* A series of vignettes that will showcase dates that have gone horribly wrong in one way or another, leading to humorous situations.
Double Date Disaster
"Okay, so maybe I misled you," Rai says, hands palms up in an imploring gesture. "But it was for a good reason!"
"You left out the part where this was a double date," Miku says. She agreed to dinner with Rai and his boyfriend Alvey but had no idea that this would be a blind date. In hindsight, she should have expected that this was something sneakier. According to her brother, this was the perfect person for her. Her supposed perfect match.
"You wouldn't have come," Rai argues. "And I know how this sounds, I do, we share a dislike of blind dates, which really should tell you how serious this is." Rai knows he's running off at the mouth, he couldn’t seem to stop.
Miku sighs. "I know you have good intentions... but if this goes bad, you must promise to never set me up on another blind date again. Agreed?"
"I readily swear!" Rai exclaims, bobbing his head eagerly.
"Fine..." Miku glances at the door. The restaurant was moderately crowded with various couples and families scattered around the room. "What are they like?"
"Hanuel's a full-time student over at Hanneem University," Rai begins, launching into the spiel his and Alvey's pre-prepared spiel. "Twenty-six years old and loves seeing plays. I already told you Hanuel doesn't like labels but feels gender-fluid closest. Tonight he's using he/his/him pronouns, just so you know."
"That is definitely good to know." Miku messes with her hair. "Do I look okay?" She wasn't dressed elegantly, and the last play she saw was months ago. It would be nice to have someone to go with her for a change.
"More than okay." Rai was too relieved that she was going along with this to nitpick as his brotherly self urges him to.
"I'm ordering an extra dessert. On you." Miku picks up a menu to add to her point.
"I promise, you'll like her." Alvey smiles at his best friend. "She's Rai's sister and she's the best. Smart, funny, a little quirky. She likes plays. So you already have something in common."
"Are you just saying that?" Hanuel asks suspiciously. He loves Alvey like a brother but this is his love life.
"I'm not!" Alvey pauses outside the restaurant door. "I swear, this is the perfect person for you." He and Hanuel have known each other since they were children so he has a vast knowledge of Hanuel’s bad luck dating. It was to the point where his best friend believed he was cursed. "You know I don't play matchmaker all willy nilly."
"True..." Hanuel peeks at the restaurant's door over Alvey's shoulder. "She likes plays, but what else? Is she a student? Does she have a job? I assume you told her about me?"
"We both have. And Rai said that she’s excited to meet you. She works at the community center. She teaches yoga classes, art classes, and even has an art class for kids." Alvey nudges his friend on the arm. "She's artistic, creative, and very serene."
Hanuel nods slowly, a bit of hope stirring that tonight really might go well. He clears his throat. "I'm taking a leap of faith with you right now," he says warningly.
"Yes! Take that leap!" Alvey takes his friend by the arms. "Have faith. I swear you won't regret it. And if you do, then I will owe you!"
"A big favor," Hanuel emphasizes. "Not a ‘here's a meal’ kind of deal."
"I will make you Crème brûlée." He turns his friend to face the door. "Let's go."
"Perfect," Hanuel says, already cheering up. If the date goes horribly, at least he'll have something sweet to soothe the pain.
The meet-cute went great. The awkward start to a conversation was over quickly. It didn't take long for the four to fall into a steady stream of conversation. Miku was a little more at ease by the time they ordered their food. Hanuel was charming and was quickly showing that he had a sense of humor. "I'm sorry about the whole blind date thing. I was misinformed." She gives a pointed look at her brother.
"As was I," Hanuel laughs, cutting his eyes at Alvey.
"That's my cue to order dessert!" Rai says, sitting up straighter and making eye contact with their waiter.
"They think they're so sneaky," Miku says with a shake of her head. She looks over the desserts. She was definitely going to indulge in her sweet tooth despite how the date goes.
"I'm not really a pie person, but look at that sundae!" Hanuel enthuses.
"I always go for the cannoli with ice cream. They're so addicting here. They make them with fresh cream," Miku shares. She probably had more of a sweet tooth than she should have but it was her one indulgence.
"Ooh," Hanuel grins, glancing up from the dessert pages to study Miku. "That sounds too good to pass up."
"I promise it will be the best dessert you've ever had." Miku places her order with the waiter after Alvey orders a chocolate cake for him and Rai to share.
