Dear Readers: I have gotten some (deserved) criticism of my lesbian stories for a lack of emotional content and a focus on story structure over content. While I am proud of my other stories, I decided to do something different. This is a simple story of emotional discovery and I hope it appeals to people who might have wanted something different from me. It builds slow, but the pay off is worth it. Enjoy!
The door to the restaurant had a vague mirror-like quality and I stopped to look at my reflection before walking in. My stomach was flipping over itself and I was nervous to even attempt to gauge how I looked. It had been a very long time since I had been on a first date (or any date, really) and I had never been on a blind date before. I was so nervous that I leaned one hand on the side of the wall to keep myself steady as I inspected myself.
Unfortunately, I saw exactly what I expected to see. A mess. I’d walked twenty blocks from my apartment (“it’s a nice night!” I said to myself, “and I am early, might as well walk.” Moron) and my hair hadn’t stood up well. I kept my black hair long and had straightened it before I left, but it was a getting frizzy from the humid air. My eye shadow, which had looked smoky when I put it on at the apartment, looked a little raccoonish now around my large, green eyes. I have exceptionally pale skin and so, in my apartment, I’d tried to redden my cheeks a bit. Now I found in the natural light that I’d put it on too thickly, looking a bit whorish. Somehow, the bright color made my aquiline nose look even bigger than usual. At least my teeth were white.
Below my neck, the situation was even worse. I had debated a long time about what, exactly, I should wear. I’d tried on several dresses, ranging from conservative to slutty. But I finally decided that none of them worked. I’d put on a suit I often wore to work because I liked the way it made my ass look. But now, looking at myself in the reflection, I found I looked far too professional for an evening dinner date. The suit was form fitting with a short coat and tight pants, but it still looked like I was preparing to meet clients. My small feet were clad in flats that didn’t exactly scream “I am ready to date.” Worse, for some reason I’d buttoned my shirt all the way up to my throat.
I quickly pulled out some tissues and dialed back the makeup on my face, giving it more even look around my eyes and cheeks. I also used a corner of a tissue to straighten up my deep red lip stick. I didn’t want to whip a brush out in the middle of the street or anything, so I just patted my hair down as best I could. Finally, I self-consciously unbuttoned the top two buttons blouse, exposing the tops of my 34-C breasts. I looked into the half-reflection of the door again and saw, once again, what I expected to see: a desperate 5’3, 138lbs, 34-year old woman who hadn’t been on a date in six months and hadn’t been fucked in nearly a year. But hey, at least my make-up looked better.
I took a deep breath and pushed the door open. The restaurant was dimly lit and with what appeared to be bare bulbs hanging down on wires from the 15 foot ceilings. I looked around the room and saw that the dining area was very deep and narrow. I looked in the back of the room and saw a wave-shaped bar against the back wall, it was also dimly lit, though it had a somewhat green color. There were tables against both side walls, so that one person would sit on a chair facing the wall and another person in a booth seat across from them. There was a narrow hallway down the middle between the backs of all the chairs. The door entered on the right, front side of this dining room and the hostess’ stand was directly in front. I looked to my left as I walked in and saw one booth against the large window pane in front of the restaurant. The hostess smiled at me.
“Good evening, welcome to Apple, do you have a reservation?” she asked sweetly. This was, by far, the trendiest restaurant I’d been in since I’d entered my thirties. I looked around the room and saw a large crowd of hip people talking quietly. How had Kim and Eric thought this place would fit me? If I was going on a date with someone who would like this place, how could he fit me?
“I uh…I am meeting someone here. My friends said you’d be aware…” I said. God, was there anything more mortifying than that? ‘Hello, I am a grown woman going on a blind date; I was told this restaurant had a separate “desperation” section with a separate ventilation system…’
“Oh, you’re one of Kim’s friends,” the hostess said and I blushed, “How is she doing?”
“Fine,” I said awkwardly. Glad to be the center of attention here.
“She used to bartend her like two years ago, I hadn’t heard from her for a while before she called to set up this reservation,” she explained. I had forgotten that my close friend Kim had taken up bartending for a couple of months after she quit teaching and before she became an accountant.
“Oh yeah…” I bursa eve gelen escort said. Not certain what I was supposed to ad.
