Chapter 3 of Shades of Twilight.

It was about five before I actually got around to deciding what I was going to be wearing tonight. I was torn between actually wearing something nice, or something not-so-nice. After all, was this a date, or wasn’t it? I finally decided to follow what he had said himself. After all, I didn’t want to appear overeager or anything. With an hour and a half left, I decided to do my nails. I knew I was going to be cutting it close, but hey, I’m worth it. Five o’clock, I was outside, wearing a pair of new jeans, and a green tee shirt. I really began to wonder if maybe I had underdone it. Typical of me to go too far one way or the other. I thought my green Nikes looked okay with what I was wearing, but…

Just as I was about to run back in and change everything for what I’m sure would have been the exact opposite extreme, Mike chose that moment to turn up the street.

I recognized the smooth purr of the Trans Am even before it turned the corner. Mind you, it was way louder than the little Honda I drove, rumbling like any big muscle car would, but Mike must have kept it so well tuned, as the rumble was most definitely closer to a smooth purr than a roar. A thrill ran up my body as I realized he was here, and I totally forgot that I was about to run back in and change. He whipped the car around in a U-ey, pulling to a stop in front of me.

“Need a ride?” His voice was silky smooth as he reached over and opened the door for me. “You look awesome.”

“Thanks, it’s just something I threw on.” I smiled at him as I climbed into the car, and yet the fact that he said something sent a thrill of pleasure through me. I couldn’t help but wonder what was going on. Normally, I don’t react this way to men. After all, these things never work out. I meet a nice guy who turns out to be a jerk, or they turn out to be okay, but then decide they’re not interested in me. Typical Melissa date. I got used to expecting failure even before we would go out. After all, if I had no real expectations, how could I be disappointed when things didn’t work out?

With Mike, things were different. I found myself wanting to have expectations. Hopes and fantasies played at the edge of my mind as he tried to make small talk with me. I just found myself wanting to get lost in his voice. The world passed by outside my window but all I really could do was listen, enraptured by everything this man I had just met said. Every time I answered a question, I wasn’t sure what I had said, as my intent was to keep him talking so that I could just bask in the sound of that husky, silky voice.

“So, I hope you don’t mind.” he said, and I realized that I had missed everything he had just said even while I had sat there listening to every word he spoke. “Well. Do you?”

I smiled and swallowed before answering. “I’m sorry,” I put my hand to my forehead. “I wasn’t feeling right just then. Could you repeat that?” I smiled sheepishly.

He smiled that disarming smile at me, the one that made my stomach do flip-flops and just nodded as if he understood, then repeated himself as if it wasn’t a problem.

“I said, I hope you love authentic French cuisine?”

“I guess?” I answered, not really knowing what he considered authentic French food. After all, I had heard about them eating snails and such, but as far as I knew, I had only come in contact with French toast, and oh yeah, French fries, and some how I doubted any of that was authentic French food.

“You don’t know?” He laughed. I liked the sound of it, even if he was quite possibly laughing at me.

“Well, I’m not sure.”

“Don’t worry, I wont steer you wrong.” Smiling, he actually began to speed up. We were on the freeway now, flying down interstate five, heading for what looked like downtown Portland. I usually didn’t come over here, not that it wasn’t nice or anything, it was just Portland was such a big city, and to be honest I got lost all the time. The few times that I actually drove across the river and went there, if I didn’t take the wrong exit in the maze that was a freeway, then I would usually find myself all turned around thanks to all the different one way streets that the downtown area seemed to be made up of. There really seemed no rhyme or reason to them as far as I could tell. The one time that I had actually went to pick someone up from the bus station it had been a nightmare for me. So from then on I swore off the place and made it my mission to never visit it again unless I had no choice in the matter. Like this time, apparently.

“So where are we going?” I asked as I really didn’t know much about the city that right next to where I lived.

“A little place called Le Pigeon. It’s a wonderful place, and I’m sure you’re going to love it.” His smile was infectious as he talked. Personally I would have been happy with Burger King and a Whopper. But hey, he was paying and I couldn’t say no to the guy who rescued me, now could I?

