I’ve spent 80% of my life observing people and 100% of my life wishing I was them. I’ve always wondered what it’s like to have dinner with a beautiful woman who is zipped up in a gown that matches the Pinot in her glass. After dinner I’d take her to my apartment with a huge balcony overlooking the city life below. I’d offer her another glass or a cocktail because my liquor cabinet is fully stocked with the best gin, whiskey and tequila. She’ll know I mean business and is already slipping out of her gown before I grab the shaker.
Ordering off a menu is so much easier when you have Mercedes money in your pocket. Kelly’s cheeks flushed when I ordered a bottle of Pinot for the table. “Pinot is a smooth red,” I tell her, “it doesn’t feel weird going down like Chianti.” I’ve never had Chianti before. I probably wouldn’t know the difference between the two if I were to taste them. But that’s what the waiter who served me and Scarlett said when she had difficulty choosing between the two.
When our waiter brought the bottle over, I remembered Scarlett’s tasting technique. She brought the glass up to her face, squinted her eyes like she was looking at a test tube, before burying in her nose to catch a whiff. She took a sip and before swallowing she chewed it and swished it from one side of her mouth to the other. After she nodded, the waiter proceeded to pour me a glass.
Kelly giggled to herself when I took a sip. It was good. I think. Kelly ordered a chicken entree and I ordered a steak with a side of truffle fries. “Bring her an order of truffle fries with her entree too,” I said handing back my menu. “You’ll love them,” I winked at her and acquired my glass. Her cheeks blushed and I suddenly felt this chill run down my spine. My glass shook in my hand and when I took a sip, it went down like Chianti.
Kelly had changed into a dress with a floral design that stopped mid-thigh, and sprayed herself with the top shelf stash. The confetti sparkles on her chest matched the brightness in her eyes which complemented her smile, especially anytime she laughed or said my name. I made her laugh a lot and I don’t think it was just the wine, because every time we shared a laugh another chill ran down my spine and I caught a glimpse of her hands shaking too.
“So what’s the occasion?” Kelly asked, “I’ve never seen you like this.”
“Seen me like what?” I poured her a second glass. “In a shirt with no holes in it?” Kelly laughed and rocked side to side in her seat. She looked like a Barbie Doll with her eyes glazed over and glossy complexion. I was the best bottle of wine she had ever had. “It’s so easy for you, Kelly. You can put on whatever and you always look good.” She lost her balance when rocking to one side and almost knocked over her glass. “Thank God I’m driving, huh?” We both laugh and I wanted to kiss her so bad. She told me I looked handsome and it felt like my heart catapulted through my chest. Getting the bill at the end of the night felt different this time. I didn’t even break a sweat when I saw more than two numbers before the decimal. I retrieved two Benjamin’s and asked for change. Before we left, Kelly reapplied her lipstick. It gave me butterflies to think she might want to kiss me. We walked back to the car holding hands and our arms swung back and forth. With each swing, I got a whiff of her perfume and I felt like I was seconds from melting in her palm. We were the only ones in the parking lot. This pothole-ridden asphalt was our stage and we were inches from the spotlight. We hugged outside the car for a few minutes. “Your hair smells like licorice.”
“Licorice?” She mumbled.
“Mhm. I love licorice.”
Kelly stepped back and ran her fingers through her hair. A loose strand fell in front of her eyes; she looked so messily adorable. “I really loved tonight, Eric.” Her voice slurred, but it was smooth at the same time and cracked at all the right places. “You never told me the occasion though.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Those truffle fries were good, right?” I opened her door.
She crossed her arms and didn’t budge. She looked like some older badass chick every guy crushes on in high school even though she’s younger than me. “How did you afford that? We drank a whole bottle.”
“I quit my job today.”
Her arms and jaw dropped in disbelief.
“And I start a new one on Saturday.”
She collapsed into me and squeezed me so tight, similar to the way she squeezed her text books. “Holy shit! That’s great news.” She kissed me on the cheek and whispered, “I’m so proud of you,” in my ear and my whole body warmed up. “I want to know everything. What pushed you to leave the diner?”
“Simple,” I said, “I didn’t want to be a barfly forever.”