For the first time in as long as I could remember, the smile on my face wasn’t forced as I followed the man up the steps to his house. Sure, my last few first dates had crashed and burned, but this one had yet to spontaneously self-destruct! I was even starting to feel hopeful that it would lead to more.
John, at the doorway to his house, turned and grinned back at me as he slid his palm across the biosensor. “It takes a couple seconds for the genome scan to fully complete,” he apologized as we waited for the maglocks to disengage. “You’re sure that you want to come inside?”
I looked back at him, stepping up to the top step to join him. “Absolutely,” I replied.
The date had quickly climbed over that awkward sensation of meeting a complete stranger with the possibility of seeing them naked at a later point in time. I had left early, making sure that I would arrive at the restaurant on time, but John had still been sitting there waiting for me.
He had looked just like the picture posted on his ElectroDate profile – he was wearing a gray suit instead of a blue one, and the tie in the picture was absent, but he still had the slightly mussy brown hair and that same goofy smile. Between his cream shirt and gray suit, he was a sight of neutral colors – a direct contrast to me.
As I had settled into the seat opposite him at our table, I had to fight myself to stop from running my fingers up through my burning red hair. It was a telling habit, a clear sign of nervousness, but I could never totally squash the motions. I wedged my fingers beneath me, catching them between my black cocktail dress and the seat cushion.
But after the usual introductions, backgrounds, and small talk (“So what do you do? Oh, that’s so interesting! I have an uncle who was in that field”), John had paused, leaning forward to gaze intently across the table at me.
“Listen, Kate,” he spoke up, his voice earnest. “You seem nice, but I want to make this clear right away. I’m not looking for just something fun.”
Not looking for something fun? I quirked an eyebrow at him, and he suddenly looked flustered as he realized what he’d just said.
“Not that I don’t want to have fun,” he kept going quickly, trying to recover. “I mean, I’m a fun guy! Not a fungus. But I don’t just want to have fun, you know? I want something more serious, a real relationship. One that could lead to marriage.”
My eyebrow climbed higher.
“No, not like that!” John burst out. “I mean, I’m not proposing on the first date! That would be crazy. And I’m not. Not crazy. Or proposing. But I want to find someone who thinks that they might want to in the future. To be proposed to, not to be crazy.” He threw up his hands in frustration. “Is this making any sense at all?”
I reached out and caught his hands out of the air, holding them briefly in my own. They were big, lightly callused – the hands of someone who took good care of himself, but still put them to use. “I feel the same way,” I said honestly.
At this, that goofy smile appeared once more on John’s face, and we resumed our talking. But now, the conversation felt smoother, more flowing. We got each other’s jokes, listened intently to each other’s stories, and by the time the serving bot was bringing by our dessert, I had accepted his invitation to go and see his house.
“Trust me,” John had promised as we caught the maglev train back towards his neighborhood, “I’ve got something that will blow your mind.”
To be continued on Wednesday!