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Rated: E · Short Story · Dark · #2314486
It takes two to date, but one may not always be truthful.
         "This seems to be going smoothly, eh?" croaked Darren so close to me he was almost sitting in my lap.
         I snuck a peek out of the corner of my eye, but all I saw resembled a black blob. How did he measure smoothly? Had I really agreed to this blind date? I felt him shiver, quiver, or did he squirm?
         "I'm not terribly worried," he rasped in my ear.
         Alarm bells clanged in my psyche. What in the-name-of-dating did that mean?
         I felt him searching for my hand and scrabbling past my jacket to do so. Yikes. I'd read about clammy hands in mystery novels, but his were positively glacial and dripping.
         "Darren, are you nervous? I assure you I don't bite."
         All in a rush he blurted, "Who me? Of course not. That's just silly."
         His attempt at a laugh failed to reassure me. Did I hear a cackle? Wait, was he panting? Oh no, I hoped he didn't hyper-ventilate. I still had nightmares about that rollercoaster episode. Why hadn't my date spoken up and mentioned his fear of heights and speed? I still wish he had chosen to scream.
         So far, Darren had been a man of few words, decidedly so . Perhaps he didn't like small talk. Of course I didn't expect him to blather on about himself, but did he intend to project this air of mystery? I tried to accept the silence between us, but I only lasted a few minutes. Why was I out on a date if not to get acquainted with someone. Talking to myself had grown boring and predictable. I craved adult conversation and company. Yes, I had questions.
         "Uh, Darren, is this a habit for you?"
         His damp hand jerked and he countered, "What? What do you mean?"
         "Whoa, hold on there. I'm just asking if you go on a lot of blind dates. I admit to indulging in a few."
         I can't swear to it, but he may have shaken his head. I think I heard a gulp and a sharp intake of breath. To be honest his reaction did nothing to quell my uncertainty. Speaking with him was like pulling teeth, painful. Did I intimidate him? With a swallow I tried again.
         "Have you been here before? I usually come with my girlfriends for a laugh."
         His answer came as a grunt. "No, never. First time for me. "
         Okay, it was a short reply, but I'd take it. As I composed my next query, Darren clutched at my arm and squeezed. Was he attempting to climb into my lap? Kind of clingy for a first date. Without thinking I shoved him away.
         "Ever heard of personal space, mister?"
         He mumbled, "It's so far to go ."
         I shook him and asked again. "You all right?"
         "Sure, haha. Why wouldn't I be? It's only dark for a short time, right? This tunnel can't be too long."
         Before I could respond the bright sunlight stabbed my eyes and I squinted. Our tiny boat floated up to a shimmering figure who reached out and steadied it.
         "Hey," he squawked, " aren't you the guy we had to rescue last week? Ya, it is you. Boy, you sure screamed and thrashed in there. Your girl pal couldn't stop laughing. Is this a new one?"
         Despite this greeting and the deep flush rising to his face, Darren waved away the carnival ride's attendant.
         "You have me mistaken with someone else. Why would anyone be frightened of The Tunnel of Love ride? That's ridiculous."
(588 words )
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