You’ll never be him.
It was their fifth date and she still didn’t feel all that comfortable with him. It was hard doing the things she used to do with her ex in a relationship this fresh. So far they kept it simple with coffee dates and a lunch in the park. Today he wanted to do lunch then visit a museum. She lingered behind him, watching him strut as he reached behind him to pull out his cellphone. She wondered what he was doing as she looked at his Vans roll over the pavement.
“Want to look at the menu?” He looks over his shoulder at her, catching her checking him out. He grins, “What are you doing back there?”
“Nothing…” she chuckles, “yeah let me get a look at that menu.”
They were trecking through a small Montrose neighborhood, ducking and dodging low hanging tree branches and bushes that lined the sidewalks. She quickens her pace to walk beside him. She likes that he looks at menus before he ate like her. I mean she does like him, but he’ll never be him. No one will. The dudes before him she couldn’t connect with. No matter where they went or what they did, she couldn’t get past a few weeks with them. This dude is a little different. The brisk air whips around her face. It makes her shiver. Without a moments notice, he pulls her closer to him. She couldn’t resist to smile. Something else she liked about him. She scrolls up and down the menu, gawking at how pricey the plates were.
“Are you sure about this place?”
He laughs lightly. “I knew you were going to ask. It’s fine; get whatever your stomach desires. No price too large today.”
She glares up at him, suspicious as to why he would spend this much money on a lunch. Maybe he is just trying to show off, which is unnecessary. She’s never been that type of girl. And it’s only their fifth date.
“What are you doing dude?” She asks slowly, ready to interrogate.
He shakes his head. “Nothing. I’m just treating you to lunch, no biggie. Don’t make this into a thing.”
You don’t know me.
She continues to glare at him. He cracks up as soon as he catches her glare. It comes from deep in his stomach. She liked the way he laughed. As he tries to catch his breath, they stop in front of a quaint building that technically looked like someone’s home. No name or address on the building. She continues to glare, lips pursed to hold back her own laughter, and he grabs her by the shoulders.
“Look, if you want, we can go somewhere else. Although we’re right here. I mean we’ve walked a few blocks…and it’s a nice day out. I told you not to make anything out of it. But there you are, glaring at me like I’m about to take advantage of you. You’re so silly.”
His laughter has finally subsided. She liked that he could see through her silliness. She also liked his caramel skin. In the sunlight, it glows, making him look majestic. Along with that smile, he dazzled. He runs his thumb along her jawline, knowing it would make her blush. No he wasn’t him but he made her feel good. She thought that she would never get that feeling again from someone. She liked that about him.
“Okay,” she sighs, “let’s go inside and see if it’s worth the money yeah?”
He smiles. “Good.”
He starts up the walkway and she follows behind him, watching him saunter up to the door. He glances back at her again, enjoying the fact that she watches him walk. And she does it so entitivley. What is she thinking about while she does that, he wonders.
The lunch was magnificent, which she wasn’t expecting by the looks of the place. Where in the hell was the kitchen that produced these amazing plates in this tiny home? They were full to the brim and were questioning should they even bother walking back to the car, let alone walking the museum. He ordered more drinks and offered her desert.
“Dude really? You honestly think that I could eat another bite of anything? I’m about to struggle with this glass of wine.”
“Hey I just wanted to throw it out there. They had a slice of cake that caught my eye…thought maybe you’d want to share. So how are you feeling about the museum?”
She takes a sip from her glass. “I don’t know. Can we not sit her for a moment and just chill? Oh and if you’re really about the cake order it. We can take our time…”
Shortly, a chunk of carrot cake appeared before them. With a sly smirk, he announces, “I already ordered it.”
They laugh as they reach for the desert forks that the waitress placed in front of them. He wasn’t like him, no. He could lie back and converse. And they had lovely conversations. They could talk about anything and he held such useless knowledge that she didn’t know about that she stayed intrigued. Between nibbles, bites and sips, they learned more about each other. Simple things like favorite colors, if they had one artist or musician they could be friends with who, personal goals, and argued about who the better boy band was. She always found herself beyond pleased with their conversations. She watched the way his mouth moved with certain words, how he would smile when she asked him a question he wasn’t expecting, how he gazed upon her when she spoke of something she cared about. God you’re not him…could you be better than him? But it was too soon for her to think about that. This was only date five…no telling what could happen within the next few weeks. They might not even make it to date six or seven. Just stop and enjoy the now.
She took the fork to the plate to get the leftover icing and bits of cake. He smacked her hand as it went towards her mouth but she never lost her grip.
