It is Saturday evening and Ember and Parker are having their first date. As promised, and almost demanded, Ember dropped Erwyn off with Cyann earlier in the day. She needed to head back home, shower, get dressed and be ready for Parker to pick her up. Normally (and had she actually been dating anyone), she would not have let a man pick her up at home until after a few of months of dating and being sure it would be safe for him to know where she lives. She would not put herself or her daughter at risk. However, Parker has been to her house to fix her refrigerator before, and she has interacted with him on enough occasions for her to feel it's okay for him to pick her up.
Parker had considered a couple of options for dinner, such as Color Burst and Select Spaces. Marlin works at Select Spaces and he didn't want to risk Marlin being the server and putting her in an awkward situation. He also felt that it would be nice to try something new. So he looked up fine dining restaurants and selected Artaste, a restaurant with several large pieces of abstract artwork, almost like murals, on the walls. He read reviews and it seems like a nice place with an atmosphere which should be good for a first date.
Parker and Ember have just arrived and been shown to their table by the hostess, who has told them the waiter will be with them shortly. Normally the hostess will wait until the guests are seated, but Parker told her she didn't have to since he would still need to hang up their coats. The hostess understood and went back to the front to continue greeting other guests.
Parker has offered to help Ember with her coat. Ember unbuttons it and turns around so that he can help her. Considering Parker has been a gentleman every step of the way, such as opening all doors for her, she agrees to comply.
Parker: You are very welcome.
Ember: You have always been such a gentleman.
Parker: As I should be. (after pausing) Your perfume is very nice. I've been thinking that since I picked you up, but I have finally gotten around to telling you.
Ember: Thank you. I only have a few I wear, so this is a favorite.
Ember looks over at the table.
Parker: I think it's pretty nice too. Here, let me help you to your seat.
Parker pulls out the chair for Ember, helps her sit down and then takes off his own coat.
Ember: Okay. I'll be right here.
Parker (laughing): I hope so.
Parker takes the coats to check them and then returns and sits down.
Parker: I would never have thought of that, but it sounds like a good idea. Do you have the same decorating ability as your sister?
Ember: No, not even close. I mean, I can set up a room that looks decent, but not like Henna. It's like she sees things in the room before they are even there.
Parker: Well, you have business sense in common.
Ember (laughing): At least I have one thing like her, I guess. Speaking of sisters, how is Avery?
Parker: She's doing very well. I just saw her after having not seen her for a few weeks. After moving out, I gave her and Craig some space.
Ember: Yes, that's right. How are things in your new place?
Parker: They're good. I like having my own bedroom again.
The waiter comes by and introduces himself. He tells them the specials and asks if they have had a chance to review the menu to ask questions. They admit they have not, but will take a few minutes to do so. The waiter says he'll be right back with some water and then he leaves.
Parker and Ember open their menus.
Parker: That appetizer special sounds good, would you like to try it?
Ember: Sure, why not?
Parker: Okay. I'll bet it is delicious. Would you like some wine?
Ember: No, thank you. I see some lemonade I'd like.
Parker: I like lemonade, but I think I'll try this sweet green tea. It seems interesting.
The waiter returns to the table with water and takes their orders. They go back to chatting.
Ember: Hmmm, let me see. You know that I have two sisters and I'm in the middle. Which is ironic because I feel like there have been plenty of times when I've actually been caught in the middle of them. I'm usually the level-headed one.
Ember: Yes. Henna can be a little strict and staunch, especially with Syren because Syren can be a little bit on the wild side. It's so weird. It's like they can be complete extremes and I'm a happy medium. I'm not sure if this is a good example or not, but here's one. Henna doesn't drink much, Syren drinks more often, parties quite a bit and I will drink more often then Henna, but not as often as Syren.
Ember: I know, not the best example, but to me it's an example.
Ember: She looks up to you, doesn't she?
Parker (laughing): For a while she had to, literally. I'm older, I was taller for a while.
Ember (laughing): That's funny. But I know she must have found some benefits from having you as an older brother.
Parker: She has. I would never let any of the boys at school or in the neighborhood pick on her. My father always told me it was my job as her brother. I took him seriously.
Parker: I've never thought of it that way, but I guess you could be correct. She's my little sister and it was us and our father growing up. We were close.
The waiter returns with the appetizer and their drinks. He says dinner will be out shortly and asks if he can get them anything else. They say no and thank him.
Ember: Yes, I can hardly wait for a bite. So, not to change the subject, but you have only mentioned your father. Is your mother still alive?
Parker: Yes, she is, but I don't speak to her.
Ember: I'm sorry to hear that.
Parker: It's okay...(Pausing to see if Ember will ask why) I'm surprised, usually people ask why and you haven't.
Ember: I figure if you want me to know, you will tell me. Other than that, it's not my business.
Parker (looking at Ember in appreciation): I wish I could say we were as close as you seem to be with your mother. How is your mother?
