“Where’s the rest of the dress?”
“What do you mean?”
“Are you kidding? It’s too short.”
“It’s supposed to be short.”
“Well, you’re not wearing it to the restaurant.”
“I’m not a child, Tobias.”
“I know that,” he muttered under his breath. Seeing her in that dress stirred feelings in him, making it hard for him to act indifferent. “Go and change into something else.”
“Either you go and change the dress or you can forget about going out for dinner.”
“Arrgh!” She marched off, incensed. When she returned ten minutes later, she was wearing a denim top and a midi lace skirt. “Is this better?” she asked dryly.
It was but he couldn’t get the way she looked in that darn dress out of his mind. “Much better,” he said abruptly and got up from the sofa. “Let’s go.”
She followed him to the foyer, still miffed. Her grandmother had warned her that the dress was too short but she didn’t listen. Now she was forced to wear the outfit her grandmother had suggested. She thought he would have liked the dress because it showed off her figure and her legs which she had been complimented on several times by the boys at school and even older men when she walked down the sidewalk. Tobias had barely noticed except to criticize her dress for being too short. The evening hadn’t started out well at all. She was sure that if Yasma had worn the same dress he wouldn’t have had a problem with it.
She glanced at herself in the mirror and grudgingly, had to admit that the new outfit looked more elegant and made her look older. And Tobias looked gorgeous in the striped brown shirt and brown trousers and his hair combed back, giving him a very polished look. She noticed the way the women eyed him and it made her seethe.
“I’m sorry that your grandmother couldn’t join us,” he said.
“She’s sorry that she couldn’t come too. She’s getting over a cold. She should be fine in a couple of days.” I love my grandmother dearly but I’m happy that it’s just going to be just me having dinner with Tobias although I’m still upset with him about the dress.
Tobias drove a Jaguar. Very impressive. It was spacious and plush inside. She fastened her seatbelt and relaxed against the soft leather.
Tobias fired the engine up, trying hard not to let his eyes linger on her bare calves. This was going to be a tough evening, he thought. Perhaps he should have cancelled the dinner until her grandmother was able to join them.
For a while there was silence in the car, except for the Classical music playing low in the background. “Don’t you listen to anything else beside Classical or Christian music?” she asked.
“I listen to Smooth Jazz sometimes. Would you like me to change the station?”
“What about Gospel R&B?”
He looked at her blankly. “What?”
“Here, this is what I’m talking about.” She found the station, increased the volume and began to move to Kirk Franklin’s I Smile.
Whether it was the music or her dancing to it or both which unnerved him, he couldn’t tell but after a couple of minutes, Tobias had had enough and he switched it back to the Classical station. He received a petulant look but didn’t care. This was his car and he didn’t want that type of secular sounding music disguised as Gospel music playing in it.
“Does your grandmother know that you listen to that kind of music?” he asked.
“It’s Gospel music and yes, she does. She doesn’t have a problem with it. As long as I don’t listen to the regular R&B music, she doesn’t mind.”
“You were dancing to it.”
“I was moving to it not dancing to it.”
“What’s the difference?”
“There is a difference. You dance to regular music but you move to Gospel music.”
He shook his head. Best to drop it. “Perhaps you might prefer this to the Classical music,” he said and inserted a CD.
“Who’s that?” she asked after a while.
“Not bad,” she said and settled back to listen.
Tobias smiled. And the rest of the drive was pleasant.
Dinner turned out much better than either of them expected. Puah wasn’t upset with him any more and he focused on their conversation rather than on how good she looked. After dinner, they went to her favorite Gelato place. They ate them as they went for a walk before heading back to where his car was parked.
“Thank you for dinner, Tobias,” she said when they were standing outside of her grandmother’s flat. “I had a great time.”
He smiled. “Me too. Good night, Puah.”
“Good night, Tobias.” For several minutes, they stared at each other. Then, her eyes lowered to his mouth where they remained.
Tobias’ face felt hot. He saw the way she was looking at his mouth. The desire to kiss her was so overpowering. It was something he had wanted to do for a long time now. His lips parted in anticipation at the thought and the opportunity which was right in front of him now. He started to lower his head when the sudden ringing of his cell jolted them. Muttering under his breath, he whipped it out of his pocket. He recognized the number. “Hello, Yasma.”
Bitter disappointment filled Puah. He was going to kiss her, she was sure of it. Why did his cell have to ring then? She turned away, unlocked the door and went inside, closing it quietly behind her.
Tobias stood there for a moment and then he headed towards his flat. Yasma was talking but he barely heard a word she was saying. All he could think about was how close he had come to kissing Puah and how disappointed and relieved that he hadn’t been able to. It was painfully clear to him now that he couldn’t be alone with her any more.