The Date

Susan smiled at herself in the mirror.  “Not bad,” she thought.  She gathered her hair into a ponytail and then let it fall around her shoulders again, scrutinizing each style. She couldn’t remember it it was up or down when Brad had asked her out.  She pulled it into a ponytail with her left hand, turned her face to the side, and looked at herself in the mirror out of the corner of her eye.  “Down is better” she decided. 

The doorbell rang. 

She glanced at the clock by her bed.  Two minutes early. She was impressed.

She skipped down the stairs, paused to look in entry way mirror one last time, took a deep breath, grabbed the knob, and pulled the door open.  Brad looked incredible.  She had never seen him in a coat and tie before.  It fit him nicely.

With a charming smile, he held out a rose to her. “Brad, it’s beautiful,” she said. “Thank you. You didn’t have to do that.” She brought the flower to her nose and inhaled its sweet aroma. “Let me go put it in some water.”

“Oh,” Brad said with surprise, “Okay.  But move quickly.  I don’t want to miss our dinner reservation.”

“We have reservations?”  Susan said with approval.  “Forget the vase.  It’ll be okay until we get back.”  She laid the flower on the entry hall table, pausing for a moment to reflect on how nice it looked.

He took her hand and said with excitement, “Let’s go.”  His palm was rough, strong, and warm.  She liked it.  So consumed with the feel of his hand in hers, Susan forgot about the step in the front walkway.  She tripped and tumbled toward the wet grass, but before she landed in the mud, Brad caught her, saving her from the embarrassment of a crash.  

So consumed with the feel of his hand in hers, Susan forgot about the step in the front walkway.  Mis-stepping, she lost her balance and tumbled toward the wet grass, but before she landed in the mud, Brad caught her, saving her from the embarrassment of a crash.  “Careful,” he said with a smile, holding her tight.

“Thanks,” she replied.  Her face was covered in red splotches, but his arms were lean and muscular, and she liked them wrapped around her. “Totally worth almost breaking my leg,” she said.

The restaurant was elegant. Beautiful white linen tablecloths, crystal glasses, three forks lined up perfectly on the left side of her plate, it was the kind of place Susan always wanted to go but never had an excuse that would justify the expense.

“So tell me about your family?” Brad said as their salads were served.

Susan was taken aback by the question.  On most first dates, the guy was so nervous he talked incessantly about himself.  This was a nice change.  “Well, I grew up around here,” Susan started.  “I have an older brother that lives an hour away and,”

Interrupting her story, Brad sneezed. The violent and sudden eruption sent his arms flying out to the sides, causing his left hand to collide with his water glass. 

“Oh no!” he exclaimed.  “I’m so sorry.”  Dropping to his knees, Brad began blotting the wet carpet with his napkin.  “I’m such a klutz,” he apologized. “I’m so sorry.”  

“It’s good to know I’m not the only one who took a spill this evening,” Susan said with a smile.

A waiter clad in a white apron appeared, bent down next to Brad, and began cleaning up the spill.  “We’ll take care of this, sir.  Please enjoy your dinner,” the young man said.

Brad returned to the table with a sheepish smile. “Um, sorry about that,” he said. “You were about to tell me about your brother?” 

Susan smiled, happy he was paying attention.

After dinner and drinks, back home once again, Brad came around the car and opened the door for her.  They walked to the front porch in silence. “Watch the step,” he said. 

Susan giggled.

“Thank you for an incredible night,” she said as she gave him a soft kiss on the cheek.

“You want to do it again next week?” he asked. 

Susan savored the eager vulnerability in his voice. “Absolutely.  I’m looking forward to it.  Good night.”  And with that, she stepped inside her house and closed the door.

 

The doorbell rang and startled her.  Susan glanced at the clock, “Man, two minutes early again. 

Susan glanced at the clock, “Man, two minutes early again. Second date same as the first. This guy’s a machine,” she thought. Examining her makeup a final time, she giggled to herself at the potential implications of that in more intimate settings. 

She opened the front door with excitement.  There he stood, once again looking brilliant in the same dark suit.  With a charming smile, he held out a rose for her. 

“Wow,” Susan said, “I thought that was just a first date thing.  Let me put it in water.”  She motioned down to the entryway table where a drying rose lay.  “The other one never quite made it.”

“Oh,” Brad said with a smile, “Okay.  But move quickly.  I don’t want to miss our dinner reservation.”

“We have a reservation? Again?” Susan exclaimed.  “Man, I thought after the first date it would be fries and cheeseburgers from here on out.”  She tossed the second rose onto the entry way table and said, “Let’s go!” as she bounded out the door.

With a smile, he grabbed her hand again.  She remembered how much she liked it before.

At the step, he stumbled and knocked into her.  His weight was too much to for her small frame and she fell.  She would have crashed into the wet grass if he hadn’t of been so quick to catch her.  “My hero,” she said with a grin.

“Careful,” he said with a smile.

She giggled and replied, “Yeah, right back at ya.”

“We’re going here again?” Susan said with a smile struggling to hide the disappointment in her voice as they pulled up in front of the elegant restaurant from the week before.

“Everything was so perfect last week, I thought we would try it again,”  Brad replied with a smile as he pulled up to the valet parking.

They sat down at the table.  “This is nice,” Susan reassured herself.  “A little weird, but sweet.”

