Asked by luckyarrow
James Jameson (really, that was his name) was very passionate about light bulbs. Like, weirdly passionate about light bulbs. He kept listing different names and numbers that all meant absolutely nothing to Phil. The only thing that he knew about light bulbs was that some of them were twisty instead of round, and for some reason that made them superior to other light bulbs. He also knew how to screw them into a light fixture, which really was all he wanted to know about light bulbs. Thankfully the five minute timer chimed, and James Jameson shook his hand, stood up, and moved on to the next table. Phil checked the “not interested” box next to his name on the little card he’d been given when he came in and sighed internally.
He hadn’t wanted to do speed dating. He was a fifty year old man, for god’s sake. He was a successful lawyer, he had a nice apartment and a 401k and bratty cat that he remembered to feed and water every day. With all that, speed dating seemed a little ridiculous, and a lot desperate. Still, Melinda had signed him up and spent a ridiculous amount of money to get him a space, so he felt like he was required to attend. So far he’d met James the light bulb man, a goth kid who looked like he was barely legal, and a skeezeball who was actually wearing a wedding ring.
"Hi, I’m Gene," the newest guy said. Phil thought, rather uncharitably, that he looked like a rat. His eyes were small and watery and his nose was pointy. His hair was even a dull brown/gray color. It was probably mean of him, to dismiss the guy right off just because of his looks, but Phil wasn’t feeling particularly benevolent.
"Phil," he offered back, shaking hands. He felt a little better about his uncharitable thoughts when Gene spent the next few minutes describing to Phil, in great detail, all the lewd sexual acts he wanted to do with him. By the time the bell chimed, Phil desperately wanted a shower, and he checked, circled, and underlined "not interested" on his card. He was seriously considering getting up and leaving, but he stayed because the whole system required an even amount of people. Melinda was going to owe him big time for this.
When the next guy sat down, Phil immediately tried to figure out what was wrong with him, because he was way too gorgeous to have to resort to speed dating. He had pretty green/blue eyes and hair so dark blonde it was almost brown. His nose was a little larger than was generally considered handsome, but Phil thought it gave him character. He was also clearly some sort of gym bunny, because his arms were works of art. Clearly there had to be something wrong with him.
"Hi, I’m Clint," he offered, and his smile made parts of Phil’s body stir with interest. "I’m 41 and a Gemini, I’m personal trainer, and I have dog named Lucky who will climb up on counter tops and steal pizza if I leave him alone with it for five seconds."
Phil smiled, immediately charmed, and leaned forward on his elbows. “I’m Phil,” he responded. “I’m 50, a Cancer, and a lawyer, and I have a cat named Khaleesi who refuses to eat human food because it is below her.”
"You named your cat after Daenerys Targaryen?" Clint snorted, and Phil grinned ruefully at him.
"She came with the name, she was a shelter cat. I would have named her Sansa."
Clint’s grin widened. “And is Sansa your favorite?” he asked.
"She is," Phil confirmed, and waited. Fictional character or not, if Clint started trash-talking Sansa Stark, he had absolutely zero interest in him.
"You can tell a lot about a person by their favorite Game of Thrones character," Clint said, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms over his (very, very nice) chest. He didn’t say what he had figured out about Phil from Sansa Stark, though. "I like Arya," he offered.
Phil nodded slowly, silently agreeing. He assumed that meant that Clint was a bit wild and free and challenged authority, loyal to a fault and determined to survive. It also said darker things about him, but he wasn’t sure how literally he was supposed to take it.
"So does the secret of knowing lie in how similar the person is to the character, or how the person interprets the character’s actions?" Phil asked.
Clint’s smile stretched into a grin and he said,”Now, Phil. That would be telling.”
The timer chimed and Clint looked toward it with a disappointed look on his face. “Oh well, I guess we’re done. Nice talking to you.” They shook hands, and Phi tried to not act totally creep about how nice Clint’s hands were, and then he was moving on to the next person. Phil, for the first time, checked the “interested” box, and tried not to watch Clint talk to the next person.
"Hi, I’m Daniel," the next guy said. He had a nice face, but his smile only looked half decent next to Clint’s.
"I’m…" Phil didn’t get to finish his sentence before Clint was standing next to the table again, gesturing at Daniel.
"Hey, man, keep moving ,next table, okay?"
"Um, okay?" Daniel said, glancing, bewildered, at Phil, who shrugged. He got up and moved on to the next table, where Clint was supposed to be, and Clint sat in his spot.
"I’ve never actually done speed dating before, but I’m pretty sure this is not how it’s supposed to work," Phil told him, glancing nervously at the redheaded moderator who was staring at them with narrowed eyes.
"Well no," Clint admitted. "But I’m not done talking to you yet. Where do you work?"
He should have been annoyed by Clint’s pushiness, but he just found it endearing and kind of sweet.
They spent the next five minutes talking, and when the timer went off, Clint didn’t budge, waving on the next guy to the next table. He didn’t seem happy about it, but he also didn’t seem to want to mess with Clint, so he kept on moving. Phil did feel a little bad, but he didn’t want to stop talking to Clint so he kept it to himself. They talked through the end of that timer, and then through the next, and then they were done.
The moderator called for them all to hand in their cards, informing them that their results would be compared, and if there was any interest then they would be given contact information by email the next day. It was only after they got to the moderator that Phil realized that Clint didn’t even have a card.
"You know, when I ask you to stand in so there would be an even amount of people I didn’t expect you to start messing with the line-up," the woman grumbled to him. Phil felt kind of stupid then. Of course someone who looked like Clint wasn’t actually doing something like speed-dating. He probably didn’t need any help at all. He probably wasn’t even gay.
Phil handed his card to the woman and turned quickly, hoping to make an escape before Clint tried to give him some explanation that he really didn’t want to hear. He managed to make it out the front door and halfway down the block before Clint caught up with him.
"Hey!" he said, grabbing Phil by the arm. It wasn’t restrictive at all, but Phil still jerked his arm away. "Hey, where are you rushing off to so quickly?"
"The event is done, so I’m going home," Phil explained, telling himself that he had no right to feel so hurt.
"Well, I was thinking that maybe we could go get coffee or something," Clint said, his easy smile sliding into place.
"Why?" Phil asked, the word slipping past his lips before he could stop it.
Clint looked confused and a little hurt. “Oh. Well, I mean, I thought we really hit it off in there.”
"You weren’t even really participating," Phil snapped back.
A look of clarity came over Clint’s face. “Oh! Well, yeah, I help Nat out by filling in a chair when she needs to me to. But I’ve never once did what I did today, when I stayed with you. I didn’t do it because I was bored, I did it because you’re cute and smart and you like Sansa Stark, and I’d like to get to know you some more, if you’ll let me.”
Phil hesitated, watching this attractive man who’d chased him down the street to ask him on a date, and finally he allowed a small smile.
"Coffee sounds great. When?"
"Um, right now?" Clint offered hopefully.
"Yeah, okay," Phil agreed. "Right now."