I looked up at him from the flowers, a little bewildered.
And as my brain translated his mushed together words, I remembered our conversation about kissing before the first date.
Um, sure? I’m a relatively hip, cool 30 year-old chick, dating multiple men, making out with strangers … why not kiss this red-headed boy before I kick his butt in skee-ball?
I leaned forward and our lips touched (this is weird, really weird) and we started to kiss (this is good, really good). And then the kiss was over, and I was still standing there, holding a bouquet of flowers looking at this date of mine whose lips I had just been locked with.
What was his last name again?
He opened the car door for me. I didn’t know what to say, so I blurt out something about how he looked like his picture. He laughed, closed the car door and got in on his side. I pulled a gift out of my purse – a weird little pickle statuette that I thought he would find funny.
The ice had been broken, gifts had been exchanged, but there were still first-date nerves kicking around randomly in my stomach like me trying to keep up with a kick-boxing class.
We chit chatted all the way to Dave & Buster’s. He was easy to talk to, even if he was little hard to understand at times.
Understandably, he wanted to know why a seemingly normal [attractive, successful, talented, outgoing, smoking hot, sexy...oops, I inserted those.] woman such as myself ended up divorced at age 30. I promised him the story over dinner.
He listened as I told my story while we enjoyed beers before our food.
He shared that he has been in several serious relationships, recently ending a 10-month romance with a live-in girlfriend.
I kind of already knew that, since I had stalked him on Facebook. Her profile was public and I had also checked her out – tall, blonde, attractive and seemingly into all the same things he was into. She was also a foodie – someone who I thought would be a good friend to have. She kind of seemed perfect for him, but what did I know? I couldn’t be intimidated by his past, just like he couldn’t be intimidated by mine.
Dating was so weird.
Besides, I was still trying to force myself to have fun and not get tied down. So while I was enjoying our date, I was trying not to map out our future.
But with him, everything was so easy.
After dinner, we loaded up some Dave & Busters game cards and hit skee-ball. True to my promise I beat him. (Aside from that game and one fluke game of Trivial Pursuit, it stands as one of the only times I beat him at anything.)
After an hour or so we had enough tickets to claim some prizes in the ticket redemption shop. What to get, what to get.
When you are on a first date, these decisions matter.
We discovered a pair of battery-powered whirly headbands. Dork-dom to the Nth degree. Awesome. We wore them out of the restaurant, holding hands with stupid plastic headbands buzzing above us.
But my heart was buzzing louder.
Have you ever been on a first date and you just.wanted.it.to.be.over?
This was not that date. With the kiss out-of-the-way, and more kisses during dinner and games, there was no anxiety, only a really strong attraction that was growing and growing. Oddly, it felt like a third or fourth date.
Even though it was well after 11 p.m. on a Sunday night, I couldn’t get enough of him. He took me to his favorite bar in Westport. We had a drink and more conversation. Then, he saw some friends, “c’mon I want to introduce you!”
Woah. Introduce me? On the first date?
After I met several people, he took me to another bar where one of his two roommates was working. Later, the roommate referred to me as the Alyson Hannigan chick. (This became the inspiration for my Band Camp Girl Halloween costume that year)
At some point, I had to go home. He came with me and we talked and kissed way into the wee hours of the morning. (Nothing else happened. It was PG rated. Ok, maybe PG-13.)
The next morning, exhausted, deliriously happy and bed-heady, I walked him down to the front gate. We kissed again as the elevator opened and out walked hot neighbor.
Hot neighbor who was so gorgeous that I often lost my ability to form sentences when I was around him. Hot neighbor who was a lawyer, worked out regularly, kept a great tan and was super sweet. Hot neighbor who could feasibly still think I was on the market and had never seen me with a boy.
I could care less. “Hi, [insert hot-neighbor's real name],” I said. “This is [KCFilm Guy.]” Another kiss and then I was back upstairs to get ready for work.
That night, I had several friends over for a dinner party I’d been planning for a few weeks. I invited KCFilmGuy to stop by if he wanted to, after dinner. It was past 9 p.m., and any normal night I would consider cleaning up my kitchen and heading to bed after a few glasses of wine and a good meal.
But KCFilmGuy wanted to know if I wanted to come to his place and see a movie.
So began a week of absolutely no sleep whatsoever.
KCFilmGuy had a job that started after noon each day. My job started at 7:30 a.m. I began to feel the effects of my sleepless week.
I wasn’t sure this was going to work out. I really needed my sleep and it seemed KCFilmGuy never slept. At 9 p.m., he’d only been home from work for an hour or so and his evening was just getting started. At 9 p.m., I had already run a few miles, taken a shower, watched a few shows, eaten dinner and was thinking about bedtime.
But love is a funny thing. It keeps you going, even when you otherwise would be falling asleep at your computer during the day.
What were we doing? We had spent every night together since our date. And when we weren’t together, we were texting. This was so very different from the sporadic but reliable texts and dates I experienced with the other guys I had been seeing.
And speaking of them, what was I supposed to do about them? It was clear that I really, really liked KCFilmGuy, but I was trying not to settle down with anyone. And they were both really great guys. Was I ready to tell them good-bye?
I hadn’t had a chance to figure out the answers to these questions. I was just so tired and happy and confused…so, I put off thinking and decided to live in the moment.
But sometimes, you are confronted with a choice when you least expect it.
It was passed 1 a.m. on Thursday night. KCFilmGuy had made me a late dinner of his famous tuna casserole (I didn’t have the heart that I had made tuna helper the night before for dinner and then had leftovers for lunch, so the last thing I wanted to put into my mouth was more tuna.)
We were talking on his front porch – we had really lucked out in that we only lived 1.5 miles away from one another – and then he presented something I wasn’t quite prepared for.
“I was thinking that I don’t want to date anyone else. I really like what we have here and I want to see where it can go.”
To be continued…