Olivia was on a date with Andrew Gregory-Wilson, the thirty-one-year-old ‘bachelor’. He was also Melbourne’s notorious one-night-libertine. What Andrew did for a living was a mystery. But everyone knew his net worth was enviable.
She met him at the Men’s department counter at Grace Brothers. She was serving, and he was spending. Andrew walked straight past her to the Marc Jacobs belts, picking the three he would buy.
He didn’t notice her. She was another shop girl to him.
The Famous Man In The Store
Olivia knew who he was. Everyone in the store did. Andrew Gregory-Wilson was not only the big spender but the big flirt. One girl assumed he was gay because he was such a fabulous dresser. But that was a stereotype Olivia didn’t approve of.
She didn’t publicise her thoughts, but Olivia knew he wasn’t gay. He played with his appendage in public, always touching, always adjusting. Olivia attested that gay men don’t play with themselves in polite company.
The Nervous Question
After flirting with Andrew for over an hour while he shopped, Olivia worked up the courage to ask him to dinner. He declined the offer and walked out of the men’s department. Five minutes later, he returned with an apology. “How about a drink at Geoffrey’s at five?” She said yes and spent the remaining hour of her shift fretting about the date. She even went to the MAC Cosmetics counter for a makeover before leaving.
When the artist attempted to paint red lips on her, Olivia slapped her hand away. “I’m going on a date. I can’t look like a hooker.” Olivia was more comfortable stereotyping females.
The Duck Out Of Water
When she arrived at Geoffrey’s, the maitre d’ asked who she was here to see. The exclusive bar was impossible to get into unless you had a standing reservation. Or if you were sleeping with someone influential. “Andrew Gregory-Wilson.”
The tall waif-like waiter wiggled her finger, signalling Olivia to follow her. Her icy demeanour didn’t go unnoticed by Olivia, nor did her snide expression.
The elegance of the tables and chair divided the room. The crimson velour booths, with marble tabletops, lined the walls. The mahogany tables filling the void looked recycled by comparison. Andrew’s booth was in the centre with a premium view of the bar.
“Get my guest whatever she wants,” he barked at the pouting maitre d’, clutching his short glass of whisky.
Olivia attempted to think of a drink that was elegant and tasteful. She wanted to make a selection that showed her sophistication and matured palette. Unfortunately, she settled on a ‘glass of white wine.’
Her wine collecting father would have been so ashamed of her.
“Have you been here before?” He asked her, not looking up from his drink.
“Yes, once before.”
She lied. At nineteen, they wouldn’t have let her in unless with someone like Andrew. She realised if she admired the ornate decorations, she would give the game away. She stared at his immaculate physique instead. “Do you come here often?”
“Every week, gorgeous.” He took a large, undignified gulp. “They know me by name.”
A waiter dressed in a penguin suit arrived beside her, presenting the wine on a silver tray. “Mademoiselle, your wine.” Olivia hated that her youth was so clear in the mature surroundings. “Thank you.”
“So do you always work in that boring department store?”
It was impossible to ignore his condescending tone. Yet, Olivia didn’t see any issue working in retail. It was perfectly acceptable for a student; she mused. “Only when I’m not studying. The bills don’t pay themselves.” Olivia took a satisfying sip of wine.
“Don’t your parents take care of all that? It’s impossible to get perfect grades when you need to work with the general riff-raff.”
“I get perfect grades.”
He howled, throwing his head back with inflated amusement. “What is your version of perfect grades? Passing? My dear girl, passing won’t get you to where I am in life.” He finished the rest of the whisky, gulping the gold liquid like it was water. “If you want my success, you need to work for it.”
“What exactly do you do?” Olivia asked.
“What do you mean by that?” She thought the question was straightforward, even for the most eligible bachelor.
“How do you afford your life? What brought you this so-called success?” Anthony’s silence was deafening, and Olivia relished the moment to continue. “To this point, you’ve flaunted your money, you’ve spouted about good grades and working hard. But-what-do-you-actually-do?”
“I live off my wife’s money.”
Olivia looked down at his hand. No ring, no indent either.
Olivia stood up, deciding against waiting for an explanation. Disgusted and disgruntled, she wondered why she ever thought him handsome. Or why he was the most desirable man in Melbourne.
Dating ‘bachelors’ is overrated anyway, she mused.
Olivia decided she wouldn‘t date anyone without knowing their profession first. Nor would she never return to Geoffreys.
She only kept one of those promises.
See you the next time I open the Little Black Book….
Date Night Dirt: A Date With Jeremy Simpson
Anne wanted sex, and undignified begging seamed like the right path. Until it wasn’t.
I’m Ellen McRae, writer by trade and passionate storyteller by nature. My want is for a better opportunity for writers, especially fictional, in an increasingly technology dominant world. I write the stories that have formed my life and comment on the experience along the way.