Crap!!! I didn’t plan on this. Most girls’ dads aren’t so protective, but then again, most girls aren’t a perfect dime. I think I drooled a little when I saw her in that clingy white/grey flower printed summer dress. It showed off her every curve.…
“So,” he says, “what movie are you planning to see?” Her old man’s eyeing me as if I’m some kind of low life not to be trusted. He must have met my parents.
“We were going to check out that new vampire movie, chicks —”
“Let me stop you right there. First of all, my daughter isn’t a chick she’s a lady. Now continue.”
“Girls, love that kinda stuff.” I try to keep eye contact, but it’s kinda hard to do since my eyes keep wandering towards the gun he’s cleaning. He seems like he would love to blow a hole into me the way he’s stroking that gun with the oilcloth, shining it up. Something he has in common with my stepdad; wouldn’t he just love to beat me to death next time. Sometimes I think he might.
“Hmm,” he says taking in what I said, clearly trying to intimidate me. It’s working pretty well I might add, but I’m not just about to let him know that — that’s not my nature.
“What’s the movie rated?”
“It’s PG 13 sir. I checked. It’s supposed to be pretty clean.” Keep your voice steady, Sage. You don’t want him thinking he’s got the upper hand.
“Well,” he says, shifting his weight in his chair so he can lean in closer to me, “I have some ground rules....” Surprise, surprise.
Rule number one:
“No lying. If you are not where you say you are going to be when you say you’ll be there, you can consider your relationship with my daughter terminated.”
Rule number two:
“When you pick up my daughter, well … just do as you did today. Otherwise you will never be allowed to date my daughter. That means you will get out of the car and you will walk politely towards the door and knock or ring the doorbell in the same fashion. If you don’t, you and I will be having a date.”
Rule number three:
“When you approach my daughter you will merely shake her hand and then you will give her, her space. When you are leaving, exiting, or walking anywhere your skin should have no contact with my daughter; except if you are just harmlessly going to hold her hand. I hope that you are smart enough to know not to place your hands anywhere else.” He talks with his hands a lot. The disassembled gun barrel bounces up and down still facing me, then facing away, and then towards me again. I feel like opening my mouth and asking him to point that thing away from me — even though it’s not assembled it is not a comfortable feeling — but I bite my tongue and decide against it.
Rule number four:
“You will wear your clothing as you are now. If your pants or shirt seems to accidentally come off during the course of your date. You will find that you will be wearing a prison jump suit after a long stay in the hospital, if I find you before the police.”
Rule number five:
“You’re a good looking kid, which is probably why my daughter decided to go out with you. But get this, I know my daughter is what you boys call a looker and she can drop you like a sack of potatoes at any moment. So word of advice, you better not be checking out any other girls. If you’re one of those “Playas” and string her along and you make her cry then I’m gonna want to make you cry.”
Rule number six:
“You can only date my daughter in this house, under my supervision or in public. And you sure as hell better not be taking her to any keggers or house parties without adult supervision. If you do want to take her to a party then I will need the home’s address and the name and number of the parents. I will meet and interview the parents in person.”
Rule number seven:
“Don’t think about trying any moves on my daughter because I know all the moves. If you try any of those sly moves on my daughter she’ll show you the close quarters combat techniques I have taught her and drill her on regularly.” Didn’t see that one coming. I wonder what style? “Do you understand me, son?” he asks, looking me dead in the eye. I can tell he’s serious.
“Yes, sir.” What, nothing else? Did he rehearse this or was he making it up as he went? “Does that mean you are you gonna let Marimar go to the movies with me?” I already know the answer. I doubt that he would have wasted his time on me if he wasn’t. The fact that I’m still sitting here is a good sign.
“Good, good,” he says, nodding his head while mumbling to himself.
What the hell does that mean? He’s obviously chewing my last question over. I don’t dare interrupt him. Although my stepdad beats me on a regular basis, this guy really scares the hell out of me. I’ve dealt with over protective fathers before but I’d be damned if this guy wouldn’t follow through on his threats. We should be going pretty soon — just not soon enough. He’s probably going to take advantage of the time, he obviously has nothing else to do. The Texas Rangers game should be on right now. Wouldn’t he rather be watching that? Shoot, I can’t be half as interesting as the game. It’s only a matter of time.…
“Well, I guess I’ll talk to her mother about that. When’s that movie start again?” Funny, I guess the old lady’s got him wrapped around her finger. I look down at my watch praying that it’s almost time to go. Can’t luck be in my favor for once in my life? I can’t lie and tell him the wrong time or he’d find me out.
“The movie starts at seven and it will end around nine and we should be back around eleven.”
“Are you going to the theater close by?”
