The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Love Story

Sometimes disappointment is inevitable on Valentine's Day. And it takes a special kind of person to make that evaporate in the heat of possibility. Brogan is just that person.. 

Chocolate Offers 
© Billy London

Brogan’s gaze kept flicking between the booking system and the girl sitting tensely alone at her table for two. That table needed to be turned for their nine pm and God help him if his boss walked in and saw someone who hadn’t had a single meal taking up what should be a hundred quid cover. 
Tina passed him, a tray of empty glasses and followed his gaze. “Greg is going to go spare.”
Brogan sent her a dismissive look. “Greg’s not coming in. He swore.”
“Greg swears about a lot of things. It’s what makes him a fixture,” Tina deposited the glasses in the back and started making some more of the complimentary Valentine’s Day cocktails. “That girl’s been here an hour. She’s been stood up.”
He looked over again. The girl seemed hunched over, her bottom lip bitten to hell and her eyes reddened. This fucking day. Utterly designed to make people feel like shit, build up their expectations and drop them from a fantastic height, all to remind them of how no one loves them at any other time of the year, let alone on this one, commercialised, bullshit day.
The phone rang and Brogan answered it, distractedly. “Lounge Restaurant, Brogan speaking, how may I help you?”
“Bro, it’s Greg. Just a heads up so you can arrange yourself appropriately. The missus and I are popping in.”
“Jesus,” Brogan rolled his eyes. “The place is still standing you know?”
“I’m a concerned owner. We’ll be there in about half an hour or so.”
With a growl, Brogan slammed down the phone. Tina singsoned, “I told you so!”
One of the waitresses approached the lonely girl’s table and said, “Sorry, we do need your table...”
Brogan swiped a glass of the lurid pink cocktail and placed it in front of the girl. “No, we don’t.” He edged the waitress away and sat down opposite the girl. She stared at him, a mix of horror and embarrassment in her dark eyes.
“I’m really...”
“Whoever he is, he’s a dick. But you’re not leaving here until you’ve eaten something.”
The girl looked down at her body. “Plenty of people who say I’ve eaten enough.”
“And those people can go fuck themselves. I’d recommend the baba ganoush to start, with the homemade pitta, we do all our own baking here. Then have the grilled chicken, it comes with a crisp salad, and have some halloumi on the side. And to finish, we have chocolate fondue for two.”
The girl looked awkward. “I can’t eat that all by myself.”
“You’re not going to, I’m going to have something as well.”
He turned and smiled at Tina who quickly composed herself to approach their table. “And sir will be having...?”
He gave the order and asked for some still water. Eating to piss Greg off or not, he wasn’t going to compound a threat of sacking by drinking as well. Turning back to the table, he rested his arms on the wood, closing the gap between himself and the girl.
“Since we’re having dinner together, I should at least introduce myself. I’m Brogan. Shortly, you’ll see a big, ginger bloke storm in and try to rip my head off. That would be my boss. Tina is the one who took our order and the girl who was trying to kick you off your table is Sandra.”
She held out her hand. “I’m Elodie. Nice to meet you.”
Tina placed the basket of pitta in front of them and the large bowl of baba ganoush, drizzled with olive oil and studded with pomegranate seeds. “Enjoy. Twenty five minutes to doomsday.”
“Go away,” Brogan ordered. He nudged the bread towards his date. “Bon appetit.”
He dug in, enjoying the perks of the job of having traditional Lebanese food available to him. “Was it a first date?”
Elodie twisted her mouth in thought. “Second actually. I thought he liked me. I really did...” She showed him her phone. “I mean look at all these messages from him. And tonight? Poof. Gone.”
You’re the type of girl I want to be with... You’re so beautiful, I feel lucky you’ve given me a chance... I’d be so proud to call myself your boyfriend... 
“The fuck is this shit?” Brogan demanded.
She shrugged. “I think he was trying to get me to sleep with him. This must be the punishment for saying can we wait?”
“You’ve got good instincts, clearly.”
Elodie sighed. “Only when someone’s going overboard with the compliments. Don’t give me that look, I know I’m a good looking girl. And I know I’m a good looking girl with a few pounds on. But this... Humiliation is unnecessary.”
“Good for you,” he said, admiration in his tone. Without a second thought, he dialled the number of the dickstain. Elodie’s mouth fell open and she reached for it.
“Don’t you dare!”
Surprisingly, the idiot answered. “Er... Elodie. Hi.”
“It’s not Elodie, you piece of shit.”
She sucked her lips into her mouth, her eyebrows hovering at the stratosphere and her hands on her cheeks.
“Who are you?”
“I’m the man who’s going to make Elodie feel good, all night long. And if you ever contact her again with your bullshit, I’ll rip your tiny little dick off and fuck you in the arse with it.”
The man hastily dropped the call and Brogan handed it over. She took it from him warily. “You’re not right.”
He stretched. “It’s been a trying day. He just got the brunt of it.” He picked up his glass of water and touched it to her cocktail glass. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
A smile hovered over her face, making her eyes sparkle. “There’s a couple to your right, my left who keep looking over at us.”
Brogan followed her direction and made a face. “I know them. Nosy parkers. They’re scrambling for something to talk about after nine years together.”
“Nine years is a nice goal.”
He closed one eye and examined her carefully. He envisioned kissing her, undressing her, embracing her response to him as he buried himself inside her. He thought about sharing living space, how she’d insist on his inordinate amount of trainers go to the attic, and he would chuck out all her expensive and unnecessary beauty products. He saw them eloping, running off to Sandals resort and returning to train their two pit bull pups.
“Doable.” He said. “With the right person.”
She looked sceptical, eyes narrowed. “No such thing. No one person is right, you have to make the situation... better.”
A huge hand slapped on his shoulder. “What are you doing sitting down?”
Brogan picked up his boss’s hand and removed it from his person. “Having my first break in a thirteen hour shift.”
Greg’s eyes moved to Elodie and widened in appreciation. Of course he would. He liked a bit of curve on a bird, hence the Reverend March. “Don’t let him make out that I’m a slave driver.”
“You are.” Brogan made a face to say, Will you do one? Showing more foresight than he usually did,
Greg straightened. “I’ll leave you to it. I hope you enjoy your meal.”
“Thank you,” Elodie said with a delighted beam. She looked much happier. And he was glad to have done that for her.
“Elodie,” he said softly, and she met his gaze full on, such light in her face it made him smile. “How’s your situation?”
Elodie grinned at him over her glass. “Better. A lot better.”

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