Aribisala Emmanuel 1 year ago
@aribisala-emma... 6 min read Write a comment #short-stories

Finding A Place (chapter 6)

Friday dawned. Much to my dismay. She found me outside of calc. "I'm swimming until 5. Is 6 OK?" she asked.

"That's fine," I managed. "Great," she said. She gave me her dorm and room number and said, "See you at six," and off she went. Gives me a lovely few hours to panic. And panic, I did. What with Jake playing a game tomorrow, he wasn't around at all, so I couldn't even get a pep talk from him. By the time five o'clock rolled around, I was contemplating throwing myself down a flight of stairs and breaking a few bones just to get out of this. What a coward. But I didn't. I managed to find something half-decent to wear and managed to walk over to her dorm without tripping and killing myself. I went in and knocked on her door.

"Hi!" she said as she answered. She was wearing a pink blouse and a gray knee-length skirt. She had even put on a bit of makeup. She looked fantastic. We left her room and got in the elevator. "What are you in the mood for to eat?" she asked. "I don't know. How about you?" "I've got a mad craving for sushi," she giggled. "I've never had sushi." "It's great." "Raw fish?" I asked skeptically. She giggled. "Not all sushi has raw fish-but the stuff that does, most of it is actually pretty good. The way they prepare it, it doesn't taste raw, if you know what I mean." "OK, I'm game," I said.

"My roommate told me about a good place. And it's only a few blocks off-campus, so we can walk. And it's a full-bore Japanese restaurant, so if you can't stomach the sushi, you can get teriyaki or tempura or something." "OK," I said, and we started walking. We walked a little bit, and she said, "Can I ask you a question?" "Sure," I answered. "Do you regret asking me out? It almost seemed to me like it was an impulse you wanted to take back." "Uhh..." what was I supposed to say to that? "If you don't want to take me out, it's OK; we can turn back," she said with a sad little smile. "It's not that," I said. "I do want to take you out. It's hard to talk about, OK? But it's not you, and I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to." She grinned at me. "You didn't expect me to say yes." "No, I didn't," I admitted. "You shocked the daylights out of me." "Why? Why is it so shocking that I'd say yes?" I didn't say anything. "Brendan," she continued with a smile, "when I asked you how I could repay you for helping me with calculus, that was a hint. I wanted you to ask me out. If you didn't, I was going to do it myself," she giggled. I stopped walking. "WHAT?" I said. "Brendan, again, why is this so shocking?"

I took a breath and told her. "This is my first date in three years, and it's the first time I've asked anyone out and gotten a 'yes' in close to four. The one three years ago was a blind date arranged by my mother. My list of rejections is probably longer than your list of swimming trophies. Girls do not go out with me." Then I blurted out the rest. "And the reason I wanted to take it back when I asked you out is that I'm so inexperienced that I'm terrified I'm going to fuck it up. I haven't been on a date in my life that went well, OK?" I couldn't look at her when I said the rest. "I asked you out sincerely. I wanted to go out with you. I just can't help but think that you'd have been better off going out tonight with just about any other guy on campus."

"I'm out with who I want to be out with," she said definitively. "We really need to work on your confidence. However, that's a project for another day." She grinned. "Today, we'll just get you to like sushi. Come on!" And she grabbed my hand. As we walked down the street-with her still holding my hand!-she said, "Look. I'm glad you told me that you haven't dated in a while. I knew you weren't Mister Experience, but I didn't know it was that bad. But it's OK, you know. I want to be here with you. I said yes because I wanted to go out with you. Just remember that, OK?" "OK," I said.

We got to the restaurant, and I decided to let her order. "We can just get a selection. I like all types of sushi, so we can have them bring a pile on over and see what you like," she grinned. She started me off with some of the easier ones, which had cooked stuff like crab and shrimp in it. "That green stuff? That's wasabi, Japanese horseradish," she told me. "Be careful with that; it packs a kick."

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