Sunday, September 26, 2010

''Another Chance'' Cafe...chapter 12

I could still taste Shea’s lips when I woke up the next morning.  Her scent, the feel of her body against mine, the texture of her skin was still so very vivid in my mind.  I woke up clutching my pillow believing it to be her but instantly became sad when I realized it wasn’t.  I staggered into the bathroom to shower and prepare for the day that was to be work.  After a whirlwind of a weekend, returning to work might present a nice change of scenery.  Something to help prevent my mind from constantly asking those same questions that I was unable to shake off the night before.  As I ate my breakfast made of toasted waffles and orange juice, I began to wonder yet again what yesterday meant.  Did it actually mean anything at all?  I mean it had to. 
            If not anything else it had to be one step closer to an imminent relationship between the two of us.  Not just our evening of premature ending passion but everything that she told me.  That I was in the forefront for a relationship for her.  Although it does sound good, it’s not like she had anyone else that was knocking down her door trying to be with her other than the ex-boyfriend.  But he’s someone that she isn’t even interested in.  She also said that after they unexpectedly kissed I was the first person she thought to call.  I was on her mind the entire night and day and she was the one who invited me over.  Honestly, I don’t have any real competition other than her own feelings.

           Being stuck between her feelings and her lips is not an easy place to be caught in.  I have found that many females seem to have the same basic building blocks.  Yes, everyone is uniquely different in their own way, whether they are man or woman but women appear to be crafted from the same essential mold.  They are all very emotional creatures.  Even the ones that claim to have no emotion and can jump from guy to guy without remorse.  They have emotion, it’s just buried deep within them and they refuse to show it for fear that it would expose a possible weakness and make them vulnerable.  Becoming vulnerable, no matter what level it may be on, is never a feeling that anyone wants to find themselves caught in. 
            Making up their minds about things are not their strong suits.  Women seem to like to leave others, especially men, hanging regardless of the situation or subject at hand.  But especially in the area of romance.  I felt as if this was what Shea was doing to me.  It may not be on purpose, which I didn’t think it was, but it was happening.  I am not the world guru on being able to make up my mind either but when it comes to the opposite sex and the risk of things possibly becoming serious I can make a decision.  I have been hurt before and share in the fear of even thinking of trusting someone else on that level again but I also realize that I can’t simply push everyone away.  No matter how badly I want to.
            Yes, females are a complicated lot but there is the slight chance that quite a bit of that epic complication stems from their interaction and dealings with the other gender that they must contend with.  I personally attempt to make the situations that I have been in with females as simple as can be.  Therefore there’s a much better likelihood that the success of them actually making a sound and unquestioning decision will happen.  But you can’t always get what you wish for.  You can only throw your eggs in the basket and hope for the best.  My eggs had been broken and made into several different omelets so I didn’t know whether or not I should throw new ones into Shea’s basket just yet.
            I had this total realization during my drive into work.  I actually failed to turn on the radio in order to hear and focus on my thoughts.  I felt as if they were making pretty good sense.  This sort of thing doesn’t usually happen often so I was trying to savor the feeling.  If only I could say insightful things like that when other people were around.  Needless to say, these thoughts kept my mind off of the questions I was battling away.  I wanted to stop thinking about them and kind of stop thinking about her.  Even though last night happened, the way that things usually unfold within my life, the next major event would surely be something negative.
            I arrived at work and my phone chimed with another message.  To my surprise it was Shea, I had never heard from her this early in the morning before.
I honestly can’t stop thinking about u, hope u have a good day
            Then she left her work number and told me to call her sometime during the day.  I was still surprised.  Was she really feeling me that much or was it just because of last night?  I thought about asking her as a joke but decided against it.  I responded by telling her I hope she had a good day too and left my work number as well.  Work might actually be delightful today.  All because of her.  I realized that she brightened up a lot of my days and not by doing much at all.  The little things a girl does tends to capture my attention.  A slight touch here or there, running their hands through my hair, an unexpected kiss, or just wishing me a good day at work.  Little things. 
            My previous attitude of looking forward to work to help take my mind away from her and us was well on its way out the window.  I now had the ability to speak to her while working and I was going to take it.  No questions asked. 
