The Imperfect Gentleman

This is my response to this week’s Flashback Track Friday prompt, where we were challenged to:

Share something that happened after midnight.

“Come on”, egged Jules, “let’s all head back to mine. I have it on DVD at home”. He’d been raving about this new Bill Murray comedy all evening.

Why not? Friday night. Half past eleven. My own place was just around the corner from his. And I had no plans for tomorrow, so I could easily catch up on whatever sleep I lost tonight. It seemed a good excuse to continue the evening. I couldn’t have cared less about the movie, but there was Saranne. I’d met Saranne tonight. Properly, for the first time. And I didn’t want to let go.

“I’m in”, I responded, enthusiastically. Vested interests.

But it wasn’t just me.

“I don’t know…”, Saranne ummed, “I have work tomorrow.”

I had seen her in the bar before, three or four times. Noticed her, fancied her. Gorgeous. But we’d never actually spoken. Not until tonight.

Friday night at my regular haunt, I arrived just after 9 and spotted Saranne immediately. Of all the people, she was talking to Jules. In the year we’d been buddies, I never realised he was a mutual friend. But here was my “in”. I joined them, and Jules dutifully introduced us.

She wore her hair braided that night. It suited her, and the beads matched the sparkle in her eyes.

“Love your plaits”, I commented. More forward than I’d behave normally, but in this informal setting, with somebody who left me stunned… I could at least hint my approval with a well-aimed compliment. Appreciated, it blazed the trail, and we laughed all evening.

“Oh, come on”, I goaded, “you must have to walk past his house to get home!” From what she’d revealed so far, this much was true. And, one final throw, as if to clinch the deal. “Look, if you’re worried about getting back safely, I’ll walk with you when you want to go home.”

We twisted her arm. Perhaps she wanted it as badly as I did? Who knows? But twenty minutes later, we were seated in Jules’ lounge. Saranne and I shared one sofa, lazing at either end, and Jules served chilled plonk all round before settling into the other sofa. Ever prepared, the efficient Jules then primed the DVD.

It was as mediocre as I had expected. But as the hours grew small, we began to sprawl. In the seductively dim light, I briefly felt a hand touching mine. Then, more deliberate, she was holding. But, in the company of a third, we went no further.

I was good to my word, and walked Saranne back home. A gentleman all the way. On arrival, the coffee invite, gratefully accepted. Then, “would you like to listen to some music?”, before letting slip that the turntable was in the bedroom. Again, I gratefully accepted. “Make yourself at home”, she offered, and I sat on the edge of the bed while she fumbled with the vinyl.

When Barry White started crooning, it was time not to be a gentleman, and I rose from the bed. Sliding to the record player, I placed each hand on Saranne’s hips, and pulled her into me.


  1. I love how my reading software can’t understand “plaits”. It should be pronounced with a hard “a”, as in “stack”, but the reader pronounces it “plate”. In the UK, a plate is cockney rhyming slang for someone’s feet. I never really got far enough to think of this character’s feet!


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