Getting into the truck, I am extremely nervous, but determined not to show it. I don’t want to tip Sage off that this is my first date and that I am completely naive regarding the world of dating, except for what I’ve read in books. My pulse is racing to the point that all I can hear is my heart pounding a hundred miles an hour. I’m afraid he’ll actually hear it. My palms are sweating like crazy. It’s like I’m having an adrenaline rush or something. I’m getting butterflies in my stomach, my bladder is suddenly full, and my stomach feels like it’s doing flips.
No, no, no; you will not get sick! What is wrong with me? He’s only a guy for goodness sakes! Pull yourself together, you’re pathetic! Okay, stay focused. Try to keep your mind on something else.
“Whew, sorry about all that. My Papa’s ... very …,” I can’t find the right words, “protective when it comes to us girls. I hope he didn’t threaten you too much. He isn’t really that bad; I think it’s some kind of routine act. It keeps his spirit rejuvenated. He seems to act worse the older he gets. Really, if he gets to know you, I bet you he would like you.” I hope he believes me. Papa is only seeing if he’s worthy of me — in his own demented way.
“That’s all right; I bet he is a really nice guy behind that front. Besides, I’d probably do the same if I had a daughter as pretty as you.” Even though Sage is totally lying to me about Papa, his compliment makes my cheeks burn regardless.
“Hmm, you’re a bad liar,” I say while laughing. “‘That’s all right, I bet he is a really nice guy …,’” I mimic.
“I don’t sound like that,” Sage says chuckling.
I roll my eyes at him. “Do I look stupid to you? Papa can be the most intimidating man. I have eyes you know. Do you really expect me to believe that you have no harsh feelings towards him? What am I, a dumb blonde?” I say as I sit up in my chair, putting my hands on my hips. It irritates me how he thinks that he can pull the wool over my eyes. Huh, strange. I’m not feeling nervous anymore. I guess irritation has cured me.
“No, but I wasn’t gonna up and say that,” he says amused. Turning to look at me I see the corners of his mouth pulling up. His answer automatically puts a smile on my face. I sit back into my seat, getting more comfortable.
“Now I know what color your eyes turn when you’re lying, brown. Just like the crap you tried to sell me.”
“Wait, my eyes change color?”
“They change depending on your mood, like right now when you tried to sell me that story, your eyes turned from green to brown, just like that.” I snap my fingers for emphasis. “Your eyes are like a mood ring.” You can think about that the next time you try to lie to me. Immediately, his eyes lighten to a softer brown. I wonder what that color means?
“So, have you seen this movie series before?”
“Of course not, it’s a total chick flick. I just figured you would like it. I would have thought a vampire movie would be all action, not romance.”
“That’s not what I meant. I just thought that you might have taken some other girls to see the other movies.”
“Nope, I mean I’ve taken other girls to the movies, but not to the vampire series.”
“I wonder how many other girls he has taken out,” I mutter to myself under my breath, unconsciously.
“So, you never did say if this was a date or not.”
I look at him, not answering. I redirect my attention to the window. Like I’m going to actually answer. I’ll let him figure it out.
The awkwardness in the atmosphere between us is so thick that I can almost touch it. To break this unbearable feeling, I start to fiddle with the radio.
“Do you mind?” I ask as I see him turn to look at me. He shakes his head in response. I guess he felt it too. “Good,” I respond. I turn back to fiddle with the radio, trying to find a good station.
“What do you usually listen to?”
“Anything but rap, but put on whatever you want.” Cool. I can’t handle listening to anything perverted and so degrading to women.
“Kay, how do you feel about this?” I ask as I put the volume up. Louis Armstrong’s, What a Wonderful World is playing.
“It’s great. I didn’t picture you for blues.”
“What did you picture?” I hope he doesn’t say some stupid boy band.
“I pictured you for probably some kind of metro boy band.” Yep, he said it.
“Oh, so stereotypical. I hate boy bands, especially the guys that seem to be lacking testosterone. Do you like boy bands? Or do you prefer country?” I riposte. Really? Does he actually think I look like some kind of girl who would drool over myself for some guy? I have my pride.
