I smiled and joined Art at the bar, just as all my friends were gathering up to go to another club. I waved them off as I sat down on the seat beside Art. And we just began talking. It was a really good conversation, he supplied most of it, while I was content with listening.
"I meant to ask for your, number. That day we met." He said suddenly.
"I just was nervous, I had thought I was being set up, but Kevin set me straight right away soon as you and Scarlette, went to the bathroom. But I did find you pretty-I mean I do- I do still find you very pretty, like not in a weird way but in a good way- I mean-wait what?"
I laughed at his gibberish, I told you it was a good conversation. And after a reassuring look, Art went back to talking comfortably. Towards the end of the evening, Art had driven me home and we discussed things like work and hobbies and places we'd want to visit. I was very minimal but if it bothered him he certainly didn't show it. We'd finally arrived at my home and as I stepped out his car, he came around to walk me to my door. Such a gentle man.
"I had a nice time tonight." I said as I unlocked my door.
"I did as well." he said smiling,
We bid goodnight and I watched him get into his car, and as I pushed the door open, I heard the car doors open again and turned to see him running back to my doorstep. I smiled and turned to hand him a small card. He was a towering six foot three and his soft dirty blonde hair was pushed out of his face so I could see blue eyes.
"In case you forgot to ask again." I joked.
"I was working up to it," he said laughing. "But thank you, and I most definitely will call you."
" I look forward to it."
"Good, well Miss Faye I enjoyed our meet cute." he said as he walked back to his car.
"I thought we had our meet cute, before I mean."
"Well yes, but I like this one much more, it was indeed very cute." he winked and ducked into his car.
I smiled a really real smile that night, because for once someone had asked me on a date and it wasn't a stupid set up.
The next day was a work day, and since it was getting towards Appleby's favorite time of year, Autumn, everyone at my work was planning a big office party. Now most people have a company party around Christmas time, but not here, here Autumn meant the Halloween festival and the pumpkin tossing contest, and other things like that. My department was planning a big party with the journalist department, and everyone was bring their spouses or partners. I invited Art to come along since we'd been planning to do something together that week. He agreed and then came the part I despised most. Shopping and pampering for a first official date.
During the week Tony and Scarlette had been helping me find a dress to wear to the party, but everything was either orange or brow, not really a very flattering color for me. Finally with only three days till Saturday, I was about to give and up and tell Art we should do something else when Ezra rang my doorbell and surprised me with a large box .
"What's this?" I asked.
"Your new dress, Tony made it, but I picked out the fabric."
I led him inside and sat down on the couch, I opened it carefully and gasped as I held the beautiful dress. I was a warm gold color, like the last of Autumn leaves, and it was perfect. The length was cut so it ended just below my knee and the sleeves were done with beautiful seams, simple but beautiful. I hugged my friend and thanked him and Tony over and over again. Being very masculine and roughly the size of an ox, Tony had a delicate touch when it came to sewing clothes.
Saturday came and along with it were Scarlette and Ezra. I knew they were up to something and before I could lock my bedroom door, Ezra had is styling wand and hair spray at the ready. Hair was a pain, but after two hours he managed to style my hair into gorgeous curls and there wasn't a fly away hair insight. The worst had yet to come as Scarlette unloaded her makeup kit and pulled out the tweezers. Lord help me I nearly punched her in the face. Some how a miracle was made and I was ready to go. Ezra had gone to go get ready long before Art showed up at seven thirty. He wore a dark red button up and blazer along with black slacks and shoes. For a casual office party he looked extremely well dressed.
"You look beautiful," Art said as I opened the door to let him in. I noticed in one hand he carried a bouquet of perennial's and in the other hand he had a small plastic box. I took the flowers and put them in a vase as Jax made his presence known to Art.
"Oh careful!" I warned, "Jax can be very, unfriendly!"
I stepped out of the kitchen to watch my dog, only to find him lying on his back as Art scratched his tummy.
"Oh, that's strange, he never lets strangers rub his belly." I said curiously.
"Well, maybe I just smell nice." Art said smiling.
I didn't know what to say so I just grabbed my coat and we went out the door. As we walked to my place of work, I informed him,, or more like warned him about all my friends and their...mannerisms and behaviors.
"They're really nice once you get to know 'em; but they can be...loud really loud. Also stubborn and opinionated, they can be inappropriate, but they also are sweet, and friendly, but can be blunt, not that they meant to be it just-"
Art grabbed my shoulders so I could face him,
"I'm sure they're great, Charlie." he said smiling.
