First Date Is Never To Late

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Nick is out on a date at Ridgeview's newest restaurant. It's not only the opening of a new restaurant, but the opening of Nick's heart.

Submitted: September 08, 2016

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Submitted: September 08, 2016

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Ridgeview, like life, is not all that it is cracked up to be. Recently, the town was in a magazine that named Ridgeview one of the top places in the USA to live. The magazine was quoted as saying, "Ridgeview is one part Suburbia and one part Cosmopolitan. This makes for a unique equation in a unique town." Of course the people who reported this failed to do the most important thing in journalism. Get actual facts and eyewitness testimony. It was a contradiction. Ridgeview was a town of 30,000 people located at the bottom of the state. The only thing that equals the Cosmopolitan setting that the magazine mentioned, was the new restaurant that recently opened on Carver Drive. 

The Faculty Lounge was one of the places that had a hideous name and hideous design both on the outside and inside. Outside it had the appearance of a KFC, pale yellow paint with a red strip covering the building, On the inside it wasn't better. Someone had read Andy Warhol's design plans and came up with the most hideous color schemes ever put on any surface. The name didn't inspire confidence either. When it was first announced, my thought was that teachers finally didn't have to hide in plain sight at The Holiday Inn bar by the airport. 

It had it's grand opening last week, and Chris Messner and I had decided to double date at this event. Chris was the ladies man of my circle of friends. 6 ft tall and built like a swimmer, he was the president of the railroad's western division. He usually worked out of New Mexico but was sent all over the west on projects. The man was as accomplished a traveler as I was. He was with his girlfriend Michelle Dallmer. Michelle was a nurse at St. Lucia's. She was a beautiful red haired beauty. Reminded me a lot of Poppy Montgomery. Blue eyes and a wicked sense of humor. She was wearing a Black dress with matching heels. A model if I had ever seen one.

My date was a colleague from the Ridgeview Gazette. Holly Harper was not a real upscale woman. She prefered places like the Tuneup, honky tonks and saloons, compared to places like this. I had asked her if she would accompany me. She said she would if only she could borrow my notes for a story she was working on. I had covered the mayor's address on education last year, and Holly was doing a follow up on it. I agreed and that was how we ended up in line with a bunch of hipsters.

Holly was wearing her work clothes. A black paint suit with a white button up shirt underneath her black jacket. She never really fixed herself up, but somehow always ended up looking like a knockout. I had been wanting to ask her out, but never found the courage. Holly had a steady man with her no matter where she went, it was never the same man however.

Holly and Michelle were enaged in conversation. So Chris and I were left to chat amongst ourselves. 

"What ever you do, do not drink the alcohol in Taos." Chris said.

"Why would you ever start a conversation like that?" I asked.

"Seriously, they have to do something to it. You take a sip of the stuff and your out in the desert dancing around Cactus plants." Chris said.

"They don't lace everything with LSD and Peyote," I said. 

"How do you know?" Chris asked.

"Because if they did, people wouldn't go out to the bars in New Mexico. It's like if Idaho decided to lace potatos with Marijuana. Imagine that. Don't eat the potatos in Boise, You will be dancing around a potato field." I said,

"Don't be silly," Chris said. "They wouldn't put pot in food. Would they?" 

"Let's talk about something else," I said,

Chris smirked. "So, how did you get Holly to go out with you? You had been wanting to for a while." Chris said.

"Truthfully, I did what any reporter did. Made a promise for a promise." I said.

"Nice, very nice." Chris said. "Don't mess it up."

"Relax, Chris," I said. "It's just dinner."

We made it back to our respective dates. Michelle kissed Chris on the cheek. Holly just nudged me in the stomach. We made it up to have our turn with the hostess. He was a young man in his early 30's. With a blue crew cut and a tide eye shirt. He had a very effeminate lisp and made it very obvious that he was the center of attention at this new restaurant. He motioned for us to come forward. 

"Well hello beautiful people," He said. "My name is Rico, and how many are you?" 

"Four," Michelle said. 

"Excellent," Rico said. "Follow me, my beauties." 

I was shaking my head and Holly elbowed me in the stomach. Inside the restaurant, the edges were covered with booths and the middle had tables in a very orderly fashion. We were seated at a table. The women on oneside, men on the other. 

"Your waiter is named Walter and he will be right with you." Rico said and walked back to the host stand. 

