October Girl Chapter 8- Dinner Dates
This is the first time he stood by the door observing her when she wasn’t asleep. He took the risk with the absence of the dog, seeing as the little animal wouldn’t alert her of his presence with growls targeted at his direction. She was so clumsy as she curled her hair, burning herself. He knew why, and he knew he was to thank for their encounter, but a part of him began to regret and feel. And he was not supposed to feel.
The scent of her perfume mingled in the air in her room, and while he couldn’t breathe, he allowed himself to be engulfed in it. He moved with the scent until he realized he was standing right behind her and he stopped. She didn’t mask her face with the make up, but her eyes looked bigger and her cheeks flushed and her lips were shiny. He couldn’t move, he just stood there staring into her reflection.
And what scared him what he was allowing himself to feel: jealousy. He felt his entire entity turn cold. She shivered and looked around. She was so close to him at that moment, and she when looked up he prayed with every atom of his essence that she would see him, all the while frightened as well.
Quickly he moved himself as far from her as he could. In that one second he willed himself to move far away from her he realized he landed in a familiar and unpleasant place. The scent of moldy old books and leather, the dim lighting, the growl of a familiar voice.
Rain had been finished for hours but she couldn’t trust herself to have made a good job. What if she looked too overdone? What if he preferred how she looked with no make up? What if what she was wearing wasn’t attractive enough, or was too sexy. So many thoughts rushed into her mind, the anxiety at the idea that a guy wanted to spend some one on one time with her made her feel excited, and nervous and confused. Aside from B, she had never allowed herself to lower her walls to anyone. Ever. To protect her self and avoid the entire heart break ordeal this was the only way she could control her emotions, since her uncontrollable emotions have lead her to situation she wished she could undo.
She stood up, and ran her hands down her summer lace dress to get rid of any wrinkles. Without a last glance in the mirror, in case that made her change her mind about everything, she picked up her crossover purse and headed down. Her parents and Lily were out and she had the house to herself, which gave her the freedom to mutter things out loud like complaining about the curling iron not doing a good job, or other things about her appearance that to her seemed incorrigible at that moment. She reached the door, her hands barely touching the knob, and felt her heart beat so loud, so fast. Breathe…..just keep breathing slowly, she chanted in her mind. She breathed in slowly, and exhaled even slower. Over and over, and all the while running her hands down her dress because she was so nervous her palms began to sweat. A shrill ringing sound cut through the calming silence like an axe, and her attempt at calming herself down flew out the window. She rummaged through her purse for the phone, her hands shaking from the excitement, when the doorbell rang. She looked through the opaque stained glass of the door, where a tall dark figure stood.
He cleared his. “You know, I can see you. Rain?”
Rain exhaled slowly, pressed her hand on the handle and slowly opened the door, peering outside.
And there he stood, Suit Man, only he wasn’t wearing a suit. He was wearing fitted khaki pants, a very expensive looking black belt with gold buckle, a casual white v neck t-shirt, and the softest of leathers black leather jacket. He didn’t look like the formal, professional business guy; he looked like a model. He had shaved so the three-day beard wasn’t there. His hair was messily slicked back, which looked like it was done in a short time but Rain knew he took his time making it look like that. His hands were shoved in his pockets when she peered out, and he had been looking at the ground. When he looked up and their eyes met Rain felt like she forgot how to breathe.
“Hey,” he said, as he gave her a little wave and made her forget words with his lopsided, dimpled smile.
She did what she thought was a smile, but felt more like a jelly fish arm across the face.
She clumsily grabbed her light jacket and stepped outside and fidgeted with the key as she attempted to lock the door.
“You look….” He said, and she turned around. He was looking at her like she was someone he’d never met before.
“You look great,” he finally said.
“Thank you,” she said with a nervous smile. And then he walked ahead (a little too fast), opened the door for her and then headed to his side.
Rain was worried about the car ride to wherever his was taking her, wondering if her social anxiety and the awkwardness of this first date would make him change his mind about her.
“I hope you like live music,” he said, finally someone broke the silence.
She looked at him, trying to read from his expression what kind of place he was taking her to.
“Yeah, who doesn’t?” she said.
“Great, my friend owns the place. It’s amazing!”. He looked at her and smiled, seeming genuinely excited about date.
She smiled and began to relax. And began to enjoy the date even though they haven’t reached the place yet. A heavy load fell of her shoulders and she wondered how and why she wound herself up like that, especially seeing that Jacob was pretty easy going.
