“I’m really quite excited,” Louis said as he opened my car door. A smile was overwhelming his features. He looked just as excited as I was. However, once I stepped out of the car a wave of nerves washed over me.
I hadn’t known where he was taking me. What if I didn’t like wherever he took us? I mean, not knowing was the surprise, it was the exciting part about it. It was actually really romantic that he wanted to try and surprise me. It really showed that he’d put some thought into it; that he’d put some thought into something he thought I’d enjoy. I just couldn’t help the nerves that bunched up inside of me.
I turned towards him. “Me too Louis,” I said with a smile. My gaze wandered off past him to the restaurant we’d pulled up to. It was fancy. Expensive. I knew this place. This was the place where rich businessmen took their wives to celebrate a promotion. This was way too much. And I was much too underdressed to enter this building.
“Louis . . .” I said a little breathless, “this is too much.”
He smiles before shutting the car door behind me. “It’s not at all love, trust me. The family that I’m staying with, here in America, they own this place.” He chuckles lightly and places his hand on the small of my back, leading me towards the entrance, “c’mon, it’ll be fun.”
The name Dal’s was written in a Century font. We stepped in the front doors and my breath hitched in my throat. This place was way too lavish. I already felt out of place as a waiter stepped towards us, wearing none other than a suit and tie.
I took a glance around the place, which was full. The tables were built of a solid mahogany wood, with fancy silver cutlery. This was the sort of restaurant where there were six different spoons and I had no idea what to do with any of them. Which one was which? Which one was the soup spoon? Or the dessert spoon? I internally groan, knowing this could be awkward.
When I look at the people sitting at tables, most are wearing suits or expensive looking gowns. The constant sparkle of diamonds reflecting off the chandelier’s hanging from the ceiling everywhere is both distracting and overwhelming to my eyes. Most people here were filthy rich.
I look down at my outfit, eyeing it up skeptically. I feel totally and completely self-conscious wearing twenty dollar sandals on my feet. I feel a little upset with Louis for not warning me that we’d be eating at such an expensive restaurant . . . if I would’ve known, I would’ve dressed up. I look to Louis who’s smiling widely. He reaches for my fingers and intertwines them gingerly. He doesn’t even care that uptight, rich people are staring at us in a condescending manner. He pulls my hand and leads me towards a private table in the corner of the restaurant.
He interrupts my staring, “private table for two.” He quickly rushes to pull my chair out like a gentleman. He holds one arm out, motioning for me to sit down. I sit down, tucking in my skirt as I did so. Louis walks around the table and sits down in his chair.
I lift the menu, reading it over.
Bleu Cheese Filet
Alaskan King Crab
The list goes on and on. I swear there’s at least two hundred items listed on the small surface. As I carefully place the menu down onto the tabletop, a waiter in a tuxedo walks up. “Hello Louis,” the man greets. Smile making his moustache wiggle.
“Mr. Hopkins!” Louis stood up, shaking the man’s hand. It seemed as though Louis knew the man. Maybe it was one of the men he was living with here.
“How was school today?” Mr. Hopkins asked.
“Oh, you know. Same old same old. However the Nomads won the game. Right wicked,” Louis says, excited.
“Oh, that’s just great!” Mr. Hopkins said, clapping his hands together. Then he looked towards me, “Oh, excuse my manners! I was just rude. Lou, would you introduce me to your lovely date here?”
“Sorry Dal. This . . . this is Tarin. Tarin Clemons.” As Louis talked, I stood up, extending my hand to shake Dal’s, “Tarin, this is Dal Hopkins. He’s the father of the family who is letting me live here in America.”
“Oh, it’s nice to meet you, Mr. Hopkins.” I said.
“Please, call me Dal. It’s nice to meet you as well. Louis has only been in America for a few weeks, it’s nice to see he’s made some new friends.” I realize then that Louis and myself have only know each other for maybe three days and we’d already gotten so much more intimate than Dal knew . . .
I laughed nervously, “well, Louis is wonderful. He’ll have no problem making tons of friends.” I smile politely at Dal.
“He certainly won’t,” Dal said as he placed a hand on Louis’ shoulder. “Are you guys ready to order yet? Special treatment for you two . . . my private services as a waiter.” He grinned from ear to ear.
