Tommy's Blind Date
  Blind dates aren't just for strangers, but when it comes to dating your best friend how can the friendship survive?

Tommy's Blind Date - Extract

“That’s it,” I said, flinging myself down onto the office sofa and stretching my length out over it. Which, as there’s six-foot-two of my sheer lankiness, meant my feet were dangling off the end. “That’s really it. I swear to you, Jacob, I’m through with blind dates. It’s a blood sport, and they never end prettily, do they?”

Jacob didn’t answer, not at first. He merely gazed at me over the top of his reading glasses, smoothed down a page of his latest script and tutted. In spite of being an actor, my best friend since schooldays was the calmest man I knew and had never let anything muddy his waters, or at least not for long. He often used my office for learning lines, as he said it helped him concentrate, and I didn’t mind as he never interfered with my consultancy work. Anyway, I was really glad he was here now.

“Hmm? What happened last night then? I gather from your supine position on the sofa and general air of malaise that it wasn’t a great success.”

I snorted. Even for Jacob this was underplaying it somewhat. So I made myself more comfortable and proceeded to tell him about my disastrous date. Not that it was entirely the other bloke’s fault. I don’t pretend I’m any great catch, but I’d made my best effort to look presentable and had worn my neatest casual trousers and a deep blue shirt I hoped brought out the color of my eyes. Heck, I’d even smoothed down my hair with gel I found buried in the back of the bathroom cabinet in the hope my unruly locks wouldn’t spring up and frighten anyone, like they usually did.

Not sure why I’d bothered. Because when Hector (yes, this was his name) turned up outside the Dog and Duck twenty minutes later than anticipated, he was already half-cut, or worse, and wearing a pair of jeans that must have been in their prime in the Falklands War and a T-shirt that looked as if it had been worn already this week, by several different people. Possibly all at the same time. On top of it all, he was surely at least ten years younger than I am, and I was only thirty-two. It wasn’t how he’d been described to me by the contact who’d set us up, and I made a mental note to drop said contact from the Christmas list just as soon as I started to make one.

Hector’s first words failed to endear him any more to me either.

He leaned in as if going for a kiss, a prospect I sidestepped smartly just in case the child protection police should suddenly descend upon me, and whispered, “Hey, you’re older than I thought you’d be, but I’ve always liked older men, so let’s just do it, shall we?”

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