...Great Titchfield Street
It’s a 2-for-1 deal at a pub on Wells Street. And if I’m lucky, I can get them for free by snogging the bartender. He’s got a soft spot for me, for some reason. Either way, that’s great for me because I’m broke and I don’t fucking care. So I figured I’d try to pop over to see if I could get a pint or two off him. If his manager’s there, I’m fucked.
I stop. I should probably let my boss know I’m not coming into work.
Nah. She’s a cunt.
I keep going.
And who do I fucking see in the window, sitting and talking on the phone at some glass desk and looking like a fancy-ass piece of shite?
Mr….Fuckin’ Dumbass American Guy. Whatever his name is.
Except he actually looks kinda smart all made up. He’s wearing a suit that I think is too small and a tie that’s too thin for his body.
And the way he moves, too. It’s...weird. Like watching a dog do ballet. He uses one finger to push his glasses back, but in the same move, he goes back to writing something down. His face’s serious. He moves the way you’d imagine a backup dancer to go.
I mean, I also haven’t seen him in, like, two weeks. And if I’m going off of just how this guys moves, I don’t think it’s him.
But then he looks at me, slams down the pen in his hand, squishes his face up against the window, the way a kid presses their face against something when they’re excited, and waves like a...kid, because I don’t know a better way to describe it, at me.
In all likelihood, it is a pretty straightforward reaction for Mr. FDAG.
I keep walking because I’m not interested. I don’t want to talk to him. Except it’s really a short walk because he opens the doors to the building and shouts, “You’re the guy from the Bugle!”
Oh, Jesus fucking Christ.
I just keep walking. But I hear him running up to me and say, “I have something. For, for you, I mean.”
I keep going.
“Wait. Hold on.”
He takes my hand and slips in a hard card before I hear him sprinting. I look back and see him running back to where ever he was before he got distracted. A Sainsbury’s gift card for £25 is in my hand. “The fuck ’m I s’pposed to do with this?” I mutter, and slip it into my pocket. Because it’s still fucking worth something. Or I could give it to someone.
But then I groan and turn back toward the building he ran into. My phone’s vibrating but I’m not interested in it right now. It’s probably just Steve. But I just need to straighten all this shit out with him before he thinks this is something else.
Like were friends or something.
I walk in. The woman at the front desk asks who I’ve come to see. “I have a mate here,” I say, and I think she can already smell the ale on my breath. “He, uh...just ran out, and then came back?”
She looks at me and then picks up the telephone. “I have a...” The receptionist looks my way with wide eyes and pursed lips.
“...a ‘Tommy Maguire’ to see the new intern.” She nods. “Yes, him”. She nods, and then writes something down. “All right.” She hangs up the phone, and gestures for me to sit in a nearby armchair. “He’ll be with you in a moment.”
I go to sit.
It’s a comfy-ass armchair. So I’m good to just sit there while he takes his time.
He comes out a minute later. His black hair’s all ruffled and he pulls this boxy Bluetooth thing from his ear. In the process, he almost takes off his glasses. “Hi, sorry. I was answering a call.” He looks at me and he looks distressed. “Is something wrong?”
I stand up. “No, I just...” I lick my lips. “I just wanted to straighten some stuff out.” I say it quietly, because we’re in public.
“Oh.” He sits down and gestures for me to do the same. “What did I do?”
What didn’t you do?
I exhale and begin, “Okay, uh...” I hand him back the gift card. “I don’t want this.”
“You can take it, then,” he insists, pushing it back towards me. “You were nice to me when my friends ditched me. Why shouldn’t you be rewarded for it?”
“Because I was trying to pick ya up,” I say. I don’t want to actually say it, so I say it through my teeth. It’s real awkward.
He blinks. “So you were asking me out,” he says, leaning back in the chair. “See, I thought you were, but I’m not really good at picking up signals like that, so – ”
“No, I was cruising.” Jesus fuck. He’s a mess. “Do you know what that means?”
He nods, but says no.
“I was...interested in...” I cough, and roll my hands at him. “...with you.” I drop my head and cover my eyes. God, kill me now. Why do I have to have this conversation with this fuckwit.
His eyes’re everywhere. Like he still doesn’t understand. “So...you wanted to date me?”
“No, I wanted to fuck you,” I hiss through my teeth. I keep my eyes down.
At least 10 seconds go by before he reacts. “Ooooooooooooooooh,” he says, too loudly. But the way he says it, I don’t think he actually gets it still.
And I look at him.
“O-oh,” he whispers, and turns red. He puts his face in his hands.
There we go.
“That makes so much more sense now. ’Paying attention enough’. I get it now.” He runs his hands through his hair and stares at me, wide-eyed. “So...you were flirting with me?”
OH MY GOD. “N-no. I wasn’t.”
He takes in a slow breath and looks down. “I’m sorry I didn’t pick up on your social cues.” He looks back at me and forces a smile.
I don’t say anything.
“I-I am sorry. I probably wasted your night, and I didn’t even realize it. I’m just, not that observant to people being…flirtatious at me.”
I try not to smirk. He’s not wrong. “I’ve, uh, gathered.”
He takes in another slow breath. “Are you sure you weren’t trying to flirt with me?”
The receptionist’s staring at me.
I cough. “T-tried to. Didn’t work.”
He frowns and looks away. “God, why am I like this?”
I lean forward and hand him the card again. “Well, at least now ya know what someone flirting with you looks like.” I push it into his hands. “I don’t need it. I promise.”
“Are you sure?” he asks. “It could be my apology for not letting you...” He leans forward. “...g-get your rocks off.”
I cringe, but it comes out as a laugh. “Nah. I’m ’lright.” But he still hands it to me with this sad, defeated look on his face.
“Give it to someone. Please. I-I’m so sorry; I probably wasted your whole night.”
He’s just so determined that I finally take the damn thing and put it back in my pocket. “Fine.”
He smiles, and I see the dimples again. And he looks...cute.
“Sorry,” he whispers. Except his American accent has disappeared underneath an English pronunciation of the word. “I have to go back.”
“I thought you were here studying.” But he turns and heads for the door of an architecture firm. “Hey!” The door closes, and I sigh. He probably didn’t hear me. Again.
The receptionist looks at me. “Is that all your business?”
I inhale and smile at her. “Yeah, luv. I’m done.” I’m just irritated, though.
I head back out to the street and get about five feet before stopping. “What’s his name?”
His name is DAG. Dumbass American Guy. I’ve decided.
And I think that’s so fucking funny.
I check my phone again. Three missed calls and two messages, one from Steve, and the others from my boss. I’ve been let go.
Steve asks me where I am, because that bartender’s there without his manager. They’ve started doing shots.
I start sprinting. I don’t wanna miss this.