“Nice,” Marcus said with a grin. “Two women at the same time? I promise not to tell.” He made a crossing motion over his heart.
I was a tad confused. “Two women? I don’t have two women.”
“What happened to the super hot Maxim babe? Your girlfriend?”
“Jenn?” I asked. “We broke up.”
He shook his head. “I swore I just saw you guys in here.”
“It’s mid-March, Marcus. That was back in December. We broke up. I’m with Perry now.” I felt like I was talking to a two-year-old.
He stared at me like he didn’t quite believe me. “And,” I added, feeling defensive, “Perry’s also a super hot babe. She just wasn’t in Maxim. Because it’s a shitty publication.”
Marcus nodded, his eyes going over to the other side of the restaurant where Perry was coming out of the washroom area. “She is pretty hot, I’ll give you that. You lucky bastard. Her breasts are so much better than the other ones. Gotta get them when they’re young, am I right?”
“Hey,” I growled at him. “That’s my girlfriend you’re talking about.”
And there it was. I had just said the G-word. I had just publicly announced Perry as my girlfriend. Thank god she was too far away to hear it.
“Now, if you don’t mind, we’d like another round of beer, stat,” I said to him, watching her come closer. She was turning a few heads as she walked and I was met with this strange combination of worry and pride.
“Gotcha,” Marcus said, firing his hand at me like a gun. He walked past Perry, ogling her bouncing breasts like I wasn’t there. I gripped the edge of the table and tried to keep Hulk Dex at bay. Now wasn’t the time. In the middle of the Canadian Rockies was, but in the middle of Zeke’s Pizza in Belltown wasn’t.
“I ordered you another beer!” I told her, smiling too much.
“Uh, thank you,” she said, taking her seat. She moved her purse to the corner and gave me a funny look. “You okay?”
“Great,” I said, my voice unnaturally high. I needed to calm the fuck down. What the hell was wrong with me?
She pursed her lips, studying me. I felt like she was looking into every crevice. I busied myself with a beer, wishing Marcus would bring back a pitcher instead.
“You’re nervous,” she observed.
I almost choked on my beer. “No, you’re nervous!”
“Yeah, I am, Dex. But you know what? I think that’s okay now. I think we should be nervous. I don’t think we ever gave us this chance.”
She put her soft hand on mine, milky white against light tan.
“I’m pretty sure I used to make you nervous,” I told her. “When you first met me. You looked like you were about to run away every five minutes. Every time you were in the car with me it was like you were being trapped with a mental patient. Which, I mean, was a fairly accurate assessment.”
She smiled and squeezed my hand and the affection was doing weird twirly, tingly, unmanly things around my heart. “You did make me nervous. You make a lot of people nervous, Dex.”
“Cause I’m too awesome for them to handle.”
“Yes, well, that’s also true. But I was nervous because I didn’t know you…I didn’t know how you thought. I didn’t know what you thought of me.”
“Now I know you. I’m starting to know how you think. And I think I know what you think of me. I’m nervous for a whole new set of reasons. Because I’m…scared. And I’m excited. This, this us, this is totally new for me.”
We stared at each other and I felt blessed with her bout of honesty. “It’s new for me too. But new can be good.”
Marcus came by with the new beers and the pizza and he escaped with only a death glare. As I munched away at my prosciutto pie, I found my mind wandering to the time I first met her, that fucked up night in the lighthouse. I’d felt something at that moment for her, whether it was lust or a certain connection, I couldn’t be too sure. I had no idea I’d be lucky enough to have her sitting across from me at Zeke’s as something more than a stranger. I had no idea that this tiny little woman with all her insecurities and bravery would become my everything.
“What are you thinking about?” she asked after she drank a healthy swig of her beer.
“About the first time we met.”
“In the lighthouse. You ran into me. Remember?”
“That’s something you can never forget.”
“So what was it like for you?”
She put down her beer and stared out the window. Fat raindrops began to fall, hitting the glass with the gusts of wind that were whipping up. Looked like a stormy night, much like the one that brought us together.
“I thought you were…”
She let out a laugh. “Well that was a given, considering you were in an abandoned lighthouse, alone, and trying to capture a ghost on film. Seriously, if that’s not nuts, I don’t know what is.”
I finished my beer and wiped my mouth, leaning back in my seat. “Oh, I don’t know, Miss Pot Calling the Sexy Kettle Black, how about a girl who decided to go off by herself in the darkness to explore said lighthouse, just for, what was it again? Kicks?”
“I don’t do anything for kicks.”
“Well you kicked in the window with your weird ninja moves.”
“At least I wasn’t trespassing,” she shot back, as if it all happened just yesterday.
“Trespassing gets you everywhere. If I hadn’t broken in and explored that lighthouse, I wouldn’t be exploring you right now.”
She rolled her eyes. If she hadn’t seemed so nervy I would have joked about the futility of a Keep Out sign on her vagina.
“So that’s it,” I pressed. “You thought I was nuts? Nothing else?”