Loud And Clear

This week's Fiction Friday challenge: The conversation took off when Louise mentioned Bruce Willis.

We had to wait almost ten minutes to get a seat under the parasol protecting us from the searing sun. We could have gone inside or even elsewhere but I was not going to miss my moment of glory. I'd waited three months for Louise to accept to go out with me and I didn't want to hide away from any passers-by.

In the corner I saw some people get up and raced to claim the table. I pulled a seat back for Louise as she approached. She accepted without a word and I took a seat opposite. I was about to say how happy I was to be with her when the Perfect Stranger theme rang out of her bag. Without a word Louise glued her cell phone to her ear. The silence that followed was punctuated only by the occasional shot fired from her lips: a single word or two at best, presumably hitting its target as it took two or three minutes before the next shot rang out. My mind went back to the warning Ted had given me. Something about Louise not being right for me. To be honest I'd not paid that much attention. I wasn't going to let him spoil my afternoon.

Over the next five minutes she shot out another few words whilst the server hovered in the background. I'd already waved him off twice and he was getting impatient. Several times I tried to get her attention before deciding to get her a glass of white wine. I took a nice, cold beer. I stared over the table at the face that had beguiled every member of our class since she arrived in April. The enticing, blue eyes seemed cold and distant today. A flicker of a smile appeared... something she'd heard, or did she notice me staring? It was not a welcoming smile. I raised my glass but again no reaction. It was another few minutes before the next volley rattled forth; louder, more questioning.

"Bruce Willis...?"

Now the conversation took off. Her voice softened. The occasional utterance built up to a steady stream. She was obviously warming to the subject... or to her partner. I was beginning to feel like number three in a proverbial crowd. With nothing to say, I soon finished my beer and got up to order another; just to give me something to do. I sat down again beer in hand. This time she actually acknowledged me, giving a thumbs up sign as she picked up her wine. I stared across at the gentle curves through the tight t-shirt she was wearing. Just an hour ago I'd persuaded myself, she'd worn it for me. Now I realised she had. Those words printed across the back:
My attitude your problem

I got up and fished in my pocket for a few coins to pay my beers. She didn't even look up as I threw them on the table and walked away just in time. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Luap and Annie coming down the street. The last thing I wanted was for them to see me with Louise.


I loved the t-shirt. Great take on the bad date scenario, and very realistic.

13 August 2010 at 19:06  

Ughh I hate her!! So good job.

13 August 2010 at 22:05  

Such perseverance to last two beers. I wonder if you were inspired to write this by the plague of mobile phone induced bad manners sweeping the globe?

14 August 2010 at 08:36  

You certainly did a good job creating the situation so that we, the readers, followed the emotional change with the lead character. Great job.

14 August 2010 at 19:17  

Hey Paul,
loved the perspective you gave this piece, recounting the tone of the conversation without giving it verbatim.
Adam B @revhappiness

15 August 2010 at 08:25  

I'm with Jason on this. She's lucky he lasted two beers. This was great you pulled us right around the loop with the MC.

15 August 2010 at 23:09  

I love the character development - going from wanting to be seen with her, to being glad he wasn't - it made me laugh!

16 August 2010 at 12:16  

I loved the way this progressed too, nicely written!

18 August 2010 at 00:14  

I like the description you gave of her. And I know so many women that need a shirt just like that one, and would wear it proudly.

18 August 2010 at 13:54  

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