Chapter 6: A Day in the Life

 

Beth had tried to convince Dave that walking would be better than getting a cab, but when he pointed out that the restaurant he had in mind was a few miles away, she conceded that a cab would be better. A short drive later and they had arrived at their destination.  The interior was dimly lit, with orange and red light casting a warm, atmospheric glow over the patrons inside.  It was nearly empty, being a mid-Saturday afternoon.  The hostess showed them to their table, near the back, then handed them their menus.

“Well, what do you recommend?”

Dave glanced at Beth over his menu and smiled.  “Well,” he said, affecting a Cary Grant-like voice, “the orange chicken here is marvelous, as is the broccoli and beef.”

Beth giggled at his accent and affected a British air about her when she replied, “well, darling, I do believe I might try the orange chicken then, as it comes with such a glowing endorsement.”

“Indeed.  I believe I’ll be having the broccoli and beef then,” Dave answered, still with his Cary Grant voice.  They shared a smile as their server appeared and took their orders.  When she had left, they burst out laughing at themselves.

Beth couldn’t believe her luck.  Running into Dave and having lunch with him, and things were going so well too.  Maybe it was a sign.

“So, how was your date last night?”  Then again, maybe not.

“Oh, you know, nothing special.  Just dinner and drinks,” Beth answered nonchalantly, adding to herself, ‘and more drinks and more drinks . . . .’

Dave smiled at her.  “I take it that it went well?”

“As well as can be expected.”  Sure, it wasn’t an answer, but she didn’t feel like telling Dave about how she had been stood up, and then had gotten drunk off her ass with Lisa.  “What about you?”

He hesitated for a split second before answering.  “It went well.  We had a nice dinner and then I walked her back to her apartment.”

Beth nodded, somewhat disappointed that his date had actually happened.  “Then what happened?” she asked, grinning lecherously at him.

“Beth, you’ve got to be crazy if you think I’m going to answer that question.”

“Can’t blame a girl for trying.  Besides, I’m sure I’ll find out eventually.”  It was then that she hit upon an idea, cruel as it may be, to find out the full story.  She glanced at him, and then said, “anyway, I don’t think you got any.”

Dave reacted predictably.  “What makes you say that?”

She shrugged.  “No reason, just a feeling.”  She took a sip of her drink and then acted like she was changing the subject.  “My date told me a bedtime story last night,” she said, grinning and winking.

Dave looked at her suspiciously.  “And . . . ?”

“And . . . I was just wondering if you’d told any bedtime stories lately.”  She looked at him and took another sip of her drink.  He seemed to be getting more suspicious by the moment.  “You know, maybe to someone like Matthew, someone who still likes to be told bedtime stories in the middle of the night.”

Beth was amazed at the transformation that overcame Dave’s features as comprehension dawned on him.  “You called last night?”

“Yeah.  My date—Lisa—and I.”  At this Dave raised an eyebrow.  Beth sighed.  “Not like that.  If you must know, my date stood me up and Lisa and I commiserated about men over a few bottles of tequila.”  Dave was now laughing at her, and she was frustrated.  “What’s so funny?”

Dave was trying to speak, but he was laughing so hard that he couldn’t quite form the words.  Finally, he calmed down enough to speak.  “I find your admission amusing for two reasons, one, that I thought you were Matthew.”  Beth had to crack a smile at that, even though it was a bit insulting.  “And two, that my date stood me up also.” 

Now Beth was laughing with him.  “Ok, that is funny.”

“Yeah, it sure is.” 

At this point their food arrived.  Beth took a whiff of her food.  It smelled delicious.  A growling noise emanated from her stomach and she realized just how hungry she was.  Just having a fun conversation with Dave had taken her mind off the fact that she hadn’t eaten for a while.  “Mmm, this smells really good,” she mentioned, as she readied to take a bite of her meal.

Dave already had some food in his mouth and nodded his agreement.

The remainder of the meal was spent in friendly banter.  Conspicuously absent was any discussion regarding either’s love life.  This suited Beth just fine, as admitting that she hadn’t had a date at been something of a blow to her ego, despite the fact that Dave had admitted to being stood up as well.  Lunch was winding down when Beth discovered, to no surprise, that she wanted to spend more time with Dave outside the office.  The conversation hit a lull, and Beth hit upon an idea.

