The next day couldn’t of gone by any slower, but eventually I found myself ordering the cheese burger seated at Applebee’s across from Lilly. She looked wonderful, she wore another dress, this time it was colorful, pink and blue and flowed all the way down to her knees. The restaurant was almost completely empty. Besides us there was a family of four who seemed to be celebrating the dads birthday, and a couple in their early 20’s at most. The girl and guy were sitting in the same row instead of across from each other; they were clearly infatuated with each other, and had no problem of showing it. They couldn’t keep their hands off of each other, they were feeding each other their dinner, and when they weren’t chewing they were kissing. It was hard to look away.
“Do you think that’s weird?” Lilly asked noticing my expression and looking over at the couple to.
“Kinda, maybe not weird, but just a little too much. I never want to be that couple who is that out and the open, it makes me want to throw up. At least sit opposite each other”
She giggled, “I agree somewhat. I think it’s beautiful and weird at the same time.”
“How’s it beautiful?”
“Beautiful because they’re that in love, that maybe it comes natural for them to be that close to each other, maybe not a thought crosses that guys mind when he reaches and kisses her every five seconds. They look like they are in their early twenties, and to find something like that so young, well that’s truly something. The whole feeding him and loud giggling is a bit much though.”
“You totally don’t agree.” She asked laughing
I tried to see her point of the beauty in it. I pictured me and Lilly as that couple, happy in love, so in tune with each other’s personalities that there was never a quiet moment of conversation, and when there was it was only because we missed each other’s lips so badly that we had to kiss for a moment. I smiled at the thought, but thought it best to change the subject.
“I wouldn’t say that…. but you know I’ve realized I barely know anything about you, this bothers me.” I said admittedly
“This is a problem that needs fixing, what can I tell you.” She sounded genuine like I could ask her anything. I decided to keep it small at first.
“What’s your middle name?”
“Mackenzie, what about yours?
“Don’t laugh, but its Shane.”
“Shane is a wonderful name; I wouldn’t of laughed even before your warning. Tyler Shane Robinson has a certain rang to it, its cute.”
“Thanks, but doesn’t sound near as good as Lilly Mackenzie Cepeda. I can see it in bright big lights now” I said as I squinted my eyes and looked off into the distance for dramatic effect.
“Yeah, and I can see pigs flying.” She mocked obviously doubting herself.
“You never know.”
“So what do you do for fun, I kind of can’t tell if you’re into sports, or the type of girl who likes to go shopping for hours and hours.”
She smiled. “That’s a first for me, I am not the sport type at all. I mean when I was younger I was on the tennis team, but that was more recreational not that I really had any talent, I love shopping though. What about you… Should I mark off my schedule for any of your sporting events?”
“No, I love basketball and football, but my mom was to much of a worrier so I stopped playing all together for her really”
“That’s sweet; I know a thing or two about moms being worried too much, I can tell you are close to your mom aren’t you?”
“Me calling out mom in school gave me away didn’t it?”
“Just a little.”
“Yeah, It’s only been her and me my whole life, so im pretty much a mamas boy…ill own up to it” I replied hoping she wouldn’t ask questions about my dad. Before she even had a chance to the waiter was at our table bringing out our food. The brief pause in conversation caused the subject to change.
“Wow I should have gone with the burger instead of the pasta. Yours looks delicious” she said eyeing my burger.”
“Well want a bite?”
“No thank you” she sounded reluctant, but I thought it best not to ask again, at least not yet. Instead I asked more about her and her family, and hung on word for word as she told me the details.
