Wrote this for the sppf romance competition. XD
The low murmur of many voices reverberated throughout the restaurant, penetrated occasionally by the clinking glasses as the diners at the ‘Forgotten Pool’ continued their conversations over their meals. Candle light shimmered off pristine red table cloths, pooling on the spotless, gold rimmed plates as quiet waiters roamed from table to table, collecting finished meals and glasses as guests departed into the cold autumn sunset.
It wasn’t a busy night by anyone’s standards. Thursday evenings rarely were.
The sounds of the restaurant seemed to rise and subside in gentle waves, cresting around a petite, quiet figure dressed in casual, slightly tattered jeans that sat beside a curtained window, gazing intently at her plate as if to avoid seeing the all too empty seat opposite her.
“Annie waits, Annie waits, Annie waits.”
A candle flared from its elegant holder at the center of the table, lighting up a face that was tense with anticipation, flickering off a drawn, slightly freckled face before shrinking once more into the depths of its glass. The woman’s eyes flicked up at the movement, her dusty brown ponytail swaying slightly as a breeze danced across the tables.
Was it him?
She raised her head, brows furrowed with concentration as she scanned the faces of the customers as they stepped in through the sheltered entrance… She let out a small sigh. He hadn‘t arrived yet. Bowing her head, she resumed examining her plate, absently twirling a finger through her shoulder length hair.
I shouldn’t jump to conclusions.
She thought, resisting the urge to take out her mobile and call his home phone. I did arrive early, after all. He’ll be here. I only have to wait a little while longer…
“For a call.”
The world seemed to be immersed in treacle, each second hobbling slowly by as the door swung shut once more. She brushed an awry curl away from her eyes, focussing briefly on the silver watch clasped to her wrist.
Eight fifteen. Five minutes to go.
Her gaze wandered, drifting over to a couple sitting a few tables away, immersed in what seemed to be an enterprising conversation. The woman laughed at some joke her companion made, light flashing off bejewelled hands as she leaned tenderly towards him and whispered with sparkling eyes into his ear. The woman in the corner watched with envy, the sight only heightening her anxiety. I shouldn’t feel jealous,
she chided herself lightly, dragging her eyes away. I have him.
“From a friend.”
She glanced once again at her watch, shifting impatiently when she realised that barely a minute had passed. It’s my own fault,
she thought, just managing to suppress her anticipation. I just had to arrive ten minutes early.
She smiled grimly, finger resuming its idle twirl. She couldn’t blame herself, really. Their relationship had lost some of its sparkle; it most certainly was not what it once was, especially after the… incident. She missed it, to tell the truth. And this was her one chance, her final
chance, to repair it. Who wouldn’t feel the same?
She felt her eyes being dragged inexplicably back to the couple, so happy as they shared a meal together. She sighed, lowering her head once more. Everything had seemed so… wonderful, back then. Bright.
I was invulnerable.
She smiled wryly, gazing down at the candle before her. Invulnerable.
Love. What a fickle thing. Hearts can be bound by it, and broken just as easily.
Like mine was.
She cast her eyes away, sadness seeping through her. Broken. Torn. Shattered in a million pie-
What am I thinking?
She forced her gaze back up, angry with herself. My heart’s not any of those things. There is still hope! His agreeing to meet me here today is proof enough.
But proof of what?
A nagging doubt began to grow in the back of her mind, spreading through her like a cancer. That he has learnt the ability to lie through his teeth, an ability that he has shown he is fully well capable of before?
Or that he is genuinely sorry?
“It's the same,”
Her eyes were drawn once again to her watch, her forehead rumpling in a frown as she realised that the five minutes had passed without her noticing. Looking up, she gazed through narrowed eyes towards the door. He should have arrived by now… Sighing, she pushed her chair out a little, resting her elbows gently on the table.
I shouldn’t doubt him. Yes, he’s made mistakes, but haven’t we all? Haven’t each and every one of us at some point in our lives utterly screwed something up? He admitted it as well, albeit only after I figured out what was going on, but he still did it, which is more than what other people can say. Besides, I know he loves me. I saw it in his eyes.
A jingle at the entrance; she whipped her head up, looking for the familiar shock of raven-black hair that aroused such deep emotions in her heart. But he was not among them. She sighed once more, resting her head in her hands.
And I love him.
“Was it always the same?”
Time trickled past, seconds dragging into minutes, and minutes seeming to drag into hours as the tables around her were filled and cleared. She checked her watch, eyes widening as she realised that the minute hand had traipsed ten minutes past the arranged meeting time. Doubt flared in her again, threatening to ignite a fear that she had tried so hard to control: that she was losing him and he wasn’t going to come. Breathing deeply she fought to suppress her rising unease, fingers itching to reach for her phone.
It’s probably nothing - traffic, or something. I did hear that there was a huge car pile-up earlier… Maybe that’s what’s delaying him. Yes. That’s all it is.
She clung desperately to that hope, raising a hand to comb her fingers through her hair in her anxiety.
He wouldn’t leave me here like this. I know he wouldn’t. He loves me, right?
The black, cold hands of her watch continued to turn as time ticked by, ten minutes lengthening to fifteen, twenty… She put her head in her hands, on the verge of tears. Where is he? He promised he’d be here… Has something gone wrong?
Her fingers fumbled blindly for her phone, rummaging addictedly through her black sequined purse. Feeling its thin frame amidst the various tissue packets and makeup cases, she pulled it out, raising her head and pressing the buttons with shaking fingers.
Please don’t pick up please don’t pick up-
The phone began ringing, once, twice, three times… She felt her heart lift slightly. If he didn’t pick up, that’d mean he wasn’t at home, and that he probably was in traffi- She stopped mid-thought as the ringing stopped with a faint click.
“Hello?” A light feminine voice echoed down the phone, tinted with a hint of laughter. The woman in the restaurant gave no reply, listening with growing horror as the strange woman laughed. She could hear the sound of someone speaking in the background, becoming more distinct as the person asked who it was. Her blood froze. She recognized that voice. It was his
voice. Her emotions erupted, various different feelings coursing through her-
“For the last…”
-all of them tearing away what little dregs of hope she had left. A choked sob welled up in her throat as the phone slid from her hand, its ‘Kodia!’ brand sticker flashing as it fell through the air and crashed into the ground, shattering on impact.
Lyrics by Ben Folds. =D Song's 'Annie Waits'.