Harry lifted his fork, took the bite and then chewed incredibly slowly. The longer he spent eating, he thought, the less time he would need to spend actually trying to make conversation with Rose. She wasn’t unpleasant, but they clearly weren’t a match. He knew that, she knew that, the waiter knew that. As he swallowed he thought up a fun anecdote, lifted his head and smiled briefly. Rose took notice, opened her eyes widely in anticipation and swept her hair from her face to make it look like she was paying full attention. Harry lowered his jaw, but as he was about to start speaking he realised she just wouldn’t appreciate it, not even a chance of ironic laughter. As the short eternity of his jaw just hanging open continued, he made his fork dive back onto his plate, fiddled around with it hoping to grab something, brought the fork back up and closed his lips around it.
Had she any energy Rose would’ve sighed in frustration, but it just didn’t seem worth it. It wasn’t that he wasn’t nice and all and Izzy wasn’t lying when she said he was hot, but it was an empty kind of hot. The kind of hot you’d get going to your grandparents bungalow. The kind of hot you think you must escape from basically as soon as possible. So Rose just sat there smiling. Two different dating apps, but she agrees to a blind date from mutual friends. Never again! Did they know her that badly? Oh, wait, what if she really was actually that boring? Come to think of it, it’s not like she had that much interest online based on how infrequently her phone buzzed. God, she was the boring one of the group. That was it. It was the only thing that made sense. Realising that her face might be displaying this potential revelation, she smiled broadly hoping for the agony to come to an end.
Man, why’s she smiling so much now? Is she okay? Maybe she’s ill. Ah, if she’s ill she’ll have to go home. Then I can go home too. I mean, the dessert here looks alright, but do I really want to be sitting here alone? Should I order it anyhow? What is the etiquette on that? All these thoughts raced through Harry’s mind in a second. He was now more interested on enduring the suffering if it could ensure a knickerbocker glory. Did he really want it though? The name’s great, but is it actually that enjoyable? He glanced over at Rose who had now finished her meal and was sipping gingerly the remnants of her white wine. White wine with a chicken meal…was that right? I always thought it should be red. Is this why it’s going wrong? Hell, it’s been so long since my last date that maybe it’s changed since then. Do I no longer know the wine rules?
Rose’s internal face displayed confusion, possibly even concern, without realising that she was still maintaining the façade on her actual face. Was he okay? He was looking very thoughtful all of a sudden. Should something be said? What if it’s nothing? What if he’s a bit, y’know, brain dead? Is that it, has he had an aneurysm? Oh god, what’s wrong with me that I’m hoping he has an aneurysm so that I can get out of this. Am I hoping for that? I mean, I appear to have gotten over thinking it was an awful thing to think pretty quickly. See, this is why I don’t go on dates because I’m often wishing that all the men have brain problems. I’m weird. I’m a broken person. I need help! Help me, Harry! Say something, tell me you’re okay!
Harry was lost in thought, no longer finishing off his plate, taking several moments to realise Rose was looking very intently at him. More than before, even. Had he dropped something? He slowly lowered his head and looked down his shirt, but it was clean. Well ironed too. Ha, good job, me. Way to show those creases who’s boss. Granted, it did take me ten minutes to iron one shirt, but it was definitely a quality ironing. Oh, wait, why is there a drop of water the…oh. Oh no. He raised his right hand and brushed its side against his lower lip, wiping away some dribble. Sure, nothing was going to happen with Rose, but he wanted to leave with some damn dignity. Ah, any sense of a smile on her has gone. Well, drool will do it. Well done Harry, you’ve done it again!
He did, didn’t he? He just drooled. My eyes aren’t deceiving me. That actually happened. Oh my god. Do I literally attract cave men? Is it my hair? Rose pat down her hair to see if there was anything wrong with it, but it was as she wanted it to be. My face? She brushed the palm of her hand over her face, making sure everything that should be on it indeed was. Urgh. Well, fine. Screw this diet. I’m having some cake because I might as well write off just about everything from this evening. Come on waiter, come here. Notice my pain. See me suffering. I am a grown woman on a terrible date sitting opposite said date who has just drooled onto his shirt. I need cake. No, I deserve cake. I require it. Get the hell over here.
As the waiter approached empty handed, Rose pondered momentarily if she had latent telepathy, but swiftly removed the thought owing to the fact that neither of them had touched their plates for a few minutes now, so of course the waiter would come over. Harry was preparing to shove his plate in the air, waiting for it to be removed from the table, much like himself. For a minute the two of them became totally engaged in the waiter, responding that they very much enjoyed the meal and similarly, they wanted to look at the dessert menu. It was a moment after that that they both realised they’d just committed themselves to staying even longer with each other.