My talk with Aunt Donna helped me get my act together too. Now, I’m ready to face the devastatingly handsome Keith Commons with my armor on. I ride the elevator down to the lobby where I’m supposed to meet the CEO for dinner. As the doors slide open I take a deep breath, silently hoping I don’t slip on the polished lobby floor in my six inch stilettos.
Keith is standing there waiting for me, scrolling through his phone. He looks up when he hears the elevator ping and my heart melts and my knees go weak. I see him nearly every day in a suit and tie for work but something about this outfit is so much sexier. Tonight, he’s wearing a three piece, midnight blue suit with a slimmer fit than the ones he normally wears for work. The V created by the vest accentuates his broad shoulders and muscular chest.
He closes the distance between us as I step out of the elevator car and offers me his arm.
“You look amazing,” he growls in my ear before reaching into his pocket. “I got you a present that glitters, but really, nothing can outshine you tonight.”
He pulls out a single diamond dangling from a delicate gold chain. I start to open my mouth to protest and remember the conversation we had about the credit card earlier.
“It’s beautiful. Thank you,” I murmur.
My hair is already tamed into a low ponytail I have draped over my shoulder, and he fastens the bauble around my neck. The sensuous kiss he places at the top of my spine sends hot shivers down to my core.
“Shall we?” he asks, taking my arm again and leading me towards a dimly lit restaurant.
The restaurant is fancier than any I’ve ever eaten at before. We are seated at a round table with a black tablecloth and black linen napkins folded into little swans. I have three wine glasses, three forks, and three spoons. Hmmm, three is my lucky number. I wonder what piece of luck might come my way tonight.
“Why do I have three of everything?” I whisper to Keith.
He chuckles and explains. “You have an appetizer fork, a salad fork, and a dinner fork and you use them from the outside in. You have a soup spoon, a coffee teaspoon and a dessert spoon. Then there is a white wine glass, a red wine glass, and a glass for port.” He points to each one in turn.
“Which fork do I use if I get a salad as my dinner?”
“You won’t be getting a salad as your dinner.”
“What if I want a salad for my dinner?” I’m feeling a bit indignant at being told what I’m going to do.
Keith sighs. “Kelsey, do you really want a salad for dinner?”
“I don’t know what I want when I haven’t seen the menu,” I insist stubbornly, knowing I only ever order salads for dinner when I feel pressured to on a date.
“You aren’t going to see a menu, sweetheart, because we’re the only ones here. From a business standpoint it wouldn’t be practical for a restaurant to offer everything on the menu when they only have two customers. As a result, I’ve pre-ordered our meal for the evening. You will be getting a salad for your second course. It’s a lovely caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and a balsamic glaze. I’ll allow the rest of the courses to be a surprise.”
Wow, it’s so domineering for my date to pre-order everything for my meal, and yet it makes me feel quite coddled and wanted. My feminist streak should be outraged, but instead, I just feel taken care of. Sometime during Keith’s short declaration, we were served white wine and our water glasses were filled. Our waiter is now setting down mouthwatering garlic mussels in front of both of us. I touch the smallest fork at my place setting, the one Keith pointed out as the appetizer fork, torn between my need for independence and the realization that this man is simply trying to help me be myself.
Keith reaches across and touches my other hand that is resting by my wine glass.
“Kelsey, one of the things I’ve found so delightful about you is your refusal to fall into the traps women set for themselves. I walk through the office at lunch time and see salads or yogurt or some horrid meal supplement shake on nearly every woman’s desk. These women see it as some sort of noble sacrifice to deny themselves the joy of experiencing the tastes and textures of the fabulous food that New York has to offer. And it’s utterly silly.” He squeezes my hand and shoots me a warm smile. “Then, there you are, unabashedly enjoying pasta or tacos or pizza. And I think that’s a girl who knows how to appreciate the important things in life.”