Marsha’s Double Date

Marsha sat at her desk, trying to focus but she was so tired.  She should never have let Stephanie talk her into going on a double date.  They went for dinner and then to a nightclub.  It had been ages since she set foot into a nightclub.  As soon as she set foot into the crowded room with the muted light she was reminded of why she had stopped going to these places.  She danced a couple of dances with Alan and then decided that it was time to leave. 

Alan didn’t seem too keen to leave so, she encouraged him to stay while she grabbed a cab to take her home.  Stephanie was on the dance floor so, she didn’t get a chance to say goodnight.  She’d call her this evening. 

Marsha had a feeling that she wouldn’t be seeing Alan again and that was fine with her.  She wasn’t into him.  And she could tell that she wasn’t his type.  While they were sitting at a table in the club, she noticed him checking out a couple of the women, one in particular.  And as she was leaving, she saw him with her.   I hope he has better luck with her, she thought.  

An empty mug sat at her desk.  She threw it in the garbage.  She was tempted to head down to the cafeteria and buy another one but she didn’t want to have too much coffee.  At lunch time, instead of eating at her desk as she normally did, she would go out and get some fresh air.  It would help.  For now, she just had to fight the tiredness and concentrate on her work. 

Jacques stood in the doorway of his office, watching her.  She wasn’t her usual energetic self.  She seemed a bit sluggish.  Concerned, he walked over to her desk.  “Are you sick?” he asked.

Startled, Marsha looked up at him.   “No, I’m not sick,” she replied. 

“Then, what’s the matter?”

“I’m tired.”

“Were you up late blogging?” he teased.

She smiled.  “I wish.  No, I was on a double date.  We went for dinner and then dancing afterwards.”

“Double date?” he repeated.   

Maybe it was all in her imagination but he didn’t sound nor look pleased. She was about to tell him about the date when her phone rang. “It’s for you,” she said.

“Who is it?” he sounded a bit irritable.

“It’s Mr. Cartwright.”

“I’ll take it in my office,” was his abrupt reply before he turned and walked out of the office.

She stared at the door for several minutes, puzzled. Why had his behavior changed so drastically? One minute he was jovial, then concerned and then brusque. Why?

Instead of going for a walk during her lunch break as she had planned, she had lunch in the cafeteria with her friend and co-worker, Nettie. Soon after they sat down at the table, she mentioned it. “When exactly did you notice the change in his behavior?” she asked.

“It was after I told him about my date.”

“Oh, yes. Your double date with your friend, Stephanie. The one you didn’t want to go on. So, how did it turn out?”

“I wish I hadn’t gone. Dinner was fine but we went to a nightclub afterwards. At least there’s no smoking but still I hated being there. And my date was a cad. He was checking out other women while he was with me.”

Nettie rolled her eyes. “What a jerk. So, getting back to Jacques, you said it was right after you told him about your date that he started acting strange.”

“Yes. I couldn’t understand it. I still don’t.”

“I do.”

“Please tell me.”

“He’s jealous!”

“What? You’re pulling my leg.”

“No, I’m not. When you told him about your date, he got jealous and that’s why he acted the way he did. If you don’t believe me, ask him.”

“I can’t ask him if he’s jealous,” Marsha protested, aghast. “What if you’re wrong? I’d feel like a complete fool.”

“I know I’m right. Anyway, it’s up to you how you want to deal with it. If I were you, I would ask him what was wrong if he continues to act weird and hear what he says.”

“If he’s still acting strange, I will ask him what’s wrong but it’s probably has nothing to do with me and my love life.”

“If I’m right, we go to lunch at The Red Dragon Inn, your treat.”

Marsha smiled. “All right.”

An hour later, Marsha returned to her desk and sat down. She tried to concentrate on her work but her mind kept wandering to Jacques and how abruptly his demeanor had changed. Getting up from her desk, she went to his office. The door was closed. She knocked. “Come in.”

She went in and closed the door. He was sitting on the sofa. She went over to him and stood in front of him.

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He looked up at her, his expression grim. “Was there something you needed?” he asked.

She clasped her hands in front of her and cleared her throat before venturing to say, “Actually, I was concerned about you and that’s why I’m here.”

His eyebrows arched. “You’re concerned about me? Why?”

“Well, when you came to my office you were your usual self and then you were concerned because I wasn’t myself and then, I don’t know if it was something I said but your behavior changed. You seemed angry about something. And, I just wanted to know if it was my fault or something else. And if it’s none of my business, you can tell me so and I’ll drop the matter.”

For several minutes he stared at her as if trying to make up his mind about what he was going to do. Finally, he said. “You were telling me about your double date when we were interrupted.”

“Yes. My friend, Stephanie and I went on a double with her co-worker and his friend. We went to dinner first and then to a nightclub.”

“Did you have a good time?”

“No. I hate going to nightclubs. I can’t stand the crowds and the loud music.”

“What about your date?”

Was it possible that Nettie was right? “He was good-looking.” She saw him grimace.

“So, you plan on seeing him again then?”

“No. He wasn’t my type and I wasn’t his.” Was that relief she saw on his face? She hoped it was because it would mean…

He patted the seat beside him. “Please sit down.”

She sat down and turned so that she was facing him. “Is everything okay now?” she asked, studying his face.

He smiled. “Yes.”

“Good.” She was very relieved.

“Marsha, I was wondering if you would have dinner with me this evening.”

Her face lit up. “Yes,” she said without hesitation. “I would like that very much.”

He looked pleased. “Très bien. I will pick you up at your place this evening at 7.”

“Yes, Jacques.” She stood up. “I’d better get back to work now.”

“Yes.”

They exchanged smiles before she walked out of his office, a broad smile on her face. She couldn’t wait to tell Nettie whom she was going to treat to lunch the next day. The double date may have been a complete flop but at least some good came out of it–it got her a dinner date with Jacques.

Posted for August 2020 Writing Prompts – #14 – The Red Dragon Inn

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