It was a rather quick glance down at my watch which told me that I’d only have just over 6 minutes to race down the main drag of Minato and swerve up the busy side streets overflown with socialites and fashionably late business types as they frequently were on Thursday nights on my way to Tofu-ya Ukai.
The dinner reservation was for 8pm under the name Nasuma - an attempt at rekindling the spark which I felt was lacking within the relationship for the last three years I’d been in with a moody musician. Being a professional in the wedding industry - love, lust and romance were what I dealt with daily; a concoction of all three; the perfect blissful harmony of any project I’d undertake.
My last meeting with clients - two twenty something, head over heels with one another journalism graduates had run slightly over schedule. This was something that usually, I didn’t mind yet with tonight’s arrangements eager to get my own relationship back on track, it barely felt like I could afford to waste a single minute.
Foot slamming down on the brake the second I noticed a vacant car space to the left; I quickly reversed in, scooping up my handbag off the passenger seat after changing my shoes from plain black flats to kitten heels and pulled my hair out of it’s rigid bun updo allowing the sandy brown waves to cascade over my shoulders as I rushed to get ready. Panic - was not and would never be in my vocabulary.
“Reservation for Nasuma”, I informed the hostess at the entry glancing around in the hopes of eyeing off my boyfriend possibly already seated. Not noticing any familiar faces, my expression of slight irritation turned into that of thanks as I was shown to the table and given a menu outlining drinks. Flipping the long black card straight over to read the alcoholic section, my eyes stopped abruptly on a cocktail which sounded delicious.
“I’ll take a raspberry cosmo please.”
The waiter dressed in typicaly hospitality white and black informed me it would be a few minutes and allowed me to wait in peace for my expected company. Listening to the sounds of glasses clicking, cutlery clanking and voices conversing or more so gossiping, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to catch up on emails I hadn’t gotten to earlier in the day.
‘Can’t wait to see you tonight.’
The quick text message was sent before I focused on anything else. Drink brought, food menu slid in front of me and tables turning over; I checked the time to see how long I’d been waiting.
“Is the lady ready to order?”
A formal, deep voice sounding as if it were coated by the richest tone of sophistication I’d possibly ever heard asked me the simple question I wasn’t ready for. Surely Hibiki wouldn’t be too much longer. Apologising for the wait, I ordered another drink and sent another text, still not having gotten a reply to the first.
'You running late baby?’
Forty-five minutes later and still no response. Hungry, frustrated, lipstick half chewn off my bottom lip and a pale look creeping onto my face along with a nervous sweat just beneath the collar of my cream coloured shirt, the question of ordering food was brought up yet again. Not wanting to seem rude, I still hadn’t looked at the menu - instead shifting my gaze between the waiter and my cellphone.
“I…..”, I uttered halfheartedly, preparing myself for an embarrassing moment of attempting to hustle up an excuse which didn’t scream 'I’ve just been stood up - wow, lucky me’, when the chair across from me was pulled out, a stranger slipping themselves in.
“I’m sorry I’m late”, they lied straight through their teeth; shooting me a smile which I was sure only a guardian angel if they were real could keep. Feeling my phone vibrate in my lap, I look down and see a pop up notification light up on the screen.
'Late night tonight. Won’t be able to make it.’
Really - a text now? Sighing, I drop my shoulders in half defeat. Perhaps this strangers company out of the blue wouldn’t be put to waste.
“It’s fine…”, I respond, playing along with the little white lie, “Shall we order? You must be starving.”