We left Navy Pier a little after midnight. As we walked away from the pier, our words ran out until we were walking in silence.
The air between us still seemed charged with that same strange electricity. I had an irrepressible urge to touch her, to reach out and brush the long pale hair out of her eyes. To hold her. I was well aware of how insane this urge was, of how insane I was.
As I walked next to this perfect girl, I found myself trying to reason my way out of this attraction. It must be because I’m new here, and lonely, and it’s been a while since I last dated anybody. It must be those beers I drank back at the bar. It must be a hallucination. Tomorrow I’ll wake up and realize it was all a dream.
My brain raced from one explanation to the next like a lab rat in one of those tortuous mazes. But I could find no way out, and what was more -- I wasn't sure I wanted to find a way out.
Then Elisabeth broke through the tangle of my thoughts: “Oh my gosh, I haven’t been here in ages. I can’t believe Johnny kept the place! That is, if he’s still here.”
We stood in front of what looked to be a dilapidated pizza joint. The sign was missing some letters and the paint on the door was cracked and covered in fading graffiti. It had definitely seen better days. Only the OPEN sign in the window looked new, its letters a bright neon blue. Sure enough, most of the tables inside were full, despite the fact that it was 12:30 AM.
“Are you hungry?” I asked, hoping she would say yes. Not so much because I was hungry myself -- I'd already had dinner -- but I wasn't ready for this night to be over just yet.
“Yeah, sure. I’m always down for some pizza. They make the best deep dish. Takes a while, but it’s totally worth it.”
Once inside, the hostess cheerily told us to sit down wherever we wanted. I quickly excused myself to find the bathroom. As I turned away from the table, I could hear Elisabeth asking the waitress if Johnny still worked there. Who was this Johnny she kept mentioning? I tried to stifle the twinge of jealousy that curdled my insides as I walked away, resisting the urge to turn around ask her exactly who this character was.