            I pounded through work for the first hours of the day getting much of it done and out of the way.  Two reasons.  One, I actually felt like working.  I felt like being efficient and doing my job.  Everyone feels that way once in a while.  This was my “once” and it definitely had been a while.  Two, the more I get done now, the more time I get to speak to Shea later.  I. Am. A. Genius. Period.  Ok, so not the first time anyone had ever had an idea like that but I was proud of myself.  I worked straight through until lunch time and after I ate I decided that it was time to give her a call.
            I retrieved the number from my cell and dialed it in to my office phone.  Not before long, it was ringing and I felt a slight jolt of nervous.  Kind of like the first time I ever called her.  It was weird.
After the second ring, someone picked up.
“Good Morning, Grayson Mortgage, Shea Caldwell speaking, how may I help you?”
            Ok, so I know that I go on and on about the many assets that she has in her repertoire that absolutely make me melt.  One of them being her angelic voice.  But hearing her speak in a professional manner was another attribute of hers for me to go ga-ga over.  A sexy woman with a sexy voice talking in a sexy professional tone.  If she was a telemarketer trying to sell me something I would be broke…all the time.
“You can help me in so many ways, I don’t know where to start,” I answered.
“Heeey Patrick, I was wondering when you were going to call me,” she responded.
“Well you can stop wondering now, how’s your day been?” I asked.
“Eh, ok I guess.  Work can only go so well.  I’m here and I haven’t wanted to throw myself out of a window yet, so it’s been ok,” she joked.
“Haha, you are crazy for sure.  Your job can’t be that bad,” I said.
“I mean it’s not horrible but it’s not the greatest either but I suppose that’s mostly everyone,” she replied.
“Yup, you’re right.  Mine is the same way,” I said.
How is your work day going while we’re on the subject?” she asked.
“Haha, still got jokes I see,” she said.
“Always.  Nah, it’s ok today.  I’ve actually been making quite an effort to get work done so it hasn’t been dragging which is very rare for a Monday,” I said.
“Ugh, yes Monday’s are the absolute worse.  I wish I could take Monday’s out back and shoot them,” she joked.
“Haha, now you’re the one with the jokes,” I responded.
“Well, I was thinking my dear…,” I said.
“How about me and you spend some time together tonight?” I asked.
“Wow, what kind of girl do you think I am mister?  One hot, sweaty romp on my couch and you think I’m down anytime anyplace?” she asked.
“----oh whatever, very funny lady.  Do you want to hang out or not?” I asked.
“Hahaha, yes of course I do.  If it means I get to see you, I am always down for it,” she replied.
“Ok, so I’ll pick you up at 7”
“Where are we going?” she asked.
“Why must you always know?” 
“I’m a female, I’m inquisitive,”
“You mean you’re nosy”
“That too, but again, being a female I must know where I’m going in order to prepare in case I have to protect myself,” she said.
“So all of a sudden you don’t feel safe with me?  You definitely weren’t saying that last night,” I replied.
“Oh wow, someone thinks a bit much of himself.  I mean you should but you don’t have to broadcast it,” she said.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care you.  I will always take care of you,” I said.
            After the words came out of my mouth, I realized just what I had said.  What I had been thinking for days had just traveled through the phone and into her ear.  She wasn’t supposed to know that I cared for her that much just yet.  I began to think just how I was going to play this one off.
“Oh, um, wow, you will?” she asked.
“Uhh, I mean like, whenever we go out.  You won’t, uh, ever have to worry about anything because, because, um, because I’ll take care of you,” I responded.  A very poor attempt at playing it off.  The cat was surely out of the bag.  I had just made it worse and even more obvious.
“It’s ok Patrick, I know what you mean, and it’s ok.  I know you won’t let anything happen to me and I do feel safe around you.  Very safe,” she said.
“Oh, well ok then.  Glad to hear that.  Very glad.  Um, ok, then I’ll pick you up at 7 tonight and we’ll hang out.  I got to get back to work but I’ll try to call you later,” I said.
“Ok, good.  Talk to you later, buh-bye,” she responded.
