What is the purpose of a best friend?  To antagonize each other!  That’s their purpose.  It had been like that from the moment Charlotte met Giles Bishop at uni.  They had studied together and tried to get as many classes together even though their major was not the same.  They had tried the boyfriend/girlfriend thing but by mutual agreement they had decided that a best friend was much better.  Giles had been there when Charlotte’s parents overlooked her and gave the position of leader to her younger sister Ridley.  He had been there to help Charlotte through the hard decision of accepting Collin’s affections even if he had been dating Ridley.  Giles had been her support since she left London and everything that came with it including Collin.   He had shown his true colors and had admitted that the only reason Collin had chosen Charlotte was to make her feel the way he felt when Charlotte had supposedly laughed at him during Prep school.  Charlotte had no memory of that event, but every time Collin and Charli fought, he always brought it up.

It was three am Evermore time which meant it was early morning for Giles.  Tired and irritable Charli had answered the phone call when she saw Giles’s name on the screen.  With a heavy sigh, Charli turn on the table lamp, propped herself on her fluffy pillows and answered “ugh this better be important.  I was in the middle of a very good dream.”  Charlotte said as a matter of fact.

Giles retorted “you can go back on dreaming about me when I finish what I have to say, and yes it is important to your emotional health not to mention …”

Charlotte stopped his train of thought “don’t you be going there.  I don’t ask you about your love life you don’t ask me about mine.”

“Yeah well things change, get over it Charo!”  Giles knew Charli hated that nickname, so he used it as much as possible.

“Hope you have your little black dress you have a date this evening, I mean the next evening not right now.  You’ll like him.  He has sworn off women, you have sworn off men.  Both of you need each other if only for moral support.  Listen Charlotte, this is important.  Give the guy a chance.  We have a mutual friend and we think you two will hit it off.  So wear something nice, do your hair and makeup and relax a little will ya?”

A long silence followed his speech.  Charlotte was not happy, but she was sleepy and didn’t feel like fighting him.  “I’m gonna get you for this Giles, you know that.  When you least expected and you will do it because you will owe me.”  She heard a snicker and then laughter busted on her receiver.

“Good girl.”  Giles had said after he finished laughing.  They talked for a couple of hours.  Giles had given her the time and place, and a description of the guy she was meeting.  She had convinced herself that maybe it was good if she had a best friend in Evermore, Giles was so far away.

With a big sigh, she ran her hand through her face,  turned off the lamp, got comfy inside her covers and fell asleep.  It was Saturday so there was no rush.  The alleged date was at 8pm in a fancy bistro on main street.

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Charlie groaned loudly as he pressed the red 'end call' button on his cell, throwing the device against the cushions on his couch. It appeared Charlies relaxed evening at home was being hijacked by a blind date organized by his only friend. Charlie was a keep to himself type of guy, ever since Count he'd sworn off women completely and, if he were to be honest with himself, Count was the only woman he'd ever been with more because he had to, rather than his own needs.

Sighing, he checked his watch and totted up the hours he had between his current and the time the date was set for. He had a few hours to go and get a new outfit, because he knew his going out clothes were far too old fashioned and probably were covered in moth-balls by now. He couldn't remember going on a 'date' in the past 80years he'd lived in Evermore, so his clothes were surely far too old to be worn. 

Charlie shopped quick and efficiently, in and out with everything he needed being thrown in a bag. His prep for the date didn't entail much, a haircut to make sure his hair wasn't too shaggy, a shower and some aftershave. He dressed casually enough to still retain some age to his outfit, but threw accessories to modernize the look. (Click me for Outfit)

Arriving early, the bistro he'd been instructed to go to was quiet. The outside was covered in lush, green ivy that stretched across the entire building on the street side. The only break from the masses of leaves were a door and two windows looking out onto the street. Entering the Bistro, Charlie was instantly greeted by warm air and mixture of different scents assaulting him all at once. A curse of the Valkyr was heightened senses, especially at night and with it being past 7pm, the sun had set and as the darkness crept closer, the more things assaulted Charlie's senses. 

His dark orbs shot around, taking in the leather covered booths, the marble topped tables, the wooden chairs and white table cloths. The place was fancy, without being too much. He took his cell from his pocket and text the number he was given that, he hoped, was for his 'date'. 

"Hello, I have arrived early and will wait by the bar for your arrival. Im the only guy in the bar with a hat on inside, C." 

Sending the text, he made his way over to the bar to order. "Scotch please. Neat." He instructed after getting the bartenders attention. 

