"So how was your date with Saddam?" Leslie asked when I answered the phone, her car idling in the carpool line.
"His name is Sandeep," I corrected.
"Sure, whatever. One's Iraqi and killed a lot of people and the other is Indian and socially retarded. I can see how you'd get the two confused."
"Are you going to tell me or not?"
So I started sharing the details, telling her about the other girls, and the two boys that showed up shortly thereafter. That sometimes I was part of the conversation and other times I was on the periphery, seated on the edge with my date's back facing my front. Though he repeatedly apologized for their presence, claiming it was a coincidence, an accident, I eventually tired of the circumstances. That's when I swiveled in the opposite direction and chatted up the guy to my right.
"They have the best burger in town," he claimed.
"No way. Rouge? That's the best burger in town," I countered.
"Hey aren't you with that group?"
"I think I'm on a date with one of them but I'm not sure," I explained with a wave of the hand.
That's when a server placed a burger and fries down on the bar. I eyed the food, inhaled the smells. With utensils in hand, the guy cut a triangle of burger and pointed to it, "Yours."
"You're adorable. But I can't. I don't even know you."
"Yes, you can. You will," he insisted as he dragged an empty bread plate closer. "And I'm Matt."
As I bit into my share of his burger, my mouth watering from the savory Gruyere and juicy beef, my date tapped my shoulder to announce his clan was leaving. That after three rounds of drinks stretched across two hours of time, they were heading up the street for dinner. I nodded farewell and returned my attention to the last bite of burger in my hand.
"I'll be right back," my date said, kissing me on the cheek before hopping off his stool and wandering toward the bathroom.
"Oh my God, you are on a date! I'm such an ass. I can't believe I just hit on you while you were on a date! I'm so sorry."
"Don't be," I said, dabbing my fingers on a cocktail napkin before reaching into my wallet and pulling out a card. "You made a rather lame night fun. So much so, I think we should do it again."
He gazed down, studied my card held between his thumb and forefinger. He tilted it to catch the light. "Paige, nice name," he said as he tucked it in his pocket. Then he looked up, smiled and wished me a good night.