The Dinner Date

Valentine's Day Writing Competition Tip 2: Write about falling in love with someone you may not or cannot have.

Summary: Andrew knew Sheila was way out of his league but that didn't stop him from trying. What happens when disappointment sets in? Would the tables turn in his favor?

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1. The Dinner Date

THE DINNER DATE

  Andrew picked up the glass of lemon-flavored sparkling water and took a sip for the fourth time in a row. He glanced briefly at his plain leather wristwatch and released his breath in a sigh. Sheila wasn’t coming. He should’ve known but then he was so masochistic at times. He glanced at the decor of Violette, the fancy restaurant he had booked for that special evening. The dim lights and soft jazz music provided a wonderful ambiance for the couples seated at the beautifully set tables. They should have been part of the happy couples that day, Valentine’s Day, sitting across the table from each other, enjoying a gourmet meal and quality entertainment.

  He shut his eyes and massaged his temples. He had saved for weeks for this, to give her this special treatment. They both knew he was struggling financially but he was sure that it would pass very soon, all she had to do was believe in him, have some faith in him. A glance at his watch told him to give up hope. He had waited for nearly an hour. It was obvious she wasn’t coming, he couldn’t deceive himself anymore.

  He signaled the waiter and paid for the drink.

  At the door to the restaurant, he spotted a yellow taxi pull up to the curb. A little flame of hope kindled in his heart. Was Sheila here? Had she come after all? His heart sank when he saw that it was just another pair of lovebirds who were blissfully happy and lost in each other’s company.

  Andrew arrived to the darkness of his home. The electricity supply had been cut off since he hadn’t paid for two months. He rummaged about the house for candles and lit two of them. As he watched the flames flicker, he briefly imagined what it would be like to tip one of them over and let the flames spread. If Sheila got the news of his demise, would she miss him? Would she cry? He gasped and shook his head to rid himself of the negative thoughts; enough with the negativity. He’d known it was a gamble anyway but his sister had encouraged him. Mary had always been the optimistic one and now look where that optimism led him. Heartbroken and disappointed beyond belief on Valentine’s Day. His phone rang, drawing his attention.

  “Hello?” He sounded groggy.

  “Hey bro, how did it go?”

  “Terrible. She didn’t show up.”

  There was a moment of silence and he heard Mary sigh sadly.

  “I’m so sorry bro. I had no idea that she would do this.”

  Mary had introduced him to Sheila who was a mutual friend of hers. She was a young lawyer at Phils&Wright law firm located on the mainland. He didn’t need a soothsayer to tell him that pursuing her was futile but he’d been spurred on by a brief moment of courage or sheer stupidity as the case may be.

  “No problem sis, I understand. It’s not your fault.” He smiled slightly, even though she couldn’t see him.

  “Do you want me to come over?” She asked.

  “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I’ll just get an early night’s rest.”

  Besides, he knew she had a family to take care of. His twin sister was happily married with two children who were still infants, it was demanding. Soon after they ended the call, he put out one of the candles and carried the other into the bedroom of his mini-flat. He lay awake for several minutes, imagining a hundred and one different ways the dinner date could have gone if only she had shown up. He sighed, switched off his mobile phone like he usually did before sleep and rolled unto his side; it was time to put away those thoughts for good.

  Meanwhile, on the Third Mainland Bridge, a metallic grey Mercedes was parked to the side of the bridge, its owner stood in sleek black heels and a simple but elegant black dress that flattered her slim, curvy figure. Her car had broken down right there on the bridge on her way to the restaurant. It was like something out of a nightmare to have a faulty vehicle on such a dangerous bridge by that time of the night. She pulled out her iPhone to check for network bars. They were still down. Darn it!

  She ran a hand through her braids which only moments ago had been twisted into a neat chignon but now the strands fell loosely, framing her oval-shaped face. She sighed, trying hard to hold her tears at bay. She’d been so excited for the date. Andrew was such a great guy, a breath of fresh air from the money and power-crazy jerks she’d been surrounded by most of her life. She looked at her phone screen again, willing at least one network bar to pop up but…nada.

  “Ma’am, it is dangerous being alone out here.”

  Sheila gasped and turned around, glad to see the distinct uniform of the highway patrol. Maybe he could help her get her car fixed. She quickly explained her situation to him and he returned with a mechanic. Half an hour later, Sheila was cruising down the bridge, headed to the Island. She sincerely hoped it wasn’t too late.

  Andrew tossed and turned in his sleep. Something wasn’t right. He blinked to find that the candle was now merely a glowing stub. He replaced it with another and sat up in his bed. He heard it again, a knock at the door. He frowned and grabbed a table tennis bat as a weapon before creeping towards the front door.

  “Who is it?” He asked, tensed.

  “It’s me, Sheila.”

  The bat fell out of his hands and he hastily unlocked the door to reveal the reason for his restless slumber. She looked even more beautiful than the first time he saw her. He stepped aside for her to come in, surprised that she had found his address.

  “I’m sorry.” She blurted out.

  “What?” He asked, not quite following.

  “I missed our date and I’m really sorry.” Sheila went on to explain the faulty vehicle and network failure. By the time she was through, Andrew was grinning from ear to ear.

  “So, am I forgiven?” She whispered with an enchanting smile.

  “On one condition.” He replied in a light tone.

  Her eyebrows furrowed together and she looked confused.

  “Yes?”

  “Let’s have dinner right here, right now.” He winked.

  “How do you plan to accomplish that?” She played along.

  “I’ve got some culinary skills.” He replied, rolling up his sleeves as he headed towards the kitchen. “I might just surprise you.”

  “I’m not too bad myself.” She said, taking off her heels and putting her hair into a high ponytail.

  Together, they lit several candles for light and created their own romantic dinner date. As Andrew looked across the kitchen counter at the woman whose beautiful face glowed in the dim candlelight, he knew he had just experienced the very best Valentine’s Day he could ask for.   

 

THE END.

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