Fiction

The Dating Game

Geoff wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans, scouring the room. He was early as always but preferred it that way. His phone pinged.

Just parked. Walking over now

He replied: I’m at a table at the back and wearing a checked shirt.

He looked around and saw three other men in checked shirts. Shit. He picked up his phone again but stopped. Surely, he looked like his pictures. He might be greying a bit on the sides, but he still wore his wire-rimmed glasses and unlike the other checked-shirt men, had flaming red hair. He wiped his palms on his jeans and watched the doorway. Lenore walked in, dressed in blue, clutching a handbag. She was right on time, Geoff noted and better looking than her pictures suggested. His eyes met hers and he waved her over.

She flashed him a smile and took a seat across from him. ‘Hi! Geoff?’

He nodded. ‘Nice to finally meet you, Lenore.’

They ordered their drinks – Shiraz for him, Grenache for her. Geoff liked that she knew her wines and they made small talk about the drive to the bar.

‘You said you were a mathematician when we chatted. What exactly do you do?’ she asked, looking intently at him with her blue eyes.

Geoff took a deep breath. This was usually when most dates’ eyes glazed over before they waxed on about how bad they were at maths and thank goodness for calculators. Or they referenced ‘A Beautiful Mind.’ He always struggled to truly explain the depth of the work he did and his love for numbers usually keeping it succinct. Then there was the confidential nature of his work. Sometimes, Geoff wished he was just a maths professor.

‘I work for the defence department. A lot of it’s confidential but it involves designing codes, breaking them, coming up with algorithms for possible future threats. Just your everyday stuff.’ He shrugged.

Lenore beamed at him ‘Oh! That must be really fascinating! How does maths play a part in coding? I thought that’d be IT-related’

Geoff stared at her. Her blue eyes were sparkling. ‘You enjoy maths?’

‘Goodness no! I did calculus in high school. It was interesting enough, but not my thing. I’m keen though to hear about cracking codes.’

Geoff smiled and spent the next five minutes telling her an amusing story from early in his career. Her eyes didn’t glaze over once.

‘Tell me more about you,’ he asked, curious to get to know her.

Two glasses of wine later, he knew about her law practice and love for poetry, that they enjoyed the same TV shows, shared the same passion for cycling, and may have crossed paths at a music festival years ago.

There was a pause in the conversation when Geoff noticed they were the last ones at the bar. The bartender was looking pointedly at them.

‘I think he’s hinting we should leave,’ said Lenore with a laugh. ‘But I’d be happy to see you again.’

He found himself nodding. ‘Me too.’

Driving home, Geoff relived the date. His hands gripped the steering wheel as he thought about an appropriate time to message her. Would it be too soon if he messaged her on getting home? Maybe he needed to wait till tomorrow. What would be the appropriate time for the next date?

Geoff’s phone pinged at the lights. He glanced and saw Lenore’s name. Thanks for a fun evening! I had a great time!

She was keen, thought Geoff. He reflected on their conversation. She hadn’t come across as being desperate for a relationship. His heart raced. Did he even want a relationship? He liked his life the way it was but sometimes missed intimacy.

Geoff tried to ignore the tightness in his chest as he unlocked the door to his house. What if she was one of those who wanted to get married within a year, have children straightaway? He hadn’t told her he didn’t want kids; that the world didn’t need more humans ruining it. He had visions of coming home to a messy house, a disgruntled Lenore, and screaming kids. His life would become about Saturday sport and school events.

Geoff sat on his bed, fingers hovering over the phone. Finally, he typed: I had a good time too, thanks. I’ve just realised I’m away at a conference for the next month. Catch you when I get back?

His chest loosened as he blocked her number.

© Sanch V @ Sanch Writes (25 Sep 2019)

Word Count: 744

Prompt: Combine the key traits of a Gemini and a crow for one of your characters

Featured image: Pexels

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  • Lisa
    25 September 2019 at 10:31 pm

    Nice character sketch Sanch! I left the story wanting more of Geoff. Nice Poe reference with Lenore too.

  • Rajlakshmi
    26 September 2019 at 2:41 am

    Ah commitment phobia! The ending took me by surprise. That’s how over thinking ruin things I guess. Loved your narration. Enjoyed reading your story.
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  • Nate
    26 September 2019 at 11:03 am

    You nailed the Gemini prompt, Sanch! You showed us his initial nervousness and his fear of confinement very clearly. The crow prompt was harder for me to spot. I think Geoff’s need to be solitary was very crow-like. I tripped over that first sentence. As written, either Geoff’s hands or his jeans are scouring the room. I think I would enjoy a story with Geoff as a character! Loved the Poe reference!

    • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
      26 September 2019 at 1:52 pm

      Damn! So his intelligence didn’t come across as I’d hoped. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Alisha
    26 September 2019 at 12:46 pm

    That ending so good! Really liked it and as others have said the Poe reference very nice. ?

  • Margaret
    26 September 2019 at 1:02 pm

    Poor Lenore! Hope a longer story with Geoff will have a happier ending for her. ?
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  • Jen Mierisch
    26 September 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Great take on the prompts! Geoff’s character was well fleshed out. I felt both mad at him (for blocking her) and sorry for him (for sabotaging his own happiness).

  • northie
    27 September 2019 at 5:09 am

    Very enjoyable short, Sanch. The Gemini was there loud and clear, but like Nate, i didn’t really spot the crow Reading the other comments helped to pin point it.