Word count, start of day -- 36,070
My worry was interrupted when I saw Brian enter the store. He walked in casually, then wandered aimlessly around the place. But I knew it wasn't really aimless. What I noticed right away was how he was dressed. It was the first time I had seen him out of dress clothes. That though kind of made me blush. I mean of course, that this was the first I had seen him in casual clothes. He was wearing a nice pair of blue jeans and a flannel shirt, untucked. The tee shirt he wore was a coral blue that looked pretty good with the dark blue pattern in the outer shirt. He seemed fairly well put together, in an ensemble that maybe he had thought about and not just thrown on.
He browsed the magazines before turning to fake surprise at seeing me there. After putting on a performance of being two friends casually running into each other in a bookstore, we settled into the rhythm of conversation.
I told him a little about my week, how work was going, general stuff about the office and all. That part of my world was hanging together pretty well.
"We were talking about your girlfriends last time," I said, slipping myself around a little and becoming more comfortable. I added seriously, "God, that seemed like a long time ago."
He nodded. A lot had happened since we had that lunch at the pizza shack. He said, "Sure, I can talk more about me, but in a little while maybe." I eyed him. "But first, I had some questions for you."
I sank further into the soft chair, and faced him. Might as well make myself comfortable. These questions might make me thoroughly uncomfortable. But I was ready for whatever he had to throw at me. "Ask anything you want."
He dug a hand into a back pocket of his jeans and drew out a small slip of paper. He unfolded it. Maybe it was a note card of some kind. "You remember the game twenty questions?" he asked with a sly grin.
"Sure," I said, a little hesitantly. What did he have in mind?
"I have twenty questions for you," he announced. I kept looking at him, not knowing quite what to say. "Ready for number one?"
"Do you have any brothers or sisters?"
I said that I did, and told him about Jake and Samuel. Jake was five years older than me, and Sam was two years younger.
"What do they do?"
"Jake is in construction, a housing contractor. and Samuel is up in New York, trying to do something in theatre. I'm not really sure what exactly he is up to."
He held up two fingers. "What is your favorite movie of all time?"
I had to think about this one. Julia Roberts was my favorite actress, but 'Erin Brockovich' is not a movie to see over and over again. "This is a tough one, Brian. I would have to go with a classic chick flick, 'Sleepless in Seattle.'" He frowned just a little, and I changed my mind. "No, wait! I'm going to go with 'Saint Elmo's Fire.'"
This time he nodded. I was going to ask him his favorite, but figured that was against the rules of his little game. "Next?" I asked.
"Have you ever boon to a foreign country?"
This was an easy one. "Mexico and the Bahamas."
"When was that?"
"Mexico was a singles cruise. I was like twenty or something."
"Sweet," he commented. He was right.
"And the Bahamas were our honeymoon."
He nodded, then moved quickly to the next question.
"Favorite restaurant in town?"
"That's an easy one," I said. I could knock this one out of the park. "Wellington's Steak House. Thick and juicy and sizzling."
Brian laughed. "Sounds good. How about this one: What is your favorite TV show? Do you have an "appointment" type of show that you never miss?"
Another easy one. "It was 'Twin Peaks,' for me. Nothing now, now that 'X-Files' is gone. Maybe it will be 'Six Feet Under.'"
"I dug 'Twin Peaks,' too. I had to watch it alone, though. Gwen was not a fan. She did not approve of it. It was a little too weird for her."
This sounded so familiar. "I watched "X-Files' by myself for the same reason."
"It's tough. Gwen and I have really different tastes. She's only a few years older than me, but it's like she's from another lifetime sometimes."
I nodded, again. "Dennis is actually from another lifetime, another generation, so I guess it's not as much of a surprise to me."
He looked at me seriously, then asked a completely silly question about how many pairs of shoes I owned. I laughed out loud and admitted I had probably twenty pairs. He seemed shocked that a woman could own that many shoes, but I know of plenty of girls who had more than I. Brian just laughed more at me and asked about whether I was born in Kansas City.
"A small town just outside. We lived in a working class part of the area." I used to say blue-collar, but working class sounded better somehow.
"Did you go to your prom?" he asked.
"I didn't," Brian admitted, then quickly asked what my first job was. I told him about working retail at Kohl's, a big retail chain in the Midwest. "A season in the gift wrap division has given me a reputation as a top-notch present wrapper. I do go through a lot of tape," I had to admit.
"Have you ever been to Disney World or Disney Land?"
I shook my head. "Maybe when Erin is a few years older. There are a number of things I want her to experience when she was young, things that I wasn't able to do."
He changed gears on me again. "What's your dress size?" Was he trying to throw me off with this range of questions?
"I'm usually a four, depending on the specific dress and designer."
"Six the rest of the time?"
"No, a two," I said, trying to not be insulted. "You think I look like a six?"
He gave me a look of complete innocence. "I don't know what a size six looks like. Or a four, or a two. I'm a guy."
I laughed. He did not mean anything by it, so I let it slide.
"Is that your real hair color?" he asked with a smile.
"Now your getting personal," I said with a grin. I thought about asking how we was going to discover my real hair color, but that might be too provocative. "It's lightened a little bit, but I am a blonde."
He grinned. I don't know at what. Probably a bunch of old blonde jokes and that Julie Brown song from that Geena Davis alien comedy movie. He asked if I had ever gotten a speeding ticket and I told him no.
"But you've been pulled over," he said matter-of-factly.
"Three or four times," I said. It was probably closer to ten.
I shook my head no.
"Blonde," was all he said, shaking his head. I thought about fighting back, but deep down I know he was probably right.
I then told him that history was my best subject in high school, that George Brett was my favorite Kansas City Royal, and that fruit pies were my favorite junk food. "Aren't we done yet?" I asked. It had been fun, but was getting tedious, too.
"Just a few more," he assured. "We're in a bookstore, so let me ask you the last book you read."
I had to think. "I don't read a lot of books, or a lot of fictional novel books. I read a lot of magazines and," I stopped and smiled. I just remembered the last book I read.
"What?" he prompted, a little suspicious.
I leaned into him. "It was a sex book."
"Really?" He seemed a little shocked, but maybe a little interested, too.
"I bought it here," I gestured behind us. "It's something like, 'How To Make Love To Anyone,' or something like that."
The truth was, I had not had much opportunity to practice. I got it right when things were starting to slide with Dennis. "I thought that it would help us maybe," I explained, "but he was not real hip to change what he thought was working."
"But it wasn't working?" Brian asked.
"The whole relationship wasn't working well, by then. I just wanted to spice things up a little."
"Didn't get the chance?"
"No." Then I added, "Not yet."
"Not yet," he repeated, and then looked away. I wanted to sort of flirt with him, let him know some of my thoughts. That was the point of all of this, wasn't it? He seemed a very passive person, which in this sort of thing pretty much made sense. He was being a gentleman, and so I needed to be a little less of a lady. I could not count on him to make any moves on his own.
"You ought to flip through that book some time," I prompted. "It might give you some ideas."
He almost blushed, but then flashed a devilish grin at me. "Maybe I ought to do that."
We spent a few more minutes finishing up his list of twenty questions, and I managed to flirt a little more with him. This was so much fun, it was so unreal, it was so different than anything I'd ever done before. But it was fun. Spending time with Brian was fun, just plain fun.
I left the bookstore in time to get home for lunch with Erin. I wanted to put her to down for a nap, so I could do a little re-reading of that book I'd bought here. Maybe my love life, and maybe even my sex life, weren't quite over after all.