Authors: Felicia Starr
Blind Date #2
Lilly just walked in the door from picking up a pasta dish from the pizza place around the corner from her house. It was almost seven at night. Her entire day was running late, not that she had anything planned.
Just as Lilly was about to open a bottle of white wine, her cell phone buzzed in her back pocket. She looked at the screen and saw an illuminated image of her best friend and biggest pain in the butt, Bethany. Her finger hovered over the ignore button, but she knew she would just keep calling until Lilly answered.
“Hello,” Lilly answered.
“You didn’t call me and tell me about your date. What gives?” Bethany huffed from the other end of the line.
“You’re just upset you decided to get married so young. You really need to find yourself a hobby besides worrying about every last detail in my life.”
“Will you stop it? Don’t be jealous that I am married and have a big house while yo
u are sitting there eating takeout food and drinking cheap wine by yourself.” Bethany had a habit of needling Lilly.
“Whatever, what is your point? My date sucked as usual. He was very nice and compl
etely not even close to my type,” Lilly started to explain.
“What type is that? The kind that smokes pot in their parent’s basement and plays online video games all day?”
“Hahaha… Dinner was tasty though. We went to that new place downtown called MoHo’s.”
“I heard of that place, how about we go there for dinner Thursday night. I will tell Dick. We can double.”
“Double what? I don’t have a date.” Lilly grabbed a coffee mug and dropped in a few ice cubes. She poured the wine over the ice and a few of the cubes cracked.
“I know, Dick’s friend John is going to meet us. I thought you guys could maybe get to know each other a little better.”
“So I just had a bad blind date and you want to set me up on another one?” Lilly sat on the couch and opened her slightly melted Styrofoam box and gazed down at her slopped up pasta dish.
“It’s not really a bl
ind date. You already know John,” Lilly insisted.
“I don’t know him. I met him at a few of your wedding functions. I’m not so sure we have anything in common and no offense, he is like almost fifteen years older than I am.”
“Will you stop it? He works with Dick so obviously that means he has a great job, but he also just won a nice sized jackpot from the state lotto. He could buy you that leather coat you kept sending me screenshots of,” Bethany tried to entice her.
“You do know that it was almost eighty degrees out today?”
“Yeah, well he can buy you a bathing suit then. Just come, and give him a chance. He told Dick he thought you were pretty after Dick’s birthday party last year.”
Lilly twirled her pasta and took a large bite. “Fine, I will come. The food was really good at that restaurant and the wine was way better than this quote
‘cheap stuff’ I am drinking now.” Lilly washed down the bit of food with the wine that had enough bite to it that screamed five dollar wine.
Thursday night came quickly. Lilly was always nervous about being good enough for her friend Bethany. Bethany always cared for her, but she was also the most critical and judgmental person in her life.
She must have changed her clothes ten times trying to look all mature and trendy and somehow still feel a little sexy. She felt like she was failing. Lilly tried to keep her makeup on the lighter side, but was tempted to throw on a pair of false eyelashes for a dramatic effect. Part of her wished she was going out to party on the town with Ali.
Lilly was behind on her laundry for the week. She looked over at her hamper and noticed the stained tank hanging over the edge of the basket. She stopped what she was doing and just stared at it for a minute wondering if she could even get the stain out.
It should probably get thrown in the trash. After a few minutes lapsed she found herself smiling thinking about her night at Magic Bar. She laughed to herself about how crazy that girl was acting. Lilly may have had her moments of regret in life, but never could she imagine ever acting that way, let alone in public.
Flashes of that mysterious guy Leon haunted her mind while she strapped on her shoes. When he winked at her
, his supple lips pursed together making them look more than kissable. She didn’t dare tell either of her girlfriends that she couldn’t stop thinking about him.
Bethany would never approve and Ali already thought he was a jerk. Maybe that was what was missing in her life, a jerk. All the blind dates she had been on were with boring nice guys. At least her ex was fun to be around and when he wasn’t stoned to the bone they had great sex.
As much as Lilly didn’t want Bethany telling her that it was high time she found herself a husband she knew that was one of the reasons she broke things off with ex. She wasn’t sure he would ever grow up.
Lilly felt slightly awkward that she was going on a semi date at the same place for the second time within a week
. Chances were the people there wouldn’t notice her, but she was nervous she might run into Alan. Hopefully if that happened he would at least be with another woman.
Lilly thought dating was supposed to be fun. Lately it felt like a full time job. It was time to start looking through the classifieds for something better… Perhaps that was just it. If this guy John didn’t work out she decided she would sign up for an Internet dating site.
