He chuckled and walked closer.
“I’m glad you made it. What did you think? It’s way more exciting live, right?”
My eyes went wide. “Oh, wow… it is a whole other animal live. My heart is still pounding. I’m so glad you asked me to come.”
“I’m glad you came,” Ted said. “How soon are we going to get you up on that motorcycle?”
I shook my head. “Oh, no. I don’t think I would ever have the kind of courage it takes to do what I just saw. My hat is off to you and I am forever in awe of you.”
“Thanks. So, what are you doing now?”
“Um, I don’t know,” I said. “I was just going to go home and maybe call it an early night. I know it’s only eleven, but some people would call that late, even if it is Saturday.”
He laughed at my teasing in an almost adorable “awe shucks” kind of way. Wow, he was cute as hell. And standing there in the dark parking lot with him and hardly anyone else around close to us I couldn’t help but feel the intimacy between the two of us building. There was warmth there, almost like some kind of a soft blanket that I could almost reach out and touch between us.
I was a little bit scared of this. To feel this close to someone I did not know well at all… it was overwhelming. Yeah, that is the best way to put it. So many emotions were coming at me from all sides, but I let them roll off me and just allowed myself to be in the moment enjoying myself with him.
“Well, I agree it is past my bedtime,” Ted replied. “How would you like to go out to dinner tomorrow night?”
“I’d love to,” I said.
“Great. How about I pick you up at seven?”
“Sounds great,” I said.
We swapped phones for a moment and input each other’s numbers.
“Alright, I’ll text you the details tomorrow then?” I asked.
Ted smiled and started to walk towards his car. “Sounds great. You have a great night, Leia.”
I went home feeling so good about myself. But I had some things I needed to think long and hard about before I opened myself up to even the possibility of a relationship.
* * *
“Pasta is your favorite food?”
Ted shrugged and looked at me with a blank expression. “So? What’s wrong with that?”
“Well, there are a zillion types of pasta and sauce and toppings; what is your favorite?”
He thought for a moment, leaned back, and rubbed his chin. This was of the utmost importance and he obviously did not want to give me any wrong answers here.
“I would have to say, that I favor Chicken Alfredo. I like to keep things simple. But I do love Spaghetti and meatballs, plus linguini in clam sauce is a close third. Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever met a pasta dish I didn’t like. But I have met several that didn’t like me.”
I almost choked on the bite of pasta I was eating. Ted had the ability to say something so completely random in just the right way that it would crack me up senseless. I’d never met anyone who could do that, except my father. He and Ted would have gotten along famously.
Ted had picked me up at an apartment belonging to my girlfriend Penny who let me borrow it for the evening (I was just not ready to tell him who I really was or that I was wealthy) and he’d taken me to an Italian place called Gambitti’s. It was a quaint little place a bit off the beaten path but not far from the heart of the city. I was impressed that he knew such a well-kept secret. The food was amazing.
We started the dinner off with unlimited garlic bread that melted in my mouth. I could have eaten nothing but that and it would have been the best meal I’d had in a long time. After that we ordered our entrees and I decided I would try a dish with rigatoni and a lime sauce, mostly since I’d eaten so much bread already. It was good to balance it out, and this was also perfect.
This combined with a bottle of red wine had made it the best dinner date I’d ever been on.
And the conversation was so much fun. You know it’s going well when you almost forget to eat because you are talking so much back and forth.
“So, how is the knee?” I asked as we waited for our desserts. Ted had talked me into ordering some Tiramisu. I was going to feel like a slug the next day, but I figured I might as well. He could be very persuasive.
“Oh,” Ted said. “It’s actually doing better. It was a bit sore and it kept slowing me down during the race as I tried to turn the corners, but I think it will be fine in a few weeks. I tell you, the doctor was not kidding when he told me the pain would kick in. I almost wish I hadn’t thrown away that prescription for the pain meds.”