The Dinner Date

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It was a nice flat, it was light with lots of room. There was a huge window leading out to a snow-covered balcony. Theo looked around the flat, looking at the books on the bookshelf and then the CDs. In these days of MP3 and ebooks it was difficult to judge a person by their book collections. All he could tell was that Sarah bought an iPad about three years ago as there was no new books or CDs since then.  
Theo had worked with Sarah for two years without really noticing her. She was quiet and kept herself to herself, she didn’t really do anything to draw attention to herself.  Her clothes were plain, she wore little or no make-up and her hair was held back in a ponytail. When Theo found out he had to sit next to her at the Christmas party, he hadn’t been looking forward to it. He thought it would be a boring night. But he’d been wrong. Sarah was a real surprise - funny, clever, and boy she could drink. It had been a brilliant night.
The next day in work, despite her hangover, she invited him to come for dinner and he’d accepted, keen to get to know her a bit more and wondering where it might lead.
Theo nearly didn’t recognise Sarah when she opened the door to her apartment.
The plain clothes were gone, she was wearing a stunning black and white dress and had bright red lipstick. Her hair was down and full of light. She looked fantastic. Theo felt his heart skip a beat.
She poured him a glass of red wine and then told him that she needed to go to the shops to buy some herbs, the soup wouldn’t be right without them. Theo offered to go, but Sarah said it was no problem, told Theo to make himself at home, then put her coat on and headed out of the flat. She’d told him to make himself at home, so he did. He checked the dinner, looked at the CDs, used the toilet and checked the bedroom where he found no cushions or teddy bears on the bed. He liked the flat, he liked the d√©cor, the taste in music seemed okay and the dinner smelt great. He wondered whether she really wanted herbs, or maybe she wanted to buy something else, like condoms. He smiled to himself wondering how the night would end.
He checked his watch, 25 minutes since she left; that was a bit strange. There must be a queue at the supermarket or a traffic jam on the roads. He went to his coat to get his phone, but there no messages or missed calls; oh well, she’d be back soon. He switched the TV on and went through the channels, there were no sports channels, so nothing much of interest. He watched the news for a while and then a bit of an old soap opera, all the time wondering where Sarah was.
Theo stood up and opened the balcony door. It was cold outside. He could hear police cars or ambulances in the near distance. The view during the daytime must be spectacular he thought. He closed the door leaving the noise and cold outside and went back to the bookshelf.  He took a book at random and looked at the cover. Maggie’s Milkman, by an author he didn’t know. He read the back page. It looked interesting, maybe he’d read it if he got the chance.
It was 35 minutes since she’d left now; this was a getting strange. There were two big supermarkets close by. Really she should have been back 15 minutes ago. Should he call her? He went into the kitchen to check the dinner wasn’t burning and then checked his phone again. Nothing. 
He sat down and had a mouthful of wine and began to read the book he still had in his hand. In no time at all he had read 20 pages, it was really good.  He looked at his watch, it was now exactly an hour since she’d gone to the shop. This was really weird. He picked up his phone and found her number. It rang, he knew it rang because he heard it. The phone was on the kitchen table. Really strange, you don’t go out for over an hour without your phone.

Theo poured himself some more wine and tried to read the book again, but found his attention was taken by every passing car or noise in the building. Hour ten, hour twenty, hour thirty, still no Sarah. Should he call the police or just go home? Had she had decided she didn’t want a date with him after all? He tried to relax, tried not to worry. He took another mouthful of wine and picked up the book again. He’d read just 10 more words when the doorbell rang.

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