Thursday, 27 April 2017

Five Dates: Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies

This week I'm sharing a short story series inspired by The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts.
 
Click to catch up with parts one, two and three
 
Part Four:
 
 

The bloke sitting opposite wasn’t quite as scruffy as her second speed-date of the evening – there were no holes in his T-shirt for a start – but he was hardly smart, either. He was wearing a shirt, but it was crumpled – and not in a sexy, dishevelled way. Still, a crumpled shirt wasn’t a deal breaker.
‘Hello.’ She smiled at her date, determined to start off on the right foot. ‘I’m Natalie.’
‘Milo.’ Her date slouched down further in his seat and started to drum his fingers on the table top. ‘I wonder what we’re getting this time. Didn’t think much of that apple pie.’
‘It was apple crumble,’ Natalie pointed out, but wished she’d kept her mouth shut when Milo glared at her from across the table.
‘What’s the difference?’
‘One has pastry,’ she practically whispered. ‘The other has the crumble stuff.’
Milo rolled his eyes and emitted a loud sigh. ‘Whatever. I didn’t sign up for my five-a-day.’ He slouched even further in his seat. If he kept going, his chin would be resting on the tablecloth.
‘So, um, what do you do?’ Natalie asked. The date hadn’t exactly got off on a positive note but they could get back on track quite easily.
‘I’m unemployed,’ Milo said, rolling his eyes again. ‘Bastards at my last job sacked me.’
‘I’m sorry. That must be tough.’
Milo shrugged. ‘It ain’t so bad. My job was shit anyway. At least now I get to stay in bed until lunchtime.’ He brightened at this, sitting up straighter in his seat. ‘And I’ve been watching this program in the afternoons. It’s about people buying antiques and auctioning them off for a profit, only the knobheads don’t always make a profit at all. I reckon I can do a better job.’
‘Do you know much about antiques?’ Natalie asked, which earned her a frown from Milo.
‘It’s old crap. What else is there to know? Buy it dirt cheap, sell it on. You can’t go wrong.’
‘Well, good luck with it.’ It sounded like he was going to need it.
‘Cheers.’ Milo grinned across at Natalie and she realised he was quite handsome when he lost the attitude. Unfortunately, the effect was lost completely when Milo stuck his right index finger up his left nostril and had a rummage.
‘What about you? What do you do?’
Natalie stared at the finger working away. Was Milo really going to have a conversation with her while he picked his nose?
‘I’m a carer,’ she said, still eyeballing the squirming finger. ‘I help people with their meals and shopping.’
‘Do you have to wipe their arses?’ Milo removed the finger and shuddered. ‘Minging.’ He swiped his finger on the front of his shirt as the waitress arrived with the next round of desserts. This time it was a brownie with a raspberry and cream cheese topping. Milo grabbed his brownie with the snout-picking hand and bit half off with one bite. The brownie looked delicious, but Natalie wasn’t feeling quite so enthusiastic about eating it now. She took a nibble before returning it to her plate.
‘What do you like to do …’ Natalie had been about to add ‘when you’re not working’, but that was a permanent state in Milo’s world. ‘For hobbies and things?’
‘No offence,’ Milo said through his mouthful of brownie. ‘But these are pretty boring questions. What’s your name? What do you do for a living? What are your hobbies? I bet you’ve answered all these questions twice already tonight. Let’s mix things up a bit.’
‘What do you mean?’
Milo shoved the rest of his brownie into his mouth, holding up a finger while he chewed. It was the nose-picking finger.
‘Which animal would you most like to punch in the face?’ he asked once most of the brownie had been swallowed.
‘I beg your pardon?’ Natalie spluttered.
‘Which animal would you most like to punch in the face? It won’t be able to attack you, so you don’t need to worry about a lion or something ripping your head off.’
‘I don’t want to punch any animal in the face.’
Milo’s grimaced. ‘Are you a veggie?’
‘No, I just wouldn’t want to hurt a poor animal.’
Milo sniggered. ‘Because it doesn’t hurt them when they’re killed for meat, eh?’
The date had definitely veered off track now.
‘Do you think we could change the subject?’
Milo shrugged. ‘Sure.’ He rested his chin on his hands and fluttered his eyelashes, adopting a sickly sweet voice. ‘What’s your bestest, favouritist colour? Let me guess: pink?’
Damn! Her favourite colour was pink. Not that she’d admit that now.
‘I don’t really have a favourite colour.’
‘Bullshit. It’s pink.’
‘What’s your favourite colour?’
‘It depends.’ Milo leaned across the table and winked at her. ‘What colour are your panties?’
Ugh. Just ugh.
‘No offence,’ Natalie said. ‘But you’re being a bit of a prick.’
Milo threw back his head and laughed, as though she’d complimented him. Was this it? Was this what Gina and Jade had in mind for her when they’d signed her up for speed dating? This dude was making Hugh look like Prince bloody Charming! Right now would be the perfect time for the bell to ring, but the date went on, agonisingly stretched out for another ten minutes.
‘Look,’ Natalie said after Milo had asked her opinion on the neighbouring woman’s chest (implants or no implants, that is the question). ‘This date isn’t going well. There are only three minutes left. Why don’t we just sit here – quietly – until it’s time to move on?’
Natalie was quite proud of herself. She was usually such a pushover (why else would she be at the speed dating event in the first place, if it wasn’t for her friends talking her into it?) and this was probably the most assertive she had ever been in her life.
‘Nah.’ Milo shook his head and leaned back in his chair. ‘I signed up for five dates and I’m going to make the most of every one of them. So, what would you rather: being poisoned and dying in agony over a relatively long period, or a trip to the guillotine – quick and clean?’
Natalie rubbed at her eyes. She was probably ruining the make-up Jade had carefully applied before sending her off into the dating world, but she didn’t care. Her friend had insisted she leave her glasses behind (Natalie, it transpired, looked like an uptight librarian while wearing them) and now her head was starting to pound.
‘Well?’ Milo reached across the table and pulled her hands away from her face. ‘What have you decided?’
‘I’ve decided to never ever listen to my friends again.’
 
Part One  | Part Two  | Part Three | Part Four  | Part Five

 

About The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts
 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Teashop-Broken-Hearts-ebook/dp/B01MDNF71Y/
 
From fairy cakes to first dates!

Maddie Lamington’s dreams are crumbling around her. If she doesn’t come up with a plan to save her little teashop on Sweet Street soon, it might be too late…

So when she sees how the perfect apple crumble brings together her lonely father and faithful customer Birdie, inspiration strikes: she’ll set up a dating night involving all her sweetest bakes.

Luckily, seriously gorgeous Caleb is on hand to help sprinkle a little magic – and a lot of sugar! Could one night of scrumptious first dates fix Maddie’s heartbreak and save her beloved teashop, too?
 

2 comments:

  1. Just caught up on all four parts of these - with a cuppa and NO cake - they've all been fab and made me laugh out loud! Looking forward to tomorrow's part now! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whaaaaat??? No cake? Not good enough!

      Glad you're enjoying the series :) xx

      Delete

Please feel free to leave a comment. I appreciate them all. Apart from spam, obviously.