“Katie, what the hell?” Daniela said, grabbing Katie by the elbow and pulling her to one side.
“What have I done now?” Katie asked.
“This was meant to be a double date, meaning that there should only be four of us. If I had known that the whole British Army was going to turn up I wouldn’t have bothered coming!”
“Of course you would have!” Katie said. “The prospect of you with a large group of muscle clad men who fight people for a living? You’d be first in line.”
Daniela opened her mouth to argue this but came up empty. Why was she complaining about this? Then she remembered.
“What’s the deal with you not letting me have Nathan to myself for more than five minutes?”
Katie seemed to distract herself by picking invisible lint off her sleeve. “I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“Katie, for the past half an hour you have stuck your chair right in between me and Nathan! Any time either of us tries to talk to the other, you start up a loud conversation with someone on the other side of the table so that we couldn’t possibly hear each other.”
“Well, excuse me for wanting to include you in the life and soul of the party.” Katie said. “I just figured that as you were one of the only people at the table who didn’t know anyone else that you might appreciate a little guidance in who to talk to.”
“I’ve found someone I want to talk to! The unbelievably sexy rich man that you set me up with in the first place.”
Katie snorted. “He’s not that sexy.”
“What’s going on?” Daniela asked. “Do you like him or something? Is that why you’re now trying to put me off him?”
Katie let out a loud short laugh. “Trust me, I do not find that man attractive one little bit. Any way, I have Dave.”
“Okay, so leave us both alone!” Daniela said. “You may not find him attractive but I do. For some weird reason he’s single and I would like to make sure that he doesn’t stay that way!”
“Daniela, just be careful yeah?” Katie said. “I’ve since found out that he’s a bit of a player.”
“I thought you said that he was the settling down type?”
“Did I say that?” Katie said. “Wow, that does sound like something I would say to get you here.”
“Well, is he a player or not?”
Katie sighed. “I guess he’s not.”
Daniela gave Katie a sceptical look. “You’re acting really weird today.”
“Let’s just say, I’m having a really bad day.”
In that moment, Katie looked unguarded, tired and flustered. Daniela hadn’t noticed this in her friend until now.
“Kate, are you okay?”
Katie gave Daniela her biggest smile. “Me? I’m just fine and dandy. Nothing that a few more drinks won’t fix.”
“Yeah, we need to get some stronger stuff though because I’m not feeling the effects of the drink at all. I’m guessing we should just order whatever Adam Gammon and that other girl are drinking.”
“I’m on it.” Katie said and disappeared to the bar.
Daniela sat back down at the table. Dave was lost in a conversation with the newer guy who had turned up. She spent a moment trying to remember his name. Connor. That was it, and his girlfriend was Christiana. He was throwing her looks every five seconds. Daniela had noticed that he had the back of his neck bandaged up, but as no one else seemed to comment on this, she assumed it must have been something that had happened a while ago. He was a soldier after all, it’s probably part of the job. Unless you have me. She thought and smiled to herself. Her mind went temporarily back to her research but she stopped herself almost immediately. No. You’re having a day off Daniela.
Daniela scanned the room for signs of Nathan but couldn’t see him. She contemplated sitting there until he came back but then decided that that would give off the wrong impression, like she has nothing better to do than wait around for when he’s ready. She went to grab her phone and check her messages when she remembered that she had given her phone to the overly perky woman who had greeted her at the entrance. Suddenly her hands felt heavy and awkward, she had nothing to do. She took another scan of the table and decided that she would hijack one of the conversations. A loud raucous laugh came from Adam and Christiana’s side and she figured this would be the best place for losing herself in a conversation, besides, it was Adam Gammon! She hadn’t really registered the fact that one of the highest paying actors in the entire world was sitting just five feet away from her.
She grabbed her bag and shimmied down three chairs until she was in the empty seat next to Adam. She was contemplating how to enter herself into the conversation when Christiana saved her the effort.
“Hey look Adam!” She said, “It’s Nathan’s date.”
Adam turned to face Daniela and threw his arm around her shoulder. “Daniela!” He said, pulling her into a hug. “It is Daniela, right?”
Daniela smiled her confirmation as she nestled into Adam Gammon’s shoulder for a moment, taking a mental image that she never thought she would. Why the hell didn’t she have her phone?
“So, Daniela,” Christiana said in an over the top stage whisper and leaning in for effect. “What’s the deal between you and Nathan?”
“I don’t know, it’s the first time I’ve met him and I haven’t really had a chance to speak to him.” Daniela turned to Adam. “You’re friends with him, what’s he like?”
“I couldn’t possibly comment on the life of Nathan. It is an enigma. A complete mystery to me.”
“Okay, I seriously need to have some of what you are drinking.” Daniela said.
“Go ahead!” Christiana said, moving the jug towards her. “It is like swallowing a drop of heaven and then bathing in beautiful things for a really long time. My friend Jason makes them. He’s gay.”
Daniela laughed and poured herself a glass. “Okay. Cheers!”
Adam picked up his pint, followed by Christiana and they clinked them together. Just as Daniela was about to take a sip, a hand came from behind and grabbed the drink from her grasp.
“I have been dying for this for ages, thanks.” Daniela turned to see Nathan down the whole drink and then let out a large cough. “Wow, that stuff is ridiculous. Christiana, didn’t Connor say you smacked your head?"
“Right on the noggin.” Christiana said, knocking the back of her head with her knuckles and then wincing from the pain.
“Um, excuse you.” Daniela said. “That was my drink you just drank.”
“It’s okay babes,” Katie said, walking over with a tray of drinks. “I’ve got you some more.”
“Connor, you might want to come and control your woman.” Nathan said.
“Adam Gammon, would you tell your friend that I am completely in control.” Christiana said and got up with a flourish to make her point. However, the momentum of getting up got away from her and she fell backwards, grabbing hold of the back of the chair on her way down.
“Ow.” She said, squinting up at everyone else and holding her head. “That wasn’t meant to happen.”
Connor was by her side within a second and checking her eyes. “Can you see me?”
“Relax, I’m fine. I just got up funny, that’s all.”
Connor helped her up and suddenly there was a barman by her side.
“Jason!” Christiana called out. “Everyone, this is Jason and he makes the best cocktails ever!”
“Hi everyone, I was wondering if you might like to follow me to a more private area of the bar.”
“Are we being chucked out?” Daniela asked.
Jason looked at her for a moment before speaking, a flash of emotion went past his eyes. However, the moment Daniela thought she saw it, it was gone.
“Of course not Ms Davids.” Jason said. “We just want you to be able to enjoy your day to the maximum, this should be more accommodating in a more private room. Then you can be as entertaining as you wish.”
Entertaining, Daniela thought, good choice of words, he probably meant to say ‘annoying as hell.’ No one else in their party seemed to mind being escorted elsewhere however, and they were all already on the move. Nathan placed his arm on the small of Daniela’s back and she turned to see him smiling down at her, her coat over his arm.
“Shall we?” He said.
She smiled up at him, momentarily struck by his looks once more. She fell into step next to him and let him guide her across the room in the direction the rest of the people were going. Just as they all entered a side room, Nathan pulled at Daniela’s hand and drew her to one side.
“No matter what happens next, I just wanted to say, I think you are really hot and I have really enjoyed meeting you.” Nathan said. He leant in and kissed her chastely on the lips.
Daniela stood there stunned, all witty come backs and flirtatious charm gone. Nathan grinned back at her and, with his hand still around waist, guided her into the room.