“Uh, I think I’m ready to order,” I said as I tucked my skirt in before sitting down, “how about you Louis?” I grabbed my menu again as I looked up at Louis.
He smiled, “Yeah, I’m ready love. I’ll take the . . . prime rib.” Louis said as he pointed to the menu, “and a Coke, or Pepsi, whichever you have.”
“And you, m’dear?” Dal said, moving towards me.
“Uh . . . I think I’ll take a simple chicken Caesar salad, with a Coke also.”
“Okay, I’ll be back in a few minutes with those Cokes.” Dal wrote down our orders, grabbed the menus off our table, and walked away, leaving us alone.
“So, you you’re obviously from England? . . .” I began the conversation nervously, starting with the most obvious thing I could think of.
“Yeah, I came here to America to finish my final year. Dal, his wife Andrea and their son, Tyler are letting me live with them. I’m sure you know Tyler from school?” He asked.
“Dal is Tyler’s dad?” I asked, surprised.
“You didn’t know that? That’s why I’ve been hanging out with Tyler a lot.” He said, “I’ve been living with them.” He laughed and I appreciated the way his face lit up whenever he laughed.
“I had no idea! How are you liking it here?” I asked.
“I love it. It really is wonderful.” He smiled, “tell me something about yourself Tarin.”
“Well, my name’s Tarin Keegan Clemons, uh . . .” I ramble nervously, “I have a younger brother named Sean, a cat named Whiskers . . . My parents’ names are Clara and Damon.”
“Your turn,” I said.
“Well . . . my name’s Louis William Austin, I’m originally from South Yorkshire, which, yes it’s in England – since I know my accent doesn’t give it away,” he teases. “My birthday is Christmas Eve.”
“My birthday is in January. What about your family? Do you have any brothers or sisters?” I asked curiously.
His head sank down, sadness washing over his face, “I uh . . . I don’t really like talking about my family. It makes me miss them so much more. It’s really hard to be away from them.” He scratches the back of his neck awkwardly, avoiding contact with my eyes.
“Oh, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you,” I reached out, touching his hand, “how about you tell me about Tyler’s family . . . tell me about your them.”
He gingerly touched my hand back, “o–okay.” He stuttered out, “well, Tyler’s honestly the nicest mate I’ve ever had. He’s a great lad, really. He’s the one who helped me get on the Nomads. Dal and his wife Andrea took me in as an international student. I wanted to spend some time here and they took me in, allowing me to. They really are fantastic people.” He smiled, seeming much happier than just a few seconds ago.
“That’s great Louis. It’d suck to be with a crappy host family.” I began rubbing small comforting circles on the back of his hand.
* * *
We continued talking throughout the entire meal. He neatly ate his prime rib, and I ate my chicken Caesar salad. We enjoyed our small conversation. We talked about school, I talked about my friends and he spoke of the new ones he’d made here. He didn’t talk much about his life back overseas, though it didn’t surprise me. He’d seemed quite upset when I’d mentioned it earlier. I could sympathize being away from your friends and family for so long. It must’ve sucked. But, he was getting out to explore the world, meeting new people, which was something I didn’t have the guts to do. I admired him for that.
“I had an absolutely lovely time,” Louis said, as he opened my car door for me, waiting for me to step out.
“Me too, it was really fun. Thank you Louis.” I said. He closed the door, moving closer towards me.
“We’ll have to do it again sometime love,” he was so close to me, I could smell feel his sweet breath on my face. He had me pushed up against the car, smirking down at me. His hands moved downwards, and they rested on my hips. He leaned in even closer, lips brushing mine. I shuddered when his lips made their way to my ear. His teeth lightly nibbled on my ear, and he trailed kisses back towards my mouth. I closed my eyes when his soft lips made contact with mine. I didn’t dare move. I didn’t want this to end up like Friday night all over again. I was just appreciating the feeling when his skin touched mine.
His hands moved to the small of my back, pulling me in and upwards. I ended up standing on my tippy toes. My hands instinctively went upwards, to fist my fingers through his smooth hair. He moaned the second my fingers touched his scalp. We stood like this for seconds, before he pulled away. I whimpered.
“Well, c’mon now, I’ll drive you home,” he said before gesturing for me to get in. I did as I was told and he walked around the car. He drove me home but I don’t even remember what happened because my head was swarming and my lips were swollen from him.