“I want to try something.”
Emma cocked her head to one side, narrowing her green eyes. Auburn hair cascaded over her shoulder when she did. She often paused to think before speaking. It was a little thing, but I found it incredibly attractive.
I turned the key and my little red Honda coughed to life.
“It’s only our second date. What, exactly, would you like to try?”
I chuckled with my best evil villain laugh and pulled away from the curb.
“I want to have an honesty date.”
“An honesty date. It’s where we are completely honest the whole night. If you want a steak, don’t order a salad. If you do something that is a pet peeve of mine, I can tell you right then. No games. No trying to be perfect people so the other thinks we are something we are not.”
I had to watch the road, but I could have sworn I saw her head tilt a little further as I snuck a few quick sideways glances.
“That is a dangerous idea. What if I have some deep dark secret? Besides, girls don’t like the whole truth. Well, unless it’s about another girl we don’t like. We like the fairy tale. That’s why Cinderella’s story stops at the wedding. We don’t want to hear about how Prince Charming has back hair and lives like a slob in the castle.”
I laughed so hard that I swerved into the other lane for a split second.
“Well full disclosure, no back hair here. And why is it when people think of honesty they only think of negatives? I’m not suggesting that we air out all of our junk. Just that we decide to put aside the fear of doing or saying what we honestly think or feel. Like, you sometimes pause before you speak as if you are thinking about what you want to say. I love that.”
“My last boyfriend hated that. He used to tell me to ‘just spit it out’. Sorry. I know it’s rude to talk about ex’s…”
“See! That’s what I mean. Why should that be off limits? I’m not saying I want to hear about the dude all night, but you can bring him up. You are way too beautiful for me to assume that you have been single your whole life.”
“Beautiful huh? If I’m so beautiful how come you didn’t kiss me goodnight after our first date?”
I slowed to a stop as the light switched from yellow to red. It gave me a chance to look at her as we spoke.
“I don’t have to answer that until I know what kind of date this is.”
Her face squished up as she thought about the options. She took a deep breath through her nose before she spoke.
“It’s an honesty date.” She said reluctantly.
“I’m a big chicken. A coward through and through. You are so beautiful and I didn’t want to lean in and get turned away.”
She cocked her head again. The silence was killing me. I tried to wait as long as I could, but only a few seconds passed before I could not take it anymore.
“This is where you say ‘Oh, I wouldn’t turn you away. We should totally make out.’”
“Ha ha! I don’t know about all that, but I would think your chances of getting a kiss would be pretty high.”
The light turned green, but I unbuckled my seatbelt.
“What are you doing?” She asked in shock.
“I’m going to get my kiss now before I screw it up.” I said as I started leaning towards her.
“What!? You’re crazy!” She laughed as she feigned resistance.
The car behind us started honking.
“Your holding up traffic lady…”
She smiled one of those smiles that only girls can. It was playful, seductive, mysterious, and resistant all in one. With a rising symphony of car horns playing behind us, she leaned over and gave me my kiss.
“Jackpot!” I realized halfway through the word that it might not be the best thing to yell after a first kiss.
I fumbled with my seatbelt and was halfway to the next light before securing it again.
“Jackpot? Most guys have their goals set a little higher than a kiss. Or maybe I should say a little lower.”
“Well I’m not most guys.”
“Most guys say that.”
I didn’t know what to say. After a minute of awkward silence I decided to change the subject.
“My car’s name is Strawberry.”
“Strawberry? Why do guys feel the need to name inanimate objects?”
I pursed my lips as I thought about it.
“Good question. I’m not really sure.”
“Ok Mr. Honesty, what other objects have you named?”
She glanced down at my lap and raised one eyebrow like a detective looking for clues. I was glad to be in the darkness of the car as I felt my cheeks flush.
“Just the car. I promise.”
We slipped easily into the honesty date like a favorite sweater. I didn’t expect her to embrace the idea with such fervor. She ordered the steak with a look that said “You asked for this buddy”. The conversation was filled with unexpected twists and turns. She told me why she preferred granny panties and picked her nose. Twice. I told her about the time I crapped my pants in gym class while doing pull-ups. Conversation with her was easy.
After dinner we went to one of those places where they teach you how to copy a famous painting and you can take your version home. The lady kept saying how Emma had a natural talent. She told me that mine was nice a few too many times to be believable.
The mood seemed to darken as we drove back to her apartment. She grew quiet. I could tell that the silence did not stem from a lack of things to talk about, but rather not knowing how to say what was on her mind.
“Normally I wouldn’t say anything and just replay the night endlessly in my head trying to figure out what might have happened, but… honesty date and all. Did I do something wrong?”
“No. Tonight was great. In fact it was just what I needed.”
She reached over, grabbed my free hand and held it.
I tried my best to shake the feeling. We arrived without another word and I walked her to her door. If anyone was going to say anything it would have to be me.
“I had a really great time. I think the honesty date was a good idea. No deep dark secre…”
Her words rocked me. When you plan a second date, that is not the surprise you are hoping for.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t want to tell you, but I know that would not be fair.”
Silence hung in the air as she studied my face. It was my idea and now honesty was my only option.
“Well I guess that means I can’t take you horseback riding and wine tasting for our next date.”
She laughed. It felt good to see some of the worry and fear evaporate from her face. I could only imagine how many emotions she had to be dealing with and the courage it took to share that with me. Her eyes searched mine.
“That’s sweet, but you don’t…”
I cut her off.
“Look. If you don’t want to see me again, that’s fine. But I need to warn you, my third dates really take it up a notch. I mean, they have been called epic by some.”
“Well, ‘some’ might be a bit strong. Maybe just one. Ok, by me. But still…”
Her smile told me more than her words could have, so I kept going.
“I’m not asking you to marry me and I know that you may be going through a lot right now. I had an awesome time with you. You’re smart and funny and beautiful. All I am asking for is another date. Nothing more. Nothing less.”
“Most guys would be halfway around the block by now.”
“I told you. I’m not most guys.”
Copyright © 2011 Adam Drake