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A Blind Date
The glittering lights sparkled against the dark sky, lighting up the mall plaza with Christmas cheer. Gentle falling snow sprinkled on the tightly bundled people down below. A thin layer had already blanketed the ground and more had yet to come. It was a perfect picture that could have been the cover of a Christmas card.
A chilling breeze swept across the plaza, causing everyone to pull their jacket closer to their body. One in particular shook out his arms in an attempt to try to shake off the chills. Little white flakes were stuck in his hair until they melted from the sudden movement. He rubbed his bare hands together while blowing on them.
“Eric, tell me again why I’m standing out in the cold when I could be sitting in front of a warm fireplace.” The young man stressed the word warm.
Standing beside him, a larger and more built man smiled brightly in response. “Because I asked you to and I’m your bestest friend,” he replied cheekily. Seeing his friend’s disgruntled features, Eric once again explained the situation for Lucas’ benefit. “It’s almost Christmas,” he started. “Just two days away. And you, my friend, have no one to spend it with. I’m spending the holidays with Eve and her family and everyone else is busy with theirs.”
Lucas stared at Eric in silence then motioned towards the restaurant behind them. “And how is this suppose to help me?”
Huffing loudly, Eric crossed his arms across his chest. “We hook you up with one of Eve’s friends, you two hit it off, and tada.”
“You have someone to spend the holidays with.”
Lucas raised an eyebrow in return. “It’s that easy,” he stated.
Eric nodded. “That easy.”
“How do you know I’ll like her?”
“Because all of Eve’s friends are smoking hot.”
Lucas pulled his jacket even closer to his body. “I’m tired, hungry, and I wanna to crash on the couch. You can understand why a blind date right now isn’t such a wonderful idea.”
His friend sighed loudly and overdramatically. “I know that, dude. You played an awesome gig with your band, but that’s not what I’m getting at.”
“Then what are you getting at?”
Eric rolled his eyes at his unsuspecting friend. “I’m talking about the fact that after every show and concert, you don’t have anyone to come home to. And since I don’t swing that way, I’m definitely not going to be the one you come home to. No offense or anything.”
Laughing out loud, Lucas shook his head when something caught his attention. He reached out and nudged Eric with his hand. “They’re here.”
They turned their full attention onto the two women headed their way. Eve had her blonde hair pulled up into a ponytail as usual, as was her stylish outfit. Being a fashion designer had its benefits. The other woman was also dressed quite nicely in form fitting jeans, boots, and jacket. Both had bright smiles on their faces as they approached the boys.
Eve placed a kiss on Eric’s cheek as she took her spot next to him. “Hey, guys. Hope we’re not too late.” She motioned towards her friend with a grin. “This is Belle. Belle, Lucas, Eric’s friend.”
Belle held her hand out which Lucas took immediately. “It’s nice to finally meet you, Lucas.” Her light brown hair ruffled from another breeze, but her eyes shined with genuine happiness.
Lucas returned her smile without a doubt. “You too.”
Eric placed his arm around Eve’s shoulder and grinned. “Great. Now let’s get inside the restaurant before we all freeze to death.”
They all agreed and headed towards the door. The moment it opened, the warm scent of cinnamon and spices assaulted their senses while the cloak of comfort covered them. A waiter led them to their table before passing out the menu.
“Let me know when you’re ready.”
Shrugging of his coat, Lucas smiled as the waiter took his leave. “This isn’t so bad,” he commented.
Belle nodded in agreement. “I love this restaurant. The service is wonderful and so is the food. You should try the Linguine with Shrimp and White Wine. It’s my favorite.”
Just as Lucas was about to respond, his stomach let out a low growl. He ignored Eric and Eve as they started to crack up and turned his attention to the girl across from him. “That sounds really good and you could probably tell I’m starving right now.”
Belle continued smiling. “When was the last time you ate?”
“Breakfast. I didn’t have time to grab anything else to eat during practice and then we had a gig downtown for this charity. It was a busy day.”
“The musically gifted children school, right?” The excitement could be heard clearly in her voice.
“Yeah, you knew about that?”
“I did a little show there a couple weeks ago for the younger kids. Our friend,” she motioned between her and Eve, “Lena, coordinates events there every month and since I play the piano, she wanted me to come in.”
Lucas smiled, his full attention on her. “You play the piano?”
They fell into an easy conversation that flowed throughout dinner, much to their friend’s delight. There was a pause for everyone to order dinner, but the conversation took up once again. Childhood stories were told as well as embarrassing college stories from both couples.
Before they knew it, two hours had passed and it was time to head out. White snowflakes were still floating down and a good inch had grown since the last time they were outside. The plaza was almost empty by then, leaving the two couples as the last few people to occupy the mall.
Lucas rubbed his hands together, much like before. “I didn’t realize how late it is,” he commented, looking up at the Christmas lights hooked around all the buildings. “We should probably get home before the snow gets any worse and we end up stuck in the middle of the road.”
Eric pulled his friend into a hug before turning towards Belle and doing the same with her. “I’m gonna miss you both,” he said sadly.
Belle tilted her head in question. “What do you mean?”
After Eric let go, Eve pulled her into another tight hug. “He’s coming with me to Washington D.C. to spend the holidays with my family since you obviously declined my invitation.”
Belle pulled back with sad smile. “Work.”
Her friend rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I know. At least now I know I won’t be leaving alone for the holidays.”
“Which was the whole point of this blind date, am I correct?” Lucas asked, a small smile pulling at his lips.
“You betcha. Oh, and before I forget, I left both your presents under the tree in Belle’s apartment,” Eve answered. She gave Lucas a kiss on the cheek and Belle one more hug.
Eric tossed his arm around his girlfriend’s shoulder and grinned widely at the other two. “I’ll see you after the holidays, man. Love ya, Belle.”
Lucas held up his hand and waved as the couple left together. “Cute.”
Once Eve and Eric were out of view, Belle wrapped her arms around Lucas’ waist and smiled up at him. “See, it wasn’t that bad.”
Chuckling, Lucas pulled her closer and rested his chin on her head. “I guess not. It would’ve been funny though if they found out we’ve been dating longer then they have.”
Belle laughed gently and held up her left hand. A small diamond sparkled from her hand while she examined it curiously. “How about we surprise them when they get back?”
Lucas lifted his head and stared down at her lovingly. “You want to?”
Placing her weight on her toes, she leaned up and placed a soft kiss on his lips. “I’m pretty sure it’s time to.”
“Lena invited us for dinner tomorrow.”
Lucas grunted and started to turn them towards the car. “Can’t we just stay home tomorrow? I don’t feel like going,” he whined.
Laughing loudly, Belle nudged him with her elbow. “Don’t be a baby, Lucas.”
He leaned over and kissed her head. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Word Choice: 1384