Friday, June 27, 2014

Pool Party: Part One

"Hi!" Jessica screeched as I walked through her door with a bowl of guacamole in one hand and a bright pink towel in the other. She threw her arms around my neck with such a force that I almost dropped the guac. It was 7:30, but she was clearly already intoxicated. Since Jessica wasn't really a drinker, I figured she was nervous about this party.

At the very least, it was a beautiful night to go swimming. Josh had a huge, in ground swimming pool. Justin had to stay at work late, so he wouldn't be meeting us until 9, which was probably for the best. It allowed for Darlene, Anna, and I to see how the situation with Josh went before bringing Justin into the mess. Worst case scenario, Josh went insane and we all met Justin for fro-yo near his apartment. Darlene and Anna were running a little late, but I refused to be anything but punctual so I arrived first on my own.

I followed Jessica into the backyard, where Josh was shirtless, skimming the pool. "Hey, stranger," he said with a smile. Josh was super friendly and even though Jessica told us all the crazy things he had done, I never saw any of it first hand. This made things less awkward when we did hang out.

"Hey!" I said as I placed my stuff down on a nearby chair and greeted him with a hug.

"Where's the rest of the crew?" he asked as he finished skimming the pool.

"On their way, of course," I replied. I dipped my foot in the water and felt relief when I found it was the perfect temperature.

"Let's go in, Caroline," Jessica screamed from across the yard as she pulled off her oversize t-shirt to reveal her bathing suit. It looked completely new and a little too skimpy for her taste.

"We went to dinner about an hour ago and someone had one too many glasses of Merlot," Josh whispered motioning to Jessica. A little concerned about drunk swimming, I told her I wanted to wait for everyone else before diving in, even though I was dying to go swimming.

Darlene and Anna arrived about twenty minutes later and it seemed that there was no holding back Jessica from swimming. I decided if we all watched her, and stayed in the shallow end, she'd be fine. The guac should've absorbed some of the alcohol, right?

Josh sat near us with his feet in the water as we relaxed near the stairs of the pool. Jessica's drunk splashing seemed to amuse everyone, even Josh who would have normally freaked out at such a display. Maybe he was changed. While I was optimistic, I saw Darlene roll her eyes several times when he would speak. When Josh got up to use the bathroom, I splashed Darlene.

"Hey!" she exclaimed.

"Hey, yourself," I quietly said back. "Stop making faces!"

"Come on, Caroline," she said dipping her shoulders under the water. "Don't you see through this act?"

"Be nice," I said back, ignoring the question. Jessica, who had been talking with Anna, walked through the water to us at this point.

"Isn't this fun, guys?" she asked, but what she was really saying was, 'don't you see how awesome Josh is now.'

"So much fun," I responded. "I'm just going to check my phone."

I dried off and picked up my phone. Justin had texted me that he couldn't wait to meet us and asked if he needed to bring anything. As I began to write back, Josh walked out of the house.

"Guys, look who decided to join us!" he screamed across the yard. I looked up and saw Josh's best friend, Andrew, strolling in behind him, still wearing his dress shirt, dress pants, and tie from work. Andrew and Josh were two years older than us, so when Andrew and I entertained a brief affair in high school, he completely crushed me by going off to college without even saying goodbye to me. I knew he wouldn't want a long distance relationship, but the last night we were supposed to hang out, he completely ditched me.

I felt my face get red as I looked away. With shaking hands, I finished my text to Justin.

"Nope, we're good, just can't wait to see you!"

I put my phone down and turned to face the other guests. I suddenly felt self conscious in my bikini, even though I sprung for the push up top and the more conservative bottom. As I saw the girls getting out of the pool, I quickly pulled on my beach cover up.

"Hey, Andrew," I said with an awkward wave as him and Josh began to walk over to the seating area. The few times that I ran into Andrew since high school, I felt like I had something to prove to him. I always wanted to display a calm and collective demeanor, even though the little person in my head was having a panic attack. We were never anything, so it was silly for me to feel so weird around him, but still.

"Hey, good to see you," he said reaching in for a hug. Um, since when is Andrew a hugger? I awkwardly half hugged him and kept a weak smile plastered on my face.

There we stood. Darlene, Anna, drunk Jessica, Josh, Andrew, and I. But thank goodness for drunk Jessica who insisted we reenter the pool.

"So, isn't Josh so much better?" she asked me as she splashed her hands. I swear she looked like a five year old learning to swim for the first time. The truth was Josh did seem fine, but he always seemed fine at first. I'd believe he was 'changed' when I saw them deal with their first argument. For now, I think he even won over Darlene. As they chatted, Darlene genuinely laughed at an animated story Josh was telling.

