This was written for The Red Dress Club, a virtual writer's society. This is fiction; concrit is always welcomed and appreciated, and I thank you for taking the time to share it!
Word limit: 600 My count: 595
The bell clanged and that perky voice again cut through the overlapping goodbyes and introductions. Clapclap! “Okay, daters! Time to rotate! Remember! One table to the left!” Clapclap!
The table jostled as someone slid into the seat across from her.
Amanda silently prayed before raising her eyes from her cocktail. Dear God, don't let this guy be another douchebag…
“Hey there! Do you know who the most popular guy at the nudist colony is?”
Focused on her drink, like retrieving the cherry from the bottom is a life-saving rescue mission, Amanda sighed and checked the phone she'd stashed on her lap. Seriously? 8:07? And this thing goes until 9? Kill me now.
Prepared to see another over-eager loser in the line of them she'd already met, Amanda looked up at her new companion, starting with his drink (a half-consumed Guinness) and working her way up to his face.
What met her there was surprising, in the very best way. Handsome, but not overly so. Well-groomed, but not so much that she wondered if he spent more time preening than she. And smiling, but in that adorably smirking way that only certain men can pull off without looking like slimeballs.
“I'm sorry, what did you ask?” She feigned not having heard the one-liner, giving him an opportunity to not repeat it. She raised her eyebrows expectantly, lobbing him the conversational ball.
“I told him it was awful, but he offered to buy my beer tonight if I used it,” he offered by way of explanation. “My buddy dragged me here tonight, said– oh, geez! My name's Ryan.” He reached across the table and she shook his proffered hand.
“I know the feeling… see that blonde over there?” Gesturing with a tip of her head. “That's Brooke. She dragged me here, too. Said I had to get out of the house.”
“And that,” he said, tilting his head towards an loud frat boy-looking guy, “is Jeff. Same story as yours.”
“These things are awful. You can't get to know someone in five minutes!”
“I know, right? Look at that couple; are they having a drinking contest or what?”
“Or her! Someone should tell her the eighties called and wants their acid wash back!”
“What about that guy? He reminds me of a character from SNL!” Amanda glanced over her shoulder to see a man kissing his way up his date-of-the-moment's arm.
Ooh, love the snark! Amanda smiled, her first genuine one of the evening. “So, what do you–”
Clang! Clang! Clapclap! “Daters! One seat to the left, please! You should have this down by now!” Clapclap!
In unison, they sighed.
“Well, I should probably–”
“Time to move. I guess–”
“Yeah… at least this night wasn't a total waste!” His words made her grin from ear to ear, her indifferent act dropped, her similar feelings evident. “Can I call you sometime?”
“I'd like that,” she said, rustling in her purse for her card. “One question: I need to know. Who is the most popular guy at the nudist colony?”
“You really want to know?” He looked embarrassed at having to follow through. “You don't want me to tell you when I pick you up for our date?”
Amanda's heart skipped a beat and she smiled. “Nope. Tell me now or there won't be a date!”
“Well then, got me there! The most popular guy at the nudist colony is one who can carry two cups of coffee and a dozen doughnuts at the same time.”
He heard her giggling all the way through her next five-minute date.