I think before I delve into this tale any further, we need some back-story here. Like how I met Terrence in the first place and why I am so hung up over him...now. It all started on a dark cold rainy night. No, wait; hear me out, this it how it actually began.
It was near the end of fall and boy; let me tell you, the temperature dropped faster than a prostitute's skirt. And every attempt I made to step out into the rain felt like a bunch of tiny needles piercing my flesh. You could say the Big Guns upstairs had fate already set in motion for Terri and me to meet. Honestly, back then, I just wanted to be at home next to a heater drinking a cup of hot cocoa with jumbo marshmallows.
So, there I was sitting at a table in a Chinese restaurant on my own, waiting for the storm to die down so I could then call my cousin Richard to come pick me up. With my legs crossed, wearing my Converse shoes, and strumming my lime green painted nails against the wooden table, my eyes darted briefly outside at a guy staring in from the window.
I pressed my finger against a small piece of paper I had received from my fortune cookie. Sliding it closer to the edge of the table, I plucked it up by cushioning it between the pads of my thumb and index, and then raised it high enough toward my face to read the words aloud to myself. "Love is just in your sights! Make your move." I clicked my tongue, flicking the fortune away from me.
Over my head to the right, there was a Television nearby broadcasting a Japanese Newscast. I shifted my torso to look and arched my brow wondering how that's even remotely possible when I heard the bell chime from the entrance. From the corner of my eye I could see the same guy from earlier. He was completely drenched even in his trench coat.
One of the waiters scrambled to his side to confiscate his coat since it kept dripping water all over the carpet. Then out from the kitchen, another employee came rushing to their side fetching him a towel and handing it over to him.
It was difficult to see the features of his face with the sunglasses and the hat he was wearing didn't do him any justice. His whole attire must have been almost two sizes too big on him and I wondered if he by chance he was a gangster as he held onto his pants for dear life. It looked like he was trying in a somewhat desperate manner to prevent them from falling down. This fact alone made it hard to pry my eyes away from, for lack of a better term, peculiar person.
Somehow he knew I was watching him and his head spun to look in my direction. I stayed very still but my face was giving me away. I could only speculate my cheeks went a bright red tomato. Surely it must be as the heat came rushing to flow in my face like Mercury rising to top of a thermometer. That, or by some miracle the heat compressor pump went out and caused me to have hot flashes. Yeah, that must be it. Oh. Who was I kidding?
He lifted his sunglasses some and flashed me a smile.
"If my face gets any hotter I think I might pass out." I thought to myself.
He spoke to the waiters a second longer and from the looks of things, they were trying to find him a table to sit at but he just pointed over at me. My posture straightened and I twisted my head to gaze at him. What in the world was this weirdo wanting from me? He told the guy holding his trench coat to stop with his hand and reached into his pocket to grab something.
It appeared to be a wallet but that thought went out the window as he hung it loose from his grasp and it unraveled itself. It was his belt. He excused himself briefly. I can only assume so he could go to the restroom to put on his belt.
I immediately thought, "What is a guy doing going around having his belt stuffed in his pocket? Further more, do I even want to know?"
While I busied myself with questions and doing my best to prevent from having dirty thoughts, I heard a voice speak. I was totally immersed in what I was thinking about that I didn't know someone was standing near me.
"I said, hello" The trench coat guy said.
I held my hand to my face so he wouldn't see me frown in disgust. Why is this guy coming over here? Please tell me he is not trying to hit on me.
"Look, I know what you're thinking."
Yeah right, I bet you that you don't.
"And I'm here to tell you I'm not."
I blinked my eyes a few times once again.
He pulled himself a seat from across from me out and laughed. And it was a good laugh. It was deep and hearty.
"I'm not going to make any plays at you. I just saw you sitting alone brooding and thought I'd come over and bother you."
He sat down and smiled again.
I said nothing.
"Really, I just came in here to eat something. I haven't eaten a damn. Whoops. I'm in front of a lady. I mean, darn. I haven't eaten a darn thing and Chinese sounded really good for some reason."
"Didn't the rain bother you?" I asked without giving it much thought.
"The rain...? Nah, I barely felt it to tell you the truth. I'm sturdier than I look" He chuckled. His arm lifted to flex his muscles. "Oh, I need to take these off."