“Well, aren’t we being stereotypical? At least I didn’t ask you if you liked to listen to Latin music,” Sage teases. His eyebrow raises up in mockery. Rolling my eyes at him, I turn to look once more out the window.
“I listen to all kinds of music,” I mumble under my breath.
“Oh,” he responds thoughtfully.
Silence follows as the music plays.
“We’re here. We have five minutes before the movie starts,” Sage says. Fortunately for us, we found a great parking space close to the theater building.
We both unbuckle, Sage gets out of the truck and opens my door. We walk towards the ticket booth.
“Two tickets to Bloodsuckers,” Sage says.
“Eight-fifty each,” the cashier tells him.
“Here you go,” Sage says handing over the cash.
“Here’s your tickets and enjoy your movie.”
“Thanks, we will,” I say.
“Why don’t you go find us our seats and I’ll get the snacks. What do you want to drink?”
“Coke please, thanks.” Five minutes of quiet time has calmed me down so that now I can speak to him civilly. The only good thing coming out of me being mad is that it cured my nervousness.
I quickly use the restroom before walking into the theater. I thought my nerves would make my bladder burst on the way over here.
“Excuse me, please,” I say to the woman in front of me as I try to scoot past her. She moves so I can get to the two empty seats. The theaters packed, but I was still able to find two empty seats not too close to the screen and not too far away. I hear Sage coming towards me.
“Here’s your coke, our popcorn, and candy.” I reach for it, putting the popcorn on my lap and the soda in its holder.
“How’s the popcorn?” Sage asks, spraying my face with saliva. Eww, I can’t believe he just did that. That’s disgusting! Gross! I can’t help but show my total disgust as I wipe away the spit with a napkin. His face is completely horror stricken; the same expression is probably mirrored on my face as well.
He is so lucky that I’m not still mad at him or he would have gotten an earful.
“I am so sorry, I was hungry and the popcorn smelled so good that my mouth started to water and …”
“That’s all right,” I say with my hands up, “okay, it was an accident.” Calm down, Mar. It was an accident, I remind myself.
“I am so sorry.”
“No, really don’t mention it.” I really never want to think about this moment ever again.
Fortunately, people shushed us so that he left it at that. I feel kind of sorry for him; he looks completely embarrassed. We both turn to watch the screen. I’m so glad that we went to the movies or this date would be a hundred times more awkward.
I stare at the screen, trying hard to ignore his arm that is rested close by me. He’s probably trying to get me to hold his hand. He can dream on because that’s not going to happen unless he makes his move first. His attention is not focused on the screen but trained intently on my face. He’s almost drooling over himself. The thought of him all enthralled on me is flattering, and perfect.… This is going to be fun.
Out of the blue, I turn to look at him. Letting him know I caught him staring. He notices; his eyes turn down, his face flushes red like a tomato, and he looks back towards the screen fidgeting in his seat. Ha!
Trying hard not to smile, I take a side glance at him and I see he’s trying to hyper focus all his attention on the movie. That was a lot more fun than I thought. Perhaps I should stop messing with the poor guy, he’s trying hard.
It’s not long before I hear him yawn, and as he yawns he tries to ambiguously wrap his arm around my shoulder, very original. Be nice, I recite to myself. I reach my breaking point — the wicked part of my nature overtakes the good.
“What are you doing?” I bite my lip hard in an effort to suppress my amusement.
“Just stretching,” he says placing his arm back again, unable to make eye contact. Okay, now I’m definitely going to stop embarrassing him. It’s all out of my system … for now.
The movie ends and as we get up he turns and asks, “How did you like the movie?”
“It was great, thanks for taking me.” I beam him a smile.
“My pleasure,” he responds; returning my smile.
We start to walk towards the exit where he parked the truck. He holds the door open for me.
He’s so polite. I’m feeling a little guilty about earlier. I guess I should ease up if I ever want him to take me out again
“Wow, I forgot how hot it is outside.” The contrast between the cool air in the theater and the hot air outside is almost unbearable.
