Friday, January 24, 2014
Love Story Part 10: The waiting game... until Lillian intervenes
The next few weeks after our first date are best described as me being constantly exasperated with Frank—why? Because he didn’t ask me out again. He didn’t even call me the next day like I thought guys were supposed to do. Instead I didn’t hear a peep from him about whether he enjoyed the night, whether he wanted to go out again, or anything like that. Since I didn’t want to be the one to initiate a DTR talk, I complained a ton about his lack of follow-up to all my girl friends, while not saying a word to him. Very mature, I know.
I did try to see him as much as I could. The day after our first date, an acquaintance hosted a Downton Abbey watch party, and knowing about Frank’s love for that show I invited him to come. He ended up being the only guy in a crowd of 8 or 10 girls, and he had a fine time. Afterward I joked that I’d just brought him along “for arm candy” and we walked back to my apartment arm-in-arm.
A few days later I went to a late-night happy hour at DC’s popular 20-something hang-out McFadden’s. I met some really nice guys there, friends of my friends, and one cute guy graciously gave me a ride home. Since Frank didn’t seem to be making any moves, I thought I might as well be open to dating other guys. Why not? There were plenty of nice guys out there and no sense in waiting around for someone who wasn’t taking action.
In Frank’s defense, I made it pretty darn hard for him to schedule another date. My friend Alex came to visit me the weekend after our first date, and then my sister Lillian and friend Maggie came to visit the weekend after that. I made sure all these ladies got to meet Frank, since they’d heard so much about him by then, but it was in informal group settings planned by me.
Lillian and Maggie were in town for the March for Life, and we took full advantage of their nearly week-long visit to plan a bunch of fun outings. Friday night we decided to go to some club in downtown DC, and I rounded up Frank and some of his guy friends to join us. You might remember me mentioning this earlier in the story, but at the time, I had to work very late on Friday nights formatting the magazine I worked for at the time. We picked a club close to my office, and I resigned myself to bouncing back and forth between work and the club.
I joined my friends for the first part of the night, but around 9:30 pm, I had to go back to the office. Frank offered to walk me back. I felt bad making him do that, but he insisted, so I showed up at work with him in tow. He patiently sat behind me in my cubicle while I tried to get my work done as fast as possible.
“I’m so sorry this is taking so long,” I kept saying, but he just laughed and cracked jokes. “The back of your head is redikulus,” he teased as I sat glued to the computer. I thought he was so funny, and such a nice guy for keeping me company.
The work was taking longer than I expected, so I walked to the other end of the office to check on progress for some graphics I needed. The graphic designer, a sweet married Asian lady, pulled me into a whispered conversation.
“Who’s that guy with you??” she asked.
“Oh, him? He’s just a friend. We were with some friends at a bar close by so he offered to walk me over,” I explained. “We went on a date a few weeks ago but I don’t think it’s going anywhere. He doesn’t seem all that interested.”
“Are you kidding?” she said with a look of disbelief. “He left hanging out at a bar with his friends to come sit at work with you? Oh, honey. Don’t be silly. He must be really into you!”
Maybe I should be embarrassed that it took her saying that to get me to see reason, but when she said that, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. She was right. Of course he was interested.
When I finally was able to leave work, it was after midnight. Frank walked me back to the club and I pulled the classic “my hands are cold” move to get him to hold my hand. I was really excited to realize he liked me and the internal butterflies were uncontrollable.
A few days later, on Lillian and Maggie’s last night visiting me, I invited Frank and my friend Joey over to have dinner with us girls. I remember complaining the whole time before the guys got there: “If only Frank would make a move one way or the other!! I could handle it if he decided not to date me anymore, and I can handle it if he wants to keep dating, but this uncertainty is killing me!” My patience with him was reaching its limits.
After dinner, Frank caught me alone in the kitchen.
“I have this dance coming up at school next month,” he said. “It’s called the Barrister’s Ball. It’s kind of like law school prom.”
“Yeah?” My heart. It was fluttering.
“I was wondering… would you like to go with me?”
Internally: AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Externally: “Sure, sounds fun.”
As soon as I could, I dragged Lillian and Maggie into the bedroom while the guys talked outside.
“Frank asked me to this ball! He said it’s like law school prom!”
“Yay! That’s great!”
“No but this is a huge problem,” I said. “The dance isn’t until next month. How am I supposed to last another month not knowing if we’re dating or not??”
“That’s easy,” said Lillian. “Why don’t you just ask him, ‘Is this ball a date?’”
I’m pretty sure I stood there opening and closing my mouth like a goldfish. That was so … sensible. So easy. Lillian always has been the practical twin.
So that’s what I did, that very night. Joey missed the last train back to Maryland, so Frank offered to give him a ride home, and I offered to come along and keep Frank company. After we dropped Joey off and were alone in the car, I got my chance.
“Frank, I was wondering… that ball you told me about earlier… Is it a date?”
Frank tells me that his blood ran cold when I asked him that. He thought that if he said “Yes,” I wouldn’t want to go, or would give him some line about “Let’s just go as friends.”
“Yes?” he said. “I mean, yes. That’s what I was thinking. But it doesn’t have to be. Not if you don’t want it to be.”
“No, that’s fine,” I said, smiling. “A date is fine with me.”
I kept right on smiling the whole way home.
The next installment of the love story will be the last! I'm so excited to wrap this thing up. Hoping to get it done in time for our two-year anniversary on Sunday.