The Date

Contributor: Matt Fleming

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All he would need to do is get back in his car and drive away. Twenty, maybe twenty-five steps and he would be able to spare himself the shame and humiliation of asking Daisy to the prom. He stood in front of the door for a long while, staring at the rusting brass knocker. He willed his hand to move, but it decided that now would be a great time to give in to fear instead of, as his dad was often fond of saying, "bellying up to the bar". He cast a quick glance behind him to the car.

It was his dad's old Ford, but in the night, with the damp southern air and being parked under one of the few working street lights around, it may as well have been 1964. It was the car his father took his mother out on their first date in. For years, it was his father's baby and his focus, even when mom would yell at him to take out the garbage or watch the kids. His dad taught him how to care for every inch of that vehicle, and he learned. He kept trying to make his dad proud. Maybe one day, he will. That car was more than a machine. It was how he escaped, even when he couldn't drive and needed to find a safe place when his father was mad or drunk and needed to blow off steam. That car was as much his home as his way to get to work and school, and if he could just get up the courage to knock on that door, it might be his turn to have a first date in it. It was good enough for his dad, so it's good enough for him.

He adjusted his suit jacket for the fifth or fifteenth time and ran his fingers through his hair with his free hand, the other clutching a bundle of roses wrapped in floral plastic and shaking slightly. Steeling himself, he willed his free hand to, again, grab the ring. This time, it relented and reached upward, slowly, straining to make contact with his destiny. His fingers stroked the single handle on the brass circle. Rust trickled down like light snow as he pulled the handle back. At the same time, the porch light flickered on.

The door shook off more rust from the knocker as it shuddered. Loud clicks and mechanical machinery emanated from the door for many long seconds. He let go quickly, it striking out a soft thud as it settled back into place. The doorknob turned, and the door opened.

"Jay? What br-" The young lady at the door inhaled sharply as she spied the well-dressed man on her parent's porch. He was handsome, in a rugged way. They were friends at school, but the most they had done up to this point was talk during class. He was definitely trying, and the roses, her favorite flower, helped immensely. It was old-fashioned, but he seemed to be an old-fashioned kind of guy.

"Daisy, uh... would you like to go out tonight?" He thrust the flowers in front of him, a shield from the verbal assault he expected.

She took the flowers gingerly and grinned back at him. "Let me get my purse," she replied as she dashed in, half-closing the door. His heart found its way from his chest to his throat. He couldn't believe it was happening.

He escorted her to the car, opened the door and helped her in. She giggled as she kept her eyes on him, her heart beating erratically as she sits down. As he walked around the back of his vehicle, he looked in the back seat. The bloody wrench was still sitting right behind his seat.

He loved his father. Jay knew, he was going to make his dad proud, tonight.

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I work as a video game content designer for Trion Worlds and am working on a Creative Writing degree through Full Sail University. My work can be found in Rift, Defiance, and Ultima Online.
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