I am writing a series of flash fiction pieces set in O’Shea’s Pub. See Romantic Flash Fiction Anyone? for more information. Here’s the second one – The Blind Date. I hope you enjoy it.
Coming to an abrupt halt in front of the door to O’Shea’s, Sam’s hand hovered over the handle but he couldn’t bring himself to take hold of the damn thing.
“Shit!” he muttered.
He really didn’t want to go in there.
Stupid sodding dare! Stupid sodding so-called mates!
He stepped to the side of the doorway with some relief when his phone beeped with a text.
Matt: You there yet?
Sam: Maybe 😦
Matt: The rules clearly state that you need to be physically inside and sat down next to her to win.
Sam: I know what the bloody rules are!
Matt: LOL! Try not to be a complete dickhead. She’s actually really nice. Give her a chance, you might actually enjoy yourself 😉
The problem was, Matt didn’t know why he was allergic to dating. Admitting you’d had your heart ripped out by your ex-girlfriend wasn’t exactly Friday night in the pub conversation with your work-mates. So he hadn’t told them. Now, he was seriously thinking that might’ve been a mistake, because if he had told them, he wouldn’t be in this shitty situation now.
Closing his eyes, he tried to get his head together. He needed to just get in there, have a drink and get out. No harm, no foul.
Right. Come on!
Walking with purpose, he swung round, yanked the door open and walked into the busy warmth of O’Shea’s.
He’d arranged to meet her at the bar. It was busier than expected and part of him hoped they’d miss each other. Then he remembered the bet and he urged himself forward.
His eyes flicked over the crowd around the bar, but no-one immediately stood out. Breathing a little easier, he pulled his wallet from his back pocket and slid a ten pound note out. Seeing a gap at the bar, he side-stepped through until he felt the old oak against his middle.
“How you doing?” asked the bartender. They’d bonded months ago over their mutually painful support of Everton football club.
“I’ve been better. A pint of Guinness, please.”
“Coming up.” Tilting the glass, Ben cocked his head and asked, “What’s the problem?”
Sam leaned forward, resting his arms on the bar. This was not a conversation he wanted to be overheard. “I’m here on a blind date.”
“What?!” Ben spluttered.
“It’s not funny, man!” he scowled.
“Why the hell did you agree to that?”
“All I’m saying is, there are football tickets on the line. FA cup final tickets. This may never happen again in my lifetime.”
“I hear you, mate.” Ben’s nod of understanding solidified their friendship. He understood the frequent agony and rare ecstasy that was the life of an Everton fan and this was the first cup final they’d been in since 2009. They hadn’t lifted a cup since 1995 when Sam was six years old.
Fond remembrances of that day were rudely interrupted by a voice brimming with amusement.
“The Toffees don’t stand a chance.”
He turned with a natural defence of his team on his lips only to be brought up short by the sight of a stunning, tall, brunette unwinding her scarf and starting on the buttons of her red wool coat. “Errr, that’s not necessarily true,” he managed to get out.
“Even if you do go to the game, it’ll just be ninety minutes of torture watching them get thrashed by Manchester United. Why would you want to do that to yourself?”
Sitting on the stool, she acknowledged Ben with a nod of her head and said, “Half a Guinness, please. Actually – no, make that a pint will you? My blind date’s here because of a dare and he supports Everton – I think I’m going to need it!”
Sam caught the sardonic edge to her words before their meaning sank in. What he didn’t miss was Ben’s snort of amusement at his double take.
Oh shit… she was his blind date!
He was going to kill Matt. Why hadn’t he warned him Ruby was gorgeous? That little shit was probably laughing his head off right this minute, knowing that he was royally cocking this up.
Ben put the pint down in front of her and they both watched her close her eyes and take a long drink, licking the creamy moustache from her lips in what he strongly suspected would be the most erotic moment of his life.
Surreptitiously shifting on his stool, he cleared his throat, trying desperately to find some way of salvaging the situation.
She looked at him out of the corner of her eye. “How many tickets are up for grabs if you win this dare, Sam?”
“Two,” he replied cautiously.
“Ok, here’s the deal – we have a few drinks, play some pool and we’ll call it a date. That should get you the tickets, right?”
“Right.” He really needed to form a complete sentence here or she was going to think he was a total moron.
She took another drink. He held his breath, waiting for her to lick those full, rosy lips again. His chest felt a little tight.
“Then, if we get on ok as friends, you can take me to the match.”
He choked on his drink. “Sorry, what?!”
“You heard me. I have no interest in dating right now. I got blackmailed into this by Matt’s girlfriend. Anyway, that doesn’t mean we can’t hang out sometimes. None of my girlfriends like football. So you can be my football friend.”
Ruby stepped off the stool and picked up her pint. “Come on, let’s play pool while the table’s free.”
Sam watched her walk across the pub. He watched the sway of her hips and the fall of her long, thick hair and wondered what the hell just happened.
“I’ll tell you what just happened, mate,” said Ben, with his forearms crossed on the bar while he watched Ruby lay her money on the pool table. “You just got friend zoned. That has got to hurt!”
That was the understatement of the century.
I’d love to get other writers involved in this. If you fancy writing your own piece of romantic flash fiction, shoot me a message and I’ll link to your story.