Looking around the room, Shelly wondered why she’d bothered to come. Everyone was gathered in small huddles, whispering.
The feeling was intangible, but she was left in no doubt. She didn’t belong here. She slung her handbag over her arm to leave.
‘Going somewhere?’ The voice came from behind her.
Shelly almost smacked into his face as she turned. ‘Was just leaving,’ she said.
‘Let me get you a drink.’
‘No. Thank you, but no.’
He held onto her forearm. ‘Please.’ He smiled, and tiny crinkles gathered around his eyes. ‘My name’s Micheal.’
As if by magic, Michael thrust a glass of prosecco in her hand. She hadn’t even seen a drinks waiter.
‘Thank you.’ Shelly sipped, looked about her for a table to leave the unfinished drink. She really didn’t want to stay any longer. Michael seemed like a nice bloke but, god how her feet ached in these stupidly high shoes! Home was calling her loudly.
‘You’re a mighty fine looking woman,’ Michael said.
‘Oh thank you,’ she said again, only this time her face flushed warm. She could only guess at how pink her cheeks were. ‘I am going though. Sorry.’
‘Oh, OK. Disappointing,’ he said good-naturedly. ‘The night was just beginning to look more interesting.’ He smiled again and those cute little wrinkles appeared. ‘Would you be kind enough to give me your number? Perhaps we can have a drink another time, when there’s not as much…’ he glanced around the room, evidently as miffed at the huddled groups as she was.
He continued, ‘…small group work.’
Despite herself, and her aching feet, Shelly laughed and pulled out her phone. ‘Here, I’ll send you a text.’
Michael called out his mobile number as Shelly texted the smiling face and heart emoji.
‘I really must be going.’ She didn’t look behind as she left the party.