“No. The next closest theater in Denton. It’s about a half hour from here towards the metroplex. That old theater only gets the movies after they are already out on DVD.”
“It’s only five forty-five, we have plenty of time to kill. Why don’t we get to know each other?” Sure, why don’t we become buds now? Assuming that the worst part of his interview is over, this should be painless. I am curious about the close quarter combat he taught her.
“What would you like to know?”
“For starters, how old are you? Nineteen, twenty?”
“You don’t look sixteen. You wouldn’t be lying to me, buddy, now would you?”
“No, sir, I pride myself on my honesty.”
“Good,” he grumbles. “What grade are you going to be in this year?”
“I’ll be a senior sir.”
“Do you have a job or do you hang around the house all day playing video games and reading comic books?”
“I am currently flipping burgers part time,” I answer. Damn. I wish I had a better answer. I look at my watch hoping for it to be after six, only two minutes have passed by. The clock couldn’t be moving any slower. Nor can Mr. Utt get any more unfriendly. Mar’s old man keeps spitting out questions faster than I can answer them. To my great relief, Marimar and her Mom come back into the sitting room.
“Papa, can we go now. Please?”
“Ana, let’s talk outside the room. Marimar, come along.” If he couldn’t even leave her alone with me for a second, then how is he gonna be able to let her out of the house with me? Maybe he just wants to keep us separated for as long as possible. I figure I’d do the same if I had a daughter.
“If you think so, Papa,” somebody says. I think it was Mrs. Utt. Their voices are muffled and I can’t make out what’s being said. Mar’s dad’s voice sounds like a bear growling.
“Thank you, Papa! I promise we’ll be home on time and I’ll call you. I’ve been dying to see that movie.” Ouch. That hurt. Does she really mean that? Wait, she never did answer me if this was a date. So I guess this is just two friends hanging out. Or is she just saying that so her dad won’t pop a vein? Hmm, I’d pay good money to see that. The door is thrown open. Not surprisingly, her dad’s leading the way, looking surly as ever.
“All right, you can go,” he says reluctantly with no attempt of hiding the fact his wife won this argument. Mrs. Utt is smiling from ear to ear. He could be as mad as he wants. Doesn’t matter, it’s not like I’m dating him.
“Okay, let’s go now.” Mar grabs my hand and jerks me out of my seat, causing me to stagger. She’s stronger than she looks. Hot! As I regain my balance, I notice her father glaring down at me, his eyes are blazing with the fire from hell; his assembled gun in hand. What a surprise. What’s he gonna do? Bite me? I bite my lip to keep myself from smiling. Dude, chill. You never said anything about her holding my hand. Marimar leads the way towards the front door.
“Thank you sir, ma’am. I’ll make sure I bring her home on time. It was … um ... nice —” Boy, is this killing me to say, “talking to you, sir.”
“Humph, yeah. Honesty my ass,” he mumbles. His old lady pokes him in the ribs with her elbow in disapproval. Boy did that rile him up. Compared to the look he’s giving me now, the look he gave me back when Marimar had grabbed my hand made him look like a saint. Now he really wants to kill me.
I shake Mrs. Utt’s hand before I take my exit — out of politeness I had put my hand out for Mr. Utt to shake, but I recoiled it when he gave me a look so fierce, I could swear he was contemplating breaking it. I want to get the hell out of here fast. Mar says good-bye to her parents; giving them each a kiss, then her little sister, then the dog, then she grabs her sweater, and then finally she’s ready to leave. Damn, girl, can you move any slower?
I half run, half walk towards my truck — almost dragging Marimar. I’d have thought that I would be afraid of the house with all the talk and rumors that fly around it, but I’ve been kept so preoccupied, I didn’t even think about it. I go over to the passenger side to open the door for Marimar. Then I walk over to my side. I start the truck, or attempt to, it takes a few turns in the ignition for the engine to roll to life. Really? You piece of crap! This is really embarrassing.
I glance out my front windshield and catch a glimpse of Marimar’s parents and little sis gazing out the window. Her mom is beaming and her little sister is waving her hand frantically and blowing kisses; she’s a cute little thing. Mr. Utt still looks pissed. I wait for Marimar to buckle up before I start backing up out of the driveway.
As I am pulling out of the driveway I catch one more glimpse of her dad. This time he’s wearing some strange expression that I can’t read. He’s still angry but there is something else there …
Mar interrupts my thoughts, “Whew, sorry about all that. My Papa’s ... very … protective when it comes to us girls. I hope he didn’t threaten you too much. He isn’t really all that bad. I think it’s some kind of routine act he picked up from an old movie. 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.”
