Skip to main content
PBS logo

The Eclectic Pen - The Most Romantic Date Ever

By: Justina C. (stinasstoryspot)   + 13 more  
Date Submitted: 2/8/2009
Genre: Literature & Fiction » Short Stories & Anthologies
Words: 3,057

  Briana would always remember how she met Austin. Their eyes had met across a crowded lecture hall. It was Intro to Psych, taught in the largest lecture hall on campus, but she’d noticed him right away, and she knew he’d noticed her then too. At least, that was the story she told herself and anybody else who was willing to listen. They’d officially met in discussion about a week later. He’d acted like he didn’t recognize her, but he was so nice to her that she just knew that he remembered her. From that point on they sat with each other pretty much every class. It had taken a significant amount of flirting on her part, but eventually he’d asked her out. And now they were about to go on the most romantic date ever.

She bought a completely new outfit for the date, head to toe, earrings to shoes. Her new cranberry wrap-dress did wonderful things for her figure, and her heels were strappy and made her legs and butt look great.

It had taken probably an hour and a half, but she was finally ready. Her normally straight brunette hair had actually curled the way she wanted it to, and she’d only had to redo her eye makeup twice before it looked perfect. And if there was one thing her mother had taught her it was that if you go heavy on the eye you should go light on the lips, so she’d just slid on a real natural color lipstick and a soft lip gloss.

She was taking one last look in the mirror when she heard his car pull into the driveway. She looked out the window from the second floor as Austin stepped out with a bundle of wrapped flowers in his hand. They were probably roses. She just knew he was the kind of guy to buy roses for a girl on the first date.

He’d knock on the front door and she’d wait just long enough to not seem as anxious as she was before she opened the door. He’d stand there, stunned, as he looked at her for moment before he’d breathe, “You look beautiful.” Then he’d hand her the beautiful pink… no, red roses. She’d bring them to her nose and breathe in their wonderful scent and then thank him for them sweetly, maybe even kiss him on the cheek. She’d invite him in just long enough for her to grab a vase for the flowers and then they’d head off to a wonderful dinner.

“Briana! Austin’s here!” Shannon, one of her roommates, called up the stairs, breaking her out of her thoughts. So much for the sweet daydreams. But Briana wasn’t about to let it ruin her perfect evening. This was just the first moment of the date, there was time to make it up, and the guy was supposed to have to wait for the girl to be ready anyway wasn’t he? So it wasn’t completely ruined.

She had to force herself not to run down the stairs, which was probably a good thing because in those heels she’d surely trip and fall and their first date would be spent in the local ER. Definitely not perfect.

Austin had a smile on his face when he saw her coming down the stairs, so she knew that the money she’d put down on the dress was well spent. She smiled back at him as she reached the last step. They looked at each other for a moment without speaking before she said to him, “You look nice.”

He glanced down at the flowers for a second, embarrassed, before replying, “You look great. These are for you.” He handed her the bouquet of gerbera daisies.

Wait. Daisies? Those were supposed to be roses. Red roses. Instead, they were bright pink, yellow and orange daisies. Daisies.

“They’re beautiful,” she replied, trying to keep the disappointment out of her voice. At least he’d brought her flowers. Some guys didn’t even do that. The evening wasn’t ruined.

“They reminded me of that scarf you always wear,” he said.

Briana was slightly taken aback. He’d noticed her favorite scarf? Her grandma had given it to her just before she died. She looked at the flowers again and realized that they were the same colors as were in her scarf. “I can’t believe you thought of that.”

He shrugged sheepishly.

“I’ll put these in water and be right back,” she said, rushing to the kitchen, grabbing a vase, half-filling it with water, and then gently sliding the flowers out of the paper and into the water. Then she rushed back to where Austin was waiting at the door.

“I’m ready,” she announced. She grabbed her purse and they headed out the door. As they came up to the car Austin held the door for her before getting in himself.

“I hope you like Italian,” he said.

“I do,” she replied.

Italian. Italian was wonderful. Italian was romantic. It was probably a little hole-in-the-wall, authentic Italian place where he knew the owners. The head chef would probably be a short, heavy-set woman who would come out while they were eating to check on how “her boy” was doing and he would call her “Mama.” And they’d split tiramisu in the candle light and he’d give her the last bite off of his fork.

She waited patiently as he drove through town, trying to remember where they were so she could brag to her friends in the morning. They’d all be jealous over the wonderful food and great atmosphere.

And then Austin turned into the Olive Garden parking lot. It was Italian, but certainly not the kind of place where you’d call the head chef “Mama.”