The alarm buzzed while the phone pinged and vibrated.  She had overslept.  It was already two pm.  Charlotte’s body ached all over. She wobbled to the bathroom rushing to get to the toilet as a rush of nausea overcame her.  She heaved violently until her stomach was completely empty.  Once the nausea had dissipated, Charlie went to the mirror only to see bags under her eyes, a red nose and watery eyes.  She felt her forehead and the her it felt hot.  Taking out the thermometer from the medicine cabinet, it revealed she hide a low grade fever.  A twenty four our big?  Maybe.  Unclothing, she drew herself a nice hot bath with chamomile and lavender.  Her body soaked for an hour.  She felt a little bitter.  Her fever had come down, now to see if she could keep something down.

Charlotte got into some comfy sweats, made some broth, turned on the tele to watch her favorite show. She watched two episodes while she messed around with her phone.  Three times she had attempted to cal the phone number that her friend had given her but she couldn’t bring herself to call.  For two logical reasons. One, Charlotte would never hear the end of it.  Giles will tease her relentlessly.  Second it was kinda late to cancel.  The clock on the wall said seven ten pm.  She barely had enough time to get ready.  Thankfully she lived just ten minutes away, so she could walk there.

Tonight, she simply didn’t feel sexy.  Her bones ached, she had a red nose and watery eyes.  Deciding to go light on the make up, wear her hair loose in a natural wave, she went to her closet and decided what to wear.  She couldn’t believe she was doing this.  Charlotte had a good excuse, she was sick, still nauseous.  She could call Giles...he would hear her voice, he would know... she looked at her watch. Seven thirty...too late to cancel Sommers, she told herself as she brushed her teeth, retouched her lipstick and went back to her closet.  It was the beginning of summer.  It was lovely outside, so she went for her white flowery sun dress.  She would wear a light shawl and accompany the whole outfit with some scrappy sandals.  Thankfully she had gotten a mani pedi two days ago.  She was all set.  Charlotte looked at her mirror and liked what she saw.  Sprayed her favorite scent in front of her, she walked past the perfume of lavender and honeysuckle. It was fresh and delicate.  Just like a nice summer evening.  Before she left, her phone buzzed.  Her date had arranged early..ugh.  She needed to leave now.

As she walked, Charlotte gathered her confidence.  She had taken some none drowsy cold medicine before leaving her little apartment. She looked at her watched and was happy to see she would be there right at eight pm. At least she wouldn’t be making him wait too long.  Since she was young Charlotte had to fight all the stereotypes types that came from being blonde.  Especially those that said blondes were dumb and easy.  She was neither of those two things.  She was done with relationships, especially the ones that knew her sister.  She didn’t need that circus, no.  She wasn’t going there.

The blonde shook her head as she entered the bistro -calm down Sommers, this is only dinner and nothing more.-  She went straight to the bar.  Her eyes scanned the bar looking for a man with a hat.  Smiling as she saw him facing the bar.  She wasn’t sure if he had seen her through the mirror that was in front of him.  Sitting next to him, she cleared her throat uttering with a smile "I hope I didn’t keep you waiting to long, I’m Charlotte my friends call me Charli.  How do you know Giles?"  She was going to ask more questions, as it was her tendency to do when she was nervous.  But decided to be quiet and let the man speak.  He had kind eyes and his sense of style was impressive.  She felt underdressed a bit since this was a posh place, but one of the advantages of being a blonde was that no matter what she wore, people would still find her attractive.  They never bothered to get to know the person behind all the blondness.  She motioned to the bartender and order a Long Island ice tea with an orange slice, then turned her full attention to her blind date.

After two drinks, a girl appeared beside him. She was slim with bouncing blonde hair and a flowered dress on. As she sat down, he plastered on a smile and turned to see her. "Funny." He chirped as she introduced herself "I'm Charlie" He replied and then shook his head. "I don't really, Giles know my friend more than me and they both seem to think im miserable and a date would fix that." He said, taking a breath and shaking his head.

Charlie turned towards her and, when she ordered her drink ordered himself a Peroni before smiling towards Charlotte. "Look, I want to make it pretty clear that I am not exactly looking for anyone right now." Charlie said simply and cocked his head to the side slightly "I don't want to be rude but I equally want to be transparent." Charlie was an honest guy, he didn't want to lead anyone on. 

"Shall we go to the table?" He asked then before waving over a waitress. They were lead to a little booth at the far end of the Bistro, their, Charlie took a seat on the right had side, taking off his hat and placing it in the space next to him. He took a sip of his drink and looked to Charlotte "So tell me, what did they say about me to get you to come? Disappointed?" He asked with a teasing smirk and a chuckle. 

A nervous giggle escaped her lips. "Charlie and Charli, it is funny.  I guess you can call me Charlotte or give me a nickname if he decide to continue this...what ever it is.." As he spoked about not looking for a relationship Charli couldn’t help but admire his candor.  She liked honest straight forward people.  Charlotte had never learned to play the social game where half thrust and lies seem to be a requirement.

