by D R Miller
salted caramel milkshake
I glance to my right again.
The soft light from the movie screen lends an enticing glow to her long, shapely thighs. Her slender arms are wrapped around the huge tub of popcorn sitting in her lap and as the screen brightens, I can make out goose pimples on her bare skin.
I wonder again at how lucky I am she said ‘yes’.
I feel like I should do something, show some affection to let her know that I like her. Or at least to show I haven’t forgotten she’s there. The seats are too wide to slip my arm around her, but that’s far too cliched anyway. The sort of thing my parents would have done.
Should I put my hand on her leg? She looks amazing in those cut-off shorts, but now I’m sitting here, it doesn’t feel right touching a bare leg. Besides, that tub in her lap would make it awkward.
A few minutes pass and the film is into the final act. If I am going to make a move, I am seriously running out of time. I glance over at her again and I think she clocks me from the corner of her eye. I wince with embarrassment, but she immediately rubs her left arm with her right hand. I don’t want to be obvious and turn to look, but I think she’s being gentle, sensuous.
Is she sending me a signal? Or am I reading something into nothing? Damn it, I don’t know her well enough to tell!
This is becoming stressful. I hate first dates! Show too much affection and you’re forever labelled soppy or a groper; too little and you’re cold and uninterested.
It’s the last chance saloon and I really want to see her again. I need to show her some affection. Something; anything! Time to step up and take the plunge. My hands are warm where I’ve been sitting on them, so I tentatively rest my elbow on the arm between the seats. With my heart thumping in my chest, I casually lower my hand on her side of the armrest. If I’ve judged it right, my fingers should just about brush her knee. It’s something, but at the same time I hope it’s non-committal; a clumsy attempt to walk that first date tightrope between not enough and too much.
Hang on though - her left hand unravels from the tub and strikes like a rattlesnake, catching my fingers and snaring them between hers just before they reach her knee.
I look up and silently thank God.
Although my heart is still thumping at the cool touch of her fingers, I am suddenly much calmer. I turn and give her my winning smile, but she is glued to the big screen.
Crap. What does that mean?
The cinema was such a bad idea for a first date!
He’s looking at me again.
He keeps staring at my legs. He’s probably ogling my chest too in this strappy top. It’s a humid night and no one wants to get sweaty on a first date, so I thought this outfit would be perfect, but I completely forgot how these places ramp up the air con.
I grip the bucket of popcorn tightly. It feels warm against my arms, thighs and tummy and I really don’t want to put it down in case I start shivering. Besides, it’s a little trick I’ve learned to prevent wandering hands. Is he the sort of guy who would have wandering hands? I don’t think so, but all those little peeks at me are beginning to make me nervous. Why can’t he just watch the film?
Christ, it’s so cold in here.
He’s looking again. Oh no, my nipples are poking through my top. Has he noticed? Is that what he keeps looking at? I panic and quickly scratch my left shoulder as an excuse to cover my offending breasts with my right arm. I talked myself out of wearing my padded bra after my last date when that cretin spoke to my chest all night.
His arm keeps twitching. I know he’s going to try something. I really like him and don’t want to offend him, but why are men always so insecure that they feel they have to touch all the time?
Oh no. Here we go. He’s going for my knee.
I quickly intercept his hand with my own. I wince inwardly, vainly hoping he doesn’t misconstrue the act as anything more than what it is: a sacrifice to save my knee - and wherever he thinks that might lead.
His hand is moist, but at least it’s warm.
I can see him grinning at me from the corner of my eye.
Damn it. We’ve been dating for all of an hour in a cold, dark room with no conversation and I just know he’s already expecting a loved-up smile from me. Why do they all get so drippy and needy as soon as they’re with the opposite sex?
With no bright ideas coming to mind, I decide to keep staring rigidly at the screen., It would be the equivalent of kicking a puppy if I let him see my discomfort.
Aaargh! It’s so infuriatingly embarrassing!
Why did I agree to the cinema for a first date?