“Hey Dave,” Beth began, giving him an appraising look.

“Hmm?” he asked, looking back at her with a question in his eyes.

“What are you going to do now?”

He looked at her briefly, before answering with a false cheerfulness, “I’m going to Disneyland!”

“Are you sure you’re old enough to go on the big kid rides?” she asked with a saccharine sweetness.

Dave just made a face at her, which only caused them both to laugh.  Beth composed herself and rephrased her original question.  “What are your plans for today?”

“Oh, nothing concrete really.  Just get caught up on some work and then maybe get drunk off my ass,” he answered her with a sigh.

“Why?”

Looking her straight in the eyes, he answered with a hint of a smile, “Oh, in case Matthew calls.  I deal with him better in an inebriated state.”

“Ooooo-kay.”

“Why do you want to know?”

Beth thought quickly, trying to seem nonchalant about the issue, as though she had only been making conversation.  “Well, I was thinking about catching that new boat movie, but I didn’t want to go alone and Lisa’s busy tonight.”

“Boat movie?”

“Yeah, you know, the one with Matthew McConaughey and Jon Bon Jovi.

“You mean, U-571?”

Beth smiled.  “Yeah.”

“Beth, that’s a submarine movie.”

“Whatever.  You want to come?”

Dave had a sparkle in his eyes.  “Is this a date?”

To Beth, it felt as though her insides were trying to fly through her stomach on their way to her throat, but she kept her face still as she answered him.  “I prefer to think of it as two friends going to see a movie, but whatever floats your boat.”

Dave gave her a look.  “That was a bad pun.”  Beth just giggled in response.  “Sure, I’ll go.”

Beth briefly wondered what made Dave ask about the status of her invitation, but decided to forget about it.  “Great.  You ready?”

Dave nodded his head as soon as he was done paying the bill.  They got up and walked out of the restaurant to hail a taxi to take them to the closest theater.

 

It didn’t take them too long to get to the nearest theater.  They paid for their tickets and went inside to find seats, as they had about half an hour to kill.  They found their seats and, after they played the trivia games on the screen, the movie finally started.  Two hours later, they came out of the theater.

“Wow, what a great boat movie,” Dave commented as soon as they had walked out of the theater.

Beth noticed the heavy sarcasm on the word ‘boat,’ but decided to ignore it.  She smiled sweetly at him.  “I know.  What a great movie.”

Dave just chuckled.  “Yeah.  I really enjoyed it.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Thank you so much for inviting me Beth.  I just hope the taxi doesn’t turn into a pumpkin at midnight.”

Beth rolled her eyes.  “Hey, if you’re Cinderella, does that mean that I can make you clean my apartment and do all my work for me?”

“Nope,” Dave answered with a roguish grin.

“Too bad.”

There was a bit of silence as Dave hailed a taxi, and Beth found herself thinking about the movie.  It was really sad that there were entire parts of the movie that she couldn’t even remember, because she’d been concentrating and/or thinking about Dave.  There was one scene she remembered vividly, however, because something on screen had startled her and she had grabbed onto Dave’s arm without even realizing what she was doing.  She had let go a minute later, but she couldn’t help but wonder if he’d noticed, or if he would say anything.

“Beth?” Dave said, trying to get her attention.

“Hmm?” Beth asked, finally noticing him.

“Taxi’s here.”

“Oh, right,” she answered, getting into the cab with him.  “Where to now?”

“Well, I could sure use a drink.  You want to come?”

“Weeeell, I don’t know . . .”

“I’m buying.”

“Great.  Let’s go.”

 

By the time they reached their favorite bar and grille, it was happy hour.  They ordered a couple of rounds to start with and started talking more about the movie.  To Beth’s relief, he never once mentioned the arm-grabbing incident.  After a couple of rounds and a lot of small talk, they mutually agreed to get some dinner.  They ordered their meals, and some more drinks, and chatted some more.  After dinner, they ordered some more rounds, and, as usually happens with people who are slightly inebriated, they began to get a little more candid.

