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The Look in Her Eyes

Kevlin Henney lives in Bristol and online (you can stalk him as @KevlinHenney on Twitter). His stories have been published, collected, read and ignored in print, on air, at spoken word events, and around the web.

I'm back at her place, in her bedroom, waiting for her. Preparation is everything, and really, I don't have much choice.
I'm used to dates not working out.
There was that time with Arianna. We went to Rossini's. When the waiter only brought one coffee at the end of the meal, I reminded him that we'd ordered two and my date would be back in a moment.
"Are you sure?" He asked. "I just saw her leaving the restaurant."
Which can be considered an improvement on Evi, who slipped out of a window in the ladies' toilet before dessert. I sat there a whole hour wondering where she'd gone. I haven't gone back to Rossini's in a while.
An hour was also how long it took me to walk home from that night with Jilpa. I offered to pay for the petrol. She drove off while I was paying.
If the date finishes with a "Good night" or "I'll call you"--"Call me" is better, but either way--I call that a win. It's all about managing expectations; lowering mine has notched me a higher success rate.
But with Nancy, her invitation to come back and hang at hers--on the first date!--was leveling up.
Sure, I've gotten lucky before, but sometimes--most times--getting lucky has not been so lucky. Whatever happens on the rest of the date, you can't always tell what's going to happen behind closed doors. Tiya? I'm guessing everyone who knows her would say "sweet girl." Turns out she has a dominant streak. I was slow to catch on, but she had me pegged in no time.
So now I'm stuck in Nancy's bedroom. Waiting for her. Hanging here. Suspended. Caught.
Of course, the signs were all there. I misunderstood when she said she liked silk in the bedroom. I misinterpreted her mentions of her web site. I misunderstood her turn of phrase--that I was a good catch. She told me about one of her exes, the break-up row they'd had, that she'd lost her temper and bit his head off. Again, I mistook this as metaphor, and similarly misread the intent of her smile when I responded that I'd have loved to have been a fly on the wall. I misheard her name as Nancy; it's Anansi.
I misread the hungry look in her eyes. All evening. All her eyes.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Author Comments

This light dark piece was spun out of a prompt from my writing group: suspension. Some people think school, others think bridges, while others think chemistry... but who suspected the mythic challenges of modern dating?

- Kevlin Henney
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