Schrödinger’s Date

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Tess Marrin was tipsy. Which was either a blessing or a hindrance, depending on how you view dates. 
Tess viewed it as a blessing. 
“I mean,” she told the bartender, “I don’t even know if I’m going to go through with it. You know?” 
The bartender - Kevin - did not know. Tess could already tell before he shook his head no. Unfortunately there were only three other people in the bar. Two were on a date and clearly unaware of anyone else in the bar, and the third was peacefully snoring into a corner booth near the back. So Kevin would have to do. 
A cold blast from someone coming in the front door barely registered with Tess. The heating was sub-par, to put it nicely. Her sweater stuck to the bar she was sitting at. This place looked like it was built in 1978 and hadn’t been updated since. Or cleaned, for that matter. 
“I mean, he’s going to take me here? No offense, Kevin.” 
“Who’s going to take you here?” 
It wasn’t Kevin asking, but a man. A new man. Seated one barstool away from her. He flashed her a quick, polite smile, and asked Kevin for a scotch, neat. 
“Who are you?”
“I’m the guy asking you a question.” 
Attractive but cagey. 
“For your information,” Tess said, “I am meeting someone.” She drained her Gin and Tonic and asked for another. 
“Possibly,” Kevin said. 
Tess toasted with her empty glass. “Exactly.” 
The man next to her turned in his seat to face her fully. He loosened his tie a little, revealing a hint of a throat that made Tess feel like she was a Victorian man waiting for his lady to show a little more ankle. 
Jesus. Maybe she should cool it on the gin. 
“So,” the man said, “are you meeting someone or not?” 
“Undecided.”
“Why’s that?”
Kevin set Tess’ drink down in front of her and she cheersed the man. 
“Well,” Tess said after a sip, “here’s the thing: dating sucks.” 
The man laughed, a low, throaty chuckle. “True.” 
“But sometimes it doesn’t.” 
“Also true.”
“Thus my dilemma. Do I go on a blind date with a man and have it be awful? Do I go on the best date of my life? Or do I just leave. Keep this date in a tiny box in my mind with all its potential, sealed up forever?” 
“Schrödinger’s date.” 
“Exactly! You get me.” 
They fell silent for a moment and, left to her own devices, Tess started thinking again. 
“Things used to be so simple.” Tess sighed. 
“What things?” 
“Dating.”
The man huffed out a laugh. 
“Oh, you disagree?” 
“Dating is a different brand of awful now.” 
“I don’t know. There’s something to be said about meeting someone in person. Seeing someone you’re attracted to and saying, ‘I’m attracted to you.’ Now we have to go through personality screenings before we can even meet in person. It’s a whole other level to compatibility that just, you know, hinders the whole process.” 
“Oh, does your personality hinder your dating process?” 
“Funny.” 
The man set down his drink, stood up, and walked over to stand in front of Tess. 
“You’re saying,” he said, “you’d prefer if someone walked right up to you and said, ‘Hi. My name is Trevor. I think we should get to know each other.’” 
The man stuck his hand out for a handshake. 
“Maybe lose the handshake, you dweeb,” Tess said. But she shook his hand anyway, charmed despite herself. 
The man sat on the stool directly next to her this time. 
“Interesting name,” Tess said after a moment. 
“What’s that?”
“Trevor. That you would pick that name.” 
“Why?”
Tess snorted. “It’s just funny. That’s the name of my date. The guy I’m supposed to meet tonight.” 
Trevor gave Tess a tiny wave. 
“No.”
“Sorry.” Trevor shrugged. “This cat’s alive.”
“Why didn’t you say anything?” 
“Honestly? I kind of wanted to see how this would all play out. Has anyone ever told you you make a unique impression?” 
Tess scrunched her nose. “Good or bad?”
“Good.” Trevor smiled at her. “Definitely good. And speaking of good things, I think we’re going to have a pretty good time tonight.” 
“Does it involve leaving this bar?”
“Oh, god yes. This place is a dive.” 
They both turned to Kevin to apologize. 
Kevin did not seem hurt. 
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About the Author: 
Alex is an editor by day, author by night. When she's not doing either of those things, she's running or watching horror movies.
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