“Hey! Who said you could have the last bit of the cake?!”
She giggled as she licked the cream cheese icing away from her lips. “Oh you wanted that?”
“That’s my favorite part.” He smacked her hand again.
“Ow! Hey!” She smacked his hand in return. “You ate most of the cake anyways.”
“But you were too full remember?”
“Hence why I ate the scraps.”
“Along with little bites here and there.”
“You did say share.”
He went to smack her hand again but she moved it in time for him to miss. Soon they were in a full slap hand battle. They giggled and yelped as they smacked each others hands. It went on for about a minute before he was out of breath from laughter. Soon the waiteress came around the corner with the bill, as if she was done with their cute banter. She reached for her wallet but he stopped her. She then remembered he said that lunch was on him. Maybe she will buy him some drinks later. After he settled the check, he grabbed her hand to help her stand and escorted her out of the tiny restaurant with a gleeful smile. He was thoroughly enjoying her company and wasn’t afraid to show it. He wore his smile like a badge of honor.
Once they approached The Menil, their atmosphere changed to more calm, relaxed. They walked towards the entrance side by side, his fingers gently tangling themselves into hers. Her fingertips tingled in excitement. The day that began mostly groggy turned into sunshine and beauty, the crisp wind still flowing through her hair. They decided to do a roundabout around the building. It made her think of him, all the times they just circled the building in the summer, talking and admiring each other. She rubs her right arm in comfort, thinking about what he could be doing right now in this moment. She missed him like crazy but he kept pushing her to do other things with other people. All he wanted for her was to live her life without him. She really tried but in most cases, she bailed, not ready. She hated for it being that way and no matter how hard she tried to fight, the ex kept her attention. She rubbed her arm in rememberance. And before she could fall in anymore, he swoops her up in a strong embrace. Sometimes she wondered if he could read her that well or if she was showing too much face.
For some reason, The Menil was like a library, influencing you to whisper or to be silent. So they don’t speak as they voyage through the galleries, sheepishly smiling at each other and grazing each other as they past. She stood and watched him gaze upon a piece she was familiar with and wondered what he was thinking. She took in his stature and height, admiring his build. He stood at 6’4, not too skinny but not too muscular, long and thickish. He turned to the piece on the adjacent wall; her eyes follow. She wondered if she could really fall for someone without always comparing them to her past. It was an inner battle that she was constantly fighting. Never intentional…just hard to know something else. Eventually, he pulled himself from his thoughts from the art on the walls, feeling her eyes studying him. He wiggles his fingers down by his left side, anticipating hers. Soon, they’re about his and they navigate to the next room. She meekly blushes as he looks down upon her with admiration. He could voyage a museum with her for days on end.
Was it possible to already like someone like this so soon? The things she was doing to his body, to his heart was so new to him that it felt damn near imaginary. As if he was dreaming or high. He was swelling up with infatuation and lust, any tiny touch could make him burst. That’s why he hasn’t kissed her yet. He knew once he did, he would explode into a blue cloud of magic. She made him feel dizzy on what love could feel like. It was all too brand new. He never knew a girl could make him feel this good.
They jammed Sugarcult’s first album on the way back to her car. Not wanting to embarrass herself after such a nice outing, she just hummed along, proving that she knew this album like the back of her hand. He kept looking over to her, impressed that she even remembered this album let alone the band. He swells up even more. There’s a slight awkward moment once he’s pulled up behind her car. She unfastened her seatbelt and turns towards him, getting ready to hug him good bye. Arms ready, he wants to turn and kiss her on the cheek. She goes in, thanking him for the day. The timing is off and he ends up kissing her ear. She jumps to the unexpected attempt and ends up head butting him. They both his in pain.
“Jeeeeesus. Sorry about that..” She runs the side of her head. “Did you mean to kiss my ear?”
Flushed, he mumbles, “No I was trying to kiss your cheek. Sorry…shitty timing…”
The pain subsides and she’s cracking up. He was still too embarrassed to find the humor in what happened. She notices and grabs him by the chin.
“Hey it’s ok. Look,” she turns his head slightly to the right and places a gentle kiss upon his cheek. “See how easy that is.” She smiles, stifling a snicker. He can’t hide behind his red cheeks any longer. He looks down at his lap, trying to escape the light behind her eyes but she doesn’t allow it. She lifts his head, making him stay eye to eye with her. Suddenly, tension was building in the car, making the air dense. A smile played about her lips as she inched closer to his mouth. “And this will be just as easy…” And with not with the slightest bit of hesitation, she kisses him. And he doesn’t explode into a blue cloud.