|08| - "Do you think we'll have kids one day?" -
It was a chilly evening in November, and I was getting dressed to go on a date with Nathan. Unlike our normal dates, though, this one was crossing into new boundaries. Quite literally. For a start, I was in Italy and he was in England. We'd be having dinner together, but over Skype.
Despite that, I made just as much effort with getting ready that I would for any other date of ours. I shaved my legs, straightened my hair and spent longer on my make-up before picking out one of Nathan's favourite dresses—a strapless blue one with a plunging neckline. It didn't matter that we would be doing it via a video call that was likely to be pixelated at the worst of times and still not high enough quality to see every pore of my skin at the best of times. What mattered was treating this date with the same amount of care and attention as I would normally.
At bang on eight o'clock, the familiar Skype tune began to play and an unfamiliar flutter of butterflies made themselves known within the depths of my stomach. After three years together, Nathan and I didn't have many firsts nowadays.
Accepting the call, there was a brief moment of blackness before Nathan's picture came into view. Like me, he'd also made an effort, wearing a dark red shirt with the top few buttons undone. The butterflies intensified, but this time for a different reason. He looked so good, and I longed to reach through the screen to touch him, kiss him and have my body close to his.
"Evening," he said with an easy smile. "You look great."
"So do you," I replied. "Have you got your dinner?"
"I have. Steak, onion rings, chips, peas...Glass of wine."
"Do I even need to ask what you're eating?" he said, raising an amused eyebrow at me.
"You can ask what sauce it is," I shot back.
He laughed and I began to relax into the conversation. At first, it felt strange to be having a date over Skype, but soon it became just like any other Skype conversation—or date—that we had. We chatted with ease and laughed together, soon forgetting the high-pressure nature of a date.
Half an hour into the call, our meals well and truly demolished, Nathan's phone made a loud buzzing sound from beside him. His eyes flicked down to it with only a hint of mild curiosity, almost out of instinct than anything else.
"You can look at it, if you want," I told him.
He shook his head and took another sip of wine. "It's only the group chat from work."
"Are you getting to know people a bit better there?" I asked.
Still working for his original company, Nathan had recently moved offices and been given a more specific role. The new workplace was much bigger, which meant there were more colleagues his own age there and a more social atmosphere in general. Although I still didn't completely understand all the complexities of his new role, I was pleased that he was now in an environment where he could potentially make some new friends and spend time with them outside his flat, rather than sitting there alone.
That being said, there was something strange about knowing Nathan had friends that I'd never met. He often mentioned their names to me in connection with work, but apart from the odd stalk on Facebook, I struggled to visualise them all and had no real idea of their personalities.