In the spirit of Valentine’s Day I thought I’d share this romantic short story that I wrote. Enjoy 🙂
The Singles ball:
There are times in life I wish I could fast-forward through, and this is one of them. I peek over at Sally; she is laughing and flirting with a tall blonde. At least somebody is having a good time. I glance up at Greg, the man I’m slow dancing with. He smirks down at me, his meaty breath wafting over me. I smile back through clenched teeth. When is this song going to end?
Greg’s hand keeps sliding down to my backside even though I push it back up every time. I’m going to kill Sally when we got home! Why did I let her talk me into coming to a singles ball? Sally had said it was time I started dating again, but I’m not sure I’m ready. It’s only been a year since I broke it off with my cheating ex-fiancé. She had begged, pleaded and then promised it would be fun, but the whole night so far has been horrible. I close my eyes and pray the night will end.
The music finally stops. I push Greg’s arms from around me and take a step back. “Wanna get a drink from the bar?” he asks.
Not even if he paid me a million dollars. “I have to go to the ladies, excuse me.” I elbow my way through the crowd before he can say another word.
I spy a balcony and make my way outside. I need fresh air. A cool breeze brushes against my cheeks and I close my eyes and inhale deeply.
“You don’t look like you’re having much fun.”
I spin around and see the attractive waiter I noticed earlier in the night. He is by far the best looking guy here. “Were you watching me?” My heart picks up a little at the thought.
He takes a step forward. “Every man in that room was watching you.”
I roll my eyes. “I find that hard to believe.”
He smiles and holds out his hand. “I’m Ben.”
It’s warm when I slip my hand into it and my skin tingles with the contact. “Bianca.”
“You have a beautiful name.”
“Thank you.” I blush a little and am glad the lighting is low. “Are you on a break?”
I nod and turn back to lean against the railing, looking up at the stars. Ben moves beside me.
“So, Bianca, what brings you here? I wouldn’t think a beautiful girl like you would need to come to a singles ball.”
I groan. “My friend, Sally, forced me. She didn’t want to come alone.”
“But you are single?” The question makes me look at him. He is gazing down at me, his eyes sparkling.
“Was that a, oh, yes I’m single and don’t want to be, or, oh, yes I’m single and happy to be?” He shifts closer to me, our faces just inches apart. This one isn’t shy.
“Undecided,” I tell him truthfully. “So, are you single?” I ask, trying to sound casual.
“Oh, yes!” he replies, and we both laugh.
“Excuse me,” he says, and slips back into the restaurant. I’m not sure if he’s coming back, maybe his break is over? To my surprise I feel a little disappointed.
A few minutes later he returns, holding two glasses of wine. He hands one to me and I raise an eyebrow. “Should you be drinking at work?”
I’m not convinced, but take a sip of the wine. He settles against the railing, standing close to me. He smells amazingly good.
“What do you do for a living?” he asks.
“I am an event organiser.”
“Interesting.” The word seems to have subtext I don’t understand. I go to ask him about it, when we are interrupted. Ben spins around before I even realise we aren’t alone. I turn to see a waiter placing a small table near the wooden bench by the doors.
The waiter leaves and returns a moment later carrying a platter of food. He places it on the table and looks at Ben. “Will that be all, Sir?”
I raise an eyebrow, sir?
“Yes, thank you,” Ben replies, and the waiter scampers inside. Ben sits at the table and gestures beside him. “Would you like to sit?”
I nod. I haven’t managed to eat yet and I realise I’m starving. I slide in next to him, placing my wine glass on the table. “You’re not just a waiter are you?”
He smiles. “No. I actually own the restaurant.”
“Oh”. Wow. I hadn’t expected that.
“Don’t you think it’s interesting that you organise events and I own a restaurant, maybe one day we could work together?”
So that’s what he found interesting when I told him my line of work. “Maybe.” I seize my chance and take my first bite of the food. Ben follows my lead.
The air is getting cooler and I find myself unwittingly rubbing my arms.
“Are you cold?” Ben asks.
“No,” I lie, not ready to go back inside yet. He pulls his jacket off and rests it over my shoulders. “You’ll be cold,” I protest, and go to take the jacket off.
