Seeking (Draft 2)

She gives the skirt another pull and walks on, her destination up ahead. It’s sad, really, how excited she is. Her hands reach down to smooth her skirt. It keeps riding up with every step, almost revealing her practical seamless underwear. That’s what you get for wearing stretch nylon. Her black ballet flats are sensible and the matching tank top makes the vibrant print of the skirt pop.

The café is up ahead, white sailcloth propped out the front to shade patrons seated at the purposefully mismatched outdoor furniture. One final yank on the skirt before she enters. Hopefully, it will stay down.

Blue eyes behind black wayfarer sunglasses scan the crowd. She passes by man with long blond hair occupied by his cell phone. It could be him. His attention never wavers and she dismisses the thought.

The rest of the café is filled with families of varying age and number, a squalling infant or two. Better check up back, behind the novelty teapots and overpriced armchairs, just to be safe. No one else seems to be alone. One cast iron beauty with a dragon carved into its base catches her eye. She reaches for it but pulls out her phone to message him instead.

i’m here. where are you?

She doesn’t believe in that shortened text message crap.

parking.

The place is her favourite: a local secret and only a ten-minute walk from her house. She smirks. She wanted to meet on her own turf. The bearded man by the register catches her eye and smiles. Beneath the shade cloth out the front she selects a high stool and sits down, hands folded.

“Neesa, I presume,” he says, spotting her straight away. He lands a peck on her cheek before she can stop him.

“Andy?”

He nods and smiles. He’s short, with tan skin and crows’ feet and smile lines. The close-cropped brown hair and polo shirt-jeans combination gives him the appearance of an overgrown boy.

“Nice to meet you.”

“Your profile picture doesn’t do you justice.” Andy tries to pass off the line effortlessly.

Neesa’s mouth twitches. “Thank you.”

“Well, I’ll have a coffee. Anything on the menu for you?”

“Tea, please.”

He returns with a tray bearing a black pot, a heap of leaves and an empty cup as well as a latte for himself.

Neesa busies herself with the tea. It’s a warm day but craves something warm in her hands.

Andy selects a sugar packet from the bowl on the table and squeezes it between two fingers. Neesa watches, unable to look him in the eye.

“Have you ever done this before?”

“Yes but I’ve not had any success so far.”

“Oh that’s a shame.” Neesa sips her tea. “I haven’t.”

Never been on a date either.

“I’m never in one place long enough to commit. Most of the women I’ve met before seemed like pro’s. This one had a … menu. She gave me all the options and laid down all her prices. I told her that wasn’t what I was looking for.”

“And what are you looking for?”

“Let’s make an arrangement.”

***

Prompt: choose one of the 3 plot structures (surprise, suspense, curiosity)

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