By Eric Justice
By @S F Brooke
Jessie walked into the restaurant, anxious but excited to meet her blind date. Her friend, Peggy, had set it up. Telling her that the man was handsome and charming who had a good job and had been single for quite a bit of time. Looking at her text messages she went back to check the information, “He’s wearing a dark blue shirt, hmm… okay.”
Checking out the fancy restaurant, she made her way to the cocktail bar, sitting at one of the high tables. She felt slightly overdressed with her form-fitting pale blue dress — at least she thought ahead and wore smaller heels than she originally planned. She waited a couple more minutes, looking around to see if she could find her mystery date.
“Ma’am, this came from the gentleman over there.” The bartender interrupted, sliding a red dirty martini her way as he pointed to the man in question.
Jessie was pleasantly surprised, “Oh… thank you.” she turned and smiled at the man, who waved and was wearing a dark blue shirt.
He made his way over and took a seat next to her, “Hi, I’m Mark.”
“Jessie. It’s nice to meet you.” She could see why Peggy told her he was handsome and charming, his smile alone was dashing, and his blue eyes were sparkling. The next few minutes they spent introducing one another and lightly flirting. Jessie was having much more fun than she had expected to have with a blind date. Mark ordered them an appetizer from the menu which they shared as they continued talking.
“So here’s a weird question,” Jessie started, her tone teasing. “What’s your best pick up line?”
Mark thought for a moment, “Your hand sure looks heavy, do you mind if I hold it for you?” He said as he picked up Jessie’s hand.
She laughed loudly at the cheesiness of such a line. “Very nice, very nice.”
Mark smiled, “Thank you, it’s not too shabby.”
“Oh it’s terrible, but yes, not too shabby.” Jessie joked.
“Well, let’s see you do better,” Mark challenged with a smirk as he took a sip of his drink.
Jessie tapped her chin, before shyly putting her brown hair behind one ear. “You’re so handsome that you made me forget my pick up line.”
Mark hung his head as he chuckled. “That is much better than mine.”
Jessie grinned. She and Mark continued their delightful date until Mark’s watch beeped.
“Ah, dang, my shift’s. I’m sorry.” Mark explained. “I would love to call you.”
Jessie wrote her number on a cocktail napkin and signed her name with it. “Here’s my number. Oh and I expect a call.” She raised an eyebrow and smiled.
Mark kissed the back of her hand. “Yes ma’am.” He said his goodbyes and left.
Jessie stayed, getting another drink as she thought about the best two hours she had in weeks.
“Excuse me, is your name Jessie?” A man’s voice asked.
Jessie turned and saw a man with thick black glasses and curly auburn hair — plus a dark blue shirt. “Yes?”
“I’m Ian, Peggy set us up.” Ian said, giving a small shy grin.
Jessie’s eyes widened. “Oh…”
“Sorry I’m late, I got stuck in traffic.” He explained.
Jessie’s eyebrows furrowed as she looked at her phone. If Ian was telling the truth, he was an hour and a half late for their date. She tried to put on a smile and waved her hand to the seat next to her. “Are you hungry?”
Ian took a seat and picked up the menu, “I’m vegan actually, so I’ll see what they have.”
“Oh…” Jessie said somewhat stupidly.
Ian gave her a delighted smile, Jessie was beautiful. Peggy was right, she seemed fun and carefree. “So, what do you do for a living?” He asked, his questions straightforward and a little rusty from disuse.
Jessie laughed a little sarcastically, having explained all of this to Mark, who was apparently not her blind date. She repeated a lot of what she told Mark telling it now to Ian who showed little interest in what she did for work — Jessie worked proudly as a phlebotomist at the local ER. Ian explained about his job and life as he ordered something to eat, not leaving any room for Jessie to ask questions or interrupt. It left Jessie feeling very much like there was going to be a test at the end of the night with a questionnaire included.
Ian smiled as he took a drink of his club soda, continuing his talk about why his last girlfriend had left. He thought Jessie seemed very entertained.
Jessie tapped her fingers on the table, her chin in her hand as she listened to Ian continue his monologue about his last relationship. She could see why the last poor girl had left. Time wasn’t moving nearly fast enough.
At the end of the night, Ian walked Jessie out of the restaurant, almost letting the door close on her as she exited.
“Sorry about that.” Ian apologized. He held his hand out to shake. “It was so nice to meet you.”
Jessie had been irked for the last hour and a half of her night, with a tight-lipped smile she took his hand and shook it firmly. “Oh please, the pleasure was all mine.” She said, a little miffed. She was tired, irritated, and most of all her feet hurt even in her low heels.
Ian handed her his phone number. “Here’s my cell.” He said, putting it into her hand.
Jessie opened her mouth to protest but by then the valet had brought Ian’s car around and he left without so much as a goodbye. Jessie rolled her eyes as she turned and threw his number into the trash, pulling up Mark’s contact information. She sent him a text that she was free next Wednesday. He replied quickly and they set a date for the movies. There was no way Ian was getting a second date — that she was sure of.
Ian drove home, calling Peggy to give her an update. “Hey! I think it went really well, Pegs. I’m looking forward to the next date.”
Jessie called Peggy as she waited for a taxi, “Yeah, sorry Peggy, but Ian is not the one for me.”
Peggy laughed at the contradicting reactions to the blind dates. “That’s not what he said.”
“Oh…I’m sure he didn’t.” Jessie said sarcastically.