“Alex.....” I began, looking in the mirror in the staff washroom at the bank. I straightened my purple blouse. “Alex.” I stated with my voice a little lower and more serious. UGH! How was I going to do this. I wasn't good at confrontations. With determination, I tucked my hair back behind my ears, grabbed my bag and marched out of the washroom. It was now or never.
I found him sitting alone at a small round table in the lunch room. There were others in there. Others who I didn't know. It was a big bank with lots of different departments and most didn't socialize with each other. I took a foam cup from the counter and poured myself some coffee. I stood apprehensively. I didn't want witnesses.
“Stacey.....you should come sit with me.”
It was Alex. I hadn't gone unnoticed. He patted the chair next to him.
“Well, I did.....” I stammered, turning to approach his table. Some of the people were leaving. I was relieved. “I wanted to talk to you about the other night.”
A smile spread across Alex's face. Not exactly the reaction I was looking for. “I had fun didn't you?”
I remembered the morning after and grimaced. “It was fun to go out that's for sure.” I stopped to look at him in the eyes. I plunged ahead. “But I think something I did......or, well, I gave you the wrong impression.”
He dropped the smile.
“The thing is.....” I dropped my eyes as he put his sandwich down on his plate. “I like going out but I don't think I'm ready for anything else. I like being friendly and I'd like to just be friends.” That sounded okay didn't it? I wasn't being too harsh?
“Geez Stacey. I didn't think I was asking for your hand in marriage.” He got up and tossed his half uneaten sandwich in the garbage can. We were the only two in the room now. “I just thought that we could go out to a movie sometime, maybe dinner, that sort of thing.”
“But I don't think of you that way, Alex.” I didn't think of him at all to be honest. But I wasn't going to say that.
“You don't even know me.”
He walked back towards me and leaned over the table to look me in the eyes. I didn't want to look, but finally I lifted my head. “What do you say we meet up for a casual outing and see if we hit it off?”
That didn't sound too bad.
“And if we did that and it went badly do you think we could still be friends?”
“I'm willing to find out.” He smiled.
“It would make working together hard don't you think?” I was trying to come up with any excuse I could now. I was putty in his hands. I wasn't putting up the fight I had planned.
“Why don't we try it first before you go ahead and plan the whole future?” He relaxed and slumped back into his chair. “How about we just go have a coffee one night? That would be easy. No assumptions.....no expectations?”
I liked coffee. It didn't sound too harmful.
“That might be okay.” I agreed.
“How about one night this week?” He appraised me. “Thursday is as good a day as any.”
“Fine.” I stated. That gave me, what, 4 days to fret over it?
Pleased with himself, Alex got up and sauntered out of the lunch room. Then he turned suddenly to say, “Time to get back to work I guess.” And then he winked at me.
That had gone very badly. I spent the rest of the day trying to convince myself it would be alright. It was harmless, right? Just two coworkers going out for a coffee.
“Hey Stacey!” It was Emily. She had caught up to me in the parking garage. I had almost made my escape. “What's this I hear about you and Alex?”
“It's just an innocent little thing, Emily.” I tried to be flippant. “I tried to go the 'let's be friends' route but he wouldn't have any of it.”
“He shouldn't be too hard to go out with.” She paused as I got to my car. “He's easy on the eyes.” Don't tell me she had something for him. “I'd go out with him in a heartbeat.....if he had eyes for me.”
I considered his boyish features, brown hair and brown eyes. I lowered my voice a little. You never know who might be lurking around a parked car. “But shouldn't I worry about his reputation?”
“I wouldn't care.” Maybe Emily needed a date more urgently than I did. “What are you going to wear?”
To go out for coffee? “Probably jeans and a t-shirt.....the usual.”
Emily was shaking her head. “Girlfriend that won't do. You need to do some shopping!”
This was getting way out of hand.