They went on a date; he overwhelmed her. In the first instance.
She was excited to be given a present.
First dates don’t often command that kind of generosity- and though she’d expected him to be a little off-the-wall, the neatly wrapped box, 8 by 8 cm, sat on the table between them in the bar where they’d met. It was covered in spotty paper and, it had a small bow on it.
They’d been chatting for days. Not long as far as history’s greatest romances go, but there’d been something about the back and forth of the exchange which had piqued her interest. Not quite arrogance.
OK, arrogance. A kind of brusque, charming offhanded manner that on one day left her wondering exactly how much he’d wanted her, then the next day was intense, direct, incisive and irritatingly close to the truth, when he’d asked her questions about herself.
Always close to the bone. Precise. Incisive. Rude.
‘I’m not telling you’, came the answer when she asked, understandably enough, what was inside.
‘But here’s the thing’, he continued. ‘You can leave it wrapped, and take it home with you. But: I promise; I promise you, you will never use it with me. Ever.’
‘Or, you can open it here at the table, read the instructions, and we’ll use it together, when you’re ready. But then you need to open it here.'
She bites her lip, eyes: down.
‘No? You don’t want it?’
He goes to grab the neat parcel. She moves quicker than him and snatches it, instinctively; a stab of resentment at the small remnant of his smile flicker-sneering over his eyes.
‘You do. OK.’
‘So. Decide. What’s it to be? Open it here? Or never with me?’
It’s. A. First. Fucking. Date.
Every bone in her body is aching to just get up and leave, and let him sit on his own, with his smug fucking face slowly realising that his game’s backfired.
Fuck. Arrogance doesn’t even begin to cover it.
He looks calm. Laconic, even. He’s not even shifted in his chair. Sipping wine. Eyes: assessing.
She moves the box closer.
What could be so fucking shameful that she’d need to make this kind of decision, now?
She rips off the paper. The waiting staff seem at once to loom over her, and other diners appear to have turned themselves to see. The hush in the restaurant becomes deafening.
But of course nobody cares. They’re all wrapped up in their own lives to look at a pretty woman, opening a box.
The box is leather, dark blue. A clasp closes it with a single brass button. It makes a distinct pop as she presses it open with her thumb.
The content is obscured by a small piece of paper, which she moves out of the way, to discover a bullet-shaped plug. Chrome. About 4cm wide at the widest part, and shaped like a teardrop, extending to a sparkling jewel at the other end.
She immediately snaps the box shut.
Blood rushes, involuntarily and inexorably to her face. She can feel the burning sensation spread from her neck, down her chest, through her gut and back up her spine.
She can barely talk- someone must have seen- it’s a fucking butt plug. In a restaurant. He’s got no fucking shame. She realises her eyes haven’t moved off the box- and that now her face is flushed, and the smallest beads of sweat are forming on her brow.
‘Don’t you like it?’
She can’t look at him.
She’d entirely forgotten that he was there at all.
‘Nobody’s watching. I promise. Don’t you like it?’
She looks around. He’s right.
People are oblivious to the psychological warfare going on at the table tucked away in the corner. Couples continue their inane chitchat. Waiters desperately ignore patronising conversation from idiotic men trying to show they know something about wine to their disinterested dates.
Nobody gives a fuck that a very pretty piece of jewellery has changed hands at the table in the corner. Nobody’s looking at the woman staring at the table, with her left hand on a small box, and her right hand holding an even smaller square of white paper.
And then, with a sudden movement, she’s stood up, turned, and gone.
Over 45 seconds his eyes change from smiling confidence, to furrowed confusion. He’s pushed her too far.
Always playing these games.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
Always pushing his luck, trading her discomfort and embarrassment for the arousal that he normally judges much, so much better. Irritation creeps over him, and he downs his wine, pays the bill, and starts idly, petulantly casting about the restaurant for interesting people to look at.
Nothing. He grabs his phone, and starts purposelessly clicking.
‘You coming then?’
He looks up. She looks like a different woman. Tall, with her coat on, his breath catches in his throat. Her eyes have a sharpness to them. A purpose. He pauses to take the image in- her perfume now assaulting his brain, and distracting him further. He’s been briefly upstaged. Flanked. Blind-sided.
She leans over and whispers into his ear ‘Get up.'
'Get up off your arse, and find us a taxi in the next 45 seconds, or I am going for a drink by myself…’. With that, she precision-places the small square of paper on the table in front of him, turns, and walks off.
On the paper is a greasy vivid-reddish smear where she’s blotted her lips, and a single word, written by him: ‘spit’.