"You called me Charlie?" I said. I meant it as a statement not a question.
"You said that's what you liked to be called." he said a little confused.
I'd been trying to get people to call me Charlie, but no one ever did, back to that whole lady place tradition nonsense.
I nodded as we came up to the Texas Tribune, Art reached into his coat pocket and pulled out the little plastic box.
"I almost forgot about this," he opened the box and produced a beautiful white rose corsage.
"Oh Art," I said.
"I know it;s a little old school," he said sheepishly, "but my dad gave one to my mom when they went on their first date. I know it doesn't match your dress, you don't have to wear it-"
"Art." I said silencing his ramble. "It's beautiful, of course I'll wear it."
He smiled and I smiled back.
We entered the building, the whole first floor was lit by the old fashioned desk lamps, so the room was covered in a warm yellow glow. The party was held on the second floor, so as we walked through the room to the stairs on the opposite side, we just started talking.
Art was from a middle class family and grew up in Oregon, though he was born in Boston. He had a twin brother who was older than him by a whole five minutes, and he and his entire family were incredibly close. His father, had been in a car accident when Art was two, and it paralyzed his father. His mother had to provide for her two sons as well as her husband, and she worked extremely hard to do so. Art was wholesome and humble which was hard to find in a man these days. Art began his career in movies by working odd jobs for a company in Hollywood. He knew how to do everything from editing scenes to painting sets, making monsters, and digital animations. He moved from Hollywood to Jackson to be an intern for a big director, and met dear old Kevin. Then he decided to take a job in Dallas as a small producer and lives on the other side of Appleby. He drives to Dallas every weekend when they need him on set, otherwise he does most of his work at home.
We arrived at the second floor just as Felicia Futon from journalism, spotted us. Now Felicia was married to the only foot doctor in Appleby, and because of this she figured she was better than everyone else. On top of this I've not attended any office parties in the past, even with James, and she always made it a point to hunt me down and question my life choices the following work day after the party. To make matters worse she and my sister-in-law Victoria get together about twice a month to exchange gossip. Before I could escape Felicia had made her way across the room.
"Oh Charlotte sweetie this is a surprise. You never come, especially not with a date. How much did you pay him?" she said in her most obnoxious voice.
Ignoring her comment I simply said nothing.
"Nothing, I came with the flower." Art said suddenly.
I cracked a smiled as Felicia tried to figure out the joke. Defeated she simply muttered.
"You sure now how to pick 'em."
I nodded an watched her go back to her annoying friends in the corner. Probably to say something about me and Art. Oh well.
With Art in tow, I made my way over to Ezra, Tony, and my friends from the mail room, Selena, Katie and Josh. Almost immediately after introductions were made, Ezra began firing questions left and right. After the interrogation, we all grabbed something to eat and talked casually. I was able to relax and enjoy myself with friends and Art, after Ezra pulled me aside to say he and the others approved of Art. The rest of the night went on smoothly and around eleven I was beginning to yawn uncontrollably, so Art decided it was time for us to head off. The walk back was mostly in silence with a few comments here and there, and before I realized it we were back at my house. As I was biding him good night, Art grabbed my hand held me close to him, looking down at me he said,
"Charlie, I feel this connection between us, and I would like to court you, or I mean you know date you again."
"You believe in courting?" I whispered in awe. Was this guy the jackpot or what.
"A little silly or out dated I know but yeah, I find dating to be too literal, I want something with substance. I know we only met but I have this feeling when I'm with you, and I've never felt it before."
I thought for a moment, and smiled. This was the first date I'd actually enjoyed and had a great time. He was kind and he made me laugh and got along with my friends. He was amazing.
"You're not a vampire right?" I asked randomly.
"No I'm not." he said totally unphased.
"And you're not an alien, or a robot?"
"Hahaha, no Charlie I'm not."
"Okay, and you're not imaginary? I mean you're so perfect, how do I know you're real?"
He kissed my cheek then held my face,
" I'm not anywhere near perfect, but I'm real, I promise you." he whispered.
I nodded then in answer to his question I said, "I'll let you court me, if you can get flying colors on my family's test. Unless you're afraid."
"Bring it on." he said grinning.
We said good night again and I went inside as he got into his car. I smiled to myself as I fell asleep that night.