            Getting off the phone like that made it triple worse.  She knew exactly how I felt about her now or at least she had an awfully good idea.  How could I let that happen?  It just fell from my lips as if my mouth had a hole in it that only dropped secrets like that about her to her.  “I’ll always take care of you”? What in the world was I thinking?  I just gave myself a whole speech about trying to not be all into her and then I say something like that.  You know it’s bad when your sub-conscious just goes off and all of a sudden decides to just do its own thing.  Apparently she was already that deep inside of my mind and…my heart.
            My day of efficiency kind of stalled after that conversation.  My drive for working disappeared and all I wanted to do was sit on the computer and research the internet for ideas on how to build a time machine or memory removal.  I wanted to go back in time and stop myself from letting those words burst out of my mouth or erase the evidence from her mind.  The rest of the day consisted of me sitting with my thoughts and waiting for it to be over. 
            When quitting time came around, I slowly walked to my car and got in.  As I closed the door, I suddenly remembered that I had asked her out earlier.  We were supposed to spend the evening together.  I half wanted to cancel it.  I don’t exactly know why but what I said to her placed me in that vulnerable category that I spoke of earlier.  No, it didn’t feel like a very comfortable place to be in.  Sure she had said she understood and that it was ok and I know she definitely likes me too.  But the way that I had said what I had said to her could have communicated something different.  Something more.  If someone had said those words to me in the context that I said them to Shea, I would think that they were feeling something long-term, something meaningful and serious.  Was that really what I was feeling?  Even after actually saying all of that right to her, I still didn’t have an answer to my own question.
            I drove home and jumped in the shower.  I let the warm water pour over me as I still continued to think about what I said and how it might affect the evening.  Would it make things awkward?  What was she thinking?  More answers that I didn’t have.  I turned off the water and dried myself off.  I momentarily paused in front of the mirror to flex a little.  That’s how I check the progress that I’m making or not making with my workouts.  As I was flexing, my memory jumped back to last night.  It replayed the moment when Shea’s hands were running themselves all over my chest and stomach obviously liking what they felt.  Somehow this notion helped me to relax a little.  Sure, I had revealed a major undisclosed sentiment to her but at the end of day, she liked me.  The time for nervousness and panic attacks were gone and I needed to be smooth, or least as smooth as I could be.
            After I got dressed, I checked the time and noticed that it was almost seven.  I gave her a call to see if she was ready.  She picked up on the second ring and sounded pretty glad to hear from me.  I told her I was my on my way and should be there soon.  Tonight, I was taking Shea to this little Italian restaurant that I had driven past many times before but never went inside.  Never had anyone to go inside with.  It wasn’t really a place you go with your boys to grab a beer and talk sports or women. 
When I got to her door, that slight feeling of nervousness returned right after I knocked but I quickly ignored it and told myself that I had nothing to worry about.  A few seconds later, she opened the door and greeted me with the biggest smile that I have seen her flash yet.  She wore a pair of jeans that perfectly fit every curve that she had to offer with a green tank top that revealed her elegant shoulders.  I wanted so bad just to nudge her back into the apartment and reveal some more of her elegance but I resisted.  Man, was I resisting.  She said hi, leaned in and gave me a kiss on the lips.  It felt nice to be at the point where we kiss now just to say hello.  Actually, it was more than nice, it was quite awesome.  I held her hand as I led her down the stairs and to my car.
            We made small talk about our day as I drove to the restaurant.  She teased me some more about not telling her where I was taking her and how secretive I was being about our dates.  I replied by telling her that she needed to learn how to mind her own business which received a chuckle and a soft punch in the arm from her.  The awkwardness that I was expecting was non-existent.  Not even a tiny hint of it.  This prompted me to take her hand and deliver a tender kiss to the back of it while still driving.  I could see her smile without even turning my head.  You could tell we just felt so comfortable around each other now.  I’m sure what happened yesterday on her couch had something to do with it.
            We arrived at the restaurant and her eyes instantly brightened.
“I’ve always wanted to come here!” she said.  “Just never had anyone to go with”
It’s like we have one brain, I swear.
“Yeah, me too.  So now we can say our first time coming here was with each other,” I replied.
“Well I’m glad it’s with you,” she said.
