1/15/2010

Fiction for a Freezing Friday

The prompt: It took Edgar six months to muster the courage to ask out his dream girl. Their first date is almost over, and it couldn’t have gone better—until he discovers his wallet is missing. Write the scene.

Edgar smiled across the table at Lola, "Would you like dessert? I hear they have really good creme brulee." He paused and cleared his throat, "We could share one if you wanted."

Lola considered a moment the nodded, brushing her silky red hair back from her face and angling her neck so that the candlelight perfectly accented high cheekbones and green eyes that sparkled with unspoken humor, "That's the perfect way around my objections, Edgar." She flashed a grin, "But you have to promise not to say anything when I eat most of it by myself."

Edgar signalled to the waiter, "Creme brulee, two spoons." He winked across the table at Lola, "So, finish telling me about your latest project."

Lola chuckled, "Edgar, we work together every day. Surely you've heard all the details over the cubicle wall. You already know that marketing sold the client some mythical software system that 'we already have' and 'just have to tweak' even though it pretty much can't be done. I mean seriously," she rolled her eyes, "I don't know if I'm more irritated at marketing for their outright lies or at our client for being stupid enough to think that this little software company is sitting on perfected artificial intelligence and just not bothering to cash in." She sighed, rolling her eyes again.

When the waiter slid dessert on the table between them she flashed him a bright smile and Edgar felt his heart stumble in his chest. It was just one of the reasons that he'd fallen for her six months ago when he started at their company, she smiled at everyone, regardless of status, and didn't seem to have a mean bone in her body.

Lola arched a brow, and paused with the spoon half way to her mouth, "You're staring...did I drip?" She quickly looked down at her blouse, searching for spots.

Edgar shook his head and cleared his throat, "Sorry, I was just...wool gathering." He smiled and took a spoonful of creamy custard, "So what will you do?"

Lola shrugged, "Just keep plugging away, I guess. I mean, at some point someone is going to have to explain reality to them, but," she shrugged and scraped the last of the custard out of the dish, "that's above my paygrade."

The waiter appeared at Edgar's elbow and discreetly slid the check onto the table. Edgar glanced at it and winced inwardly then reminded himself anything was worth actually getting a chance to have Lola to himself. He reached into his pocket and his face went blank, heart racing he dug into his other pocket. He cleared his throat and managed a weak smile at Lola.

She tilted her head, "Something wrong?"

"Well, um." Edgar blushed and swallowed the lump in his throat, "You see," he laughed, a high, nervous sound, then cleared his throat again, though his voice still only came out as a whisper, "It seems I left my wallet...somewhere else."

Lola threw her head back and laughed. "Oh Edgar. You really are a nerd, aren't you?" Chortling she held out her hand, wiggling her fingers until he slid the check across the table, cheeks on fire. She dug into her clutch and produced a plastic rectangle, "Never leave home without it." She winked, her smile softening the words.

Edgar just shook his head and started muttering under his breath, chastising himself.

The waiter took the check from Lola with a curious glance at Edgar. Lola reached across the table and patted Edgar's hand, "It could happen to anyone, Edgar. Don't worry about it."

He sighed and shook his head, "Thank you. I'll pay you back on Monday."

"Oh, don't be insulting." Temper spiked into her voice, "We both ate, why does it matter who pays? Anyway, I had a lovely time."

Edgar stood and managed a smile, "Me too." He walked around and helped her into her coat, "I was going to suggest a movie or dancing but," he shrugged, "Maybe another time." With a stifled sigh, he helped her into his car and walked around to the other side.

"I'd like that." She turned in her seat and met his gaze, "I really would. Just don't wait six months to ask again, ok?"

Edgar nodded and started the engine.

"But I'll be sure to bring some extra money, just in case." She winked, laughing at the stricken look on his face, "Lighten up, Edgar. It's ok.'

He pulled up to the curb in front of her house and parked. "Lola," he cleared his throat, "I really did have a wonderful time. Could we," he paused fighting the urge to clear his throat again, "maybe try again next Friday night? I'll even make our first stop an ATM, just to be sure."

Lola laughed and leaned over to brush her lips lightly across his cheek, "I'd like that. Pick me up at 6:30." She slid out of the car before he could get his seatbelt undone to walk over and get her door, "Good night, Edgar. I'll see you Monday."

He watched as she let herself in and shut the door, then drove away shaking his head and lecturing himself.

Lola locked the door behind her and set her purse down on the hall table. She froze in place for a moment, her eyes rolling up and fluttering as she uploaded her report on the evening to the main server. Seconds later, she strolled to a recliner and sat, reaching around to slide the recharging plug into what would pass for a navel under all but the closest of medical scrutinies. She sighed contentedly as she began to recharge and leaned back in the chair. As her eyes drifted shut, they caught sight of the company logo on a mug across the room and she smiled.

2 comments:

Eric Siegmund said...

I liked the twist at the end (I was sure his dream girl had picked his pocket!).

You do realize, of course, that you're heading down a dangerous path when you start relying on your readers to be perceptive and intelligent enough to pick up on what seem to be throwaway details in order to make the denouement work. ;-)

beth said...

Yeah, I know - I thought of some stuff I'll probably go back in and add at some point cause I liked mostly how this turned out. But, well, I got distracted by a 2 year old who managed to get a hold of scissors. :)