Daria’s Dating Dilemma, Part Three
When we left Daria on Aug 26th, she was facing down the guy she’d just insulted and hours of horror at a party…
I walked forward with confidence, silently praying Keith wasn’t the type to hold a grudge. I held my hand out and, miracles, he shook it. “Pleased to meet you again.” I leaned in a little closer. “Sorry about last night.”
Keith removed his hand and frowned. “We’ll see. Maggie and Pat have set up snacks in the kitchen.”
“Oh, I’m not hungry,” I lied. Why stain a perfectly good skirt? Unfortunately, my belly chose that moment to rumble a loud symphony of starved in B flat.
Keith grabbed my elbow and tugged me along. “Don’t be silly. Try Maggie’s quiche.” My face must have given me away because he laughed deep and rich again. “Or there’s crackers.”
Crackers- no stains. I smiled and walked with him. It felt good to hear him laugh. Maybe he was the type to forgive a drunken girl’s mistake and move on. I’d really had fun with him last night, maybe today would be passable?
As soon as the kitchen door closed, I awoke from fantasy land and my dream Keith was gone. He leaned against the island frowning at me. Well, shit.
“I did say I was sorry. I was completely mistaken and I regret insulting you.” I started but got cut off by his movement away from me.
“Now you think it’s terrible to be gay?”
This was going from bad to worse and fast. “Absolutely not.” I snapped my mouth shut before my foot could slide further.
“Look, I know the honest truth about what you assume of me. So let’s try to get through this civilly. Honestly, when Pete told me about you, I couldn’t believe it was the same girl. Maggie and her stupid blind dates…”
“You get them too?” I tried injecting some humor into the situation and he cracked a semblance of a smile. “For what it’s worth, I did have a good time last night until my slip up.”
I made plans to underline the last rule in my notebook as soon as I got the chance. Why was it a gay man easily forgave you for thinking him straight, but a straight man held a grudge? Hell, they should find it a compliment.
“You were going to eat something,” Keith interrupted my thoughts, stacking his small plate with little food stuffs.
“Right,” I answered, not knowing what else to say. “Just taking in the selection.”
“It’s vegetables, crackers, dips, cheese, and quiche… are you that picky?”
A look at his face confirmed he was joking as I piled the less disastrous options on my own plate, cheese and crackers. “Well, I did keep hoping brownies would magically appear.”
He laughed outright. “Brownies would definitely have been better.”
“I make great brownies,” I winked as we walked out of the kitchen.
“I’ll have to try them sometime,” he responded sending my heart pounding. Was this it? Four rules written and Mr. Right had just fallen into my lap? Or was Keith the king of mood swing rollercoasters?
I looked over the room at hearing the increased chatter. A few more people had arrived while we’d been sequestered away. I studied the faces, thankful I didn’t recognize anyone so far. Keith guided me into a corner.
“Do you recognize anyone yet?” I shook my head and he grinned again. “So we don’t have to make their acquaintances yet. Want to play the story game again.”
“How well do you know Maggie?” I asked instead, not daring to add any possible insults to my good fortune.
“Not well.” Keith ate a carrot and thought about it before swallowing. “Only met her a few times. The few dates I’ve had with her friends went horribly bad.” He leaned in close enough I caught a whiff of his delicious cologne. “I’d say snob.”
“I won’t say anything then.” I hedged. “I love Pat to pieces and if he loves Maggie, there has to be something to like.”
“Well said. How long have you known Pat?”
I smiled warmly and found my friend across the room. “We grew up next to each other. Matter of fact, he was born a day after me. We were neighbors from birth you could say. Same schools until college, but we still kept in touch.” I pointed to a picture on the table next to us. “That’s me in the wedding photos.”
“You love him?”
I got the reaction a lot and nodded. “I love him like a brother.”
Keith smiled down at me and I grinned back. “You know, he gave me quite the speech about you. Even if Maggie called you a last resort.”
I laughed, surprising him I could tell. “Maggie holds a grudge. I drunkenly offered to spirit Pat away the night of his bachelor party. I was supposed to be at the bachelorette shindig, but skipped it to be at his. One of his friends let the secret slip in the best man speech.” I paused. “Were you at the wedding?”
“I had to miss it. I was working an account in England, but I did get a tape.” He stopped and then chuckled. “You’re the Daria Ned was talking about.”
I gave a little curtsey. “One and the same. Regardless of the laughs on the tape, Maggie didn’t find it too funny. I still get introduced as the friend who tried to kidnap her husband.”
Keith, bless his soul, actually winced on my behalf. “That goes over well I take it.”
“Not really. Stick with me today and they’ll avoid us like lepers.”
He moved in closer and whispered huskily, “Deal.”
We traded small talk about our childhood while finishing our snacks. Soon enough Maggie hustled everyone by us for introductions. I winked at my date as they all quickly found other places to be. I wasn’t kidding when I’d suggested her friends hated me. I was the plague she inherited by marriage.
Too soon after, we were herded into groups for games. Keith and I ended up at Pictionary. Maggie, rot her, had set up game stations and we quickly learned many of the folks present were paired on blind dates.
“Remind me to get her a matchmaker hat,” I whispered to Keith, who chuckled and earned us stares from the team playing.
Finally our turn to draw and guess arrived. I was the champ at Pictionary; hell my dad and I were unbeaten in our family history. I hoped Keith was just as good. I drew my card, decided how to draw it out, and waited for the timer to be set. Putting marker to pad, I was confident Keith and I would kick some Pictionary ass.
