I looked everywhere for my mother's pearl earrings. My father suggested I wear them because he has decided I need to go with him on his first dinner date with a co-worker. They sound like an ideal match, but that's not the important thing at the moment, the important thing is finding those damn earrings.
"Roslyn are you ready yet?" My father yelled up the stairs. My father is a nurse and somewhere between ER and Same Day Surgery he met Amy, who is also a nurse. So the two have decided to take things beyond the workplace and that's what's bringing on my intense rage during a futile search for fucking earrings. Who decides to go to a fancy Italian restaurant on the first official date anyways?
"Just a minute Dad!"
I'm happy for my dad, but going out tonight caused a real inconvenience to me. It implied that I have to wear something besides sweat pants. I like to look nice, but not on the last day of school before Thanksgiving break. Today I was just supposed to come home and start watching a Gilmore Girl marathon, and that's after eating a bag of Doritos for dinner and working tediously at painting my toenails the perfect ruby for no other reason than amusement. Instead I'm going to have linguini in a sensuously clingy black dress. I am not a happy Noir. Robert Noir is the only happy one, but he's also nervous.
My father has never dated anyone after my mom died. He set his eyes on securing my future. He worked a lot and put away money for college tuition and then after that he decided to become fixated in a home improvement hobby. Our house has so many improvements we give Tim Taylor a run for his money.
Then after that was over he decided that we needed to travel more, and off we flew to Europe, Africa, and South America. Now he has come to a halt, and finally realized mom would want him to move on. We lost her on my fifth birthday when she went to run a simple errand. A trailer lost control of his breaks and ran the red light two blocks from the supermarket where she bought the pack of twelve candles dad had forgotten. She was announced dead on arrival. Dad has just now forgiven himself and really needs this date. I'm just praying Amy isn't an asshole. Gilmore Girls is one of my favorite shows.
"Are you ready now?"
Yep, Dad was definitely becoming impatient. He wants to be early, but Amy will understand when she sees me. I'm a perfectionist and an hour's notice for a dinner date, even if I'm not really the one on a date, is still a very unreasonable timeframe.
"Yes!" I slipped my stiletto heals on and walked down the hallway. I lingered by a picture of my mom, dad, and me and just thought long enough to tell her I wouldn't let dad make a jackass out of himself or get mixed up with a horrendous bitch. I promised to be a lady throughout the whole ordeal. At seventeen I think it is kind of expected of me. Oh, another loss to this outing is that I'm not allowed to drive. I love driving, but my father insists it would be a disaster. Now, that's not being a dad, that's just being male.
"Ros, about time you showed your pretty face," Dad smiled as I finished my trek down the cheery wood spiral staircase, one of his many projects. He looked nice, but not overly done because he wore a black dinner jacket and dress pants, ditching the tie and opting for a decorative red silk button-up. His wavy brown hair was already getting streaks of gray, but it suited his working ethic. One thing a girl can appreciate is that her father can dress himself, and Robert Noir is pretty styling for forty. "Hey kiddo, where did you get that dress," he remarks.
I believe he was remarking because the dress I decided to wear is very fitted and has a spaghetti strap halter and very low back and chest.
"Yeah, I got it the last time Jacque and I went shopping, but with swim practice I've been too exhausted to plan a weekend exciting enough to wear it," I answered. Jacque is my best friend. She lives close enough that when I was little and upset I used to run away to her house.
"So, what do you think?" He asked looking into the mirror.
"Well, I think that you look good for an old guy," I smiled.
"You are no help am I really that old?" He said squinting and arching his eyebrows in a funny manner, and also, checking for nose hairs.
"No," I said. He really only looked old when he was overworked and lately he had been looking really healthy. He kind of scared me though when he asked if he was really that old because that could only mean that Amy was younger. "I'm sure Amy's at about your same stage of old."
"Uh, look we've got to get going, run and back the truck out will you?" He said tossing me the keys.
"You're letting me drive your truck? I'm shocked! You're even trusting me in my overpriced stilettos!" I exclaimed sarcastically.
"We'll talk about it later go!" He shooed.
