Claire arrived at Grandpa Jack's for brunch at 11:15 am sharp, on Sunday. Back when she, Iris and Miriam were studying for their Certified Financial Analyst designations, they'd meet up for brunch each week and stuff themselves with bacon and pancakes as they studied. The three women were reluctant to let their brunch tradition go after they had successfully obtained their financial designations and still managed to meet up for brunch at least one Sunday each month.
Miriam, the biggest foodie of the three, had assigned herself the task of selecting the restaurant they'd meet up at - And based on the lineup that started well outside of Grandpa Jack's door, it was obvious to Claire that her friend had once again chosen one of the City's most buzz-worthy restaurants.
Upon her arrival, Claire made her way through the lineup to find her friends who had already secured themselves a spot near the front of the queue.
"It's about time." Iris said waiving her chunky gold Michael Kors watch at Claire.
"Hey, you're not even seated yet. That means I'm right on time!"
"No, you would have been right on time 15 minutes ago." said Miriam.
"Ugh come on. Guys, in Claire time 15 minutes late is pretty much the same as you two getting here early."
Thankfully for Claire, the restaurant's host interrupted the conversation to seat them, "Ladies, follow me."
With it's retro cool decor that was designed to be a mash up between a classic diner and your grandparent's 1950's kitchen, Grandpa Jack's was a hipster's wet dream. The service was surprisingly fast, despite the fact that the restaurant was filled to the brim with hungry customers. It didn't take very long for their server, a guy in his early 20's who was wearing a hipster uniform of the moment of a plaid button up t-shirt, tucked into skin tight, knee-length jean shorts, to take their order and promptly return to their table with three mugs of piping hot coffee.
Claire and Iris were making general chit chat until Miriam, who apparently couldn't contain herself any longer, blurted out her big news. "Ladies, I think I've found the 'ONE.'"
"What!?!" Iris said looking at her friend in total shock.
"Oh my God, is it Adam?" Claire asked in disbelief.
"Yes, it's Adam!" Miriam squealed with excitement.
"How did this happen?" Claire asked. "Your first date was on Friday."
"It's just like they say I guess, when you know, you know." Miriam said.
"So dish. How did Adam convince you to spend the rest of your life with him in one date?" Claire asked.
"My bet is that Adam is very good with his salty yogurt slinger." Iris said with a snort.
"His what?" Miriam asked.
"You know his man muscle." Claire offered.
"His one-eyed trouser snake." Iris volleyed back.
"His turgid man-staff." Claire said.
"His little love dart."
"His velvet shaft."
"His...." Iris started, about to refer to Adam's bald-headed hermit, before a horrified Miriam cut her off.
"Guys! Stop it! First of all - you two are perverts. Secondly, yes, he is pretty good with his love torpedo."
"Knew it!" Iris said, putting her hand up in the air to high five Miriam.
Miriam left Iris' high five hanging and proceeded to tell her friends about her date with Adam. It turned out that Brandon had left soon after Claire, leaving Adam and Miriam alone. The two of them had a marathon first date that had only ended earlier that morning when Adam had to go in to work. The women's brunch arrived at the table after Miriam had told them about how much she and Adam had in common, but well before she got to the part about how good he was with his tongue.
Claire couldn't help but feel a tinge of jealousy listening to her friend; she wished that her love life was as straight forward. Miriam had found a guy that was exactly what she was looking for - Meanwhile Claire has having trouble keeping her feelings for Gabe at bay. Claire couldn't believe that she was so stuck on a guy who was the exact opposite of what she wanted in a long-term partner.
Claire didn't realize that she'd become noticeably absorbed by her thoughts until Miriam stopped gushing about Adam and turned her attention onto Claire. "Hey, what's going on with you?"
"It's nothing... I just feel like I'm wasting all this time with Gabe when you're out there dating properly and finding the perfect man." Claire confessed.
"So stop seeing Gabe and get back out there. There's a million amazing guys that would want to be with you." Miriam suggested.
"I know I should, but that's the whole problem - I think about Gabe all the time. I tried pushing him away last week but that ended up with me ditching Brandon - who is perfect by the way - and going to find Gabe instead. I think I'm addicted to him."
"So that's where you went off to Friday night." Miriam said.
"Are you kidding me? You got Miriam to set you up with Brandon instead of me and you didn't even fuck him? What the hell Claire?!" Iris said only half serious - She had enough dates so missing out on one wasn't really that big of a deal.
"Claire, the saying is true - the best way to get over one man is to get under another. Why don't you just keep on with your dating like a man thing and date Gabe and other guys at the same time?" Miriam asked through a mouthful of bacon.
"Gabe made it clear when he saw me out with Brandon that he wouldn't stand for me dating other guys for much longer. In a perfect world I could keep sleeping with Gabe while seeing where things go with Brandon, but I'm pretty sure Gabe will dump my ass the next time he finds me with someone else." Claire explained.
"If you like Gabe so much that you don't want to give him up, why not just date him?" Iris said, asking the obvious question.
"Believe me, if Gabe and I just lived in a sex bubble I would. The problem is that in the real world, we just don't fit together."
"And why not?" Iris asked.
"Could you picture Gabe on a golf course, or meeting my boss or coming to NovaBank's Christmas parties?" Claire said.
"First of all, you don't golf, even though you really should, secondly, your boss is an asshole and thirdly, Gabe would probably be the life of the Christmas party." Iris offered.
"Iris, come on. You know what Claire is saying." Miriam said, siding with Claire.
"Yeah, yeah. I get it. I just don't like seeing Claire giving up on something that's making her happy."
"But maybe if I dump Gabe, it's short-term pain for long-term gain." Claire wondered out loud.
"Unless you don't find anyone who you like better - Then he's just the one who got away." Iris pointed out.
"Since when did you join Team Gabe?" Miriam asked.
"I'm not Team Gabe, I'm Team Claire. I don't want to see her tossing aside someone real for an imaginary Mr. Perfect."
"Maybe Mr. Perfect isn't imaginary. Maybe his name is Brandon." Miriam pointed out.
"Exactly." said Claire. "Friday night I was on a date with the perfect guy and I let Gabe mess that up for me. How many more perfect guys am I going to allow myself to screw up with because of him?"
"I wouldn't say you screwed up. Brandon bought your story about having to be up early for work." Miriam informed Claire. "And, luck is on your side this time. Brandon said he is away for the next few weeks on a hospital exchange - You've got a little time to get Gabe out of your system before he's back."
"I guess... I'm just worried about getting too attached."
At this, Iris smacked her forehead in frustration. "Claire, if you're so convinced Gabe won't fit into your life then there's really no risk of getting too attached now is there? Now, stop being such a little girl and woman the fuck up and let this guy give you amazing sex for a few weeks."
Claire couldn't help but laugh at Iris' comments. She was right, of course. As good as the sex was with Gabe, things would eventually peter out once real life hit. She was being ridiculous; allowing herself to enjoy a few more weeks of searing hot sex wouldn't hurt anyone.
YOU ARE READING
Love Like a Man - CHECK OUT THE REVISED VERSIONRomance
**This story was a top 55 SYTYCW15 Finalist!** Claire Warren felt like she had her life under control; she kicked ass at her job as an investment banker, had her own condo overlooking the City and spent her personal time knocking back G&T's at some...