142 Days Later #12: Or Maybe It Was A Date
Do You Want To Share My Cheese?
“These aren’t bad for snack bar fries,” Jack observed. “I wonder how they are with cheese?”
“Are you asking to try some of my cheese?” Corie said. She looked at Jack and noticed his eyes quickly moving back up to meet hers. Glancing down at her chest, she realized the cold air conditioning Cienna had complained about was having a noticeable effect under her bathing suit.
I guess I can’t blame Jack for noticing that, Corie thought to herself, surprised to find that she was pleased he’d noticed. He is a guy after all. A decent looking guy, a nice guy, but still a guy.
“Uh, um,” Jack stuttered, embarrassed that Corie’d caught his eyes wandering. “No, that’s okay.”
Corie rolled her eyes. “Here,” she said, leaning over the table, taking one of his fries and dipping it in the cheese sauce on her plate. She leaned over the table again to hand the fry to Jack. “Try it. It’s pretty good.”
Jack sat in his seat trying heroically not to look where his eyes were being drawn when Corie leaned over the table.
The first time she did it, okay, maybe that was innocent. The second time, I don’t think so. What was that? Power flirting, or is she just being a tease?
Corie sat back and crossed her arms under her breasts. She glanced down and saw the effect that had on promoting her cleavage and immediately dropped her arms to the table.
What am I doing? Jack’s gonna think I’m coming on to him. Am I coming on to him? I practically dipped my boobs in cheese sauce and offered them to him. Why am I coming on to him? I barely know him. I better slow things down.
May I Walk You Home
Corie found something outside on the beach to watch while she finished her cheese fries. Jack became equally fascinated by what was going on out on the section of the pier he could see through the door. Neither said anything until a slurping noise from Corie’s diet Coke broke the cone of silence they’d imposed over their table.
Jack lost interest in what was going on out on the pier and looked at Corie, being careful to keep his gaze directed at her eyes.
That’s not too hard to do, Jack said to himself. Corie’s got beautiful eyes, hazel with a hint of purple. I don’t think I’ve ever seen eyes like hers.
For her part, Corie noticed that Jack had finished his sandwich and was, apparently, not interested in finishing his fries. She thought about asking if she could have them but decided it might make her look like a pig.
When the gurgling sound from Jack’s cup indicated his sweet tea was gone, Corie spoke up and said, “It’s getting late. I should probably head home.”
“Do you have to rush off?” Jack asked. “Maybe we could take a walk on the beach, or something.”
That Jack wanted to continue their not-a-date gave Corie a warm feeling inside; a warm feeling like she hadn’t had since before Devin, her fiance, had been killed in Afghanistan five years past. The sudden surfacing of Devin’s memory gave Corie a painful twinge that took some of the magic off the moment.
“I would love that, but I really have to go. I’m getting up early to meet some friends from school. We’re going up to Raleigh for a girls’ day out. You know, the mall, the spa, someplace ridiculously expensive for lunch. I’m supposed to meet them at seven. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Jack said, trying to keep the disappointment out of his voice. “You’ll need a good nights sleep before a trip like that.”
Jack didn’t hide the disappointment as well as he’d hoped and it tugged at Corie’s heart. “We can do it another time. I’d like to. I’d go tonight if it wasn’t for… I’ve really enjoyed our date.”
She stopped because she knew she was rambling. A wan smile curled Jack’s lips.
“Yeah, maybe another time.” In his head, he heard, Corie just called this a date. She thinks this was a date. I guess I was on a date. Maybe it’s better that it just happened than if I’d had time to think about it.
Jack stood up when Corie did. “Let me get rid of this,” Jack said, indicating their trash with a wave of his hand, “and I’ll walk you to your car.”
“You don’t have to do that,” Corie said.
“It’s the least I can do,” Jack said.
“No, what I meant was, you don’t have to do that, I didn’t drive. My apartments only about a mile away.”
Jack nodded. “Then let me walk you home. I’m a pedestrian tonight, too.”
“Don’t you want to do some more fishing?” Corie asked, hoping that he didn’t.
Jack looked at the door to the pier and then at his fishing tackle. “No, not tonight. I’ll have plenty of time for fishing. I’m thinking of getting a season’s pass.”
“Then I guess it’ll be all right,” Corie said, a warm smile lighting up her face. She was glad Jack had more-or-less insisted.
Who Are You Really, Jack?
They walked up Ocean to Fourth Street and then stopped at Jack’s house just long enough for him to jog up the driveway and leave his fishing gear under the car port. Soon they arrived at Corie’s apartment building, Island Apartments.
“This looks like a nice place,” Jack commented as the stood outside the door to the lobby.
“It belongs to my other grandfather, not Grandpa Macaulay,” Corie told Jack. “Grandpa Lawson actually deeded me my unit when I came back from the Army.”
“You were in the Army?” Jack asked. “Me, too.”
Sensing that Jack would gladly stay and share stories of Army days, Corie said, “Maybe we can trade stories on our next date. I really need to get to bed.”
Jack nodded slowly. “All right. When will I see you again?”
“It’s a small island,” Corie quipped. “We’re bound to run into each other. And you better come for breakfast Wednesday morning. I’ll try and keep that table open for you.”
Jack laughed, and said, “Then I guess I’ll see you then if I don’t run into you around town.”
“Good night, Jack,” Corie said as she moved up the steps leading to the lobby door. “I had a good time tonight.”
Jack replied, “Good night, Corie. Have fun tomorrow.”
“You stay out of trouble while I’m gone, you hear?”
“No promises,” Jack joked.
Corie shook her head and went into the building. Jack watched the door until it closed and then walked back to his house.
Corie waited just inside the door and watched until she saw Jack leave. Seeing him go made her feel lonely. You’ll see him Wednesday, she chided herself. Besides, you’re going to keep him firmly in the friend zone.
“Who are you really, Jack? And why are you making me feel this way?” Corie said to the empty sidewalk in front of her building. Then she turned and walked to the elevator.