"You know, I never thought the old KFC could look uglier," Michelle said. "It had the same kind of inside setting as the KFC did. Hideous interior, bad music and a stench of sweat and chicken grease that could make the strongest stomached man puke his guts out. Only hipsters could never figure out things like that."

"As a nurse, do you always go for gross out topics in conversations?" Holly asked.

"Yeah, babe that is kinda gross," Chris said.

"This whole town is gross," Michelle said.

I nodded my head in agreement. "What does everybody want to eat?" I asked.

"Well maybe we can all split a big plate," Chris said. "Saves money and time."

We all nodded our heads in agreement.

"Nick, how long have you and Holly known eachother?" Michelle asked.

"We've been working together for five years," Holly said. "I've known him for about 10 years. I covered some of his signings and we covered stories in the same area."

"I always wondered what being a reporter is like," Michelle said.

"It isn't all its cracked up to be," I said. "Long hours, impossible deadlines, talking to people you have no real reason to be talking to. Hoping to make a difference in the world, but ultimately you find out 10 people read your columns. That's why I'm sticking to writing books. No real supervision, the hours I want and the topics I want to write about."

"Everybody wants that," Holly said. "Everyone reporter wants to be a novelist. It's a lifetime goal that they aspire to. You see it in a lot of published articles. Using a lot of fiction rules in journalism."

"That's why I stick to my job," Chris said. "Very cut and dry. Your gonna be using this amount of cars hauling this through the midwest. We need to work on the tracks in Bozeman. I prefer the simplicity of it. Plus it is great to be the boss."

"Typical man," Michelle said. "Always has to brag about being on top."

"Hail to the king baby," Chris said.

Walter, our waiter had arrived. He was a tall man in his 50's, gray frizzy hair and a thick mustache. He was wearing a black t-shirt and khaki pants. He was holding a pen and notepad in his hand. 

"Good evening, my name is Walter. What you want?" Walter said.

"A pitcher of Coors and we will have the plate of ribs," Chris said,

Walter nodded his head and walked away. I took a glance around at the dining area and shook my head. Techo music was blaring through the speakers. A lot of young aspiring hipsters were sitting in the various areas. It's funny how in this society, certain decades get made fun of yet they make a re appearance in various settings. Hollywood bringing back certain movies and tv shows. Media bringing back images or music from forgotten era's. Telling us to remember when things were a lot simpler. I'd like to remind them that even back then, life wasn't all that it was cracked up to be.

"Michelle, any good stories from the hospital today?" I asked. "The Gazette may need a spicy tale to tell, right Holly?"

"You know, what the hell? There hasn't been a lot going on in town. Maybe there has been a special operation that happend. Maybe a big baby was born. So I could use anything." Holly said.

"Well, I handled a couple of deliveries. Oh I saw a guy pop his dislocated shoulder back into place. That was brutal, but pretty cool I had to say." Michelle said.

"How did he do that?" Holly asked. Ever the inquisitive reporter.

"Have you ever seen Lethal Weapon?" Michelle asked. "Mel Gibson did it repeatedly by slamming it as hard as he could into things like a wall, or door, or something with a hard edge. One of the nurses with me puked as he cried out in pain when he got it back in place."

"I think I'm gonna puke too," Chris said. 

"Don't you dare," I said. "We are the only two people to be banned by Denny's cause of your puking. So you will not do it now."

"We really need to clear the air about that," Chris said.

"That was what they were saying at Denny's too," I said. 

We need to talk about something else," Holly said. 

"Yes dear," I said.

Holly glared at me, Michelle started to laugh and Chris wanted to desperately continue the conversation about Denny's. I was glad to be out. I was cooped up in the house working on my book and in need of a distraction. Holly Harper was always the perfect distraction. She was fully aware of how intense she came across to people in the newsroom and used it to her advantage. We worked together on a couple of stories and I was blown away by the whole package. Beauty,brains and a tough spirit that could out do any man. I had been wanting to ask her out, but something had always came up. Deadlines, going out on assignments, or just plain old nerves. Being with her here at this moment made me feel like I was a 15 year old on my first date again.

"So let me ask, Why are we still here in Ridgeview?" I asked.

Michelle tilted her head. "What do you mean, Nick?" Michelle asked.

I leaned in to our group. "We all went to school, we suceeded at college and made big names for ourselves. Yet here we are back in this horrible town. I remember back in high school, Chris and I used to call this The Ninth CIrcle of Hell. Here we all are, in a really bad acid trip. Doesn't make you wonder?" I said.

