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One Too Many (Waking Up Jayla)
It was half an hour passed the time my blind date Tripp, yes his name is Tripp, was supposed to show. I already had qualms about this date and if he didn’t show soon I was leaving. I was on very large glass of wine number two and starving. Probably not a good combination as I’m a lightweight when alcohol is concerned. Oh well, I looked fantastic in my black dress and heels. My blonde hair up in a messy bun since it was humid as hell out. I jumped from my thoughts as Tripp sat in the seat across from me.
“Sorry I’m late Lisa. I had something come up with my sister she needed my help. You’re quite beautiful. Ona didn’t show me any recent pics of you just the fat ones.”
I smiled politely at Tripp. He was handsome with light blond hair and ice blue eyes. I did wonder though, whom did he think he was fooling?
“I bet you did.” I smiled. “Not that you owe me anything, but I’m sort of a stickler for the truth.” I stood up and being a bit tipsy, I raised my voice. “You’re over half an hour late and my name is not Lisa. Next time, make sure you get all of your sister’s lipstick off your earlobe and chin before going on a date.” I stopped the waiter as he walked past. “This man, Tripp Robinson who reeks of incest sex and cheap perfume is paying for my drinks.” I looked at Tripp. “See how easy it is to remember a name? Thanks for the wine, have a nice night.”
I left the restaurant and hoped I didn’t look as tipsy as I felt. One more lousy date to add to the collection. It was hard not to be jealous of my ex, Paul. He was happy and engaged already. I wished them luck and suggested to his fiancée Candie that she get tested for STD’s regularly since he’s as faithful as a male lion. That didn’t go over well.
“Are you okay?”
I turned to see a handsome Brunette man looking at me with his head tilted to the side.
“Fine why?” I asked. I was a bit wobbly. I needed food. Maybe I should have had an expensive meal before walking out on Tripp.
“I’m sorry, but I overheard you back there.” He gestured toward the restaurant.
“Just dandy.” I muttered and dug in my purse for my cellphone to call a taxi. I glanced around. “You don’t need to interrupt your date for me. I’ll survive a crappy blind date.”
The man with soft brown eyes chuckled gently; his deep voice somehow made the overly warm night warmer.
“I was wrapping up dinner with my cousin and her husband that just moved to town. Surprisingly, the food was sub par and not at all filling. You didn’t miss much.”
I nodded and searched for the taxi number.
“There’s a decent burger place around the corner if you want to join me.”
I looked up at the man. My stomach rumbled and my mouth watered. I should just go home eat a couple of cookies or something equally bad and crawl into bed.
“Curt Loftin” He held his hand out, his warm brown eyes glittering in the street light.
To say this man was attractive was an understatement. Tall, broad in the chest and shoulders and despite the warm weather he wore a light grey suit. I shook his hand. Why not? Well there are plenty of reasons not to, but too much wine and an empty stomach overrode them.
“I’m Jayla. Thank you but-”
“No but’s. Two glasses of Merlot on an empty stomach and you didn’t eat.” Curt held out his arm. “It’s the least I can do to repay the best bad date ditch I’ve ever witnessed. Incest sex. He had that coming.”
I turned to see Tripp storming out of the doors with his fists clenched.
“You had two, thirty dollar glasses of wine?”
I treated myself and planned to pay for them. I rarely enjoy a decent vintage and I had been in a fantastic mood before the date.
“I did Trip and I would have paid my way had you not been such a creep.”
“Creep!” Tripp stopped in his tracks when Curt stepped forward. “Oh you are a slut. Picking up so fast! And you had the nerve to embarrass me?”
“Whatever Tripp. Get lost.” Was I slurring my words? I wasn’t entirely sure.
Tripp pointed at me aggressively. “You are a fat, ugly piece of work. That’s the last time I go on a pity date for a friend.”
“I suggest you do as the lady asked and get lost.”
“Whatever.” Tripp waved his hand at me dismissively and stalked off.
Now I know he was being hateful but still I hated hearing it. I had worked hard to shed twenty of the thirty-five pounds I put on after my miserable marriage started. It took the marriage ending to realize just how unhappy I was.
“Right. You dodged a bullet there.” Curt turned to face me.
I was done with this night. My stomach hurt and my emotions were shot. Curt, the sexy man I just met held his arm out for me again.
“All I want is company. I don’t want to eat a burger alone. You can run away after if you need to.”
Did I look ready to flee? Probably. I wanted to desperately. The pain in my stomach prompted me to take his arm. It was an odd gesture. How was I supposed to eat after being called fat? I was a bit off-balance and regretted not having at least some bread while I waited.
“Jayla.” Curt mused as we walked. “That’s a pretty name to say. What do you do for a living Jayla?”
I Smiled. I’ll be honest, I like how he said my name.
“Small-talk.” I sighed as he steadied me.
We approached a small burger joint with tables on the patio out front.
“Not a fan of getting to know people?”
“Sorry, I’m feeling cranky. I should just go home.”
“Nope you more or less promised me company Jayla.”
They stopped and ordered their food and took their soft drinks and a plastic number to their table outside.
“Okay, so why is someone as gorgeous as you on a blind date?”
I laughed, “I’m not a sucker for flattery.” I am a liar. Shame on me.
He sipped his Pepsi and eyed me suspiciously.
“Do you plan to answer any questions I ask or just avoid them?”
I shrugged and grinned as our burgers were delivered, dressed exactly how we ordered them.
“These look amazing.”
Curt laughed. “Avoid it is.”
I took a large bite to do exactly what he accused me of. The trouble was I wanted to talk to him. He was alluring and patient. Half way through my burger, my stomach calmed and the last of the wine buzz faded.
“This is a really good burger.”
“It’s decent.” Curt shrugged. “But being starved and half-drunk makes anything taste five-star.”
“I was not drunk.”
“I said half.” He teased. “Besides it worked in my favor. I took a risk that you’re a burger lover in distress and now I have someone more interesting to talk to than my cat.”
“Cat?” I raised my eyebrow.
I giggled. “Seriously?”
“Deadly. Although my son named him so I won’t take credit for that.”
Son. I looked at his left hand since I hadn’t yet. No ring. When I looked back up, he had his brown eyes narrowed ever so slightly.
“No I’m not married Jayla. How about you?”
“Me?” I set my quarter burger down. I was too full to finish. It’s why I didn’t order fries. I can never eat that much in one sitting anymore. I sipped my Sprite to delay.
“I figure you’re not married since you were on a blind date with a loser. I meant kids.”
Kids. The one thing Paul threw at me relentlessly. I lost the one that apparently was the only reason he married me. The second and the third too. I started taking the pill after number three and got and IUD. Paul had been so cruel about my inability to be a basic woman so I never told him about the birth control. I had brought up adoption and in hindsight that’s when he started working late and going to the gym more often.
“No.” I looked at the twisted paper napkin in my hands. “No kids. No pets either.”
“What do you do in the daytime?”
I smiled. He was nosy and persistent. I’m not ready for this. The blind dates were okay because I could ditch them and never call again. They were also six for six, total jerks. Curt was nice and sweet and…
“I should go. Thank you for-”
He reached out and put his hand on mine. The immediate sensation of mini tingles flowed across my skin from point of contact outward. I drew my hand away as if burnt. I tore my eyes from my hand to see his perplexed yet amused expression.
To be continued…
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Next Chapter: Too Good To Be True