It was a Wednesday evening, so they didn’t have a long wait, and they were soon set at a cozy booth for two in a quiet corner. As she glanced out the window she saw a view that was far prettier than she expected this far into the city.

“Do you like the spinach and artichoke dip?” he asked once Ashley, their waitress, took their drink order.

She nodded. “It’s good, but you don’t have to order an appetizer for me. I’m always full by the main course.”

“If you like it then we’ll get it. You can take home what you don’t eat.”
They talked about their friends and classes as they ate. Austin told her that he’d transferred from another university across the state that semester, so he was still getting used to the way things worked. They talked about the similarities and differences between the universities and laughed at each others’ stories.

It was easy for Briana to eat in front of Austin. With other guys it had taken to the third date or later before she actually felt comfortable eating full meals in front of them. With Austin, the conversation and laughter were so natural that she was full when she stopped eating rather than when she was uncomfortable. Still, she was only able to eat about half of her ravioli di Portobello, but he ate all his chicken scampi.
When Ashley stopped to ask if they wanted dessert they both declined and Austin asked for the check. “We have more than enough time before the movie starts,” he said, glancing at his watch.

There was a slight stab of disappointment that they were simply doing dinner and a movie for their date, since it wasn’t exactly what anyone would call creative, but it was just a first date after all, and he was pretty new to town, and the dinner had ended up being really good, so it wasn’t like the evening was a total wash. And when he’d called to firm up their plans a few days before, which was a pleasant change of pace from the other guys she’d dated, he’d asked her what movie she wanted to see, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise.

She told him she wasn’t overly picky, but she didn’t like horror.
Maybe he knew about a real artsy place that showed only independent and foreign films and the classics. Maybe they’d show Casablanca. She loved Casablanca. There was just something about that movie that put her in a good mood. Or maybe it would be Pride and Prejudice. That was another movie that put her in a feel-good, romantic mood.

But instead of pulling up to some rebuilt building in the arts district of town he pulled into the parking lot of the Cineplex 16.

No worries, Briana told herself. Maybe it would be a romantic comedy. The new Kate Hudson one looked good, or the new one with Jennifer Aniston. Or maybe it would be a suspense flick, not horror, just suspense; a psychological thriller. Something that would give her the opportunity to grab his arm or turn into his shoulder when she got scared. He’d comfort her by putting his arm around her, and they’d cuddle close.

They got up to the ticket window and he asked for two tickets to The Long Way Home, a drama about a young man coming back to the home he left behind after high school, and all the consequences of his leaving. Briana had wanted to see it, but it wasn’t the kind of movie she expected for that evening.

She sat in the dark movie theater, watching the previews when she felt Austin stretch his arms in a yawn. She smiled to herself. It wasn’t much of a move, and it was a cheesy one at that, but it was the most he’d put forth so far, so she was going to take what she could get. She’d enjoy the feeling of his arm around her and maybe the movie would be sad and she could lean her head on his shoulder and he’d wipe away her tears and kiss the top of her head to comfort her.

Then a moment later he settled his arm back on his armrest, not around her shoulder as she’d expected. What? He wasn’t trying to put his arm around her? Who yawns like that unless they’re trying to make a move? Especially in a movie theater.

She briefly thought about asking him to get her a bucket of popcorn, so maybe their hands could meet in the bucket as they both reached for a bite, but she was still stuffed after dinner and she didn’t really want him to leave.

The movie was more sad than scary, and the only opportunity she’d had to bury her head in his shoulder had come during the previews and she wasn’t thinking about it until the moment was already gone. She had ended up crying a couple of times, and he’d handed her a handkerchief from his pocket. Seriously, who, under the age of sixty, carries a handkerchief? He hadn’t seemed uncomfortable because of her tears, which was nice. Her perfectly applied eye makeup was no longer quite so perfect, but at least she didn’t have raccoon eyes.

“Do you mind if we go one more place before I take you home?” Austin asked as they headed back to his car.

Briana shook her head. “It’s not my curfew yet,” she teased.

Austin laughed. “Good. I wouldn’t want your dad to say I couldn’t take you out again.”

Briana laughed, and then she shivered. “It’s colder out here than it was before,” she said. The shiver wasn’t completely faked, and she was cold, but she was trying to give him yet another opportunity to make a move. He was such a gentleman that she knew he wouldn’t let his own discomfort get in the way of her comfort. He’d give her his coat to keep her warm in a heartbeat. She waited for him to shrug out of his suit jacket and wrap it around her shoulders where she’d be warmed by his residual body heat and she’d be able to smell his cologne.

