We were seated at an entirely-too-fancy-for-me restaurant. I had helmet hair and was still sweaty from my ride up Wallingford Avenue. I really hate Seattle hills some days.
I felt a little awkward when I saw the menu items. I didn’t even know what half of that stuff was, and I’m a foodie. Oh, and we were seated on the back patio with twinkle lights and tiny tables, surrounded by couples in love. I fidgeted with the strap to my bike helmet while I read the menu.
“What’s agnolotti?” I whispered across the table to Boss.
He whispered back, “I have no clue. Ask the server.” But when she suddenly appeared, I felt too shy, but Boss ordered it anyway and winked at me. My stomach flipped involuntarily. Stupid hormones. I ordered the risotto, because at least I could pronounce that.
Boss added on, “And two mojitos, too,” to his order and the server left. I couldn’t believe he would order something for me. Ian would never have done that. He wasn’t exactly a take-charge guy.
“I don’t drink,” I told him.
“Mojitos are delicious,” he said. “And I’ve seen you drink!”
“You don’t understand,” I started, but he waved his hand at me and said, “My treat.” I slumped down a little, too tired to explain myself. “So, where is Dominique tonight?” I asked.
Boss looked right at me and said, “You don’t know?”
“Why would I know?”
“Because Dominique said you saw her–”
“Getting ice cream? With Ian?”
“Yes,” he said, not explaining further. He raised his eyebrows as if to impart crucial information, but I wasn’t going to bite.
“So?” I asked. “So you and her broke up?”
“And, what, Dominique and Ian are a couple?”
At this, Boss started laughing. He actually laughed so loud that a few of the couples turned around and glared at us, and I mouthed a sorry to them. “What?” I said, annoyed.
“How could you possibly–why would you–I mean,” he said through his laugh-wheezes. “Could anyone be less Ian’s type than Dom?” he said, finally.
“But…but…they dated! Before. You told me.”
Boss sat up straighter at this and said, “Did you and Ian ever talk? About anything? Or did you just do other things?” His eyebrows went up and it looked like he was trying not to laugh at me some more.
I felt my face grow hot. I didn’t want to be having this conversation. “We talked! We talked a lot!” I said, trying to cover up my embarrassment somewhat poorly.
“Dom and Ian are friends. That’s all. Really good friends. I just thought you would have guessed, since I wasn’t with her at the shop.”
“Oh,” I said, completely flustered. “But you said that they had a history.”
“You know, I don’t feel like I should tell you this. It’s not really my place. You should talk to Ian.”
“Right. That’s possible,” I said. The server arrived with our mojitos, and I took a long sip. The liquid burned the back of my throat, so I took another long sip, hoping to make my meal more tolerable. Pretty soon I was lightheaded enough that I started uncontrollably giggling at everything Boss said, not that I could remember a thing he said.
I do remember ordering myself another mojito, and leaning over and trying the agnolotti Boss ordered. It turned out to be a pretentious way to say pasta with cheese. But it was so delicious I ignored the pretentiousness and ate some more. I also remember putting my feet on Boss’s legs after I was well past tipsy, and then when he was paying for our ridiculously expensive meal, leaning on him to stand up straight.
“You’re a lightweight,” he said.
I nodded and let out a small, “Mmm,” as I put my head on his shoulder, wrapping my hands around his arm and smiling at the warm feeling zinging through me.
“How are you going to get home?” he asked.
“Bike,” I murmured into his jacket.
“No,” he said, somewhat tersely. “I’ll take you home.”
“OK,” I said, and he put his hand around my waist and led me out to his car.