“Some of us are going to the Lion and Crown for a drink after work, do you want to go?” I ask Samuel.
Then I realize that it sounds like I am asking him out on a DATE! I didn’t intend to, not really. I simply wanted to extend the invitation to my shy coworker, a guy who seemed nice enough but rarely spoke.
“Um, uh, where’s that?” he asks.
“In Addison, on the circle,” I explain, “I can draw you a map. Or you can look it up on Google. It’s only about 20 or 30 minutes from here…” I trail off, as I realize that I’m babbling.
“I’m from Dallas,” he says with a smirk.
“Oh,” I say. “I thought you were from New York.”
He rolls his eyes, speaking volumes. He says, “I worked in New York for a year and a half, living in a hotel room. My home is here.”
“Oh,” I say again, ever the master of wit and articulation. “Well, do you want to come? I don’t know how many of us are going, but it may be a dozen of us, I think.”
“Um, this is a lot to process, can I think about it?” he says.
“Of course. I’ll email you the details,” I say, and turn to leave his cube, practically running back to my cube, around the corner and up the aisle. It was only 5’ from his cube, as the crow flies, but since I don’t (fly, that is), I had to walk down the aisle and back up the next one. Seriously, I could hear people talk in his cube; so I suppose he could hear me talk in mine. If I were to stand up on my tippy toes, I might be able to see over the cube, across the aisle, and into Samuel’s cube.
And now, I hope that he doesn’t want to come to happy hour. Because, really, I just wanted to invite him with the group; not ask him out on a date! But…he is kinda cute. I think he’s a little younger than me, but not by much. Plus, I think someone mentioned that he has a daughter, so he might not want more kids, so we might get along on that point…
Urgh. This is way too complicated!
I sit down and forward the happy hour email with the words, “Samuel, here is the invite, let me know if you can make it. Like I said, should be about a dozen of our coworkers there.”
Then I tried to work for the two hours until it was time to go. Really, would this day just end already? I need a drink!
“I’ll go,” Samuel says, making me jump. He looks briefly at me, then at his phone (as though he was texting someone), then walks off.
Damn, that guy is introverted!
Lion and Crown
I sit on the patio of the bar with my friends and a glass of wine, nervously looking around for him. Then I smile at my friend and ask her how she’s been, trying really hard to listen to her answer. For half an hour, I smile and laugh and try to pretend like I’m not watching the door.
FINALLY Samuel sits down next to me. I jump again; I didn’t see him walk up. But then, I really do like my friends, and they really are interesting, so I guess it’s not all that surprising that I wasn’t watching the door.
“Oh, hello! Have you met…” I say, making introductions.
Samuel waves rather say anything. I smile; it’s kinda cute how shy he is. And he came out for me, because I invited him.
He orders a beer and carrot cake.
“Dessert, really?” I ask, shoving another cheese-covered chip into my mouth. I love ordering chicken nachos when I’m at a bar; they are gluten-free and delicious!
“Why not? I’m an adult!” he tells me with a smile.
I laugh. Over the next couple of hours, we get to know each other. He is 30 years old, divorced with two little girls, ages 8 and 13. He’s not fazed by the fact that I’m older than him by 5 years. Ok, it’s really 7 years, but who’s counting?
Buzzing on wine, happy that I spent time with friends and a handsome man, I practically skipped out of the bar at the end of the night. Samuel walks beside me, silently, as we cross to the center of the Addison Circle. He looks up at the sculpture there and remarks, “There’s a bike.”
I look up and see it. “And it’s blue,” I answer.
We stand there like that, for a moment, thinking our own thoughts. As I’m wondering what the meaning is, “Is this an ode to the flying ET? Or does the sculptor just like bikes?” I realize that Samuel has started walking away. I call out to him, “Good night!”
Well, I guess it isn’t a date. If it were, he would walk me to my car, and/or try to kiss me. And yet…I had felt a spark. I sensed that we weren’t done yet.
The Following Week
“Wanna go to lunch?” Samuel emailed. “Chipotle?”
I said yes, he paid for my food, we had a perfectly polite conversation, and then we went back to work.
Was that a date?
The Week After That
Same story, only dinner at a Japanese restaurant. I met him there, he paid.
After dinner, standing in the parking lot, I think, “Screw it! One of us has to make the first move!” I leaned over and kissed him, a quick peck on the lips, then walk off. That will either give him the courage to make the first move next time, or he’ll quit asking me out. Either way, we’ll be out of Dating Limbo.
“Night!” he says to me.
And the next week the week of Valentine’s Day.
“I don’t expect anything,” I told Gala Pear. “We’ve only been seeing each other for three weeks, if you can call it that. I mean, we haven’t properly kissed.”
“He’ll get you something,” she said. “Just wait and see.”
The flowers arrived just before lunch. I was over the moon! YAY! Almost every woman loves to get flowers at work, and I must admit that I fall into that category. Every time that the secretary tells met that I have a package up front, I hope that it’s flowers. It’s usually a sample from a vendor, or worse, a catalog. But SOMETIMES, just SOMETIMES, it really is flowers. And today is one of those days!
I text Samuel, “Thanks for the flowers. They’re lovely!”
He texts back, “Good. Dinner, Friday, my place, 7 p.m.? I’ll cook.”
I hesitate. OMG I hate coming off as a high maintenance person, but I really do have food allergies. Usually I would say, “Let’s just go out,” but it’s a holiday and the restaurants will be packed (and expensive). I don’t want to turn around and say, “No, I’ll cook,” because that’s rude. So, ultimately—after consulting with Gala Pear and Naughty Nadia—I answer, “Yes J Remember that I’m allergic to gluten, garlic, and soy.” Then I hold my breath, waiting to see how he’ll react to my list of demands. Some people ask me to choose a recipe; others suggest I cook; one guy said he’d get gluten free noodles and make spaghetti.
He texts back, “Oh, I guess shrimp garlic pasta is out, then.”
I laugh. Good reply! Whew, he’s not accusing me of being difficult. “Definitely!” I reply.
To be Continued. I’ll share the rest next week.