A Matter of Time
"Come on Marinette, it's one date." Marinette couldn't help but roll her eyes at her friend's excessive begging and slid a new batch of cakes in the oven. "I didn't even pick him this time, he's Nino's old college friend. What's the worst that could happen?" Alya continued as she swiped a chocolate chip cookie from the display.
"My best friend eats all my product, and then I won't have any left for paying customers," Marinette shot a look at her best friend who responded with a sheepish smile.
"If you bring some of your cookies to your date with Adam, you'll bag him for sure."
"How many people do you know that bring baked goods on a blind date Alya?" Her best friend's intentions were pure, Alya only wanted to see her happy, but a blind date- that was a disaster waiting to happen.
"You're showing all of your assets to prove you are the whole package." Marinette couldn't hold back a snort filled laugh.
"I'm starting to wonder what you think will happen on this date."
"You'll love him Marinette, he's a lawyer, but he handles most of the pro bono cases in his firm. He's a cat person; which I know is in the plus column for you. He's drop dead gorgeous and has the greenest eyes."
"I hope those weren't Nino's exact words because otherwise you two have other things to discuss," Marinette teased.
"Please, just one date. You know I only want you to be happy, and you can't say you had the best love life over the past couple years; between Kim, Nathan"-
"I get it," Marinette snapped. She knew exactly how those dates went, no need to rub salt in the wound.
"Marinette, I'm convinced you try and find something wrong with every person interested in you."
"I've been busy with the bakery, opening a second store is within my grasp. I can't give up now."
"No one is saying give up. It's one date tomorrow night," her best friend offered.
"You're not going to give up on this, are you?"
"I learned my stubbornness from one of my best friends." Alya beamed in response.
"Fine. One date, but in the morning. That way I can route back to the bakery if things don't go well and bake a couple of batches and not waste the day."
"You won't regret this!" Alya threw her arm around in a tight hug. "I'm going to go tell Nino to set it up and have the details for you tonight. Promise me you won't be late. We both know how you are in the mornings. Don't forget to change your clock tonight." She called over her shoulder as the last reminder.
Marinette rolled her eyes once more, Alya was as subtle as a truck. As much as she appreciated it, the level of faith in her was almost insulting. Her phone would automatically switch to the new time, there wasn't any need to adjust anything. The oven's timer caught her attention, and she rushed so her cakes wouldn't burn.
Nerves kicked in as she realized what she's done. What was she thinking to agree to a blind date? The regular dates that she set up ended with disaster.
She only made it through one date with Kim. He tried to carry the conversation the best he could, but with her limited knowledge of sports, the topics circled back around to himself. Marinette always wanted to look on the bright side, so even though she wouldn't go on another date, at least she learned more about him.
Nathanaël lasted to date number 5. They enjoyed each other's company, but things became stagnant when he confessed that seeing an old flame caused previous feelings to bubble up again. Marinette appreciated his honesty, but it was clear that he wanted to try again. She couldn't stand in the way of that.
Marinette applied some strawberry frosting to the cooled lemon cake and cut herself a small slice. The flavors melded together on her tongue, a hopeful reminder of what spring could be once the cold weather melted. But despite how it tasted, it still lacked whatever she was looking for to submit for the contest. Frustration groaned inside her, but at least she was another step closer. Her eyes ticked to the clock on the wall; 9:30 pm. She could easily make another batch, especially without Alya distracting her. She pulled out the ingredients needed once more, one more attempt couldn't hurt.
By the time Marinette stumble through her apartment door exhaustion had inched its way to every part of her body. She was lucky to remember to turn the oven off before she left her bakery because she created four more batches before giving up for the evening. An unread message from Alya kept lighting up her phone, no doubt the information to the blind date she had agreed to in a temporary moment of insanity.
Ayla: Tomorrow, at the Hollybelly 5 at 9 am. He's going to wear a light blue scarf. If you need moral support, I'm only a phone call away. Knock him dead!
Suddenly this idea seemed even more insane, but to avoid her best friend's nagging at her for the next month straight; she decided to follow through with her word. She set her alarm for 8:30 to give herself enough time to prepare in the morning. She became acutely aware of how the sweet scent stuck to her skin, as tired as she was, the shower called to her.
She let out a gasp as she stepped into the wall of warm water and the relaxation it provided. Four more batches of "almost there" was the product of her night along with a messy kitchen she had to clean before she came home. It wouldn't have been fair to leave that to the staff when she had been the one to cause the mess in the first place. Her fingers itched to run through her hair, and she released a long exhale. This contest was of vital importance if she desired to open a second store, a dream of hers since her parents put her in charge of the original. She had sacrificed so much to oversee the store and she wanted to do was to make her parents proud.
The shower ended quicker than she would like, but she could barely keep her eyes open. She grabbed a glass of water on the way to bed in case she woke up in the middle of the night. Sleep slowly caused her eyelids to grow heavy, not allowing her thoughts to wander far. Marinette adjusted her arm under the pillow and contorted it until comfortable. The act of her shifting her body caused another pillow to knock some items on the nightstand, including the cup of water. It tipped, and the water contents spilled all over her phone; not that Marinette noticed because sleep already claimed her.
The hostess turned wearing a dazzling smile when she heard the bell above the door ring. "Good Morning, do you have reservations?"
