Fiction and reality usually don’t match up. I wrote this sketch after musing how ideal people are great in stories, but in real life might not be as much fun.
“Thanks for changing plans,” Amy said as Jason pulled into the theater parking lot.
“I mean, it’s kind of awkward to have my fantasy man come on a date with us.”
“Hey, why should I be threatened by a fictional character? Besides,” Jason added, pointing out the windshield, “it’s actually a double-date.”
Amy followed his gaze, and frowned.
They got out and greeted the couple who approached them. “Jason,” Amy said, “this is Zander McCourt. He goes by Z.”
Z smiled. A dimple peeked through the dark stubble on his cheek. His thick-lashed eyes were dark and twinkling. He wore only a muscle shirt, stretched across his massive chest, and a pair of worn-out jeans. He shook Jason’s hand. “Glad to meet you, bro,” he said. But he sent a sideways glance at Amy, quirking one eyebrow upward. She giggled.
Jason turned away from Z with sour look. “Amy, I’d like you to meet Gabrielle. She’s a… good friend.”
Gabrielle held out a manicured hand. “Hi,” she said. Her long blond hair spilled over her bare shoulders. A red strapless shirt displayed generous cleavage, and her cut-off denim shorts showcased a pair of strong, tanned legs. “So, let’s go. I’m not a girl who likes to take things slow.”
Jason grinned. Amy rolled her eyes.
In line to get tickets, Amy and Z did most of the talking. Gabrielle didn’t have much to say as she stood next to Jason, her back arched and both hands tucked in her tight back pockets.
“Oh, yeah,” Z laughed, “pretty much any plot point is improved by something blowing up.”
Amy shoved his muscular bicep playfully. “There’s more to a movie than explosions.”
“I know,” he conceded. He lowered his voice dramatically, “Don’t tell anybody this, but I’ve seen Pride and Prejudice.”
Jason said quickly, “So have I.”
“The six-hour Colin Firth one?” Z inquired. “Twice?” Amy gasped. Jason scowled as he pulled out his wallet.
Gabrielle said, “Yeah, I never got around to seeing any of those. What with kickboxing and Warhammer, it’s hard to fit in chick flicks.”
“Surprised you can see anything over your cup size,” Amy grumbled under her breath.
Amy and Jason took seats next to each other, with their fantasy dates on either side. Z gazed into Amy’s eyes and touched her hair as if he couldn’t stop himself, then quickly sat back in his seat.
Gabrielle dropped her cell phone. It bounced off her chest and landed at Jason’s feet. “So sorry,” she said as she leaned across his knees. “Good thing I didn’t drop it down my shirt. Can you imagine what it would take to find it?”
She shot him a look out of the corner of her eye. Jason laughed a little too loudly.
The movie had a little of everything—suspense, romance, drama, and explosions. Gabrielle sneered when the hero hesitated to kill the villain. When it looked as if his love interest had died in an avalanche, Z blinked away tears. “Allergies acting up,” he whispered with a wry smile.
On the way out, Amy admitted, “Well, I thought the movie was kind of boring and unfocused.”
“Yeah, I didn’t get the point of the last fight scene,” said Jason.
“What?” Z exclaimed. “He was fighting to rescue the one he loved.” He looked at Amy, and his voice faltered. “It’s what I would do.”
“But he didn’t have to blow up the whole compound,” Amy said.
“And why’d he need two guns when he had all those explosives?” Jason chimed in.
Gabrielle gave him a slow smile. “If you’ve got the goods, might as well use them.”
Z cleared his throat. “I guess… for me, it’s a personal mission to do whatever it takes to make things right. I was bullied when I was a kid and… that kind of thing leaves emotional wounds.” His voice was thick with emotion. “I’m still working through those issues.”
They stopped at Jason’s car. Suddenly, Amy found herself caught up in Z’s arms. “I don’t want to lose you,” he said hoarsely.
“Hey…” Jason began. But Gabrielle pressed herself against him and whispered in his ear, “What do you say? We can make tonight something to remember.”
A little breathlessly, Jason called over to Amy, “You know, your guy is really kind of annoying.”
Amy pushed away from Z, stumbling as she regained her footing. “Oh, I guess you’re enjoying her witty conversation and sparkling personality.”
“He just emotes randomly.”
“She’s basically a robot with breasts.”
“She’s got legs too.”
“He’s got a killer quirky eyebrow.”
They met gazes. Z and Gabrielle waited in a dramatically frozen moment.
“Want to go out to eat?” Amy said finally. “By ourselves?”
“Thought you’d never ask,” Jason said quickly.
They jumped into the car and pulled away. Z and Gabrielle faded away into the sunset.