Chapter 2 | Blind Torment
Elizabeth sat in front of her well lit vanity. It was one of the first things she had spent her hard earned money for after publishing her last book. She truly loved the vanity and how it fit perfectly in her small little apartment.
The small stool it came with was cushioned and for that, she was thankful. It was her favorite spot for writing at home and as the long hours in front of her laptop poured in. It made sure every moment was comfortable rather than giving her another headache along with the multiple writer’s blocks she comes across and her frequent loss of motivation.
Writing was truly an effort, but that was what she liked that about it. It gave her the feeling that what she was doing was not a waste of time, and it never was. It felt like a proper job, and that feeling always stopped her from quitting and signing up for a job interview for a desk position across the street.
Did she really have to do this? Yes, she mentally answered. Well, she hated going to these types of things, but she just placed in her mind that she might gain a new friend by the end of the night, even though she would feel slightly awkward and weird. And perhaps, a good meal with a pleasant person would help her in the goal to forget about all that happened a few days ago.
She placed her long black hair into a tight bun with a rather thick hair tie. She hoped it wouldn’t come off later at night or she would look like a complete mess. Even though she hated going into blind dates or even dates in general, she couldn’t risk herself looking like a lion with an untamed mane. As she was doing so, she noticed how impeccably dark her natural hair was. In this dark lighting, along with the dark night that shows from her window, it was almost invisible.
After she felt like the bun was as tight at it would be, she grabbed five hairpins from the drawer and pinned down some parts that looked unruly. She the applied the nude coral lipstick sitting on the counter carefully to her lips. With a smack and a smile, she looked at herself in the mirror. She looked like she was heading to a late night company dinner. She laughed at her reflection and stood up from her stool, grabbed her phone from the coffee table and walked over to the coat rack.
Elizabeth grabbed the long checkered coat from the coat rack along with the black sling bag that hung with it. She wore the coat on first and then the bag. She looked at the time on her phone. It stated that it was 6:32 P.M. She believed that it was enough time to travel from her apartment on a taxi to the address of the restaurant her mother sent to her a few days ago. She placed the phone inside her bag and exited the warm comfort of her apartment.
The air was freezing that night, Elizabeth was thankful she quickly caught up and got into an empty taxi as soon as she reached the highway. She rode in the backseat and stayed on the side where she entered. She stated the address on her phone with that monotonic everyday voice of hers that made her seem calm to passersby eyes.
In reality, living alone in a big city wasn’t particularly calm. Though she had stayed for almost a year already, throughout the entire duration, one could not stay calm to the price of rent and daily living costs she had to handle. Her family had given her aid at first which helped quite a lot and the book she wrote gave her enough freedom to sustain herself for another year in her beautiful apartment. She could see the driver curtly nod to her in the rear-view mirror.
She couldn’t imagine how the date would go on. She dreaded meeting new people in these kinds of situations, and it didn’t help that for sure she would act awkwardly thinking about the whole thing they’re doing. She hated how it was so unlike herself, to mind what she says every single time she opens her mouth and the future of probably not liking the outcome of the total experience.
She was never up to enter a relationship, maybe even ever, but she didn’t like how she was going to let the other person understand that. He might seriously be looking for someone to be with him. She was guilty for being one of the people to waste another’s time, and it was a stranger at that. She thought about the events to come throughout the entire duration of the ride. She didn’t bother doing anything and just stared out the car window, admiring all the city lights and letting the thoughts flow in her head.
“Miss? We’ve arrived, ”
“Oh, thank you.” She shuffled in her bag for her wallet and gave him his payment. She exited the taxi door, nervous. The cold air that greeted her as soon as she stepped outside surely didn’t help.
She faced a beautifully lit restaurant in between other restaurants. It particularly stood out because of how bright its lights were inside that it shone through their glass windows. With a sleek black outside wall and a fancy standing menu, it impressed her. Her mother had the knack for picking out good places to see and explore.
She entered the restaurant through its massive glass doors. Its atmosphere was very inviting. The whole place had a slight scent of freshly cooked beef and the fruity aroma of wine whiffed around her. A man at the counter led her to the table for two reserved under her name. It was a wonderful seat by the window where she could she the muted view of the busy streets filled with dazzling lights and smiling faces.
She arrived right at the time when they said they would meet. She ignored the fact that the other person involved was late. She called for a waiter and ordered a glass of red wine. It was what she needed right now to warm herself up and relax.
As soon as it had arrived, she swirled the velvet liquid around the glass and took a sip. Its bright flavor coursed through her slowly. She placed the glass back on her table and noticed a man approaching her with a smile. She stood up and greeted him by offering her hand to shake his,
“You must be Elizabeth.”
“That’s me.” She gave him a slight smile and hated herself for being so awkward with the whole exchange. “I gather you’re Felix?”
“The one and only.”
The time has come. She acted decently and behaved to finish the troublesome situation her mother has got her in. She was a bit delighted about the fact that she could garner a new friend after this, and this ‘Felix’ seemed like a nice guy to get along with.
They both took their seats, and he immediately called for the waiter and ordered a bottle of red wine and a copy of the menu. Her mind suddenly shifted to the thought of the paycheck that was going to show itself as soon as the night ended as soon as he ordered that bottle. She still planned to split the bill afterwards. They sat silently until the menus had arrived.
“What would you like to get?”
