... wished you could read men's minds?
It's been almost two weeks since I last saw Jack- he hasn't called but why would he? It's not like he has my mobile number. I haven't even seen him in Sainsburys. It's funny, he showed signs that we might have had potential as a couple but maybe I put too many of my eggs in one basket. I guess it's just my bad luck then.
Work has been keeping me out of trouble, which is a Godsend, otherwise I would be analyzing and over analyzing every fragment of conversation, every touch, eye contact, everything. The bruise on my temple has gone through a spectrum of colours the last few days, from yellow, to blue, to purple, to green and now it's back to yellow. The day has been busy and I'm thankful more so, because it's been raining a lot and usually when it's raining the customers tend to not want to come into the shop.
It's fast approaching early evening and I close up shop and head to Sainsburys to pick up a few items before I head home. Sainsburys is hardly packed at eight in the evening and I stow items in my basket and my heart jumps because only meters away, I spot Jack looking at some lentils. I walk gallantly towards him, telling myself to stop overreacting at the sight of him.
"Hey you," I smile, invading his space. When he turns around, I realise it's not him at all... but someone that looks a lot like him and I want to run a mile, "I'm sorry, you look a lot like someone I know... I...err... umm.."
He smiles and I notice dimples, which only rockets my inability to breathe, "No worries, I get that a lot... more then you know actually. So, who do I remind you of?"
"Just someone I know... doesn't matter, well, sorry to have bothered you," I say leaving to go.
"Wait!" I hear him say and turn towards him, "I don't make a habit of doing this, but would you like to go for a drink? I have a mate who owns a bar, you're more then welcome to join me."
Is he actually asking me out? I barely know him. For all I know he could look like a prince but is a Psycho underneath, the thought sends shivers down my spine- but would it hurt, if I lived a little and go for drinks with him? Seriously, it's in public. Fred, get a grip, I tell myself.
"Yes, that would be lovely," I hear myself say, am I coming across as easy? God I hope not.
As we're walking to the bar on the main road, having past my bakery and towards the canal where this bar is situated, I learn a lot about Nate, though his actual name is Nathaniel but he prefers to be called Nate. I learn that he co-owns a carpentry business with his brother and he mostly provided the bar with it's furnishings. We get to the bar, though I hardly ever noticed it before, as it's off the main road down a side street and is called, The Church. The Church? It doesn't look like a church, am I missing something. As if reading my mind, Nate offers explanation to why it's called that, due to the mahogany style pew seating and the grandeur you would only ever expect from some thing like a Church. We enter the bar and he's right, it feels like a Church but strangely like a bar at the same time. There are chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and stainless glass windows but the bar is so modern with it's lighting, that I'm left slightly in a daze by it.
We sit at the bar because Nate's good friends with the bar owner, which I'm presuming is the tall blonde guy just drawing a pint. After the guy's served the customer, he comes on over and I get introduced to him, his name's Larry and has a strong Aussie accent. He asks me what I drink and I watch as Larry and Nate exchange conversation whilst Larry makes me my vodka and lemonade. After a while, I excuse myself and scurry over to the toilets on the other side, the toilets are like confession booths, dark yet intimate... not that one wants to get intimate with their pee but y'know what I mean. I head back to the group of people who have since joined us, a girl called Laura who is a lesbian and is not afraid to show it-she's beautiful with long blonde hair and blue eyes, has been staring down every other girl who enters the bar; she's a laugh, if not a little out there and accompanying her is her friend Sammy, a guy with razor sharp cheekbones, who you'd expect to have walked out of a GQ magazine spread. Falling into conversation with them is easy, because they're fun and frivolous. Larry has made me another vodka and lemonade, my third one and I'm surprised I'm not toppling over when suddenly from the corner of my eye, Nate is chatting to someone by the door and I realise it to be only one person, Jack. They're edging towards us and Nate starts to make introductions.
"Fred, I'd like you to meet my brother Jack... Jack this is Fred," Nate says, catching on to both our hesitations, "Do you know each other?"
I'm about to speak but Jack gets in there, "Yeah, we do," he says looking at me intently. So intently, I feel like I'm the only one he sees.
"Oh, how did you two meet?" Nate asks, looking from Jack to me.
"Sainsburys," both Jack and I chime.
Nate smacks his brother across the chest in a brotherly way, "No fucking way! I just met Fred in Sainsburys today- which makes sense, because she must have thought I was you."
I look at Nate who's grinning like the cat who got the cream and I feel myself turning redder by the minute. Nate smacks us both on the shoulders and pushes us together, I think he's had far too much to drink, because the push is more like a shove and we end up colliding into each other, whereby I have to cling onto Jack to keep from falling to the floor like a heap. I stand back from him and look him straight in the eye.
"How are you Frederica?" he says in my ear.
I shrug, "Good, good and you?"
"Busy, sorry I haven't called or been to see you... I've been working to expand the business..." Jack offers explanation.
"No, no, it's cool... it's not like we're a couple or anything..." I laugh mostly out of pure nervousness and I'm only left wondering where my 'comfortableness' has gone. I look to the ground as if all the answers are there but he tips my chin up with his finger and I'm forced to stare at him.
