Russell Wong and Vonetta Willimans attended the same high school and the same university. And now they were working at the same company. Her friends teased her, “It seems like the two of you are destined to be together. Why don’t you go out with him?”
“He hasn’t asked me,” Vonetta informed them curtly. Was it that obvious that she had a thing for Russell.
“We’re living in the twenty-first century, gurl. Why don’t you ask him out?”
Vonetta’s heart skipped a beat at the thought. “I-I can’t,” she stammered.
“Why not?” Gwen asked, rolling her eyes. “It’s obvious to me that he likes you. I’ve seen the way he looks at you. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.”
“If that’s true, why hasn’t he asked me out?”
“Maybe he’s shy,” Sharon suggested.
“Or maybe he’s not sure that you would want to go out with him.”
“Why, because he’s Asian?”
“Have you and he ever spoken to each other?”
“Yes. We’ve talked to each other many times. You can say we’re friends. He’s from Hong Kong. He moved here with his family when he was three. He has three sisters and one brother.”
“He’s very good-looking.”
“Yes, he is,” Vonetta agreed. “And very reserved.”
“If that’s the case, how on earth did you two get to talking?”
“Well, we had a friend in common–Michelle Forbes and she introduced us. I think she liked him but it never got further than friendship. The three of us hung out for a bit and then it was just him and me. We sat next to each other in class and had lunch together.”
“And was it the same in university?”
“And neither of you dated other people?”
“Then, why on earth didn’t you two go out with each other since then?” Gwen sounded exasperated.
“What about now?” Sharon asked. “Does your workplace have a policy against co-workers dating?”
Vonetta shook her head.
“And even if they did, what they do outside of the office is their business,” Gwen said.
“Gwen’s right,” Sharon told Vonetta. “I think you should ask him out.”
Vonetta swallowed hard. “I’ve never asked a guy out before,” she protested.
“Well, there’s a first time for everything,” Gwen quipped. “Do it over the phone if it’s too much trouble for you to do it face to face or better yet, text him.”
“Yes, text him.”
“Do it now,” Gwen urged. “You might not have the courage to do it when you’re alone.”
“Yes, do it now.” Sharon was beginning to sound like a parrot.
“All right,” Vonetta acquiesced. Heart pounding, she took out her cell and flipped it open. Taking a deep breath, she texted a short message. “Hi Russell, it’s Vonetta. Are you interested in going out with me?” She quickly pressed the button to send it before she chickened out.
“And now we wait for his reply.”
“What if he doesn’t reply right away?” Vonetta asked.
“Don’t start panicking if you don’t hear from him. Maybe he’s busy or he doesn’t have his phone with him. If you don’t hear from him today, text him again tomorrow.”
Vonetta’s brow creased and she sighed. “I probably shouldn’t have texted him,” she said. Just then her phone rang. She looked at the display. Her heart skipped a beat. “It’s him,” she announced.
“Wow, he didn’t waste any time,” Gwen remarked, impressed.
Vonetta answered the call. “Hi, Russell.”
“Hi, Vonetta. I got your text. I would love to go out with you. I wanted to ask you out for a very long time but wasn’t sure that you would be interested.”
“I’m so relieved to hear that,” she admitted. “I was thinking that we could go to this tapas restaurant that recently opened and has gotten very good reviews.”
“Sure. When would you like to go?”
“Is tomorrow evening at seven good for you?”
“Yes, it is. Vonetta, are you free later?”
“Yes, I am.”
“How would you like to go to the Starlight and watch the latest Mission Impossible movie?”
“That sounds great.”
“We’ll grab some take-out before we go the the drive-in.”
“I’ll see you at six.”
“See you at six.” She rang off. “We’re going to the drive-in later and to dinner tomorrow,” she announced excitedly.
“Wow, two dates in a row.” Gwen was thrilled. “Well, have fun and give us all the juicy details the next time we get together.”
Vonetta laughed. “I will,” she promised.
That evening when Russell went to pick her up, she was waiting on the steps in front of the entrance to her flat. Her heart leapt when he stepped out of the car, looking really good in a black tee shirt and a pair of faded jeans. He smiled and held the door open for her, his gaze traveling over her small frame clad in a red tee shirt and denim capris. “Are you in the mood for Thai?” he asked as they drove off.
She smiled. “It’s funny you should mention Thai. I’ve had a craving for Mango Chicken all week.”
He picked up a Mango Chicken for her and a Ginger Chicken for himself. The food smelled so good in the backseat that her mouth was watering. As soon as they were inside the drive-in, he reached for the bag and they took out their containers. After saying Grace, they dug into the food. It was every bit as delicious as she remembered. Afterwards they had Lychee Cheesecake.
“That was really good,” she remarked leaning back in the seat. The trailers were showing now. It had been ages since she came to the drive-in. The last time was with her family and when she was in primary school. They were chewing gum to get rid of the taste of the rich food.
He turned to her. “Yes, it was. That’s the great thing about a drive-in. You can bring your own food.”
“I used to come to the drive-in with my family when I was a child. It was a treat for my sister and me. My favorite snacks were Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Bars, Pimento cheese sandwiches and Sweet Potato Hummus. What about you? Did you and your family come to the drive-in?”
“They came only when there was a Jackie Chan movie.”
She laughed. “I’m a big fan of his too and Jet Li’s. Actually, I think Jet Li is kind of cute.”
Russell stared at her, his expression serious now. “And what do you think of me?” he asked quietly.
Vonetta’s heart skipped a beat when she saw the expression on his face. “I think you’re gorgeous,” she said, sounding a tad breathless now.
“And I think you’re beautiful,” he muttered before leaning over and kissing her, his going about her waist.
Vonetta closed her eyes and wrapped her arms tightly around his neck.
The way you feel when you kiss him for the first time. Like fire within … Like every part of you that came from a dead star is alive again – Nikita Gill
The kiss lasted for several minutes but when the movie started, they forced themselves to stop and watched it. But, their minds were on other things and she felt her body react when he held her hand, rubbing his thumb against the back, making her skin tingle. She could hardly concentrate on the movie. When, it was over and they were on their way to her flat, she turned to him. “Thanks for an incredible first date,” she said.
“You’re welcome,” he replied.
“Would you like to come up for a while?” she asked.
He looked at her. “Yes,” he said simply.
When they got to her place, he parked his car underground in her space–she didn’t have a car and they held hands as they walked to the elevators. Her heart was racing as she unlocked the door and as soon as they were inside and the door was locked, they reached eagerly for each other, aching to continue what they started at the drive-in.
Russell ended up spending the night. The next morning they had breakfast on the terrace before he went home. Dinner at the Tapas restaurant was romantic and they went dancing afterwards. They became a couple and they met each other’s families, a nerve racking experience for both of them initially but in time both families accepted the relationship. The following year they got married in a lavish ceremony thanks to their parents’ extravagance.
And now they were on their honeymoon in Algave, Portugal. As they stood on the balcony of their room overlooking the beach and the royal blue waters, Russell put his arms around her waist and drew her against him. “This is paradise,” he murmured.
“Yes,” she agreed and she owed it all to Gwen and Sharon, her bridesmaids and the best friends a girl could ever have. Thanks to their persistence and encouragement, she was here in “paradise” with the guy she had been madly in love with since high-school. She raised her glass. “To Gwen and Sharon, the best friends a girl could ever ask for.”
Good Friends don’t come easy…Friends come and go..but Good Friends are Treasures you find..Treasures you keep! – Midge Gonzaga