"I'll hold you to it," Hanuel laughs. He glances at Alvey and Rai, finding them cuddled up and talking quietly together.
Dessert was brought to them moments later. The ice cream was mostly melted which had turned the cannoli into a gooey mass. She stares down at it. "Okay, this is not the same cannoli I had the last time." She pokes at it with her fork, almost afraid to touch it.
"This looks... nothing like the picture." Hanuel prods the mass with his fork, stomach-turning as the creamy filling of the cannoli oozes out in clumps.
"Maybe they have a new cook..." Alvey reaches over to poke at the dessert on Miku's plate. "That looks like a cannoli that someone threw up."
Rai presses a hand to his mouth. "Thanks for that," he gags.
"We aren't paying for this, right?" Hanuel asks, looking around the table. "This is not fit for human consumption. We all agree on that?"
"I would definitely say to not eat that." Alvey pulls the cannoli plates away. "That looks more like what would be the last meal."
Miku was rather disappointed, but she kept on a smile. "We’ll indulge a sweet tooth another time. But the pasta we ordered should be good." She was hopeful as she watched as the waiter came their way.
"It’s hard to completely ruin pasta," Rai says, more hopeful than certain. His hopes were buoyed by the sight of their server laden down with a tray of their dishes. Steam rose from them, and even from a slight distance, they looked mouthwateringly good. He nudged Alvey and glanced his way which was when he missed what the server tripped on. All he heard was Hanuel’s yelp as four types of hot pasta noodles and sauce splatter his face, chest, and lap.
Alvey's eyes widen. Miku covers her mouth with a hand. "Are you okay?" Alvey reaches over with some napkins to help his best friend.
The blustering waiter let out a stream of apologies. "I didn't mean to - I am SO sorry!"
Hanuel, acting on the screaming instinct telling him to get AWAY from the heat and pain, shoves away from the table, pawing at the various kinds of pasta to free himself and burning his hands in the process.
"More napkins!" Rai cries.
Miku does her best to get the pasta noodles off Hanuel while Alvey threw every napkin he could at his friend. The waiter ran away as quickly as physically possible from the scene. "I swear this place was better than this the last time we were here."
"It’s probably my fault," Hanuel says as he slowly calms down. "My dating life is cursed."
"Cursed?" Miku asks. "Cursed how?"
"You are not cursed," Alvey says. "It’s just bad luck. Rai and I spent our anniversary trapped inside the library because they closed up and didn't realize we were still in there."
"When every date I've ever gone on ended badly, I call that a curse," Hanuel says, resigned.
"It's just bad food... and clumsy service. We can always grab something to eat elsewhere," Miku suggests. "Something safe... and not hot." She dabs at the sauce on his shoulder.
Hanuel stares at Miku, openly shocked that she's still interested. "Really?" He manages.
"Why not? Every restaurant has an off night. Hopefully, just a night because that cannoli is the stuff of nightmares." Miku picks a strand of pasta off Hanuel's shoulder.
Hanuel offers a tentative smile. "I need to change, but maybe you could come to hang out while I do, then we can pick a different place?"
"Our place is just down the block. If that would be closer?" Miku asks. She ignores the grin on her brother's face. "I think we need some sugary pick-me-ups after this disaster." She wipes at the table with a napkin to clear away sauce from the rim.
"I'll grab some donuts!" Rai shouts. He tugs his boyfriend after him.
Alvey was about to get a sip of tea when his boyfriend had him up out of his chair. "I guess we're getting donuts..."
Hanuel laughs despite himself. "I guess we're going on ahead without them."
"You don't think the meal ruined things, do you?" Rai asks fretfully as he holds the door for Alvey. A young woman with short black hair looks up as a small chime signals their arrival. The donut shop everyone thought would go out of business thanks to the cafes and coffee shops nearby has flourished, due in no small part to its stellar reputation with its employees. It’s no secret that if you treat people well they'll work harder for you. Loyalty and word of mouth go a long way, and combined with delicious donuts and adjacent sweets? Sugar & Spice Cupcakes may as well have hit a gold mine and just last month finished their expansion into the adjacent building that had previously held a less popular cafe.
Alvey puts an arm around Rai's waist. "I think that it would take more than that to ruin things... I mean their first impressions of each other were good."
"Miku seemed interested," Rai agrees pensively. He leans into Alvey, stopping just short of snuggling.
