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Thirty-two days before the incident, Donald took Marcy out.
It was weird because neither of them were picky about dates. They were both fine with just being together because just being together meant they were together. And that was good enough.
Even so, Donald announced it was time for a change of scenery. He handed Marcy his phone, telling her to scroll down.
She snorted once she saw the message displayed on the screen. “You got us
a reservation at Pacifica? Sounds expensive. How did you manage it?”
Donald just smiled. “I expect you to be ready by five.”
“The reservation is for six thirty.”
“It’s a long drive.”
The drive was long. Marcy ended up taking her baby heels off halfway through and plunking her feet up on the dashboard, allowing her dress to hike up. She kept her purse in her lap, hoping her skirt hadn’t revealed everything, but not fixing it anyway.
When Donald pulled into the parking lot, it was packed. He slid his ugly little car between a Porsche and not too bad looking Jeep. He helped Marcy out of the car, and together, they walked into the restaurant.
Marcy knew before going in that she would feel out of place. But that didn’t help with the small feeling she got when they entered. Soft classical music played in the background, and Donald murmured the usual question of, “Do you think they’ll take rock song requests?” When Marcy gave him a look, he backed off.
The place was lit with an electric blue tinge, giving off the kind of effect that they had just been transported underwater. Marcy assumed that was the theme of the restaurant, because there were shell patterns and almost tacky topless mermaids hanging out on the carpet here and there. Everything was her favorite shade of turquoise-ish blue, so she was hopeful.
“Ah, Mr. Don?” someone asked. Donald nodded and Marcy tried her best to stifle her snicker. After verifying their reservation, they were quickly escorted to the back of the room where they slid into two mangled chairs set just far enough away from the rest of the diners so that Marcy and Donald wouldn’t have to huddle together just to hear each other breathe, which was what they normally did when they went out to eat.
Marcy felt tense as she plopped down into her seat, but it dissipated as the evening swept on.
It started off awkward with the waiter, who assumed they wanted wine right off the bat. Donald had to reach out and grab the man by his sleeve to keep him from getting away.
“No wine?” the man asked, looking from Donald to Marcy. “No… wine?”
Donald chuckled. “Yes, but we will take some water.”
“Please,” Marcy interjected.
The waiter still look ruffled. “Alright. Water. No wine…”
The second time the man whorled toward them, they were prepared. Though Marcy knew Donald would insist on paying for the whole bill--and just by looking at the front of the menu, Marcy could already tell it was going to be high--she made the excuse that they should share a meal and maybe even split a dessert. She noticed how Donald tried not to look relieved when she made the offer.
Donald told the waiter what they wanted, extending the extravagant black menu to the man. “Share?” The man blinked at them this time, looking absolutely dumbfounded.
Donald couldn’t help but blink back, poking the man in the ribs with the corner of the menu. “Yes. Share.”
After that, the waiter rolled with the punches, always filling their water glasses before they could ask. As the meal went on and their shared plate left the table, Marcy noticed a change with herself and her boyfriend. It was as though something shifted. Something wonderful.
While they waited for dessert Donald slurped at his water, his pinky stuck out as he tipped his glass. Marcy tried not to laugh, but the mocking expression he wore was too good not to take humor in.
Donald smiled at her and Marcy kicked him under the table, starting a small footsy fight. They kept it going even as the waiter bent to set their magnificent slice of chocolate cake down before them.
Marcy picked up her fork, jamming her toe into Donald’s ankle at the same time. She froze only when he grabbed her wrist, causing her to set the utensil down and lift her gaze from the desert to his eyes. In the back of her mind, she noticed the absence of the melodic string instruments.
“Marcy…,” Donald breathed, a whimsical sort of half smile placed on his lips. “I have something very important to ask you.”
Their fingers linked, and that’s when the lobster Marcy stuffed down her throat rolled over in her stomach. She tried her best not to gag and instead swallow it back. It burned, but it worked.
“Okay,” she said, reaching for her glass of water. Donald waited until she was done gulping before he began speaking again.
“This summer has been the most wonderful collection of days I’ve ever lived. And, like anyone, I don’t want them to end. But with your indecisions toward school--” he held up his hand when she opened her mouth, pausing to watch her lips slowly close. “And my inability to give up, I’ve come to a conclusion.
That conclusion is, we’re worth a try. You and I both know that as soon as we make different choices, it’ll end. I don’t want it to end, Marcy. I know it’s selfish of me to ask, but sometimes you have to be selfish so you can provide someone else with happiness--and of course, maintain your own.”
They both let out a soft laugh. Marcy felt as though it was just a small release of nervousness for both of them. When they sobered, Donald pressed his lips together, searching Marcy’s eyes.
“So, will you choose to face your fears for me, M?”
Marcy stared at him, feeling just like their waiter must have. She was dumbfounded and surprised. Scared, even. Because she knew he was making her choose. To be with him or to be afraid.
Donald must’ve been able to read all the emotions she was feeling, because he quickly changed tactics. “Will you try? Just for the year? If it doesn’t work we’ll screw it. I’ll screw it. I’ll go wherever you want to go, my dear Marcy, because… I’m in love with you.”
Marcy laughed, covering her eyes with her hand. When she peeked through her fingers, Donald was gaping at her.
“You dumbbutt,” Marcy barked, smacking the back of his hand. “I already know you’re in love with me.”
Donald broke out into a smile. “Is that a yes?”
“I think it’s a yes.”
“Did I say yes?”
He leaned over the desert, the tip of his awful tie messing up the frosting. “You did just now…”
Marcy scooped up a bit of cake, and smacked it against his mouth. The table nearby gasped when the desert made contact with his skin, and Marcy could feel the spray of icing as she rubbed it in.
Donald stared at her, looking deep into her eyes before taking what was left of the cake and throwing it right at Marcy’s face. She wiped her eyes, laughing in surprise. Donald let out his belly laugh, which caused Marcy to scoop up what she could and attempt to splatter him again. She managed to hit him and the patrons behind him.
Their little game paused when Donald made the next throw, missing by a long shot and hitting the manager right on the face. They were calmly kicked out right after the bill was paid.
“Oh, that was wonderful!” Marcy said, her shoes under one arm and their leftovers--a mocking bite of smushed cake in a teeny tiny box--under the other. Donald laughed, watching her take a few steps out onto the black pavement before scooping her up into his arms. She laughed, feeling giddy and serene.
“I can walk,” she murmured as he carried her bridal style to the car.
“Not without shoes,” he murmured back.
“What,” she joked, “you don’t trust the fancy restaurant’s nice pavement?”
“I don’t trust any pavement, M,” Donald said, his face serious. Marcy felt the happy vibes crawling away.
“You don’t? Why not?”
It took Donald the rest of the walk back to the car to reply. “...I was trying to think of a pavement joke, but my mind’s gone blank.” He opened the car door for her, ducking to set her down in her seat.
“Oh, I have one,” Marcy said, her close face lighting up with a smile. Donald stepped back, standing up to unbutton his cake covered suit jacket and fold it neatly. Marcy thought briefly about unbuttoning his sort of clean dress shirt.
“What do roads and butt cracks have in common?”
Donald blinked at her, his movements momentarily paused. “Um…”
“Asphalt!” Marcy shouted proudly, hitting her fist against the dashboard. Donald laughed, opening the rear car door behind Marcy’s and tossing his jacket into the backseat.
“You’re ridiculously wonderful, M.” He tilted his head around the headrest to kiss her temple. She caught his hand, stopping him before he could pull away.
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What do you think? :)
xx Nicole Rose