Parker: Next time you speak with her, please let her know I asked about her.
Ember: I will. She's actually going to rent some furnished extended stay apartment.
Parker: Didn't she stay with Henna last time she was here?
Ember: Yes, but since she is staying so long, she thought she would let Henna continue to have her space. I'm hoping she'll be able to take Erwyn to New York again this year. They went with Syren for a weekend last year before Christmas. They have quite a bit of fun.
Parker: Well, then I hope they are able to go again.
Ember (looking at the appetizer and laughing): You know, this is quite a big plate for this small of an appetizer.
Parker (laughing): Yes, I guess it is.
They eat their appetizers and they are delicious as they expected.
Parker: I wasn't the best student. Through elementary and middle school, I can remember several occasions when my dad was called about my less than appropriate behavior.
Ember: You, less than appropriate? Really?
Parker (smiling): I know I can seem reserved all the time, but I tend to be more relaxed and open when I feel comfortable with people.
Parker (laughing): Just ask my father or Avery. They say I clam up around people, but at home, I'm just as talkative and loose.
Parker: Well, maybe not terribly loose, but definitely not as reserved as I tend to be around people I don't know well or feel that comfortable around. I did improve once I got to high school.
Parker: Well, there are some songs you could catch me singing to and playing air guitar for. Boy, can I riff. One time I even emulated Tom Cruise in that movie where he was wearing a shirt and underwear.
Parker (laughing): Yes, that was me. Or Avery and I have some movies we both like and we repeat lines from scenes we like, as if in character. I really get into it. I want my voice to be right whenever possible.
Ember: You really are wild.
Parker: Oh and video games require my full attention. I talk a lot of junk sometimes when I'm playing against someone I know. I can get a little extreme.
The waiter returns with their dinner and places it on the table. Again, he checks to see if they need anything before leaving.
Ember: Oh, I am so with you on that. The service has been good too.
Ember: What made you ask me out?
Parker: You're not putting me on the spot. I can answer that. I think you are very attractive and have an outgoing personality. You're intelligent, kind and you listen. You are considerate and, as you know, level headed. I think you are honest and helpful. You have certainly given me decent advice before.
Ember: That's so sweet of you. I thought we were just good acquaintances.
Parker: I'm just being honest and we were...are, which is why I want to get to know you better. It's possible we can be more than that.
The waiter arrives with the gelatin and places it on the table.
Parker: I'm glad you're enjoying it.
Ember: Oh, I need the recipe. I need to make this.
Parker has a taste.
Dessert is so good, Parker finishes it pretty quickly.
Ember: I'm sure.
Parker: So, now that you've asked your question, can I ask why you agreed to go on a date with me?
Parker: As I should be.
Ember (smiling): Yes, as you should be. So when you asked me out, I guess I knew that I liked being around you and having conversations with you. There's something about your quiet nature I find intriguing, but I also think there's a personality in there I just need to get to know. Now that I have confirmed you do have a sort of wild side to you, I know I am right. Plus I am attracted to you so I am welcoming the chance to get to know you better too.
Parker: I like that.
The waiter comes back to take the dishes and provide the check. Before he leaves, Parker provides a credit card for payment and they wait for the waiter to return.
Ember: I'd be more than okay with that. I'm looking forward to spending more time with you. Next time, let's do something less formal. I'd be okay with sitting on a bench chatting and having a hot dog or bowling. I'd love to see you relax some more and get loose.
Parker: That sounds like a good idea. It's a date. I'd like to talk to you on a little more regular basis in between if that's okay.
Ember: Absolutely. I'll call you, you can call me. I'm not in a rush for anything, but I think this is worth us seeing where things go.
Parker: Me too.
The waiter returns for Parker to sign the receipt and then thanks them for their patronage. Parker leaves to get the coats and tells Ember he'll be right back. By the time he returns, Ember has already stood up to leave.
Ember (slightly embarrassed): I'm sorry, Parker. I forgot to wait. Next time I'll remember.
Parker: It's okay, you didn't do anything wrong, it's just that, well, I want to be sure you are taken care of properly every moment this evening.
Ember: Well, maybe you'll have several other opportunities to take of every moment properly.
Parker: I certainly hope so.
Ember turns around so Parker can help her put her coat on.
Parker hesitates, not knowing if would seem too forward of him. Then he remembers what his father has always told him, "The right time for a first kiss is not based on the clock or the calendar, it's based on what two people are feeling."
So when Ember turns around...
After they stop kissing, they are still close and look at each other for a moment.
Ember: Uhuh. I think you're right.
Parker lets Ember go and follows her to the door. He drives her home while they chat about the weather and the upcoming holiday. When they arrive at Ember's house, Parker walks her to the door. They kiss one more time, quickly, and Ember heads into the house, while Parker goes back to the car and drives home.
Thanks for stopping by. ~ Jaye