“So are you Ash or Riley?” She asked.
“Oh, uh…” I said, I hadn’t expected that. I hadn’t known my date’s name. I was just told to show up at a time and what to say to the hostess. But it was surprising that we both happened to have androgynous names. I suppose either Ash or Riley could be a man’s name, or a woman’s name, “I am Ash.”
“Well you are the first one here, let me show you to your seat,” the hostess said. She grabbed two menus and a wine list. She quickly moved from behind the stand and beckoned for me to follow. She led me right to the booth in the window. She pointed to the seat where my back would be to the door and I sat down.
“Thank you,” I said nervously.
“When you date arrived I will show them to the table,” she said then she turned and left. I slunk down in the booth and looked at my watch. It was already 5 minutes after 9. I thought I was going to be late. Maybe “Riley” was blowing me off and I could go home and watch television in my pajamas like a normal, happy Friday night.
How had I let Kim and Eric talk me into this? Kim and I had gone to college together, freshman roommates in fact. She was pretty much the only person from college I kept in touch with. She was still my best friend in the city, maybe in the world. And Eric was her husband, they’d met junior year. I hadn’t liked him much at first, but he’d grown on me. All of that was to say that they’d both known me for around 15 years. They knew I’d been more relieved than anything when I’d decided to give up on dating six months ago. Kim, and I suppose Eric, had heard all of my horror stories about deadbeat boyfriends and awful dates.
Yet here I was, sitting in a booth waiting for some guy named “Riley” from Eric’s office to show up. I had resisted this date for three solid weeks. I remember the first time it came up, Kim and I were sitting on the couch at her place, Eric wasn’t yet home from the office.
“So, what are you doing this weekend?” She’d asked and I’d snorted.
“Working, were you under the impression I get weekends?” I asked. I worked around 70 hours a week, usually ten hours a day, every day.
“It is supposed to be nice out this week, you should take a day off, relax,” Kim had said. She kept her eyes on the television, but I saw her look at me out of the corner of her field of vision, gauging me.
“I don’t have the time,” I said. Now it was Kim’s turn to snort.
“You’ve been at that office since you graduated from business school and you’ve never taken a day off. You must have a solid month of personal leave and a month of sick leave all saved up,” she said. Actually, it was a lot more than that. But I liked to be busy and liked to work. Besides, what did she care if I didn’t take my sick days?
“Yeah well, there is a lot to do this week. They really can’t be without me this weekend,” I said in a voice that indicated I didn’t want to talk about this.
“So said every office drone ever!” Kim shot back. I turned and looked at her now and she turned too.
“What?” I asked.
“What what?” she asked.
“Why do you want me out of the office on Saturday? This isn’t another ill-fated surprise birthday party is it?” I asked, referring to a notorious event ten years earlier in which no one except for Eric had showed up for my surprise party. Not even me. Everyone stuck in traffic. Kim laughed, probably remembering that day.
“No, it isn’t even your birthday for a month.”
“That’s what makes it a surprise,” I replied.
“No,” Kim said, getting a little more serious now, “In all honesty, Eric said there is someone at his office who he thinks would be absolutely perfect for you and…”
“No, thank you, but no,” I’d said.
“Come on,” Kim said, inching closer to me on the couch, “Consider it a favor to Eric.”
“Eric owes me six favors already remember? Three trips to the airport, babysitting your son twice, and babysitting your dog once,” I noted.
“Then as a favor to me, he said this person would be perfect for you. It could be fun,” she said.
“No,” I’d said again.
“Come on, just hear me out,” she’d pleaded. I found it sort of off putting and I decided to put an end to it.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” I said, loudly and rudely and then I turned back to the television and made it very clear that the conversation was over. And with that she’d dropped it. But every night for the next two weeks when I saw her, or spoke with her on the phone, she’d gently broached the subject again. She’d be quiet about it whenever I told her to drop it, but she’d always find a way to bring it back up again. She was really driving me insane.
It was about two weeks to the day that I’d finally caved, but not without a fight. We were sitting on the couch again, but both of us were drinking coffee bursa escort and just chitchatting about our days. Suddenly, Kim became quiet. It was clear she wasn’t listening to what I was saying anymore. It looked like she was summoning her strength for something. Kim took a deep breath and let out a sigh.
