"Anywhere?" I asked again. "You're sure about that?""I swear, if you go out with me, I'll take you anywhere."I had written him off after the first glance but now I turned to scrutinize him. He wore a sports jacket that bulged out at the chest over a striped and wrinkled button-up work shirt and blue jeans that were just a little too pristine. His voice and swagger sounded like money to me, but he looked like a cubicle junkie. I could play his game, but wouldn't commit. "Would you take me to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre to see a play and then dinner at the French Laundry?""Yes." He didn't bat an eye."Have you made this offer to every woman in this room?""No," he said shuffling in his chair. "Only you."He didn't look like a consummate liar, but this had to be his second lie. I upped the ante. "What about lunch on the moon?""Done. Second date." No blinks."Breakfast on the sun?""It will be more like breakfast in the sun and I will have to adjust your molecular structure, but should you wish, it can be our third date." He leaned forward at the table.What if these weren't lies? What was the worst that could happen? Good theater and an awkward evening. Hmm... this had possibilities. No one ever said I let opportunity pass me by.
Aidan, this is great!
“Anywhere?” I asked again. “You're sure about that?”“I swear, if you go out with me, I'll take you anywhere.”Hm... This had possibilities. I stalled for time. “You know you come across like a bit like a desperate teenager when you talk like that, Paul.”My thirty-two year-old co-worker grinned. “I feel like a desperate teenager when I think of you, Donna.”I blushed. I should have laughed. I should have told him that was corny. I should have rolled my eyes and told him to stop getting pick-up lines from internet. But instead I blushed, and felt a giddy inside. At thirty-three myself I was not used to that sort of flattery anymore and it felt good.“Take me to a planet in another solar system,” I teased him.Paul crossed his arms. “You think I won't?”“You said anywhere.”“And you think I was exaggerating?”“I'm just kidding.” I smiled. “I'll go out with you, Paul.”“To another planet,” he insisted.I laughed. He probably knew of some cornball theme restaurant. “Complete with aliens,” I added. “I don't want some barren, uninhabited crap ball of a planet.”“Who would?” he agreed, smiling gamely. “Pick you up at seven?”I agreed with another laugh, and he winked and left me to my work. The rest of the work day flew by. Paul was a clever man and I looked forward to how he was going to pull this off. I had a break in the afternoon and I used to scour the internet for theme restaurants or sci fi themed roller domes in our area, and found none. Paul must be very resourceful.At seven, Paul showed at my door, and when I opened it my anticipation began to turn into embarrassment. Here I was dressed very nicely in a dress that was far more teasingly cute than anything Paul had ever seen me in work. And there he was in something that looked like a cross between a Star Trek uniform and a moon-landing suit. I appreciated his sense of humor and his willingness to play along, but there was such a thing as taking a joke too far. My first date in several years and I was going to be seen with someone who looked like the crown prince of the geeks.With a sigh I followed him out to his car. I could barely look at him, I felt so humiliated. He kept looking at me and smirking, as if he found my response amusing. Also not a good sign. I should never have gone on this date. This was such a bad idea. What was I thinking?“Oh, classy,” I muttered when the car pulled up to an abandoned warehouse.Paul still said nothing. He came around to open my door, but I refused him the honor. I wasn't accepting courtesies from someone who treated me like this.“I have a 911 button on my phone, Paul,” I told him, clutching the phone in my right hand.“That's good but you won't have any coverage where we're going.”My embarrassment now turned to genuine fear. “Paul, take me back home.”“I thought you wanted to go to another planet?”“Drop it, Paul, and take me home.”“But --”“Paul, cut the crap. I'm not going into some abandoned warehouse to be raped or do drugs or whatever it is you have in mind. Take me home or I'm calling 911.”With a crushed expression, Paul did I asked. I didn't know whether or not to feel bad about being so harsh when Paul didn't show back up for work the next couple of days. I had been scared. He'd been being creepy and stupid. I had to look out sfor myself. But I did feel bad, anyway. By the fourth day with no Paul, I began to wonder if I'd misjudged him. Maybe he'd built some kooky alien world set in there as part of a really awkward attempt to impress me.Eventually, I stopped thinking about Paul, though.At least, until three years later.When he was on the news.For having brought aliens back with him.From his trip to another world.In the spaceship he'd built.In a warehouse that had belonged to his father.
haha Aidan, I swear I didn't read yours before I wrote mine. Great minds think alike-ish, I guess. :)
Thanks Deb; C.N. I like the contrast between both pieces; nice job!