We parked in a nearby parking garage and walked the rest of the way to the Pigeon. I began to have these images running through my mind of chefs in the back killing and roasting the little birds for meals. I realized that it wasn’t possible, but it didn’t help when we were handed a menu with a pigeon right on it.

“Um, what should I get?” I hesitantly opened the menu and just glanced at it. “I don’t suppose they have Whoppers?”

He shook his head and said, “Here, let me.” He took the menus as he went up to a counter and began talking to someone behind it. A few minutes later he sat back down across from me. “Now that’s taken care of, let’s talk.”

“Okay, what do you want to talk about?” I smiled and he smiled back. His gray blue eyes just seemed to swallow me up as I looked into them.

“To be frank, I just wanted to spend some more time with you.”

I felt myself blush as I realized what he said. I mean, how do you respond to something like that? My tongue felt completely tied into a knot, as he leaned forward and smiled at me.

“Um, do you eat here often?” I asked, looking for my voice and hoping I didn’t just sound like a squeak. Mike leaned back in his chair and his eyes became a bit unfocused. I wasn’t sure he was going to answer me at first until he said in a tired voice.

“I used to. A long time ago.”

That sounded a bit peculiar, and I found myself probing a bit deeper.

“What made you stop coming here?”

He sighed, “It’s complicated.” He looked down at the table breaking eye contact with me. As stupid as it sounds, I actually felt a rush of panic run through me when he did that. I really couldn’t tell you why I would feel that way, but everything about Mike seemed to fascinate me, and it disturbed me that I might of said or done something that might have hurt or offended him.

“I’m sorry,” I reached over and put my hand on his. The first thing that struck me was how cold and soft his hand felt at the same time. I had to admit, the air conditioner was up pretty high in here, as it had been another ninety-plus day. The concern I had must have shown on my face and been pretty obvious, as he quickly pulled his hand back. “I hope I wasn’t being too snoopy…”

He shook his head. “No, it’s not you, I was just thinking about the past.” He smiled again and for some reason I felt like the world was alright.

Just then the waiter came with a tray of food and set it down in front of me. “What would you like to drink?” he asked. I really hadn’t thought about it, as I had been sipping on my water during this whole time.

“A coke would be fine.” The man left as I stared down at my plate. A green, plant-like substance covered what appeared to be bread, and a piece of what I assumed was fish sat on top of it, held there with a toothpick. It was then that I noticed that Mike didn’t have anything on the table in front of him.

“Where’s yours?” I asked, wondering if they had somehow forgotten to bring his.

“I’m not hungry. I just ate.” He smiled. “Go ahead and chow down, I wont mind.”

I looked down at my food and thought about how weird that was. The plate of food didn’t help either, as I really had no idea what I was looking at, or if I really wanted to even try it. I picked up my fork and began to poke at it, hoping to somehow make it more appetizing in the process.

“What’s wrong? You don’t like it?”

“No, no,” I said, probably a little to fast. “It’s just, I was more in the mood for a Whopper.” I smiled sheepishly at him. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate this, it’s just…”

“You hate it!” He laughed. I’m not sure how to explain it, but his laugh sounded more like music to my ears. It was deep and most definably musical. I couldn’t tell what tune it reminded me of, but it was there.

“Well, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it.” He stood up just as the waiter was returning with my coke. “We need the check.” he said to the man and handed him some money. The waiter paused and looked at the table of food and frowned, as he took the cash and headed back to ring it up.

Fifteen minutes later we were racing back up Interstate Five heading back to Vancouver.

“Look, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to ruin your plans.” I said, desperately trying to make amends. I really hadn’t meant to be rude in anyway, it was just that the food wasn’t what I really was expecting when he had invited me out with him. I really felt bad that he had paid for that, and I hadn’t even eaten a bite of it.

“No worries,” he said as he pulled off right before the bridge back over to Washington and pulled into a Burger King.

