The One That Got Away

Best friends Matt and Dan opt to hit the party scene after a drinking session in their local. Little did they know that in within the six hours they spent on the town it would end up like this. One disappears, one ends up 'falling in love.' This tells the tale of two pals with very different personalities and the crazy events that unfold on a night out. You'll (hopefully) laugh and feel awkward at the same time.

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1. The Chase & The Race

Matt wasn’t looking for anything from the night out, a mass group outing with all the boys. Well I say ‘group’ and ‘boys’, what I actually mean is Matty and his fried chicken loving chum Dan. With the drink flowing in their local and having finished bottom in the quiz, Quiztina Aguilera decided that they really should hit the town. Dan was angry at being forced to dip into his fourth overdraft to cover the taxi fare but drunkenly agreed. A little worse for wear, Matt stumbled home to spruce up and encountered his furious mother. Despite being 23 and all grown up, Mrs Peterson told her son in no uncertain terms to stay in. “You’ve already had too much to drink. Go and sleep it off Matthew” she ordered the boisterous young man. Bleary eyed, he promised Mrs P he’d take care and darted out the door stinking of booze and Lacoste aftershave. A sure fire winning combination, right? Numerous shots and pints later, the two ventured into nightclub Passion. A student filled bar in the middle of town, laden with underage boys dancing to music that was popular five years ago. The girls, dolled up to the nines, had somehow done enough to convince the burly bouncers they were over 18. Dan trawled off to the dance-floor and Matt stood back, perusing the scene. He nodded and encouraged Dan to continue his dad dancing, double thumbs up. It had gone twelve and ‘Matthew’ was the lone wolf. Having been in this position many times, Matt knew it would be a long time before he’d see his pal again. Matt didn’t feel drunk enough to join in so held back and began weighing up his options. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a crumpled £20 note and thought “the night is still young.” Scampering to the bar, he tripped slightly and stumbled into the wall. Picking himself up, he tried to laugh off the incident but inside, the carpet burn really stung. Ever the pro, he dusted himself down and ordered another bottle of lager. Always living on the edge was Matt. “It’s four quid” boomed a voice behind the bar. He looked despairingly at that crumbled £20 and sighed heavily. As the tightwad glanced around the room, Matty was smacked between the eyes. Across from him, stood a beautiful woman. Standing in her LBD and her bang-bang shoes, that beaming smile lit up the dingy surroundings. Clearly flustered, he didn’t know where to look. Well, he did but didn’t want to look there. Gazing at her, he abandoned his “girls chase me” mentality. He just knew he couldn’t blow it and wanted to talk to her. Minus the wingman, he was riding solo and tried to keep it cool. Dressed in a Joker t-shirt (which received plenty of high-fives during the evening, which he still talks about), the self-proclaimed ladies man sauntered over. Downing his lager, a sudden rush of confidence came over him. Or was that sick? Anyway, he felt confident and was waiting for someone to interrupt them. The pair chatted and the nerves kicked in, turning him from a 23-year-old man into to a 12-year-old schoolboy. He tentatively enquired if she would be kind enough to pass on her number but then, disaster struck. She scrambled into her bag and revealed that her phone wasn’t working. His confidence and pride dented, Matt told her of his intentions to leave her alone after the rejected patter. She then raised her voice to tell him that her phone genuinely wasn’t working and wanted his number another way. Disbelieving her somewhat, he went along with the knackered phone tale. She placed her bag on top of the bar and looked for a piece of paper. She couldn’t find one of course and Matt was growing ever impatient. Turning, he asked a glam party of ladies if they had a piece. They didn’t. The barman was trying to help and locate paper but no luck. Not even paper towels. One of the girls then very kindly handed him a marker pen which isn’t very useful without paper. Armed with a permanent marker, Matt didn’t deem it appropriate to scrawl his number on her arm. Onlookers gawped at Matt quizzically and pondered “why are you bothering” and “stop trying so hard.” Even these thoughts crossed Matt mind but he just felt compelled to at least give himself the opportunity to see her again. Pen in hand and his opinions slimmer than walking on the moon, he had an epiphany. “I know what’ll impress her” he uttered to himself. Spotting her clear, expensive, bristling cream bag, he looked at her with a twinkle in his eye. She smiled back suspiciously, perhaps slightly unaware of her admirer’s intentions. He then asked her if he could essentially destroy her bag by etching his number on it.  