The door said “No Clowns” Well that was sure to be a lie. Probably full of them.
Annabelle pushed it open and made her way upstairs to the banquet room where this facade was being held. She didn’t want to be here and would have preferred to be at home, in her onesie with a glass of wine watching Game of Thrones and relishing in the poisoning and demise of Joffrey. However, she’d promised her friend that she would attend since she was one of the “love makers’ running the event.
“Come on, it’ll be fun!” Diane had insisted. “How bad can it be? You only have to talk to each person for 4 minutes! And you need to meet someone.”
“No, I really don’t need to meet someone. Really. And 4 minutes is a long time if you don’t like them.”
“Please..PLEASE.. I need the numbers. There’s more guys than girls. You never know, you could meet THE ONE. “
Annabelle rolled her eyes even though Diane couldn’t see since she was on the other end of a phone. It was an automatic response to the fanciful notions people had. Annabelle had never had a problem meeting guys in her life. She just had a problem maintaining interest and getting rid of them when the novelty had worn off and they didn’t meet her expectations. Her friends told her she was too fussy and intolerant. She reminded them that these were qualities that had endeared them, her friends, to her in the first place.
“Fine. What time and when?”
“Monday. 7.30pm. Thanks Annie!”
So here she was. Straight from work in a pencil skirt suit and an oversized handbag full of gadgets and paperwork.
Diane and some random bloke were at the door as she walked in. They were sitting there with a bunch of tickets and stuff.
“Is there a raffle?” Annabelle enquired, sarcastically.
“Yay! You’re here!” Diane stood up and hugged her.
“Yay.” Annabelle said dryly.
“Here. This is your number and badge. Let’s go to the bar and get a drink and I’ll fill you in. Is that OK Jack ? “ She turned to face her colleague who wafted her away with an arm gesture and smile.
“Badge and number? God, I feel like cattle.” Annabelle noticed her name with the number 6. “You’ve missed a couple of sixes from this... And what’s this thing?”
“ It’s called a speed dating ticket.” She turned her attention to the barman.. Can I have two glasses of your house merlot, large please.”
“ Is the barman playing?” Annabelle asked thinking that he looked very appealing in his jeans and t shirt. Plus he poured wine all night. Win.
“Haha! Nooo. He’s just here to serve and ply you lot with alcohol!”
“Yes. My point...” Annabelle considered that the perfect liaison.
“The speed dating ticket..” she continued..”On here are a list of names and numbers, like yours. If you like someone and would be interested in seeing them again, you put a tick in the box next to their name and number.” She pointed to the boxes on the paperwork.
“It would be so much more fun if I just ticked them randomly, right now before I met them.” Annabelle suggested. “See if serendipity really existed.”
Diane shook her head and smiled as Annabelle took a large slug of the red nectar. She was going to need a few of these to get through this debacle.
“Oh, to make it easier I’ve written a pitch. Roughly about 2 minutes long.”
“What?” Diane put her head back and laughed. “ It’s a romantic meet not a business networking event! Just go with the flow.”
“Im just controlling the flow, is all.”
A bell rang and Diane excused herself as the event was about to begin. Jack stood up and went through the rules and regulations and how it all worked. Annabelle wasn’t really listening and instead motioned to the barman for another glass of wine.
She took her seat, as all the women were asked to do and carefully placed her glass on the table. She hated it already and felt stupidly self conscious. Reaching down into her bag, Annabelle pulled out her scripted pitch and flattened it on the table in front of her just in time to see David, # 21, sit down on the seat in front. A freckled faced red head, with a big goofy smile and an opened necked, white shirt. Seemed like he was trying to pull off the Prince Harry look but it wasn’t quite working. He appeared confident but his hands betrayed him by twirling the pen round and round in his fingers.
The bell rang to indicate the start of the 4 minute freak show.
“If you want, I’ll go first,“ said Annabelle, remembering just in time to add a smile at the end of her words, “I’ve made a pitch to save awkward pauses and suchlike.”
“Oh OK! Cool. Begin.” He motioned with his pen.
She picked up her paper. “I don’t quite know it verbatim so forgive me as I’ll have to read from my notes.”