"Yes, last name Chapin, Adam." He returned the smile before loosening the light blue scarf Alya told him to wear. Excitement stirred in his stomach, Alya had raved non-stop about her friend, and by the sounds of it, she was exactly the type of women he was looking for. He hadn't necessarily thought he would stoop to a blind date to find love, but he trusted Nino and therefore, Alya.
Adam followed a waitress to his table and took his seat and glanced at his watch. He was always early to everything in his life, to be late screamed distasteful and unprofessional; both words he couldn't associate with in his profession. He hoped that Marinette didn't keep him waiting for long.
Adam had heard of being a little late, but this boarded on ridiculous. The waitressed eyed him like an injured puppy when she brought him a drink after twenty minutes. He could feel people staring at him, but he kept his gaze locked to his phone. Thankfully work kept him preoccupied, but 45 minutes had elapsed since he arrived. His fingers dialed Marinette's number which Alya had provided but met a voicemail.
Her eye burst open as light burst through the room. Why did it feel so late, why didn't her phone's alarm go off? A quick glance told her all she needed to know. A spilled cup with no liquid in it whatsoever, and a phone whose screen would not lite up no matter what she did to it. Marinette cursed under her breath as she shoved the blankets off her bed and made a mad dash for the kitchen. 8:30 am. She wouldn't be skinned alive by Alya after all. She jolted back to the room and grabbed a pink dress off its hanger and threw it on. Not wanting to deal with the hassle of styling her hair, a messy bun offered her the solution that she craved. There was no need to eat breakfast at the apartment since they had a morning date, so that left brushing her teeth and applying just enough makeup to be presentable on a date. She didn't want to scare the poor guy off before anything before giving him a chance.
He waited long enough. Every second he waited for her, it drew attention to the face he was still alone after an hour. Everyone paying attention to their surroundings knew that he had been stood up. He wished that Marinette at least had the decency to inform him that she changed her mind, but out of the worst possible scenarios, this one seemed less cruel. Whenever he looked back on this failure of a date, he wouldn't be plagued with one-sided feeling but instead the what-ifs of what could have been. He slid payment for his drink on the table and stood up. The office wouldn't mind a couple extra hours especially with the huge case he was working on.
Marinette rushed down the street, the restaurant was only a couple blocks further, and she would make it on time. She hated being late, a probably she usually dealt with due to exhaustion with the bakery. Luck could be the only word to describe how she woke up in time. With no phone, it wasn't like she could call anyone, it would take days before she could find the time to go get a replacement. But with the little distance, she had left to cover, her bad luck with being late would end today.
She stumbled through the door only two minutes late, a new personal record for her. The hostess didn't seem that impressed with her "graceful" entrance.
"May I help you?" She asked, but Marinette could sense the smallest sense of annoyance in her voice.
"I-" A light blush dusted her cheeks as she realized she forgot to ask Adam's last name. "I'm meeting someone." She allowed her eyes to wander over the hostess' shoulder until they landed on a blonde sitting at the table and around his neck …was a blue scarf. Her breath hitched as she watched his piercing green eyes study the menu. Alya wasn't kidding, he could charm her in a courtroom anytime. "He's right over there." She rushed past the hostess not wanting to keep Adam waiting any longer than necessary. "Hi, I'm Marinette," she introduced herself wrapping her coat around the chair. It was a good thing that she gripped the chair the second his green eyes jumped up to meet her all feeling gave out in her leg. She would have to thank Alya for setting her up with the more gorgeous man she ever met.
"Um, hi," he replied. Either she caught him off guard, or he didn't have a way with words, neither was a deal breaker. This was a blind date, he had to be just as nervous as she was.
"Adam, I'm sorry I'm a couple minutes late, my phone got fried last night." The explanation sounded lamer coming out of her mouth, but she couldn't backpedal now, that would only creep him out. She needed to stand her ground and resist the word vomit of oversharing. "But none of that matters because you're still here." A man like him could have any girl that he wanted, and yet he stayed despite her lateness, maybe they could make it to date number two after all. "Have you ordered yet?" She asked looking over the menu for the first time she got there.
"Not yet." She cocked her head to the side and tried to focus on what food they had to offer. Not a lot had been said and this already beat out her date with Kim.
"Everything looks so good, what do you recommend?" Adam had picked a restaurant she had never been to before, but he must have liked it enough to recommend it.
"I usually get an omelet," he replied. Marinette fought the blush forming on her cheeks as he gave her a once-over glance before his gaze returned to the menu.
Adrien's jaw dropped from slight bewilderment at why such a gorgeous girl would randomly sit down at his table and start talking away. She approached as if she knew him but called him Adam; she seemed so warm and personal he didn't want to correct her and risk her leaving. He would correct her eventually, or she would figure out that he wasn't this Adam character and the natural course would have its way.
She motioned towards the waiter and started to order without a care in the world. His father had wanted him to visit that afternoon, no doubt his latest attempt to convince him to leave his current job and join him in the fashion industry. An hour or two with this beautiful mystery girl in front of him wouldn't be the end of the world.
"Adam?" At her second call, Adrien realized that she called him- or rather, thought she had. "Are you okay?" The way she was so concerned for his well-being spread warmth through every limb on his body.
"Yeah," his lips pushed back into a smile reflecting the emotions flowing through him. "Everything is perfect."