Music: Hard to Beat - Hard Fi
Chris (aka Mr Blind Date) and I were meeting at 8:30pm and I arrived fashionably late by ten minutes. Having seen photos of Chris I knew that I’d recognise him, so I scanned the bar area to see if he was there already. Nope, not a sign. There was no way he’d go off and get a pool table without meeting me first so I concluded that he wasn’t here.
I played with my phone for a bit. Lord knows why as we didn’t have each other’s numbers… Just for something to keep me occupied and make it look like I hadn’t been stood up.
I checked my watch. I’d been here ten minutes. I started to wonder exactly how long you wait for someone before you know you’ve been stood up. Half an hour? Longer? It’s never happened to me before.
Another few minutes passed and it was just after 8:50pm when Chris strode through the door and straight up to me, all apologies.
"Hi, I'm really, really, sorry I'm so late. The taxi didn’t turn up so I had to order another one and then the traffic through town was terrible," Chris said as he simulataneously got the barman's attention.
Blah, blah, the usual.
I know taxis are notoriously bad at turning up on time, so I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, especially as he did seem to be genuinely sorry. Chris ordered us both a drink (as I’d pretty much necked mine with nerves), then turned to me and said:
"You look really nice by way."
OK, so that's one brownie point.
After the initial panic of being stood up, as soon as we started playing pool I was put at my ease. Chris and I clicked instantly, and he had loads of really amusing stories to tell. I liked his dress sense: converse trainers (snap), baggy jeans (Diesel), a t-shirt of a band that I’d not even heard of (they were up and coming and later turned out to be pretty big), all topped off with some tousled sandy hair. He was of slimmish build but had big, broad shoulders and had the odd muscle knocking about here and there. By the time we’d finished playing pool (gutted, he beat me 3-2) I was having a fantastic time and had completely forgotten how he’d been late. He later told me that he was impressed with my choice of venue as he goes there quite a lot on Saturday nights, whereas if I go then it’s usually midweek or on a Friday which is why we’d never run into each other before. Things were going great guns.
We decided to move on, and even though he tried to make me pick I insisted that Chris choose, which he did, and we ended up going to another bar just around the corner. We both got a drink (raspberry beer for me, rum on ice from him – only allowed as he’d just come back from a trip to Barbados) and sat at a corner table, lit by a single tea-light.
I was glad we went for a drink there as we could really talk instead of taking the mick out of each other in between magical bits of pool wizardry and it was at this point I realised I really liked Chris and wouldn’t mind meeting up with him again. Our body language, whilst relaxed was still careful so that we wouldn’t touch each other inadvertently, as I suppose we were still sussing each other out. It got to about 11:30pm and I hadn’t even realised it was so late as we’d been talking so much about anything, everything and a whole load of bollocks in between. As we both had work the next day we reluctantly thought it best to call it a night and go and get taxis home.
So off we walked to the taxi rank at the train station, not holding hands, no bodily contact allowed. As it wasn’t a weekend there were loads of taxis queued up waiting for fares and we walked straight up to the front of the queue. Thinking back, I wish there hadn't been any taxis and that we had to wait, as what happened next would definitely not have happened if we hadn’t been rushed. I hate taxi drivers for being so impatient, and from this point onwards for ruining the end of the best date I’ve ever had in my life.
We were going in separate directions so were getting two separate taxis. Chris did the gentlemanly thing and offered me the first one. The stupid taxi driver, rather than giving us a moment, leant out of the window and yelled:
“So where are you going to love? Do you want me to get that door for you?”
I could have killed him.
Chris and I were just doing the obligatory thank yous for such a lovely night and a goodnight kiss was SO on the cards, but taxi man completely ruined it with his immaculately timed interruption. I looked at Chris and he looked at me, and for the first time on the date there was a second of awkwardness. I think we both wanted to kiss each other but knew that the moment had been lost. Chris smiled at me slightly uncomfortably as the taxi driver continued with his bout of verbal dirhorrea, and as I climbed in the taxi Chris motioned for me to wind down the window, which I did.
"Thanks again, I've had a great night," Chris said, as the cold night air poured in through the open window.
"Yeah, me too," I replied.
He really was rather lovely.
"I'll email you tomorrow," he replied just as the taxi whisked me off into the night.
I spent the journey home smiling to myself but also kicking myself for not just kissing him anyway.
The next day was a Friday, and true to his word I got an email from Chris thanking me for the night before and saying he’d had a brilliant time. All was good, and I left work that night very happy about life in general.
So far, so good, but little did I know that everything was about to go very, very wrong...