I could see myself smile in the polished black paint of his Dodge 4x4 and I attempted to hop up into the driver's seat. It was a manual and I had begged him to let me drive it when I got my license but he said it would be too much for me to handle. So, I can dream, but I am satisfied with my little mustang. I really didn't want it but my cousin who is fucking rich decided to buy a Mercedes and since my mom died he felt I deserved it. My dad got the truck and the teenager got the mustang. The picture is wrong from almost every angle and according to my friends atrociously wrong from the angle I'm coming from, the I-would-rather-have-the-manly-truck angle.
"Hey ready to roll?" Dad asked stepping into the passenger's seat.
"Wow, you weren't kidding, okay then let's go. Is it the restaurant on Summit or Dodson?"
"It's the one on Summit and don't speed but please try to avoid lights we're cutting it close." Yeah I was for sure that he was nervous now.
"How old is Amy…" I came to a pause when I realized I didn't even know this woman's last name.
"Amy Dalton is her name, and you know it's impolite to ask a lady's age," he smiled.
"Oh, just tell me."
"Alright she'll be thirty-six in March, and I might as well tell you that she has a son," he bothered to mention after I had left the damn house.
"Oh, so you refrained to mention that I would be eating and trying to make conversation with some little rugrat?" I said probably a lot harsher than I had intended. I had just had a bad attitude since he told me I was going on this little adventure and anything unexpected wasn't going to be acknowledged as a bonus, just a bother.
"No…he's not a rugrat. I just didn't want you to flip a lid when you heard she has a son the same age as you are," he said, and that just made things better.
"Oh, perfect so I have to make conversation with a guy my own age…"
"See not so bad now is it?" He smiled thinking he had made things better.
I was happy that it was a red light so I could perfect my dramatic reaction.
"Heck no it's worse!" I really wanted to say something a bit stronger but my dad hates to hear me cuss. His expression was very shocked and I didn't move the truck until I heard a few irritated honking drivers behind me.
After two right turns of silence I decided I should maybe act my age, "Look dad I'm sorry it's just that it really is going to be difficult talking to a guy the same age as me with a thought in mind that he may become my brother. I…don't know how to describe it. Again, I'm sorry."
I knew that wouldn't be the end of the already awkward evening.
The restaurant was called Firenze, and had dimmed lights and soft Italian elevator music playing at all times. The waiters were in penguin suits, what I like to call the stuffy little things they stuff formally dressed waiters into. Everything on the menu had an Italian name and there was no such thing as a kid's menu. All the tables had red satin table clothes and white carnations in their centers. It was semi-formal, but to us it was way beyond the usual Dominos delivery service.
We were the first two to sit down at the reservation for four, and it was under Dalton, I noted. I was glad because it would've been hell if dad were late for his first date. I would never hear the end of it. We sat in silence pretty much the whole time except for when the waiter asked for our drink orders. I just got some water. Dad had said I could have wine, but I opted for the water. If I had alcohol to drink I may have just decided to overdue it. I've only been drunk once and it was just Jacque and I trying it out at her house for the first time. The hangover wasn't worth the endless laughter.
Suddenly hushed arguing interrupted the silence, and I guessed it was someone in about the position I sat in: his or her parents had dragged somebody's ass here and they weren't at all happy about it.
"Mom this is crazy you…you don't even know if you're ready for this…"
"Mathias if you say another word…they're probably already here…"
"Oh please if he has a teenage daughter…they take forever and a day to get ready…"
I saw my dad play with his top button and knew that it could only mean that this was Amy Dalton and her son, Mathias.
And that's about the time they came around the corner to find me staring at my water like it was the most fascinating thing I'd ever seen in my life and my dad straighten up, alert, in his chair so fast you'd have thought someone fired a gun. I sighed and looked up to see what I had to make conversation with…
Amy looked very nice in a dress reaching to her ankles and draping around her shoulders. It was a dress a thirty-something looked nice in and she obviously hadn't had any other kids besides Mathias because she had a nice-looking body. She wasn't in perfect shape, but obviously she worked at staying healthy. Her auburn hair was kept up in a twist unlike mine, which I left hanging straight, but Dad likes my black hair straight so I thought it was okay. She kind of made me feel self-conscious as to who my dad would think looked nicer.
