Friday, 16 January 2015

Call It Fate (Part 2)

Jenna squeezed her Ford into an empty slot that took her twenty minutes to find and exhaled. When would this day end! First, her phone getting lost. And then losing her way three times, trying to figure out the map with the nightmarish rush hour in the pouring rain. She was exhausted. And an hour late for her date. Please, please, let him have given up waiting and left already. She really wouldn’t mind a quiet dinner by herself. She was craving a huge chocolate mud cake slice after the day she’d had.
            It was still drizzling. She shook out her umbrella and hopped out of her car. Her feet plopped into a puddle of muddy water. Fuck! Her heels were soaked! Well at least no one would notice in the dark. She squelched her way half a block to Poco Vino. The sidewalks were crowded with people trying to avoid the rain.
            The restaurant was unexpectedly lovely. A little place tucked between a hair salon and HSBC bank, smelling of heavenly wood oven pizza. She waved away the maitre’d, assuring him she was meeting someone, all the while wildly hoping the guy wouldn’t be there. She peered into the dim interior. It was almost empty. There was an elderly couple at the table on her right and behind them a family of four with two young children. Then at the last table at the back, she saw the guy with his back to her. Her heart sank. She knew it was him because his last text to her said he’d be wearing a grey stripped Polo t-shirt. Obviously she hadn’t asked for his photo nor given him hers. God forbid, the loser took it as a sign that she was interested in him.
            She squared her shoulders and approached the table. Oblivious to her, the guy was tapping at his laptop, a plate of half eaten pasta next to him. Hmm, I can’t fault him eating first when he’s been waiting for so long. She stuck out her hand. “Hello, Jenna. Prabu right? Sorry I’m late. I lost my phone and…never mind, it’s a long story.”
            Jenna almost smiled at the startled look the guy gave her. Good! I hope I’m not his type and he tells the stupid broker he’s not interested.
            She sat down across from him, dumping her handbag beside her. “Oh, I guess you were told my formal name – Janaswari.”
            He had the gall to smirk! “Janaswari? Jenna. Well, hi.”
            There was an awkward silence. She hated this. Prabu broke it first.
            “Where’s the waiter? I’m sure you must be hungry.” He shut down his laptop, turned around and signaled the waiter.
            Absently mindedly, Jenna noticed he had a very nice nose. To be fair, he was actually quite good looking, in a rugged sort of way. Sort of like Gerard Butler. The waiter came over and Jenna ordered a lasagna and chocolate mud cake for desert. Ha, let my gluttony scare him off. She glanced at Prabu and noticed an amused smile playing on his lips. She suddenly wondered if she had lipstick on her teeth or mascara smeared down her cheek. If she had her phone with her, she could have discretely checked. Damn it.
            “So Jenna. What do you do?”
            Here we go again. “Didn’t the marriage broker tell you everything about me?”
            Prabu raised his eyebrows. “Only the boring parts and who remembers those right?” His face was deadpan but the twinkle in his eyes gave him away.
            Jenna chuckled. “I’m in event management. What about you?”
            “So I’m not the only one who wasn’t paying attention.” He grinned at her.
            Jenna smiled back. She found herself letting down her guard a little bit more.
            “I’m a pilot.”
            Jenna folded her arms and sat back, staring at him suspiciously. “Pilot huh? You must have hot chicks throwing themselves at you all the time. Why are you doing this?” She indicated the space between them.
            Prabu gazed at her meaningfully and Jenna felt the beginnings of a blush creeping up her cheeks. “I’m looking for a real woman.”
Jenna rolled her eyes, letting the exaggerated remark pass. “So what was your scariest flying experience?”
“Ah, let me see… couple of years ago, I was flying to Vietnam and halfway through, one of the engines began to leak oil.”
“Shit! And then?”
“I can’t lie and tell you I wasn’t afraid, but we have standard operating procedures for things like this. So I said to my First Officer….”

Jenna licked her spoon. The chocolate mud cake was everything she needed. And Prabu was turning out to be surprisingly interesting. She glanced at her watch. Almost midnight. That was a record as far as blind dates went. Usually she wrapped things up within an hour.
            “I have to leave soon. Excuse me while I pop by the ladies first.”
            “Sure. I’ll call for the bill.”

What just happened? Here I was minding my own business and this beautiful woman appears in front of me. I know she’s talking but I don’t hear a thing. All I see is sparkling eyes and those legs in that short skirt. Before I know it, she’s sitting across from me. Then I realised she’s mistaken me for someone else. This was when I should have immediately said, “Sorry miss, I’m not the guy you’re supposed to meet. My name is Ashok.” And then she would have left as fast as she had arrived. Only a fool would let a woman like that leave.
            So I kept talking and she didn’t seem to notice anything amiss. Once or twice though, I caught her studying me, like I wasn’t what she was expecting. But we made each other laugh and I couldn’t believe that I was enjoying this strange woman’s company.

            Anyway, she’s gone to the ladies now and I’m telling her the truth when she gets back. And then I’ll ask her out on a proper date. I hope she’ll forgive me for fooling her and say yes. I don’t know. She looks like the type of woman who would either dump that glass of cold water on my head and slap me or collapse laughing on the floor.  Ok, here she comes. Damn, I can’t believe how nervous I feel.



Patsy Chong said...

Such an interesting short story!! :D :D :D

You still got it in you, cuz! More! More!

Anya said...

Patsy!! Thank u..and didn't realised you were still following the blog..haha

Anonymous said...

Dear Anya, we need to have a chat. This open ended stories of yours are giving me sleepless nights. Cant you just decide for me how it will end rather than leaving it to my creativity? Cause to be honest...creativity and me dont get along very well..So be a spot and end stories normally next time will ya ;)
On another note, i think the writing is improving..bravo...

Lilo said...

Oh, you wrote my life story :P
only it didn't have such ending ;)
But, what ending beast may ask? :P

Love your writing! Keep it coming :)

Anya said...

Lilo: you were my partly inspiration..haha

Beast: wow..that is the longest thing u've ever said to me! And u actually ponder over the ending..flattering..but you'd take away the fun i get in writing if i have to tailor my stories to your lack of creativity. I'm sure you wouldn't want that;)

Anonymous said...

I dont think you have to tailor your stories just for an ending but i do think you need a resolution when writing a story keeping an ending in mind..
Are Ambiguous Endings Powerful or Frustrating.....;)

Lilo: Really? Your life story? Would have never guessed :P

Anya said...

Beast: Are you an English Lecturer in real life? You sound like one. Thanks for the constructive criticism and I shall keep it mind. Just wondering, will you be grading my next essay?

Anonymous said...

accepting constructive criticism and sarcasm doesn't get along btw...:P

N.e.m.o said...

Anya, brilliant read again :D
And i kept thinkin of LiLo throughout.. *esp with the hanging bit of what's called the end ;-)

p/s: in the meantime Lilo dahling, we shall wait for balls to come by your way a'ight? xx

Pink Scalers said...

Aight Nemo! :D