Acceptance

Hannah felt more anxious with every step. Her body wobbled and she wished it could be blamed on the nerves and not the fact she was obese.  Arriving at the restaurant’s door, she stopped to catch her breath and wondered if she should take her inhaler. Before she had a chance to make her mind up, the glass doors opened and a laughing teenage couple came out.

Clutching her handbag, Hannah stepped to the side and distracted herself with searching through the contents of the bag. The couple breezed past her, still laughing and heading off into the car park. Hannah couldn’t help but stare after them once she had pulled out the inhaler.

They weren’t laughing at me, she told herself firmly.

Taking the medicine made her feel calmer. She took a few deep breaths and then entered the building. Luckily, the double doors were wide enough so that she could just fit through the first one. The smell of melting wax, hot food and warm bodies punched her nose. She kept a steady pace to the small wooden desk and met the hostess’s eyes determinedly.

Hannah saw a flash look of shock cross the petite, blonde haired woman’s face and then it was replaced by a false smile.

‘Table for…One?’ the high pitched, fake happy voice chirped.

‘No…Two. I’m meeting someone. I hope…’ Hannah trailed off.

‘Erm…..Is the table booked? What’s the name please?’

‘I think so. Brook? No, it’ll be under his….Pete Langton.’

The hostess cast a look down a thin book, her finger rushing ahead. Hannah held her breath. I got the details right didn’t I? She questioned, Today, nowish, here. Maybe it was a lie? She felt her cheeks flush and was on the point of telling the hostess that a mistake might have been made, when that voice cut through her thoughts.

‘Peter Longton?’

Hannah paused.

‘He’s the only one close enough I’ve got here. He’s at the bar.’

They both looked over and Hannah spotted a large man smiling and waving at her. Relief flooded through her body. She smiled back at him, then turned to the hostess, who was looking very pleased and indicated to Hannah that she could go over.

‘I’ll call you when your table is ready,’ the hostess added.

Hannah thanked her and went to the bar. It appeared to be full and she had to squeeze past a loud group of young women and a kissing older couple. Coming to stand beside the familiar man on the bar stool, she felt her legs shaking. She rested her arms on the bar, almost elbowing another man out of the way.

‘Hello,’ Pete’s cheery voice said into her ear, ‘are you okay? What was that all about?’

‘Hi,’ Hannah replied shyly, ‘I’m fine and it was nothing. I just got a bit confused by the table booking. How are you?’

‘Good. Better now you are here. Drink?’

Hannah giggled and as the bartender came over, she ordered a diet coke.

‘I was worried you wouldn’t show,’ Pete spoke.

Hannah nodded, she had been feeling the same way and wondering if he was actually interested in her and a relationship.

‘It’s understandable though,’ Pete continued, ‘Our second date and meeting online.’

He grinned as if it had been a joke and then got off the stool. ‘Here, sit down.’

Hannah shook her head, ‘Its fine. I’d probably not make it up anyway.’

Pete chuckled and Hannah felt a wave of fear.

‘I know what you mean,’ he replied and patted his backside. ‘I barely got up and stayed on! This is my first drink too,’ he added tapping his beer glass.

Hannah glanced away, trying to hide her smile and laugh. She dropped her head and then turned back to him. Pete was a half a foot taller than her and had long black hair, which was similar to her own. A short beard covered the lower half of his face and his large eyes were brown. He had broad shoulders, large arms and a very round, over flowing stomach. Even though he was wearing black jeans and a white shirt, he reminded Hannah of a motor biker.

‘They said the table would be ready soon. I’m starving, are you?’ Pete asked.

‘Yes, I am,’ she replied and took a drink.

‘I’m glad we decided to meet again. I really enjoyed last time and I’m starting to like you.’

Hannah’s smile widened, ‘me too.’

‘Excuse me?’

They bother turned to the hostess.

‘Your table is ready, if you’d like to follow me please?’