Then I turned my eyes to Mathias and didn't worry so much about Amy. She must have drug his ass; scratch that I mean drugged his ass to get him here. He looked like he would rather be anywhere else in the world but here, and he wasn't dressed the part of gentlemen. He was in jeans and a hooded sweatshirt. It was an American Eagle hooded sweatshirt, but one that had been through a lot. His face would've been a lot nicer with a smile, but it was nice all the same. He had very prominent features and his blue eyes looked like they could cut steel at the moment. He didn't have hair at all like his mom's. His hair was made of a cross between wavy and curly black hair. It was also fairly long. The ends just brushed the hood of his sweatshirt, but it wasn't greasy so he got points for that. I knew exactly what my father was thinking too, and it eerily crossed the roads of my mind. We looked like brother and sister, but nothing like either of our parents.
"We haven't ordered yet, but the waiter brought us our drinks. Would you like some wine? I could order a bottle?" My dad suggested.
"That would be lovely since I have my own designated driver," Amy laughed and I tried to smile. Mathias just sighed.
"So um, everyone know everyone?" My dad asked once again trying to break the ice.
"Nope," Mathias answered taking a sip of water. Right now I was quite mad that he was acting like a little kid, but when I looked at my reaction I figured minus the attempt to look good and I was about at the same level.
"Well, the girl across from you not acting like a baby is Roslyn Noir," Amy said and I smiled a bit. I really do think I like her.
"And don't be fooled she's a really good actress Amy, but the young man across from you Ros is Amy's son Mathias," my dad said. Mathias and I exchanged a mutual hello and let our parents talk.
When it came time to order I decided to get the tortellini and Amy and my dad ordered spaghetti, but Mathias wasn't too enthusiastic to order.
"Why don't you just have spaghetti?" Amy asked.
"I'd rather have pizza," Mathias smirked.
"Well no one's stopping you from leaving Mathias you drove remember?" Amy said indignantly.
"You know what mom that's the best idea you've had all night," he answered and stood from the table, Amy standing with him.
"Mathias!" She called when he walked out the doors. That of course caused the whole restaurant to turn around and look at our humble little table.
My dad looked at me and I knew what he wanted. I knew the look in his eyes. He didn't feel right stepping in but he thought that I should.
"Um, Amy, I can go…"
"Would you please?" She looked at me pleadingly. It was the first time I had ever even seen the woman and I could read her begging eyes too. Oh, hell why not it would get me out of there, but they wouldn't enjoy their dinner at all worrying about us.
I walked out the door at my own speed hoping he wasn't gone. If he was too damn bad because I was not going to break a heel running after him.
"Hey you!" I yelled when I spotted his arrogant ass walking towards a Toyota Camry. "Mathias Dalton!"
"What the hell do you want?" he asked.
He had the decency to stop so I could catch up and look him in the…neck. He was quite a bit taller, but I hadn't noticed while sitting down.
"What the hell I want is for you to stop being a fucking baby and go back in there with me," I said. I speak my mind and he was obviously the same.
"Really, well tough shit, do you expect me to put on a happy smile while my mom does something she'll regret for the rest of her life. The divorce papers are barely finalized and she's out looking for a new guy already. My dad did something he regretted and I'm not gonna let her do the same!" I was surprised nobody's car alarm going off because even I could feel the vibrations in his tone.
"Oh, really well that's fucking fabulous, but what about my dad? He's spent twelve years widowing and being depressed and now that you think your mom is making a mistake you're going to go and fuck it up for him too? Look, at least give them a chance!" I said. I noticed he looked me up while I did so too, but didn't pay it any mind. I knew the dress was hot. He probably hadn't gotten a good look while I was sitting. "Any fucking day now."
Mathias snapped out of his daze and spoke.
"Really? A chance, eh? They've had three fucking months of chancing it! Or have you not heard?" He asked raising an eyebrow.
At about that time I was glad I kept the keys in my purse. I was absolutely floored. My dad and I talk all the time, and how the hell could I miss him disappearing to see Amy? Where have I been? Well, at least I know where I'm going…
"Excuse me a moment I just need to get my keys and I'll be joining you!" I yelled back and saw him smile for the first time all night.