"I like Ridgeview. It has a lot of promise. It's small in population, but big in ideas. As a reporter I wanna be in a place that has a lot of ideas. It makes my job easier. Plus I went to high school here and it's where I wanna get married and have children." Holly said.

"You know, I ask myself that a lot," Michelle said. "I wanted to move to Boise Idaho, of all the places in the world. But yet I came back home. When you growing up, you make these big plans of going all over the world and doing what your parents couldn't do. I never thought in my life, I would be in a horrible place like this, but truthfully I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

"Same with me, I have a house and a beautiful woman who lets me see her naked every night," Chris said, "What more could a guy ask for?"

"Pervert," Michelle said. 

"How about you?" Holly asked me. "Why did you come back here?"

"Truthfully, it's hard to say. I did go around the world. I guess I wanted to see if all the advertisment I had seen and read as a kid were true. When I got to them, I realized that they were true for everybody else but me. So I came back here, got my old job back at the Gazette and just focused more on books. Life is nothing more than the biggest false advertisement in all time." I said.

"I have to disagree with you," Holly said. "That is pretty damn cynical of you. Life has a lot meaning. You just have to dig and dig. It takes time but everything works out in the end."

"Being one who has seen the miracle of life, I can tell you life has a lot too it." Michelle said. 

"Like what?" Chris asked. 

Before an answer could be given, Walter brought our meal to us. We all started to dish up our plates. The silence was a welcome distraction. I didn't think that I would bring up a tense topic. I knew that Holly was gonna show fire but I might have lit the fuse prematurely.

"I think it comes down to how you sleep," Chris said,

"What?" I asked.

"Sure, if you don't sleep a lot in your life you have a sour attitude. But if you rest up and don't over exert yourself your outlook becomes better and not so jaded and cynical." Chris said.

"I like that," Holly said. "It's very simplistic but it does make sense."

"They say things like that at the hospital quite a bit," Michelle said. 

"Well it is a school night, but I'll ask my mom if I can skip class tomorrow." I said.

"Ridgeview really isn't that bad, Nick," Michelle said. "It just needs to be taken with a grain of salt and not compared with everything else."

"I guess so," I said.

We spent the rest of the night enjoying different topics of conversation. Holly was riled up the whole time, challenging everything Chris said. Michelle sat there smiling like a mother during a family outing. I sat in silence watching my friends enjoying the conversation. It was a nice sight, people enjoying eachothers company. Maybe I was a little cynical and jaded. 

"Let me ask you something, Holly," Chris said. "You think you could out drink me?" 

"I can outdrink, outfight and outfuck anybody," Holly said. "Wanna give me a try, blondie?"

"No ma'am," Chris said. He leaned into Michelle for protection. I laughed and put my arm around Holly. It was my subtle attempt to make a move. I was lucky Holly was receptive to it.

We finished up our dinner. I grabbed the check and reached for my wallet. Holly grabbed my arm.

"Your not paying for it," Holly said.

"Yes I am," I said. "It was my treat. I wanted to treat everybody to a nice night out and that is what I am going to do."

"Nick, I am paying and that is all their is too it," Holly said.

"Sweetheart, are we having our first fight?" I said. 

Michelle grabbed the check. "Children, Mother will pay for it." Michelle said,

We both looked at eachother. Holly stared to laugh and I couldn't help but laugh as well. Chris turned to Michelle and smiled. 

"Mom, looks like the kids are having fun." Chris said.

"Shut up and let them have their moment," Michelle said.

We all got up from the table and walked to the parking lot. Chris and Michelle were at his truck which was parked next to my motorcycle. We all stood and just thanked eachother for the great time we had. We all agreed to do this again next week. Chris and Michelle got in the truck and drove off, leaving Holly and I standing in the parking lot.

"Thanks for coming with me tonight," I said.

"Sure. It was a lot of fun." Holly said. 

"This was the first time in six months I have been on a date," I said.

"Really?" Holly asked.

Holly leaned into me and kissed me. The kiss lasted for a while and we put our arms around eachother. First kisses can send a shockwave through the body. After a couple of minutes we let go of eachother.

"We need to fix that," Holly said. "I'm gonna catch a cab. I'll see you soon, Brennan."

Holly walked over to the cab waiting by the restaurant. I watched her get in and waved at her as she was leaving. I stood by my motorcycle and couldn't help but smile. Was I in love? I couldn't really answer. But I knew that the future looked good, and that I couldn't wait to see what the next chapter was.

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Robert Logan. All rights reserved.

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