He laid his sunglasses on the table and then his hand reached to pull off his beanie. He ruffled his hair a bit before laying his hat in his lap.
"So, what's your excuse?" He asked after his arms rested on the table. He intertwined his fingers and smiled really big again. He sure did smile a lot, I noticed.
I blinked a few times once more. Any more eye blinking and it'll look like my eyes are twitching. I felt like I was being interrogated. "My excuse...?"
"Yeah, you know, for why you are here alone." He said matter-of-factly.
A waiter popped out of nowhere to hand Trench a menu. He nodded to him and told the waiter what he wanted to drink. The waiter bowed then left just as quickly as he got here. Trench and I stayed silent until the waiter showed up again with a glass of water and a bowl of sliced lemons.
"When life gives you lemons..." He started then sighed as he took a slice and squeezed it into his drink. "You make lemonade. So, explain yourself. Why are you here by yourself?"
My eyes flickered to the rain outside then back to him. He picked up another lemon wedge, this time after he squeezed it into his cup he peeled it off from its skin and popped it in his mouth. I snickered as his expression contorted to sour, much like the fruit I presumed he ate.
"I was actually supposed to meet someone here." I replied after a moments pause.
He nodded. "Oh. Your boyfriend?"
"No." I shook my head. "It was my best friend. She ditched me at the last second to be with her boyfriend."
"Well, that doesn't sound very much like a friend to me." He said with his mouth sucking on yet another wedge.
My hand came back up to cover my face but for a different reason. I kept my voice low as I sniggered so he wouldn't notice since he kept repeating the process of popping a slice of lemon in his mouth and scrunched his brow by the obvious tartness.
"She isn't bad and besides," I began while shrugging. "I called her out knowing she had plans prior but I still asked her to come here anyways."
"Oh." He nodded as if he understood which was unlikely. "So you're the bad friend?"
I narrowed my eyes.
"So," he said, wanting to change the subject. "What's you name?"
Trench's arm moved to grab the salt shaker. His wrist moved gracefully as he dashed some on the remaining slices of lemon. They must be extremely tart or he doesn't actually plan on eating the food he ordered which means-
I sighed. "You sure do ask a lot of questions."
Just a minute ago I wanted this guy to leave me alone and now I was practically giving him an open invitation to hit on me. I am becoming fickle as I age.
"I'm a curious person." He winked.
I smirked, feeling amused. "Curiosity killed the cat, they say."
I swiped a slice, fiddling it in my hands to keep my myself from trying to get up out of this chair to make-out with this guy here and now. I am by no means, someone who sleeps around yet this guy knew how to play into all my weaknesses. Didn't help in the slightest he was kind of attractive.
"Luckily for me then, I'm not a cat." He waggled his eyebrows at me.
He smiled again and this time even I did too. Although mine made me look like a nervous girl. What am I doing? I need to play this cool. I sat back up as I folded my arms and crossed my legs, leaning back into my chair to regain my composure.
I brushed some hair from my face and replied, "Grace Thompson."
He held out a hand and I shook it.
"It's nice to meet you, Grace. My name is Terrence Baldwin. So, what high school do you go to?"
Wait a tick. Say what?
Just when I thought I was lucky I realized I was talking to a high schooler. If I tried to make a move on him. ONE MOVE. And this is just counting the visual I had earlier in my head alone, I would be considered a pedophile.
"Hey, are you alright? You seem rather upset about something." He said genuinely concerned.
"How old are you?" I asked as I buried my face onto the table. My bangs fell over my face as I peered up at him. He looked confused as to why I was asking that then, as if a light bulb went off in his head, he made an "Oh, I get it" face.
His arms slid off the table into his lap as we sat in awkward silence.
The sound of the rain dissipating drew my attention elsewhere in this sudden awkwardness. I was all for the idea of finding a budding romance as long as he was of legal age and that I was the younger one. This development made it not only utterly impossible but sour. It's like going to a movie that started out enjoyable yet escalated to downright unbearable. Check please.
"You aren't in high school, are you?" He finally asked after two minutes went by. "I didn't realize you were that age." I nodded ready to speak but he added. "I normally don't hit on middle schoolers."
I glared at him.
"I'm not in middle school! I'm most likely a few years older than you even." I huffed.