Amazingly, she was fine with it so he started to create a work of art of his own. The marker pen was handed back to the rightful owner and Matt expressed his gratitude. He was then promptly invited by her to sit with her and he followed her scent like a lapdog. Expecting she’d be out with a gaggle of annoying girl mates that he’d have to befriend for the rest of the evening, he suddenly became anxious. Upon arrival, she was on her own. His frown was rapidly trumped by a smile and he could not believe his luck. Matt presumed that like himself, she had chosen to hit the bar and her girlfriends opted to hit the dance circuit. As he peered over shoulders, Dan was nowhere to be seen in the teenage filled horde but knew he’d be around. We talked, held hands and after a short while, the dreaded request came. Yes, wanted to dance and he’d rather eat his own you know what that do that. He stupidly declined and even though she pleaded, he bottled it. Spotting a pal, he called him over and off she wandered. To his dismay, he saw her hand-in-hand with another chap and he knew it was finished and literally began kicking himself. He then checked his phone and realised the taxi was picking them up at 03:30, but Dan had not called. Matt always received the cue with Dan barking “I’m in the taxi so hurry the bleep up.” Turning on a sixpence, he sprinted for the taxi ala Usain Bolt but Dan was nowhere in sight. He called him but nothing, straight to voicemail. 15 minutes on, no further developments and the taxi driver was getting very restless. Worried by the no show, Matt presumed he’d been beaten up and gut instinct told him to go dart back. He did so and trawled through the crowd. Several clubs later and nothing. It had gone four and he didn’t know what to do. Off he charged back to Passion and waited. His mind wandered as he leant against the barrier. Then came a tap on his sweaty shoulder, ‘Dan’ he shouted triumphantly. Quick as a flash he swivelled but it wasn’t Dan. It was her. It was that girl. She was smiling away but her gleaming smile didn’t have the desired effect. He feared Dan was either injured or skulked off with a girl without telling him. Either way, Matt wasn’t impressed. “How’s your boyfriend” he posed. “Boyfriend?” she answered cryptically with a frown emblazoned across her face. “Yeah that bloke you walked off with, holding hands” came the retort, emphatically. She then laughed and Matt shook his head waiting for the humiliation to end. Shaking her head dismissively, she exclaimed: “He’s not my boyfriend, that’s my gay cousin.” Looking a little bit silly, Matt tried to claw back a smidgen of self respect. Just a smidgen would’ve sufficed. She then asked him to meet said gay cousin. He mulled it over for 0.3 seconds and she escorted him over and he had one more inspection for his missing pal. After being introduced to Andrew, they were getting on well enough. He did appear to be a little wary but Matt was pre-occupied with the Dan saga. As the drinks flowed, she was tickled by Matt acting a little stupid and warmed to his jokey exterior. The two were getting on so well and he then told her how he was feeling. They spent a period of just staring at each other really intensely and he blurted “I’m in love with you. Just a little bit.” “You don’t even know me” she stated. Nodding at this, Matt stated: “I know, but.” The night came to a close and as they prepared to exit, the bouncer told the exiting mass to halt. “Is there a Charlotte Johnson?” to which she broke away from holding hands and headed over to him. It then dawned on him that he hadn’t asked her what she was called nor vice-versa. They’d spoken for near on three hours and he forgot a fundamental piece of etiquette. He handed her the bag and he put his hands to his head once he saw the evidence of his marker pen scrawl in the light. It didn’t look good. This rather expensive accessory was now totally wrecked and she turned to Matt. Off balance as she adjusted her heel, Charlotte shouted: “Did you do this”? “I may have done” was his sheepish repost. As the clock struck 05:00, they parted. Matt opted not to attempt a cheeky kiss as he was getting daggers from Andrew. She promised to ring him and he scampered away. Two weeks on and she still hadn’t come to her senses as she hadn’t called. Matt knew there was little he could do without her details and he felt dejected. Unfortunately, their whirlwind three-hour romance came a cropper. Incidentally, Dan had gone home 30 minutes earlier than the original pick-up without informing his pal, which went down very well the next morning. New Years Eve – 04:06am. Matt had just completed a rather heavy drinking and singing session with his close sister and it was time for bed. Having not checked his phone for an hour or so, he was surprised to notice he now had a new voicemail message. As his sister Julie informed him of her intentions to slink off to bed, he checked that voicemail. A meek, posh sounding woman proclaimed in a chorus of noise: “Hi, it’s Charlie, we met on a night out. I love you. Bye. Happy New Year.” A little drunk and confused, he asked Julie to listen and verify if he’d heard right. She told him to call her back. He did and it was her, much to his bewilderment. A drunken conversation ensued in which he innocently asked her why it had taken her three weeks to call. She then said, “Should I not have called? It’s just that you wrote your number all over my bag.” “Damn, she remembered” he murmured. Minutes later, disaster struck and his phone credit was gone. He went to bed buoyant though and thought it would be okay as he’d be calling her back in a few hours. Five hours on and like some excited kid on Christmas Day; he topped up his phone. Two weeks, three texts and one voicemail later, she hadn’t responded to any of his proposed dates. “I shouldn’t have called when I was smashed” he told a weary Dan a week on. Matt knew he’d been played but still he couldn’t get her out of his head. He couldn’t explain it. “You know when you just get that feeling that something special could happen”? he told me weeks later. Looking at my mate crushed to his very core, he knew that that girl was the one that got away.

By Kenny Penfold.

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