“Seriously, are you going to be on that the entire time?”
The waiter set the coffee in front of me. I didn’t need to lift the cup to my nose to tell that it was old and stale. He slammed a glass bowl full of creamer, artificial sweetener, and sugar packets down in the center of the paper placemat. Without another word, he retreated to wherever he came from.
I held the mug in my hands for warmth as a chill started to crawl down my spine, and I fought to keep my teeth from chattering.
“What would you have me to do?”
“Well, you can start by giving me your two truths.”
He set the phone back on the table and stared at the cup in my hand. “Never take a woman back to my bed and never ever stick around for morning coffee.”
His silky voice made the words hit me like a slap in the face. It hadn’t taken long to realize this blind date was going nowhere. “Manners count where I come from, and you definitely lack in that area.”
Again, he gave me a once over and returned to his phone. I set the coffee on the table as the waiter returned to the table to ask if there was anything else he could get us.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.”
The waiter looked over at my date, who shrugged.
“Steve, may I have the check, please?” I politely responded and tossed in a smile.
“Something told me you were only having the coffee.” Steve placed the check on the table, turning in a huff.
The man that I had chosen to begin my month-long dating adventure with continued to scroll on his phone, unaware or ignoring that I was digging through my wristlet for money. “Five dollars for a cup of lukewarm, tasteless coffee.” The words slipped out of my mouth before I could stop them. “I think it’s clear this isn’t a love match for either of us.” I placed seven dollars on the check and dragged my soaked body out of the booth. “Thank you for your time. Although, you may want to pay more attention to the next woman you ask out on a date. Just a thought.”
The questioning look on his face threw me. It was as if he understood none of my words. Oh well, not my problem. You are not taking up space in my life, not on the short timetable I am working with. Nope. Not going to do it.
The moment his eyes returned to his vibrating phone, I walked away. The man belonged on the pages of a magazine, but his lack of manners did nothing but turn me off completely. On to the next adventure.
Opening the door of the restaurant, the smells of the city climbed into my nostrils. Derrick, my best friend, warned me New York City smelled like urine and garbage. In truth, it smelled more like dirty gym socks that had been abandoned in a locker over summer break, dipped in urine mixed with steamy hot garbage. I stood exhaling through my mouth and allowed the sun to warm my chilled body. Of course, the rain stopped.
After four steps, I realized I was heading in the wrong direction and spun around only to run right into the chest of a familiar smelling man. Taking a step back, I looked up at him—the same look of boredom, but now on the busy sidewalk.
Jesus, he looks even better standing up. His suit fit like a glove, but it was more than just a good fit. It looked like he was born to be wearing it, and nothing less would do. Then he crossed his arms and waited. Okay, still a complete asshole.
“Excuse me. I was heading in the wrong direction again. My apologies.”
He gave me one nod and continued past me toward a black town car waiting at the curb. A large man stepped out and opened the door in time for my failure-of-a-date to slip effortlessly into the back seat. In a matter of seconds, the driver was back in the driver’s seat, inching into the city’s evening traffic. He was gone. Good. You were super hot, but nobody needs that attitude.
While the street and people on the sidewalk showed no signs of the earlier downpour, my clothes remained soggy. I was ready to escape back into the tiny sublet I had scored from a fellow Michigan State University alum. The sign on the corner indicated I was still in the Meatpacking District. But I was turned around and felt lost.
Digging out my phone, I had two missed calls and a couple of texts from the one person who would find the silver lining in this experience. I didn’t bother listening to the voicemails or checking the text messages, scrolling instead to my favorites, and tapping on Derrick’s name. Of course, he answered on the first ring.
Derrick was the reason I was here. I welcomed him on his move-in day with store-bought baked goods in a basket with the price tag still attached. Immediately, we were friends. Derrick worked as a professor. However, as a massive MSU fan, Derrick’s lack of team spirit continuously threw me for a loop. It was his only flaw.
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