You think your dates are bad...
After trying on three different dresses; four pairs of shoes and two shades of lipstick; Caroline was ready.
It wasn't that she normally took this long to get ready, she just wanted to look right.
She'd tried the little black dress but, that was a little too sexy for a first date she thought.
She tried on several light, floral dresses, but decided that they were best for a barbecue.
In the end, after much deliberation, she opted to play it safe.
She stood in front of her bedroom mirror. The red dress was figure hugging enough for her to appeal, but not too much. A little black cardigan and she was done.
She ruffled her hands through her long, dark brown hair, still a little wet from showering.
She was nervous, but in a good way. Her stomach was full of butterflies. She hadn't felt this way in a long time. Even though Pete and her had been together for six years, he still managed to make her stomach flutter.
This was her first time back in the dating game. The first time she had truly tried to move on.
She had met David online, despite vehemently denying she would ever do so. What if she got kidnapped? What if he turned out to be a serial killer? These were all justifiable concerns in her mind.
After three months of 'getting to know you' online chats -one of which was a discussion about the moon landings, but she was heavily under the influence of wine - they had decided it was time to meet.
It was David that asked, and it made Caroline giddy. A boy, well man, had asked her out. What was a girl to do?
Her immediate response, because no one would ever see, was to dance in her chair and act like a seven year old on Christmas Eve.
This, however, caused her to accidentally hit the keyboard and put an abrupt end to their two hour chat. Before she could figure out what to do, David was offline.
So, here she was. Dress on. Make up acceptable and favourite perfume on. She called for a taxi and waited.
The taxi dropped her off outside the bar. It was modern, popular and was easy for them both to get too. A pretty good first date venue.
She stepped inside, the bar was half full. She immediately spotted the comfy red sofas in the corner and made a bee live for the table.
She ordered a glass of Pino and told herself to relax.
She checked her phone. It was five past seven. She tried not to over think things. It was only five minutes after all. Better to be fashionably late than desperately early.
Ten minutes had passed. She had now started to chew the inside of her cheeks; a habit she detested but on occasion was powerless to prevent.
What had happened? Was David ok? Did he not like her after all and decided against tonight? Surely not she thought.
Twenty minutes. She was now feeling rather self conscious. She had garnered a few looks from other drinkers. A suited, and rather handsome man was now sat at the bar. He had already looked Caroline's way and smiled.
For a second she had forgotten about her date and found herself worrying about him coming over.
Her fears were unfounded, as a beautiful young woman, young enough to be his daughter entered and planted a big kiss on the mans lips. She looked Caroline up and down and then they left.
Thirty minutes had passed. The barman was walking over. She prayed he wasn't thinking what she feared. He was young, probably at university she thought.
"Are you ok Madame?" He asked.
Madame? How old did he think she was?
"Yes. I'm fine. Thank you" she replied, embarrassed.
She checked her phone. Nothing.
She was starting to feel a little stupid. She finished her glass of Pino and put on her jacket.
Outside the air was warm. As it was pleasant, she decided to walk home.
Stood up. How embarrassing.
Without warning, she felt a warm trickle down her cheek. The last thing she expected to do tonight was cry over a man she'd never met. She perhaps expected to tell the girls at work tomorrow what a bore he was and blah blah blah. But this?
She was by no mains a stone hearted iron maiden; but Caroline wasn't given much to crying. At least not over men. Kittens in distress and Greys Anatomy episode perhaps, but this?
By now she found herself blabbing uncontrollably, like a small child who can't have 'that toy'. She quickened her pace.
She got home. Threw off her jacket and reached for the takeaway menu in the kitchen draw.
Embarrassed. A little bit annoyed. This called for one thing in her mind; the largest pizza with all the trimmings. Sod him. Sod all men. Sod the calories. She could work it off with Harriet at the gym after work anyway.
She wondered. She looked to the small table in the living room. Her laptop stood idle.
She thought for no more than a second before firing it up. She checked her friends list and sure enough, he was online. What a bastard, she thought.
She opened up a chat window and began to think of a good opening gambit. Something witty? Something snidely? Something cruel? How about all three?
"Hiya" she typed.
She waited. A little message at the bottom of the screen indicated he was typing.
This had better be good she thought.
"Hey you. How are you doing? How was your day?" Was his reply.
She had been stood up and he was asking about her day. A few choice descriptions entered her head. At one of them she even grinned.
She had the perfect line.
"It was lovely to meet you." she typed.
The reply was lightning quick.
The line of question marks annoyed her. She growled to herself.
"It would have been nice if you had told me that you weren't coming tonight. Half an hour I waited. I feel like such an idiot. Thanks "
That should do it, she thought.
She took a deep breath and waited. He was typing.
A second time. This really annoyed her.
He was typing again.
"I have no idea what you mean? Tonight? We're were meeting tomorrow night...oh no. You didn't did you?"
She quickly checked her phone messages. She scanned through all the messages from David.
Sure enough, In bold type, was a text with tomorrow's date. Her stomach, if it could, would have shot out of her mouth. She felt so stupid, but now for different reasons. She wanted the ground to open up, swallow her, spit her out and swallow her again. She laughed to herself.
She couldn't think of anything to say, so instead just used an emoticon to express her embarrassment.
She just hoped that this little episode hadn't put him off.
Just then, her mobile phone buzzed in her handbag, accompanied by Lady Gaga's 'Poker Face'.
It was David.
"Hi," she said, still feeling a tad ridiculous.
She could hear him laughing on the other end. She pretended to be annoyed. "It's not funny."
"Was you wearing something nice?" He asked.
"Was? Still am," she said giggling.
With this, they both started laughing. A relief washed over Caroline.
"You're ok, yeah?" He asked.
"Uh huh," Caroline said through a yawn.
"Keeping you up, are we?" He laughed.
Caroline was all flustered. Speaking to him made her feel this way. He had a way if making her feel...great.
"Fancy going online for a bit?" She asked. "Give me ten minutes to get out if my date clothes..."
David was laughing down the other end.
"Ok. Catch you in a bit."
"Bye," she said and hung up.
She ruffled her hair. Wandered into the bathroom and removed her make up. She undressed and put on her pyjamas and loaded up the laptop.
They chatted for over an hour. Most of which was David taking the Mickey, the rest of it was Caroline being shamelessly flirty. She loved it.
The next morning, her phone buzzed on the bedside table. It was a text from David.
'Dont forget our date tonight. Look forward to seeing you x'
Caroline smiled. Cheeky sod she thought.