Tales of food, sex and friendship




Posts Tagged ‘Jealousy’

Season 2: Episode 8

April 19, 2011

At exactly 6:30pm the doorbell rang.

Regardless of the fact everyone else had gone out for the evening – Ana to Tom’s and Willow with some work friends – Mia knew the door was for her. He said he’d pick her up at 6:30 and here he was, right on time. Mia usually appreciated punctuality. She thought it was a forgotten courtesy, lost thanks to mobile phones. But tonight, the promptness of the doorbell frustrated her.

Tonight, Nick was taking her out on a ‘surprise’ date.

Mia wasn’t sure she liked surprises. A surprise was something you couldn’t plan for, couldn’t control. And if there was one thing Mia couldn’t tolerate, it was feeling out of control. This was compounded by the fact that she would rather have been going out with Johnny and resented the fact that Nick had got in first. She wondered, if Johnny had planned the surprise, whether she would be as grumpy. She suspected not.

I’m a bitch, Mia thought as she took a deep breath, plastered a fake smile on her face and opened the door.

“You look beautiful,” Nick exclaimed, sounding as though he really meant it.

Yep. Total bitch, Mia thought to herself guiltily. Heartless and cold.

***

Mia pulled her lightweight trench coat around her tightly. The evening air was crisp and perfectly autumnal and she could smell a wood fire burning somewhere in the vicinity.

“You won’t tell me where we’re going?” she asked again.

Nick laughed. “The point of it being a surprise, Mia, is precisely that I don’t tell you where we are going.”

She smiled thinly. They walked together, at first in silence but then Nick started chatting about the weather, work, and life in general. Mia started to relax. She’d been so caught up in the whole Johnny thing that she’d forgotten what good company Nick actually was. Sure, he didn’t send her heart racing every time she looked at him any more, but he was funny and smart and could carry a conversation.

They were locked in an animated discussion about whether couscous or quinoa was the more delicious grain (Mia was on the side of quinoa and Nick was rallying support for – in Mia’s opinion – its inferior cousin. “It’s so good they named it twice!” was the basis of his argument) when Nick announced:

“We’re here!”

Mia looked up to see where ‘here’ was. She panicked. It could have been anywhere in Melbourne, but Nick had chosen the last place on Earth she wanted to be.

Medina.

Johnny’s restaurant.

Nick talked excitedly. “…I was so lucky they had a cancellation, it’s impossible to get a reservation…”

He held the door open for her. Mia glanced around cautiously as she stepped into the beautifully lit and atmospheric bar. No sign of Johnny. Then she remembered – Johnny had asked her out tonight as well, which meant he probably wasn’t working. But the relief was short-lived when she saw him appear from behind the bar. He faltered for only a second.

“This is where you chose to come for your date?”

“It was a surprise,” Mia said quickly. “I didn’t know.”

Poor Nick looked puzzled. “You two know each other?”

“Yes,” they said in unison. Neither of them elaborated.

***

They had to wait for their table, so Nick pulled up a stool at the bar for Mia to sit on. Johnny took their drink orders silently and then wandered to the other end of the bar to clean glasses. Mia could see the muscles in his jaw working overtime. He looked up and they locked eyes. Mia’s pulse raced and she quickly dropped her gaze, taking a large sip of her wine, hoping that Nick didn’t notice her flushed cheeks.

“Johnny!”

Both Mia and Johnny looked towards the voice.

Johnny recognised the girl, but couldn’t place her. Where did he know her from? Or, worse, where didn’t he remember her from? She was young – much younger than he generally allowed himself to get involved with – but she had that twinkle in her eye, as though they shared a naughty secret…

We couldn’t have, Johnny thought to himself. Could we?

Mia’s eyes travelled over the shapely body of the girl who had just walked in and she couldn’t suppress the pang of envy. This girl was young and beautiful. She didn’t need to worry yet about that extra glass of wine or piece of chocolate, or getting up early to make sure she had time to go for a run to work off said wine and chocolate. Surely she was way too young for Johnny? It would be practically illegal!

They can’t have, Mia thought to herself. Could they?

The girl laughed, tossing her chestnut brown hair around as though she were the star of a Pantene commercial. “Cecelia,” she said, leaning across the bar to Johnny. “Remember? From Flinders.”

Johnny’s smile was a little forced. Of course, Claude’s niece. Or, as he remembered her, the mango girl. He’d done his best to avoid giving her his number but, now, here she was in his restaurant. With Mia sitting just a few metres away.

Cecelia had turned to her companion and was explaining – loudly enough for the whole restaurant to hear – about the “special connection” that she and Johnny had.

She turned to Johnny and clasped her hands together in delight, a final toss of the hair for good measure. “…and now I know where you work, we’ll get to see each other all the time!”

At the other end of the bar, Mia nearly choked on her wine.

***

The night just went from bad to worse. Even though she and Nick were now seated towards the back of the restaurant, Mia still had a front-row view of the “Cecelia show”. The girl was flirting like a pro – much more advanced than someone of her tender years. As a result, Mia found it difficult to concentrate on a word Nick was saying. Instead, she was focused on not leaping from her seat and killing the ridiculous child who was fawning all over Johnny with her inane giggling and hair tossing.

On the other side of the room, Johnny was doing his best not to stare towards their table. From here, he had a perfect view of their intimate conversation, of Nick feeding Mia morsels of food and looking like a love-sick puppy. Johnny noticed the guy couldn’t take his eyes off Mia; that he was oblivious to anything and everything else.

It’s disgusting, Johnny thought furiously, that a grown man would behave like that in public.

Nick and Cecelia – unwitting bit players in the unfolding drama – were completely oblivious to any of the tensions that were brewing across the dining room.

And the food? As always, it was excellent.

***

Mia declined dessert, saying that she had to get up early tomorrow morning for work. Nick had insisted on walking her home. At her front door, she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and closed the door behind her, leaving him standing there, puzzled.

Officially the biggest bitch in the world, she thought to herself, as she walked upstairs to bed.

Mia tossed and turned all night , thinking of nothing but Johnny.

***

As it turned out, Johnny’s night ended much later. Cecelia had stayed until closing, refusing to take Johnny’s hints that he wanted to be alone. Johnny sighed. He didn’t want this. He didn’t want it at all. But he was tired, lonely and depressed. Mia wasn’t interested – she’d made that abundantly clear. He couldn’t be bothered having an altercation with Cecelia, and suspected it would be easier just to go with the flow in this situation. So he did, thinking of nothing but Mia the whole time.