I had managed to get into Lila’s good graces over the past few weeks that she agreed to join me at a music festival held in the park. I’d had my ticket for weeks, and it was no big deal to get another one. As fate would have it, the band that Chris’s bother was in was playing the festival, and he happened to have two free tickets that he asked if I wanted. I could have hugged him were we not at work, and he wasn’t my boss. It still seemed inappropriate even for a notoriously casual office where half the staff wore band shirts on a regular basis, and there was a full ping-pong court as well as vintage arcade games in the break room.
Sliding a first pressing of Ixnay On the Hombre into the CD player set below the tape deck, something else that had taken a lot of explaining, I did my best to relax, getting into a near zen state of consciousness.
It was a beautiful day. The sky was just about as sunny as my disposition. Something reflected by my shirt that day, which was bright powder blue with a prancing unicorn under a rainbow. If I was a donut, I would be a jelly-filled vanilla dipped with rainbow sprinkles.
“Oh, wow,” Lila said, catching sight of my shirt.
I did a little happy jig.
“Silly daddy!” Billy laughed, clapping his hands.
“No argument there, kiddo,” I said, standing up straight.
“Do you mind taking him?” Lila asked, handing the toddler over.
“Not at all,” I said, barely stopping myself before I added, “honey.”
Lila gently passed Billy over to me as I gave her our tickets, my hands then somewhat full. I had thought well ahead and unfurled the blanket from the wicker picnic basket I had brought along, claiming our place near enough the stage to hear the music without hurting Billy’s little ears, and in the pleasant shade of a big tree.
My beautiful blonde date wasn’t wearing much in the way of clothes, opting for a flowing, sleeveless summer dress and a pair of flip-flops. I stole several peeks at her beautiful body. If Lila didn’t like this, she didn’t let on.
“Hungry?” I asked.
“A bit,” she admitted.
Digging into the basket, I laid out the three-course lunch I had made. Including apple juice for Billy and soft apple cider for Lila and me. While I had been afraid at first, I didn’t go tumbling off the wagon after one drink. If anything, the impulsively downed scotch made me less likely to want to drink. My pallet had been cleansed, making me able to realize how genuinely disgusting it tasted. At least to me. Though, to be fair, I was a lot more geared towards sweet flavors as opposed to bitter or sour.
“T-this is amazing,” Lila said, sounding genuinely staggered.
“I do my best,” I said, unable to keep from smiling.
I could tell that Lila was trying to hold herself back. I got the impression that had she been alone, she would have been digging into the food with a lot more gusto. I really had tried my best and was happy that she liked it so much. My forethought had gone so far as to put some good things into the blender, making a sort of smoothie.
Lunch was surprisingly and pleasantly intimate, with long, warm looks from both me and Lila, our hands touching longer than was strictly necessary when reaching for the same thing.
“Is that —”
“Blink-182?” I asked when the bassline for “Dammit” started up over the PA.
“Indeed,” I confirmed.
“I pulled some favors,” I said with a shrug, “go on, I’ll watch the little ones.”
“A-are you sure?” Lila asked, still looking towards the stage.
“Of course,” I said, having planned it the entire time.
She got up and wiped her hands, giving me a very generous view up her dressed, which I could only assume was intentional and, kicking off her flip-flops so she could move better, nearly ran to join the mosh pit.
“Mommy go,” Billy squealed.
“Indeed,” I said.
It was getting dark when things started winding down. Dante Street Massacre was up doing one of the more symphonic of their Symphonic Metal songs. The crowd swaying and holding each other really into it like I had seen at Wacken heavy metal festival a couple of years ago when Chris had gotten me tickets.
“Bedtime,” Billy said, gently patting my shoulder. He was yawning, and I knew it was time to go.
As we packed up, Lila stopped and gave me a look. “Would you like to come back with us?”
Her words practically lifted me off my feet. “Sure. I even have a car seat now.”
Lila called Aria to call off the ride as I got the basket and baby loaded into the car. Switching over to something a bit more age-appropriate in terms of driving music, figuring that Billy didn’t understand Norwegian, I followed Lila’s directions back to their place.