“So tell me about your family?” Brad said as their salads were served.

“It’s funny you should ask,” Susan replied.  “My mom said this week she is coming up for a visit; and man, was my brother angry.”

Brad sneezed, knocking over his water glass with his left hand.  “Oh no!  I’m so sorry,” he said.  He dropped to his knees and began blotting the wet carpet with his napkin.  “I’m such a klutz.”  He seemed embarrassed.

“Wow, déjà vu,” Susan said with a giggle.

A waiter clad in a white apron quickly appeared, bent down next to Brad, and began cleaning up the spill.  “We’ll take care of this. Wait, weren’t you here last week.”

Susan said with a smile, “I’m impressed you remember.”

“How funny,” the waiter said.  “Please enjoy your dinner, sir.  I’ll take care of this for you.”

Brad returned to the table with a sheepish smile.  “Um, sorry about that.  You were about to tell me about your brother?”

After dinner and drinks, back home once again, Brad came around the car and opened the door for her. They walked to the front porch in silence. “Watch the step,” he said.

“Yeah, you too,” she said.

“You want to do it again next week?” he said.

“I’ll need to check my calendar,” she said. “Why don’t you give me a call later this week?”  And with that, she stepped inside her house and closed the door.

 

“Again?  Is this the only restaurant you know?”  Susan said only semi-joking as they pulled up to the valet.  Arriving two-minutes-early-again had been strange, forcing her to trip on the step was weirdly cute, but taking her to the same place three weeks in a row was crossing some kind of line.

Brad simply smiled in reply.

“So tell me about your family?” he asked as their salads were served.

“What exactly is your obsession with my family?” Susan said. 

“How did your brother handle your mom coming into town?” Brad asked.

“Oh,” Susan was taken back by his question.  She forgot she’d shared that with him. “Well, my mom came in on Tuesday, and I had to pick her up, which was frustrating because I had to call out of work early to do it, and my brother,”

Brad sneezed, flinging his left hand into the water glass on the table, spilling it all over the floor. “Oh no!  I’m so sorry,” he said, grinning victoriously. Susan glared at him.  He dropped to his knees and began blotting the wet carpet with his napkin. “I’m such a klutz.”  There was a grin of satisfaction on his face.

Susan glared at him.  He dropped to his knees and began blotting the wet carpet with his napkin. “I’m such a klutz.”  There was a grin of satisfaction on his face.

He dropped to his knees and began blotting the wet carpet with his napkin. “I’m such a klutz.” 

A waiter clad in a white apron appeared, bent down next to Brad, and began cleaning up the spill.  “Dang bro.  Three weeks in a row?  Is this some kind of weird joke?”

Brad returned to the table.  He seemed proud.  “Um…sorry about that.  You were about to tell me about your brother?”  Their eyes locked like combatants on the field of battle.

Their eyes locked like combatants on the field of battle.

“I’m not sure what you’re up to, but this has got to stop,” Susan said.

Brad feigned innocence, “I’m not sure what you mean?”

At the end of the date, Brad tried to come around the car and opened her door for her, but Susan was already out of the car before he reached the handle of the door.  She moved up the walk as fast as her high-heeled sandals would allow.

“Watch the step,” he said.

“Cut it out, Brad,” she yelled over her shoulder, her fists clenched tightly.

“You want to do it again next week?” he called, chasing after her.

Opening her door and stepping inside the safety of her house, Susan turned to face him. “Don’t call me, Brad.” She slamming the door, she thought that would be the last she saw of him.

 

Erica and Jamie were startled by the doorbell. 

“Is anybody else coming?” Erica asked. 

“I don’t think so,” Jamie said, then yelling across to the room to the kitchen, she called, “Hey Susan, someone’s at the door.”

Susan yelled back from the kitchen where she was making pop-corn, “Ignore it.  It’s just Brad.”

Erica leaned back on the couch so she had a clear view through the window of the front door. “He’s cute,” she said.  “Nice suit too. And I think he’s got a rose. You sure you don’t want to let him in?”

“He’ll leave in a minute. Just ignore him,” Susan yelled back. She sounded unconcerned.

Erica and Jamie watched as the man at door held out his hand, offering the rose to some imaginary friend.  He let the flower drop to the ground when no one accepted it from him.  Then he smiled and called loudly, “Oh, okay. But move quickly.  I don’t want to miss our dinner reservation.” 

“Hey Susan,” Jaime yelled again. “He’s saying something about dinner reservations?”

“Ignore him,” Susan called.

The man at the front door turned to go, tripping on the step as he left.

Susan appeared in the room, her arms filled with three bowls of popcorn. “I didn’t know how much salt you wanted, so I went light. I don’t know. You might want to add more.”

“Spill it,” Erica said, leaning forward. “Who’s the dude with the rose?”

“We went out a few times, like, three months ago?” Susan explained, taking a seat next to her friends on the couch.  “And it was weird. He tried to repeat the same date with me three times.”

“The same date?” Jaime asked, watching the man outside have a conversation with no one. I don’t even think he notices that I’ve stopped showing up.”

“Yep. It was creepy. Anyway, he shows up here every Friday and does this little routine. I don’t even think he notices that I’ve stopped showing up.”

They watched as Brad opened the passenger side door and motioned for his imaginary date to get in.  He ran around the back of the car, jumped into the driver’s seat, and pulled away.

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