Oct 16:

You are going to think I am the absolute worst person ever.

My mother called me last night and SURPRISE, she had arranged a blind date for me with that George guy. I was completely shocked. I told her she should cancel it but obviously, I couldn't tell her why. I mean, yes, I guess I could have told her about Jim. But then she would have wanted to meet him ASAP and I just am not ready to deal with that.

I wanted to try to call George directly to cancel, but she wouldn't give me his phone number! I think she knew what I wanted to do.

So now I'm stuck. He's coming to my apartment tomorrow night to pick me up and I pretty much have to go out with him. I guess I could tell him I'm sick, but having to do that to his face is going to be too hard. It will be easier just to go on the date and be awful company. I'm sure he's going to be a total loser and this is going to be complete torture. There are so few Greek people out here that I think we've all become really inbred and weird. He'll probably have six fingers on each hand.

The really awful part is that I had to lie to Jim about it. I told him I'm going out with Sandra tomorrow night. He was so nice about it, I felt so terrible. He smiled at me and said, “That's great, you need to have your girl time!” I want to tell him the truth, but I already lied to him about my mother knowing about him, and I don't want to hurt him by admitting I never told her we were dating. Jim's never going to find out about this date, and tomorrow night it will be over and my mother will be (temporarily) satisfied.

Oct 17:

So tonight was a complete disaster. I honestly can’t imagine things having gone any worse. I feel like crying.

George picked me up at 7. I was so nervous about the whole thing, I couldn’t eat anything at lunch. Jim and I were having lunch and he kept asking me what was wrong. I wish I could have told him. I should have just told him.

When I saw George, I was… shocked. He was actually nice looking. One might even call him handsome. He wasn’t disfigured in any way (note my high standards), he had those kind of dark Greek good looks, and there was even, I swear to god, a little cleft in his chin. When he opened his mouth, I expected him to have some terrible stutter or have the voice of a 12 year old girl, but he sounded totally normal. I was taken aback.

AND he brought me flowers. I couldn’t believe it. No guy aside from Jim has ever brought me flowers. I was completely shocked when he handed them to me. I didn't know what to do with them.

He told me that he made reservations at a restaurant and we got into his car, which was a pretty nice car. He must have made good money as an accountant. I was just totally baffled. Why was this guy letting his mother set him up with ugly girls?

“So do you go on blind dates very much?” I asked him.

“Not really,” George laughed. “I thought it was kind of weird, to be honest. But my mother was so enthusiastic, I thought it was worth a try. Plus there aren’t so many Greek girls in the Bay Area.”

So he actually recognized that it was weird to be set up on a date by his mother. Score another point for George.

As we sat in the car, I couldn’t help but think that this was the kind of guy I would have been thrilled to go out with a few months ago. Hell, I would have DIED to go out with someone like him. But as I sat there, all I could think about was Jim. I just wanted to see him. I just wanted this date to be over so I could be with him again.

When George pulled into the parking lot of a restaurant, it took a minute for me to register where we were. We were at Jim’s First Date Restaurant. A place where Jim and I had gone at least half a dozen times, where everyone knew him, and by proxy, now knew me. I was completely horrified.

“Um, this is where we’re going?” I asked brilliantly.

“Yeah, I love this place,” George said. “I made a reservation.”

My mouth felt dry. I tried to think of a reason we couldn’t go inside, but I was coming up blank as usual. Of course, ten minutes later, when it was too late, I thought of like ten things I could have said. Maybe I found a hair in my soup. Or I noticed the waiters didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom. But right now, I could only mutely follow George to my certain doom.

The hostess, who I thankfully didn’t recognize, led us to our table. George tried to put his hand on my back to lead me and I jumped away like he had just lit me on fire. I was embarrassed, but oh well. My goal was to screw up this date and I was doing an amazing job, as usual.

As we waited to get our orders today, we made small talk. “So you’re an accountant?” I asked George.

“No, I’m an actuary,” he said. “My mother always tells everyone I’m an accountant. I don’t think she can distinguish. You're an accountant, right?”

“No, I’m an actuary too,” I said.

George laughed hard at that. He had a very nice laugh. Very pleasant. “Wow, we have a lot in common. Two actuaries whose mothers haven’t the slightest clue what we do. Does she ask you to do the taxes?”

“No,” I said. “She doesn’t trust me, even though she thinks that’s what I do for a living.”

George laughed even harder. Wow, he was really normal and nice too. And he was right, we had stuff in common.

I found out that the reason he was single yet not a total freak was that he just got out of a six year relationship. Apparently, they were close to marriage, but it ended up not working out. And it didn’t sound like he was bitter about the whole thing either.

So here I was, on a date with a great guy, and the truth was, it was all I could do to keep from racing out of the restaurant and hitching a ride to Jim’s apartment. As George and I talked, I kept imaging Jim’s face, Jim spreading my thighs apart and lowering his lips onto me. Oh god… Jim...


I blinked, so caught up in my little fantasy about Jim that I had totally zoned out. “Huh?” I said.

George smiled. “Do you want dessert?”

I sort of did, but I didn’t want to prolong this date any further. George was a nice guy and he didn’t deserve to waste his time. I think it was clear that I didn’t want to be here, so it was better just to leave.

George excused himself to go to the bathroom and I was left to contemplate my empty dish. I saw a hand reach in front of me to take the plate away and I was horrified to look up and see the face of Meg, the waitress who had talked to me about Jim during our first date.

