At 3:30 Thursday I still had not received a call from Steven about our date, so I called him.
S:" Hi, gorgeous!"
E: "What are you doing? Are you at work?"
S: "Nope, out shopping and running errands. You?"
E: "Ah, I'm working. I hadn't heard from you and want to see if we're still on for tonight"
S: "We better be. I want to see you. I was going to call you later but wasn't sure when you get off work."
E: "Cool, what's the plan?"
S: "I'll pick you up at 7:30 and we'll head to dinner."
It was still 6:00p and I was rocking out to Michael Jackson and finishing up work until I realized I needed to get in the shower. In a flash the shower is on and I'm ripping off clothing and letting them drop to the floor of my bathroom. Now, I love my shower. Last year Santa brought me a beautiful shower head that is so relaxing, I could actually let an hour slip by without notice. That could have easily happened...but, it didn't.
Thursday was a pretty awesome day. I established a new contract with a client, have interest from a new client (whom I actually met a year ago, but he wasn't ready for me yet) and...with a little extra cash in my pocket, and looking ahead, I decided to stop by one of my favorite consignment stores on the way home from my meeting at Starbucks.
I adore this store, but you do have to be careful because there is a load of designer wear and you can easily spend a couple of hundred dollars. This was not the case for me! After trying on several pieces, I opted for a short, black cotton dress, sleeves that tie at the elbow and a low, scoop neck adorned with a roped piece of the same material for $42 and 20% off that, and a thick, woven belt in different shades of brown and a large silver buckle for $20 - it goes with EVERYTHING! Good investment.
Showered and shaved, and now somewhat sweaty from the steam, I turn up the Michael (thanks to the neighbors being at work) and dance around the living room. I just lllooovvveeee Michael! Pour a glass of wine, blow dry hair and walk into my bedroom where my outfit is perfectly laid out. First, tights (NOTE: on dry winter days a hint of hairspray on tights helps prevent static cling), dress and back in the bathroom to put on make up and straighten hair. It's now almost 7:00 and he'll arrive at 7:30. Quick look in the mirror and I'm actually having a fantastic hair and make up day. Yea!
I grab the same snake print clutch as before, put on some red socks and grab my camel boots, turn towards the living room to put on boots when like a banana peel under my foot my right foot slips and I come crashing down on my knee...on tile. Ouch! Now, this could be really bad. Over 20 years ago I blew out m ACL and lately it seems the years of dancing are starting to take a toll. I kind of freak out about it. I sat on the floor. DAMN IT! Bend my knee. No pain. Shwew! I get up and walk to the couch and have no pain. Good, but I know it's going to be bruised and swollen for more than a few days. I put on my boots. Text:
S: "I'm down stairs"
E: thinking he better be at my front door "Can you hear Michael?"
S: "There's something wrong with you"
E: "You have no idea. Be down in two shakes"
Trying to not do more damage by turning my knee, I whiz around grabbing everything I need. Since Steven offered to pick me up I opted not to wear the thick (highly un-sexy) Thinsulate coat and go for something lighter and more stylish. Walking down the stairs...he better be at my door. I open the door and there is Steven in a black wool pea coat and knit cap leaning against the wood railing and resting one leg on the top step. He slowly raises his head.
E: "You should have knocked"
S: "With Michael rockin' I didn't think you'd hear me"
E: "I'm pretty sure I would have"
S: "Mmmmm...You look beautiful" He steps on to the main level and puts his hands on my hips pulling me in for a hug. He sneaks a kiss, and then another before hugging me in an embrace that was warm, strong, long and felt safe. "I'm hungry, let's get outta here"
E: "Sounds good. I didn't have lunch"
He grabs my hand and helps me walk down the steps, which even covered in slush can be a death trap for a woman in high heels, and opens the car door for me. On the front seat papers with a headline stating "Anit-Terrorism".
E: "Is this work stuff? Top secret. Maybe I should read it to learn more about you."
S: "LOL go ahead!" I simply put it in the back seat without looking at anything further.
His car is incredibly cleaner than it was the first night. Gone is the litter of food wrappers, drinks, random scraps of paper and other odds and ends. I was impressed. Immediately in the car, the smart ass comments start flying. We're just volleying back and forth to one another. "Oh my gosh!" I wipe his lips, "You have my lip gloss all over your lips." "Mmmm....I like that come here and give me some more!" "It is a great color for you."
We drive down the main street in my neighborhood heading south to what I can only assume is his hood. He reaches for my black suede gloved hand. "If you're cold I'll keep your hand warm." I remove the glove and return it to it's position in his and we remained that way until approaching valet at the restaurant within a few minutes. One of the things I love about Chicago is that in a few minutes you can be in an entirely different neighborhood. We get out of the car, he walks around to grab my hand and escort me to the door. Via Carducci. This is the second, smaller location of one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Chicago. Comfort food. Yum! He opens the door and we're immediately seated near the bar in the middle of the room.
We take off our coats and I seen that Steven has improved his fashion for this date. He wore dark jeans and a cream cable knit Nautica sweater. I didn't have a chance to check out the shoes, but I was impressed with the top half. We sit and the flirting continues.
E: "STOP IT! I need to decide what I'm getting."
S: "You're so going to fall in love with me."
E: "Hmmm...I don't know about that. You have a lot of work ahead of you to make that happen."
S: "I'm up for that challenge..."
