As we waited for our milkshake, we made the usual awkward small-talk. He asked what I was doing in town and I told the long, boring story about how I was on my way to a conference and my stupid car broke down. He told me about helping his cousin roof his house and set up his wi-fi earlier that day. The whole time, he maintained eye contact and looked like he was actually paying attention. If he was faking it to get into my pants, he was doing a damn good job. My seated position slowly gravitated toward him, my ballet flat touching his jeans.
Soon enough, a milkshake arrived in a tall, frosted glass, with a significant amount extra in the metal cup it was blended in. Our waitress Debbie winked at me as she slid the glass and cup in front of us. She handed each of us a straw and told us to enjoy ourselves before leaving to check on the family in the booth by the door. On that laminate counter, it was the perfect portrait of a 1950’s that everyone wishes existed: all of the wholesomeness, but none of the racism or sexism.
“After you.” He said, ever the gentleman.
“How about both of us on three?” I raised my straw. He crossed it as if we were locking swords. “One, two, three.”
His hair brushed against my forehead and I was close enough to smell him. When I say that he smelled like Man, I don’t mean sweaty and gross after a couple of hours at the gym. He smelled clean, warm, but with a bit of an edge, like wearing a cashmere sweater beneath a leather jacket, or a flannel shirt that had just been laundered, but still had the smoke of the most recent camping trip lingering on it. Ok, he probably didn’t smell like either of these things because I have difficulty defining what I consider a good Man smell, but either way, he smelled delicious. So delicious, I almost forgot I was drinking a chocolate milkshake.
I pulled back after getting a slight brain freeze. “Ow.”
“Take it easy there, or I might have to cut you off.” He teased.
I sighed. “You know, I’ve always wanted to do that.”
“Get an ice cream headache?” He teased.
“No.” I playfully hit him on the arm. “I mean, share a milkshake with a handsome gentleman.”
“Thank you, miss.” He blushed as if he really wasn’t actually aware of how unspeakably attractive he was. If he could fake that, I was definitely in trouble. “So you think I’m handsome?”
It was my turn to blush. Unable to think of anything to say, I resumed sipping on my straw.
“You’ve really never done that before? Not even in high school with a prom date?” He seemed incredulous.
“Nope.” I shook my head. “Guys generally weren’t interested in me back in high school.”
“I find that hard to believe.” He tucked a stray strand of hair behind my ear. “Gorgeous girl like you… Then again, speaking as someone who used to be a teenage boy, I can say that we do tend to be idiots.”
I let a laugh escape as I idly dipped the straw up and down in the now empty glass. He re-filled it with the rest of the milkshake from the metal cup. A bit of it splattered onto my hand. He put the cup down and took my hand, looking at me expectantly. Not knowing what his intentions were, but still curious, I smiled at him and nodded. He kissed my hand, leading into him licking the spot of chocolate milkshake off.
Never had I ever thought it was possible to swoon. I thought it was something only seen in Victorian bodice rippers with muscular, shirtless Highlanders on the cover. Yet here we were, a guy kissed my hand and I almost passed out. Dazed, I stared at him. I will neither confirm nor deny that my jaw dropped.
“I’m sorry.” He said, releasing my hand as if it was a pan too hot to hold. “I just thought–”
“It’s ok.” I touched his arm gently. For heaven’s sake, those biceps were warm and firm to the touch even beneath the white t-shirt. “That was strangely sweet. I just didn’t know how to react.”
“Strangely sweet? I’ll take that as a compliment.” He gave a sideways grin that made my heart skip a beat. “Anything else on your list of things you wished you did in high school that I can assist with? Smoking weed behind the gym? Drinking beer in the woods?”
“Making out in a car at Lookout Point.” I joked, then felt my face grow hot realizing what I had just suggested.
He leaned in close, lips brushing the top of my ear and said in a low, dangerous tone, “That’s not really my style, but if you really want to, my truck is parked outside.”
“I was just joking. I–”
His lips stayed close to my ear and I could practically feel him smirking. “Joking? Oh. It’s not nice to tease.”
I felt fingers graze up my thigh from the knee up. I felt a frisson go further up my spine. In a breathy voice I barely recognized as my own, I asked, “Now who’s the one teasing?”