Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Chapter 26 (7/6/16)

Last one for this week, but I couldn't resist!  Except a new post early next week :)

It took me less than 24 hours to decide I was going to call Ryan, but nearly a week to actually call.  I was going to do this on my terms.  I called him around 8 the next Thursday, and I sat there nervously bouncing my leg, wondering if he would answer.  He did.  “Hello?”
“Hi.  This is Jenna, Rachael’s friend.”
“Well hello Jenna, Rachael’s friend,” he replied, sounding surprised.  “I have to be honest, I didn’t think you were going to call.”
“I thought you were confident,” I said.
He chuckled.  “I am, but I’m also realistic every once in awhile.”
“I appreciate a good dose of realism,” I said, smiling despite myself. 
“Well, I appreciate phone calls from pretty women,” he said, moving smoothly back into cocky.  “What can I do for you?”
I snorted.  “You tell me, Ryan.  What can you do for me?”
“Feisty, I like that.  Have you considered my offer to take you out?”
            “I’ve considered your request to take me out,” I shot back, “And I’m willing to grant it.”
“Lucky me,” he replied, laughing.  “Alright then, how about tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow?  What do you think this is?”  I was enjoying our banter, as much as I didn’t want to enjoy it.
“Oh, I have no preconceived notions, but I leave on Sunday for over a week and was hoping to get to see you before I go.”
“Well, when you put it that way, how about Saturday?”
He chuckled again.  “Saturday it is.  What time can I pick you up?”
“This isn’t a date, so you can meet me at 7:30,” I said.  “I’ll let you pick where.”
“Right, I forgot for a second, thanks for reminding me!” he replied cheerfully.  He named a bar that I hated, but I was already being enough of a pain in the ass so I didn’t argue. 
“I’ll see you on Saturday, then,” I said, effectively ending the conversation.
I could almost hear him smiling.  “I’m looking forward to it.  Goodnight, Jenna.”
“Bye,” I said.  I pulled the phone away from my face and stabbed at where the “End call” button should be, but he had already hung up.
“I’m going to see him.  Saturday.” I texted to Erica and Kelly.  “Yay!” was Erica’s immediate response.  “I figured you would,” Kelly said.  “What are you going to wear?” Erica asked next.  I hadn’t even considered that.  “You mean I have to wear clothes?  I’m not good at wearing clothes.”  Kelly responded next, “No, you’re just not good at picking your own clothes out.  You wear them just fine.”  Obviously this meant I needed to try on several outfits until I figured out what I was going to wear on Saturday.  I sent a picture of the final choice to Erica and Kelly and they both approved, so I laid it carefully on top of the bank of drawers in my closet. 

“I’m going out with Ryan tomorrow,” I told Rachael the next day.
“You are?” she squealed excitedly.  Then she looked around the office and lowered her voice to barely above a whisper. “Really?”
“I am, really,” I told her. 
She was clearly thrilled with this.  “I really hope you like him.  Or at least like his dick.  I’ve heard good things.”  She gave me a lascivious grin.
I rolled my eyes.  “It better be likeable, or I’m blaming you.”
“Oh no,” she said, shaking her head.  “You guys had already met before I started meddling.  That means I’m blameless.” 
“I’m not sure you’re ever blameless,” I joked, smirking at her.  A dirty look from our boss sent Rachael scampering back to her office and brought some color to my cheeks as I turned my attention back to my computer screen. 