“Stick, uh… tree. God, I’m horrible at this.”
I hurried to try a different method, confusing my date further. The competitor in me wanted to win, the lonely woman in me beat her into submission. I frowned at the paper when the timer went off, shrugged, and sat down next to Keith again.
“Sorry,” he whispered in my ear. “I’m better at trivia games.”
“How are you at charades? I think it will be our next rotation.” I smiled, resisting the urge to stick my tongue out at the other players. There were no rules in Pictionary saying we had to be silent.
“I’m not sure, it’s been awhile,” Keith answered. “And I can tell your competitive. “
Crap. “It’s okay. I’m just used to playing with my family. Let’s practice charades.” I motioned over my shoulder and then mimicked eating and drinking.
Keith snapped his fingers, ignoring the startled woman beside him. “Let’s go to the kitchen for more snacks and drinks.”
I touched my finger to my nose. “Bingo,” I said, standing and smoothing my skirt. “Excuse us, we’ll be back. If we miss our turn, just play on.”
We moved quickly and sneakily toward the door, trying not to get caught by the host. I let out a sigh of relief as the door swung closed behind us and the kitchen was empty. Maggie had put the snacks away, so I grabbed a bottle of water and took a sip. I swallowed and studied the label. Peach flavored, how uptown of her.
“You know, Daria. There’s something I wanted to do last night and I didn’t get the chance.”
I turned back to him. “What’s that?”
I was about to ask him if he’d meant to slap me or throw beer on me. Instead, his lips covered mine. By some other date miracle, I’d sat the peach water back on the counter before he moved in. My hands wrapped around his neck as his mouth studied mine. It was the sweetest, hottest kiss I’d ever tasted.
I let him lead, knowing it wasn’t smart for a girl to charge on (thank you, Cosmo) and my heart skipped a beat when his tongue traced my lips. Oh, I wanted to taste him. I pulled him closer and opened my lips in invitation. Keith molded my body into his and the heat of the solid muscle under the laid back clothes caused me to moan.
“Sam, you just have to see the kitchen remodel! I’m so glad you could…” Maggie’s excitement cut off as the door smacking into Keith’s back startled everyone. “Oh, I’m sorry Keith, can I help you find something?”
I quickly looked for a place to hide. Sam, otherwise known as Samantha, was Maggie’s best friend and therefore my arch nemesis. The fact that I’d just been caught in the kitchen in a less than proper position flushed me with color and guaranteed my leper status for centuries. I could hear her now, “This is the woman who tried to kidnap my husband and then acted lewdly on my granite counter…”
Keith’s left arm moved ever so slightly, allowing me to shift my position and hopefully cover up our previous activity. Thank God for tall men and my short stature. “No, my date and I were just looking for more wonderful snacks.”
“Oh, Daria. I didn’t see you.”
I nodded. “Hello, Maggie. Sam.” I caught her studying Keith’s face and sent a thank you to whichever scientist invented stay proof lipstick. “I was wondering where you found this great water.”
“Oh, it’s special delivery from Franco’s down the street. It is delicious, isn’t it?”
I nodded and watched as the long-legged, flat bellied, full chested Sam set her sights on my date. “I’m Sam,” she purred at him, fluffing her blonde hair with one hand while holding the other out. “I don’t believe we’ve met.”
Attention, this is your captain speaking; we’re going down… The alert rang out through my head. The only escape was to leave the kitchen by the back door and pray someone let me in the front. I cursed the tiny townhouse kitchen until Keith surprised me.
“Nice to meet you, Sam. Have you met my date, Daria?”
I blinked in surprise and then smiled broadly at the bimbo. I had actually won a round with the Pam Anderson twin. Keith tucked my arm in his and smiled politely at Maggie. “Maybe we’ll get something later. We’re probably missing our round at Pictionary.”
I let him lead me out, but I dreaded the silly games to come. I had managed to squash my competitive side once, would I be able to keep doing it? I was locked in a sea of sharks and had to play nice. God help me.
“I’ll try to do better,” Keith laughed and I realized I’d prayed out loud.
I smiled. “You better, or it’s off to Pictionary boot camp for you,” I joked to cover.
The best date of my life so far and I just wanted it to end before anything could happen to ruin it. The front door slammed and Pat turned as a man walked into the parlor area. I froze.
“Scott?” Pat asked, astonished. “I didn’t think you’d make it.”
I watched, paralyzed as they hugged in their manly way and Maggie rushed past us to greet him. Eventually, Scott’s eyes turned and met mine. I saw surprise, warmth, and then the dreaded anger. Oh, for fuck’s sake! I wanted to throw my hands into the air and sign into a nunnery.
“Why, Keith, have you met Daria’s fiancé?” Sam chuckled smoothly behind us.
“Ex!” I countered quickly. “Ex-fiancé.” Who is forever ruining my life, I added silently.
Mental note, rule number 5: Make sure your worthless, lying scumbag of an ex will NOT be at any date or anywhere within a 50 mile radius.
I looked up into Keith’s face hoping to find forgiveness. I should have dragged him out the kitchen’s back door and asked Pat to mail my handbag and jacket to the Bahamas. So much for my first great date…
Please return for the continuation of Daria’s journey on October 26th, only here on Digital Digest. Get more for your dollar and catch up with us by checking out our ebooks on Amazon!
Copyright © 2011 Jennifer Feuerstein
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.