Awkward friend dates are awkward

“You have had one failure in your twenties, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail at everything for the rest of your life,” Ian said, smiling before taking a sip of his coffee.

“Well, they said twenties is the defying decade of our lives,” I replied and shrugged, forked a waffle and directed it to my mouth.

“That! That is why you’re so anxious. You care about the general view. ‘They say this, they say that’. Come on Margo. Our ancestors had lived in cages for years, with no interaction whatsoever. They had built a family and survived catastrophes, without other people telling them when is the right time for everything.”

“Hmm. Good point. Doesn’t matter, though. I’m here. I’m taking charge of my career, and setting aside my romantic life.”

“Ouch!” he said, jokingly, clutching his chest with his hand.

Finally, I agreed upon meeting Ian, but only for breakfast, after finally accepting that we’ll be here in the island for a good amount of time. No best way to say ‘I’m not dating’ to a friend with coffee and waffle. He is just so nice and comforting. We talked a lot over the phone and updates each other constantly. We’re a little awkward when we’re with a group of people, so I decided it’s time we do a bonding together.

“I’m serious, Ian. I’m a mess. I’m sorry if I’m being so assuming with you, but I’m in no place to flirt and date, that’s why I’ve no shame in saying that. I guess we just have to hang out for now, as friends.” I said. I told him about my 3-year relationship with a broken man and how we ended it badly.

“Hey, it’s okay. Really. We can hang. Totally.” he laid his back into his chair  and smiled.

“As friends?”

“As friends.”

“No expectations?”

“No expectations, whatsoever.”

Our first friend date, and we’re already promising something we don’t even know how to keep.

I walked toward the house/office that morning, with the remaining latte in my hand, with the thought of Ian’s smile in my head. When I try to picture Ian, he’s always showing the most perfect set of teeth. Nate’s smiles, on the other hand, are limited, present only on special occasions and for extremely special people that he wants to impress; his parents, his boss.

I shook my head as I push open the door to our headquarters, shaking away myself into the present, trying to put in any unwanted thoughts and reasons why I have to compare the two.

Ginny, my OJT, handed me over my messages while I’m gone for the morning.

“Oh, and Luke said he needs to talk to you.” She added.

I went in to my office and dialed Luke’s extension number. It kept ringing and ringing, and suddenly, he’s knocking on my office door.

“Hey you! How you doin’?” he started.

“I’m good. How are you?” I replied.

“I’m great! There’s… uhm..  actually something I have to run by you. It’s kind of, uhm, personal. So maybe we can grab dinner together.” He stuttered, trying to get the words and breaking the sentences in awkward places.

“You’re kind of creeping me out. But I’m down with dinner. How about tonight? Sushi?”

“Great! Sushi, is great.”

“You say great a lot today, huh. What are you? Did you just get laid?” I kid.

He suddenly looked down on his feet, a hand scratching his head. This is Luke’s classic you-got-me move. I suddenly felt my mouth formed an O…

“Oh. You did. Okay…” I felt different and awkward for having caught him off-guard. I put the pieces together and realized that’s what he wants to talk about tonight. “Okay.” I said again, trying to find that I’m-happy-for-you feeling inside of me. “Okay!” This time, it sounded jolly and high-pitched, but a little bit fake for my ears.

“That’s great! Talk over dinner! I’m down, you great man!”

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