On Saturday I had one of my best runs ever, and it put me in a good mood going into my… "meeting" with Ryan.  By the time I was done getting ready, I was pretty impressed that I had managed to pull off the perfect balance of cute and casual.  I took one last look in the mirror, threw my phone in my purse, and left to go meet him.
He was already there when I got there, and I realized that I could get used to men that were on time.  I saw him right away when I walked in.  He was sitting in a small corner booth right across from the door.  I walked over, and he stood to greet me with a quick kiss on the cheek.  “Hello, beautiful,” he said softly, and I noticed his eyes hadn’t even left my face.  It took all my willpower to keep from narrowing my eyes at him.  We sat, and I took the drink menu from the center of the table.
“Vodka soda?” he asked me, his eyes twinkling. 
I couldn’t help but laugh, then cringe, at the memory of the evening we’d first “met”.  “No, actually I’m thinking about a glass of pinot noir,” I said.
Ryan nodded, then said, “I’m guessing you’re not a woman who takes kindly to people ordering for you.  Am I right?”
“You’re kind of right,” I confirmed.  “I wouldn’t be a fan of you doing it, but someone I’ve been with awhile that knows what I usually drink ordering something for me if he got somewhere before me would be okay.”  Ryan was about to respond, but our server came over and I put in my drink order.  She returned quickly with my wine; it wasn’t busy at all.
After taking a long drink of his beer, Ryan put it down and said, “So, tell me about your divorce.”
I almost choked on the wine in my mouth, and swallowed it quickly.  “What?”  He calmly repeated himself.  “Why do you want to hear about my divorce?”
“Well,” he answered, shrugging, “if we’re going to be sleeping together, I should probably know at least a couple important things about you, don’t you think?” 
No, not really, I thought to myself.  I stared at him for several seconds and finally said, “I don’t really think that’s appropriate first date conversation.”
“But this isn’t a date, remember?  This is simply a meeting to make sure we don’t hate each other, right?”  This time I didn’t prevent myself from narrowing my eyes at him.  “And,” he continued, “In order to know that we don’t hate each other, we should probably know some of the nitty-gritty right from the start.” 
I pressed my lips together and considered what to tell him, because I had to admit that he had a point.  In some weird, twisted way, what he just said made sense to me. “Fine.  I’ve been divorced for almost 6 months now.”  That was still weird to say out loud.  “I lived in his house, with him, for almost 3 of those 6 months.  It was the worst.  The divorce itself was amicable enough that we did it without attorneys or court, but it was all downhill from there, and now I sort of hope he gets hit by a train.  Oh, and we got divorced because he cheated on me repeatedly for two years.”  I stopped talking and gave him a “happy now?” look. 
Ryan nodded.  “If he was cheating like that, he was also lying and manipulating you for two years,” he offered, reading between the not-so-subtle lines.  “So he’s a gigantic asshole, and you don’t trust anyone, which is why you’re not interested in doing any serious dating.”
I frowned.  “I thought this was a meeting to make sure we don’t hate each other, not a psychoanalyzing session.”
He shrugged.  “I’m just connecting the dots,” he replied casually.  “Okay, you’re off the hook.  It’s my turn.  As you already know, I travel a lot for work.  I also seem to be programmed differently than most, and I don’t think I have the ability to miss people.  So while I can be all about someone when I’m around, when I’m in Germany for 3 weeks, I barely think about her.  That doesn’t bode well for any sort of lasting relationship.”  He caught my skeptical look and continued smoothly, “I’m not out messing around when I’m traveling for work, so it’s not even that.  I just have work to do when I’m traveling, and I focus on that.  I’m way too busy when I’m traveling.  I tend to forget about whatever’s at home.  As I’m sure you can imagine, there aren’t many women that are okay with being in a relationship half of the time and being forgotten about half the time.”
“I can definitely imagine,” I agreed.  Despite his words, his cocky attitude was starting to grow on me. It seemed like he was, at the very least, brutally honest…and honesty was something I could use right now.
The rest of our conversation was lighter and before we knew it, 4 hours had passed.  “Oh shit,” Ryan said, glancing at his watch.  
“What? Got a date?” I replied, cocking an eyebrow.  His attitude was rubbing off on me.
He burst out laughing.  “Me?  Never.  But I do need to be at the airport in 6 hours, so I should probably get home to try to get some sleep.”
I nodded reluctantly.  As prepared as I had been to dislike him, I was actually having fun and I was very clearly attracted to him.  In fact, I wouldn’t have minded getting to know him a little more intimately tonight.  Too bad he had a plane to catch early in the morning. 
When our server stopped back over at the table, he simply handed her his credit card.  I reached for my purse and he stopped me.  “I’d like to pay,” he said.  The way he said it was different, almost a request.  He raised an eyebrow, waiting for my response. 
I paused, then released my purse.  “Okay, thank you,” I told him.  He grinned, and the cocky attitude was back.  He signed the slip when our server brought it back, then stood and offered me his hand.  I took it and stood.
As we walked out, he let his hand fall to my lower back, and I wasn’t mad about it.  He walked me to my car and then leaned casually against it.  “Well, the timing is horrible, because I’m going to be gone for almost two weeks,” he said, a frown marring his beautiful face.  “But I’d like to see you when I get back.”
“I guess that would be okay,” I said, smirking.  He laughed and shook his head, then surprised me by tipping my chin up and kissing me.  It was a brief kiss, his lips soft but firm against mine, and then he was no longer in my space and I instantly wanted him back.
“Good,” he said, grinning.  “I’ll give you a call when I’m back, then.  I’ll be back sometime around next Thursday.  Maybe Wednesday, maybe Friday, I’m not actually sure yet.  In the meantime, stay out of trouble.”  That earned him a glare, and he laughed and pulled my driver’s side door open for me.  I stood there glaring defiantly at him for several seconds, and he returned my gaze with amusement.  Finally I rolled my eyes and got in. 
“I hope you have a good trip,” I told him sincerely, looking up at him.  He flashed me one more grin, assured me that he would, and then he was gone.  I watched him in my side mirror as he walked to his car, wondering what the hell I was getting myself into.


  1. I'm excited! Ryan sounds like my type

  2. Uh this made my Night! I need to find me one of him.

  3. Nice :) this is going to be interesting!

  4. I like Ryan, but jeez Jenna. Do you have to challenge everything?? Lighten up. mum

  5. "It was a brief kiss, his lips soft but firm against mine, and then he was no longer in my space and I instantly wanted him back." Oh man, she's in troublllllle. Love it!

  6. Ohhhh, man! This could go SO MANY WAYS. I'm already dying to see what happens!!!