Question by HP Resource: How’s my writing? Would you read a story like this?
This is an edited version of a writing exercise from last week. My goal was to make it less of an “exercise” and closer to the beginnings of an actual story. Are any parts confusing? Does anything make you go “that’s dumb”? Please be specific! Thanks for reading!

Meredith Staple loved dating, but hated first dates. She was ten minutes late, had rolled a high-heeled ankle, tore her stockings, lost her date’s phone number and realized that she had forgotten to put on deodorant.

“Dianne!” Meredith shrieked into her cell phone, limping across a crosswalk.

“Is the date over already?”

“Dianne, are you sure this restaurant exists? I’ve been down the block twice already. The hot dog vendor thinks I’m stalking him.”

“He hopes you’re stalking him. When you do yourself up for a date you’re one of the most gorgeous women in the city.”

“I’m also one of the most lost women in the city… where the hell is this place?”

“You won’t see it until you’re right next to it,” Dianne said. “He didn’t make up the restaurant; James wouldn’t ditch you before he’s even met you.”

“He’ll just wait until I’ve sat down to ditch me?”

“You know what I mean.”

“Will he be mad that I’m late?”

Dianne hesitated.

“Dammit, Dianne, why do you set me up with the most uptight guys?”

“He’s not that uptight… just a little particular. Once he talks to you he won’t even care how crazy you are.”

Meredith cursed at her throbbing ankle.

“How is it that I train for marathons without a scratch, but I get an injury walking to a restaurant?”

“First dates are their own kind of marathon,” Dianne said.

“Yeah, and I’m a veteran with a lot of miles behind me.”

Meredith nearly passed the restaurant for a third time.

“Okay I found the restaurant, I’ve gotta go.”

“Wait!” Dianne called desperately from halfway to Meredith’s purse.

“God, WHAT?” Meredith pressed the cell against her shoulder. “I’m already late!” She plumped her hair with her free hands.

“Can you see him? Tell me what you think. You need a minute to catch your breath, anyway.”

The windows were like mirrors, reflecting the lights of the passing cars. Meredith cupped her free hand against her face and pressed herself up to the window.

She hadn’t expected tables to be directly on the other side of the glass.

Squatting awkwardly, with her face pressed into the glass and contorted into what she later realized was a stupefied expression, Meredith was nearly face-to-face with a man seated for dinner. He had been smiling at the waitress, his teeth gleaming against chocolate-brown skin. He was so handsome that Meredith’s impulse to push away from the glass was overwhelmed by the impulse to stare at his smile and into his eyes and enjoy the girlish leaping of her heart.

Though her eyes never left his face, Meredith registered that he was holding a rose exactly like the one James said he would bring. She felt her eyebrows fly into her bangs. This was James.

James also realized who he was looking at, and his smile turned to the expression one wears while watching a person about to get hurt on America’s Funniest Videos. “THIS is my date?” was written all over his mortified face.

With his smile gone, Meredith regained her wits and her impulse to push away from the glass. The entire restaurant was staring at her. She limped away from the window, cursing frantically.

“If you think he’s that unattractive,” said a voice near Meredith’s ear, “there is no man in the world hot enough for you.” Meredith had completely forgotten about Dianne.

“Dianne, he’s the most handsome guy I’ve ever seen in my life and I just made an ass of myself.”

“Did he see you make an ass of yourself?”

“Of course! I pancaked myself against the window to look inside and he was RIGHT THERE. He looked horrified. I’d be surprised if he’s still sitting there.” Meredith’s thudding heartbeat almost made her cough. She took a shallow breath and said, “I’m not going to go in.”

“Meredith…” Dianne sounded exasperated.

“It’ll be better this way,” Meredith said. “He gets to leave without feeling guilty for not calling me back, and I won’t feel guilty about letting him pay for a really expensive meal.” She was already feeling better, thinking about going back home, getting out of her stupid heels and curling up with a pint of ice cream.

“If you don’t go back in there and make a good second-impression,” Dianne was using her serious voice now, “I’m swear to God I will follow you to every first date you will ever have for the rest of your life and make sure that they’re more miserable than this one has been so far.”

Meredith groaned. Dianne wasn’t joking.

“What if I just never have a first date again for the rest of my life?”

“Isn’t that what you’ve been hoping for?”

Meredith closed her eyes. She nodded, even though Dianne couldn’t see her. Behind her eyelids she saw James’s smile and her heart swelled with the possibility of this date leading
to marriage and a life of no more dating. The swell became an ache when she thought of giving up that possibility for some silly Haagen-Daaz.

“Will you still call me in a half hour?” Meredith sighed, “just in case I need a pretend emergency to bail me out?”

“I will. Now go.”

Meredith shakily slid the phone into her purse and snapped the clasp shut. She limped towards the restaurant door, past the window where a lanky kid in an apron was glaring at her and wiping down the skin-smudged glass.

She mentally rehearsed what she would say to break the ice. Hopefully it would be enough to turn a first date into a last first date.

If you’re interested in seeing the previous draft: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=Avd2QRr3SccBDEftkJjRMVnty6IX;_ylv=3?qid=20090425165804AAzRvIl

Thanks again for reading!

Best answer:

Answer by (:
aw, thats reallly good! i’d love to read the rest of it! it’d also be great if you got published. this is really good, no lie. something i’d read. i love this part:

“Dianne, are you sure this restaurant exists? I’ve been down the block twice already. The hot dog vendor thinks I’m stalking him.”

great job, girl! keep writing. you’ll go far. -emily.

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