Sure. Keep telling yourself that. What planet are you living on? Give me a break. The sad part is that she actually believes that. If she was in my shoes she’d see that there is no chance in hell of that happening. Maybe he wouldn’t want to kill me or cause me bodily harm. But I seriously doubt that he is ever gonna like me, tolerate me, maybe.
“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.” I was lying through my teeth about the “nice guy” thing.
“Hmm, you’re a bad liar,” she says with a light laugh. “‘That’s all right, I bet he is a really nice guy.…”’ she parrots, exaggerating my tone of voice and Southern drawl. At least he had the decency to lie.
“I don’t sound like that,” I say chuckling. She rolls her eyes.
“Do I look stupid to you? Papa can be the most intimidating man I’ve ever seen. 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?”
“No, but I wasn’t gonna up and say that.” She just lightly smiles and sits back in her seat.
“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.” She snaps her fingers. “Your eyes are like a mood ring.”
I never realized that. Crap! That means nothing will get by her.
“So, have you seen this movie series before?” she says changing the conversation.
“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 in the series.”
“Nope. I mean I’ve taken other girls to the movies, but not to the vampire series.”
Mar murmured something incoherent. I wonder what she’s thinking. Is she jealous? Guess I’m being conceited. Hmm. That reminds me. Should I ask? Nah. But…
“So, you never did say if this was a date or not.” She looks at me grinning, un-answering before retreating to the window. Was that a yes or a no? Can’t she give me a break? Is she playing hard to get? Well, I guess it’s a good sign that she didn’t say anything. I can safely assume that means yes. She didn’t say no. While I’m considering all this, she breaks my concentration by playing with the radio.
“Do you mind?” she asks when I turn to look at her. I shake my head in response. “Good.” She seems to be searching for a certain station.
“What do you usually listen to?” she asks.
“Anything but rap, but put on whatever you want.” I hope she doesn’t put some kind of boy band on.
“Kay. How do you feel about this?” She puts the volume up. Louis Armstrong’s, What a Wonderful World is playing. Cool. I totally thought I was doomed to listen to some stupid love song.
“It’s great. I didn’t picture you for blues.”
“What did you picture?”
“I pictured you for probably some kind of metro boy band.”
“Oh, so stereotypical. I hate boy bands, especially the guys that seem to be lacking testosterone. Do you like boy bands?” she jeers. The corners of her lips are pulled up in ridicule, her eyebrow arched. “Or do you prefer country?”
“Well, aren’t we being stereotypical? At least I didn’t ask you if you liked to listen to Latin music.” She rolls her eyes and once again returns to the window.
“I listen to all kinds of music,” she mutters.
“Oh,” I respond not knowing what else I should say. Awkward silence follows. I could attempt to speak, but then I might run out of things to say on our date.
“Pardon me, excuse me, pardon me,” I say as I try to get through the row of seated people.
“Here’s your coke, our popcorn, and candy,” I whisper while handing them to Mar. The previews are just ending. We’re sitting in the third row, fifth and sixth seats. The room smells of food which brings my attention towards the popcorn in Mar’s hand. The popcorn’s making my mouth flood with saliva.
“How’s the popcorn?” I ask. Spit flies out of my mouth and to my horror, on to her face. Her mouth twists into a grimace. Her hands go up towards her face as she wipes my spit onto a napkin. “I am so sorry. I was hungry and the popcorn smelled so good that my mouth started to water and …”
“That’s all right,” she says with her hands up, “okay, it was an accident.”
“I am so sorry.”
“No, really don’t mention it.”
Shhh! People behind us hush us. We turn our attention towards the screen. The movie starts. I’m preparing for imminent torture ahead. Good thing I bought a large soda. Hopefully I won’t fall asleep. That’s what happened with the last girl I took to the movies. The movie starts. I peek at Marimar out of the corner of my eye, she’s staring intently at the screen. I rest my left hand on the armrest between hers and mine. She doesn’t seem to notice. I try watching the screen as well. I have no idea of half of what they are talking about so I give up on trying to understand and attempt to enjoy the movie — as much as I can.
The faces start to blur and soon the talking ceases. I find myself once again watching the person beside me. She doesn’t seem to notice my hand at all; her hands are still rested on her lap. Even in the dark room you could see that she’s HOT! She’s not like most girls with their faces covered in so much crud that when they take their makeup off you can hardly recognize them. Her hair isn’t sprayed with hair-spray that reaches up to high heaven — she’s actually wearing it naturally, curly. She sure as hell doesn’t look like a walking stick either; she’s more like a 1940’s pin up girl than a model. Full lips, long eyelashes, big brown eyes, olive skin, and exotic features; she’s a beauty. A perfectly minted dime.
