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It Began With Dinner
“You look so pretty,” He says, blushing slightly. Good God. A girl who spent two hours getting ready for this stupid date isn’t pretty, she’s beautiful. Already I wanted to go upstairs, wash all this makeup from my face and roll into bed with my best friends Ben, Jerry, and Rocky Road. My best friends and I can stay up all night (it is Friday after all) watching the antics of the Kardashians.
“And you look...” Dashing? Handsome? Not really, those glasses are clashing with your shirt. “spiffy.” God! Spiffy? But he smiles nevertheless and offers me his arm. Making a comeback after all.
“So, where are we going?” It better be good, I might even chip in with the bill to make up for such a let down when afterwards I don’t answer your calls or reply to any of your texts. He grins and reaches for my hand, years of practiced self-restrained and poise are all that prevent me from flinching and snatching my hand right back. His hand is hot and sweaty. I’ve never been much for holding hands in the first place as I often feel my own hand gets roasted and all red.
“I was thinking we could go to Blue,” He says. Blue, hmm...fancy. I like the idea, its been a long time since I’ve been somewhere fancy. I smile allow him to keep holding my hand. Oh, what I put up with for a nice dinner. Lately my meals have consisted of ramen noodles with a side of Jamba Juice. I tried Lean Cuisine but soon found it too expensive, what with my single status and low paying job. The restaurant is close to my apartment so we walk the whole way and the whole way he valiantly tries to catch my interest and keep the conversation going. Though, it is mostly a one-way conversation due to the fact that as he prattles on all I can bring myself to do is smile (a bit stiffly) and nod.
“So do you go to Arkansas every summer?” I ask.
“Most, I much prefer Texas, though,” he says. Oh, how I despise the country, I’m much more of a metropolitan myself.
“Maybe you could come down some time and I could show you around?” Whoa, way too fast. First date protocol, you know. Even so, I nod. That would be lovely but I have a job that I’m also dedicated to. Yeah, a job that I hate. I’m currently looking for another and for a way to make a totally legal yet dramatic exit.
“Here we are!” This place, Blue, is a lot more fancy than I remember and even more so on the inside.
“So, do you come here often?” I ask as we are led to our table. The ambiance is low, romantic almost. The piano and harp are being played in the background. Everything is set aglitter by the many illustrious tiers on the chandeliers. I almost forget that I am determined not to enjoy this date. Maybe I should rethink this a bit.
“Oh, not really, but I do enjoy restaurants like this,” He smiles and I shiver. He’s not so bad looking, after all.
“Now, tell me about yourself. I feel as if I have only been talking about myself tonight.” Well, actually, you have but that’s beside the point. Me, me, me. What can I say about me.
“Have you always lived here?”
“No, I moved here right after college. I was born in Boston and we- my parents and I, I mean, moved to New York when I was five. From there I went to...” I need to think of some college that will impress him. “Cornell.” He nods and smiles, impressed. He is about to say something when the waiter brings us our drinks- an expensive wine. Wow, where did he go to college? He probably told me on our way here but I wasn’t paying that much attention. I sip my wine, trying to look sexy and sophisticated.
“What do you do for a living?” I ask. He’s probably loaded, just looking at the way he’s skimming over the most expensive items on the menu.
“I could show you,” he says. A mischievous glint comes into his eye. “After dinner, how about?” Yes, in fact, screw dinner...but oh, look at that calamari and lobster.
“Yes, definitely,” I say, maybe a bit too eagerly, the wine is making me relax and loosening me up. I fill up my second glass and he soon has me laughing. Sure I’ll go to Texas. I bet you’ve got a plantation the size of Tara.
The main course is served and I dig in without reserve. By God, if I don’t go to Texas or Arkansas with this guy, I will damn well enjoy this lobster. The conversation is wonderful, and this time, it’s two-way. I glance at his wine glass and realize he’s barely touched it.
“Why aren’t you drinking?” I ask.
“Too much wine upsets the stomach, I’m afraid,” he says. I reach across the table and we’re holding hands, and this time I don’t care if his hands are hot or profusely sweaty.
I suddenly remember my face. My face! My hair! I must preen! Those hours spent perfecting my appearance may have come undone. All I can imagine in my head is droopy curls, smeared, blotchy makeup, and flaky mascara.
“Excuse me for a moment, laddies’ room.”
“Of course,” he says as my hands reluctantly trail our of his.
Once inside the bathroom, I am relived to find my appearance has not suffered nearly as much as I’ve feared. I preen and primp, putting stray hairs in their place, and touch up my make up. When I emerge from the bathroom I find him waiting patiently for me, a smile crosses his face when he sees me.
“Ready to see what I do for a living?” He stands and offers me his arm.
“Wait, did you pay the bill yet?” I ask, taking his arm.
“Oh, that won’t be nesscary,” he says.
“Oh? And why not?” ask, he smiles again and pulls me against him, hard. I tilt my face up for a kiss but realize that is not his intention. I am crushed to his chest and at the same moment, cold metal is pressed against my cheek. A gun! What the-
“Everyone on the floor, hands on your heads! Now, or I’ll blow her head off!” There are screams everywhere, a group of people try to run for the doors but he cocks the gun and shoots right above the doorframe, stopping them cold. “ON THE FLOOR!” I try squirming out of his grasp, stopping on his foot with my heel but he pins my arms down and I’m crushed against him. He chuckles.
“Stay still, now and relax. I don’t want to have to do anything drastic,” he says.
“Aww come on, I thought you wanted to see what I did for a living,” he whispers in my ear.
“Get out of the way!” he yells at the woman working the computer. He begins typing wildly on the computer, pounding on the keys. Streams of codes and God knows what else run by on the screen and I realize that he’s wiring the restaurant’s money to another account.
“Down, down!” sirens can be heard far off in the distance. He presses the gun to my face and drags me through the kitchen, I stumble over a cowering su chef. He takes me out through the back door where a car is parked. He shoves me in, keeping the gun pressed to my cheek. The terror is so great I become numb with fear, my heart beat becomes deafening and I realize I am crying.
He hands me plastic zip ties.
“Tie your hands and feet,” he orders. I have no option but to comply. My phone is in my purse, back at the table. Shoot!
“Please, please let me go!” He glances at me almost sadly as he pull out and into traffic.
“Sorry I had to ruin our date, I really was having fun. Now, how about Texas?”
West Jefferson, Ohio
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