“I insist,” I said, slowly reaching for the check the waiter had just placed on the table.
“No, I can’t let you do that,” Carl said, grabbing the check with an exaggerated flair before I could get to it.
I was pleased that he had done that, since my finances were a bit stretched at the moment. But I didn’t want my date to think of me as a cheapskate or a freeloader. “Well, at least let me pay for half,” I offered.
“Nonsense,” Carl said. “I got this. You can do the honors next time.”
“That’s very generous of you, Carl,” I said. But now I was embarrassed. Carl’s wife was clearly annoyed with him and my date was giving me a weird look. “How about I cover the tip?” I suggested.
“Don’t be ridiculous, I got this, buddy,” he said.
But before he could react, I reached over and snatched the check out of his hand. “No, no,” I said. “I’ve got this.”
I looked down at the piece of paper and swallowed hard when I saw that the total, before tip, was more than $300. Why was I driven to do that, I wondered. He’s a stock broker making mega-bucks and I work at Walmart, for crissake. What’s wrong with me?
I pulled my credit card from my wallet and held it out. “Here,” I said, handing the check and my credit card to Carl. “Give the waiter both of our credit cards and tell him to split it down the middle.”
“No, you got this, buddy,” Carl said. “I’ll treat the next time.”
Carl’s wife was pleased, my date was still looking at me weirdly, and I was praying that the waiter wouldn’t return to the table with news that my credit card had been rejected.
Written for today’s one-word prompt, “insist.”