Remember the hot up-and-coming actor we had starring in our shows this year? He asked me out.
I was completely blindsided by it. Up until that point, our entire relationship had been a professional working one. It was after a show; John was hosting a party at his penthouse apartment in the heart of the city for the cast to celebrate opening our last show of the season. I went with Molly and it was the swankiest apartment I’ve ever seen.
“Wow.” Molly said taking in the luxurious modern furniture from the kitchen.
It was an open floor plan and everything was decorated in shades of gray, white, or black, with hints of stainless steel. It was masculine and somewhat cold but having so many people packed inside made it feel more warm and lively.
“Yeah.” I said in awe.
“Hello, ladies.” John came up holding some empty liquor bottles, “I’m glad you could make it.”
His eyes crinkled with his smile.
“Thanks for having us all here. This is a really amazing place.” I said taking a sip of my root beer.
“Yeah, it’s wonderful.” Molly said.
“It’s my pleasure. In LA it’s hard to have parties like this without random people showing up at my house and any events that are restricted still have press. It’s nice to just be able to hang out with my co-workers.”
Molly had invited Calvin (we were all allowed to bring a +1) who had waved her over to the sprawling balcony and left John and I alone in the kitchen.
“Do you want something a little stronger than that? I’m about to make a batch of margaritas.” John said signaling to my root beer.
“Oh, no thanks, drinking root beer on opening night is a tradition for me.” I smiled.
“That’s pretty adorable.” He said moving a blender out from a black cupboard with a stainless steel handle.
I was taken off guard at that comment but shrugged it off.
“You don’t have any fun acting traditions?”
He smiled as he went to the freezer for ice.
“Well, whenever I go on an audition, I wear my lucky hat. It’s a Mets baseball cap my dad gave me when I was 10.”
“See? I’m not the only one with adorable traditions.”
“You think I’m adorable, too, huh?”
I took a sip of my root beer and leaned against the kitchen island while he loaded ice into the blender. He turned and reached by me to get the Margarita mix but looked at me and moved very slowly as he did it. I realized he was flirting with me and I didn’t know what to do. Or if I liked it or not. I hadn’t even thought about him like that in the time we’d been working together.
The jarring sound of the blender broke me from my thoughts and I found myself blatantly checking him out while his back was turned to me. I silently kicked myself. I was supposed to be single and learn to love myself! And there I was in a co-worker’s kitchen appreciating his assets in the most vulgar sense of the term. I hardened myself and left the kitchen to go find Molly or Zeke or anyone to distract me from the attractive man flirting with me.
A few hours later, most people had left and I found myself sitting on the couch talking with Zeke. He was trying to get me to join his dodgeball league.
“I’ve never really been an athlete.” I laughed.
“You don’t need to be. I didn’t get this beer belly playing dodgeball.” He took a sip from his beer and I laughed.
“I’ll think about it.” I said.
I realized people were starting to head out and noticed the giant mess left behind. My manners kicked in and I started cleaning up. I brought an empty plate and a few bottles to the kitchen and looked around for a trash can.
“Faith, are you cleaning up?”
“Uh…yeah.” I smiled.
“Don’t even dream of it!” John said taking the bottles and plate from my hands.
I was standing in front of the island, John put the plate in his sink and opened a sleek cabinet hiding a trash can. Then he turned a reached for an empty bottle next to me, his hand grazed my arm. He pulled the empty bottle to him and hesitated before leaning in and kissing me. I kissed him back.
When we broke apart he laughed.
“I hope that was okay.” He said turning away from me and throwing the bottle away. He leaned against the kitchen counter across from me.
I nodded, too dumbfounded to say anything.
“Listen. Faith, can I take you out some time?” He asked.
“I….I need to think about it.” I said.
I could see the disappointment spread across his face and immediately tried to rectify the situation.
“It’s not you.” I tried to explain, “It’s me. I…I’m trying to be more careful about the people I spend time with.”
He gave me a funny look and I realized how rude that had sounded.
“I mean…I’m not explaining this very well.” I sighed, took a second, and started over. I looked him in the eyes, “John, you’re really great, but I’ve sort of been taking a break from dating and I don’t know if I’m ready to get back in it, especially with someone I work with.”
He crossed his arms and sighed.
“I get it. But do me a favor? Just take some time to think about it. I’m a fun guy. I like you. And I think we’d have a lot of fun together, okay?”
“Okay.” I said nodding, “I’ll think about it.”
The next day, Molly and I were at our kick-boxing class. We’d finished our self-defense class and decided to try kick-boxing together. I was holding the bag steady while she went at it.
“He asked you out!? Ugh! I wish Calvin hadn’t wanted to leave so early!”
“That’s…not all he did.” I said smiling to myself.
Molly stood bolt upright and looked at me with a smirk.
“He kissed you!?”
“And it was nice.” I smiled but felt dumb for doing so, “Oh, Molly, I can’t date him. There are so many reasons why that just can’t happen.”
“Faith, it’s been almost a year since…it’s….it’s okay to put yourself out there.”
“I know, I just…I’ve been doing so well by myself, I don’t want to lose myself because of another guy. Plus we work together AND he’s leaving in two months to go back to LA. There’s no future for this even if I thought it was a good idea.”
“So…just date him. You don’t need to go into it looking for a relationship. He’s a freaking MOVIE STAR, Faith! Let him wine and dine you and kiss you and maybe sex you up a little and then send him on his way when his contract is up. Dating can be fun and help get you to be a little more social. It doesn’t need to be so scary, Faith.”
I thought about what she said and took it into consideration.