Deirdre looked at her face in the rear view mirror one last time before resigning herself to another bad first date. This would be the thirteenth in four months, all because her well-meaning and married friends insisted that this year she would find someone. It didn’t matter that her parents cursed her by naming her after a woman who died of a broken heart. Dee wished she could meet someone, her biological clock was ticking and when her best friend announced she was pregnant she couldn’t disguise the longing she felt. Still, twelve excruciating bad dates later Dee just wanted to go to the animal shelter and find a companion there. At least she could do something about his halitosis, unlike her last date.
This date was already starting poorly, the gentleman in question suggesting they attend a book club at the local library. The only reason Dee agreed was that there would be more people around them and if he were horrible she could leave immediately. Number thirteen wanted to join the Jane Eyre Book Club. Dee could picture it now, either he was a confused metrosexual or lost a dare. She hoped for the latter.
Mason waited in the lobby of the library for Deirdre. Who the hell named their kid Deirdre? He pictured a frumpy cat-lover wearing a lumpy cardigan and sensible shoes. If only he hadn’t lost the dare.
Mason looked up and recognized the brunette with the crazy curly hair and large green eyes from her profile picture. A smile tickled his lips as he noticed she wore flat shoes, they were attractive and sensible. He liked it.
Her eyes widened as she recognized him, giving him a chin tilt as she walked up to him, “You used your own photo for the profile picture.”
He grinned, “You did too, Deirdre.”
“It’s Dee, and no my friends posted my profile page. Originally they put up some glamour shot from high school but I managed to hack in and change it to my drivers license.”
He grunted, “It looked like you had a lazy eye. I assumed you lost a bet.”
She laughed, “I was really hoping no one would respond.” Her eyes widened, “Ohmigod, you lost a bet and had to meet me.”
He grinned, “Yup.”
She seemed to light up, “Oh, that’s great. So we just tell our friends we met, it sucked, and we went home.”
“Sorry, sweetheart, we have to see this thing through.” His hand fit easily in the small of her back and he led her toward the meeting room.
“Oh, you have a time constraint. How long do we have to sit through the book club?”
“Two hours, but we can sit in the back and make disparaging remarks about the antifeminist message.”
She challenged him “And that message was?”
His brows furrowed, “Was I supposed to read the book?”
She stopped, “You haven’t read the book?”
His head tilted to the side, “I’ve seen the movie. Were we supposed to read the book?”
She sighed, “Only if you planned to come to the second meeting. Why did you pick this book club?”
“My friends…” His voice trailed off.
“What did you do to deserve this?”
Mason’s lips tightened, “I accidentally gave my neighbor Greg’s phone number. Turns out she’s a bit stalkerish.”
Dee’s eyes widened and then she laughed, “Oh, evil retribution is the best. Too bad I’m forced to suffer as well. You really should talk to him about collateral damage being unfair.”
Mason grinned. The woman was interesting and had a wicked sense of humor. He hoped she’d give him the chance to take her on a second date. A real date, next time.
The meeting room wasn’t a lecture style like Masan hoped, instead tables were set up with at least thirty chairs surrounding them.
“Oh God, there’s no place to hide.” Dee muttered.
He stilled, looking around the room at the middle aged women, a few frumpy and some well dressed, and realized he was the only male.
“Oh hell, no.” He steered her back out and toward the small seating area near the periodicals.
Dee smirked, “Thanks. So, we can call it a night then?”
“No. Come on, maybe this started out as a dare but I’d like to get to know you.”
Dee blinked a few times as the words penetrated her brain. She nodded, “Ok, thirteen.”
They sat down on a love seat and he whispered, “Thirteen?”
“I lost a bet so my friends have until December 31st to find the perfect man for me. You are my thirteenth first date in four months.”
“Wow. Just first dates? No one managed to make it to a second date?”
“No, but they will be forever immortalized as the twelve worst dates of Christmas.” Dee looked around and then sang quietly,
Oh, the twelve dates of Christmas
Search for true love is ghastly.
Twelve nose hairs waving.
Eleven toes and creepy.
Ten red sores weeping.
Wore a kilt and curtsied.
Eight farts and counting.
Seven mints can’t help him.
Six selfies taken.
Five phone calls ring.
Talked while chewing.
Two hands clammy.
and one beard that held spumoni.
Dee’s cheeks burned as she finished the song, realizing that she was louder than she intended. Mason was grinning stupidly and got down on one knee in front of her.
He took her hand in his, “Deirdre Connors, will you do me the honor of going on a second date?”
Dee raised an eyebrow, “I get to pick the next place.”
“I’m not sure I trust you.”
She looked around the library, a homeless man was sleeping in the club chair several feet from them. She wasn’t sure she trusted Mason to pick a reasonable place either. “You play pool?”
He stood up, “Yes.”
“We’ll play, best two out of three gets to pick the next place.”
He held out his hand and shook hers. “Deal.” Mason looked into her mischievous eyes and fell in love. Best blind date ever.