Finnian Burnett


Chapter One

I am on the worst date of my life. Okay, it probably isn’t the worst date of my life. I mean, it definitely isn’t worse than the date with the guy who poured ketchup over all of his food and snapped his gum throughout the entire meal. And it can’t compare to the one with the guy who brought his mother on our first date because he was sure we would all be the best of friends. It is definitely up there on the list of worst dates, though. See, I hate blind dates. They are just one more form of torture in an already humiliating activity. Dating just sucks anyway. I really hate dating. In fact, I haven’t dated in almost two years, but I got into this stupid challenge with my friends and I let my friend Steve set me up with this guy. There is no good reason to think that Steve would be good at setting me up. First of all, he’s gay, so he has an entirely different perspective on what makes a quality man. Secondly, I think he just assumes that as long as two people have orientation in common, they will be a perfect match. “Well, he’s straight, she’s straight. They’re made for each other!” I had never fallen for one of his schemes before, but I have seen the awkward short term matches that have come from his romantic meddling. Why do people in long term relationships always insist on setting up their single friends?

So, I am sitting across the table from a good looking man. He picked a good restaurant, I have to give him that. We are at a new place in downtown Cleveland, known for using only fresh, locally grown produce and, apparently, organic, local meat. My date is tall, blond and handsome. He’s pretty buff, too. I mean, let’s be fair, he is gorgeous. I told him that he kind of looks like a male version of my best friend Andy, but for some reason, he didn’t find that amusing. We’ve been trying to make small talk for an hour now and every time we launch into a new subject, I get more irritated with him. And, by default, Steve.

We started badly when we were ordering. I ordered a raw cashew stir fry. I’m a vegetarian, but I am trying hard to go fully vegan. So far, I haven’t quite gotten there, mostly because of the gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches at my favorite restaurant, Polly’s on Clifton. Anyway, when the waitress came to take our order, he ordered a steak.

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