A Series of Unfortunate Dates (Part 1)

Submitted into Contest #104 in response to: End your story with the line, “I’m never going out with you again.”... view prompt

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Funny Contemporary

* A series of vignettes that will showcase dates that have gone horribly wrong in one way or another, leading to humorous situations.

The No Good Very Bad Date

When Oriane met Zephyros, she thought it was the beginning of a charming romance. Laughing and smiling amid the shimmering light cast from chandeliers dripping with crystals, Zephyros captivated many of his father's younger guests. Oriane had sipped politely at her champagne while watching and musing. With a magnetic personality and positive reputation, everyone in their social circle expected Zephyros to go far. She had to approach him; how could she not? With a polite albeit pointed air, Oriane made her way through the small crowd gathered around the second son of the Wyndham family. Their conversation quickly outgrew the typical social niceties. She was charmed by his insistence that she calls him Phyros, a nickname he preferred to his given name, and she was warmed by the small intimacy of the exchange. Though she had to share him with the other guests who sought a word, Oriane hardly minded. Phyros was attentive and quick-witted and occasionally winked her way as a particularly annoying guest or business partner of his mother's went on their way. By the end of the evening, Oriane was certain that she wanted to know more about this man, and as was her way, asked him directly if he would be interested in a date. That elegant evening led to this moment aboard her boat. While perhaps not as wealthy as the Wyndhams, Oriane was more than comfortable. She and Phyros flew to the coast where Oriane docked her small boat, intent on taking a romantic trip to a nearby island. In hindsight, this was where it all went wrong.

Phyros was a man of many talents. Sailing was not one. He didn't want to give away this little fact to Oriane, who he rather hoped to impress. Their plans to take her boat out to the island seemed like a good one. Weather experts (or at least the local weatherman) said it was to be clear skies. "How about some champagne?" he offers. They had packed a picnic for when they reached the island.

"That sounds lovely," Oriane replies, brushing her palms over her stomach. She picks her way to Phyros's side, smiling as he prepares the drinks. Sitting near him but not too near, Oriane feels herself relax for the first time since they left the dock.

Phyros gathers the champagne glasses and goes to hand one to her when the boat rocks forward, sending the bubbly drink all over her dress. "I am so sorry!" 

"Oh!" Oriane exclaims, the cold champagne a startling sensation across her sun-warmed skin. She leaps to her feet and darts to retrieve one of the many towels stashed away on the boat. She cleans herself up as best she can, thanking every benevolent source in the universe that she had packed an extra outfit away as well as two swimsuit options - the modest two-piece she wore beneath her dress and the sexier version for if their date went particularly well. Once her dress has been removed and properly cared for, Oriane returns to Phyros, any annoyance she may have felt vanishing at the repentant look on his face.

"Again, I am so sorry." Phyros was properly embarrassed for his flub. "The boat rocked and it just - sandwich?" He had made a few tuna sandwiches so one now wouldn't ruin the picnic later. 

"It’s all right," Oriane assures him, offering a warm smile to prove there were no hard feelings. She accepts the sandwich and is just taking a bite when a familiar sound makes her sigh. Seagulls. Sure, they were beautiful, but the little monsters were notorious for bad behavior. "You may want to eat quickly," she warns, jutting her chin to indicate the gathering seagulls. "There are thieves among us."

"Do seagulls really steal food?" Phyros unwraps a sandwich and takes a bite. "I've never had any problems with them."

"In my experience, yes." Oriane rejoins Phyros, casually touching her knee to his in the process. "Do animals generally like you?"

"I've never had one dislike me... but I must admit I don't spend a great deal of time with animals." He was usually working, and that didn't make too much time for pets.

"I've always wondered what it would be like to have a houseful of pets," Oriane admits. "But animals have never seemed to care too much about me, so..." she finishes her sandwich, wipes her fingers clean with a napkin, and sets to braiding her blond hair. 

"I'm sure it's not so bad," he attempts to reassure. He finishes his sandwich and looks up at the sky, watching as the birds were hovering not far from them. He never thought much about the seagulls but they were rather pretty to look at in the bright sunlight over the water. The last thing he expected was for a seagull to swoop down with talons intent on tearing at Oriane's braid.

Phyros' alarmed cry gave Oriane just enough of a warning that something new was going wrong before the disorienting mix of feathered wings, a seagull's triumphant bugle, and a sharp yanking pain consumes Oriane's attention. She bats at it blindly, earning a wing to the face.

Phyros takes off his shoe and starts swinging at the bird to get it away from her head. "Get away!" He manages to hit it once and knock it off guard but that only seemed to anger it. He never would have imagined he'd be hunkered down on the floor of a boat, trying to not die at the talons of a seagull. 

"Get inside!" Oriane yells, reaching for Phyros as the seagull disengages her to circle above. "Hurry!"

