Tuesday, 14 February 2017

It's not what it looks like - Short Story

It’s not what it looks like

Having come out of a long term relationship over a year ago all of my friends had decided it was time for me to move on. The very idea terrified me as it seemed whilst I’d been cocooned in a relationship the dating world had moved on considerably. Internet dating was the way forward now and I wondered what had happened to the days of meeting through friends or in a nightclub. Egged on by my friends I signed up to an internet dating site and after a few glasses of wine for dutch courage wrote what I hoped was a flattering introduction of myself and uploaded a picture.

Over the next few weeks I browsed people’s profiles and pictures and received a few emails but no one special caught my eye until I received a message from Stefan. He was 35, no kids, no previous marriage, good job, and nice looking. I tentatively set up a date after a few online conversations but was extremely nervous about the meeting what if we had nothing to say or he looked nothing like his picture. Or even worse took one look at me and ran off. One of my friends Sarah had previously tried internet dating and reassured me that it would be fine and even if it was terrible I could just put it down to experience and have a laugh about it with the girls later. I arranged to send her a text if I needed an escape plan or more disappointingly got stood up. We arranged to meet at a local pub and to my utter surprise the date went brilliantly. It turned out we liked the same music and TV shows and I instantly felt comfortable in his company.

Over the next few weeks we meet up regularly and things continued to go well but I had noticed that Stefan had started to check his mobile phone often when he thought I wasn’t looking. On the last date he had suddenly had to leave early with a rubbish excuse of forgetting he had to get up early for work the next day.

The following week I meet up with a few of my friends and told them about Stefan and his recent behaviour and everyone decided that he must either have a secret girlfriend or perhaps kids that he didn’t want me to know about. I decided to play things a bit cool when he next called but he started the conversation by apologising for leaving early on our last date and I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. However the next day I was in town and saw him in a coffee shop with a brunette woman similar in age. He had his arm around her and they were deep in conversation, I quickly turned around so he wouldn’t notice me. Feeling upset and annoyed I ignored his phone calls and emails and slowly became more and more angry at letting myself get involved with someone again.

I kept myself busy at work and tried not to dwell on things but Stefan kept going round and round in my mind. I decided to call him and confront the situation. That evening after work I gave him a call ready to launch into my prepared speech but he sounded genuinely pleased to hear from me and said he’d been worried as I hadn’t been returning his calls. I was completely torn I got on so well with him, he made me laugh and I had hoped for a future but what was he hiding. I needed to know what was going on so decided to ask him outright if he had a girlfriend to which he burst out laughing which wasn’t quite the response I’d been expecting. I told him I’d seen him with a woman and wanted to know who he was always calling and texting when we were out. After a long pause he said he’d rather explain things face to face and we arranged to meet after work the next day. I hardly slept a wink and couldn’t concentrate at work. The time went painfully slowly. Eventually 5.30 p.m. came round and I left the office to meet Stefan at the coffee shop down the road. When I arrived he was already there and waved. As I walked in he could obviously see from my face that I wasn’t happy and blurted out. “It’s not what it looks like!” Well if that isn’t a clich├ęd get out clause I don’t know what is. I instantly felt annoyed and disappointed and was about to leave when he explained that the woman I had seen was his sister and they had met up to talk about his mother. He went on to explain his mother was really ill and they’d been visiting to do the cooking and cleaning. I felt awful for jumping to conclusions but annoyed he hadn’t just been honest. A long chat ensued and I’m pleased to say that now a year down the road we are engaged, his mum is back to full health, his sister is lovely and I can whole heartedly recommend internet dating.

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