A bottle of wine, Grilled Calamari appetizer, Eggplant Parmesan and Rigatoni Italiano (shared on a bread plate in the middle of the table) and I am stuffed to the gills. Over dinner we talked and I asked again about his job. The same answers....
E: "So, no not that it matters, but are you going to be straight with me about what you do?"
S: smile "I'm a police officer of aviation."
E: "What does that mean? Do you work for Chicago Police Department?"
S: "Nope, I do anti-terrorism, bomb threats, plane crashes and simply keep the airport safe."
E: "So what do you do at work. Like what did you do today?"
S: "Yeah, nothing. Just stood around and watched people."
E: "Well, people watching is always good entertainment."
And that was the end of that. He asked me about my work and we just...talked...It's so easy. I learn that he is actually Spanish and Italian and his family came to the U.S. from Puerto Rico. He digs in his pocket and pulls out a business card with his full name and contact information (which comes in handy for cyber stalking the next day). His last name is like a song. It's Italian and so beautiful as it rolls off the tongue.
The waiter removed the plates and Steven reaches his hands across the table, open like a flower asking for mine. I answered with a smile and placing my hands in his. He looked down at them, massaging and rubbing them silent. He gives a half glance up at me and our eyes meet. He smiles and looks back down. (There's an equally decent chance that he was enjoying the view of cleavage since my elbows were resting on the table, pushing my shoulders up, elbows in and the little girls out!)
S: "I want to take you to Peru. Mayan ruins. It's so incredibly beautiful and you would enjoy it."
E: "I would love to."
S: "What's your favorite spot?"
E: "Dying to go to Paris and left a piece of my heart in Italy. However, I love going to my parent's place in Wyoming. There is so much I love to do there but I can't do by myself. My parents aren't capable any more and I've longed to share it with someone."
S: grabs my hands tighter "Sounds like something I'd love to do."
At this point, I don't have any idea what this guy is doing to me, but I'm absolutely starting to swoon. Our eyes linger longer, my smiles become flirty and shy as I turn my head away. Finally he pays the bill and valet appears to offer the car. Steven helps me on with my coat takes my hand, opens the door and then the car door and we're off again. This time in the direction of my house.
E: "Where are we going?"
S: "You're house."
S: "I'm being spontaneous. Thought we could watch a movie."
E: "Uhm, my house is not ready for public consumption. You might have warned me."
S: "Well, we can just go to mine, then."
E: "No, this is fine but let's stop and get some wine."
We pull up and I continue harassing him for inviting himself over. Before I reach for the door handle, still holding my hand, pulls me to him for a kiss. Then, we're up the stairs and into my modest apartment. Don't get me wrong, it's cute and has loads of newer qualities but sometimes I'm ashamed that I don't live in a brand new beautiful condo with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. I race in and quickly close the door to my bedroom which looks like a tornado lifted the entire contents of my closet and dropped it on my bed. Plus, the wall is peeling and it's an ongoing issue with the shitty landlord to get it fixed. I'm picking my battles right now but it is not something I want someone to see.
I take off my coat and hang it on the hook behind the door. Steven leaves his on the dining table chair and looks around. I grab his hand to give a quick tour and he kisses me, there, in the dark of my small office. I go to turn on the television and he wonders back into the kitchen to look at the pictures on my refrigerator - there are a load. With little wall space the refrigerator has become a wall of photos including the BFF, the family, friends from my hometown and lots of babies. He asks and I tell him who everyone is.
Finally he comes into the living room and we snuggle under the down comforter, legs out before us on the ottoman. We settle for the season finale of "Desperate Housewives of Beverly Hills" and I tell him who's crazy, who's not, and a synopsis of the drama. He just laughs and grabs my hand under the comforter.
E: "You know....I think we skipped out on our tab the first night."
S: "Okay, I was wondering about that and felt really bad because I figured you ended up getting it."
E: "Nope, I still thought you had, somehow."
S: LOL "Oh my gosh! I can't believe that happened. I am so sorry!"
E: "It's fine but I feel bad."
S: "Yeah, me too." His hand softly brushes my cheek. "Hmmmm....I like you." I smile and he kisses me. "When can I see you again? Tomorrow? Saturday? Sunday? All three?"
E: LOL "I have plans Friday and Saturday but Sunday will work."
S: "I'll cook for you."
E: "Whoa! I'm sure your toast or Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup is divine, but let me know so I can eat beforehand."
S: LOL "I'm not a completely lost cause. I can make spaghetti."
E: "Out of a jar doesn't count."
S: "I add some ingredients. You'll like it."
E: "I better because I like it when a guy cooks for me."
S: "Ugh, I guess I need to enroll in a cooking class."
E: "Looks like it."
S: "I like you." I smile and he left a few minutes later.
Today's cyber stalking produced some answers. I now know that he works for the FAA, has barely used LinkedIn and MySpace accounts (seriously, dude? No one over 12 uses MySpace anymore!), a Twitter and a Facebook page. I also located his address and google mapped his house with satellite view! Hey, you should know that he stalked me as well. He texted this morning to confirm our date - dinner at his - for Sunday night and said "Nice website". Mutual cyber stalking is allowed!
There is another guy I met online who I'd like to go out with before putting my eggs all in this basket. He's really good looking and also well-traveled, but I already know that the odds of him being as sweet to me as Steven are not high. Not even close.