“We do apologize for the inconvenience, Mr. Westwood. Your table will be ready in five minutes. If you like, Luigi will escort you to the bar for champagne while you wait.”
Sabrina could barely stand the suspense. Their waiter, Luigi, who knew Sabrina’s mother, Evelyn, because Luigi’s brother and Evelyn’s brother met in the Army during the War, told Sabrina what was going to happen at dinner. It was funny the way it happened. Luigi led them to their table, all the while gesturing and going on in Italian, which Sabrina understood, but her escort did not. Actually, Luigi was telling Sabrina what was in store for her but she couldn’t let on to poor Ethan, who had it all planned to surprise her with an engagement ring at dinner.
That’s why Sabrina felt as though she were on pins and needles. She was going to be the first of her friends from Wellesley to announce an engagement. Her college roommate, Leslie, was secretly engaged and Alexandria, Sabrina’s best friend anticipated a ring sometime soon, but neither of them could be counted. She would be the first on the Society page. She wondered what type of engagement party her mother planned. Evelyn started planning Sabrina’s wedding on the day Sabrina was born.
“Sabrina, Sabrina. Have you heard a word I’ve said?”
Ethan was hard put to find another like Sabrina. She would slide right into the Westwood mold and conform completely, never revealing to any family member that they were unhappily married. For they would be. He genuinely liked Sabrina but she was too thin for his taste and too chatty. All Ethan wanted was a real woman not a manufactured one who went to all the best private schools and graduated from Smith or Wellesley, and had a long line of obnoxious Society friends, just made to order for his parents. Anyway, he didn’t want to get married until his 30’s, after traveling the world, writing and living the life of an ex-pat. That was it then. He wouldn’t ruin two lives tonight–the engagement would not happen. It was a good thing Sabrina didn’t know anything about it.
“Yes, Ethan, I think I heard everything you said. Why don’t you tell me again, mm? I’ve been a little preoccupied lately, what with Leslie, being secretly engaged and all that entails, you can imagine.”
“It wasn’t important, Sabrina, shall we order?”
Sabrina was becoming frustrated. They were already on dessert and still no ring and not the slightest indication from Luigi that he knew what was going on. Sabrina tried shooting daggers at Ethan. If he noticed the daggers he didn’t let on. He never let on about anything. He just grinned and bore it. Actually, he didn’t grin. He only grinned when she said or did something funny. She was getting tired of entertaining the moody Ethan Adam Westwood III. Why would she even want to marry someone like him? For what, the pedigree? Maybe that was the problem: too much inbreeding in the line and they needed new blood. That was it, all right. His family needed her blood, damn High Society bloodsuckers. He could bring out the Hope diamond tonight and she wouldn’t take it.
Startled out of her dismal thoughts, Sabrina acknowledged Ethan’s excuse to leave the table She wanted to kick herself for wasting valuable time on him. She wondered if he was with Luigi setting up the surprise. Sabrina was looking forward to turning him down.
Meanwhile, Ethan was back by the bar talking with Luigi. He gave Luigi a large tip and told him he preferred to give Sabrina the ring in private. Ethan returned to the table, satisfied that the end was near. Sabrina wasn’t at the table. He thought she might be in the ladies’ salon. A few minutes later, Luigi brought him the check along with a folded paper bearing the restaurant’s letterhead. It began with a typical greeting maligning his character and something about wanting her blood, after which, Sabrina stated it was over, she had met someone else and he could call her if he’d like and they could finalize the emotional transition.
Emotional transition? Ethan sat staring at the paper not knowing whether to be upset or commence laughing. He felt as though he really dodged a bullet. Sabrina showed real backbone to end something he thought she wanted so badly, or rather, her mother wanted. So did his parents, for that matter. Maybe if they hadn’t had others pushing them they could have fallen for each other. Maybe he didn’t dodge a bullet as much as it was a missed shot at a nice life with a really swell girl.
Ethan noticed Luigi standing near the table. Ethan motioned to him and Luigi was ready to take his bill to the cashier, then expressed his condolences to Ethan. Ethan mumbled that it was too bad they couldn’t start over. As he drove home, Luigi’s words kept turning over in his head: “Why not?”. Maybe he’d call Sabrina when he got home. Without thinking, Ethan found himself driving to Sabrina’s. He pulled over to the side of the road and sat there, considering his next move. He wanted to be a writer and travel the world. All he had to do was turn the Triumph around and go home. As Ethan drove off the roadside and back on the road, he made a U-turn and headed home.
Inspiration Monday: Songwright at Be Kind Rewrite
Prompts: We do Apologize, Missed Shot
Word Count: 913
Many thanks to Stephanie Orges for hosting Inspiration Monday at Be Kind Rewrite