Ramona stood at the entrance to the pub, searching. The group said to meet there – look for a guy with glasses and a bright red shirt, he had said in a message. But she couldn’t see him any – wait, there he is, she thought.
Ramona walked toward the table. Four men and one woman sat around it, engrossed in conversation. She reached them, and pulled out the only unoccupied chair.
“Hi, uh, I’m Ramona,” she said.
“Hi Ramona,” said the man with the red shirt and glasses – Todd, she remembered his name being. “Anyway, I don’t think this is something you need to worry about, Layne. It’s just people being people, nothing to be too worked up about.”
“I know,” said a man with long hair, in a ponytail. He looked young, probably still in university. “I just worry, you know? That this could, like, dictate my life from now on.”
The other woman at the table – a severe, dark-haired woman with pale skin – leaned forward. “Well, just relax, man. Nothing will dictate your life, except you. What happens for now, won’t be later.”
Everyone at the table nodded at this apparently sage advice. Ramona opened her mouth, trying to think of how to introduce herself further, maybe ask the names of the others at the table. The group had been advertised as a discussion group for the works of Austen and Brontë, so maybe start with that? she thought. She took a breath in, but didn’t have a chance to speak.
“Well, everyone,” maybe-Todd said, “I think that about wraps things up for the day. Shall we meet back here next week then?”
“Great, see you then.” They all stood, and left Ramona sitting at the table, alone.