Friday, 20 June 2014

The phone turned itself off.

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The phone turned itself off.
She stared at it in abject horror.
How could it betray her like this now?
She had finally… after what seemed like and probably was hours of turning it on, checking the number and turning it off again. She had finally built up the courage to call him, had managed to blurt out her name before ostensibly hanging up in his ear as the battery went dead.
The universe hated her; it really did.
And he couldn’t even call her back.
Calvin Stanford was the best looking man she had ever seen. He wasn’t classically beautiful; his face was a bit too… it was hard to describe. He was handsome, not beautiful, if that made sense. It didn’t really make sense to her. But she had watched him. An unkind person might suggest it was stalking. That she had definitely done but only on Facebook. Ugh. She hated herself as she did it. But it wasn’t real stalking; everybody did it.
She knew that did not make it okay but desperation to find out what he was interested in drove her to it. How could she actually talk to him if she didn’t know what he was interested in? She might make a fatal mistake, like assume he preferred star trek to star wars or something. Or what if he had never heard of either? She struck pay dirt when she found his phone number on Facebook as well. That justified everything.
She had given up on a guy ever asking her out on a date; she preferred to just ask them herself. If they couldn’t cope with that, that was bad point number one. It kept some small measure of power in her trembling hands. They trembled because no matter how often she did it, it still utterly terrified her. Her mouth went dry and she got something larger than butterflies in her stomach. But if she lost it, she could just run away and she had done that once or twice in the past. And never spoke to them ever again, of course.
Talking to strangers was nerve-wracking. Trying to impress someone so much that they would actually risk spending their time to find out more about you or go on a date? That was terrifying.
And Calvin always looked so distracted and kind of angry; especially lately. And she had just monumentally wasted his time.
She sighed.
That was it. She could never speak to him again. She had messed it up so badly.
He didn’t call her back anyway, so the decision was vindicated.
Eternal shame.
It was a week or so later when she waiting for her coffee and she glanced up and recognised his ass. She’d know that ass anywhere.
She was about to make a run for it when the server shouted out, “Latte for Melanie!”
Shit! She couldn’t run, now.
Calvin spun on his heel and glared down at her. “You,” he said.
A weak smile. She slunk over and fetched her coffee, put her head down and prepared to run for it. He grabbed her arm.
She let out a startled squeak noise.
“Wait,” he commanded.
Her hand was shaking, so she put her coffee down on one of the benches at the side made for standing. He noticed her tremor.
Besides wishing the earth would open up and swallow her, she waited dutifully until he got his coffee - long black, no sugar - for future reference.
He took a sip. “What did you call me for?”
“How do you know it was me?”
He gave her a look. “You’ve taken a lot of notice of me lately.”
Crap. He totally knew she stalked him. “Oh.” It seemed to be all she could say.
“And I don’t know any other Melanies. If I dial the number will your phone ring?”
“Probably.” Betraying her again. Stupid phone.
An amused look over the brim of his cup. “So?”
“So… what?”
“What did you want?”
“Oh.” A long pause. Too long. “I w-wanted-” the ginormous butterflies started stomping in her stomach “-to ask you out.” It came out in a rush and she couldn’t look at him as she said it.
“Me?” he sounded surprised.
“For… coffee… or something.”
Another interminable pause.
She added, “My phone died and you never called me back.”
“No.” He took a breath. “I hate phones and some fool put my number on Facebook and I have got a heap of calls lately.”
Oh, crap. That was why he looked so annoyed. “Right.”
“And I get nervous,” he added.
“You do?” She looked up at his face.
“Doesn’t everyone?”
“And we are having coffee-”
He waved at the cups, “-so it kind of worked.”
“Can you say anything other than yes?”
He laughed. He had a nice laugh.
They made a date for Friday night.
© AM Gray 2014

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