I'll start from the beginning, and through these posts I'll bring you to real time.
July 3, 2009
I saw him standing nearby laughing about god only knows what over drinks with two friends. I only watched him for a minute or two, but I knew I wanted to know him. Something about the way he stood out from his friends—taller, darker. Something about the way his whole face smiled when he talked, not just his mouth, but his eyes, his cheeks, and even his ears seemed to smile. It made me wonder what had him so amused. I was only a few feet away from him, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying. The music was too loud, the bar was too crowded.
“Hey, I’m going to go make that random guy buy me a drink," Lynn said.
I turned in time to watch her make her way to the bar and squeeze in next to a sketchy-looking 30-something who had that I’m-creepy-but-I’ll-buy-you-a-drink look about him.
“Yeah, I’m running low, too. I need to find a guy to buy me a drink.” This from Nicole, my innocent-looking college friend who just turned 21, new to the whole bar scene but catching on quickly.
Danielle just shrugged, her drink needing refilling as well. I didn’t so much care that my drink was almost empty. I wasn’t in the mood to drink, and truthfully I hadn’t even felt much like going out that night. But I was there, one drink down, may as well make the most of it.
I’ve been known to be the outgoing one, the one who will talk to anyone and leave the bar with a few new phone numbers in my contact list. Some of them I’ll call, some of them I won’t. Some become random hook ups, some become friends, others just fall by the wayside.
I wasn’t sure which category the tall smiling man would fall into, but I didn’t care. I just had to meet him.
But which approach should I take? Should I push through him and his friends to get to the bar, with a hand on his side to move him over while saying a polite “Excuse me,” as I passed, and keep my hand on his hip a little longer than necessary? Maybe he’d follow me to the bar and buy my next drink. It’s happened before. Or should I walk past him and graze his butt with my hand just so, so he wouldn’t know if it were on purpose or an accident. And then I’ll look back once I got to the bar and give him a half smile.
But then my elementary flirting skills got the best of me and I decided to play old-school style. I reached my leg behind Danielle, and gave him a blatant kick in the ass and then went back to my chat with my friends, pretending to be a part of their conversation about their next drink choice.
He looked over at us immediately, with a somewhat amused somewhat shocked look on his tanned face. I could feel his eyes on our group, trying to decide if someone had in fact kicked him on purpose or if he'd had one too many drinks and he had imagined the whole thing.
I let him wonder for a few seconds, and then I finally shifted my eyes to his. He gave me a confused look that I knew meant "Did you touch my butt?" I shrugged innocently and pointed at Danielle, who wasn't aware of the kick or the point, her only concern: how to get her glass refilled without relying on Lynn's method of flirting with the ickies. Before Mr. Tall, Tan, and Sexy could approach, Danielle and Nicole yanked me to the bar for refills.
I felt him come up behind me before he said anything. He didn't touch me, I just knew he was there. I felt his eyes on me. I turned, and, sure enough, standing at what must have been about 6'3" with brown hair, his brown eyes with a hint of green looked down at me. A curious smile played on his lips.
"It was her, I swear." I pointed at Danielle as her face clouded over with nothing but confusion.
"Is that so?" This from Mr. Tall, Tan, and Sexy.
Was that an accent I heard? No. Surely Mr. TT&S couldn't also be sporting an adorable accent. Those things didn't happen to me. That only happened in cheesy Julia Stiles movies.
"Well, I'm Cayden," he said as he held his hand out for me to shake. Surely that was an accent. What kind? I couldn't tell. Maybe his skin color was natural and he's hispanic. Or Greek. Or maybe he was just blessed with more melanin than most and an addiction to the outdoors. I couldn't be sure.
"Whitney," I say as met his hand with mine.
For the next hour or two, there was no bar. There were no friends. No ickies. No music. No nothing. Just me and Cayden. Just his British accent, my light-hearted laugh. His tanned hand resting on my tanned leg. His eyes, the exact same color as my own. His stories. My stories. His half Pakistani background, my half Cuban background.
Talk. Laugh. Touch. Repeat.
I forgot where I was all together until I heard "Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!" chanted all around me. It tore my eyes away from his. All of a sudden the room filled in. My friends were around us. His friends nearby.
Lynn seemed to be the ring leader in the chant, her camera was out and ready to capture the moment. How long had they been standing there? How long had we been talking? It must have taken me a full 15 seconds to bring myself back to reality. I looked at Danielle and Nicole, their faces eager. I looked at Lynn's camera lens, her finger hovering over the button.
I looked at Cayden.
The camera flashed.