My hands sprang up to my cheeks. I knew I had a somewhat youthful face but I honestly didn't look that young, did I? I quickly realized my actions made me more childish and reeled them back by turning my hands into fists. I took a breath, pulling my arms down into my lap.
He just smiled again and it made me angry.
"I know you aren't in middle school. And might I say, you look rather cute when you're angry." He winked and my anger vanished to be replaced with embarrassment. "I am actually fifteen going on sixteen." How can a kid be so damn forward these days or was it just him? "Hey, want to go on a date with me?"
"No. I'm almost twenty." I replied feeling flabbergasted. "Don't you understand I'd get arrested if I did something like that?"
"That's only if we get caught."
I stared at him like he was crazy.
"Please?" Terrence pleaded with his eyes like a miniature Chihuahua.
I held my ground to not give into the cuteness. "The answer is no."
"Oh come on! Please?" He nearly whined. Any second I was expecting some dog ears and tail to sprout out.
My mouth twitched. "No."
With great impeccable timing, our waiter showed up to ask what Terrence wanted to eat and I took that moment to leap from my chair and walk over to the register to pay for the bill. I ought to have done this sooner. This conversation had already started to get ludicrous. No need to make things worse.
He called out to me to hold on but I didn't listen. I just pulled my wallet out of my front jean pocket and unzipped it to find my debit card. Terrence was right behind me when I handed it over to cashier. The cashier handed me my card back and a receipt then told me to have a good night.
"Why won't you reconsider?" he asked.
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. When I turned myself around toward him, I lifted my head to look at him. "I don't date younger guys than me." Not to mention I rather not go to jail. He didn't take the hint to step aside so I edged myself around him.
"I take dual credit." He spoke softly.
"What?" I said confused. Dual Classes? Wasn't that for high school students who wanted to graduate from college sooner?
"And I have you in one of my classes."
"Wait a second." I had my head turning to look over my shoulder.
"And I was just passing by when I caught you from the corner of my eye in here."
"He noticed me? Doesn't that seem a tad stalkerish?" I mumbled to myself. I tapped my head a couple times. It was a trick I used to sway from meaningless, if not unnecessary thoughts. "As flattering as that is I need to remain focused."
"I don't know where you are getting at but-" He wasn't listening. He just kept going.
"You always work so diligently in class so I wanted to see how you were outside of college. I knew you had looks and brains but did you have personality was the question. And you did. You do." He turned around with my back facing him. The words were starting to sink in and I felt my face becoming hot. "So, I'll ask you again. Will you go out with me?"
No, allow me apprehend my previous statement to now acknowledge what I've been told only mere seconds ago: THAT sounds pretty stalkerish. And romantic, depending on how I chose to absorb this new information.
"You did come in here to hit on me." I said facing him now.
Terrence looked a tiny bit bashful but regained his serious expression. "Maybe...But that still doesn't answer my question."
I took a deep breath. "No."
He ran a hand through his hair. If I was underage I'd have found that incredibly sexy. Especially as those eyes stared at me rather than through me. This guy was dangerous in more ways than one. "Jesus woman, you aren't easy to budge, are you? Please?"
"No." I replied, feeling like a broken record.
With sugar on top, I added mentally. "No."
He smirked looking off to the right as if he thought of something then asked, "Do you always say no to everything?"
I paused before replying, knowing that was not also a trick question but a direct reference to the film 'Notting Hill'.
"No." I smiled.
"We go to the same college and we're in the same class. I will persuade you somehow." Even his eyes were smiling as he continued on grinning.
"Is that a challenge?" He quirked his brow up at me and rubbed his chin with one hand.
I shook my head then rolled my eyes.
"Take it however you want." I replied tiredly.
My phone buzzed in my purse so I retrieved it.
Inwardly, I sighed with relief. "Blessed by the Bacon Jamicon."
Richard was calling me. I could tell by the caller ID so I answered it and he told me he was on his way. I didn't bother asking him how he knew where I was at since I normally ventured to the same places. I told Terrence we'd have this discussion again later even though my intent was to hopefully have him lose interest in me soon.
Honestly I was having a hard time figuring out what he saw in me. He didn't argue or anything when Richard pulled up outside. He just waved goodbye to me as I opened the car door and sat inside. My cousin asked if I knew him and I told him I had no idea who he was. I shut the door and waved back at Terrence as we began to drive away.
So long Terri.