So many people have requested more of After the Break Up and this is for all of you, but it’s dedicated to hawthornewhisperer. Not only because she’s a wonderful gadge writer, but because she’s also a generally brilliant person. Happy Gadgeversary HW.
After their first date.
The biggest problem with Panem is how small it is.
There’s literally three eateries in the entire town; four if you count the country club and its four figure a year annual membership. If you’re going on a dinner date, your options are even more limited as the Mellark’s cafe closes at five. So that leaves two options - Greasy Sae’s which does great burgers but no alcohol, and Rooba’s Bar which serves alcohol and burgers which are adequate at best, and only if the cook is having a good day.
Gale and Madge opt for Rooba’s on their first date. They could have gone to the country club - Madge’s father has membership there, but Madge remembers sitting in a debate club meeting one evening back in high school, her cheeks burning, as Gale delivered a diatribe on how the country club was a symbol of everything that was wrong with America. So, she never even suggests it.
“I should have thought this through,” Gale muses over a shared plate of cheese fries. “Or postponed until we got back to the city.”
Madge wants to assure him that’s fine, but she’s interrupted before she can. It’s the fourth or fifth time that’s happened. Gale was always well-liked and admired back when he was just the town heartthrob, now that he’s also the ‘local-boy done good’ it feels like everybody wants to talk him.
Nobody realizes they’re on a date. People are usually surprised to see them together, but assume they’re just friends. Gale never corrects any assumptions. She’s fine with that - she doesn’t want the whole town knowing her business - until she hears Gale say that he’s helping her with the remodel of her new apartment.
After that she loses her appetite, and when the waitress asks if they’d like to see a dessert menu, she says no even though Gale clearly wants to say yes. She turns down his offer of another drink too. “I’m tired, I think I’ll have an early night,” she tells him.
He looks disappointed, but pays the bill and walks her home. The walk is uncomfortable and silent, but mercifully brief.
Gale pauses on the sidewalk in front of her house and Madge feels another wave of annoyance with him. Is he not even going to walk her to the front door? She’s glad to see her father’s car is missing from the garage which means he’s still at the club. She’s not in the mood for any company right now. She just wants to change into her pjs, devour an entire chocolate cake and wallow on the couch.
She wants to forget about this whole date, draw a line under the whole endeavour and go back to being email acquaintances with Gale.
“So…” Gale begins awkwardly. He scratches the back of his head. “This went well.”