Laura cocked her head. "You mean she was Asian?"
"No, I didn't say that. And she's not. But you have the same hairstyle and your voice sounds similar and...you sort of move similar."
"We move similar? You being serious?“
"That sounds weird, doesn't it?"
"No... It does a bit to hear it, but I get it. You mean mannerisms. Little things people do that remind you of someone, even if they don't look anything like them."
"Exactly. It just took me by surprise, got a bit much."
"Must have been a bad breakup."
"It was the worst."
"Well, you don't have to talk about it if you don't want to, but...how fresh are we talking?"
"Six months or so?"
"That's not that fresh, is it? How long were you together?"
"A while. So, you know... Sorry again."
"Fair enough." It didn't excuse him behaving like an arse, but it certainly explained it. And he seemed like he was prepared to take responsibility for it, so maybe she's consider rescinding her harsh assessment of him after all. "So, where are you on the Getting Over It Timeline? Still turning off sad songs on the radio...or turning them up?"
Aidan grinned. "Come on, it's been six months. I'm not that pathetic. I'm getting out there."
"Yeah? How's that going?"
"Aw, you know, as well as can be expected."
"You know what it's like then?"
"Oh yeah, too well. My story's not much better than yours."
"Sorry to hear that."
"Don't be." Laura raised her eyebrows and flashed him her most sardonic smile. "All men are arseholes, which you did prove tonight, even though you're sorry and yes, I do forgive you. But you know, it's not like the apps aren't full of blokes who aren't sorry when they mess up. And I just need to get better at remembering that in the heat of the moment. Not that it matters anyway."
"Cos I'm giving up on dating."
"Aren't you a little young to be giving up?"
"I don't mean for good! Just, you know, for a while. It just...hasn't been great." Her smile faded. "And so many people are getting married at the moment. You know, I went to two weddings last November, and I've got another one to go to next month."
"That's a lot of weddings."
"Right? It just rubs in it and like you said, sometimes it gets a bit much. And I don't know... Maybe I wasn't ready to start dating when I did, and maybe I'm still not ready."
"Funny you say that, I've kinda been wondering the same thing. About me, I mean. Not you."
Their eyes met. He chewed the inside of his cheek and Laura noticed a hint of a dimple. She'd always liked dimples on guys, and this guy seemed like he might have other qualities she'd like too. Like the way he still fidgeted with the umbrella after twice attempting to setting it aside, and how tidy his fingernails were, and how good his hair looked even after he ruffled it to help it dry.
But what she liked most was how comfortable their conversation had become, even after they'd made such terrible first impressions. She didn't mind him so much now. And there was a decent chance he was an all right guy after all.
The speaker above the buttons crackled. "Hello? Everyone all right there?"
Laura scrambled to answer. "Yes, we're fine! Can you get us out?"
"Yep, you'll be out soon. Lucky it's only a minor fault. We'll have it looked after in a couple minutes."
Aidan was on his feet again too, adjusting his shirt where it bunched up and hugged his body in uncomfortable places. The air was awkward again somehow, now that they were getting ready to leave. He cleared his throat and Laura cleared hers too, then acknowledged him with a nod and a nervous smile.
"So, this is it," she declared, and cringed internally at how cliché she sounded. "You can relax for the rest of the night and not worry about offending me."
"I'm sure I'll still find a way." He smiled. That dimple beckoned her again. He held up the umbrella. "Thanks for this, by the way. You didn't have to. I'll bring it back before I fly off."
"Flying off? You going on holiday?"
"No, headed back home on Tuesday. I'm from Melbourne."
"Really! I wouldn't have guessed. What are—"
The speaker crackled again. "Hello, Miss? Sorry to keep you waiting. The lift's about to move. It might jump a bit, so make sure you're holding onto something."
With a creak and a judder, the elevator came back to life. The technician waited for them on the ground floor. He pulled Laura aside for a chat that went on for longer that she wanted it too. And when she finally turned around to say goodbye, Aidan was already gone.