"You worry too much. Even if it doesn't work out that doesn't mean all is lost. I mean our first date would be considered a disaster." Alvey nudges him softly. "And we've been together three years now." Rai kisses Alvey's cheek before stepping away to approach the counter.
Alvey texts Hanuel while Rai ordered a box of donuts to inform his best friend that they'd meet them there and as a subtle way of prying without prying. He looks up when his boyfriend returns with a box. "They will meet us there in fifteen minutes."
"Is everything okay?" Rai asks, practically pouncing on his boyfriend. "Did he say?"
Alvey squints at him. "It's fine. He said they're on their way." He puts a hand on his boyfriend's arm. "Breathe."
Rai makes a show of obeying. "Good?"
"I think so." Alvey loops an arm with Rai's and leads him out the door. "Just think positive thoughts. I'm sure the date has picked right up."
"I don't know why that car didn't slow down..." Miku dabs at Hanuel's hair to get a clump of mud out. He got the worst of it when that blue car ran a stop sign and splattered both of them with mud. It made the remaining walk to the apartment building chilly and sticky with both of them covered in gunk. It didn’t help that it began to rain right before they managed to make it inside. On the bright side, most of the pasta had washed off Hanuel.
"I am so sorry," Hanuel says in a tone laced with resignation and misery. "This is probably the worst walk home you've ever been on."
"Interestingly enough, it is not." Miku nods slowly. "I was once chased by an evil little piranha of a dog once..."
"Evil piranha...?" Hanuel sputters around a laugh.
"It was. Like snapping at me and everything." She shudders at the memory. She loved dogs but that one made her second guess that love.
"Chihuahua?" Hanuel guesses.
"I think it was a mix. Let me get you something to change into." Miku walks through the front door. "Rai and Alvey should be home."
"Huh, guess it was just a people-hater. I can't imagine something disliking you so much it attacks." Hanuel follows her in. "I appreciate this," he says gratefully. "My place is much farther away."
"No problem," she calls from down the hall. "Make yourself at home."
"Okay," Hanuel calls back, eyeing the nearby couch with trepidation. He always struggled to 'make himself at home' in new places.
Miku returns with some of Rai's clothes, hoping they fit okay. "Here you go." She hands the clothes off and shows Hanuel where the bathroom is so he could change.
"Thank you again!" Hanuel calls, shutting the bathroom door behind him.
Rai bursts in moments later, dripping water. "It wasn't supposed to rain today!"
"You guys too huh?" Miku asks, greeting her brother and Alvey at the door.
Alvey looks her over once he made it through the door. "You look worse than we do... What happened?"
"Car. Puddle. Do the math," Miku says with a sigh.
"Where's Hanuel?" Rai asks, glancing around. "He didn't leave, did he?"
"Bathroom. He took the brunt of the mud." Miku gestures to the hall. "I'm going to go change."
Rai beams at his sister. "We'll get the donuts set out!"
Alvey busies himself getting the kitchen table cleared. He places the box of donuts on the chair at the table to keep them out of harm’s way. "Where does this stuff even go?" He turns to find Rai had disappeared so with his arms full, he makes his way out of the kitchen in search of his boyfriend. He passes Hanuel on his way out of the bathroom.
"Ahh," Hanuel sighs, flipping the bathroom light off as he exits. "That's better. Need any help?"
“Nah, it’ll just be a moment,” Alvey assures, disappearing down the hall.
Miku came out of her room just in time to catch Hanuel. "Hey, Alvey and Rai are back. They got drenched too." She makes her way into the kitchen. "They brought some donuts."
"I saw Alvey go down the hall. I could definitely use a sugary pick me up," Hanuel gushes, following Miku. "Why don't we get a headstart?"
"I will get some drinks. And figure out where they hid them. You can have a seat?" Miku gestures at the table and heads for the fridge.
"Such a lady," Hanuel teases. She smiles at him. He rounds the kitchen table to give her space to pass and plops down. A soft box smooshes beneath him with a telltale crumpling sound. He freezes.
Miku steps back from the fridge with her hands up. "What was that?"
"I found the donuts," Hanuel whispers.
Miku stares at him a moment then takes a wine bottle out of the fridge, grabs two glasses, and walks over to him. "You're right." She sets the glasses down and opens the wine. "You are cursed."