Doomed Date Diaries by Bethany Quinn
Brian liked to talk about his past a lot- and how crazy the 'wild old days' were- without giving any real details or precise dates.
He had the look of a man whose weekends were a long and tiring negotiation with ex spouses about access to awkward, spoilt children who despised him. His profile said 'single'- which I read for 'divorced' - and probably more than once. He was a battered husk of a man whose hope, enthusiasm and exuberance had all been sucked out of him through the third finger on his left hand. Or maybe I was reading too much into it?
His photograph had clearly been taken a decade earlier. There was no way he was in his 'late twenties'- unless he'd found a miracle moisturiser or recently had his face re-hemmed with something extremely sharp. The handsome, garrulous young man was gone and all that remained was the sorry-looking shadow sitting across the table.
Brian glanced at his watch. It was Friday night. No doubt he had another weekend of arguing, taxiing and returning to look forward to. I felt sorry for him. His post-domestic bliss apocalypse was far from over. But thankfully Brian wasn't my problem. He was Amanda's.
Amanda's husband had just left her for a gas fitter called Keith. She was still a little shaken- but at least she'd had her boiler fixed. She wasn't a client as such. I was just helping her take the first tentative steps back into the world of dating. I hadn't mentioned to her that it was a doomed enterprise. She could find that out for herself.
Having been married for almost nineteen years her circle of friends was rather small- and sadly depleted by those who were switching allegiances and getting Keith to sort out their central heating systems.
We'd spent an evening together, trawling the online dating sites. It soon became clear that Amanda liked disheveled, moody and needy looking. She only had white wine in her walk-in fridge that was the practically the size of my living room. I drank water. White wine is for cleaning wounds.
'So you've got a large house?' Brian asked. 'Does it have a garden?'
'Yes,' Amanda said, leaning her head to one side coquettishly. 'Why?'
'It's just, I've got the kids this weekend and I've got nowhere to take them.'
I hate being right all the time.