I could tell James was uncomfortable with this. Truth be told, I wasn’t feeling all that hot with it either. But I'm a man of my word, and far be it from me to go back on my word once I say I’ll do something.
I chatted away with Amelia, using false confidence. I’ve never been too good at talking emotionally with girls, especially when I know they’re taken.
But the fact that I already knew her, and we were already quite friendly, gave me the stool I needed to stand on to overcome my own insecurities when it came to talking with women. Of course the real trick was not letting on that I knew her, thank goodness I’ve always been a decent actor.
“So what do you do with yourself Amelia?” I asked her casually, chowing down on my medium rare steak.
“I work in a café, with my folks, nothing major; how about you?” She asked with a smile.
“Me? Nothing all that big… I err…” I froze on what to say, I nearly said marketing but that would be too obvious. “I work with… animals…? Yeah! Animals. I'm a zoo keeper.”
“And how old are you?” She plied me with questions.
“Twenty” I said unwittingly.
“Wow and you’re already a zoo keeper? Doesn’t it take like years to be one?” Amelia said, clever girl…
“Well erm… my uncle owns the zoo itself, so he gave me the job and I just turned out to be really good at it” I said, thinking on my feet.
“Well Lewis, you’re very lucky. I love animals! I’d love to work in a zoo…” she said dreamily.
“Amelia, I must say I'm rather enjoying myself. So I'm willing to give you a full access tour of the zoo, if you’d be willing to have a second date with me?” I said thinking she would turn me down.
“You’d do that for me?! That would be awesome! I wish my boyfriend James took me to the zoo more often” she said, which made James next to me splutter on his drink.
I was pretty shocked; I didn’t expect things to go like this. I thought this was going to be a one-off thing, not a reoccurrence. That was when I saw James and Cosette opening up and chatting more, and I realised this was a bet. And I win my bets.
“Oh… ok then… I guess I’ll take you to the zoo then” I said meekly, not sure of how to deal with the situation getting out of control.
“Amelia! James is your boyfriend! You can’t go out with him!” Cosette berated Amelia, making me smile.
“Oh loosen up; it’s just a bit of fun. It’s not like we’re sleeping with each other” Amelia said half-heartedly.
“Yeah come on Cosette, loosen up!” I said jokingly. Cosette ignored me and went back to talking with James; Amelia looked at me and continued to smile.
The night went on rather nicely, and we had just finished dessert when everyone was sipping wine that I was politely refusing to have. I didn’t drink, never had, never will. But if I said that they’d know it was me, seeing as how they know my views on alcohol.
“Oh come on Lewis! Just one glass!” Amelia said merrily.
“No thanks, I'm the designated driver” I excused myself.
“One glass won’t send you over the limit” Amelia chuckled.
“I'm a lightweight when it comes to drinking” I joined in.
“Oh I doubt that! Just one glass Lewis!” Amelia said, trying to push the glass into my hands. I pushed it aside, nearly spilling it.
“I said no thank you, I don’t drink” I admitted.
“Really? Oh you remind me of a friend of ours. Cosette is going out with him. He is a total teetotal, total bore” she said pouting.
“Sounds like no fun at all!” James said laughing, making me go red.
“Now hold on, I think Cosette’s boyfriend is a good man from what I’ve heard” I defended myself inadvertently.
“Ah depends, Cosette won’t say anything bad about him. But he can be arrogant sometimes cos’ he has loads of money. He used to be quite poor, and he comes from England like you” Amelia went on.
“Whoa, who said I come from England?” I asked, shocked at how she would know that.
“Your accent of course! Plus you do sound like him too” Amelia joked.
Oh crap! The accent! I completely forgot about that! How could I have made such a rookie mistake? Oh well its established now, best thing I can do is work with it.
“Yeah you got a keen ear Amelia, I'm from Yorkshire, in northern England” I said.
“Is that far away from Essex?” Amelia asked.
“Yeah, ages away. Essex is the south of England” I said, pleased that I had been able to convince her I come from nowhere near where I really was from.
“Oh… well yeah he’s rich and works in marketing or something. He can speak like a bazillion languages” Amelia over exaggerated.
“Just nine, including English, Amelia. Christ you would have thought you would remember” Cosette spoke up.
“He reminds us enough! When he isn’t being fraudulent!” Amelia laughed.
“Sounds like a really stuck-up person!” James laughed.
“Well what about your boyfriend, Amelia? Where is he? What does he do?” I tried to change the subject, feeling myself getting a little hot.
“Oh James? He just finished college, but I wish he would get a job. He’s just sort of doing nothing at the moment” Amelia said sadly, and James looked very uncomfortable. Payback time.
“So he’s another one of those wastes of space that think the world will give him everything because he has an education? Sounds like an idiot to me” I said jokingly, but looking at James to pretend like I was making a joke.
“Doesn’t sound like that at all! Sounds to me like he’s having trouble getting a job in this day and age, you know how hard it is to get a job right? Your uncle gave you yours” James said with a fake smile, but I could tell he was annoyed, and I loved it"
“This isn’t about me though. Cosette’s boyfriends sounds like he had it really tough and deserves to be where he is, whereas Amelia’s boyfriend sounds like he’s had everything given to him on a platter, and was too naïve to realise what the real world was like” I said, beginning to lose my jokiness.
“Money or no, thinking you’re better than everyone else because you worked harder makes him arrogant. Amelia’s boyfriend might not have a privileged life, but at least he sounds like he has a good heart” James said, beginning to sound serious.
“So much of a good heart, that he doesn’t take her somewhere like the zoo? Oh I know why, zoos cost money, money he doesn’t have because he doesn’t have a job, so he relies on the good heart of Cosette’s boyfriend to borrow money, I assume of course” I said feeling annoyed.
“Yeah well Cosette’s boyfriend doesn’t have to be an ass about it. He doesn’t even give her the time of day I assume, seeing as how he wasn’t there to pick the girls up. Cosette is the best thing in his life and yet I bet he wastes all his time on work, making money, and feeling lonely because of it!” James said with a frown.
“He makes that money so he can spend it on nice things and fun activities for Cosette and his friends I bet, better than just taking and using like Amelia’s boyfriend” I said, narrowing my eyes.
“Arrogance, ignoring people, thinking he’s better than others, and a tiny dick. Sounds like a wonderful person!” James said, beginning to snarl.
“He does not have a tiny dick!” I defended myself, beginning to feel angry.
“He’s probably got teeny-tiny baby hands like yours, and you know what they say about guys with tiny hands” he sneered.
“Cosette’s boyfriend could kick Amelia’s boyfriend’s ass!” I threatened.
“You wanna test that? Let’s go find them! See how well they would come out! What do you think girls…? Girls?” James repeated himself after getting no response.
We looked at where the girls were, and found their seats empty. In their place were two pieces of paper, one was the bill, and the other was a note that read;
When you guys are done kissing each other, the restaurant will need the money for their food. Thanks for a fun night! X
PS. 0401622112 is my number Lewis, you can take me out again to the zoo next Saturday. Cosette says thanks for the meal, but she needs to see her Kurt.
James and I looked at each other, and we felt ridiculous. The girls had given us the slip during our argument. I paid the bill, and we went outside to look for them, but they were long gone.
James was visibly upset that I had gotten Amelia’s number, I on the other hand felt quite triumphant that not only was my girlfriend faithful, but I had snagged a date with James’ as well.
The score was Kurt: 1, James: 0.