Ch. 8 - Second First Date

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"Do you like what's on the menu? We don't have to eat here if you don't want to. I thought maybe you would want to, but if you don't we can leave. I should've asked you before. This is okay, right?" Aiden doesn't give me the chance to say anything when he stands up from the table. "Let's go. Let's get out of here." 

I grab his hand instinctively, feeling a little swirl in my stomach as I do something. "No." I drop his hand. "I love this place. My roommate and I come here all the time."

He nods and sits back down. "Sorry. I'm just a little..." He runs his hand through his hair. "Nervous, yeah. I'm nervous."

I can't help but smile. How cute is he. I'll make sure to emphasize his cuteness in the article. Oh, yes, the article. Do I tell him about it? He was honest with me about the bet. But if I tell him, he might not want to go on another date. And then I'll lose the whole piece. It's fine. Maybe he'll be flattered by the whole thing.

Or he'll never speak to me again.

"You okay?"

I blink twice, remembering I'm still on a date with the president. "Yeah, I was just thinking about how good the food is here. Really good. I recommend the bruschetta."

"I'll keep your recommendation in mind." He sets the menu down on the table. "So, what made you decide to call me?"

"How long have you been waiting to ask that?"

He shrugs. "I really didn't expect it. I really messed that up. My first ever date too! Well, it was kind of a fake date, wasn't it?" He notices my face falter slightly. "I'm an idiot. It wasn't a fake date; it was just--"

"Aiden, it's okay. It was a fake date. Consider this our first date."

"Okay, I like that."

Me too, I think. Maybe I could make the first article about this date, leaving out the whole humiliation of the bet and going up to the hotel room. I know it's not what the journal wants. They want juicy, dramatic articles, really honing in on the fact that the top frat president is a complete asshole. 

But he isn't one. He is so nervous right now, worried he picked the wrong restaurant, that he said the wrong thing, shocked that I'm interested in him. It's adorable and the farthest thing from asshole.

"So, tell me about your roommate. What's their name?"

"Sophie. She's actually the one who set up my Tinder," I admit. "I've always been against all things dating apps. You know, the people on them are rarely ever genuine. Usually just in it for the hookup." I pause. "Not that that is a bad thing. I just, it just wasn't what I was looking for."

Too honest? I can't tell. Maybe Aiden just wants a hookup. Shoot, I really could've messed this one up. How embarrassing will it be to have to admit that I couldn't even get a third date.

"Very fair. I usually am just in it for the hookup."

I squint ever so slightly. Take a mental note of that quote, Brook. "Yeah?"

"Yeah," he says. "I do always go in with an open mind. Like, this person could end up being... uh... not to sound totally cheesy and dorky... but my person? Does that make sense?"

"Sure." It makes sense, but not coming from STD's president. "You go in for the hookup, but always think there's potential for a serious relationship if you guys get along really well?"

He nods. "Yeah, so far no one has really stood out." His eyes widen. "Uh, I'm not saying you don't stand out! Oh my god. No, no, no. You, you stand out. That's why I asked you on a second date. I-I, we didn't even hookup yet. You're not who I was referring to. Oh god."

I reach across the table to grab his wrist, and he stops rambling. 

What is with me? Touchy feely. "It's okay. I know what you meant."

He lets out a deep breath and smiles. "Okay, good."

We order our food and start talking about our friends. I tell him about Sophie and Joseph, my friends at the newspaper, and my high school friends. He talks a lot about the guys in his frat, especially Bradley. 

He asks me more about the newspaper, and honestly it makes me nervous. Does he know? He wouldn't know, but what if. Why is he asking so many questions about it? Aside from writing being a major hobby of mine and basically all I do on campus, I don't get it!

I quickly change the subject back to the frat. I'm a hardcore journalist. "What made you rush STD?"

"Please, call it Sigma Tau. I'm not one who fully supports that nickname."

I laugh. "It's hilarious. I'll keep calling it STD. Thank you very much."

He rolls his eyes, but I can tell he's amused. "Fine. I rushed there because Bradley was rushing. He was freshman year roommate too, so we did everything together."

"Ah, I too would be drawn to a brotherhood of STDs."

He sticks his tongue out, and I feel weirdly attracted to him. Jesus, Brook, what is your problem?

"The brotherhood aspect is actually really awesome. You should come to a party this weekend. Bring Sophie and Joseph."

"Can't guys not get in?"

"Just have Joseph tell them he knows me. Also, when he brings two cute girls with him, it really helps."

I blush. Did he just call me cute? Wait, no, he was just saying that. He doesn't even know what Sophie looks like, so it wasn't a real compliment. 

"Okay."

"Cool. I'll text you details."

Details. What a frat thing to say.

"Cool." Oh no, the conversation is dying. I take a sip of water. "I totally love frat parties!" Awesome, amazing work, Brooklyn. That's definitely the normal thing to say, couldn't sound any smarter.

"Seriously?" 

"No, I don't know why I said that." I place my hand on my forehead. "I hate them."

"Me too," he says. "I know, I know. I'm breaking some sort of oath saying that. They're so dingy. But fun...for the most part. I'll make sure we have fun."

I nod, accepting the offer. "Alright, you better."

The date went surprisingly well, for a second first date. And he made plans to see me again, and to see me soon. That's definitely a good sign.

He walks me back from the restaurant to my apartment and stops outside of the entrance. "Okay, see you this weekend."

"Okay, see you then."

I want him to say more, but I know that there really isn't much else to say. I just don't want the date to be over yet. I think back to the formal. I wanted him to kiss me so badly then, but I threw up. I know it's only the second first date, but I really want him to kiss me. He smells so good. Jesus. Do I go for it?

I'm stalling too long. I quickly pull out the key to the apartment. "See you then," I repeat and slam the apartment door in his face.

I am, as many would say and many have already said, a complete idiot.


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