Sean came over to my house just about every day. There were some days when he had to work late and couldn’t come over because he missed the last bus. But other than that, he was at my house all the time. And I really liked having him around. We kept referring to our dinners as dates, but he never tried to kiss me or anything like that. He was just fun.
Obviously, that was destined to change. Not the fun part, I mean. I mean the not kissing part. We’d been “dating” for almost two weeks, and I figured we knew each other well enough to get to the point. But I was too nervous to just go for it. So after dinner when I walked him back down to the lobby he smiled at me as he prepared to say goodbye.
“Thanks again,” he said. He said that every night. I nodded and smiled.
“Not a problem,” I also said that every night. “But can I ask you a question before you go?”
“Sure, of course.”
“Are we still dating?” He smiled.
“I’d like to think so.”
“Then why haven’t you kissed me yet?”
“Because I wanted to make sure you wouldn’t hit me.” I laughed.
“I wouldn’t hit you.”
“Then can I kiss you now?”
“I think that would be awesome.” He leaned down to press his lips against mine, and I held his face in my hands. He was a gentle kisser. In fact, I would probably guess he was really nervous. But it wasn’t a bad kiss. So when he pulled away, I was smiling.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said. I nodded.
“Okay, goodnight.” He turned toward the door and then stopped and turned back around.
“Um—I was thinking of taking off early tomorrow,” he told me. “From work, I mean. I was wondering if maybe you wanted to go on a real date. Like to the movies or something. I get to buy everything because you’ve been feeding me so much. But I know you still need to work out your recipes and stuff, so we can still come back for dinner. But I’d like to take you out. To do something other than dinner too.” I nodded.
“A movie sounds great,” I told him. He smiled again.
“Then I’ll meet you here at two, okay?” I nodded again.
“Two it is.”
The next day, Sean was at my house at exactly two. He was usually always working. He worked every day except for Sunday. And on Sunday, he often came over early so we could talk and hang out. But we never actually went anywhere other than my own apartment before. So I was really excited about going on a real date. I knew he didn’t make a lot of money, but I never pushed it. I was nervous about spending money on anything that didn’t directly involve my book or recipes. So I didn’t get out much either. I was all right with him just coming over to hang out. But I was really looking forward to spending time outside of my apartment. And kitchen.
Since he didn't have a car, we rode the bus to the movie theater. We picked out a movie and got some popcorn and as we headed in I told him about the amazing popcorn I made with cinnamon and frosting. He said it sounded fantastic, and I should put it in my book. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I’d invented the recipe after the incident with Dustin.
Like any reasonable person, I loved going to the movies. But I never really understood why people went to the movies on dates. Mostly because I thought dates meant you were supposed to get to know someone. Not quietly watch a screen in a dark room. But he held my hand throughout the movie, and I decided it was a nice kind of date after all. He even held my hand back to the bus stop and all the way back home afterward.
He usually didn’t come to my house early enough to help with dinner. Except on Sundays. And I often turned down his help because I kind of liked to be in control in the kitchen. But I didn’t want him to have to sit out in the dining room by himself. So I told him he could hand me things if he really wanted to.
We finished dinner earlier than normal. He didn’t have to catch his bus for another hour so we drank more wine and sat down on the couch to talk. The weirdest thing I found when I was getting to know new people, is that they always wanted to know about your embarrassing stories. So when Sean asked me, I cringed and dropped my head onto the back of the couch.
“It’s bad,” I told him. “So embarrassing that I don’t even want to tell you now.” He laughed.
“It can’t be that bad,” he said. I leaned over the back of the couch dramatically.
“Well, it kind of involves—when I lost my virginity.” His eyebrows rose, but he smiled.
“That kind of embarrassing?” I nodded.
“Well, it wasn’t so much that part that was embarrassing. But mostly just how he felt like it was okay to tell everyone about it. It’s kind of why I quit culinary school actually.”
“Aw, man. You shouldn’t have quit over a guy. Guys are assholes. Especially that guy. And that’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”
“Your turn,” I said. He cringed just like I did, squishing up his cute face.
“Mine is similar,” he told me. “But it was a long time ago. When I was still in high school. There was this girl that I grew up with that I always kind of had a thing for. We lived on the same street, and we used to play together when we were kids. Then we got older. She got pretty. I got nerdy. That kind of story.” I nodded sympathetically.
“Story of my life,” I said. He laughed.
“Yeah, so. One night she snuck into my bedroom window, and she was telling me all about how she hated her boyfriend and didn’t want to have sex with him. She said she wanted to be with me. I believed it. I was a dumb teenager. A virgin. I gave in without much of a thought. So she started coming back over every few nights and finally her boyfriend caught on. Instead of sticking up for me like I thought she would have, she told the whole school that the only reason she was over at my house every night was because I had a bed wetting problem. And she, being the kind soul that she was, was offering me support.”
“Oh my God. That’s horrible. That’s not even embarrassing. That makes me angry.”
“Right? Yeah. I was crushed actually. Embarrassing and pathetic all at the same time.”
“It’s not pathetic. At least not on your part. She abused your trust, and she hurt you. She didn’t deserve you.” I took a sip of my wine.
“Yeah, I wish I’d known a girl like you back then.” I almost snorted.
“I was an even bigger nerd, trust me. I was such a huge loner. I hung out in a stairwell by myself for most of high school. Didn’t even make friends until the middle of junior year and only after I got my braces and my hair started to grow back.” He smiled.
“I still think you would have been amazing. People don’t just turn amazing overnight.” That was probably one of the nicest things anyone had ever said to me.
But then it reminded me of the other person who used to say nice things about me. He was the only person back then who would have thought I was amazing. But I hadn’t seen him since my niece was born. That would make it almost five years. I didn’t think he’d want to hear about Vincent, though.
“Then you would be the only one,” I said, even though that was kind of a lie.
“I really like you, Piper. A lot. And I’m really glad you asked me to be your test subject.” I laughed.
“You offered first, remember?” His eyebrows rose.
“Oh yeah, I did. Well, I’m glad I offered to be your test subject.”
“Me too. But I probably would have asked you anyway.”
He smiled and leaned over to kiss me. I realized then that everything that had happened with Dustin had been a mistake. We had kissed before I was ready. We had sex before I was ready. But Sean was kind. He was taking it slow. He wanted to make sure I was ready before we jumped into anything serious. And I wanted him to know that I was most definitely ready. So I stood up, took his hand, and took him to my bedroom.
Sorry for the wait. I started a new class because I'm not one of those lucky people that get to take breaks. New class every 5 weeks, all year long, except for Winter break. Some classes are harder than others. This one just happens to have a god awful amount of reading. Seriously, my life lately has just been non-stop reading. I can't remember the last time I had enough time to clean my house. I had a spare few hours yesterday and I went to see Captain America. For the second time. I. Am. Exhausted.