“The fact that I agreed to do this should tell you just how much I love you.” I groaned, squeezing into my super skinny jeans. I mentally cursed my love of all things chocolate and the candy feast I’d had in my bed late last night. “It should also tell you just how much I want you to leave me alone about dating.”
“Come on, Eden, it’s just one date. Tate says he’s a really cool guy, and it’s not like you’ve been out in a while.” Brynn sat up on my bed, crossing her legs as she watched me prepare for the blind date; she was all but forcing me to go on.
Brynn Parker was my best friend. We met in college and have been inseparable since. She was the wild to my calm and we complimented each other in almost every way. Brynn was dating her “forever,” as she put it, Tate Hamilton. A great guy, perfect for her, and a good friend to me as well. I loved them both; truly I did.
Brynn and Tate had been dating for the last two years. In that two-year time frame, I’d had a few casual relationships, they either ended when I finally pulled the plug or I was dumped. I didn’t consider myself to be unattractive either; I’d say I was average. At five foot one with a petite frame, I was thin but with a little meat on the old bones. I was happy with my appearance overall. I just hadn’t found someone I wanted to spend my time with, and I was becoming okay with that.
“I like Tate, but he’s not really the best judge of character when it comes to the male species. I mean, most of his friends are male-whores.” I laughed.
“This is kind of a friend of a friend or something.” She shrugged, not helping to encourage me at this point. “He worked on the new soccer stadium; he’s an architect. I mean, come on, that alone is pretty hot.”
“I’m going; clearly, I’m going. You can stop with the sales pitch now.” I fluffed out the burgundy blouse I had slid on. “He doesn’t know what I look like, my name or anything?” I questioned her. “Do you even know what he looks like? His name?”
“Well, no. I thought it’d be more fun that way! I didn’t want him to look you up or something or vice versa. I trust Tates judgment.”
“I’m going to have to cut off your hallmark movie nights.” I teased, turning around and holding out my arms to show her my final look.
“You sure? It’s just a coffee shop then dinner; I mean, casual is my thing anyway.” I fidgeted with my bracelet.
“You look amazing as always. He’s gonna be drooling the whole time.” She teased, hopping off the bed. “Now, when you get to Brew, sit at table seven. I already had Gemma reserve that table so no one else would take it. He’ll find you there.”
“Yes, I know the whole deal. Let me go so I can get this over with.” I grunted as I pulled away from the hug she had me wrapped in.
“Tate and I will be here, so if you need anything, or if you two decide to come here for a nightcap, just text, and we’ll leave.” She winked at me. My raven-haired friend was full of spunk as usual. I appreciated that she cared so much about me, but sometimes it was too much. I was indulging her tonight, but that was it, no more setups. I grabbed my purse and phone, heading toward the door just as Tate was coming into the apartment I shared with Brynn.
“You look lovely.” he smiled. “Have fun!” He brushed past, carrying bags of takeout for their dinner.
“Thanks.” I held the door for him. “Just remember, though, this isn’t happening again.”
“Thinking positive, I like that!” He teased.
“Asshole!” I sang as I went out the door with a laugh.
“So, remember last week when we were all out at Skills?” Nick asked as he entered the kitchen. “That Tate guy mentioned his girlfriend had a friend needing a date. I was a little buzzed, and somehow I ended up set up with this chick.” He groaned.
“Ok, so what’s the big deal?” Bennett asked, sipping his beer. We usually met at my place on a Friday evening, having a few drinks before going out when I was in town. After a few months of this routine, I was a little burned out. The off-season from Soccer provided me with a little too much free time, and lately, I’d noticed I was spending it in the most obnoxious ways.
“If she needs to be set up, chances are she’s ugly.” He laughed. “I’d rather go out with you schmucks and let Reed pull in the ladies as usual.”
I rolled my eyes at my pig of a friend. The term friend was loose as we’d only known each other a short time, having met while he did work at the soccer stadium I’d be playing in once it was complete. Bennett, my best friend, teammate, roommate, and mutual friend Hugh, all stood around the kitchen counter.
“The set up is a blind date set up?” Hugh questioned as I leaned against the counter.
“Yes. I don’t know anything about her, and she knows nothing about me as far as I know. I’m supposed to meet her in an hour actually over at Brew, the coffee shop on Fairview, table seven.” He threw back another swig of beer. Watching his smug face as he laughed about this date didn’t sit well with me. I couldn’t quite place it other than the fact that it was just gross to be so superficial.
“You should probably head out if you want to be on time,” I added.
“I’m not going. You didn’t figure that out?” Nick laughed, bumping shoulders with Bennett.
“Oh, come on. That’s not cool.” I stepped forward toward his space. “You can’t do that to the poor girl; it’s not her fault.” Nick looked over at me with an eye roll.
“Poor girl, if she’s having to be set up with this guy, she might be better off if he doesn’t show.” Hugh laughed, slapping Nick’s back.
“Where we heading tonight, boys?” Nick asked.
“You’re really not going?” I asked again, feeling annoyed.
“Fuck no. It’s been a bitch of a week, and the last thing I want to do is make small talk with some random chick. I’m going out and bringing home a random who has no interest in small talk or ever going on a date.” He laughed. I nodded, taking in his words as the others began to get up and prepare for going out.
“Uber is on its way,” Bennett called out. I finished changing and had decided I was going to go in place of Nick on this date. Did I want to go on a date? Not particularly. I just couldn’t seem to let it go that this woman would be stood up and how awful that must feel. I normally didn’t make a habit of being the nice guy, I mean, I wasn’t an asshole either, but this was definitely out of my comfort zone.
Having two younger sisters may have also played a part in why I felt so awful for this young woman, imagining them in that situation. It’d been almost a year now since I had seen them. Relocating here for Soccer had been an adjustment, and I missed my family quite a bit. I planned to pop in the coffee shop, see the girl, talk for a moment and then figure a way out. No harm, no foul, and she wouldn’t be left sitting there. It sounded reasonable enough in my head.
“You guys go ahead; I’m gonna grab a cab and catch up. I have to run a quick errand.” I tried to play it off so they wouldn’t ask too many questions. Luckily for me, they were too concerned with getting to the bar for more drinks and women to care what I was up to.