“Ash,” she said and I looked over at her, she refused to make eye contact, “You know that I love you and I am always going to love you,” she said. I felt my heart quicken. My mouth went dry and my palms got wet. I was nervous. This sounded like the start of a bad conversation. What was she going to say?
“What? Is something wrong?”
“I am worried about you,” she said finally, “And I can’t sit by and let this happen anymore. I love you and want you to do what makes you happy, but I can’t sit by while you choose to be miserable,” she explained. I felt like I’d been slapped. I had not expected that. I put my hands up and shook my head.
“I am happy Kim, really. Happier than I ever was when I was dating,” I explained, feeling defensive. Kim had never questioned my life choices before, just like I didn’t question hers. If she wanted to marry and have a boatload of kids, more power to her. If I wanted to be alone and focus on my work, that was my choice.
“Ash I know you. You are not happy. You haven’t been happy in a long time,” she said. I could see tears in the corner of her eye and I felt my defensiveness fade. Even if she was wrong (and I told myself that she was totally, TOTALLY wrong), she at least was being sincere.
“I am happier than when I was with Todd,” I said, referring to my most recent serious boyfriend (and the last person I’d slept with).
“Well yeah, that isn’t saying much,” Kim said, “I think that you always date…the wrong kind of people…and are miserable, that you think the absence of misery is happiness.” Now she looked up, her eyes slightly red. I felt a pang, Kim had touched on something. I felt a shiver.
“I am good,” I said, my voice sounding small and cracking.
“Ash, how often do we see each other? How often do we talk?” she asked suddenly seeming to change the subject.
“Every day I guess,” I said sheepishly and she nodded.
“At least once, usually two or three times a day. You are here almost every single day, even if we talk on the phone twice while you’re at work,” she said.
“We are best friends; that’s what best friends do,” I said, wondering what she was getting at.
“We are not best friends,” she said and I felt the wind come out of me. Not best friends? What the hell did that mean? One minute we were talking about some stupid blind date and the next we were talking about…what? Not being friends.
“We…” I started, feeling sluggish and off-kilter, but Kim put her hand up.
“I am your best friend. And you are my best female friend, the person I go to when I need someone outside of my marriage to talk to. You were the maid of honor at my wedding. We have a very special bond and I recognize that. We had it when we first met. We will always have that. But Eric is my best friend,” she said, and I her words came out choked, like it was hurting her to say this. I felt my cheeks getting red, embarrassed and angry at myself. I hadn’t expected that.
“I never meant to like…insert myself into your marriage; I wasn’t trying to be a third wheel or something…” I stumbled. I felt myself crying now. I felt so stupid. All this time, Eric and Kim were resenting me, wishing I would go away. And there I was, oblivious to how annoying and intrusive I was.
“Oh please Ash, you know that isn’t what I mean,” Kim said, actually sounding angry at me, “I love you and Eric loves you. We like that you are around all the time, we like that Steven has an ‘aunt’ who is with him all the time. Don’t be stupid. I am not telling you to butt out or something, it isn’t about that.” Now I was more confused than ever.
“Then what are you saying?”
“I am saying…I am saying that you need something more in your life that what you have,” she said. She reached forward on the couch and grabbed my hands. She looked deeply into my eyes. I was so confused and still embarrassed but I found comfort in my friend’s touch. I could feel her affection for me and see love in her eyes, “I am not talking about my needs or my…whatever. I am not talking about me. You. I can tell, and Eric can tell, that you are not happy. You are not miserable anymore, but you aren’t happy. You are grasping for something here, with me, that my family and I just cannot provide for you. You need intimacy, and I don’t mean sex. You need… you need more than I can give you as your best friend. You need to love someone and be loved by someone on a level that you don’t have. You need what I have with Eric.”
I felt myself getting angry again. Of course I’d compared my life to Kim and Eric’s life together in the past and found it…less fulfilling by comparison. And yes I wanted görükle escort something that they had, but it wasn’t Kim’s place to tell me that. It wasn’t her place to rub it into my face that I was less complete than she was. I resented it and I stood up quickly to leave her house.