Beth was nursing a drink when she began to think about her romantic history.  Sure, she was a nymphomaniac, sure she’d had sex with many men, but for the most part her relationships had been purely physical.  It was this admittedly drunken revelation that prompted her to turn to Dave and blurt out, “Dave, ya know what I just realized?”

Beth could tell Dave’s eyes were slightly unfocused as he turned to her and said, “hmm?”

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a serious relationship.”

“How long?”

She thought for a moment.  “Since before I knew you Dave.  I think I was 18 or 19.”

Dave looked confused.  “You had a real relationship at 18?”

Beth smiled slightly at the memory.  “Yep.  With my high school boyfriend.  We dated for a year, but then I went away to college.”

“What happened to him?”

Beth thought real hard, trying to remember.  “The last time I talked to him was right before I left.  He was getting ready to start high school.”

Dave grinned and shook his head.  “Cradle Robber.”

“At least I wasn’t a pale friendless virgin hunched over a video arcade game.”

“Touché.”  He drained his glass, then turned back to her.  “Hey, wait a minute.  What about that one guy who lived in England who you sent the naked pictures to?  Didn’t that last, like, a few years or something?”

“Technically, yes.  But that wasn’t a real, real relationship.  It really only lasted for six months, then he left.  It was too long distance, and you know how long distance relationships are.”

“How?”

“Long distance.”

Dave nodded his head.  “Right on.  Bartender, another round.”

Beth watched as the bartender got them more drinks.  She turned to back to Dave once she had gotten her drink.  “What about you?  Have you had any serious interests since Lisa?”

Dave sighed and drained his drink, then turned to her.  “Sort of.  It’s not serious, but I want it to be.”

“Oh,” was all Beth said as she drained her drink too.  They were both silent for a moment, lost in their own thoughts.  It was at times like these that Beth wondered what Dave was thinking.  She knew he was deliberately not telling her who this love interest was, probably because he was afraid that she might tell everyone at the office or something.  She knew she could keep a secret, but he didn’t seem to trust her.  That made her sad.  She really needed another drink.  “Another round?”

Dave nodded and called the bartender over.  “Another round please.”

They were silent again, and Beth decided to take the plunge and ask him about this mysterious woman.  “So,” she asked, trying to sound nonchalant, “what’s she like?”

He seemed startled by the sound of her voice.  “Huh?”

“What’s she like?” she repeated herself, a little louder and a little slower.  “This love interest of yours?”

“Oh.  Well, she’s funny, friendly, beautiful.”

Beth snorted.  “She sounds like Lisa.”

Dave shook his head.  “She’s nothing like Lisa.  She and I have a much different relationship than Lisa and I ever had.  We’re closer.  She’s everything I’m not.”  He got a goofy smile on his face.  “She makes me happy,” he finished, then drained the drink in front of him.

Beth just nodded, feeling depressed.  She chugged her drink, wanting to make sure she was drunk enough to forget this conversation.  The silence extended until Dave spoke up.

“Well, I should probably get going to home before I’m too drunk to walk.”

Beth nodded.  “Me too.  I should probably go home and . . . sleep or something.”  With that, they both stood up, albeit unsteadily.  Beth waited for Dave to pay the bill.  Once he had paid it, they slowly made their way outside, careful not to fall.  Beth stood on the sidewalk while Dave hailed a cab for her.  A cab pulled up and Beth felt an immense sadness that this day with Dave had come to an end.  He opened the door for her and handed her some money to pay for the cab.  She looked up at him.

“Thanks Dave, for everything.  I had a lot of fun today.”

“You’re welcome.”  There was an awkward silence.  Impulsively, Beth decided to hug Dave, who stiffened in surprise at the feel of her arms around him.  She could feel him relax after a minute and hug back.  With her arms still around him, she murmured, “see you on Monday.”

Dave replied, just as quietly, “see you on Monday.”  Beth released Dave and looked up at him again, giving him a small smile before getting into the cab and telling the driver where to take her.  As the cab pulled away, she looked back to see Dave looking after her, with an expression that she couldn't even begin to identify.


Back to the NR Fanfic Archive