Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Never Special," Dinner, pt. 1, 404 words

"It was mostly just a coincidence, really."

"Really," Lucila asks, more than a little doubt shading her voice. She grins a little before scooping a forkful of spaghetti into her mouth.

We're in a little hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant, a far nicer place than the phrase suggests, at her insistence. She was right, though; they make excellent tortellini, and the atmosphere is more casual and homey than romantic. It's incredibly relaxing, and I find myself much more at ease in her presence than I normally would have been. Cynically, I wonder if that was her intent -- not that I honestly believe she'd be out to seduce me, because I think she could do so much better, but I have thought about the possibility. "Just in case," of course.

Of course.

"Yeah, really," I say. "You know why no other hero went after him?" She shakes her head in lieu of answering, her mouth still full of pasta. I continue, "They were all out of town. Almost all of them. There was a convention -- you know, a trade show -- in Cape Cod that weekend. So out of the pitiful few left in the city, I happened to be the one on the spot. It wasn't too far from where I worked."

Lucila raises an eyebrow, swallows, and asks, "You work in your underwear?"

I can't keep from blushing. God, that's going to haunt me forever. I shake my head quickly. "No, I just... I left my skirt behind. It was just going to get in my way, otherwise. Not that it would've changed things much." I mutter the last, mostly to myself, but it's not like the restaurant is noisy. There's only one other couple at another table, on the other side of the room, and they're leaning close together and whispering.

"Don't worry about it, hon," she says, leaning in a little to put her hand over mine. Her skin is soft and a little cool. Without even thinking, I turn my hand up so I'm holding hers. She doesn't pull back. "You still had a pretty good first showing," she continues, "looked pretty good coming at him even without a costume. It's just that he had a good first time, too." She smiles weakly at that, and squeezes my hand. I don't know what to say, so instead I go back to eating a few bites of my dinner, still holding her hand.

No comments: