Belles and Wine

[Author Note: This is a story I start early last year just…because. It may or may not continue. I’d been wanting to write something with a female lead inspired by my oldest friend…and this was the result. It was also somewhat inspired by my recent exposure to romance novels and their unfettered hilarity.]
“And he had the most charming accent, I must say! Australian, I believe. Isn’t that delightful? The British have become rather a bore—Jonathan, are you listening to me? Put down your silly book and pay attention! This is important!”
“Do you think I would be considered an…alpha?” Jonathan shut the book and squinted at the cover. He doubted he would be able to earn such a masculine physique if he made it his life’s goal. And his life’s goal was not to look so grotesque.
Annabelle stared at him. “Have you heard a single word I’ve said?”
“Hm? What? Yeah. Australia is your favorite country?”
Her expression fell flat.
He raised an eyebrow. Why did women even read these things? He couldn’t find a single rational reason why one thing led to another. He looked up. “What?”
Annabelle rolled her eyes and collapsed back into her chair with a sigh that would’ve made Shakespeare himself proud. “I’ve been telling you I’ve found a man. Quite the man too, I dare say. His name is Timothy, and he is positively enchanting.”
“Does he use lines like, ‘you’re so hot you melt my fire’?” Jonathan looked back down at the page and frowned. This idiot attracted whoever he wanted and he couldn’t even think of an interesting pick-up line? Then again, he’d always figured his own pickup lines to be brilliant. Original. Even a little bit sexy.
At least the last restraining order had been short-lived.
“He would never say something so vulgar.” Annabelle raised her nose an atmosphere. “And how dare you insinuate such a horrid thing.”
“Just checking. If he did, I’d have to question your judgment.”
Annabelle gave another dramatic sigh. All the plants seemed to perk up from the amount of carbon dioxide she released in that single breath. “My judgment? I am not the one using cheap romance novels to figure out how to get a date.” She delicately removed the napkin from her lap and rested it on the white tablecloth. “If you wanted to know about women, you just need to ask. I am a fountain of knowledge. You should count yourself fortunate to have such a valuable resource.” She folded her hands under her chin and smiled at him. “How would you say it? Shoot!”
Jonathan deadpanned her over the top of the book. “I want to know about women, Annabelle. I doubt you can relate anymore to the modern, everyday woman than I can. You’re far too classy.”
A flicker of confusion crossed her face, but in a blink it was gone. Of course. Annabelle wouldn’t allow such noncommittal expressions to grace her features for long without her expressed permission. “Jonathan, dear. You want a woman like me. Anything less spells trouble. I can tell you what to look for.”
“Not too picky right now.” He flipped a page.
“Rubbish.”
“You can only be picky when you have options.”
“I was referring to your little book there.” Annabelle stood up from the table and rubbed her hands over her skirt. “Well, I am so glad to have had this lovely lunch with you. It was enlightening, truly. I feel we connected. Rehashed old times and caught up on new ones.”
“You’re the one that wanted to lunch. And you’re going to leave me with the check again, aren’t you.”
“It is gentlemanly to take care of the check.” Annabelle shrugged her purse onto her shoulder.
“I think that only counts if we’re dating. And you don’t need to look so instantly repulsed at the mere thought.” Jonathan rolled his eyes again.
“I did not look repulsed! You’re my dearest friend, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“Feeling is mutual. At least the latter part half.” He flipped to the next page. More pawing and kissing and…he didn’t know that sort of thing was allowed in print to be sold at the average bookstore. He shut the cover. “I’m happy for you, Annabelle, truly. How many dates have you been on with this…Timothy?”
She froze. “I…I do believe it is later than I thought it was. Lovely chatting, Jonathan! Thank you for lunch!”
Jonathan raised an eyebrow. “Next time only order one glass of wine!”
Copyright © Nikki Noelle
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