She heard the key in the door, put the lid back onto the chocolate box, and licked her fingers. He came in and threw his jacket on the floor, took off his shoes, and slouched in the armchair.
‘How was it?’ she said.
‘Dan’s worse than ever,’ he said. ‘I don’t think he’s aware of himself in any way. I’d love a drink.’
She went to the kitchen and came back with a large tumbler filled a quarter-way with whisky. ‘Voila,’ she said.
‘Cheers,’ he said. ‘You not having one?’
‘I’m fine,’ she said. ‘I might have a chocolate.’
‘He kept doing these terrible impressions all night, and the people in the restaurant were looking round to see who the idiot was. And of course, I had to laugh along with him, so I looked even more foolish than he did.’
‘Why did you have to laugh?’ she said, through a mouthful of coffee creme.
‘You know. It’s Dan.’
She shook her head. ‘You should just tell him he’s not funny.’ She took another chocolate. She hoped it wasn’t another creme, but couldn’t be bothered to check the menu card. ‘Who were the impressions of?’
‘Friends. People. No one you’d know. And he tried to get a discount on the meal. He told them he’d started going there back in the 60s, when they’d had a…’ He looked at the tumbler.
‘I can’t think of the term. Where you are a regular, respected customer. Like a frequent flyer. Some kind of scheme.’
‘Oh,’ she said. ‘Yes. I know.’
‘What’s it called?’
‘I can’t think,’ she said.
‘Anyway. It was one of those nights. He just kept on with it. I wasn’t sure half the time if he was joking or not. Like with the discount on the meal.’
‘You should have asked him,’ she said.
‘It was too much. All this banter, with everyone. Sometimes people just want to be left alone. The waitress looked relieved when we stood up to leave. And I’m really tired from all that fake laughing. I felt as if my face could just crack and fall to the floor.’
‘You really might think of refusing his invitations,’ she said. She felt a little sick, from the chocolates.
‘But it’s Dan,’ he said.
‘I’ll get you another drink,’ she said. ‘I think I’ll join you this time. A whisky might cut through that chocolate. It was very rich.’
© Barry Lee Thompson and ‘Stories, by Barry Lee Thompson’, 2013.