Ok, now it was my turn to smile.  I couldn’t help it.  Usually I’m the one with the clever, mushy, romantic things to say that make all the females blush.  Never really had it said to me before.  It was a nice change of pace.  She was consistently earning points with me and it seemed as if it was effortless to her.  As if she wasn’t even trying to be funny, caring and so damn beautiful all the time. 
            We entered the restaurant and were seated by the hostess in a booth next to a window.  The display in the window was decorated so handsomely it screamed romance down to every angle.  The Christmassy white lights and green garland were strung all around the edge of the frame with a little of it leftover to lay upon the edge our table.  A couple of minutes later, the waitress brought us our menus and Shea ordered instantly.  I raised an eyebrow at her speed and knowledge of the vast menu.  She must have noticed my eyebrow-raising because she smiled and explained her quick decision.
“A friend of mine came here with her boyfriend a couple of weeks and practically threatened my life if I didn’t try the veal if ever I came here,” she said.
“Oh really? Nice, I haven’t had veal in quite some time,” I responded.
“You should try it then,” she said with wide eyes.
            I looked up at the smiling waitress and told her to make that two and handed her my menu.  She eagerly took it and hurried off to put in our orders.  The restaurant was pretty empty.  The quiet combined with the soft music playing in the background produced the perfect couple’s dinner environment I have been a part of in a long time.  I was beginning to like the place.  I wondered for a moment if this might someday become our place. 
            I looked back across the table at Shea and found that she had been staring at me the entire time.  She reached over it and took my hand between hers and began drawing small circles with her finger in my palm.  She smiled again.
“What?” I asked.
“You’re all smiley tonight.  It’s probably the most that I’ve seen your teeth in full display since I met you,” I said.
            She chuckled.
“Well maybe my teeth like you.  They’re just going off of what the rest of me is feeling.  You…you are somewhat like a dream come true.  I don’t want to boost your man ego but you’re almost too good to be actually real,” she said.
“Hmm, well I get that a lot.  Every girl I bring here says the same thing.  It’s kind of weird, must be the restaurant,” I joked.
            She burst out laughing this time covering her mouth as to not disturb the ambience for the other couples enjoying their meal.
“And you’re funny.  You’re the perfect package.  I am so glad that I found you,” her voice trailed off with the last part of what she said and she kind of looked away as she said it as if a little embarrassed. 
“Well my lady, I am glad that I found you too.  I actually take full credit for that.  I was the one that approached you.  That took a lot,” I said.
“Oh, did it?  I happen to think that I am a very approachable person,” she retorted.
“Not saying that you aren’t.  You did turn out to be slightly less intimating than I had originally thought.  But I can’t just walk up to women and try to talk to them.  Never could.  Doing it with you was a very, no, make that extremely rare occurrence.  I was literally forcing my feet forward as I walked up to you,” I explained.
“Oh, I didn’t know that.  I mean it was pretty obvious that you were nervous and hadn’t really thought the whole thing out.  It was kind of funny to be honest.  I wanted to laugh but that would have been mean,” she replied laughing along with her response.
“Laugh?  Really?  Wow, you’re such a meanie.  Nah, I had a feeling that you wanted to.  I was uber-nervous.  If that makes any sense.  I had no idea what to say, how to go about saying it and I expected you to just turn back around and completely ignore me,” I said.
“Oh, I thought about it.  But I thought it was cute how unprepared you were.  So I figured you deserved a chance.  Plus I had been checking you out a little earlier,” she admitted.
“Really?!  I had no idea,” I said.
“Yup, we females are experts at discretion.  I thought you were cute and I caught you looking over at me a couple times so I half expected you to come over and say something,” she said.
“Not surprised at you being able to conceal it so well.  You guys are very good at that sort of thing,” I replied.
“Usually I just dismiss any advances from guys because they are so obnoxious and full of themselves.  I catch them staring at my butt or my boobs or something, it’s such a turn-off.  I don’t think they quite understand how many points they lose right off the bat for that.  It’s pretty sad that they haven’t realized it yet,” she explained.
“So what made me so different?” I asked.
