Something Better To Do
Chapter One, Just a glass of water.
He exhaled into the cold night air and turned the handle as the warm cloud lifted away. He walked into the low room, filled with men and women and thick fruity plumes of vapor. The girl at the check-in desk smiled at him as he made his way to the thin back-row table. It held a pitcher of water and two glasses. He sat down across a young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. He exhaled and poured a glass of water for himself and smiled.
“Everyone has two minutes. After that, the men will move to the next table. All men with votes will be asked to stay at the end.” The young moderator looked at him with another, more mischievous smile. “Good luck.”
He took a sip of water.
“Are you sure you’re in the right place?” The blonde at the table asked.
“I’m exactly where I need to be right now.” He set his glass down.
She looked him over. Her eyes took their time, she was thinking. He was tall, thin, moderately attractive, and he carried himself well. He had purpose. “Are you going to ask me something?”
“I’m not trying to get into your pants.”
He expected her to blow up at him. He expected her to slap him outright. Both of which would have been appropriate. Both of which would have made sense to him. But she didn’t do either. She looked relieved. From the short skirt and all too revealing top she was sporting, he figured her for desperate. He figured she was used to hearing how beautiful she was and being asked for her number. She appeared to exude the very picture of expectant sex. But she didn’t act it, not in that instance. She leaned forward and poured herself a glass.
She said, “You’re going to bed with the young thing at the desk, am I right?”
It was true. At least that was his intention. He had read the girl’s body language, shoulders turned, toes pointed and tracking him as he made his way through the room. The brief glances towards him each time she looked his way. He knew it from the minute he opened the door and she smiled a little too long that she was his for the night.
He said, “I plan on sleeping afterwards, yes.”
“Then let me ask you again. Are you in the wrong place?”
The emphasis she used made it sound like she meant to add, in life, to the question. She quietly watched him as the time ticked down.
Neither of them spoke.
The buzzer for the round chimed and all the men got up. He took his glass with him. He knew he’d need it. On occasion, he glanced towards the woman at the back-row table. She carried on with normal flirty conversation as the men came and went. Time counted down. She didn’t look his way and she didn’t come up and talk to him afterwards. The event disbanded. At the end, just as he expected, the young thing at the desk smiled at him again. That was his queue.
He leaned in close, “I’m going for coffee after this, but I want to get something new. Have any recommendations?”
“A few,” she grinned.
“Anything good at your place?”
She lit up, “Yes.”
He spent the next three hours not drinking coffee at her place. And he did sleep with her afterward. But he couldn’t sleep long. He thought about the blonde, her question, are you in the wrong place? He thought about her blatant outfit, the seemingly desperate air about her. It’d been fake. She wasn’t there for the speed dating. She didn’t really care about the interactions with each of the men. She was reserved for something else. She had a purpose, just as he did. They had both gone in there with different intentions, neither one wanting to make a connection. He knew his purpose, but couldn’t place hers.