Dates

The kind you go on with a special someone. Not the fruit. 

The only other D word I considered was dogs and I’ve only had 2 of them and I just did cats.

The first date my husband and I went on was to a Lebanese restaurant in Waterville, Maine. It was across the street from his apartment. It was pretty popular but I always thought it was a bit out of place in Maine, but what did I know? I forget what we had. After that we had to go to something for our job (where we met.) I remember we held pinkies during the speaker.

I didn’t go on a lot of dates. Being a fat girl even then, I guess I didn’t generate much interest. I responded to a couple of ads in the Maine Times paper and met the guys. But meh–on both ends.

So, to liven things up, we’ll accompany Lily and Charlie on a date in their early relationship to the opening night of the Phoenix Film Festival. Which coincidentally opens here tomorrow night. (From Another Place on the Planet, Ch. 6)

 

My heart jumped into my throat when I looked out the peephole and saw Charlie waiting. “Calm. Down.” I whispered. It was only yesterday that I’d last seen him.

“Hey, Charlie,” I said warmly as I opened my door. My heart flipped at the sight of him in suit and tie.

“Lily Mayfield,” he crowed. “Good glory, girl. Let me look at you!”

Heat rose to my face, as I twirled once. He looked me over from top to bottom and back to the top. “Wow. That’s one lucky dress.”

“Thank you!”

His hands on my shoulders sent a shiver through me I knew he felt. Embarrassed by my uncontrolled reaction, I looked down.

“You’re stunning, Lily. Absolutely breathtaking,” he said gently.

“Thank you again,” I murmured.

“I’m sure you don’t hear that nearly enough. I have a little gift for you.” He pulled a jeweler’s box from his interior jacket pocket.

Caught completely off guard, I gasped. “That was entirely unnecessary.”

“It’s been a long time since I had a beautiful woman to give gifts to.”

The box held a slim circle bracelet shaped like a vine and studded with some small light colored gemstones. I slipped it on my wrist.

“Charlie, it’s lovely! Thank you!” Impulsively, I threw my arms around his neck. His response was to hold me to himself for a few seconds and kiss my cheek. Not much, but his breath in my ear was enough to cause the underutilized private places of my body to spring to life.

He pulled away abruptly and said with a husky voice, “Well, let’s get going, shall we?”

“Oh! A new car,” I said in the parking lot. “What kind is it?”

“Maserati.”

He opened the door and held my hand as I lowered myself into the seat.  The supple gray leather caressed my body with luxurious comfort. “I think I’m finding this Maserati sexier than your Ferrari if that’s even possible.”

He laughed as we roared through the parking lot of my apartment complex.

 “You look very nice, by the way,” I said. “Damn delicious, actually.” I slapped my hands over my mouth, shocked at my boldness.

He looked over at me, his smile soft in the spring sunset light. “Guys like to be appreciated, too, you know.”

“You’re very easy to appreciate. God, I’m sorry. I’ll stop now.”

He chuckled, caught my hand and raised it to his lips, thrilling goosebumps to glorious life. I hugged myself and turned to the window.

“You okay over there?” he asked.

“Sure, just keeping my mouth shut to stay out of trouble.” I recrossed my legs and pretended I was the cool, sophisticated woman I wanted to be.

He laughed again, and I got the impression it was something in his natural God-ordained personality he would do a lot if the hard things of life left him alone for a while.

“Congratulations on your award, by the way,” I said. “Thanks for letting me know.”

“Oops!” he said with a chuckle. “It’s nothing. I didn’t do anything to deserve it.”

“Well, the Phoenix Film Foundation believes you’ve contributed to the community.”

“I’m on the board of directors and have a recognizable name.”

“That’s a result of your hard work and integrity. Why did you get involved here?”

He rubbed his jaw before he responded. “When I was building my house and thinking we’d be living here, I jumped into a few things but dropped out of everything but this. Maybe I’ll start a production company here one day.”

People pointed at the Maserati as we drove through the shopping center parking lot to the theater. With his hand on my back, we mingled with film buffs of all stripes. His charm enchanted everyone, and I was arm candy—which amazed me. All I did was grin like an idiot, standing with his arm around my waist. Often he would look down at me with appreciation, that seldom-seen expression. If I didn’t force myself to focus on the conversation, my thoughts raced to the future and all the possibilities, including how this could end and how much it would hurt, even if we spent no more time together.

Charlie received his Visionary Award from the film foundation’s president and gave a short speech. I stood with the rest of the audience for a resounding ovation. He remained onstage for a photo, then motioned for me to join him. “This is Lily Mayfield,” he told the press. “One day in the not too distant future, she’ll be making her own films.”

“Any plans, Ms. Mayfield?” someone asked.

“Nothing definite,” I said with a slight laugh.

“Your first encounter with the paparazzi,” Charlie said as we walked away.

“And my last.”

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