"I appreciate your honesty.  I have just ended a really bad relationship with a man that set me up.  He was my first real boyfriend.  I don’t like doing the dating thing.  I have guy friends I don’t have any girl friends.  I see to get along better with guys than girls.  I guess that’s why Giles thought we should me.  He assured me you were "safe.""  She smiled.  She sipped her drink through the straw.  The delicious mix of the five whites with a little bit of coke and a twist of lemon was refreshing and gave her a little more courage to continue.

"I am new in town, I don’t know anyone.  Giles knows I am lonely.  I had friends in London and a job to keep me busy.  Here in Evermore, it’s so different.  I miss my home in New Zealand." She lowered her head not wanting to continue her sad affairs.  It seemed she had a handful of them now at days.  With her sister hating her and not talking to Charlotte.  It really hurt and it showed on her face.

He followed him to the table, noticing he went first, never offering her to go first or pull a chair for her.  He was sincere about the not interested part, that made Charlotte feel more comfortable.  Giles has really understood in what state of mind Charlotte was.  After all they have known each other since uni.

She took the other chair opposite to him, since the table was for two.  The waitress had seen the couple and had assumed they were on a date.  When he asked her what she knew about him and if she was disappointed she got a little confused.  What did he mean about being disappointed.  This was not a date, or was it?

"Giles told me that your friend said you have sworn off women.  He didn’t give me a description of you.  I for one don’t care much about the physical appearance of a person.  I am more interested in what’s inside.  It probably shocks you.  I am sure you have made assumptions of me because I’m blonde.  I’m used to them and take great pleasure in proving each and every one of those myths wrong."

She enjoyed her drink more now that her nerves had settled down.  Now it was her turn to ask questions.  She knew she hadn’t told him if she was disappointed or not.  She hadn’t said that she found him attractive and easy to talk to, or that she though his facial her looked sexy, and that body....well no, she wasn’t going to say anything about that, because this was NOT a date. ‘What did your friend say about me?  You had my phone number, did you Google me?"  She smiled feeling good bout herself.

‘Safe’ The word made Charlie chuckle. Safe entailed that nothing was ever going to happen with him, safe meant that he was there to protect, safe…was probably the opposite of what Charlie was. The memory of Count sent a shiver down his spine and he couldn’t help but glance to and fro to merely check that she wasn’t lurking anywhere in the room. “Don’t worry, I wrote the handbook on bad relationships.” He said and chuckled softly “I guess we’re both safe in the fact that we won’t be fiving on each other.” He purred then.

“Don’t worry about that either, I’ve been here 80 years and I don’t know anyone.” Charlie replied, taking a sip of his drink as they both settled into the booth with their menu’s set infront of them.

As she asked about his view on women, Charlie frowned slightly “For 80 years I have cringed every time a woman has shown any interest. I have been with one person in my life, a woman, out of duty more than love. It was more of a ‘I was a kid and lust took hold’ than any sort of relationship. Then I was stuck with her and I grew to hate her.” He cleared his throat, realizing he was going into a lot of detail. “To answer your question, I don’t think women were ever on the cards for me.”

Mentioning her blonde hair, Charlie smiled a little “Not at all.” He replied as she said he probably judged her over it. Truth was, Charlie wasn’t that sort of person. He hated people that judged a book by its cover and vowed never to do that himself. In actual fact, Charlie had barely noticed the color of her hair, and in hand with that, barely noticed that the color of her hair also had connotations to it. He shrugged again and smiled “Honestly, Ill never judge the fact that your hair is a color, or you act a certain way or whatever. I judge you on you, how you treat me and all that stuff.”

Charlie laughed when she asked if he’d googled her and shook his head. “I thought about it, but looking into you would have probably made me not want to attend.” He said simply and then gestured around “Im not usually a dinner-date type of guy…But, I hear that socializing is important…so.”

“What about you? Did you google me? Find anything interesting?”

Charlotte felt a pang of guilt as she interpreted his words as a sore subject not to be addressed in the near future.  "To be honest, I am a bit of a loner myself.  I spent all my formidable years studying to become the leader of my faction, only to have that honor stripped away and given to my baby sister who decided she was too good for it and left us.  She never once considered how I would feel, but people never do, people just assume."  That had sounded  bit bitter.  The fact that her sister still held on to her anger distressed Charlotte, but she also knew there was nothing she could do about it.  Ridley and her father were so much alike, cruel, narcissistic and always ready to blame others.  This she kept to herself.  It was easier for people to think Charlotte was mean and Ridley was not.  That’s how things went in the Sommer’s hose house before her family had disintegrated.

It was so refreshing to be having a real conversation with a person of the opposite sex.  Since they had both agreed this would not end up in a relationship Charlotte found herself relaxing more and more.  It was so easy to talk to Charlie, she felt like they could talk for hours and never run out of things to say to each other.

