“I cannot believe you stopped kissing him!” Molly was screaming to mein the backseat where I was barricaded with hands covering my face and my iPod blasting at coal-miner-loud-levels as she barreled down I-5.
Molly is a scary driver, so scary that most of the time I grab the handles on the side of the car above the window until my knuckles turn white or I pass out, whichever comes first. Sarah is fond of calling those Molly’s “Oh Shit!” bars, because that’s what we’re all thinking when she drives.
“I thought you were all about me and Ian getting back together!” I yelled back, and then turned down my music.
“Well, I like Ian, but that kissing sounded really hot,” she said. Then she fanned herself.
Sarah turned around and said, “I think Molly’s pregnancy hormones are making her extra horny.” Sarah then turned to Molly and said, ”It’s not good for decision-making, Molly. You have to get back together with Chris.”
“Whatever. You have Ben. You don’t understand,” Molly huffed as she failed to drive in a straight line down the highway. I covered my eyes again.
“I just don’t think it’s a good idea to do anything until I talk with Ian,” I told them both.
“So you’re going to ask his blessing to date Boss?” Sarah asked.
I shrugged at her. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I was going to say to Ian. I didn’t know if I wanted to date Boss, or if I wanted Ian, or if it even mattered. Maybe it was too late for him.
After we got to the hotel and I had a restorative panic attack in the bathroom, I wore my best jeans and a new light pink striped scoop neck tee, and then put on just enough makeup to appear as though I wasn’t wearing any. I was going for the “I’m not trying at all but I’m just absolutely perfect” look. I stared at myself in the mirror and puffed out my cheeks because I had failed. I was definitely trying too hard to impress Ian. But for what reason?
Molly and Sarah walked me down to the cafe near Powell’s where I was meeting Ian, and then left in a hurry to pretend not to spy on me.
When Ian came in the door, I looked up, and then I stood up. I’m pretty sure my heart stopped beating. He looked so different.
“Hi,” I squeaked.
“Hi,” he smiled back at me.
“I like your hair.” I wanted to run my fingers through it. His long shaggy curls were cropped so short that his receding hairline showed. his beard was gone, and so were his glasses. If I hadn’t studied his face for hours, I wouldn’t even recognize him.
“Thanks. It’s my summer hair,” he said.
“Your summer hair?”
“Yeah, some are here, some are there. I now openly admit to my balding tendencies.”
I laughed and then said, “You’re hardly bald.” Really, Ian had the thickest, silkiest hair, and I wanted to run my hands through it, even though I knew I’d lost that right.
“Sure.” He smiled back at me and then I felt an uncomfortable shift. I didn’t know what to say next. I didn’t know what to do next. Should I sit down? Should I order him a drink? Before I could say anything, he said, “Do you mind if my friend joins us?”
And then she walked in the door. She was tall and thin and dressed a lot like Ian in a plaid shirt and tight jeans and Toms. She had on Ian’s big, dorky, hipster glasses, which made her seem ultra-cool. Her hair was in a messy top knot and her blonde curls fell everywhere. She was perfect. I hated her immediately.
“No problem,” I said in an octave too high. But this was a really big problem.