The second date was a disaster, pure and simple.

Her water heater was busted and she had to take a cold shower, her maskara ended up a mess and inside her eye making it irritated and red, and her top tore up at the seams.

“Put on the pink one,” Persephone said, a little too late.

“Already on…” Demeter huffed out and got out the door.

The self-driving taxi got confused and took her the wrong way. It took her a good ten minutes to realise it and get it to correct the route, since she hadn’t been in the city that long. In retrospect, heading straight east should have been a dead giveaway.

“I’m here, sorry I’m late,” she panted, getting close to Trip. She leaned in and gave him a quick kiss, but reached out too far and hit her nose on his face. “Ouch!”

Trip touched her hand and smiled. “It’s okay, honey. Sit down and calm yourself, you’re all tense. I didn’t mind waiting a bit.”

Demeter plopped her butt down and looked over the menu. “Screw hot chocolate, I need a drink.”

“Okay,” Trip shrugged, the corner of his mouth raised. “I’ll have a drink too, then.”

“Two beers,” Demeter breathed out, going over the catalogue. “So many.” She remembered that she was playing a part, so she turned on her girly whine and said, “Baby… You choose for me. You know what I like.”

He stuttered. “I-I do, yes. Dark beer.” He finished the order and swiped the menu away from their face.

Demeter forced a smile on her face. She noticed that she was anxious and was leaning forward, bobbing on her arms. It was the lack of preparation. Last time, everything was perfect, her clothes, her mood, her makeup. This time it was a mess.

She was a mess.

“I touch his hand, cup it in mine and turn to see the sunsets,” Persephone said.

Demeter did exactly that, and Trip’s touch had a calming effect on her. The sunsets were almost over, she had been late. She opened up a virtual keyboard and typed up a message to Persephone. ‘I’m sorry for ruining your date, this day is not going well for me.’

“Wanna come sit next to me?” Trip asked.

“Oh, right. Sure.” Demeter carried her chair next to his and she sat down, still uneasy. She kept sniffing and pushing her hair back.

“Persephone? Are you alright?” Trip said, trying to maintain the illusion.

“Yeah,” Demeter breathed out and grabbed his hand. She scratched him a bit with her nails, she could see the red line. She tapped his hand in mockery of intimacy.

“Let’s just, you know. Chat. How are you today?” he asked.

Persephone’s response came in a text. “No, silly. It’s fine, it happens. Don’t sweat it. Let’s just enjoy our date. But to be honest, I am itchy for… you know, finally doing it.”

Demeter read the message and breathed in, still holding Trip’s hand with both of hers. “Why don’t we take it back to your place?”

“But we just ordered…” Trip said lamely looking back, and it was obvious that he regretted his words.

“Just grab them for the road. Yeah,” Demeter nodded.

“You sure?” Trip asked, and she could tell that the question was being directed at Demeter, not Persephone.

Demeter leaned in and kissed him on the lips. “Yes. Yes, I am.”

“Okay then.” Trip swiped his paycard on the smart-table and paid for the drinks. The waitress brought them over, and he stood up and grabbed them. “We changed our mind, getting them to go.”

“No problem,” the waitress said and smiled wide at the both of them.

Demeter’s heart was pounding. She couldn’t relax, not one tiny bit. She was in it now, she couldn’t back out. And sure, things weren’t going well tonight, but what the heck?

Shit happens.

“Okay, Trip, let’s go to your place,” Demeter said.

She stood up. “Oh, no…” she mumbled, feeling the wetness down her thigh. “Excuse me a moment,” she said and darted off to the bathroom.

“Period, right? It’s fine,” Persephone said.

Demeter was in the toilet, trying to contain the damage to her pants. “I don’t have a pad with me, it’s two days early, dammit!” She banged her forehead on the toilet walls. “I’m sorry,” she sighed, wiping herself down.

She was presentable when Persephone’s reply came around. “It’s fine, really. This was not meant to be our night. We’ll reschedule, babe.”

Demeter froze. She had called her ‘babe.’ Sure, it might had been just a slip of the tongue as she was thinking about Trip, and it might not mean anything. And the point of their getting-to-know one another was to feel safe and get intimate.

But she liked that, more than she cared to admit.

Persephone spoke in their three-way channel, “It seems that I got my period. Sorry, babe, we’ll meet again Wednesday?”

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