“Tessie?” Meg frowned at me. I felt like my cheeks were about to burst into flames. “Did you and Jim break up?”

“No,” I mumbled, looking away from her.

“Then who’s that guy?”

“He’s my…” Think fast, Tessie! “My cousin.” Good one.

“Your cousin?” Meg looked skeptical. “He doesn’t look like your cousin.”

“Second cousin,” I added, even though it was painfully obvious I was on a date.

Meg wandered away and I got a sinking feeling. She and Jim are clearly friends and I even get the sense they might have dated at some point. I wonder if she knows him well enough to tell on me… she definitely might. Ugh.

George drove me back home and when we got to my apartment, he didn’t make a move to kiss me, thank god. I don’t know what I would have done. In fact, he didn’t make a move to come out of the car. “I’m not going to ask to come up,” he said.

“Oh,” I said.

“I would, but obviously, you’re already involved with someone.”

I stared at him, shocked.

“Aside from how distracted you were,” he said, “at one point you called me Jim.”

“I did?” I blushed.

George looked a little annoyed, but less than he had a right to be. “Why don’t you tell your mother about Jim? So she doesn’t set you up on any more doomed blind dates.”

“I can’t,” I said. “She wouldn’t approve of him.”

“He’s not Greek?”

I smirked. “Among other things.”

“Ah,” George said. “Well, good luck with that. Tell him he’s a lucky man.”

I have to admit, George was pretty classy about the whole thing. Part of me wonders if I were single, if things might have worked out between the two of us. But most of me doesn’t care and just wants to see Jim. When I got home, all I could think about was seeing him. I called his cell and he didn’t pick up, which made me feel... well, nervous.

I keep wondering if Meg called him up and told him I was with some other guy. I mean, I really think she might have. I am freaking out a little bit because I don't know how I'm going to explain this. He's got to be pissed about it and he has a right to be. What kind of lunatic is in a wonderful relationship with a great guy and then goes out on a blind date with someone else?

All right, maybe I'm freaking out over nothing. Maybe he doesn't know. Probably he just want to sleep early or something. I'll call him first thing tomorrow morning.

Oct 18:

This morning, I called Jim as soon as it was early enough for him to be awake, which is actually kind of late. Jim likes to sleep in. He picked up, which made me feel relieved. I asked him if he was in the mood for some company and he said sure, so I hopped in my car and drove over to his apartment.

I still felt really guilty about last night and the second I saw him, I felt this rush of affection. Also, he looked completely adorable. Even though it was almost noon, he still had that “just rolled out of bed” look. His hair was kind of sticking up and he was wearing the shirt he slept in. He was wearing boxers and his legs seemed a little off in the footrests. He yawned when he saw me.

“Good morning,” I said.

He smiled.

I wanted to kiss him a million times. I slid into his lap and pressed my lips into his forehead, brushing against this little scar he has just below his hairline. I felt him stiffen a little bit and he didn’t kiss me back. He always kisses me back. Suddenly, I felt scared that Meg really did tell Jim about my faux-date last night.

“So did you have fun with Sandra last night?” he asked me.

OK, now I was about 99% sure that he knew. And if he did, continuing my lie about Sandra was going to make things worse. I needed to come up with a lie, but as usual, I went blank. “Um,” I said. “Yes.” God, I better never commit a crime. I'd get caught in like five seconds.

“Tessie,” he said quietly. “Who were you with last night?” When I just stared at him, he added, “Meg told me she saw you with a guy at Mario’s.”

I wanted to confess everything, I really did. But that would involve confessing to not having told my mother about him. And that would have been bad. So I went with the lie I told Meg. “My cousin,” I said. “It turned out he came in suddenly from out of….”

I stopped talking because it was obvious from the way Jim was looking at me that he didn’t believe a word I was saying. He wasn’t dumb enough to fall for this ridiculous cousin story. Nobody would be.

“Okay,” I said. “It was a date.”

Jim just stared at me with this really wounded look on his face. I felt AWFUL. I felt tears welling up in my eyes and I started talking in a jumble of words, explaining that yes, it was a date, but it was a set-up, and I just couldn’t cancel it, so I figured I’d just go through with it, and it was a one-time thing that was never going to happen again ever. I didn’t even know what I was saying by the end, it was just babbling. I was so scared he was going to break up with me and honestly, I almost felt like I deserved it. I kept trying to gauge the look on his face and I was also trying to keep from crying. “I swear it will never happen again,” I said. “I swear. It wasn’t anything, but it will never happen again.”

“Okay,” he said after I was done talking. “I believe you.”

I looked at him, kind of shocked. “You do?”

“Yes, I do.”

“But why?”

“I don’t know, maybe because you have a truthful face,” Jim said. “Or maybe because I’m a sucker.”

“You’re not a sucker,” I said. I fell into his lap and kissed him a hundred times. “I love you. I’m so sorry.”

He kissed me finally and I was scared he’d still be stiff and angry, but he wasn’t. “Meg said the guy you were with was really hot,” he said. “It must have been hard to resist that.”

“You’re way hotter.”

“Oh, am I?”

“No contest.”

He smiled. “She also told me you looked miserable.”

“I was,” I assured him. “I missed you.”

“So,” he said. “Who set you up?” I hesitated and he shook his head. “Forget I asked. Let’s just forget the whole thing.”

He said he wasn’t upset about it but a small part of me still thinks he might be. But after we fooled around in bed for a while, the whole thing seemed pretty much forgotten.

To be continued...