Money & Merlot
Stress filled bad day? Nothing a bottle of Merlot & a date can't fix.
My feet hurt almost as bad as the stiffness and tension in my neck. I weaved between people muttering the occasional "excuse me, sorry and my apologies I just need to get through really quick" as well as small "thank yous"
Just as I reached the back of the store my eyes landed on just what I was here for. The wine aisle.
I don't drink much but after today I needed a bottle and to binge-watch, some food shows, or Grey's anatomy. As I rounded the corner I spotted the Merlot. To be specific the last bottle of merlot sitting near mostly empty shelves.
I hastily grabbed At the bottle only to be met with a 'hand wrapped around the same bottle as my hand.
At first, I was annoyed. Then I looked at the man standing beside me.
"I'm sorry," I said softly distracted by his tall and muscular body.
" Mmm, it would appear we came for the same thing" he chuckled removing the bottle from the shelf looking at it.
"Appears so" I laughed lightly mildly disappointed and a little bitter that he was holding the last bottle of my favorite Merlot on quite possibly the longest and worst day I've had in quite some time.
He looked to be deep in thought.
"I'll be honest on any other day I'd you just give you this and go somewhere else, but unfortunately today has been A absolute crap day." He sighed as I bit my lip, spotting disposable wine glasses on an end cap near us.
"Honestly, same and that's my favorite brand."
I sucked in a breathe before my bold suggestion come out.
"I'll split the cost if you want to share it?"
"Share it?" he repeated back to me looking amused.
"Yeah I had a bad day, you had a bad day no need to make it worse just because by chance we want the same pick me up. I looked at the depleted stock in the wine aisle noting there were no other bottles or Merlot around.
I mentioned grabbing a package of the cups showing him.
"I suppose that works, we can sit in the back of my truck. Do you need anything else or can we go to checkout?
I smiled at his acceptance " That is all I came for we can go I said pulling a $10 bill from my purse handing it to him. " once outside we began to talk more
My name is Ryder by the way, yours?" He asked while grabbing a blanket from the back of his truck.
“ Violet, but most people call me V”
Ryder laid the blanket on the tailgate of his truck setting the wine up there too, shortly after sitting down himself. I set down the cups and turned around lifting myself onto the tailgate.
The pop of the cork from the bottle broke the silence between us as cars slowly left the parking lot of the closing store.
“ To a bad day with good company," he said pouring the merlot into the disposable glasses the red liquid splashing up the sides in a beautiful pattern.
I laughed in response grabbing my glass from him.
“ I can drink to that” I looked up taking in the stars above us as Ryder talked about his job and how they’ve been laying people off more and more. Today’s he came to work only to learn he didn’t need to come back just as his friends and coworkers were told in the weeks before.
“ I’m sorry that’s rough, but I’m sure you’re talented enough to find more work.”
“ I am it’s just sad to see the farm go down in such a way that they are losing everything and in the process so is everyone who has ever worked for the family.
I sipped my wine and thought about the day I had at the bank.
“ At least you didn’t have to call the feds on your best friend” I grimaced at the experience today
“ You called the feds on your best friend”
I grimaced at how he said it.
“ It wasn’t easy, I struggled with it, but it came down to doing my job and if I had ignored what I found, I’d be in jail too when they got caught and it was a when not an if.”
“ Makes sense, what happened ?”
I mulled over rather I should say anything and finally decided that maybe talking about it would help me feel better.
“ I’m a CBA at a bank, in other words, a certified bank auditor, I’m responsible for reviewing accounts and ensuring accuracy and compliance. “
“ Sounds tricky, “ he said finishing his wine pouring another, and roping off my glass in the process
“ It can be, especially when people get greedy or sneaky. "
“ How so? “
“ Well, for example, we have thousands of account s at the bank and an audit only happens quarterly, it’s not easy to steal from clients but not impossible especially if you’re smart and well Sam is smart. He never struck me as the type but anyway long story short he was shaving a couple hundred out of elderly individuals retirement accounts and he probably would have gotten away with it too except he used his name on the account he was moving the money to and opened that account at our bank”
“ So a criminal, but not a smart one.”
I mentioned downing my merlot as though it would help with the guild eating at me,
“ You did the right thing Violet”
Looking at him I met his icy blue eyes with mine and was instantly distracted from my stress-filled day.
“ You mentioned the place you worked at was losing their farm it wouldn’t happen to be the chambers family farm, would it?
“It is,” he said solemnly
“ Tell the owners to come in and talk to my loan officer Monday we will see what kind of plan we can get going for them maybe save yours and other people's jobs with a small loan. “
His face lit up at the suggestion as he took my card from me.
“ The owners will be thrilled to hear that, but I’m hesitant to get their hopes up. “
“ As long as they have some sort of plan of action to make more money the bank would likely help them, if they don’t have a plan suggest pony parties or maybe tell them instead of just selling wine they should try hosting tastings too.”
“ Those are both fantastic ideas, what if I want to call you.”
“Do you need a loan too? “
“ No more like if I wanted to ask you on a proper date.”
I looked at him and then grabbed my phone, 2:55 a.m
Smiling I glanced back over to him and the last bit of wine hanging out in the bottom of the bottle.
Splitting it between my glass and his I took a sip then looked at him
“ You can call me anytime you want. You may not agree with me, many might not. I have to admit though. I can’t remember the last time I talked to someone for almost 5 hours and honestly, we could be in a 7/11 parking lot sipping Slurpees instead of wine and it’d still be a date if you are with the right person and so far tonight I think that applies to us. “
He chuckled then looked to me clanking his glass with the little bit of wine left to mine
“Well then, to the most random, unplanned, laid back first date with a beautiful woman I’ve ever had, “ he said smiling setting his empty glass down then laying back pulling me with him.
I laughed and laid my head near his shoulder as we looked out at the dark sky becoming lighter as the stars slowly faded away and the buzz of the Merlot wore off.
Ryder's body heat kept me warm as the cold air nipped at my skin still exposed by my work suit , we enjoyed the last bit of the evening together.
Ending the most unexpected first date with a stranger ever. Looking over to him still concentrated on the fading night sky , taking in his features I silently hoped I would receive that call for a second date after all.