“Ok,” I agree. “But on one condition. Promise me that we can still be friends when this inevitably gets weird.”
“Deal,” he agrees.
What’s the worst that can happen? It’s not like it can get any more awkward than the “do you like it rough” conversation, anyway.
“Not tonight though. Next Saturday. One date and that’s it.”
Determined to keep it casual and friendly, I suggest we enjoy the evening in Downtown Melbourne. Right where I grew up. “How about downtown?”
Familiar and the opposite of intimate, with its bubbling nightlife and a swarm of drunken people on the streets, I just know that this will be an ideal place for a casual evening.
What could possibly be romantic about the same old boring downtown you grew up in any way?
To me, romance and novelty are practically the same thing.
“Works for me. I’ll pick you up Saturday,” he promises.
Before I know it, Saturday arrives, and he is pulling up in the drive. He’s a few minutes late, and I mind, but I know I shouldn’t. Mostly because it’s hypocritical of someone like me that’s chronically late for everything, but also, it isn’t a date.
We’re just friends, meeting for dinner. Don’t make this weirder than it already is.
Nodding in agreement with myself, I head for the door. When I climb into his car, I notice it’s relatively clean. The smell is fresh and lemony.
Wait. Did he clean his car just to pick me up?
No, surely not. Get over yourself.
As he backs out of the drive, I dismiss the question from my mind. The drive to downtown is quick and quiet, which allows minimal awkwardness to ensue.
I’m grateful for this. I can practically feel the awkwardness seeping through my skin.
As we reach our destination, he puts the car in park. I quickly hop out of the car as he speedily rushes to exit his side of the vehicle.
According to my calculations, opening my own door gives him zero chances to open my door which will allow me to maintain my just friends stance as well as the upper hand. Sure, I had agreed to a “date” but it was only to shut him up. It’s just a word to me. It doesn’t mean anything.
To my surprise, my self-lecture is in vain, or perhaps I’m just actually that vain. Surprisingly, he hadn’t been rushing to open my door at all. He was simply running to pop the trunk of his car.
Wait. Is this where he kidnaps me?
I watch with uncertainty as he proceeds to dig in his trunk and proudly pulls out a bottle of Patron and presents it to me like a fine bottle of wine.
“Want a shot?” He asks, smirking.
An amused snort escapes my head.
Who raised you?
Catching my terrible manners, I clear my throat.
“Sorry, I mean, no, I’m good. Thanks.” I attempt to politely decline.
For a second, he looks at me as if I have two heads. Officially offended, I do the same, returning his stare.
What kind of chick does he think I am? A party pre-gamer? Wait, I am a party pre-gamer, but this isn’t a party. It isn’t even a date, remember?
I may rarely ever be the smartest person in the room, but what I do know, is that my head needs to be clear. None of this “lit as fuck” nonsense that I do with my other friends. That’s a sure-fire road to bad decisions.
I expect him to say more, but instead, he simply shrugs at me as if to say, suit yourself. I breathe a sigh of relief.
I probably should have held my breath instead, because it isn’t long before we have four bars and multiple drinks under our belt.
My head begins to spin as the alcohol kicks all the way in. So much for staying level-headed.
Just as I’m questioning my life choices, he begins to sober up, soaking up the alcohol with bread. Meanwhile, I sober under. Way under. Probably all the way under. Like a sinking ship. Next thing I remember, we’re ditching downtown and heading over the bridge, to the beach.
Neither of us can remember whose idea it was to go to the beach but suddenly, there we are, at the edge of the water. The rush of the waves fills my ears and the crisp breeze rustles my hair. It’s oddly relaxing, even at 2 am.
The beach is breathtakingly beautiful even in the dark. The stars light up the sky as the moonlight dances along the surface of the ocean.
It’s picture-perfect. Magical even.
I find myself focusing on the rhythm of the water and losing myself in its rhythmic song. I can easily blame the spell that I’m under, on the delicious sound of the waves that are lazily crashing along the shore, but something tells me it’s a little more. My eyes catch Jose’s, and we exchange glances beneath the moonlight.
The only thing ruining the mood is the chilly December breeze. Easily chilled, I shiver in the sand. He notices it immediately. When he offers me a seat between his legs to keep me warm, I don’t disagree. Grateful for the heat, I pull myself between his legs and look out towards the sea.
It’s right about then that I bury my feet and inhibitions right there in the sand. When he reaches for my hand, I don’t stop him. Moments later, when his lips are on my neck, I don’t stop him then either. I can feel myself sink further into the sand.
Uh oh. Here we go.
Before we know it, it’s 5 am.
Late nights together quickly turn into weekend sleepovers. A few short months later, those weekend sleepovers, turn into living together.
Months later, we are at the top of the St. Augustine lighthouse, standing hand in hand, overlooking the ocean. The water glistens perfectly under the sun.
As I turn to tell Jose, he’s suddenly gathering the attention of everybody by the railing.
“What are you doing?” I hiss.
Seemingly nervous, he gets down on one knee and pulls out a ring. His hands are shaking.
“Will you marry me?”
My jaw drops a bit. He’s shaking so badly that the ring is vibrating between his fingertips. I can’t tell if he’s that nervous or just that cold.
Moments go by, and I finally realize I still haven’t said anything.
“Yes, of course!”
The strangers that surround us that have been watching this event unfold, suddenly begin clapping and cheering.
We barely notice them.
It’s February 13th, but for a moment in time, we are in our own little world and time has ceased to exist.
So much for one date, I guess.