Now Or Never

Mod­ern dat­ing is the theme of Linda Lewis’s hu­mor­ous com­plete story.

The People's Friend Special - - CONTENTS -

An up­beat story by Linda Lewis

Daniel would be leav­ing soon, so I wouldn’t get another chance. I just had to find the courage to ask him out!

WOULD you like to go to the cin­ema? I quite fancy see­ing ‘Frozen’ again.” As I mouth the words silently to my­self, try­ing them out for size, I won­der why the only film I can think of is ‘Frozen’. I mean, it’s a fam­ily car­toon – I saw it with my nieces!

I try to think of some­thing else, but my mind has gone com­pletely blank. It’s al­ways the same when he’s sit­ting there, so close that, if I reached out, I could touch him. I f ind it hard to think straight. Even when he leaves the room his af­ter­shave still lingers on the air. My work will start to suf­fer if I don’t f ind the courage to ask Daniel out soon.

Think, woman, think! How about that spe­cial show­ing of “The Hob­bit” on at the multi-screen cin­ema? No, that’s prob­a­bly not a good idea. Fan­tasy films can be tricky.

Years ago I went out with a man who was ob­sessed with Tolkein. When he found out I’d read “The Lord Of The Rings” when I was at school, he wouldn’t talk about any­thing else.

The date was a com­plete dis­as­ter. The truth was, I’d started to read “The Lord Of The Rings”, but hadn’t ac­tu­ally f in­ished it. Of course, I didn’t dare ad­mit that.

I sup­pose I could al­ways ask Daniel round to my place to have a meal and watch a DVD? No, that would never do. For a start, I wouldn’t dare.

I know things are dif­fer­ent these days, but it’s not for me. I’d be scared he thought I was too for­ward.

Be­sides, the way I’m mak­ing mis­takes at the mo­ment I’m not sure I could man­age to cook any­thing de­cent with him in the same room. Beans on toast wouldn’t im­press him very much.

I’m not sure that Daniel even likes go­ing to the cin­ema. As far as I can re­mem­ber, he’s never men­tioned go­ing to see any films. I need some­thing else as a back-up, maybe a play or a mu­si­cal. The only trou­ble is, I haven’t a clue what’s on lo­cally.

Eat­ing! That has to be bet­ter. I mean, we all have to eat. I prac­tise the words in my head. “I hear that new Ital­ian res­tau­rant in North Street is very good. Have you tried it yet? Only, I was think­ing . . .”

That is use­less, far too ram­bling. Any­way, what if the food isn’t good? Af­ter all, I’ve never ac­tu­ally been there for a meal. I’d need to try it out f irst.

What other places are there? There’s the French res­tau­rant, La Boîte Rouge; it’s had some won­der­ful re­views.

Trou­ble is, it’s ex­pen­sive. Last time I passed by, I checked their menu and prac­ti­cally had a heart at­tack. How can any starter be worth twelve pounds?

What about a curry? No. There’s the gar­lic. What if my breath smelled bad af­ter­wards?

Maybe I could lead slowly into the sub­ject of a date.

“What kind of things do you like to do of an evening, Daniel?” or “I was think­ing of join­ing the lo­cal book group. Are you a mem­ber, Daniel?”

Oh, dear, now Veron­ica’s giv­ing me one of her looks. This is no good at all. I’m sup­posed to be work­ing, not sit­ting here day­dream­ing.

I’VE been hav­ing this same con­ver­sa­tion with my­self for six weeks now, ever since Daniel Bately started work in my off ice. We hit it off straight away, that’s what’s so an­noy­ing.

I have no prob­lem chat­ting to him about work or the weather, or what was on TV last night. I know that he’s sin­gle, hav­ing moved here when his last re­la­tion­ship ended, and that his mother lives nearby. We’ve even had a brief chat about pol­i­tics!

But when it comes to the one thing I re­ally want to talk to him about – go­ing out on a date – I freeze. Some­times I wish I lived in olden times when ladies had to wait to be asked.

These days it’s all about equal­ity, which is great when it comes to the vote and equal pay, but not so good when it means ask­ing a man out on a date.

I look at my watch. It’s five to five. And it’s Fri­day. Again. If I don’t say some­thing soon, another week will have gone by. Daniel’s only here on a tem­po­rary con­tract. I’ve no idea if he’ll be here next month – Andy’s bro­ken leg isn’t go­ing to keep him away from work for much longer.

I sigh and give the but­ton of my mouse an ex­tra hard jab. None of my friends have this prob­lem. If they want to go out with a man they just come right out with it and ask them out for a drink.

That’s it – a drink! Why didn’t I think of that be­fore? If he doesn’t sound keen I can pre­tend I want to talk about some­thing work re­lated. It’s so sim­ple.

There are only a cou­ple of min­utes left. I’m not go­ing to wait any longer. I’ll ask him out for a drink this evening.

I watch from the cor­ner of my eye as Daniel ti­dies the pa­pers on his desk, puts things away in a drawer, then turns off his com­puter. My desk is by the door, which means that he’ll have to pass my desk on his way out. That’s when I’ll ask him.

As he stands up my heart does a lit­tle flip. I watch as he walks to­wards me. He pauses in the door­way. “Good­night, An­gela,” he calls out cheer­fully.

“Night, Daniel,” I re­ply. “Have a great week­end.” I take a deep breath. It’s now or never. “Do you fancy go­ing out for a drink?” My mouth drops open, be­cause those are the ex­act words I planned to say. But it isn’t me who has said them.

I don’t need to ask Daniel out af­ter all.

The End.

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