Lilly got to the restaurant a few minutes late and everyone was waiting at the table for her. Bethany gave her a look when the hostess walked her over to the table.
“I ordered us an antipasti, you want anything else?” Dick asked her with his thick Long Island accent. It was always so obvious he wasn’t from Blue Beach County.
“We got two bottles of wine, what do you want, white or red?” Bethany already cut him off; Lilly had barely made contact with her seat.
“White would be great.
It’s nice to see you all again,” Lilly said as Bethany started to pour her a glass.
“You remember John.” Dick pointed over to his friend who stood up until she sat down.
John was around the same height as Lilly was with her heels on. Even though he was a good generation older than her he had a good head of hair, with a touch of salt and pepper just around his ears. Lilly was not instantly in love with his looks. He was an average looking guy, but at least he dressed nice.
, Lilly, how ya been?” John had the same accent.
“Not too bad, I can’t complain about too much. I am looking forward to all this nice weather. I think it might go up into the nineties next week.” Lilly couldn’t believe she was talking about the weather. She sighed and took a sip of her wine; she wanted to gulp it
, but didn’t want to be rude.
They decided to order family style meals for the table so that everyone could share. The conversation improved from the weather. Lilly even found herself laughing a few times at John’s jokes.
When the waitress came over to clear the table, she asked if anyone wanted to see the dessert menu. Lilly smiled and said that she would definitely do a cup of coffee.
“Ya know my head kind of hurts,
” Bethany announced. “If you guys want to stay for dessert you should. I think the red wine got to me.”
John turned to Lilly, “I would be happy to stay for coffee and dessert. I can give you a ride home if you want.”
Way to put a girl on the spot. Lilly was no dummy; she knew her friend did not have a headache. The girl drinks big bottles of white zinfandel like they are going out of style…oh wait, it is out of style. Lilly almost bust out laughing.
“Are you ok?” John asked, “We don’t have to stay.”
“No, I would love to stay for coffee. I was just thinking about something funny.” Lilly took a quick sip of her wine while the server reached around her to clear her plate. “You guys go ahead. Dinner was fun; we should do this again soon. It was great to see you guys.”
Bethany walked around the table and hugged her friend. The guys shook hands.
“See you at work tomorrow, bro,” Dick said on the way out.
“I forgot it’s Thursday. Are you sure you want to be out this late? I know you g
uys get up crazy early for work,” Lilly asked John.
“I’m used to it. Do you mind if I sit across from you? I am twisting my neck over here trying to look at you while we are talking.”
“Yeah, of course.”
The waitress came over and took their dessert order.
“So what was so funny before? I was worried you were laughing at the idea of us staying here together without Dick and Bethany.”
“Don’t be silly. I was actually laughing at the idea of Bethany having a headache from drinking wine. She has no problem drinking the double sized bottle of white zinfandel.”
“People still drink that shit?” John chimed in.
“Exactly, that is what I was laug
hing about. Nobody drinks that…it was so 1999.” Lilly laughed. “Is there any more wine in that bottle?”
John checked both the bottles on the table, they were both empty. “No, do you want to order another glass? Maybe a dessert wine to go with your cheesecake?”
“I’ve never had dessert wine.” Lilly wasn’t even sure what dessert wine was, but she was willing to give it a try if it meant they got to continue their evening.
“Well then we will have to fix that.” John waved the waitress over and ordered something he referred to as an ice wine.
Turned out that dinner was good, but dessert was even better. John and Lilly almost closed the place. John and Dick started work long before Lilly even would consider waking up so the night couldn’t last forever.
When John dropped her off he got out of the car and walked around to let her out. He certainly had manners. He asked her if he could kiss her on the cheek goodnight. Before she walked up to her door they exchanged numbers and decided to grab dinner and a movie again the next night.
The weather forecast for Friday was rain, rain, and more rain. Lilly considered staying home to work instead of having to deal with the nasty weather. In the end she decided at least it was warm enough to deal with.
Lilly had attempted to work from home on several occasions but found that she did more getting up to fix herself drinks and snacks than actual work. Of course then in turn she needed to clean up after herself. Some people might find a busy cafe distracting, but for Lilly the noise drowned itself out and became almost meditative in the background.
Esmeralda was smart, she kept a large urn by the front door for people to put their wet umbrellas. Lilly liked the hominess of the cafe. The coffee was only a few cents more than the major chain coffee places in the neighborhood. Lilly felt it was worth every penny.
Before Lilly even got to the counter, Esmeralda was waving her over. She actually got to the cafe a little earlier than normal. She wanted to wrap up her workday early so she could get ready for her date with John.
“Hey! It was so busy in here yesterday we never got to chat. What did you think about the salted caramel?” Esmeralda asked.
