Day Eight of the Season of Love! We are doing well. Are we still feeling a little sappy, a little romantic? Goodie. So yesterday, I had Salome let down her date to restart her relationship with Eben. I had to make it up to her date and this is his little story.
Art Date © Billy London
Art spun his mobile in the middle of the table. He’d been point blank warned. Salome is still in love with her ex. He couldn’t help himself. Like most men, he’d seen it as a challenge. Something he could win. The prize of the smart, sexy and intriguing Salome. Instead he felt like he’d been played in a game where the rules changed before he had the time to realise what he was even involved in. Salome called him a short while ago, just as he arrived at the hotel bar, apologising profusely and said her friend was in a state and needed her help. He took it for what it was – a sign that he was not set for the role of Don Juan. He was too reliable, too safe a person for that martini swilling, Saville Row suited, slick git schtick.
He drained the last of his beer and held his hand up to ask for the bill, when a girl slipped into the seat opposite him. Art looked around. What? What was this? She wore a sleek black dress, that seemed as fluid as oil, draping over one shoulder and dotted with sparkles. Without waiting a beat, she leaned her chin on her fist and started to laugh uproariously, blush red lips parting in amusement. “You’re so funny!” She praised through giggles. The hell was going on? On a whisper, she leaned in closer to him and confessed, “Let me sit here for a minute, for the love of mercy.”
Art could only stare at her in horror. Had he just walked into a tv show? A tall woman in a cocktail dress slithered to the table, arm in arm with a weary looking aristocrat. “Jennifer,” the woman said, barely looking over at Art, “what are you doing?”
Without waiting a beat, Art intervened, “We’re trying to have a conversation.”
The woman was taken aback, her eyes wide with disconcertion. “It is my engagement party upstairs,” she said, her gaze wavering uncertainly between Jennifer and Art.
“Bit selfish having an engagement party on the most romantic day of the year,” Art commented.
Jennifer beamed at him and the link of mischief between them warmed his chest. “It really is,” Jennifer agreed, “and mum tried to tell her otherwise, especially when I said I had plans. But Janice doesn’t take hints well.”
The ease with which Art followed Jennifer’s lead should have surprised him, but this was the most fun he’d had in a long time. “Jen said to me ‘Art, I’m so sorry we have to have our plans another time.’ And I said, ‘Sod that.’”
Janice looked increasingly distressed and from the lacklustre way she was comforted by the man beside her, Art guessed that her aristocratic escort was the fiancé. He finally spoke up. “Jenny, darling, it’s all a bit late now. Can you come back upstairs?”
Art bristled at his tone. “Why are you calling her darling?”
Malice lifted Jennifer’s lips briefly. “Don’t you remember? I told you that Yann tried it on with me first. He could smell the money on me so he could glue his crumbling estate back together.”
Endogamy really didn’t go with Valentine’s Day. He’d had enough of those two. Jennifer seemed to be a nutty yet refreshing change from sophisticates he normally vied for and she most certainly could stay. Art took a deep breath and said, “Can you two do one? Go and enjoy your party. You don’t need Jennifer to be next to you.”
Janice hissed, “I’m telling mummy!” Then turned on her heel and marched away. One down…
Yann glanced helplessly at Janice’s retreating back and clasped his hands together in front of Jennifer. “Darling please, don’t make this more difficult.”
Art stood up. “I’m only saying this one more time. Don’t call her darling.”
“Thank you!” Jennifer cried. “Yann, I’m not your flipping darling. My choice.” Yann hurried after his fiancée and Art sat back down. He had no idea where that had come from. Not one for starting fights and avoiding confrontation at all cost. He’d spent five minutes in this woman’s company and he was throwing out threats. What would happen to him if he really did spend time with her? Jennifer’s eyes gleamed as she examined him. “You do role play very well.”
He sat back down, still shocked by his display of masculine bravado. “I do a lot of things well.”
“Really?” she propped her chin on her hand again, her laser beam stare lighting a fire inside him. “So why didn’t your date turn up?”
“She’s back with her ex I suspect. She didn’t get the chance to find out what I do well.”
That didn’t even sting to say. Jennifer grinned. “And that’s why you let me hijack your date. Your non date.”
Art always saw opportunity in the worst of situations and this could only be classed as a giant wide open stained glass window. “Do you want to go somewhere else?”
She stood up and held out her hand to him. “Yes, yes I really do.”