Julie was on a date with Tim O, the private school kid whose last name was a mystery. Despite all attempts to find out, he would never divulge his full moniker.
This level of arrogance was usual for most of the men we dated from The Private School Kingdom. But Tim wasn’t the guy who had the goods to back it up.
Having met at a party some weeks earlier, Tim spotted Julie across the bar at Sidmonds. She was drinking vodka cruisers. He was trying to pick up girls.
The hotspot was the place midweek mecca. You bought jugs of beer and played pool. There wasn’t a dancefloor. But there was enough low lighting to flatter anybody.
The Story According To
If you asked Julie what happened that night, she would tell you she was sitting beside the pool table. Cheering on her friends playing with the group of boys from Chester College. Tim would saunter over, sit down next to her and put his arm around her.
After some time she allowed him to kiss her, but the whole time, she felt dubious about this lanky wannabe.
If you asked Tim, he would say that Julie was grinning at him from across the room, inviting him over with her eyes.
Apparently, she was winking too, a behaviour absent from Julie’s flirting repertoire. She was the girl next door, and the girl next door never winks.
When he sat down next to her, according to Tim, she grabbed him by the t-shirt and pulled him into her. With her forceful grab, she insisted on intimacy. After witty conversation and shameless innuendo, Julie planted her lips against his. Again, a bold style of ‘flirting’ Julie rarely subscribed to.
It was impossible to know who to believe.
Despite the varying version of events, Julie plucked up the courage to swap numbers with Tim. She even asked him on a date some days later. The girl next door never asked a man out. It was almost her mantra.
Julie’s offer of a date was cliched. A movie, midafternoon, during the polite daylight. No alcohol needed, she reasoned. Tim obliged, responding to her text with the promise of meeting her at three by the movie entrance.
‘Promise’ being the operative word.
The Freak Out
I have always criticised Julie’s judgement. Probably because I’ve fixed and endured the fallout of many of her mistakes.
However, when it came to the date with the infamous Tim O, her instincts were freakishly astute.
It was before midday on the day of her date when she sent out an urgent SOS message to me, Olivia and Kate. The message contained undignified begging. She pleaded with us to meet her at the cinemas. I raced over to the shopping centre, along with the others, to find Julie pacing at the meeting spot. She looked panicked.
“Are you ok?”
“Do you think you guys can wait with me until he arrives?” Olivia leaned in and hugged her. “Of course we can.” I wondered why Olivia was so quick to accept.
Julie never explained why her nerves had escalated to the point of panic. Part of me always thought it was her mind and body’s way of warning her. We should have seen the warning too.
And so we waited. Three o’clock came and went, so did ten past, twenty past and finally half past. We at the point of leaving when we noticed a lanky guy sauntering towards us. It was the same confident saunter from a few nights ago.
As Tim approached, we fled, leaving Julie standing alone. I felt guilty, but it was her date. She wanted this; I reminded myself. And no doubt our presence would have scared him off.
If it hadn’t already.
“Hey, have you picked a movie yet?”
Julie was taken aback. What had happened to ‘Sorry I’m late,” or “It’s nice to see you,” or the classic “You look beautiful”.
Instead, he opted for the assumptive question that made Julie look like she was lazy or complacent about their date. Which she was neither.
“No, I figured we could work that out together.”
His sigh wreaked of disappointment.
They walked over to the ticket box and purchased tickets to a movie she had already seen. Tim didn’t seem to care about that detail.
As they approached the food kiosk, he asked her what she wanted, and she requested popcorn. He returned from the counter with food and asked her for a reimbursement. After finding their seats in the cinema, he seized the popcorn from Julie, put it in his lap and began feverishly devouring it.
Julie wondered: was this date panning out to be like their first meeting? Would he think one way about his behaviour, and she will forever believe another?
Will he tell his friends that she was the ice queen who ‘hadn’t even purchased the tickets’ before he got there? Will she be the ‘cold-heartless-shrew’ who had her friends with her when he arrived?
What lies will he tell?
As the last trailer rolled, Julie leaned over to Tim and whispered, “I’m going to the bathroom. Be right back.”
He delivered her a half-smile as she left the cinema. As she approached the bathrooms, she made a swift turn and headed for the exit. It was over forty minutes later before he messaged her.
“You k?” She never replied.
If anyone asked, she would tell them Tim O left first. No one knew which story to believe, anyway.
See you the next time I open the Little Black Book…
Oh, hey there! Welcome to The Little Black Book!
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.