"Well, thanks for lunch," Miranda said as they approached her Honda. "We should do it again."
"I was thinking the same thing."
"You were?" Miranda said, mouth agape in total disbelief. She could just see her cartoon tongue unrolling from her mouth.
"If you don't have plans Sunday night, I was thinking you might enjoy going down to Urban Park at twilight. They have a movie in the park sponsored by the Elks ... or was it the deer?"
"Some sort of forest creature," Miranda quipped.
"Yes, water buffalo or whatnot. It's a family event, so if you wanted to bring your children--"
"What movie are they showing?"
"Bringing Up Baby."
Miranda pursed her lips and leaned against her car. Even though the dark blue paint was oven-hot thanks to the midday sun, she figured she looked too cool to pull away suddenly. With as much grace as any person on fire, she slowly shifted and stood upright again, hoping that the smell of burning flesh didn't overpower her Vera Wang.
"If they were showing The Lion King I would say yes, but I don't know if they would be into an evening of Hepburn and Grant. I can see if my mom or someone would watch them. I mean, if you really want to go," she said, attempting to sound casual even though her heart was suddenly pounding.
"It looks like fun. I've never been to the cinema outdoors before."
"The mosquitoes make it a real treat," she said dryly.
"You've convinced me already."
"It's not bad. I have a whole Walgreens shelf of bug spray and calamine lotion in my bathroom, so I'll pack something that's extra strength. With the rain we've had lately it's probably a good idea."
"Have you seen a movie in the park before?"
"My sister and I saw Grease a few years back when the bank she was working at sponsored the movie. I didn't realize the town still did them."
"Shall I pick you up around seven?"
"Sounds good," Miranda agreed as she dug through her purse and found a pen and a receipt to write down her cell phone number.
"Sorry," Miranda blushed as she handed him her grocery store receipt. "I usually have a notepad in my purse, but I bet the kids took it for drawing paper."
"Quite alright," Garic replied. He took the piece of paper from her, but didn't let go of her hand right away. He squeezed her fingers just long enough to be noticeable, but not so long that it was awkward or uncomfortable.
Holy crap, he was good at this.
"I'll see you on Sunday," Miranda said at last, though her inner teenager was doing cartwheels and bunny hopping through her mind in complete ecstasy.
"Sunday," he echoed as he leaned in and gave her a kiss on the cheek. His facial hair gently scraping against her cheek gave her goose bumps while the smell of his cologne intoxicated her.
I will never wash this cheek again, Miranda thought, starry-eyed and blissful when he pulled back and grabbed his keys from his pocket.
Garic started to walk to his car, but turned and waved to her. "Don't eat dinner Sunday."
"I've got it covered."
"Should I be impressed or afraid?" she shouted.
"Impressed," he said with a smile.
Good God was she impressed. Her stomach felt like it was filled with a thousand Tinkerbells sprinkling pixie dust on her insides. At any moment hundreds of people would fill the streets and break out into song like a Bollywood flick.
Miranda watched him in her rearview mirror as he walked to his pick-up truck and pulled a flyer out from under his windshield wiper. The longer she looked at him the more she thought he looked like the type of guy who would drive a pick-up. He was sophisticated with his dark button-down shirt and rustic with his wavy hair and two day-old beard. The baseball cap she had originally seen him wearing made him seem so average and the accent made him exotic.
Once she was certain he wasn't looking, Miranda called her sister on her cell phone. She had never been so grateful for one-touch dialing as she was in that moment when her nerves were on fire.
"Did you survive?" Evelyn said when she answered the phone.
"He asked me out."
"No, no, he's not engaged," Miranda said. She sat in her CR-V and explained lunch in one long breath. "Can you keep the kids for a little bit longer or are you due back to work right now?"
"My assistant has it. She's fine." A squeal in the background was followed by Gia screaming at the top of her lungs. "Hold on a second. Your kids just turned into Gremlins again."
Miranda heard her sister place her hand over the phone before she yelled at James to stop pulling Gia's hair.
"Okay, I'm back."
"If you don't have anything to do, I'm going to Lucrecia's."
"Oooh what?" Miranda snapped.
"This is serious stuff. Where is he taking you to? Or are you going to regress to high school and make out in the driveway?"
"It's not a date. And it's not tonight."
"Where are you two going on your non-date?"
Miranda sighed in aggravation. "He asked me to the movie in the park Sunday night."
"Did he now?" Evelyn teased.
"Yes, and don't ooh and aah me. It's nothing serious. We were just talking and that's it."
"Whatever you say, Mir, but you and I both know you only get your eyebrows waxed when it's something serious."
"Can you watch the kids a little longer or what?" Miranda persisted.
"Yeah, yeah. Are you going for the full deal? Eyebrows, legs, bikini?"
"Eyebrows and legs. No bikini wax on the first date," Miranda replied.
"So it is a date?"
Miranda hesitated. She scrunched her nose and looked at her reflection in the rearview mirror. "Do you think it's a date? I don't think it's a date."
"Dinner and a movie?"
"Yeah. Hey, how did you know we were having dinner?"
"Well, I didn't, but now I do."
"So.... it's a date? I'm going on a date."
Evelyn gave a devilish chuckle. "Relax. It's just like riding a bicycle. Only better."