They’d just reached the car and Austin opened the door to the back seat. “I think my sister left her sweater back here. You guys are about the same size.” He pulled out a nice looking black sweater that actually kinda’ matched her dress. He helped her into it and she tried not to feel a little begrudging.

As they drove to wherever they were going they talked about what they’d liked and disliked about the movie. Briana tried to imagine where he’d take her, but she kept coming up blank. After about ten minutes of driving, however, she started to get an idea of where they were going.

Five minutes later she discovered she was right. He pulled into a parking space at an overlook that was a popular make out place in the area. She was surprised to see that there weren’t any other cars there; maybe they were too early. She’d never been there herself, but she’d heard stories about this place where guys would take their dates when they wanted to get lucky.

She turned to Austin. “Are you taking me parking?” she teased. She secretly hoped that he was. He’d probably be a great kisser. He’d be powerful, but not so powerful to be scary, just powerful enough. He’d hold her just right and touch her in all the right places. For a first date it was a little more than she usually would go, but for the perfect kisser, she’d probably be willing.

Austin’s cheeks turned slightly pink as he looked around. “Some of the guys in my building said I should bring you here. They said it had a really good view. I didn’t realize…”

Briana smiled at him. “I think they were jerking you around.”

“I’m really sorry, Briana. I never thought…”

“It’s okay,” Briana replied, laughing again. “This place is an overlook during the day, so my guess is that there is a pretty decent view from here. Why don’t we check it out.”

They headed to the overlook and discovered that there was, indeed, a beautiful view of the city, all lit up at night. They were far enough away, however, that the city lights didn’t blot out the stars.

“See, it’s beautiful,” she said, bumping him with her shoulder.

“Yeah, it’s beautiful,” he replied.

She didn’t turn immediately to look at him because she didn’t want it to seem like she was expecting what she was expecting. She wanted it to seem natural. She knew that he was looking at her when he’d said “beautiful” because that’s what guys did in cases like this.

She finally, after what seemed liked forever to her, but was really not even a second, glanced over at him and discovered that he was, in fact, looking out over the landscape. What? He thought the landscape was beautiful? She was supposed to be beautiful.

She tried to stuff down her frustration at the whole date and how it hadn’t gone according to plan, but she’d just about hit her breaking point. And then she remembered all the good things that had happened that evening. She remembered that even if this guy hadn’t been what she’d expected, he was a significantly better date than just about anyone she’d been out with over the past three months, probably longer.
As they walked back to the car she tried really hard not to resent the fact that he didn’t take her hand.

The ride back was pretty quiet. Briana was trying pretty hard not to expect anything more from Austin, and she couldn’t figure out what he was thinking. But as they approached her place Briana’s mind started working a mile a minute. Would this be when he would make his move? She fought the urge to close her eyes as she thought. He’d push her up against the wall and kiss her like he’d never let her go. Then he’d lead her to her room, kissing her the entire way, and then he’d lay her out on her bed and they’d make sweet, sweet love all night long.

Yeah, right.

Even she knew how far off that particular fantasy was. This guy was as likely to make a move as… as… well, something very unlikely. Not only that, but there were a few logistical problems, such as the non-existent wall he’d pushed her up against. And how had they gotten into her house? And her room was an absolute disaster area and there was no way she was letting him anywhere near her room. Plus, she wasn’t going to put out on a first date… especially not a first date that had gone like this one.

Before she knew it they were standing at her front door. She wondered again if he would kiss her. This time she imagined him going in for a soft, sweet, brief kiss that left them both wanting more.

She looked over at Austin and he looked… indecisive.

“Something wrong?” she asked.

“I’m trying to decide what to do,” he said, taking a small step closer to her. “Y’see, this is the first date, and I like to consider myself a gentleman. But at the same time, you’re jiggling your keys, and that’s a sign that a girl wants to kiss, or so I’ve been told.”

Briana hadn’t even realized she’d been jingling her keys, but as she looked down at her fingers, sure enough, he was right. She smiled at him. “Sure enough,” she whispered.

And then he took another, larger step that put them right next to each other.

And then he cupped her cheeks and lowered his lips to her. And it was the perfect kiss.

Just like she’d imagined.

The perfect ending to the most romantic date ever.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Justina C. (stinasstoryspot)

Member Comments

Leave a comment about this story...

Comments 1 to 2 of 2
Alisa W. (caliope220) - 2/10/2009 7:36 PM ET
awww.i like it! it amused me. and seemed all too familiar in some points... :)
Shelby - 2/13/2009 1:41 PM ET
I really like this. I was smiling by the end of it and was feeling the anticipation of that first kiss. Great job!
Comments 1 to 2 of 2