“What?” I said with a bit of embarrassment in my voice. “You don’t have to go here.”

“Nonsense. I promised you a meal, Melissa, and a meal is what I’m going to get you.”

Minutes later I sat across from him in a booth, a Whopper with cheese, fries, and a chocolate shake sitting in front of me. I really had tried to stop him, but somehow he pried it right out of me, and of course he sat there with nothing but his heart stopping smile.

“Well go ahead. Eat.” He encouraged me. It was all so weird. I didn’t know what to think about it, and to top it off I really felt bad about the restaurant earlier.

“Listen, I’ll pay you back for that stuff back there at le bird, or what ever it was called.”

He shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. It was my fault for being presumptuous and taking you there the first place.”

“Hey, I’m the one who needs to thank you for saving my life” I said in response to him.

“Yeah… About that.”

I paused as I took a gulp of my shake, the hesitation and regret radiated off of him as he paused as well, and looked down at the table

“I feel somewhat responsible for that.”

“Why?” I laughed to break the tension. “It’s not like you pushed me in.”

“True. I know, it’s just that maybe if I hadn’t been there you wouldn’t have been emboldened to jump off.”

The idea that he could feel responsible for something I did should have set off some alarms in my head. After all, how could he have found anyway to blame himself? Instead it just seemed like the most adorable thing any one could have suggested. I really began to wonder in the back of my head, what kind of magic did this guy have that made me almost putty in his hands?

“Well, it’s a good thing you were there, or I wouldn’t be here right now, enjoying one of the best made hamburgers in the world.” I took a bite. It was actually my first one since we had sat down. I really didn’t like having him watch me do so, but the smell of the Whopper just overwhelmed my embarrassment, and after all, if the best looking guy in the whole world wanted to watch me eat, then why deny him that privilege? At least that’s what I told myself, as I began to chow down. We pretty much sat there in silence while I ate. He watched every single movement I made, and I’ll tell you I was really beginning to wonder why this didn’t creep me the hell out.

Minutes later, we were back on the freeway crossing the bridge and heading back to my place. I was a little sad that this visit was about to come to an end. The stars in the sky were bright and beautiful as we entered Vancouver proper. The wind was warm as it rushed over the open roof, and I realized how little I knew about Mike as we got closer to my home. The realization that this might be the last time I would see him made me sullen and I could feel tears welling up in my eyes as I dwelled upon that fact.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, and reached over to rub my head.

“Nothing.” I said as I turned my face away from him and quickly wiped my eyes.

“Melissa I can tell you’re bothered about something. You’re still not upset about that restaurant are you?”

I wanted to laugh when he asked that. It was actually the furthest thing from my mind. But how do you tell someone you had barely met, that you were worried you would never see them again?

“No, I’m fine.”

He just stared at me for a few seconds, pausing only long enough to check the road in front of him time to time. After a minute, he quit and went back to driving. There was so much I wanted to ask him, and so much I wanted to know, yet all I could do was sit there quietly feel sorry for myself, until he pulled in front of my little duplex.

“Thank you for letting me take you out Melissa. I really enjoyed your company.”

I smiled at him, still trying to shake the sadness that I felt. “I enjoyed it too, Mike.” I wanted to ask him if I could see him again, or if I would ever see him again. Yet, I just couldn’t bring myself to ask. I was afraid the minute I tried to share my feelings, the dam would burst and I would lose all control and start crying my eyes out.

If that didn’t scare away a man, I really wasn’t certain what would.

“If you don’t mind, could I call you some time?” He asked as I shut the car door.

I couldn’t even begin to explain the joy and excitement I felt the moment he asked me that. It was all I could do just to nod my head furiously, as I was afraid to answer because I was sure I would cry for joy. He smiled and waved as he pulled away, while I just stood there and watched him go.

Something was seriously wrong with me. I couldn’t remember anytime in the past that I had felt such a merry-go-round of emotions about any guy.

It was embarrassing, to say the least, and I really needed to get it under control before I chased this guy off.

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~ by targoun on September 13, 2010.

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