BIO: I’ll seem like the life and soul of the party but actually that’s not true. I can only do that in small doses. I much prefer to do my own thing and hate having my chaotic routine messed up unless you’ve got something that’s going to wow me. I’ve not listed those things as I think that’s your job to find out. I’d rather cut to the chase than you pretending to be interested in banal details like what my favourite colour is. My favourite colour is mood dependent. When it comes to moods I’m like a roller coaster so if you don’t like rides get off now. I’ll probably be the best fun you’ve ever had if we gel on some level but that’s going to last, roughly around six weeks when you either get pissed off with me or I with you. If you don’t intrigue or beguile me after this time limit, I see no point in wasting each others time. Let’s just live in the moment and move on.
I’m not a morning person unless it involves bacon. Chirpy demeanor before noon makes me edgy. I suppose I’m more of a night time person so if you work shifts then we’re off to a non starter.
Please don’t wear an argyle tank top on a date unless you can pull it off in Paul Smith coolness and if you’re too vain and materialistic I will find you shallow.
Im both cerebral and imaginative so you will never get the same answer twice. If you start to get confused it’s best to leave.
I don’t play games so if you try and manipulate my affection by ignoring me and being unreliable and/ or narcissistic I’ll probably just tell you to “Fuck off”.
Other than that I’m pretty easy going and give awesome blow jobs.
Annabelle added that bit at the end on purpose to gauge reaction to in your face, inappropriate comments.
David dropped his pen.
“Any questions?” Annabelle offered, knowing there was about 30 seconds of her time left.
“ Err.. No I think I’m good.” David smiled. At the table.
Annabelle listened as David talked about himself, his job as a recruitment consultant and the fact that he spent most weekends kayaking. Annabelle feigned interest and filled in the gaps by asking questions and helping David along. He was a nice guy but it wasn’t going further than the table. The bell sounded for the males to move on to the next conquest.
Annabelle was a crossing out David’s name as the next guy sat down. She didn’t know if you were supposed to do that or not but there was no room for error. She had the urge to just scribble all over it in a childlike manner but that would upset Diane.
“Ready?” said the voice from across the table.
“Oops sorry,” said Annabelle as she looked up into the face of # 22, Ryan, who looked remarkably like Jim Caviezel. Good start.
“Errm, right..well I’ll just start from the top then? I feel like I’m on a conveyer belt.” Annabelle picked up her paper again, already bored with this get up.
“No need.“ Replied no # 22, gently pulling the script from her fingers and turning it face down on the table, “ I heard most of it. Nice finale.” He smiled. Slowly.
“Amazing what blokes prick their ears up to.”
“ I was referring to the fact that you’re easy going.” He tilted his head on one side, his eyes dancing with mischief. “I get along well with easy natured women.”
“You were supposed to be paying attention to your previous victim.” Annabelle pointed out.
“ Oh I was, to a degree but you piqued my interest. I couldn’t help but overhear. So, what is your favourite colour today?”
Ryan smiled. His eyes never left hers. She was starting to find him a little bit intimidating but not necessarily in a bad way. There was something about him. She took a sip of wine for support whilst she tried to think of something to say.
“Why don’t you just tell me about yourself. “ She gestured with her wine glass, slopping some of the wine onto the paper on the table. God, she was so damn clumsy sometimes. He watched her as she tried to clean it up with her speed dating ticket, making a pink soppy mess.
“You like tapas?” Ryan said softly.
“What? The food? Spanish? Yes...why?” Why was she suddenly sounding so stupid and behaving like a muppet?
Ryan placed his hand on hers to stop it from cleaning. Annabelle just looked at it. Frozen in a moment.
“Why don’t we just leave, now, and go on an adventure to the tapas bar on the corner. My treat.”
Annabelle looked up at him. “We can’t do that..it’s not allowed. Besides my friend would kill me.”
“Yes we can. Spontaneity has the wow factor doesn’t it? Come on.” He stood up. A few people turned and looked at him. He was supposed to be sitting down. Now it looked like they had fallen out before they had got through 4 minutes.
He held out his hand to her.
Well she couldn’t embarrass him. Well, she could, but she didn’t want to.
Nervously, she picked up her bag and without daring to look at anybody else, took his hand as he led her to the exit. He made some formal apology to Jack about having to leave early and as Annabelle looked over at the bar, wondering what the hell she was doing, she saw Diane smiling back at her like the Cheshire cat.
N.B: There! There's your happy ending. Although.....she doesn't know much about him. He's bound to be a serial killer.....
Labels: atozchallenge, doors, speed dating