Avoiding Daniel

Getty © Man and woman at bar Illustration: Getty Image, Mandy Dixon


My colleagues were doing their best to save me from this crashing bore…

“Watch out! Daniel Brown’s heading this way.” Stella pulled me on to the dance floor. “Great do, isn’t it?”

“Not bad. Who’s Daniel Brown and why are we hiding from him?”

Stella moved closer

“He works in accounts. He’s a real bore. I went out with him once – never again. Not only does he keep tropical fish,” she pulled a face as though she’d sucked two lemons at the same time, “he’s also into model trains. Apparently, he has a track in his loft. How sad is that?”

As dinner dances went, it was great – no expense spared, plus a DJ who knew what he was doing. Where I worked before, socialising, even at Christmas, was frowned upon. My new firm, Peacock and Sons, took the opposite view, holding dinner dances every couple of months. For them it was all about bonding.

I managed a sneaky look round. Daniel was sitting at one of the corner tables. When he headed towards the bar, I told Stella I needed a break.

“I fancy another drink. Want one?”

Stella shook her head.

“I’ll catch up with you later.”

I reached the bar just as Daniel was being served. He turned towards me and smiled, but I felt a tug on my arm.

“Come and join us, Ann,” a woman’s voice demanded. It was one of my bosses, Sheila. A woman who was used to getting her own way.

“Thanks,” I said. I watched Daniel head back to his table. “I thought he was going to buy me a drink,” I remarked.

“You had a lucky escape. I mean, look at him. What self-respecting man dresses like that?” She shook her head. “He hasn’t a clue.”

For half an hour, I sat with my boss and her cronies. All they talked about was celebrity gossip, interspersed with designer this and designer that.

When my eyelids started feeling heavy, I put on a big smile.

“The music’s great. Does anyone fancy dancing?”

“Not really, no.”

“Do you mind if I do?”

My boss waved her manicured hand.

“Help yourself.”

I made tracks for the dance floor, passing Daniel’s table on the way. I was about to stop and say hello when Liz from reception appeared out of nowhere.

“There you are.” She shunted me over to the DJ. “I wanted to ask them to play something.” She gave the DJ her request then lowered her voice. “Daniel keeps glancing at you. As if you’d even look at him. I mean, have you seen his shoes?”

“Yes. What’s wrong with them?”

Liz guffawed

“What’s wrong with them? They’re so old-fashioned. “

“Maybe they’re comfortable. My dad wears shoes like that.”

“Exactly!” Liz laughed. “Honestly, Ann, it’s lucky you’ve got friends who care about you. You’re too soft for your own good.” She nodded towards a corner where two men were propping up the wall. “That’s the kind of man you should be dating. Let’s go and say hello.”

Both men had immaculate hair and were wearing designer clothes.

“Mine’s the dark one,” Liz whispered.

As soon as I could, I made an excuse and sat back down. I noticed that Daniel kept glancing my way, but every time I returned his gaze, he turned away.

I guessed he was shy. I smiled. In my experience, still waters run deep. My friends might like men with designer stubble and great dress sense, but I prefer mine with character.

I went over to his table.

“Hi, Daniel. My name’s Ann. I understand you’re into model trains.”

He nodded warily.

“Me too. What gauge is yours? O or double-O?” I asked as I led him onto the dance floor.

When we married, four months later, my dress was trimmed with lace in the style of train tracks, our cake was shaped like a signalbox… and we danced to The Locomotion.

Also in the series:

Karen Byrom

My coffee mug says "professional bookworm" which sums me up really! As commissioning fiction editor on the magazine, I love sharing my reading experience of the latest books, debut authors and more with you all, and would like to hear from you about your favourite books and authors! Email me kbyrom@dctmedia.co.uk