“Stacie, no,” said Beca.
“How long has it been since you’ve gotten some action?”
“That long, huh?”
“I hate blind dates. The last one I went on was a disaster!”
“How many years ago was that?”
“Well, Aubrey insists this girl is perfect for you. She’s a redhead.”
Beca rolled her eyes.
“You have a type, Bec. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just give her a chance.”
“You’re seriously not going to let up until I agree, are you?”
“You know I’m not.”
Beca blew out a sigh. “Fine.”
Beca arrived at the restaurant a little early to meet her date. She was hoping the girl wouldn’t show. However, she was floored when the redhead that walked into the lobby to meet her was none other than the last woman with whom she’d gone on her last blind date.
“Hi…” Beca said, trailing off. “Chloe?”
“Hi,” she said. Once the woman looked at Beca, she saw realization hit her face. “Oh, it’s you!”
“Yeah. I guess I didn’t realize you were the Chloe that Stacie and Aubrey were setting me up to date. I should have realized when they told me I’d be meeting a redhead named Chloe. I’ll go. Sorry.”
“Look, that was years ago, and…if it’s all the same to you, maybe we could try again?”
Beca thought for a moment. Chloe was a lot prettier than she’d remembered, and it had been at least three years. She hadn’t made plans for the evening, so she decided it couldn’t hurt. After all, a lot had happened in the past three years in Beca’s life, so maybe Chloe was different as well. “Okay, sure. Why not?”
The two women headed to their table. “Do you want to choose a bottle of wine?” Beca asked.
Chloe shook her head. “No, thanks. I don’t drink anymore.”
“Okay, then. I’ll just have iced tea.”
“You can have what you like,” said Chloe. “It won’t bother me.”
“Thanks, but it’s totally fine,” said Beca. “What about appetizers? Do you want to split one?”
“Now, you’re talking.”
The two women chose an appetizer to share just moments before the server appeared to take their order.
“What’s good here? I haven’t eaten here before,” said Beca.
“Aubrey gave me a few suggestions,” said Chloe.
The two women chose their meals and gave their orders.
“I’m really sorry about last time,” Chloe said.
“It was years ago.”
“I know, but I should explain.”
Three Years Ago
Beca had gone out to a nice dinner with her blind date, and she’d ended up in the club down the road. She didn’t really even like dancing, but Chloe had given her the “puppy dog eyes” when she’d asked. She hadn’t been able to resist.
However, they hadn’t been at the club for even an hour, and Chloe had abandoned her. She’d made the same cute eyes at the bartender, and the guy had given her way too many free drinks. A guy had asked her to dance, and she hadn’t even looked at Beca before leaving the bar to hit the dance floor. Beca sat at the bar alone while Chloe danced way too close to someone she’d just met. She left in a huff after paying her tab. She deleted Chloe’s number from her phone and vowed to never go on a blind date again.
Chloe took a deep breath. “I wasn’t in a good place when we went on that date. I had just gone through a breakup. I’d had issues with alcohol before that, but the breakup seemed to have turned those problems into full-blown alcoholism. I know I did a shitty thing to you on that date. To be honest, I don’t remember much about that night. I woke up the next morning naked in some guy’s bed with a nasty hangover.”
“Yeah. It was actually a wake-up call for me. I had to go get Plan B. I checked myself into a substance abuse program. I’ve been clean and sober ever since.” Chloe opened her purse and rummaged for just a moment before handing Beca a sobriety chip.
The chip was bronze in color with the roman numeral “III” in the center. It said “To thine own self be true” on it, and it had a triangle that said: “unity” on one side, “service” on another, and “recovery” on the third. Beca admired it for a moment before handing it back.
“So, do you forgive me?” Chloe asked.
“I do. My mother was an alcoholic and didn’t get sober until I was in college. It was a hellish time when I was younger. I didn’t have sleepovers at my house because I was afraid my mom would wake up hungover. I didn’t want my friends or their parents to see that. My dad finally left my mom in frustration when I was in middle school. He wanted to take me with him when he moved out, but my mom refused. The courts almost always give custody to the mother, and this judge was no different. Anyway, she was a completely different person once she got sober. I came home from college for Christmas my first semester, and it was a night and day difference. I know it wasn’t easy for my mom to get sober, so I’m really proud of you for doing it.”
“Wow,” said Chloe.
“Yeah. It’s a lot. But that also probably explains why I left when I did. I do drink alcohol, but never to the point of getting drunk. And, I hate being around drunk people. Dealing with my mom for all of those years has zapped my patience for it. I probably should have made sure you were okay before leaving.”
“Look, that was on me, not you. I should have been more responsible. Besides, you probably did me a favor. It was the rude awakening I needed. Maybe I would still be drinking if that hadn’t happened. So, thank you. Seriously. I can’t say I’d be sitting here sober if you hadn’t done what you did.”
“You’re welcome, I guess?”
“So, anyway, how about we spend the evening getting to know each other? I promise I’m a totally different person than the one you met three years ago.”