When the server came, Charlotte ordered the special of the day which was soup, steak and a vegetable for a reasonable price.  She asked for her steak medium rare, and gumbo for her soup, ordering a vegetable medley to complete her dish.  She had ordered iced tea with lemon, she would continue to drink that throughout the evening.  Charlotte did not like to drink alcoholic beverages much.  Her high metabolism would not giver her a buzz, so she found no reason to drink them.

Charlotte nodded in agreement when he said women were not in the cards for him.  "I have only had one boyfriend.  He was my sister’s boyfriend first, then he said he loved me and had only dated my sister to get close to me.  Once my sister left hating me, this guy tells me he did it all to get back at me.  Apparently I embarrassed him in high school.  He vowed to get even with me one day.  When he say that my sister hated me and had left, Colin told me the truth.  He never loved me."  She shook her head.  "Now that I see things for what they really are, I know he never loved me or my sister.  We were used by a low life poor excuse of a man."  She stopped there, already she had told him two bitter things about her life.  She had come with no expectations but found herself wanting to confide in someone.  Her brother and sister were here but did not talk to her, so she basically was alone in a strange country.

When the server brought their food, Charlotte remembered the last thing he had said.  Shaking her head as she smiled "Giles wouldn’t give me your name or your phone number.  He knows me well enough to know that I would’ve done an in-depth profile of you before I met you.  Honestly?  I’m happy he didn’t.  Those information sights don’t tell you anything about a person’s moral compass or their character."  She sighed taking a sip of her drink.  "I am glad I came.  You are an honest man Charlie, I like that."  Then she made a frown "please don’t think I am a damsel in distress, I am very capable of taking care of myself.  However, I could use a friend.  I don’t have many of those here."

Charlie listened intently to her story, a tale of disrespect and disloyalty. A frown knitted together between his brows. “Your sister sounds ungrateful.” He said, almost without thinking before covering his lips with his hand. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude…but that’s ridiculous. Why did she pass it up?” Charlie was a curious why someone would pass up running things, why they’d pass up on being the top dog…He himself would never pass that opportunity, especially with Count now hot on his heels…

When the server came around, Charlie allowed Charlotte to order first before flashing a charming grin to the waitress. “I’ll have a whiskey on the rocks to start with and then Hunters Chicken, extra Barbeque sauce and skinny fries please.” He winked before turning his attention back to Charlotte. The flirting was his first instinct when it came to women, he was a pretty man and he knew it and if he flirted, they usually were kinder toward him. They also never questioned his sexuality…A sore topic for the Valkyr.

As she mentioned boyfriend, his dark eyes flit back to her quickly and he swallowed before realizing she was merely telling him more about herself. He released the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding and smiled softly. “One? That’s admirable no matter how bad a situation it was. There are too many people going around today with a line of partners as long as their arms.” He said softly and then shrugged. “I too have only been with one woman in my life, and she has made me not want another woman for as long as I’ll live.”

Her started came out first, followed promptly by his Whiskey. He took the glass and stirred the ice around by circling the glass with his hand as she started on her appetizer. “In-depth huh? Well, I was told your name but…I found this more of a get to know a new friend. That’s why I made it clear I wasn’t here to find a girlfriend.”

He sat back, watching her for a second before pouting slightly. “Tell me about Charlotte.” He said simply and then smiled a touch “I don’t mean family, or ex’s or anything like that…I mean you yourself.” He purred and lent forward on the table for a moment. “I want to know your favorite color, your favorite drink…The mundane things.”

Mundane things?  Why did he need to know?  Was this just small talk to pass the time until they finished their meal, said their goodbyes and call it a night?  Her lips parted exhaling a smile sigh.  Giles had said this would not be a date.  It felt like one.  Like she was a slice of fancy cheese on display waiting for someone to pick her.  She had told Giles she wasn't doing the dating thing.  No men for her.  Not until her life settled.  Right now there was simply too many "if's" up in the air.  Besides, Charlie didn't look at her the way a man that its interested looks at a woman.  His was just plain curiosity.

"Mundane..hmm...I like blue in all its shades, pink makes me nauseous.  I like cold pizza for breakfast and love soup and a sandwich for lunch."  Charlotte took a sip of her drink and soldiered on "I like lemonade, I don't drink alcoholic beverages.  I am more comfortable in a pair of old comfy jeans and a t-shirt than in a fancy dress and heels.  I dress the way people expect someone like me to dress when I go out.  At home I dress the way I am... simple."

That last bit was personal.  Very few people had ever seen her without make up and in simple clothing.  Not even her own sister had ever seen Charlotte the way Charlotte truly was.  Changing the conversation, she asked him the same questions.

With a smile as she played with her straw, Charlotte asked  "what's your favorite color, your favorite drink…tell me the mundane things that make Charlie, Charlie."

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