On receiving in invitation to his sister's engagement party, shy and single Adam opts to take Lewin, his best friend, as his guest. Undeterred by Adam's protests, Lewin decides to find Adam the ideal date to go to the party instead. He takes him to a new shop, 34th and Vine to meet the eccentric and mysterious Madam V, who gives Adam a potion. Taking the potion, Adam finds he's more gregarious, keen to dance, and kisses many of the men who cross his path. But the next day, Adam's not only back to his usual shy self, he can't remember kissing anyone.
Will Madam V's potion lead Adam to love?
Wasn’t it amazing? How one small, innocuous piece of card could bring a grown man to his knees?
Well, not my knees exactly. Adam sat on his sofa and fingered the card. He turned it over and over before laying it back down on the table and staring at it. Finally, he traced the golden letters with his finger.
You are cordially invited to our engagement party. RSVP Gabbi and Mick.
Looking at the date, he sighed heavily. Not only did he hate going to parties, he actually liked staying in his apartment, listening to music, and reading. However he did enjoy going out with those friends who had patience enough to see through his insecurities, not push him for too much, and be willing to ignore his shyness.
Truly, Adam didn’t like parties. Crowds of people to negotiate. My trying and failing to make small talk, and mixing with near-strangers. Feeling drained, unable to relax. Looking for a corner to escape into. It’s my idea of an absolute nightmare.
Adam shuddered. Only he couldn’t say no.
Not to this invitation. Not this party.
This was his sister’s engagement party. There was no way he could let her down. As much as Adam knew he’d end up huddled in a corner somewhere, he would go, and he’d try to put a brave face on it.
Add to that the fact that the date was less than a month away. Exactly one week after Valentine’s Day. Rubbing at his eyes, Adam looked down at the card again. The invite also said that he could take a guest. This time Adam sighed so heavily that his whole slender frame lifted and fell. He was an introvert and too shy to date. He lacked the courage and social skills to take the necessary steps to go and find himself a date. This Valentine’s, like every other, he’d spend in his apartment, trying to pretend it didn’t exist.
It wasn’t exactly as if he hadn’t tried. Except when he went to a library, he kept his head down and read, losing himself in a story. Bars and clubs were a nightmare. He couldn’t sit at the bar itself, since he felt too self-conscious, which meant he sought a booth to sit in, and so he was hidden safely away.
Unless he was tucked in the corner of his favourite restaurant, dining alone, aside from being incredibly nerve-wracking, was also like some kind of social taboo. ‘Table for—one, sir?’ Oh, how they loved to infuse sir with a mix of derision and pity. How NOT to make a patron feel welcome. Don’t restaurants have a ‘seating solo diners 101’?
Adam tucked the card in his pocket. Perhaps Lewin would go with him. After all, he was his best friend, and far more of a party animal. He’d invite Lewin round for dinner on Friday night and then ask him. So he’d need to get some groceries in from his favourite deli. I’ve used up all my fresh goods anyway. And maybe, just maybe, the dark love god will be there?
The man might be a total stranger, but he was also a veritable god of masculine beauty. Adam had noticed him sitting outside the coffee shop opposite his favourite deli on two occasions now. He was tall, broad, clean shaven, but with thick, dark hair that Adam just knew would feel like silk if he were to run his hands through it.
The stranger’s face was square, and his lips were full. Adam had also imagined more than once, what the love god’s large hands that he’d seen wrapped around a coffee mug would feel like wrapped around something made of flesh and blood. He shivered and relished the thrill that tingled his spine.
But only ever in my dreams.