of the restaurant. She sat herself down, and the host passed her the menus.
Natalie looked through the menu while she waited – the kangaroo steak, in particular, sounded appetising, as did the fruit salad, which contained her favoured honeydew melon. This was a fancy restaurant and she felt not only underdressed but unwelcomed too. She was no longer used to the high society life after her ex-husband walked out.
The host came back with her date, and Natalie almost walked out there and then. Her date was a horrifyingly familiar person, who sat in the chair opposite.
‘Alan,’ she spoke, narrowing her eyes at her ex-husband, who looked even more freckled than usual – probably another trip to Ibiza.
‘Child killer,’ he retorted. Natalie folded her arms in defence. She knew this was going to be a tough evening. She made a mental note to have a word with Tina when back at work on Monday.
‘How’s your little whore?’ she asked.
‘Ditched her once she got fat,’ Alan answered. Natalie was just as angry as she felt when she saw her husband on top of the neighbour’s barely eighteen-year-old daughter. Last she heard of the pair, he’d abandoned her once she got pregnant, and he’d never met his son.
‘Well, you did get her pregnant, so well done. You got the biological child you always wanted,’ Natalie spat, emphasising the necessary words to him. She just wanted to leave the restaurant, go home and cuddle her cats and watch Legally Blonde.
‘It wasn’t as if you were going to give me a child, was it? At least Mercedes gave me one! Child killer.’
Natalie was ready to throw the candles in his face, but she knew she’d lose what little she had left if she did. Instead, she stood up, unable to take any more of his abuse, and suddenly all five years of anger and resentment came flooding out of her.
‘I WANTED TO HAVE CHILDREN! I CAN’T HAVE KIDS! I WAS MISCARRYING, AND YOU WERE TOO BUSY WITH YOUR LITTLE SHAGPIECE! I LOST OUR BABY ALONE, AND YOU DIDN’T CARE! I WANTED OUR CHILD MORE THAN ANYTHING, AND YOU KNOW THAT! I LOST EVERYTHING BECAUSE OF YOU! THAT POOR SON OF YOURS IS JUST A FUCK TROPHY TO YOU, AND WE ALL HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE FACT THAT YOU’RE THE MOST SELFISH PERSON I’D EVER MET! I have to get out of here.’
Natalie hurriedly grabbed her bag and turned to punch Alan in the face, before rushing out of the restaurant. She dug for her phone and scrolled to Tina’s number. The phone rang just once before Tina picked up.
‘Oh hey! How’s your date going?’ she asked nonchalantly.
‘You set me up on a blind date with my ex-husband, of all people! Why?’ Natalie was starting to cry, and the weather seemed to reflect her sentiment – the rain was starting to fall, and she took shelter under a bus stop. There was silence on Tina’s side for a while, before a response:
‘Shit! Fuck, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realise! How can I make this up to you?’ Tina sounded genuine, Natalie couldn’t fault that. Natalie had only one response to Tina’s question:
‘Please don’t set me up with anyone again.’