They move as fast as they could before the seagull managed to yank out any more of his hair. "What is wrong with that thing?!" he asks, growing more and more frantic. Oriane manages to get the door shut but just barely before the demonic bird got inside. 

"Evil bird!" She hisses at it through the safety of the door. She turns the lock, just to be safe. "Please tell me it didn't poop on me," she pleads, reluctant to check for herself.

"You're good," he assures. Phyros peeks out the small window. "Now what do we do?" They couldn't hole up here for too long.

"With any luck, they'll take the sandwich wrappers and leave us be," Oriane says, though she isn't betting on that with how the day has gone so far. She takes a deep breath and presses her back to the door. "This isn't what I was hoping - " her next words are drowned out by the rumble of thunder.

"Weatherman Bob said it was supposed to be clear skies..." Phyros angles his body to get a better look out the window to see the sky. "It still looks sunny..." 

"The weather app agreed with him," Oriane says, peering around Phyros. "I checked when we landed. No precipitation all day."

"Maybe it'll just go on past us," he suggests. He peeks again. "I think the gulls are gone."

"Really?" Oriane perks up. She opens the door a crack and, when no feathery foe appears, cheers. "We're free!" She whirls to face Phyros and steps in the water. "What...?" She looks down. There shouldn't be water here, she was careful to dry herself and any drippings up. 

Phyros steps out into the water. This couldn't be happening? How was this even possible? They were just out here! "Do you see a leak?"

"Nothing obvious," Oriane says, her heart hammering inside her chest. They were too far out to turn back. Breathe, she tells herself. You'll be of no use to anyone panicking.

"How could we have taken on this much water?" Surely this was the result of a bad dream.

"I shouldn't have rushed the workers," Oriane moans. "It must have been a small breach..."

Phyros looks nervously at the growing water. "So, I'm not the expert on sailing but... what do you do when you're about to be sunk?"

Oraine squeezes her eyes shut, forcing herself to breathe and think. "Gather supplies in waterproof bags, find the life vests, and try to get as close to shore as possible before abandoning ship." Feeling slightly calmer, Oraine opens her eyes and offers Phyros a shaky smile. "We'll be okay."

"I believe you." He did not. He wasn't the best swimmer. Probably not the best time to bring that little fact up. "How close do you think we can get?"

"I'll have to check the navigation..." Oraine takes his hand and squeezes it reassuringly. "Can you pack up the first aid kits, food, and water? I have the kits and emergency supplies in the chest with the towels on top, where I showed you the bathroom was?"

Phyros set to work, determined to do everything he was told. He shoved everything he could find into the bag and did everything he could to ignore the growing water that was now up to his ankles. He suddenly remembered that sharks were ocean creatures. He peeks over the side of the boat. "Don't be a shark. Don't be a shark," he mumbles. He was at least comforted not seeing a fin in sight. 

"Good news is we're closer to the island than it looks." The distance between the boat and the small island they can see.

"That is very good news," Phyros says. He hugs the bag to him while he searched for life vests. "I'm sorry about your boat."

"I'm the one who should be apologizing." Oriane trails after him, checking for anything else they might need. There was a radio in the emergency supplies and an inn on the island, so really this wasn't as dire as it felt. Embarrassment and frustration with herself rage inside. "I'm sorry."

"You didn't break the boat." Phyros lurches forward when the boat knocks him to the side, knocking right into her. He tries to catch his balance while she tries to catch him, and together they fall over the edge.

Calm descends on Oriane as she and Phyros plunge into the ocean. The shock of their sudden fall made up and down swap places. Oriane has never been more thankful for the intensive swim training her parents gave her. She pushes Phyros away from her and waves her hands to catch his attention. A quick search of their surroundings reveals the boat. Successfully finding the way to the surface, Oriane grabs Phyros and gestures up. 

Phyros was never so happy to be on the sand. Normally he thought it was messy, hot, and annoying, but right now it was the best thing he could have asked for. "Well, we made it..."

"Thank goodness." Oriane rolls to her side to look at him. "Are you okay?" The usual weariness of losing the weightlessness of water was settling in.

"All here," he assures. "You?" He glances out to where the boat was still continuing to sink.

"In one piece." Oriane pushes herself up and follows his gaze. "At least the rain missed us..."

Phyros was about to respond when a downpour hit. "I think we're cursed."

Oriane's shoulders shake as she laughs with a sobbing cadence. "I shouldn't have said that." She lifts her face to the sky.

"At least we were already soaked..." Phyros tries.

"And this way the sand will wash off," Oriane agrees, tamping down on the rising hysteria. She glances at Phyros, sweet and well-meaning and sporting seaweed in his hair. "I'm never going out with you again."

July 29, 2021 09:00

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