“I’ll have the butter steak with the potato salad. Medium-rare.” He answered the waiter almost directly. Elizabeth was ready to state her order to the waiter as he looked over her way,
“She’ll have the same.” He suddenly answered for her. She was shocked and stayed silent despite the confusing emotions swirling in her head. She could also sense the confusion as soon as looked at the waiter’s face. Felix handed over his menu. He took it from his hands and looked over to Elizabeth. She directly nodded, confirming the order stated for her along with also handing over the menu in her hands. Which proved to be useless. As soon as the later went, Felix said,
“I’m sorry if I seemed rude and all, but I wanted for you to have the best on their menu. After scanning the other choices they had offered, this was the only passable one they had” He smiled thinking she understood his intentions, but she hadn’t. She was more surprised at the fact when she mentioned the order being the only ‘passable’ meal in the restaurant. She found the variety appetizing, but she knew it wasn’t the time to start a meaningless topic like this, which will only end up in some weird farce about choosing orders and good food. She nodded and took another sip of her wine.
” It’s alright. How was your day?. ” Elizabeth forced out with a smile, hoping it would help to improve the mood of their dinner. Ugh... small talk.
“It wasn’t great, I fired an employee because he forgot to soak the potatoes for today’s lunch service. So I had to sacrifice another batch and preparation took longer. ”
Elizabeth was slightly surprised by how he answered that with much detail, but she opted for a normal reply to his answer and said, “Oh, that’s pretty bad. I take it you own a restaurant then?“.
“Yes, It’s located downtown and called, “July” that serves a variety of Asian spice dishes with a Western twist to describe the warm weather you feel during July.” He seemed very good in plugging his restaurant in conversation. Elizabeth thought that talking more about this would help her dodge awkward silences.
“That sounds wonderful. Why hadn’t we had our meeting there then?”
“I would be to busy taking care of customers than talking with you.”
“Oh, that’s true.”
The wine had arrived, and the waiter poured a glass for Felix and refilled Elizabeth’s. He was wary about the meeting considering what had happened earlier. Despite that, he didn’t interrupt, though it was obvious on his face. She was thankful that he had arrived right after she closed the somewhat conversation they were having. Spending the night drinking away her problems would feel much better.
“So how about you Elizabeth, what do you do for a living?”
” I write novels.” She briefly answered.
“What are your works?” He asked, unseemly interested.
” My most popular one was a book called ,“Monotone” have you come across it?”
” I haven’t, I don’t read books nor go to the bookstore that often.”
“If I come by it, I’ll be sure to check it out.” Felix opened a smile, and she does so back to avoid the conversation to get more awkward she thought, I doubt it.
The steaks arrived and they smell heavenly contrary to the situation it came in. It steamed whiffed its delicious scent filling the empty atmosphere of their table.
“Bon appétit.” The waiter said and left for them to start their meal.
“Is it to your liking?” Felix asked based on the appeal of the meal he ordered.
“Yes, it looks very appetizing.”
Elizabeth started cutting her meat and fed herself a bite, it had slightly melted in her mouth yet had a good chew. The taste of butter made her mouth water, so she ate more. As Felix cut up his meat and inspected the cross section his face was in utter shock.
“What the hell is this?” He stated in a loud voice that shocked Elizabeth and caught her senses, stopping her from eating. It probably wasn’t to his liking then. Oh how I hate making a scene.
The waiter assigned to their table hurriedly ran across after hearing Felix. The other people eating in the restaurant also turned their attention towards their table. She didn’t like making a scene, but she couldn’t do anything now that the spotlight is upon them.
“Do you expect me to eat this trash you call steak?”
“What seems to be the problem, sir?”
“Felix, try to settle this matter quiet-” Elizabeth desperately tried. With that failed attempt, she knew this dinner would somehow come out to be worse than she thought it would.
“Don’t fucking ask me for the problem.”
“Sir, I’m sorry but I have to know in order to sol-”
“It’s over cooked! And the butter is burnt!”
“I’m so sorry, sir, should I take it away.”
“Lead me to your chef, if he even is one, right now!”
Felix and tagged along with the waiter to the kitchen. Everyone witnessed the whole kitchen nightmare - like scene and doubted if it was all real and not just a prank show. Elizabeth felt humiliated out of her mind as she took a swig and finished the remaining red wine in her glass and poured herself a refill. The people around got back to their business of eating while Elizabeth sat and forced herself to not think about the events that had just happened.
She looked over at the window that showed the kitchen view and saw Felix yelling his face off against an elderly chef who also defended his cooking from what she could see.
A few minutes later, Felix stormed out the kitchen, her eyes follow his movements hoping or the problem to be solved. Instead, he approached the direction of the exit, opened it himself, and walked out, banging the door.
She couldn’t believe she was ditched just like that, and she thought the awkwardness she felt earlier couldn’t be worse. Though in the back of her head, she knew it would be worse. She was mad out of her mind. She stared at the two almost clean plates of steak in front of her and the bottle of wine that was hardly empty. Not only she felt humiliated, she felt so much anger leaving her there with a full paycheck. Felix was a bastard.
She knew a blind date wasn’t ever going to go well for her. Even if he didn’t storm off like that, she wouldn’t accept his advances and that would not go so well. Technically, he never ate, but he chose the orders and an order of a butter steak and potatoes cost the most in their humble menu. She placed her palm to her forehead as she drooped down the table, losing her appetite.
She called the waiter that served her table,
“I’m sorry for what my company had said. I didn’t know he was the one to overreact like that.”
“It’s alright miss, I could see the whole meeting isn’t going really well either.” He gave her a small smile that slightly lifted her spirits, but then she remembered the check that will face her.
“Can you please pack all these up, including the wine, then bring me the check afterwards. I’ve lost the appetite.”
“Of course.” He gave her another sorry smile and brought the dishes back in to pack them up.
As soon as he finished, she saw the check and almost cried, which was an understatement of what she felt. She cried as she opened her wallet and paid off the hefty bill and left the restaurant carrying a bag of steak and another of wine.