Oh, crap! My heart skips a beat. Damn, damn, damn. How long has she been watching me watch her? I twist my head back towards the screen. Damn it. She must think I’m some kind of creep. My heart is in overdrive. I can still see the expression on her face. She looked at me like I was some moron, but she also seemed to look amused the way her lips were turned up at the sides.
I wonder what my expression gave away. Did she notice I was checking her out? I don’t dare sneak a peek at her to see if she is still looking at me. I count up to fifty before I check. My heart is pounding so loud I swear she can hear it. What a relief, she’s once again watching the screen. Boy, do I have some crappy luck. First I literally spit in her face and now this.
I wait a few minutes before I decide to try to get my arm around her. I start to yawn and while I’m stretching I try to rest my arm around her shoulders.
“What are you doing?”
“Just stretching,” I say while returning my arm back to the armrest.
How many times can I screw up this date? I wonder. I could strangle myself for this. YOU STUPID JACK- ASS! I swear, I can’t stop acting like an idiot around her. I’ve never felt this nervous around a girl.
An hour later… the credits start to play and everyone starts to get up and leave.
“How did you like the movie?” I ask hoping that she had enjoyed herself.
“It was great, thanks for taking me.”
We walk out of the exit and I hold the door open for her.
“Wow, I forgot how hot it is outside,” she says as she pulls off her sweater.
“It’s always hot in the summers here, but the winters are great.”
“I hope so, I’m not used to all this heat.”
“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?”
“I don’t know. I was born here so the weather doesn’t really bother me.”
A conversation from two girls in front of me catches my attention. One’s talking to her girlfriend about the same movie we had watched and how she had cried. Funny, I didn’t once see Mar shed a tear. I look into her eyes. They’re neither red nor puffy.
“What?” Mar asks, when she notices me surveying her.
“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?”
I observe her features. She doesn’t look like she is lying. If I didn’t know any better I would think that she’s cold. But that’s if I didn’t know any better. Hostile, for sure. Cold, no.
We get into the truck and I start it. Now you start on the first try. I take off driving slower than usual. I take the next exit onto the freeway.
“Where do you want to go grab a bite to eat?” I ask.
“Any burger joint is fine.” Huh, I’ve never got that answer before. She’s a cheap date, but I don’t want to take her up on her offer. What if it’s some kind of a test? It’s possible she wants to see if I would actually be cheap and go for it. Entrapment.
“How about a restaurant I just heard about? They get great reviews.”
“Okay, that sounds fine.”
“Cool, it’s just off the next exit.”
“I’m not trying to be rude, but do you usually drive this slowly?”
“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 pick up the speed. I take the next exit. She pulls out her cell phone to call her parents and tell them the movie ended. She tells her mom she will be home right after dinner. A worried expression crosses her face as she hangs up.
“Nothing. Everything’s fine. It’s just that I can hear my Papa in the background and he’s still in a bad mood.” Great. “I bet you were bored out of your mind at the movie. I would have been cool with some action flick instead,” Mar says, quickly changing the subject.
“Nah, that was fine, it did have some action in it.” Well if it could even be considered action. There wasn’t any blood or gore, only a bunch of vampires and werewolves going to war with another vampire coven over some little girl. I didn’t get it.
What should I talk about next? I need to get her dad out of my head. She doesn’t seem to care if we’re talking or not, so I can’t really count on her to start any conversation.
“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.” Perfect. Now all I have to do is goad her on and ask her some questions until we get to the restaurant....
“No, fill me in,” I say trying to sound interested. I make sure that I’m looking away so she can’t call my bluff before continuing, “you can tell me the back-story, besides, I like hearing you talk.” Smooth. I wink at her and give her my winning smile. It totally wins her over. She flashes me a radiant smile; her teeth glisten as white as the moon, her cheeks turn slightly crimson.
“Okay, did you understand the thing about the little girl?” Good, something she likes to talk about.
Note to self: talk about movies that interest her. I think I remember reading on the ending credits that it was based off of a series of books. Note to self: also talk about books.
“Well, okay, so the little girl …” Mar’s voice begins to trail off as I start to tune her words out. I listen enough to make sure that I’m fully aware of when she’s asking a question or if she’s finished speaking so that I can keep her talking. Apparently, there were five movies all together, so that means I can keep her preoccupied for a while. Genius. I watch the road rather reluctantly, now and then looking over towards Mar — it’s hard to peel my eyes away from her. I listen to her voice rather than the words she says. Her voice is intriguing. Soft and beautiful with a hint of spice. Captivating. Her lips move ever so slightly, forming the words, the syllables. Lips I desire.
The flashing of car lights takes my head out of the clouds. I stop hearing her voice. How long has she stopped talking? She’s looking out the window. I would start up a conversation if I didn’t already see the restaurant.