Let me begin with an apology: I shouldn't even post this, because as I do so I'm heading out again for 9 days and will have limited chances to visit other posters. If you want to skip me because of that, I understand. If you comment anyway I WILL read your story--it will just take me a week or two.
998 words. FCA.
Twenty-eight days isn’t very long.
Twenty-eight days is an eternity.
Sometimes it’s both at once.
It was February 1st when I was given one month to meet the love of my life. To make it worse, I had to start from scratch, since I hadn’t had a date in longer than I wanted to admit.
I got lucky on the 3rd—I ran into my high school sweetheart at the Pac-N-Save (in the baking aisle, if you want to know. I was buying chocolate chips; I think he was lost). We chatted, and he was still single, so time being of the essence I set to work. Flirtation has never been my strong suit, but I made a point of exhibiting an unwarranted enthusiasm for his company.
You probably wonder how I ended up in such a mess. It was, as usual, thanks to my fairy godmother. She has a wee drinking problem, to use her slurred words. When she heard me lament that I hadn’t had a date in ages, she tried to bless me with a promise that I’d find the love of my life by the end of the month. Alas, she wasn’t quite sober, and what came out was more of a threat: “You must find your love,” etc. The “or else” wasn’t explicit, but it would be bad. That’s what she said when she sobered up and discovered what she’d done.
That’s why I was trolling for love in the Food4Less, and why I was prepared to be satisfied with my high school sweetheart, even though he was kind of a conceited idiot back then.
He still was, but I tried not to notice. Love conquers all, right?
I had my work cut out for me. In addition to my own inner resistance, I had to overcome whatever it was that made him dump me the night before our Senior Prom.
Over the next few days I contrived to bump into Brad just about everywhere except the men’s room. I knew I was making progress when, the second time I ran into him on the 6th, he asked me to go out for coffee with him.
Unfortunately, once we were seated with our lattes, he asked me if I was stalking him. I don’t think he completely accepted my explanation about a new job that seemed to be sending me to all the same places he went. But he did agree to see me again, so I counted it as progress. It might have simply been his ego—it was so easy for him to believe a woman was chasing him.
The hard part for the next week was coming up with reasons why we should go out. Every. Single. Day. That, and keeping my smile pasted into place while he talked on and on about himself. I must have succeeded, because Brad began to come around to my place without me even asking.
It looked like I’d dodged my Fairy Godmother’s drunken bullet. I still had ten days left and Brad was eating out of my hand, even starting to drop hints about a ring.
There was only one problem. I didn’t really like him. In fact, I really didn’t like him (there’s a big difference). Would it break the curse if I married someone I didn’t love?
I asked my FG, but all she said was, “Hand me another beer, dearie.” My uncouth Fairy Godsot drinks Bud Light.
I was left with a dilemma: I’d not found anyone better than Brad, and while I didn’t exactly consider him my ideal man, he seemed to be getting genuinely fond of me. Anyway, he was my best option. My only option, actually.
Brad had to go out of town for work, and I spent the next three days debating if I should lure him on to the proposal I needed. When he got home and called me, I told him I had a migraine and couldn’t go out. I agonized all night over that decision.
I spent the morning of the 20th with Brad, who bored me to death. He assumed I was pale and listless because of the migraine I’d not had the night before.
That evening I cruised singles bars with my BFF, flirting with everything male. She kept asking, “What about Brad?” She knew all about him, but I couldn’t tell her about my Fairy Godsot.
On the 22nd I turned down Brad’s proposal. He was justifiably furious at the way I’d led him on. I didn’t try to explain, not that he gave me the chance.
I spent the 23rd to the 26th imitating the FG: I bought a few of boxes of cardboardeaux and stayed drunk the whole time.
I called in sick to work, planning to drink until the sky fell March 1st.
My boss showed up on the 27th, worried because I’m never sick. Nor do I get drunk, so when he saw the wine boxes, he knew something was very wrong.
I was drunk enough to explain. He listened without comment, then said, “You have 15 minutes to shower and dress for work. Make the most of it, because I need to you to train the new guy.”
I groaned and rolled my eyes and cussed some, but he didn’t budge. I could see it all: he was going to try to set me up, and it would be another Les, the sexist pig from Accounting with wandering hands.
“It’s my nephew, Donal,” my boss added. Why would he set up his own nephew with a doomed drunk? The kid must be odious.
I wasn’t going to get myself hooked up with a Les, or a pimply youngster either, but I pulled myself together and the boss drove me to the office. He didn’t say anything more about his nephew, and I guessed he’d be a mess.
Donal was no Les, and he wasn’t a mess.
I made the deadline.
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