“It’s always hot in the summers here, but the winters are great.”
“I hope so. I’m not used to all this heat.” I’m from Oregon for crying out loud! What is wrong with this state?
“Yeah, the weather’s crazy here. One day the temperature could be a hundred and then the next day it’ll be snowing.”
“Wow, how do you get used to the weather?” Hopefully in time I’ll learn to bear it.
“I don’t know. I was born here so the weather doesn’t really bother me,” he shrugs. Fabulous. I look at his truck and when I look back I notice that Sage is looking at me. I look straight into his eyes, and his lock with mine. He’s not trying to hide the fact that I caught him staring. His brows are furrowed like he’s trying to figure something out.
“What?” I ask.
“You didn’t cry during the film. Most of the girls were bawling.”
“That would be a waste of tears. It was just a movie. Some people just get way too into it.”
“So you never cry during any movie?”
“Nope.” Not all women are a walking ball of unbalanced hormones.
Approaching Sage’s truck; Sage heads over to the passenger side and opens and closes the door for me before he gets into the truck and we drive off.
“Where do you want to go grab a bite to eat?” Sage turns and asks. How would I know? I just moved here.
“Any burger joint is fine.” I really have a craving for some fries, plus it’s cheaper. I hate that he’s paying for it all, it makes me feel guilty.
“How about a restaurant I just heard about? They get great reviews.” Why did you even ask me then?
“Okay, that sounds fine.”
“Cool, it’s just off the next exit.”
I retreat to the window. I see a little old lady in a Lincoln Town car passing us by. How slow is he going? I look over at the speedometer; it says we’re going fifty-five. The speed limit is sixty-five.
“I’m not trying to be rude, but do you usually drive this slowly?” I can’t help but ask.
“No, but I figured you wouldn’t want me to be speeding.”
“No, but the speed limit is sixty-five and you’re going like, fifty-five. You could get a ticket for going too slow,” I inform him. Clearly, he’s driving better than usual but he can at least drive a little faster. Sage takes my advice and starts to speed up.
My thoughts drift back home. I need to call them. I pull out my phone and dial home, Mama picks up on the first ring.
“How’s the date going so far?” Mama spits out.
“Hold on one second.” I hear Papa quarreling in the background with Mama. “I’m back. Where are you?”
“We’re heading for dinner.”
“I’m going to let you go. Have fun. And don’t forget to call before you start driving home.”
“I will. Amo mucho, bye”
The last thing I hear before Mama hangs up is Papa and Mama getting into it again.
“Nothing, everything’s fine. It’s just that I can hear my Papa in the background and he’s still in a bad mood.”
“I bet you were bored out of your mind at the movie. I would have been cool with some action flick instead,” I say changing the subject.
“Nah, that was fine, it did have some action in it,” he replies as he looks away from me. Proving to me that my instincts were right, he was bored out of his mind. Liar, he doesn’t want me to see his eyes change color. “I didn’t really get what was going on most of the time since I’ve never seen any of the other movies.”
“I could fill you in if you like, unless you couldn’t care less.”
“No, you can tell me the back-story, besides, I like hearing you talk.” How stupid does he think I am? I can feel my face flush from irritation, I fain a smile. If I talk the time will fly by and there won’t be an awkward silence.
“Okay, did you understand the thing about the little girl?” I chirp, trying hard to swallow the agitation that threatens to creep into my voice.
“Well, okay, so the little girl …” I start to chat away, all the while becoming more aggravated by the minute. Really, he actually thinks I don’t know what he’s doing? All he’s doing to fuel the conversation is giving me generic answers. He hmm’s in the right places, and basically yes/no is all he is saying.
I stop talking when I realize that he has stopped goading me on. I divert my attention back to the window in an attempt to put my temper in check.
After a minute of relentlessly calling him unflattering names in my head, I take a few deep breaths and calm down. Think about it Mar, he was just trying to keep this date from being unpleasant.
Sage takes a fork in the road. I see a restaurant coming into view.