She told me things about her childhood cheerleading days, and how she had lived in that same house all of her life, and was anxious at the chance to one day change her surroundings. She talked about the differences between her mom and dad. “My mom is more “out there, and protective, while my dad is more chill and relaxed about things, but they both share the same obsession with Ohio State, well my whole family does.”– Were her exact words. I found out the little things, turquoise was her favorite color, Valentines days was also her birthday. She’s The Man, and What Happens in Vegas are some of her favorite movies. That she loved roses, puppies, and birthday cake remix ice cream. She told me about her strange fascination with the number twenty-four, and how she weirdly enjoyed popping other people’s pimple. I learned that she hoped one day to own a Lexus Rx 350, and become a physical therapist after her real world days of course she teased. She enjoyed eating a concoction she referred to as the Dorito sandwich, and for a brief stint in 8th grade she was actually a hip-hop dancer. She hated tomatoes, onions, but loved spinach. Kendra Wilkinson and Nicole Scherzinger were her idols, and were up there in her opinion with some of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood. She had two older sisters one in Ohio named Kenny who was already married with two kids. The other was Jennifer who was a junior a Valdosta State; she was closer to Jennifer, the only sister that had actually grown up in the house with her, and I could tell she missed her being around, to talk to and hang out with. When I asked things about Quinn and Brittany she defended them in ways, said they’re not as bad as they seem. She changed the subject to me. I told her things about myself, and my childhood as well keeping it casual though, not mentioning my dad, or the constant moving, instead I told funny stories to keep her laughing and interested. She enjoyed the one about my mom.
“Did she really just burst in the classroom?” she asked trying to control her laughter.
I was cracking up to “yes true story”
“What did she think was going to happen? That the whole world was ending?”
“Who knows… she’s the type of person you see on TV who doesn’t trust anybody, and believes in all conspiracy theories, she even runs a website on it. She probably thought the government was attacking all of New York. Its weird but I know she means well and that she loves me. She’s not as crazy as I probably am making her sound.”
“I bet she isn’t if she raised you all by herself, She must be pretty amazing.” She said.
“Thanks” I said with a hint of sarcasm in my voice
“Im serious and your welcome”
I looked at my phone and realize three hours had already blown by, I couldn’t believe it. It felt like just an hour ago the hostess was greeting us at the door. “Wow time really does fly when you are having fun.”
“It really does.” she agreed
“I feel like I have only scraped the surface though, we have to go on a few more of dates, so I can get to know you even better.”
“I wouldn’t mind that.”
I smiled, and we began to eat a few more bites of what was left of our respective meals, as a comfortable silence swept over the table.
“I like you Lilly, I really do.” I said nervously concluding not to make any more small talk, but say exactly what was on my mind.
“I like you Tyler, but I don’t know if I believe you really like me, or you’re just talking, I haven’t decided yet.”
“Well I do, and here I saved you the last piece of my cheese burger… I know you want it so don’t turn me down, don’t worry I didn’t touch it. I broke it off the moment you lied to me and said you didn’t want it.”
“Well what does this prove?” she said her mouth watering, as she seized and ate the bite of the burger.
“Well don’t you know?” I asked with a mischievous look on my face. After a pause I continued. “When a person saves you the last piece of anything, it’s a symbol in a way. Sometimes a symbol of respect, sometimes a symbol of like, or when you truly and honestly love somebody.. it was hard saving you that last piece of the delicious burger, trust me. But I did because I like you.”
“You are Clever Tyler, very clever.” She tried to sound nonchalant, but I could tell by the way she was blushing that she now believed me.
I paid the bill and walked out of Applebee’s my hand intertwined with hers, to the sound of music playing from above.
“Do you hear that?” she asked smiling and looking up at the night sky. She went on. “The music. It is beautiful, don’t you think?” I paused and listened to the sound coming out of the speakers on top Applebee’s door, and she was right the music was beautiful, I looked at Lilly, so was she.
“Dance with me.” I asked holding my hand out
“Dance with you?” she looked at me confused.
“Yes dance with me Lilly Cepeda.”
“But were in front of the restaurant, we will look like weirdoes, plus I don’t even know how to slow dance”
“Then it will be a learning experience for the both of us.” I offered
“It will be a freak show, for anybody who is driving by.”
“Then let them laugh. I don’t care how we look, all I care is about is sharing this dance with you to this song, in front of this Applebee’s. I want a moment to remember my first date with you for a long time”
“You know you surprise me everyday Tyler.”
“Trust me im surprising myself.”
I grabbed her close to me, and started rocking back and forth. There we were, two teenagers doing their best version of slow dancing in front of a small and now completely empty Applebee’s. I looked at her while she looked at me, smiling at how random this was. I lifted her chin up, and brought her face to mine, and we shared the best most gentle, but passionate kiss of my life. I pulled away and we locked eyes again, and in that moment I thought of us again as that couple inside restaurant in love and happy. I wanted that, I wanted that with Lilly. I took her in my arms, and met her lips once more longing to never break apart.