“I’m back! After a week of really sore hands they’ve decided to let me write again! I missed you all and so I’m smiling this morning. Anyway, here’s a tale requested by Marla, a fellow writer with a website full of great stories and poems.”
I wrote this story for the following prompt.
Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Wordle — Pinch, Nose, Topple, Tocsin, Contest, Forward, Crestfallen, Fence, Edge, Pile, Whistle, Lick
FOWC with Fandango — Naughty
Your Daily Word — Pare
What was that tocsin? Grey sat bolt upright then heaved a sigh of relief. Just the alarm clock screaming that it was time to get up. Easing his legs forward and off the edge of the bed, he felt his heart rate soar. ‘Shit! It’s going to happen today,’ he realised.
There were ten hours to wait and already he was a bundle of nerves. Standing, he reached above his head and stretched. Stepping around the bed he managed to topple right over his pile of clothes.
‘Damn it! This is gonna be a bad day. Come on, Grey — get hold of yourself. You can do this and make a good day,’ he told himself through a flurry of running paws.
A stocky white bulldog charged him and began to lick every inch of flesh she could reach.
“Morning, Rebel!” Grey hugged her before rising to dress. He spent an hour cleaning his room and then went down for breakfast.
Sometime later he was washing up. Looking through the window toward the back garden, he noticed two pigeons being naughty with each other on the fence. ‘That’s it you two, have fun while I’m a nervous wreck in —!’
Grey flinched in such a way that he smashed a plate against the taps, showering the sink in china sherds.
“Rebel!” Grey gave a shrill whistle, “Stop attacking those pigeons!”
The bulldog had rammed the fence twice trying to reach the loving birds. Now she trotted indoors looking very pleased with herself.
Grey shook his head toward her and in doing so saw the clock. ‘Oh, no! six hours left before you ruin your life!’
Dispelling the thought, Grey made himself a sandwich for lunch. An hour later it lay uneaten on the coffee table in the lounge. Who could possibly eat when their stomach was churning with ever-rising anxiety?
The Olympics was on the TV. Team GB had just won a gold medal in the new BMX event leaving their opponents crestfallen.
Grey barely noticed, he was looking at the TV but seeing nothing. ‘Just five hours left! It’s going to be a horror show. You’re going to make a fool of yourself. She’ll laugh at and hate you!’ He thought over and over in a never-ending spiral of dark thoughts.
Four hours to go.
Grey couldn’t help pacing back and forth. He reached up to pinch his nose and relieve an itch, and poked himself in the eye. Slumping onto the sofa, he felt rebel bound up beside him.
The kindly dog began to lick his tears.
“I’m okay, dog. I’m not crying I poked my eye,” he said while fondling her chest. “Don’t feel like going on a date for me, do you?”
Rebel gave a single bark and pawed his leg.
“Yeah, you’re right. I do need to get off my arse and do it myself, don’t I?” Taking a box from beneath the coffee table, Grey began to line up stacks of Battle Monster’s cards. He’d been meaning to pare them down and sell the duplicates for a while. Maybe sorting them would help calm his nerves.
Two hours to go.
Grey felt every loud tick of the clock as if a little man was hammering away in his chest. Forget butterflies; dragons were working up a maelstrom of nerves in his stomach. ‘Flowers! Need to get Flowers… Better shower — bad BO will make her run a mile… Yeah, use extra deodorant and aftershave… I’ll wear my blue suit. No – that’s too pretentious… Smart casual, nice jeans and a grey sports jacket will be better… What if she hates jeans? —’ “Oh, shut up brain!”
Ninety minutes to go.
Grey took his shower. The warm water seemed to relax him but only for a few minutes. He proceeded to change his outfit seven times. With one hour left on the clock, he settled for the jeans, white shirt, and grey sports jacket he put on first.
By then there was only just time to drive to the restaurant.
Grey drove a modest Vauxhall Zafira. Although time was running out, he kept the car moving at a steady pace. Committing vehicular manslaughter before a romantic date was never a good idea. ‘This is it! In a few minutes, you will have the best night of your life, or you’ll end up never being able to show your face again!’
Up ahead, the white and gold façade of Café Picoso came into view.
‘There it is, my place of judgement!’ Grey felt his fingers squeeze down on the steering wheel. His stomach clenched to match, and then he felt his jaw drop. She was …
The lady of many a man’s dreams was stood admiring the Mexican restaurant’s menu board. She’d promised him a pretty red dress on the dating app they met on. The satin dinner dress she was wearing was nothing short of spectacular against the sultry, flowing curls of her auburn hair.
‘Shit! She looks like a beautiful celebrity. I look like a bloody tramp!’ Grey could barely breathe as he made a left turn into the car park. ‘Too late now!’
Alighting from the car, he averted his eyes from the young couple using the bonnet of a Jaguar in the most inappropriate way. In doing so he noticed the shopping mall was running late opening hours. ‘I can buy a new outfit … But she’s already here and waiting for me … She looks amazing. I can’t go looking like this!”
Grey took out his phone and typed out a text message, ‘I’m running late, Charlotte. I’m going to be about fifteen minutes,’ With it sent; he set off towards the mall.
The phone beeped in reply within moments.
‘So, I see.’ It read.
Grey froze. The scent of roses and jasmine wafted over him. ‘Shit!’ He thought as his heart rate matched that of an Olympic sprinter going flat out for the finish line.
“Where are you going?” asked Charlotte coming to a stop five feet behind him.
Turning to face her, he managed a shaky smile. “I … er… well. I’m er … you … Erm —” he babbled himself to silence while going red in the face. ‘Well done you, blithering idiot. You just ruined everything and you didn’t even get inside the bloody restaurant!’
Charlotte grinned looking somewhere between demure and amused, “Well, that explains a lot.”
“I’m so sorry. I saw you looking beautiful around the front and panicked. There’s a suit shop in the mall. I was going to buy a suit so I wouldn’t embarrass you.” Grey glanced at his car. ‘Might as well drive home, now. This date is over.’
Charlotte walked over to him and tilted her head to one side. She began to pace around him, visually exploring every inch of his outfit with silent fascination.
‘What is she doing?’ Grey thought as the silence stretched into infinity.
“You’ll do,” she said at last.
“I — I will?”
“Sure, I don’t expect you wear expensive suits for me,” Charlotte reached and kissed his cheek. “You look perfectly handsome.”
Grey felt his cheeks blush as the heat rose and threatened to ignite his collar. “T-Thank you. Shall we go in and order some delicious food?”
“Yes please.” Charlotte rubbed her modest belly as they walked back toward the restaurant. “I’ve been so nervous I haven’t eaten all day.”
Grey couldn’t help laughing. “Really? That makes two of us.”
“Then we need to make a promise.” Charlotte looked toward him as they reached the road.
‘Oh, boy. Now, I’m in trouble,’ Grey thought as he kept his gaze forward so as not to fall over his feet. “What promised would that be?”
“Let’s promise not to run away from each other. To not feel embarrassed and to have a lovely date.”
“Then I can do.” Grey opened the restaurant door with a dip of his head, “After you, milady.”
“Why thank you good, sir.” Charlotte simpered as she entered.
Grey gazed upon her behind for just a second. ‘Maybe, I can survive a night with this beautiful lady without making a pillock of myself after all,’ he thought as the door closed behind him on what would become a very special evening.
Thanks for reading my friends.
Have a great day!