I’m working on a kitchen remodel when I get a text from Jonathan asking if I would like to come over for dinner and then some…tonight at 7.
I reply “yes. See you at 7. Should I bring anything?”
“Just you and dress warm” he replies.
I smile and text back “Okay just me”.
It’s been a busy day meeting with clients and working on revisions but I manage to leave the office by 5:30. It’s a Friday evening and traffic is crawling so I jump off the highway and take the scenic backroads home. I get home a little after 6 but I manage to shower and get ready in less than 30 minutes. I’m wearing jeans, my black high heel boots and a sweater. I throw on my winter coat, hat and gloves and check myself in the mirror one last time before heading out into the chilly night air.
It’s nippy out in the high 30’s, but it’s a clear night with a full moon casting its light across the dark landscape. I arrive at his house a few minutes after 7. The smell of a charcoal fire is in the air. It smells good. I ring the door bell and he hollers to come in. He’s in the kitchen cooking, cutting up vegetables. U2 is playing in the background on the stereo.
“Wow. A man after my own heart.” I say as I walk over and give him a kiss as I take off my jacket.
He smiles and says “There’s a glass of Merlot for you on the counter. I would get it for you but as you see I’m a bit tied up.”
No worries. I can get it. Hmmm. It looks good-what’s on the menu?” I ask as I walk over to pick up the glass of wine.
“Ribeyes, potato medley and asparagus. I thought we’d grill since it’s a perfect night to watch the stars.
“Oh that’s why you told me to wear warm clothing. Aah. I gotcha. It’s beautiful with the full moon. Can I help? I ask.
“Sure. If you can cut up the onions and peppers? That would be great. Thank you, hun”
My ex and I never cooked together, this is nice. Jonathan is a pro in the kitchen. He gives me a knife and a cutting board. I grab the onions and start peeling them. Right away my eyes start watering.
“I should have worn waterproof eye makeup” I say as tears roll down my face.
“Would you like some goggles?” he asks as he laughs.
“Oh you think it’s funny? I say with a pout. “Yes, please.”
“Do you want me to cut up the onions?
“No I will, I can do this” I say with a smirk.
“I’ll turn on the vent for you”
“Thank you. You’re so kind thinking of me” I say sarcastically.
“You know I always think of you” He says as he helps me put his work goggles on.
“Aah you’re so sweet! What size chunks do you want?”
“Cut the onions and peppers in quarters. and then put them in the tin foil with the potatoes”.
“Okay I can do that” I say as I take a sip of wine before continuing cutting up the vegetables.
Once the vegetables except for the asparagus are in the tinfoil Jonathan drizzles olive oil, and adds salt, pepper, paprika and fresh parsley before wrapping it up tightly.
“I checked the grill and it’s ready to go. We’ll put the potato medley on first since it will take the longest, followed by the steak and finally the asparagus. How do you like your steak?”
“I don’t want it walking nor do I want a hockey puck” I say laughing-“Medium-well please”
He looks at me with disdain. “You know you’re ruining a perfectly good steak?”
“But it’s the way I like it. I used to like it well done so I have improved.”
“Hmmm I’ll try my best to cook it to your liking even though it’s killing me to do so.”
“Thank you” I say as I give him a kiss on the lips. He tastes good. His mouth is warm from the wine.
I help him carry out the food to the back patio where the charcoal grill is. The song Bad by U2 is playing.
“Oh I love this song it’s perfect for tonight with the moon and stars and grilling with you. I love being with you.” I say as I dance to the music.
“It’s a great song” he says as he puts the food on the grill. “And I enjoy being with you too.” He says as we look up at the star lit sky.
A shooting star zips by. “Did you see it?”
“Yea that was cool” He says as he puts his arms around me. He feels good holding me so close as we sway to the music.
We hang out by the fire watching the stars and talking. I never met anyone that could carry a conversation for so long. He has had an interesting life and I love listening to his voice. I could listen to it forever.
Even though it’s cold out we have dinner by candlelight next to the fire.
“You’re an amazing cook. Hats off to the chef.” I say as I toast him.
“Thank you. Is the steak to your liking?” He asks.
“It was cooked perfectly and I must say it’s the best meal I’ve had in a very long time.”
“Good I’m glad you like it”. He says as he gets up to clear the plates.
“Let me help you.” I say as I pick up the dishes and put them on the tray to bring into the kitchen.
As I’m walking into the house, the phone rings.
“I’ll let the answering machine get it” I don’t want to talk to anyone but you right now. He says as he goes to put out the fire..
I smile at him as I walk into the kitchen to put the plates into the dishwasher and clean up.
I hear a woman’s voice speaking. “Hello Jonathan it’s me, Julie. It’s been a while and I miss you. I miss your voice, I miss your touch. Call me, you know my number. Bye, babe” The way she’s talking sounds more like she’s purring. Her words jar me. So this is the famous girlfriend who broke his heart. Hmmm…
A tinge of jealousy comes over me. It sounds as though she wants him back. I finish putting the dishes away and walk out to the patio.
“Um your Ex left you a message. She misses you…”
He looks up at me and see’s the concern in my face. “Don’t read too much into it, she’s probably drunk. You have nothing to worry about.”
He reassures me but hearing her voice on his answering machine resonates in my head like a broken record, playing over and over again.
“Okay” is all I can say as I walk back into the house.
I know he had a bad break up, she cheated on him and broke his heart but that was a story, but now she’s real and she’s on his voice mail.
What was a wonderful evening has turned into a night of uncertainty. I know he’s says I have nothing to worry about but this nagging in my gut tells me otherwise…