Chris Mitchell was the one that got away. We met in high school during a long, hot summer, and never acted on the attraction that sizzled just below the surface. When I run into him at a restaurant where I’m sitting alone after being stood up for a date, he smiles at me, and it’s like we’re teenagers again. After a few glasses of wine and a romantic candlelit dinner, we start talking about what could’ve been, and before we know it we’re both coming clean…
Coming Clean is book three of the Quickies Series: short, sexy stories you can read in one sitting!
It’s just my luck to get stood up at the hottest restaurant in town, on a Saturday night no less. To add insult to injury, my no-show “date,” Pete, had asked me to call in a favor from a friend to even secure the reservation. To stand me up on top of that? It’s just so…rude. I’ve called him at least ten times, and he’s not picking up his phone. Fine, I get the picture. But apparently it’s too much to ask for him to send me a simple text to tell me he doesn’t think it’ll work out? He did manage to find the time to upload a pic of him and his friends at a sports bar on the other side of town, so at least I know that he’s not dead in a ditch somewhere, although…
No, I don’t wish Pete ill. I feel kind of bad for him, actually. He was guaranteed to get some action tonight, so it’s his loss. Besides, I should’ve seen it coming. When he texted me earlier and told me that he wanted to meet me at the restaurant because he had been called into work and wouldn’t be able to pick me up in time, that should’ve set off a warning bell. But that’s typical me. Always missing the signs.
I pluck a piece of bread from the basket in the middle of the table, not even caring if anyone is watching me, feeling sorry for the poor girl sitting alone—obviously, at one point waiting for a date to show up—stuffing her face with carbohydrates. Carefully, I guide the bread into my mouth, cupping my hand beneath it to catch any potential spills, because I do not want to ruin this dress.
My best friend Hannah calls this my “sex dress.”
It’s everything a sex dress should be: it’s tight in all the right places, and it shows off just enough skin to get a man curious enough to want to get things started, while still leaving enough to the imagination that the object of my desire would be in a hurry to peel it off and find out what was underneath. It makes me feel sexy. Desirable.
I spent days looking for this dress in boutique after boutique. Not as long as I’ve spent looking for other dresses, sure, but it was still a considerable amount of time. I look good in this dress.
No, scratch that. I look fucking amazing in it.
This is why it’s such a shame that it’s being wasted on someone who is turning out to be a terrible, thoughtless, inconsiderate guy.
“Not a guy, Emily,” Hanna would say to me if I had the nerve to call her and tell her I’ve been stood up, which I don’t. “A piece of shit,” she’d call him. I haven’t known Pete that long, and he and Hannah only met once in passing, but I could tell that she didn’t like him very much based on their very brief meeting. I thought she was being ridiculous, but clearly I should’ve listened to her flawless intuition.
Pete and I met at a young professionals luncheon here in Chicago about three weeks ago. We hit it off immediately, and went out for drinks that evening. Those drinks led to what I thought were six pretty great dates, and tonight? Tonight was going to be the night. The night.
I got a wax earlier this morning. I’m wearing a sexy lace bra and panties set that I’m pretty sure Pete would’ve enjoyed ripping off of me. It makes me sick to think that all these pretty things I put on tonight with the express purpose of having them taken off would wind up in my closet instead of being strewn across Pete’s bedroom floor. Typical.
I look down at my menu and feel my stomach rumble, even though my appetite is quickly fading. Instead of sitting here by myself like a sad sack, I should just pay for my wine and leave, then buy the greasiest, cheesiest burger I can find and eat it in the privacy of my own home, while crappy rom coms play on a loop on my television.
“More wine as you peruse the menu, ma’am?” asks the waiter, for what has to be the hundredth time since I’ve sat down. To be fair, he’s doing his best not to flat-out tell me that I have to leave if I’m not going to order something to eat, and he keeps refilling my bread basket. I also have to give him credit for not mentioning the fact that I’ve clearly been stood up. It makes me wonder how many times he’s waited on a woman—or a man, I suppose—who was dressed to the nines and sitting alone at his or her table, angrily chomping on free bread, hoping it would soak up all the alcohol they’d consume in order to make sure being stood up was the absolute worst part of their night (that they’d remember, anyway).
“Might as well,” I reply as I nod at my glass, trying not to sound as bitter as I feel.
The waiter grins as he refills my glass in an almost hilariously cordial manner. With a soft voice that tells me he has seen his fair share of stood-up dates, he asks, “Will you be ordering anything this evening?”
Will I? I’ve been wanting to eat at this restaurant since it opened, but I’m not sure if I want it badly to eat alone. Eating by myself has never been something I particularly like doing even on a good day. Tonight? I’m not sure I’m up for it.
“May I have a moment?” I ask, finally flipping open the menu. Yeah, I want to eat here, so I’m going to eat here, Pete be damned. I look too good to not have a nice dinner. “I haven’t decided what I want yet.”
The waiter gives me a tight smile before he turns and walks away. I take a sip of wine as I read the list of entrees, when-
“Emily Booth? Is that you?”