Random chapter from my finished novel. Comments are welcome!
Rule #2: Blind dates are safe ways to meet guys because you have a mutual friend that can vouch for you both.
Let me start by saying Sheila does not do set-ups of any kind. Don’t frame me. I don’t want to be your fall guy or the butt of your joke. And I really don’t want to be hooked up with one of your friends you claim is a great catch but who you really want to pair me up with because of one or all of the following: he is male, he is also black, he is also an attorney, he too wants to get married, you want a couple friend to hang out with and/or he has a car. My answer to that is, boo, I’m not going.
But atlas, the darn rules say give it a shot and this gal was single and sort of ready to mingle so when Greg said he actually had someone for me, well, I said sure. I figure, birds of a feather flock together so surely this guy would be at least cute and successful like Greg.
So here it was Friday night and I was getting gorgeous in my Bethesda, Maryland condo for my blind date with Kevin. We were going out to dinner and a movie. The usual first date activity. I played casual but sexy in my tight dark Seven jeans with black Stuart Weitzman sling back heels I picked up on a business trip to Las Vegas and a silk black collared wrap blouse from Bebe’s. My hair was in a low bun and long dangling gold earrings accentuated my face. I applied shimmer gold eye shadow, mascara, pressed powder, and M.A.C. red lip-gloss expertly. I sprayed on my favorite floral perfume and then examined myself in the mirror. Watch out, Kevin!
I primped some more but then stopped when I heard the doorbell to my apartment ring. I glanced over at my clock. 7pm on the dot. If that was Kevin, I was liking him already.
I sauntered to the door and swung it open. A smile touched my face as I saw an ebony vision stand before me. This had to be Kevin. He was tall. About 6’3. Slender. Dark brown eyes and short black hair. Clean cut with a mahogany complexion. He wore a pair of jeans with a blue collared shirt that fit him right. A dark fitted jacket hugged his upper body. He had to be no older than 30. And I … was… in … love.
“Hi, I’m Kevin, Greg’s friend,” he said extending a hand.
I went to shake it. “I’m Sheila,” I whispered.
“Greg was right. You are beautiful,” he replied and then turned my hand to kiss it lightly.
Well all right. Greg so far would be getting my praises from now on.
“Shall we?” he asked, extending his elbow for me to hook on to.
I had my purse in hand, hooked my arm to his, and left.
This was going to be a wonderful night.
Kevin took me to a movie. Some adventure/comedy. I spent half the time sneaking looks at him. I was in heaven sitting next to every woman’s dream, inhaling his masculine cologne.
He then took me to a restaurant in Georgetown where we ate outside gazing at the surprisingly starring night.
We talked some. I found out he was a computer engineer, originally from New York. Had two siblings, parents still together. Had his own house. Loved the Lord. Was world traveled. I was practically salivating and it was not for the delicious looking food put in front of us. This man had it all. And I wanted it. I wondered if he would mind being called James for one evening.
“What’s your take on relationships and love?” I asked, cutting into my steak. I wanted to know everything about him, down to boxers or briefs.
Kevin took a sip of his wine and looked above my head. He was going to answer this like a true politician. I could wait.
“Well,” he began. He put a bite of food in his mouth and chewed. Damn, was my question that hard to answer? I eyed him patiently. He finished chewing. “I think love is a good thing.”
It took him all that long just to say that? Oh, no, there had to be more. I continued to stare at him quietly.
He sensed that that answer would not suffice and then sighed. “I guess Greg didn’t tell you.”
I raised an eyebrow, getting nervous.
“I recently got a divorce. We went through a lot of drama and well, I guess I’m just a little jaded about the whole relationship thing.”
“You can’t give up on love,” I smiled.
Kevin shook his head. “You say that now but wait until you fall in love and have your heart ripped out and stepped on. Let’s see how you feel then,” he replied angrily cutting into his food.
I raised both my eyebrows this time and spoke carefully. “I’m sorry about your divorce. I know it must have been painful. But it takes time to heal from a broken heart and-“
“Heal?” he eyed me with serious hurt in his eyes. “How can I heal something I don’t even have?”
This woman did some serious damage. I secretly cursed Greg in my head. Where had things gone so wrong? Ah, yes, my need to know all about him so soon. Lesson learned.
Kevin continued to talk. “You know why we got a divorce? She cheated on me. Cheated on me?” he said in amazement. “I loved her since we were in high school and she just decides after seven years of marriage that she didn’t love me anymore. Said I didn’t give her enough time. I was always at work. Well, how else was I supposed to keep her in new clothes, jewelry, a big house and an expensive car?”
I shook my head, pissed. She had lived my dream life and foolishly squandered it.
“I’m really sorry that happened,” I said with pity in my eyes.
Kevin was lost in his own world now, looking away from me. “I found her with him you know.”
No, I didn’t know but I didn’t think I wanted to get into it either.
“You know I can see this is still really fresh for you so we don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.”
He turned his head to me, his eyes angry, almost wild with hurt. I was not ready for this. I just wanted a damn escort and possibly a future husband, preferably with the name James. All this drama was unnecessary.
“Women, they don’t care about a man’s feelings. They just want to gut us out for all we’re worth and when we’re left hollow with nothing left to give, they split,” he muttered.
I frowned. “You know Kevin,” I began cautiously. “Not all women are like your ex-wife. What she did was wrong. But we aren’t all like her. Me for instance, I’d never do that.”
“Yeah, you all start off sweet and innocent. Act like you want to do anything for us. Then, bam [he slammed the table with his fist] just like that you turn into she-devils.”
I deepened my frown. Did he know who he was talking to? Now he was getting on my nerves. “Alright now, you need to settle down. I can see you’re on edge but taking your anger out on me, someone you just met, is not going to make things any better. So drink some water and calm yourself.”
He stared at me hard and then his eyes suddenly softened. He looked down at his lap for a long moment. I was unnerved. I clutched my purse tightly, wondering if I should get up and jet while he wasn’t looking. I thought better of it when I remembered he was driving. Damn that, I’d just take a cab.
Kevin’s shoulders began to shake and I heard soft cries coming from him. Was this man crying? In public? Over some tired woman? I didn’t know how I felt about that. In one sense it was not cool, showing a weak, less masculine side of him. On the other hand, it was strangely pulling. He had been so in love with this woman that he was crying for her and in public. I sighed, to have a man love me that much was my dream.
Unfortunately this man, as beautiful as he was, was not in love with me and I doubted he could find love with anyone else anytime soon. At least not in three months. Further, his instability made him someone I wasn’t so sure I could risk taking to the entertainment banquet with me.
I moved my chair next to his and rubbed his back attempting to comfort him while he cried over another woman. If this man could look me in the eyes again after this, I’d still consider having him as an escort if nothing better came along. Who knows, he could be better in three months.
But he barely spoke to me after the check came. We drove home in silence.
He walked me to my door, apologized again for his behavior, and then left, hands stuffed in his pocket like a sad little boy.
I closed the door softly. A bit numb. I wanted to hate him for not being the one and, therefore, wasting my time. But I was sorry for him as well. I had been in love before and I knew how it could hurt. This man had not been ready to date again. So why had he? Greg would tell me, or he would face my wrath.