The first time I saw him he took my breath away. He didn’t notice me at first. He was standing behind the counter, helping a customer. When he looked up, looked in my eyes, I knew it was meant to happen. Self doubt and self consciousness quickly took over, but I took a deep breath and walked up anyway. I couldn’t exactly leave, he’d already seen me.
The other customer walked away; it was my turn. Hi, he said, looking into my eyes. I bit my tongue and tried to remember what I wanted to ask. Oh, right, I needed help. I was already intimidated and out of my element, but what the hell. If it went wrong I could just walk out and never come back. Right?
I want a tattoo. He cocked an eyebrow, looked me up and down, and asked what I had in mind. Of course I have no idea. Not while staring at him, with his piercings and tattoos, quite obviously…experienced. I cleared my throat, and glanced away. I don’t know, really, I said. Something to showcase my freedom. I looked back to him, looked him up and down.
He cleared his throat.
He told me to take a look at the displays they had, maybe get some ideas. When I found one, let him know, and he’d get one of the artists to help out. Ok, sure, whatever, anything to get me out of his direct attention.
I walked away slowly, not sure where to start. I normally don’t have a problem with words, but in this place, with him, I was having serious issues. I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other, growing the distance, hoping to hide my insecurities.
With my back turned, leafing through picture after picture, I heard activity behind me, guys laughing and joking. Every once in awhile I’d turn around, and he’d be looking in my direction. I turned quickly, hoping he didn’t see my glance.
I found a design page I liked, and became focused. I never heard him come up behind me until he gave a small laugh. Startled, I turned, finding myself oh so close to that gorgeous face, those lips. He smiled a small smile, nodded towards the page, and said he had a feeling I would’ve picked that.
He took the page down and said he’d get a price for me. As he walked away I couldn’t help but admire the view and wonder what else that t-shirt and jeans was hiding.
I pretended to look some more, hyperconscious of his location at all times. When he reappeared up front he gave me the price, and a time frame. With a deposit they’d work on it, and call me when it was done. Sure, why not. Paying the deposit was easy, the catch in his throat when he asked for a phone number was a sign I’d been waiting for. As he glanced up at me I smiled, hoping he’d get that he could have the number too.
He blushed. He got it.
He said it’d take a few days, someone would call. Ok, I said, thanks for all of your help. I’ll see you around. It took all I had to turn and walk out before I said or did something stupid. I’m notorious for doing rashly stupid things.
I sat in my car for a moment, wondering if I should just leave or….
I realized they (if someone was even watching) could see me, so I put my seatbelt on and started to drive away, realizing I had no idea where I was headed.
Oh yeah, home. Duh.
I pulled away, wondering if I’d just imagined the entire transaction. I’m usually not one to be so…vague…but what else was I supposed to do? That’s where he works. I didn’t want to make it uber awkward.
I’m driving in silence, lost in my thoughts. My cell phone trills so loudly I jump, then laugh. SOP – standard operating procedure. It’s just the cell phone.
Except when I look it’s a text from a number I don’t recognize.
OH SHIT. I brake, almost causing an accident. It’s him. It has to be. Drive, idiot, I tell myself.
Thank God he can’t see me.
What do I say? I have to answer! Think!
I’m such a retard. Laughing at myself, I just drive. Ding.
So, if you are free, want to grab some coffee or something?
Good heavens I’d grab a helluva lot more than that!! Oh, but yeah…
I love coffee. Delete.
Coffee would be good. Delete.
Coffee sounds good. Send.
Dancing a jig in my seat, people looking at me crazily at the stop light. Who cares – coffee!
How about tomorrow, around 11?
I go to answer immediately and realize I don’t want to sound desperate. Wait, I hate the games. I answer immediately. 11 is good. Where?
Might as well let him plan.
Starbucks around the corner from the shop.
Ok, see you then. Smiley? No. Even though I’m grinning from ear to ear. How in the hell am I going to sleep tonight?!?
Breathe. Just breathe.
Next day I can’t contain myself. What if he isn’t there? Do I text to confirm? Maybe I’ll just sit in the car and see if I can see him first.
Oh, I see him all right. I think I could see him with my eyes closed, blindfolded. He’s waiting outside. Nervous too?
I get out. Hi. He meets me at the car and holds the door. My heart skips a beat.
We order, he pays. Another beat skipped. We sit. Talking, flirting, touching, moving closer. Eyes meet, hearts skip another beat. Then beat faster. I am really ready for this? Can I do this?
He has to go, but doesn’t want to. We walk towards the parking lot, stop at my door. Again with the throat clearing and blushing. He’s tall, taller than I thought.
Before I know it, his lips are on mine. Oh sweet Jesus have mercy. That spark. Heart beating faster. This means Yes.
He backs up slightly, looks in my eyes and smiles. Yes.
I’ll call you later. Ok. Bye. Hands brush, hearts smile.