I was fidgeting in my seat waiting for Boss to show up. I biked to a vegetarian restaurant in Phinney Ridge and sat near the window, the better to see how Boss was going to stand me up for our date. I couldn’t remember being so nervous about a date with Ian, or James, or any of the guys from OK Cupid.
All the confidence Molly instilled in me about being a strong, empowered woman in both my career and love life was left somewhere behind me, perhaps at the office, or maybe it fell away when I was biking up the hill. That confident woman was nowhere to be seen, because I was a nervous mess.
Just when I was about to throw up or cry because Boss was late (three minutes late), I saw him walk up the sidewalk and smile at me through the glass.
He strode in to the restaurant, past the hostess, and sat across from me. He was wearing the same light blue shirt and black slacks from today, but his top button was unbuttoned, and his tie was nowhere to be seen. He looked amazing, so amazing I felt myself melting into a puddle across from him when he smiled at me and said, “Hey, sorry I’m late.”
“That’s alright,” I squeaked. I couldn’t believe my voice worked at all.
All day at the office was uncomfortable. He kept walking by me and giving me this secret smile, and every time my mouth went dry and I couldn’t think of anything to say. I didn’t know if he was teasing me or if he was excited about our date. He didn’t say a word to me all day, not until he was sitting across from me, only some silverware and a candle in between us.
He reached across the table and grabbed my hand, and I’m sure my eyes dilated to twelve times their size. He rubbed my knuckles with his thumb and said, “Thank you for asking me out. You’re braver than me.”
“Oh?” I said, unable to take my eyes off our hands interlocked.
“Do you have any idea how long I wanted to ask you out?” he said, his voice low.
I shook my head and looked up at him in total shock. “Two years. Ever since that day in the elevator.”
“Oh,” I said again, like an idiot, and just then the server appeared with two glasses of water, breaking both the desire I was feeling right that second, and the guilt I had over having Ian’s brother sitting across from me and not caring at all that it was Ian’s brother.
After the server left, Boss leaned across the table, picked up my hand and kissed my palm. My mouth dropped open in surprise at his forwardness. I had no idea. None. And right then I really, really didn’t want to be in a restaurant with thirty other people.