“It was really good. Are you going to have it all the time? I could get fat drinking that every day.” Lilly laughed.
It’s not like she had ever had a problem with her weight. She had always been on the thin side; there had been a time when she wished she could gain weight. Bethany always teased her about how thin she was when they were teenagers. If she wore black
, Bethany would suggest that she couldn’t see her and that she would disappear when she turned sideways.
Lilly was so self-conscious that she didn’t wear shorts or dresses at all her freshman year of high school. By the time she got to college there were more important things to think about than the girth of her thighs.
It took a few years and some really good inspirational self-help books to like what she saw in the mirror. Loving herself had never been easy; maybe that was why she had so much trouble dating.
“So what can I get for you? Do you want regular coffee? I have more salted caramel syrup. I am not running a special today, but I am going to order a case of it for next week.”
“It depends, did you make those caramels?” Lilly asked.
“I haven’t, I know I should have made them. I think we are going to make them Monday afternoon when it’s slow in here. I will make sure I save you some for Tuesday.”
“That would be excellent. I guess I will settle for the caramel coffee. Or I should say salted caramel. Was it a big hit?” Lilly handed her exact change for the coffee. Esmeralda didn’t even have to ask for it.
“Yeah, it was, we almost sold out. I actually saw a lot of new faces in here. I think it helped that it was a nice day and I had my chalk board on the sidewalk.” Esmeralda had moved down to the other end of the workstation to the coffee and kept talking.
“Did you happen to notice all the people?” Esmeralda probed.
“It was busy, but I try not to pay too much attention to the comings and goings of p
eople. Your friend Leo was nice,” Lilly said.
“Isn’t he? I think he is pretty hot…that is if you go for that young, successful, athletic type…” Esmeralda was selling him like he was a hot cake.
“He was funny. I never noticed him before.”
“He is here every day, I’m sure you will see him later.” Esmeralda slipped her coffee into a corrugated cardboard sleeve and handed her the hot cup. “I’m pretty sure he’s single. You guys should hook up.”
“I actually have a date tonight.” Lilly gave her an impish grin. “We went out last night on a double date.”
“Oh. That’s…cool.” Esmeralda’s shoulders slumped slightly. “I’m going to come over in a little bit, you will have to tell me all about him. Do you have a lot of work to do today?”
“There is always an endless supply. I do what I can when I can. I am going to head out early today so don’t wait too long to come to chat me up.” Lilly turned and sat down at a table and got her computer set up.
She wanted to work fast, but in the end she felt like if she worked smart she had less to go back and fix later. John texted her last night when he got home and told her to pick a restaurant. All he wanted to know was if he needed to come casual or dressed nice.
She had never seen him too casual. All the times they had met were at functions that were not really appropriate for jeans or shorts. She was a little bit nervous. Some guys can look great when they are dressed in their business attire and then when you take them out of the pressed slacks and starched button ups they wore light colored denim with shitty sneakers or jorts in the summer.
It amazed Lilly that anyone still wore jorts, otherwise known as jean shorts. They couldn’t possibly sell them anywhere. As bad as they were, the worst was the sports jersey tucked in to a pair of pants with no belt.
She decided she should maybe start thinking about what she was going to wear instead of the really bad men’s attire that lurked around on the weekend streets.
She looked out the window and watched the rain. It was coming down pretty hard. She could hear the cars splashing through the puddles every time the front door opened.
She looked down at her blond hair that had been curled to perfection the night before. It was now floppy and frizzy from the humidity. She didn’t want to cancel the date on account of the bad weather.
Bethany wanted her to be a housewife like her so they could plan their days together around going to the gym and grocery shopping. Lilly didn’t think her married life could ever turn out like Bethany’s. One thing she could do though was cook. She didn’t do it often anymore since it was so much work just to do for one person and she did not believe in saving leftovers.
Her wheels were turning. She grabbed her cell out of her computer bag and pulled up the text from John. She responded asking him what he thought about staying in and picking up a movie.
He texted her back so fast she didn’t have time to put her phone back in her bag.
He responded with, “I am up for anything. That sounds great. I will bring drinks and a few movies. Do you want to order in? I can pick the food up on the way over.”
Lilly really wanted to impress him with making him a home cooked dinner
, but she had a sudden craving for some Thai food. She texted back, “I can cook or we can order Thai.”
“Thai sounds great. I know an awesome place. Do you have a spe
cial dish you want me to get?” he asked.
“No, I am always up for an adventure. Mix it up. I will try whatever you get. See you at seven.” She typed back and stuffed her phone back in her bag. She needed to get back to work.