“Is it time to go to Aunt Sarah’s?” Austin asked excitedly. He was going to my sister’s for the rest of the weekend to hang out with his cousins. Sarah was going to take them to the zoo for a Christmas event. She had the whole weekend planned.
“Eat your pancakes and then I’ll drop you off,” I told him. He made a funny face but did as he was told. I was lucky to have such a great kid.
After I dropped Austin off, I went to the gym and ran some errands. Before I knew it, it was time for my date with Tiffany. I drove to her house with a goofy smile on my face. Finally, I would be able to see her again and have one-on-one time. I was glad that I’d taken Sarah’s advice and decided to ask her out again. I was also glad that Tiffany’s friend had intervened on my behalf. Tiffany obviously needed that extra push and Mandy was in the right place at the right time. I thanked my lucky stars as I turned on to her street.
However, I couldn’t help but wonder why Tiffany was so reluctant to go out with me again. I thought everything went well on Wednesday night. I assumed most of it had to do with her insecurities. I tried so hard to compliment her on both her beautiful appearance and her work ethic, but it was apparent that I would have to try harder.
I pulled up at her place and debated going to the door or not. A second later, she appeared and ran out to my car, dodging the raindrops. It had been raining on and off all day long.
“I almost didn’t recognize your car with the top up,” she said, sliding in the car. She looked amazing, as usual, but she had done her hair differently.
“Your hair looks great,” I said. She smiled.
“Thanks,” she said, running her fingers through it. “With this weather, I thought I would try and do it straight. So, what’s on the agenda for tonight?”
“I was going to take you to a restaurant outside on the water, but the weather put a wrench in those plans,” I told her. She gave me an animated thumbs down. It was cute.
“So instead, I’m thinking about this Italian restaurant,” I continued. “Do you like Italian?”
“Sure,” she said. “I’m sure I can get a salad there.”
I almost said something but decided to keep my mouth shut. I wasn’t into girls that ate only salads. There was nothing worse than going out with a girl who ordered water and a side salad. I loved food and I loved talking about it. I enjoyed sharing dishes with whoever I was out with. I hoped she wasn’t just getting a salad to appease me. I didn’t care what she, or anyone else, ate. I’d a no judgment zone when it came to food, if it wasn’t a bland salad. I just wanted her to enjoy a great meal and even better company.
With the convertible top up due to the rain, I’d assumed that we would be able to talk on the way to the restaurant, but I was wrong. Tiffany was very quiet. I’d asked some questions at the beginning of the drive, but after all the one-word answers, I decided to turn up the music and take a break from interrogating her.
I drove up to the restaurant’s valet. I handed the keys to the valet, then opened Tiffany’s door myself and grabbed her hand. She looked down at my hand in hers and smiled. I felt like things were picking back up right where we left off on Wednesday night. Maybe all the worrying over the past couple of days was for nothing.
I noticed that she had gotten a spray tan since I’d seen her last. While I wasn’t all about looks, I’d to admit that the tan made her look even sexier than before. Some raindrops glistened off her shoulders, making it appear as if she was sparkling. The tan also popped against her hot pink dress.
“Your dress is amazing,” I whispered into her ear as we walked into the restaurant.
“Thanks,” she said. “I actually just got it today. I’m glad you like it.”
I smiled. She had picked out this dress especially for tonight. It felt good to know that the date had been on her mind all day long and that she didn’t just pick the first thing she saw in her closet. She wanted to look good for me.
The hostess led us to a table that had fresh roses and candles on it. I’d never been to this restaurant before, but it was named one of Miami’s most romantic spots. From what I’d seen so far, I’d picked the right spot for the date.
“This place is nice,” Tiffany said as I pulled out her chair for her. I nodded as she sat down. I walked over to the other side of the table and took my seat. The hostess handed us our menus and left us alone.
The menu was exquisite and enormous. I couldn’t believe how many choices there were. I wanted to try everything.
“What looks good?” I asked Tiffany after we both had a chance to read over the choices. She looked up from the menu.
“What do you think I should get?” she asked. Her question caught me off-guard and made my heart ache. Why was she asking for my opinion? Did her previous boyfriend tell her what to eat? Did he make her get salads when they went out to eat? I wanted to ask, but I knew that if I did, she might go back to being shy.
“I think the whole menu looks great,” I said. “What kind of food do you like to eat?”
She looked back down at the menu again. I know that she was thinking of an answer. A food choice did not have to be so complicated, but I sensed that it must be tied to her past interactions on dates.
“I like gnocchi,” she said. “The Saltimbocca Veal sautéed with sage and prosciutto sounds delicious, too.”
I felt relived. Real food, not a salad.
“What are you going to get?” she asked.
“The Bistecca alla Gigli Broiled sirloin steak sounds good,” I replied. She took a minute to read over the description.
“That does sound good,” she said. “I love a good sirloin.”
“You can try some of mine. I like sharing.”
She looked up at me and smiled. Before she could respond, the waiter came back over to the table to take our order.
“Ma’am, what would you like tonight?” he asked Tiffany. She looked at me like she wanted me to order for her.
“Order whatever you’d like,” I told her. “Money isn’t an issue. I just want you to be happy with your dinner.”
She glanced down again at the menu and back up at the waiter.
“I’ll have the Saltimbocca Veal sautéed with sage and prosciutto,” she told him. I was happy that she ordered something that she wanted and not something she thought I wanted her to order.
After I placed my order for the sirloin, the waiter left us alone with our wine.
“You’re a wine drinker, I take it?” I asked her.
“I am,” she said. “I did the whole beer thing in college, but I grew into wine after I graduated.”
“Same here,” I told her. “For some reason, I don’t get as bad of a hangover with wine.”
Our food arrived shortly, and it looked amazing. I could tell by Tiffany’s grin that she had made the right choice.
“This is great,” she said, in between bites of veal. I nodded. My mouth was full, but I agreed with her. This was a great meal.
“I would like to go to Italy one day,” she said. I was surprised that she was starting a conversation for once.
“Italy would be nice,” I replied. “I would like to go to Ireland, too.”
Her eyes lit up.
“We could do a whole tour of Europe!” She laughed. The wine was obviously giving her a giddy buzz, but I didn’t mind it. I wanted her to talk more.
“The Eiffel Tower, that would be amazing,” she continued to talk. “And we could go shopping in London. Oh, we would have so much fun!”
I liked this side of her. It was an adventurous, fun-loving side of Tiffany that I hadn’t seen before. I also loved that she was including me in her future. Wine buzz or not, this situation was starting to look a whole lot better.
After our plates were cleared and the check was left, I looked across the table at Tiffany. She had a silly, buzzed grin on her face.
“I am glad I went out with you tonight, Cayden Lewis,” she said. I laughed.
“I am glad you went out with me tonight, too, Tiffany Martin.”
“It has been a great night. Thank you.”