“I am not some pathetic loser…”
“Ash, honey that isn’t what I am…”
“I don’t need what you have, just because what you have makes you happy, doesn’t mean that everyone wants it or needs it…”
“I am sorry,” she said suddenly, “I said it all wrong. I know that. Trust me, I definitely wasn’t trying to say anything more than…please stop and listen.” I had been moving towards her door but I stopped.
“Okay,” I said coldly, deciding to give her one last chance.
“I am not saying that I have the key to happiness and you just need to follow my example and you will get it. I am saying that…I think you want a romantic relationship whether you know it or not. I think you want something that you don’t even know that you want and cannot understand. In the same way you knew I was pregnant before I did, before the test knew, because you know me so well. I know this because I love you. I am saying this for the sake of that connection; I want you to trust me. And if you go on this date and you feel less happy with this person from Eric’s work than you do here with us, then you come back and we forget I ever said anything. I will admit I was wrong, and that will end it. But do me this favor.”
I looked at Kim on the couch. She was leaning towards me, her face was absolutely earnest. While I knew she was wrong about me, I also knew that she thought she was looking out for me. I felt my anger fall, replaced by a little bit of embarrassment, but also a potent love for my friend. She always looked out for me, how could I need anything more in my life? But I knew she was hurting. Hurting for me, even if she had no business doing so. I was touched. And I wanted to stop her suffering.
“One date?” I asked.
“Only have to commit to one,” she said, her face relaxing, she knew I was in.
“Okay,” I mumbled and she smiled widely, making me smile in return.
“Thank you,” she said, “But trust me, in a couple of days, you’ll be thanking me.”
“I doubt it,” I’d said.
Now, sitting in the booth in “Apples,” nervously playing with my bread knife, I found that my prediction was, unfortunately, extremely accurate. If things kept up this way, I would not be thanking anyone for any of this. At least my obligation would be discharged. I’d never have to go through this nonsense again. I looked at my watch again. Another ten minutes had passed. I resolved that Riley didn’t arrive in three minutes I was going to leave. I kept my eyes down on the clock, willing it forward until I reached my excused time. With just thirty seconds left, I heard hostesses voice.
“Right here,” she said and I felt my heart jump into my throat. So close to getting out of this, but now my date was here. I looked up as a person flopped into the seat across me.
“I am so sorry,” she said, “I could get a c…oh…I am sorry… must be the wrong table.” It was, I was shocked to find, a woman sitting across from me. Clearly, more than one date was going on tonight and the hostess had made a pretty blatant error.
“Yeah uh…” I said, “I am waiting on a blind date…” I looked to find the hostess, but she had already walked away.
“Me too,” the woman said. She was a good deal younger than me; I estimated she was around 25 years old. She didn’t exactly look like she was prepared for a date, though I had to admit she looked much prettier than me. She was around the same height as me, but much thinner. While I had a voluptuous build (or doughy if you ask me on a day when I am not feeling so hot about myself), she was rail thin. I estimated she weighed around 105lbs. She was wearing a tight white t-shirt with black lettering that said “The Clash” and a pair of skin-tight black jeans. She had small, perky breasts that sat up high in her t-shirt, a flat stomach, somewhat narrow hips, and thin legs. I noticed (for some reason) that she had small, delicate hands that clasped her iphone and her fingernails were painted black. She had pale white skin, thick pink lips, a small pixie nose and bright, massive blue eyes. Her make-up was kind of intense though applied with some skill. Most strikingly perhaps, she had messy dirty-blonde hair underneath a trendy black hat. And when I say messy, I mean it had a strong rat’s nest appearance. Though, somehow given her general appearance, it actually kind of worked.
I laughed a little to myself, not exactly the tall, dark and handsome date I’d expected. “I guess the restaurant made a mistake, we will get it sorted out when the waitress comes,” I said. The girl nodded. She gave me an awkward smile, pretty and toothy.
“I should’ve figured something like this would happen, my luck,” the woman said and shrugged her shoulders. She sort of stretched out a bit, looking a bit tired. She arched her back into the booth, pressing her breasts forward against her tight shirt, and then leaned back.
“Oh I know, I told my friend this was going to happen. Well, I mean not this exactly, but something bad,” I said and the woman nodded.