Saturday, July 8, 2017. Daily Brit Wit.
BRITISH for eggplant. A dark purple colour like that of an eggplant.
"The restaurant is abuzz with conversation, laughter, tipsy patrons, and absolutely no whining children. The last bit helps to console his fraying nerves, though not by much. His fingers spasm on the second glass of scotch he's ordered. What he plans to do, he definitely doesn't want to be drunk…however…if it all goes awry...well….
He sips it. Slowly, mindfully and makes sure to clank the ice against the edges of the glass in a childish manner. His eyes glance around the venue and exhales when he doesn't find her. He's not foolish enough to pat his inner jacket pocket for consolation because knowing his luck, she'd walk in and know exactly why he chose this place. If–and that's a ginormous if–she hasn't figured it out by the moment she sets foot in the property, then he has to act quickly.
The waitress returns with the chilled rosé wine he purchased. He swirls the sample before sipping and nodding his okay and she slips into the background. It's actually unsettling: like perhaps the waiters and waitresses are government officials. He shakes away such fanciful meanderings.
He startles when a familiar throat clears. Thankfully, he doesn't spill scotch or wine. His eyes roam up an aubergine wrap-dress until he finds mischievous cocoa orbs. They smile.
He scoots out of his seat and holds out the second chair, after pressing a kiss to the corner of his girlfriend's mouth. She sits.
He stalls, weighing his options to do this standing up or sitting down. How hard could it be to propose?
A hand snakes round his wrist and he gazes down at the woman he wishes to spend the rest of his life with and gives her a goofy grin. Hers is fond, though her grip doesn't ease.
'Sit,' she orders, soft but firm. His wrist gets a single, tight squeeze before it's released.
'Yeah, okay,' he agrees.
As his trousers scrape the table cloth upon scooting forward, their government official-turned-waitress returns and fills the second glass with wine. His girlfriend smiles beatifically. And dismisses her.
He clears his throat.
Her smile doesn't dim, but her eyebrows raise in silent inquiry.
'Bree, you know–'
'Wait, Charley! I think I should go first.'
'Uh…okay, yeah, that's fine. Ladies first.'
'You didn't have to do this.'
He freezes. 'Do…what?' He asks warily.
'All this,' she waves her hand around to indicate the restaurant. 'Honestly, it actually seemed almost…like you knew what I had planned.' She giggles slightly, self-conscious. Her eyes still hold onto that fondness for the man before her.
'I'm sorry. What do you have planned?'
'The same thing you have planned, I assume.'
'Then…why–err, is there a reason you'd rather ask me than visa versa?'
Bree tilts her head. 'Because…I think it would work best this way,' she annunciates precisely.
'For you to propose to me?'
Cocoa eyes widen and blushed cheeks noticeably flush. At Bree's floundering expression, Charley regrets not slamming back that second scotch. He reaches for it now to remedy such a mistake.
'You were planning…to propose?' She squeaks.
He doesn't answer. Continues to stare into his empty glass forlornly.
Out of his peripherals, he watches Bree down her wine and look longingly at his empty scotch.
'So–' he clears his throat and tries again. 'You're planning to break up with me?'
She squirms. 'Uh…not really?'
'This is where your aunt and uncle became engaged,' he points out the connection stupidly and belatedly.
Her head bobs.
'You…you told me once that you hoped the same thing for you.'
'What did you think I had planned when I told you that our reservations were here?'
'Not…obviously not this,' she admits on an exhalation.
'Do you want to visit Wales?'
'I'm sorry. Did you just invite me on vacation after you turned down my proposal?'
'Technically you haven't asked,' she points out diplomatically.
Awkward silence descends over their table. Their waitress must know to steer clear.
'What's in Wales?'
'My–well, everything.' She admits ambiguously.
And she explains. Apparently the woman before him isn't who he knows. She's been in witness protection for four years, three of which they've dated. Her name probably isn't even Bree; he's too afraid to ask. He can't ask. He sighs shakily. No wonder he's never met her family or she's told him they were dead.
'Why now? Because I semi-proposed?' He finally asks.
They left the restaurant ages ago, wandering around town before settling in a park. They needed a neutral but quiet venue and going back to their apartment would hinder their conversation. Bree shifts on the bench and reaches for Charley's hand.
'So you didn't know…?' He trails off.
Her chuckle is dry. 'None, I assure you.'
He nods absently.
Then, 'Has everything been a lie?'
'No, Charley. It hasn't been. But I doubt I'll be able to assure you otherwise.'
Silently, he agrees."