My anxiety was obvious, but David smiled apologetically. “Relax, I was just curious. Dr. Julian told me
you were engaged. But Aaron, as far as I know, isn’t engaged.”
“I…” I opened my mouth but trailed off.
At that charity auction, Aaron had introduced me to the public as his fiancée. Then, David saw Aaron
making out with me outside the auction house. Not long after that, I got
engaged to another man. The whole situation was so awkward.
Feeling a little uncomfortable, I took a deep breath and gathered the courage to clear things up.
“David, I think I need to explain that Aaron and I really aren’t a couple right now. It’s just a little
complicated to talk about it.”
David nodded understandingly and did not pursue the matter further. “Don’t worry, I’ll keep your secret.”
I forced a smile. “Thanks.”
At that point, it was useless to explain.
“I won’t judge you, Olive. Don’t worry.” Sensing my unease, David took a sip of his wine and gave me a
“It’s your right to choose who you stay with, who you get engaged to, marry, break up with…it’s all your
choice. It’s also your choice to have a drink after work hours…”
David held up the bottle and winked at me.
“Thank you, Dr. Ford.” I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, taking the bottle and pouring myself a glass.
awkwardness disappeared, and we clinked glasses.
Two glasses of wine down, my face began to flush. The bistro was very lively, and the aroma of food
and the smell of mulled wine filled the air, making me feel warm inside. Across the room, David had
taken off his suit and was slowly rolling his shirt sleeves up, revealing forearms that were lined with
“If you had unbuttoned a few more buttons, maybe we wouldn’t have had to pay for this meal.” I flirted.
The ladies who came to hit on him disappeared, and I drunkenly took my chances.
Even though we were seated in the corner, there were enough glances at us that made me think
people had decided we were dating. A few girls gave me jealous looks, and I took the opportunity to
“Oh, Olive cut me some slack.” David cut his steak slowly and methodically, moving as gracefully as if
he weren’t in a cheap bistro but some Michelin restaurant. “Your pretty face has attracted all this
unwanted attention and put me on a pedestal.”
I smiled, trying to hide my flustered face.
“The guys must be thinking, d*mn, that old man must be rich. How else would he get such a pretty girl
to come to dinner with him?”.
I was overjoyed. “David, stop!” I teased. “You’re too funny.”
David shrugged. “That’s probably the benefit of being older. No lady would want to have dinner with me
if I didn’t rely on humor.”
“Nonsense.” I blushed at David’s compliment. He smiled back, and his dark eyes seemed to hold a
deeper story. It was apparent that he was using the charm of his age to his advantage, giving off a calm
and charming presence.
The guys I had previously dated were all my age, and I was never interested in middle-aged men. What
was so attractive about a man who was out of shape and whose breath smelled of stale cigarettes and
One of my undergrad roommates had a middle-aged
‘boyfriend’. In reality, he was her sugar daddy paying off most of her student loans. I remembered the
way her ‘daddy’ had a pot belly and touched her with his two greasy hands up. D*mn, it was disgusting.
“Actually, maybe you’re right.” He took a sip of his wine. “I was never funny back then. I was actually a
nerd, and my biggest dream in college was to have girls who would talk to me. As I got older, I came to
realize that it wasn’t humor and good looks that made me want to talk to girls, it was this…”
He held up his bulging wallet, and I laughed until I couldn’t breathe.
“It’s good to see you smiling, Olive. From the moment I saw you today, it felt like you were preoccupied
with something.” David’s smile looked genuine in the warm light. “Mind telling me about it? You know,
I’m a good listener.”
“Well, it’s just….” For a moment, I wanted to tell him everything. I wanted to pour my heart out and tell
him everything I’d been through: my boyfriend cheating on me, my childish revenge plot, and now the
confusing and difficult relationship I have with Aaron. He just seemed so wise and trustworthy.
But the moment I was about to say it, Aaron’s serious face came into my head.
‘He’s not a good guy,’ Aaron had said, and I remembered his blatant disgust for David.
“It’s just… something about the experiment. You know we’ve been having a rough time lately…”
David’s smile dropped for a moment, but when I looked back up at him, he was back to being the same
trustworthy man. I was probably seeing things… Maybe I’ve had too much to drink.
“I get it,” David said warmly. “Don’t worry, I happen to have done some research in that area. I hope I
can help you.”
“I’d appreciate that.”
“Look at us… we’ve turned into boring adults who bring their work to the pub,” David teased.
“I’m not a boring adult!” I held up my ice cream, and David chuckled.
He raised his drink and took a sip. “I’m the boring one then. Another middle-aged man who has to
numb himself with alcohol every day. What a failure, am I right?”
“You know what, there is one thing can make people young,
that is…” I held up my bowl “Ice cream! More ice cream, much younger…” I knew I’m drunk, look what I
But I knew he wouldn’t order it. Just looking at his plate made it obvious. His steak was mostly gone
except for the fatty parts, and the fries were almost completely untouched. He ate most of the salad
and drank water and wine. He was a typical gym rat and a strict control freak who kept his caloric
intake in check.
“Well.” David ran a hand through his hair. “I’m too old for ice cream, and it’s too much of a burden on
gave him a look.
“But I don’t mind making an exception for you…”
I didn’t expect David to suddenly lean forward, grab a spoon, and scoop a spoonful of my ice cream,
deliberately picking. the part where I ate from.
Wide-eyed, I watched as David stuck out his tongue and ate the half-melted ice cream on the silver
spoon, then let out a
What the hell was he doing? I screamed internally. Someone else eating my ice cream was where I
drew the line!
“What are you doing?” An angry voice came from behind me.
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