The rest of the car ride became this fun, light flow of conversation, jokes, and music.
A half hour later Jacob pulls up at a slightly old looking building in a congested area of the city that Rain wasn’t really familiar with. A tanned guy in black pants, white shirt and black vest opened up the doors and greeted Jacob like he knew him well. Jacob pointed to Rain and the guy smiled politely at and gave Jacob a wink and a smirk before driving the car off to park it. An eclectic cocktail of drum beats and saxophone wails drifted out from inside the place.
They walked in, Jacob familiar with the place like it’s his home and Rain in complete awe of the place and the sound and vibe. The place was a restaurant and bar, very dimly lit, and completely filled with couples and groups of friends. It wasn’t a big area, but it was big enough to leave room infront of the stage where a live band was performing for people to dance in. The live band was performing an old upbeat jazz song, and Rain felt as if she was transported back in time, back in the fourties.
The singer had a charismatic, wide smile, and shook his head with the rhythm of the music as he sang in a deep raspy voice. People were dancing and smiling by the stage, at the corners. And Rain didn’t realize that she herself had a smile so wide it filled half her face until she turned to Jacob. He was looking at her the entire time, then he grinned and pulled her to him in the crowded restaurant and maneuvered his way between chairs and people till they got to their table.
The sound of the drums, the beat that was flowing from them, felt like it seeped into Rain’s pores and into her body. The sound of the clarinet was like honey to her ears. The entire place was like another world to her.
“What do you think of this place?” shouted Jacob over the music.
She nodded her approval, too entranced by the music to speak.
Over the course of dinner, they ate. The place was perfect for her for a first date. The loud music and relaxed atmosphere took away the possibility of forced conversation, the people were all having a good time, and so she felt any anxiety melt away almost immediately. After they finished dinner Rain was still slightly dazed by the place, but a familiar sound floated about. A familiar song. It was a slow jazz number, the clarinets smoother tones flirting with the trumpets’ slightly crass sounds. The drums’ rhythm was slow and sexy. Rain was looking over her shoulder at the band and the singer, a woman now, who began to sing in a buttery smooth voice “Call me irresponsible”, when she saw a hand at her face. It was Jacob, he had stood up and held out his hand and pointed to the small dance floor with his head. She shook, mouthing that she was a horrible dancer over the music, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. So she nervously put her hand in his, and he pulled her up. Her heart was racing, was beating almost as loud as the music, in her ears.
Once they were got to the dance floor he pulled her close, not too close, but close enough. One hand wrapped around her waist, and the other hand grabbed hers. They began to slow dance, swaying from side to side. She couldn’t hear the familiar music anymore, she could only hear her thoughts shouting in her mind, just yelling and pointing at the physical closeness between the two. There were only three couples dancing, Jacob and herself one of them. She kept staring at his chest, that v neck shirt.
She felt his warm breath on her ear, as he got close, and they faces almost touched.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
She looked up, and they were so close they noses almost touched. Her breath was caught as she tried to find a response. Since words were unfamiliar to her at that moment she just nodded.
He was looking at her so intensely, and then he grinned his dimpled grin, pulled her a little close, and then twirled her across and right back to him. She laughed, glad that tension was broken, and they continued to dance goofily until the song ended with a mad, improvised piano piece.
They headed back, Rain’s mind still muddled with thoughts of their closeness and the electric tension between them, and before they sat Jacob spoke in her ear (the music was too loud as another song began to play).
“Let’s get out of here,” he said, and with that he paid and they left.
Back in the car Rain sensed that something shifted between them. What might have been just an interest in each other became something a little too intense for Rain to admit. Even Jacob was different now, not relaxed but not nervous. They kept driving further and further away from the city. At first Rain thought that it was another route back to her house, but then she realized that nothing about the scenery was looking familiar. The sun had set and the sky was in gradient shades of blue, sky blue to indigo, cut in between by that fire orange of the sun set at the bottom.
Just as Rain was about to ask where they were heading, Jacob broke the silence and said:
“There’s a place I want to take you to. I want you to see it.” He looked her, then grinned a little.
She smiled, and looked ahead, trying to figure out where he was taking her.
Finally he drove out of the highway and into a small exit. When she looked out of his window she saw trees, lots of them, and the twilight sky was barely visible to see through the dense leaves. The road turned and there was fork, to the right still a civilized tar road and to the left a mud road through the forest.
While she didn’t worry at first, she began to feel a little scared once they entered the forest. He looked to her, smiling, and continued on.
