Days of anticipation, waiting, and coordination had finally led to this: a dinner. To Darren, though, this wasn’t just any dinner. It was a dinner with Tereus, though nearly everyone in their office except Darren called him Terry. On that brisk Monday evening at their office, Tereus came strutting up to Darren in six-inch, black stilettos and held out a hand. Darren, unsure of what to do, grabbed it languidly.
“How would you like to go out on a date with me, Darren?” Tereus asked him. Darren’s eyes opened wide, and his throat went dry.
“Are you sure? Um, yes, absolutely,” Darren responded before Tereus had the opportunity to change his mind. Darren couldn’t dare let this opportunity slip. He’d lusted after Tereus for months. Tereus on the other hand, didn’t even give an inkling that he noticed Darren existed. Darren figured that Tereus must have noticed him and counted his lucky stars that Tereus, a confident, assured powerhouse of a man had noticed him. Darren had left work that evening with a pep in his step.
He came to work the next day, though, and that pep was almost immediately diminished. Tereus breezed right past him as if he didn’t exist. The whole week went that way. Darren would arrive to work and try to start a conversation, and Tereus simply didn’t acknowledge him. Darren would then go home and be flooded with texts from Tereus. Some flirty, some trying to plan and coordinate their Friday night date, and some that were, Darren assumed, meant to get to know him.
Darren would have thought that he’d hallucinated Tereus asking him out, if not for the insane detail included in those texts. They would mention how Darren looked dapper at work that day, or how Tereus had worn a specific pair of tight-fitting pants just for him to have to think about them being together later that week.
So, when Friday arrived, and they’d met up at the insanely-difficult-to-get-into restaurant, Uomo Cibo, that Tereus swore he could get them into, Darren was surprised. He’d almost expected this to be some sort of elaborate office prank. After all, it wasn’t like the crush that Darren harbored for Tereus was some sort of secret. Everyone in the office knew. Darren tried to hide it, but his face when Tereus walked by would always give it away.
They walked in, and immediately, Tereus began to make use of his assertive nature. Unfortunately, the poor hostess must not have been aware of just who Tereus was.
“We’re having dinner for two. It should be under the last name Greco,” Tereus said with not a single quiver in his voice.
“I’m sorry to tell you, but we have a strict policy. You’re 15 minutes late, so your table has been given away,” the meek hostess said. Darren could feel how apologetic she was.
“That’s impossible. Call Philomena, the owner; she’ll get this situation resolved. I should have a standing table.”
The hostess picked up the tiny phone that sat on the podium she stood behind. Seconds passed, and after the hostess explained the situation and mentioned Tereus’ last name, she turned pale, hung up the phone, and led them to their table. She placed two menus on the table covered by a silk tablecloth. Immediately, Darren began looking through his. Tereus didn’t even pick his up.
“Oh, I’ve been here enough to know what I want,” Tereus said.
“Oh, so you bring all your first dates here?” Darren inquired, slightly irked.
“Of course. I mean, it is the most exclusive restaurant in the state … don’t take it as a slight,” Tereus chuckled to himself a bit. “Most of my first dates don’t get a second. Here’s to hoping you do better.” Tereus sat straight up in his chair and held out his hand. A server came over and handed him a glass of what looked like red wine.
“Would you care for one?” Tereus asked him.
“Sure. I typically prefer white, but red will do,” Darren responded.
A second glass was brought out with a swiftness Darren had never seen before. The server stopped at their table and inquired if Darren had decided what he would like to eat. He glanced at the strange menu and quickly decided that he would have the Braised Sidney.
“I’m curious … why are these dishes named this way?” Darren asked. He’d assumed Tereus would know, since he’d been here many times.”
“Oh, that’s an easy one. Philomena handpicks the meat sources and names the dishes after what they were called when they were alive.”
“Oh, that’s interesting,” Darren said. “I know a ton of people who can’t eat something that has a name. I had a pet pig when I was growing up. I named him Tom. I couldn’t have ever imagined eating him.” The waitress came out with a large dish of Braised Sidney. It looked absolutely delicious.
“Dig in,” Tereus said.
Darren didn’t wait for another invitation and quickly began to cut. The meat cut differently than he expected, and when he placed it in his mouth, it tasted strange, too. It wasn’t a taste that he cared for, but there was no way he was going to spit it out in front of Tereus. He reached for his glass of wine and began to drink. It was thick. Thicker than wine should ever be. It tasted of blood.
A horrid thought creeped into Darren’s mind, and he couldn’t help but ask.
“Tereus … what kind of meat is this? I assumed it would be lamb, but it tastes kind of strange.”
Tereus laughed. “Well, remember when I told you most of my first dates don’t make it to a second?”
Darren looked around and swallowed. He noticed that every person in the room was staring at him with widened eyes. They looked hungry. Darren didn’t feel comfortable. Tereus stood with a knife in his hand.
“It looks like you’re not going to make it to a second either, unfortunately. Though, I do look forward to serving my next date Baked Darren.”
With that, Tereus lunged forward and stabbed Darren. As his vision began to fade, he could see the patrons of the restaurant closing in … drool slipping from their mouths.