"Is that what you would like us to be? A couple?" he asks.
I'm about to respond to him, but nothing comes out... I'm speechless. Jack is about to say something back but Laura jumps into the conversation, like literally jumps between us. She hugs Jack and adopts a baby voice, y'know those voices that girls use to talk to their boyfriend, especially when they want something. Her voice has is high pitched and whiny.
"Jacky poo poo, where have you been... I've missed you," she says, her lips pouting, as if she expects him to pat her back or something.
He hugs her back and she stares at him and continues a conversation, making me feel on the side lines. I turn around and notice that Sammy is talking to a bloke and Larry and Nate are chatting to two brunettes. I feel left out and I look at my watch and notice it's late. I walk over to Nate and Larry and tell them I'm off and they both give me a hug and tell me to pop in again soon. Nate tells me, he'll get my details off Jack but I tell him Jack doesn't have mine, so I hand him a business card and I leave. I say goodbye to Sammy and try to find Jack and Laura but they seem to have moved over to the bay windows. I want to say goodbye to them but they look in deep conversation and I don't want to interrupt, so I grab my bags and head on out. Thankfully, it's a beautiful night, it's warm and home is only a few blocks away. Why am I analyzing my brief moment with Jack, it's not like we managed to talk, ah well... maybe it wasn't meant to be. He couldn't possibly have called me because he doesn't have my contact details. Ah crap!
When I get home, Ronan is in the living room with a glass of red watching TV, "What time do you call this?"
"What are you, my mother?" I reply sarcastically in our friendly banter way.
"I don't wish that on anyone," he laughs, "Come sit down and have some red with me."
I sit down next to him and notice he's watching The Tudors, uh oh... it's a sign, when you catch Ronan drinking red wine and watching the Tudors, not all is well in relationship-ville or shagville for that matter.
"What's the matter?" I ask, pouring red into a wine glass.
"I met an amazing guy today, so amazing, I think he could possibly be the one..." Ronan takes a large gulp.
"But?" I ask.
"He's engaged... and they're getting married next month," Ronan says, "But if you could have one conversation with him Fred, you'd fall in love with him too... just my bad luck. I actually find a guy, who I could see myself being with and I haven't shagged him yet but anyway, must not fret, there's are tons more men I haven't shagged. So, tell me, why are you late?"
"I was out drinking... in The Church, amazing bar, never knew it existed because it's on a side street but prior to that I got asked out to go there by a guy, Nate who I thought was Jack, but is in fact Jack's brother and well, Jack eventually came round and I didn't really get to talk to him because some lesbian just took him away and by the time I left, well... I just..."
"And where exactly did you meet Nate?" Ronan asks.
"In Sainsbury's," I reply.
"What does Nate look like exactly?" Ronan asks, always asks for description.
"Well, he's tall, has brown hair and pretty eyes, a lad's lad... completely the opposite of Jack who's quite quiet..." I reply.
"Y'know what they say about the quiet ones, you gotta watch out for those... by the way, has the lesbian got any gay friends?" Ronan asks.
"The lesbian, her name's Laura... she does have a friend called Sammy who looks like a model from GQ, no idea if he's gay or not though, sorry... but next time, come down the bar- they always seem to be there," I reply. It's coming to twelve and I deposit my wine glass in the sink and head on to the bathroom to get showered and ready for bed. As I'm changing in the bathroom, there's a knock on the door and I open it, it's Ronan.
"Jack's in the living room..." he says, "Had to let him in as didn't want to come across rude."
"Why is he here?"I whisper.
Ronan shrugs and heads to his bedroom. I can't exactly change into anything but I walk out in what I've put on a pink camisole and the white shorts to go, except these are more like daisy dukes, my hair is wet and is hanging limply on my shoulders. As I approach the living room, Jack is leaning forwards, hands together and is staring at the floor.
"What are you doing here?" I ask, because I'm tired and really want to go to bed.
He stands up, "I just wanted to check you got home okay,"
"Well, as you can tell... I'm fine."
"Why did you give your details to Nate and not me?" he's not budging.
"Pardon?" I ask, confused.
"Why. Did. You. Give. Your. Details. To. Nate. And. Not. Me?" Jack says again.
"What's this all about?" I say, rubbing my forehead, I feel a headache coming on... mostly due to my alcohol assumption then the situation.
"I just want to know," Jack says.
"Wow, you just want to know... like wanting to know why the sky is blue and the grass is green" I reply back sarcastically.
"Are you and Nate a couple or something?" he asks ignoring my response.
"That's none of your business," I'm fuming, what a prick, "Why the sudden interest all of a sudden, eh? Because someone showed an interest, other then you... is that why alarm bells are ringing or is it because you're jealous?"
"You're jealous of Nate, your brother? Because he asked me out for drinks..." I laugh.
"My brother has a way with women Fred," Jack says, "Especially with my women."
"Well, you're in luck then Jack, I'm not his woman and I certainly am not yours..." I walk towards the front door and he follows, "I'd like you to leave please."
"Fred," Jack begins.
"Just go... let's not make this worse then it already is," I open the door and Jack walks out, he turns around to face me but I don't give him a chance to speak. I close the door and hopefully he gets the hint.