“I’m fine,” he says. “I was sweltering in there.”
“Okay.” I slip my arms into his jacket. “How long have you owned the restaurant?”
“How old are you?” I ask, he doesn’t look much older than me, maybe twenty four?
He had just taken a bite of food and needs to swallow before answering. “I’m twenty five.”
I’m impressed. “I don’t know anyone as young as you that owns a restaurant.”
He shifts so that his whole body is facing mine and our knees touch. “When I know what I want, I do what I need to get it.”
I gulp. “Does that included women?”
He smiles but doesn’t answer.
The platter is now empty and I’m full. The food was delicious. I stand and walk back over to the railing. Ben follows me, leaning in close so our arms brush.
“How many singles balls do you host?” I ask.
“One today, on Valentine’s Day, and one in December, just before Christmas.”
“Am I special or is this how you meet all your women?” I ask playfully, though I really want to know.
Ben laughs. “I’ve never met a woman this way before. I try to stay out of the guests’ way.”
“You haven’t done a very good job staying out of my way.”
“I don’t want to stay out of your way.” A strand of my dark hair falls onto my face. Ben leans in and carefully places it behind my ear, his warm breath brushing against my cheek. The intensity in his eyes makes me gulp. “Do you want me to stay away from you?”
“No,” I whisper, my breath escaping me. Butterflies fill my stomach and I turn away, my gaze falling to the ground.
“Would you like to dance?” he asks.
I whip back around to him. “Here?”
“Why not?” He shrugs. “It’s less crowded, more intimate.”
“Okay.” I step forward and he slips one hand into mine, wrapping his other arm around my waist, pulling me close. We start to sway to the music drifting through the balcony doors, spinning around in slow circles. My body is hyper aware of his, and my heart beats frantically against his broad chest. I hope he can’t feel it.
My mobile beeps loudly, making me jump, and Ben lets me go. I apologise as I dig it out of my bag.
“It’s from my friend,” I tell him. “We came in her car and she is ready to go.” I put my phone back in my purse slowly, sadness washing over me. Half an hour ago I couldn’t wait to leave, now all I want to do is stay. “Thank you for dinner. The food here is excellent.” I should walk away, but I can’t move, Ben has me trapped in his soft brown eyes.
“I’d like to see you again. Would you like to go out tomorrow night?”
My heart stops. I’m shock by the question, I never expected it. Never thought once that I’d want to say yes to anyone I met tonight.
“If you’re busy tomorrow we can make it another night,” he says, reaching over to play with a button on his jacket.
I forgot that I’m wearing it and go to slip it off. He stops me. “Keep it on. I’ll get it off you tomorrow night.”
“I haven’t said yes.”
“Is that a no?”
“Then you can give it to me tomorrow night.” He pulls out his mobile and I give him my number, my stomach fluttering the whole time. What if he doesn’t call? But then again, if he wants his jacket he has to.
He holds out his bent arm to me, like a gentleman, and I slip my hand through it. He walks me downstairs and all the way outside. Sally is waiting right out the front, ignoring the no parking sign.
I let his arm go and turn to face him. “I guess this is goodbye.”
“Goodnight, Bianca, it was a pleasure to meet you. I’m glad Sally made you come.”
So am I.
He leans in, placing a small, soft kiss on my lips. Desire spreads through me and I sink into him, sliding my hand around his neck to pull him closer, kissing him deeper. When he pulls away, I keep my eyes closed, savouring the moment. It’s been a long time since I’ve been kissed, and I’ve never been kissed like that, have never been left so breathless.
Ben is smiling at me when I open my eyes and I smile back, biting my lip. We say goodbye and then I practically bounce to the car.
Sally has a huge smile on her face when I hop into the front seat. “I see you’re finally getting back on the horse.” My smile mirrors hers as I hold down a sequel. “Just make sure you give him a good ride,” she adds, waggling her eyebrows.
I gasp with half-hearted horror and slap her arm. She laughs and I shake my head at her. As she starts the car, I snuggle into Ben’s jacket and his scent surrounds me. I lean against the window and close my eyes, drifting back into the memory of Ben’s lips. I can’t wait to kiss him again.