Grace sat in The Bell and Hare, at a table sticky with the remnants of the previous patron’s drinks and the air dense with cigarette smoke. Her small table bobbed back and forth on an uneven fourth leg, splashing heavy stout on the already saturated wood while she tried to appear invisible. She had been unsure about coming out to the dodgy end of Tottenham on a Wednesday night, but her coworkers had assured her that once she got into the pub, “the blokes there aren’t so bad”.
Grace normally smiled and ignored her lonely heart, but after nine months her excuses were growing useless and the men at the publishing house where she was working were either fabulous, but hopelessly gay or just so dull that she’d rather spend the evening watching the BBC than try to make conversation outside of the office.
Spurred on by the unrelenting matchmaking of her landlady who’d tsked at her, “Young lady” her cockney accent shrill in Grace’s ears, “you’ve been on this side of the pond long enough to start dating. We have some fine chaps here too you know?” she’d called a taxi and arrived before her blind date
Lost in the memory of Mrs. Griffiths pressing a name, telephone number and grainy photo into her palm with a wink, she didn’t notice the sudden appearance of a man near the edge of the table.
Grace looked up into eyes black as coal framed by a mess of brown curls sitting atop a chiseled face with a beaklike nose and a mouth outlined with a smooth goatee that ended at the tip of his pointed chin.
The man smiled, revealing gleaming teeth that looked feral and eerily devilish. Grace at once thought of the song “Werewolves of London” and didn’t even try to stop the gasp that escaped her lips.
“Grace?” he asked, his British accent caressing the syllable that was her name.
“Yes.” She answered, squinting her own blue eyes to meet his.
“I’m Dante Barnes.”
Later that night, amid the tangle of sheets and breathless fucking, Grace would think back to that moment and know it was the beginning…of the end.
RED RIDING HOOD at WOE this week gave us choices of Olympic Proportions
I chose: THE ROAD RACE (300 or so words) set in Bejing, London or Rio.
London it is, with my new set of characters .