After a few minutes the dense trees thinned, and the twilight was appearing clearer. Jacob slowed down as they got closer to what she now realized was a lake.
She turned to Jacob, searching in his expression for an explanation, and stared at him waiting for him to say something.
He just kept that small grin, parked the car and stepped out. In her confusion she stayed in the car staring at him as he walked over to her side.
“We’re here”, he said and the grin finally became a big smile.
Rain was still confused, but he held her hand and helped her down. She stepped out, and the crisp, cool air startled her. Just as she was about to grab her jacked from the car Jacob held out his and put it on her.
“It’s okay, I have mine-“ she began to say, when he cut her off. “Wear mine, it’s warmer”
They walked closer to the lake, and when they were a few meters away from the water he stopped moving. Rain looked around at this place. The lake was a little scary with the dark waters, but the reflection of blues and purples and oranges on the surface of the water was breathtaking. And the light ripples gave the reflection the texture of an oil painting, almost. This place was the exact opposite of the jazz bar restaurant he took her to, and she was intrigued by that.
She looked over to him and found him studying her face, which he had done a lot she realized.
“This place is beautiful,” she said, smiling at him.
He looked at her for a moment longer before replying. “I love this place,” he said, “ It helps clear my mind when I have too many things to think about.”
She looked across at the lake, and understood what he meant. She tried to imagine how the lake would look like during the daytime, secluded from traffic and people, and the edges of it framed with evergreens and other tall trees. There was a corner close to where they were standing, and it had to be the most beautiful part of this lake. Willow trees draped about, and crickets chirped their nightly lullabies, and the reflection of the willow trees on the lake were like lace. It all looked and sounded and simply was surreal.
“This place is beautiful,” she said as she headed to the willow trees.
The stones crunched as she and Jacob walked towards the trees.
They sat on big stones by the edge of the water, under the trees. And they were both silent.
She wondered, though, why he was quiet. She wasn’t anxious anymore, but her previous awkwardness had excused her from conversation obligation.
When she looked to him, he was staring straight ahead, at nothing. She looked at where he was staring, although the view of the twilight was obscured from view where they were sitting.
Just as she allowed herself to sink into her own thoughts in this silent company he put his hand next to hers, they’re fingers a hair away from touching.
He looked down at his hand, and smiled.
Then, as if broken from some sort of melancholic spell, he started chatting again and asking her questions and sharing funny stories and returning the same relaxed, charming Jacob who helped that day at the park.
She was about to share with him her possible plans for Japan, but something held her back. A fear to jinx it, or maybe she wouldn’t do it as she had hoped, or something. So she shared funny childhood stories with him until the sky was a navy blue with shimmery white dots scattered across it.
The drive back was easy, and comfortable. She still had his jacket on, and she could smell a slightly citrusy, musky amber scent from it. She loved how intimate it felt to wear it, to be in a veil of his perfume. It was a very comfortable feeling, and nothing like the way she felt when she was around B in past.
She looked at him, trees blurring from vision, as he drove very focused.
The entire ride back she had to stop herself from smiling too much and looking creepy.
When they finally reached her home, he looked at her again. That long, strange look. She smiled awkwardly, and then grabbed her purse and opened the door.
“Wait!”, he shouted before she put one foot down.
She looked back startled.
“My jacket,” he said with smirk. She felt the blood rush to her face when she realized she was still wearing it.
“Oh, I’m so sorry!….Here”, and she handed it to him. Then she got ready to hop out again.
“Wait,” he said, softer this time.
She turned to him and saw him holding her jacket with a bigger smile.
“Oh god, sorry. Thanks,” she said, more annoyed at herself this time.
She grabbed the jacket and turned to go out.
“Wait….”, he said, closer this time. She turned and so him leaning closer to the passenger seat. He grabbed her hand and brought it to his lips.
“I had a great time, Rain”, he said , “you really surprised me”.
She looked at him stunned by the gesture.
“Thank you”, she managed to whisper. Then she can’t remember how, but she did get out of the car and she did end up in her room. She felt like she must have floated, because she can’t remember her feet moving. At all.
Sitting on the edge of her bed, she inhaled what remained from his cologne on her dress and smiled.
How did I end up here, he thought. The place was cold, is was dark and it was eerie. How could he feel cold, when he was what he was. The shelves well pregnant with old, dusty books stenched in that sour odor old moldy books get. Why was he shivering? Why was he feeling scared? Where was he?