“Well, you were staring too, ha ha.  But you were staring at me.  It was funny because you seemed as if you were in awe or something.  Like you had never seen a girl before,” she said.  She began to laugh again to the point where she had to cover her face.  “I’m sorry Patrick, I’m not laughing at you, I just remember the look on your face when you finally came over and said hi.  I really wanted to laugh but I could tell you meant well,” she added. 
She was forcing back her laughter by now trying to explain the story.  I could feel my face begin to heat up like I was turning red with embarrassment.  I remember exactly what she was talking about.  I had froze when I first approached her.  I was in awe, total and complete awe of her.  I didn’t know what to do at the time.  She finally got through her laughing spell and looked at me again.  All I could do is smile again.
“You were, you were very cute.  I couldn’t turn you down.  I thought you were just pretending to be so innocent and interested in me at first but now I know you were being very sincere and that is really how you are.  It’s rare to find a real guy nowadays.  One that isn’t afraid to just be themselves and put their all into a relationship,” she said.
“Wow, well that’s all good stuff to know about myself. I actually haven’t put much thought into how I act.  I figured if someone doesn’t like me for me then oh well,” I said.
            The waitress brought us our food and lit a candle that was sitting on the table between us.  I hadn’t even noticed it before.  Wonder what I was distracted by.  As we ate and talked, I noticed the candle light dancing around in her eyes.  It reminded me how it danced the same way during our first date at my apartment.  We washed down our veal, which was very good by the way, with some wine and got some dessert to go.  I paid the check and escorted her arm in arm back to my car.
“Oh! I forgot to stop by the market and pick up something to take for lunch tomorrow,” I remembered out loud as we pulled into her complex.  “Oh well, I guess I’ll just grab some fast food during the afternoon or something”
“No, you should eat healthy.  I can tell that you take pretty good care of your body and I, well, appreciate that, a lot,” she giggled to herself.  “Go to the market and get yourself some cold cuts to make a sandwich with.  You’re physique will thank you and so will I”
“Ok, when you put it like that.  On my way to the market right now,” I replied.
            I walked her upstairs and we stopped by her front door.  Before she even pulled her keys out of her purse, she turned around and wrapped her arms around my neck.  I placed my hands firmly on her hips.  She looked up at me for a second before pulling my lips to hers.  We stood there kissing for a good while.  I began to wonder if either of us had bothered to take a breath but I didn’t care.  I loved kissing her; it made everything else melt away.  At this point, her and her lips were the only thing that mattered.  I wrapped her in my arms and pulled her even closer to me.  Feeling her body in my arms once again felt like it was the first time I had ever touched her.
            We finally pulled away and she thanked me for the evening.  She opened her door, stepped inside and looked back at me once more before closing it behind her.  I returned to my car wondering if maybe I should have pressed the issue a little further.  The issued being whether or not I should have accompanied her inside and finished what we started the night before.  I didn’t want to chance having her think that that was all I wanted from her tonight.  I shrugged off the feeling reassuring myself that there would be other chances.
            I traveled to the market, hoping that it was still open.  Luckily it was so I walked straight to the deli, requested my sandwich material, paid for it and got back in my car.  When I returned home, the feeling that I had when I first departed Shea’s place returned.  Why did I leave?  I wanted her so bad and I knew she wanted me.  The emotion that filled my heart for her had traveled to other places in my body and in full effect.  I picked up my phone, considering calling her and asking if I could possibly come back.  But I stopped myself.  If there was a window for me to return to her place, it was surely closed by now.
            Disappointed in my hesitance, I grabbed my sandwich meat, got out of my car and began to walk to my apartment.  As I got closer I noticed a figure sitting on the steps that led up to my front door.  It was wearing sweat pants and a hoodie with the hood pulled up over their head so I couldn’t really see their face.  Nearing even closer, I could tell that they were sitting next to what seemed like a duffel bag.  By now, I was beginning to wonder if maybe they had the wrong address or something.  When I got right up to the stairs, they finally noticed me and instantly stood up.  They pulled their hood off and I could see her face clearly now.  She was smiling gingerly and kind of looking down.  She looked out at me, the street light shining in her face, and peered into my eyes.
“Hi Patrick,”
To be continued…

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