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Funny Romance Contemporary

CW: Language, alcohol.

Thanks for your help today. It’s been a rough week. 

I leave the text message sitting at “read” for several minutes. Every fiber of my body is alive and vibrating. After all this time, after the awkwardness of my teen years and hoops I’ve jumped through to get to this point in my career, how is this happening now. Do I even care? 

Heart pounding, I start to text, but erase it. I repeat this over and over until I realize he will think I’m being too weird to deal with if I don’t just answer. Come on, just do it. I licked my lips, sitting up straight and text: 

Hey! Totally! Work’s been a racket. Want to go get drinks and commiserate? 


Ohmygod. I sent it. 

My stomach flips around and around until I try to look up how to take back a text. 

Before I have a chance, he answers. 

Sure! I’m free this weekend. Want to meet at South Pub at 7? My treat ;)

Winky face. He winky faced me. 

See you there :) 

I’m so lame. I just sent a smiley. I flop onto my bed and stare at the ceiling feeling like I’m 16 again. I let the memories flood my mind; of craning my neck in the halls to get a good look at Luke and his black emo hair. He wore red checkered converse and skinny jeans with tight local band shirts. He always wore them one size too small and they’d fit just right over his lean muscles. My friends made fun of me for crushing on Luke; they went for the athletes, but I liked the band-boy. I listened to the music he liked just so I could talk with him in the hallway, and it made my whole month every time I had a chance to talk to him. 

That is until Prom. That day lives in infamy in my brain forever more. 

I spent weeks planning out what to wear, what to say, how I would approach him, even what song would play when I’d walk up to him and finally say what I wanted to say since 9th grade. I begged my mom to let me wear the strapless blue mermaid dress that would make my eyes pop. She wanted me to wear something akin to a Sunday dress and I wouldn't be caught dead in that during a love confession. I got her to cave by paying for half of it myself and spent hours preparing my make up, my hair. I was so nervous, I didn’t touch dinner even though my friends and I went to a fancy restaurant. When we arrived, the ballroom was a sea of kids dancing under stars hanging from the ceiling. I remember latching eyes with him from across the darkened room with Black Eyed Peas blasting from the speakers. I ran to the punch to buy myself time.

Bad, bad Idea. I’ll never live it down. 

And now we are meeting for a drink. Like proper adults. I’m a freaking 30-year-old and I’m acting like a giddy teen. But who would have guessed we’d be at the same company? 

The day he walked in for his first day on the job, I nearly dropped the files I was organizing in shock. His smile was bright and he looked so damn good. His natural dirty blonde hair no longer straight and jagged, but cut short and his bright blue eyes stood out in the bleak halogen lights of our office. He was wearing a suit. A friggin’ suit. All adult and shit. I stayed hidden behind my cubicle walls, but Jeremy, our supervisor, brought Luke over to train under me.

And my god I wanted to train him. I trained him so hard.

But never, in a million years, would I imagine a random text from him. He’s so casual, it sends butterflies fluttering in my stomach, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to calm down. 


I’m finally in front of South Pub after three wardrobe changes and a pep talk with myself in the mirror. I get to meet him outside of work. The swoop in my stomach hits me in a sneak attack with nausea. Can I go through this? Yes, Yes I have to. These things only happen when fate is involved, at least, that’s what Sherene says. I hate-love Sherene. She’s in the cubicle next to mine and we became quick friends when I first started. She’s so on point, but ohmygod, I wish she wouldn’t catch on. Luke and I had a moment in the break room and Sherene got me to spill everything about my high-school crush. She immediately shipped us and all but started to write fan-fiction right there and then in the office. 

I take a deep breath. I’m gonna be cool. Just be cool. I walk into the bar. It’s dark and dingy, but the music doesn’t suck and I like the bartenders here. They pour generously. I glance around and zero-in on Luke waving at me from a small table for two at the window. He’s grinning and my stomach swoops with delight. 

“Hi,” I say, breathless. I’m too excited to be embarrassed. 

“Hey! It’s pretty packed already, huh?” 

“Yeah, Fridays tend to be the early comers.” I sit and scoot my chair in. He’s already ordered a drink and I’m in need of some liquid courage, stat. 

“Want me to get you something from the bar?” 

“Sure!” I answer a little too quickly. 

“What would you like?” 

“Surprise me.” 

This gives me time to recuperate. I watch him meander through the crowd and lean against the bar to give his order to the bartender. He’s wearing a black tee, just as tight as he used to in high school, and he’s wearing those skinny jeans again. Damn. I’m taken back in time.

When he comes back holding up my drink, my brain snaps out of wonderland and I try to remain in the present. 

“Thank you.” 

“Don’t mention it. Think of it as my way of saying thanks for taking care of me during my first weeks in the office.” 

I nod and sip my fruity, tangy drink. It burns down my throat and I start to feel bold. 

I laugh and talk before I can stop myself. “Honestly, it surprised me when you texted me. I thought maybe you’d want to avoid me after prom.” 

“Prom?” his brows scrunch, his striking blue eyes peer into mine. 

“Yeah, remember? I got crazy drunk that day when Phil snuck in vodka and poured the whole bottle in the punch. I vomited in the parking lot. I thought I was toast socially for the rest of my life,” I laugh again, starting to feel the buzz from my drink. I’m a lightweight, ya’ll.

Luke looks at me like I just spoke another language and my laughter dies. 

“Don’t,” I toy with the little red straw in my drink. Why do they even put these things in the drink anyway? It’s not even a real straw, “don’t you remember prom?” 

“I remember prom, but sorry, I don’t remember you.” 

“Oh.” Is all I can say as I stir my drink a little more self-consciously. My emotional up-swing hits the ground so fast I should probably see my GP in the morning. The hurt is real and visceral. 

“Wait,” he holds up a hand and his cheeks pink in a way that would be adorable if I didn’t want to turn invisible now, “we’ve met before?” 

Well, shit. 

There goes my heart-boner. 

“Yeah.” No, no I should just pretend I mixed him up with someone. I should just enjoy that he wanted to spend time with me. I should just say I first met him at work. “We went to the same high school. I was the girl with braces and baggy shirts ‘cause my mom wouldn’t let me wear anything in fashion until, like, 12th grade.” 

Oh god. Why did I open my mouth? 

“Huh,” He says. And my heart breaks with that one, non-committal sound.

“So, what about those expense reports?” I say. I want to cry. I want to crawl under the table. Is this drink working? I’m way too sober right now. 

“Oh, yeah, well, I am still catching up at work to read those,” he rubs the back of his head 

sheepishly, “hey, I feel like I fucked up. I’m sorry I don’t really remember high school that great. I spent most of it dicking around and not really paying attention to classmates.” 

“It’s OK, I’ve probably got you mixed up with someone else.” I chug my drink. 

“No, I suck. I probably forgot. Let’s start from the beginning.” He gives a crooked smile,

his eyes shining, and my heart melts. He holds out a hand across the table, “I’m Luke, it’s been awesome to work with you and I hope to see a lot more of you in the future.” 

I take his hand and shake it and laugh, this isn’t the romance fantasy I wanted to live out, but I’m glad he still seems keen to hang out tonight. 

“Nice to meet you, Luke.” 

He grins. “Want to be Friends?” 

I laugh. He’s such a dork and I love it. “Yes, yes I do.” 

February 18, 2021 14:36

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1 comment

Gwyn Everett
20:35 Feb 23, 2021

*sorry if the texts are hard to distinguish! When I wrote it, I made the texts in bold and it didn't copy/paste well*


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