Sunday, May 04, 2008

My May Day Aubade

“Won’t Stop” OneRepublic

His lips wouldn’t stop moving.

I was not listening, but pushing food around my plate and adding the expected and attentive “Yes” or “I see” or “Right,” etc.

It’s a shame, too. He was actually rather attractive with his longer than necessary wavy auburn hair that kept falling in front of his eyes forcing his large, bronzed hand to push it back…again. And his smile was generous, nice full lips, perfect even white teeth. Straight, autocratic nose. Strong jaw bones. Everything that added up to a very handsome face. His overall physical presence was also a little intimidating. He was extremely tall, broad in the shoulders, narrow in the hips. I could enjoy looking at him for a while, that was certain.

But he would not stop talking, and I was losing interest fast. He chose the restaurant since I chose the day and time. Mutual friends thought we would have the “food thing” in common. Thanks, Sara. We totally have that in common (roll eyes here). Just because I happened to appreciate really good food, my friends thought I had a monopoly on nice restaurants in Los Angeles…well, that and they knew how particular I was about my food, but only when appropriate. I was not so much of a snob that I couldn’t appreciate really good street food as well (ala Philippe’s, a Los Angeles French dip icon).

So, here we were, having dinner at this cozy, little hole of a charming French patisserie called the Little Door, his obviously very proud pick. He had not stopped talking about it since we got seated. I was conflicted; should I be taking him seriously or is he really this full of himself? I refocused on my food.

“Don’t you agree?”

I could faintly hear someone asking me a question. I looked up across the table at his large, serious and questioning expression. He was anticipating an answer from me, and I didn’t know what I was about to agree to. But guiltily I had not been listening, tuned him out a good one or two courses ago as a matter of fact.

I responded purposefully…because the more convincing I sounded, the more believable I knew I would come across. “Yes, I agree.”

My answer must have satisfied him because he continued to talk and seemingly with more fervor if possible. This time I did not feel guilty as I turned to my plate, a delectable feast of a lobster tail medallion with avocado and Belgian endive lightly doused in a blood orange and avocado oil vinaigrette.

He had ordered the seared foie gras napoleon with granny smith apple compote and puff pastry in a port wine reduction. Again, another choice that he was particularly proud of as with every bite he commented about his food.

“Are you enjoying yourself?”

Again, I realized I was being asked a question, so I dutifully looked up at him. This time the expression on his boyishly attractive face was a little flushed, a little worried. Hmmm…interesting; it slightly caught me off guard. Why would he care what I was thinking or feeling? I decided to pursue this look of his with a question back.

“Why wouldn’t I be enjoying myself?” I smiled sweetly and innocently. I was not giving him any help.

He hesitated before responding gingerly, “Because I feel like I’ve been having a one-sided conversation since we got here.” He smiled as if trying to playfully chide me. He was very cute.

His smile did irk me just a little, though. “Well, actually I haven’t been able to get a word in edgewise now that you mention it. You’ve been talking for both of us the whole time, you know.” I gave him back his winning smile. If you wanna play, I can play.

He looked at me quizzically. “Hmmm…I’m sorry if I’ve been doing most of the talking.” He cleared his throat. “I’m sure you can probably tell why.”

Was he being coy?

“I have no idea.” I responded almost impatiently. “Are you nervous?”

“Yes, actually. I—I am.” He stuttered.

Mr. Brawny Know-It-All nervous? I couldn’t even wrap my head around the idea, it seemed so preposterous. But looking at the expression on his face, with his raised brows and shy half-smile, I could have sworn that I was witnessing discomfort sitting in front of me.

“What are you nervous about?” Curiosity was getting the better of me, so I softened a little.

“Well—simply put, I like you.” He was quietly matter-of-fact, hiding nothing. “But…I’m guessing you don’t return the favor…which is okay. I was hopeful going into tonight, though.” He took a deep breath and settled his broad frame back in his seat with that half-smile again, but more resigned this time.

Okay, this was bizarre and completely unexpected. I had to probe further.

“You don’t even know me. How could you like me? I’m pretty sure this is the first time we’ve ever met.” I instantly performed a mental inventory of moments out with our mutual friends soaked up in too much wine and where I might have actually met him. I was drawing a blank.

“No, we haven’t met in person before. This is our first time.” He paused, and mischievously smirked. “It’s just that I’ve heard so much about you, and I’ve seen a lot of pictures.” Pause. “It was my idea to have this blind date actually.”

Wait, what?!

“Uh, you mean to tell me that you are the reason why we were set up to begin with?”

“Yes, I am.” He nervously chuckled.

As the idea slowly dawned on me, I became almost protective of him, and wanted to reassure him that I thought he was actually endearing, so I reached my hand over the table and laid it over his. I was not expecting to feel anything, let alone an instant jolt of electricity, but I did. I could tell that he sensed it, too.

My voice surprisingly caught before I could get out a lame and inadequate, “Well, then. I’m sorry for misreading your intentions tonight.”

He slowly smiled, and his hand turned around to engulf my much smaller one. “You know, you’re shorter than I imagined,” he teased.

I completely blushed. I was totally in the conversation now.

He continued, “And your hair…there’s so much of it…it’s beautiful.”

I blinked. Had the conversation really headed in this direction?

“I’m sorry. Are you serious? What you’re saying?” I shook my head, “Are you teasing me?” I was incredulous.

“No, I mean every word.” He responded quietly, pointedly. His look turned somber. His grasp on my hand tightened. He was all but staring at me now, and I wanted to fidget, turn away for a second to collect my thoughts, but he was still holding my hand at the table.

“Now you’re making me nervous.” I couldn’t believe we had spent the last hour together, and I had hardly recognized that he existed. I had mistaken his chatter for arrogance and disinterest. “Can we talk? Really talk. Get to know each other a little. No more about food. I know plenty about it.”

He grinned, “So, I wasn’t impressing you then.”

“Were you trying to?” I peered up at him sheepishly.

“Well, yes, of course. I know how much you are into food, so I was trying to impress you with my knowledge…but I haven’t, have I.” It was more of a statement than a question.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t think that I’ve been really listening to anything you’ve been saying.” We both laughed.

He let go of my hand then and sat up straight in his chair. “Okay, let’s start over.”

I looked at him questioning, but he held his hand out to me over the table, “Hi, my name is….”

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