“Tosh? Are you alright?” Ianto asked, setting his friend’s coffee down on her desk. It was late Thursday evening and she was just sitting there, not working, iPod in hand, staring at it with a resigned and hopeless expression on her face.
At the sound of his voice, she looked up at him with a wan smile. “I’m fine, Ianto, it’s just… I went through my entire iTunes library and made a playlist called ‘Feelings’. It’s seven and a half hours long, and… it made me think. I have all those feelings, but no one to share them with. What does that make me? Am I always going to be unloved and alone?”
“You’re not unloved, Tosh. I love you, and so does Jack.”
“I know, and I love both of you too, but you’re my friends, not my…” She trailed off. “You two have each other, and Gwen has Rhys, and Owen has someone new practically every night but he never gives me a second glance.” She sighed heavily. “I’m just so tired of not having someone of my own. The only people in the last two years who’ve shown any interest in me have been a homicidal alien woman who just wanted a way into torchwood, and a soldier from the past who had to go back to his own time and face the worst fate imaginable. Why can’t I find someone nice?”
Ianto perched on the edge of Tosh’s desk and took her hand in his, squeezing gently, hoping to take the sting out of what he was about to say. “It’s because you’re always either working here, or at home,” he explained. “Tosh, you’re never going to find someone if you never go anywhere. You need to get out there where all the other single people are. There are hundreds of people just like you, looking for love, and you’ll probably hook up with some losers before you find your Miss or Mister Right, but someone is out there looking for someone like you. You’re smart, beautiful, caring, and you deserve to have someone special in your life, but you need to make the first move because you’re not going to find them sitting at your computer at ten thirty in the evening. You need to go home, get dressed up, and go out on the town. And when you do, don’t just sit in a corner and wait to be noticed; pick someone and talk to them first.” He leant over and dropped a kiss on the top of her head. “Think it over, but don’t stay here all night. I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Thanks, Ianto. Goodnight.” As her friend walked away, Tosh thought about what he’d said; it was too late to do anything tonight, but maybe tomorrow…
The following evening, instead of staying late Tosh finished up what she was working on and was out the door before seven. She went straight home, had a bite to eat, showered, changed into something nice but not too dressy, took care over her hair and make-up, and was out the door again by eight-thirty.
She chose one of the classier bars, bought herself a vodka tonic, and scanned the room, nervous but determined to follow Ianto’s instructions. None of the men caught her eye; they were loud and showing off, probably already well on their way to getting drunk.
Just as she was about to down her drink and try somewhere else, she spotted the young woman sitting alone in the corner. She was pretty, with long, brown hair in a braid, and she looked lost, as if she was regretting even coming into the bar. She toyed with the glass of wine in front of her and seemed to be trying to make herself invisible. ‘Just like I usually do,’ Tosh thought. Quickly finishing her drink, she bought another and made her way through the crowd to the corner table.
“Hi, do you mind if I join you? I hadn’t realised it would be so packed in here tonight.” That wasn’t really a lie.
A surprised expression crossed the woman’s face. “Oh, no, not at all.”
Tosh slid into an empty chair. “I’m Toshiko.”
“Lily,” the young woman offered shyly.
“What are you doing here all alone in the corner, Lily?”
“Oh, I came out with some of the other girls from work, but… I don’t know where they went.”
“I’ve been there, back when I lived in London,” Tosh said with a sympathetic smile. “They invite you, then ditch you the first chance they get, like they feel they should include you, but they don’t really want to.”
“Yeah. It’s not the first time either. It’s the same thing every Friday night. You’d think I’d learn, but I just keep hoping they’ll be nicer this time, and they never are. I almost didn’t bother to come tonight.”
“Well, I’m glad you did,” Tosh told her. “Because otherwise I might not have met you, and that would be a shame.”
Lily smiled, blushing faintly. “Yes, I think I’m glad I came too.”
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