"Yeah, he is," I responded.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Graduate Assistant

I left work early on Tuesday, wearing my nicest blue button down blouse and black dress pants, to drive over to my university for a meeting with a professor in the psychology department. A few months ago, I submitted an application to be a graduate assistant at my school. I didn't hear anything back before the school year ended, so I forgot about it, but Monday morning I received an email from the department saying that I would be awarded one for the upcoming Fall. I did a happy dance in my room that morning when I read the email. (To be fair, it was a pretty pitiful dance since I hadn't had my coffee yet, but I was truly excited). Not only would this help out a LOT with my tuition, but it would be great for me to gain experience in research and network with other people in academia.

When I asked my boss to leave early so I could meet with Professor O'Conner, he was extremely supportive. Even though Todd liked me as an employee, he didn't want me there forever. He wanted me to continue with my education and ultimately see me succeed.

I arrived at school and quickly checked my phone as I walked to the building. I had a single text from Justin reading, "Good luck today... Not that you need it! :)" Ever since we cleared the air over dinner, things seemed to be better than ever. We usually only text at night, once we were both home from work, which I felt was appropriate since I told him I wanted to take things slow. He didn't seem as anxious about our situation anymore and I was glad to have some time during the day where I could kind of miss him.

By the time I reached the third floor of the building, I was embarrassingly out of breathe. I had to take several seconds to catch my breathe before walking down the hallway to the professor's office. I didn't want him to think that my low physical endurance level meant that I was lazy.

I reached Professor O'Conner's office and knocked on the slightly opened door. I heard a friendly voice call, "come in!" I instantly felt tension release from my shoulders at the sound of the happy voice. This wasn't really an interview since I already had the job. But if Professor O'Conner didn't like me for any reason or didn't think my research interests matched his, he would be able to request a change. Even though that was unlikely, I had other concerns. I had a fear that he would be an extremely demanding professor, asking me to do ridiculous tasks that yielded few real world advantages. If he only gave me extremely stressful, time consuming tasks, all I would gain from the experience would be major headaches.

"Hi, Professor," I said as I walked in with my hand extended. "I'm Caroline."

"Yes, yes, how are you?" he asked reaching out his hand and firmly shaking it.

I sat down on a brown leather couch he had facing his desk as we began to converse. He asked me about my research interests and told me a lot about his own research. I felt extremely comfortable talking to him. Some professors are very intimidating and can come off as condescending, but Dr. O'Conner was a genuinely down to earth, caring professor. I told him about my interests in interpersonal relationship research and my hope to continue to the doctoral level.

"Well, they are very competitive," he began as he leaned back in his chair. "But I think we can get you there."

"I really appreciate that," I said with a smile. He could have assigned me mindless office tasks, so I was truly excited when he assured me that everything I would be doing in the Fall would be beneficial on my resume.

I left feeling great. I would continue to work at my present job for the rest of the summer and then cut down my hours for school in the Fall. I would be an assistant for the full year until I graduated. I took out my phone to call my mom when I saw a group message from Jessica.

"Hey girls :) So pool extravaganza at Josh's house Thursday night? There will be lots of wine! Caroline, make sure to bring Justin ;)"

I was a little surprised to see the text. I didn't really know if Jessica was serious about the pool party, or if Josh would even agree to have us over. Nevertheless, I would go and give Josh a chance to redeem himself. At the very least, we would get some wine out of the deal. And as much as I hate to admit it, I would like the opinions of my friends about Justin. After calling my mom and telling her that the meeting went amazing, I sent Justin a text about the meeting and asked him if he had plans for Thursday night.

"Free as a bird ;)," he wrote back. I texted him the details before arriving at my car. I thankfully still had my gym clothes in the trunk. If Justin was going to see me in my bathing suit in two days, I needed to hit the treadmill hard.

I forced myself to actually drive to the gym. Once I got there, I settled on a treadmill that provided me with the best view of TBS. I decided to do some interval running, since I was definitely not capable of running for more than a minute at a time in my present, potato chip loving state. After 30 minutes I decided to call it quits. As I walked out of the gym, sweating more than I care to admit, I saw that Darlene and Anna both confirmed that they would be coming to the pool party. Neither of them contributed any negativity to the message thread. Maybe the party wouldn't be a complete disaster.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Second (or First) Date

I sent Justin a text a couple days after I had talked with my friends and we arranged to meet for dinner. He was free that night, so we decided to meet at the restaurant at 7:30. Since that was only a couple hours away, I immediately began rummaging through my dresser drawer for a nice blouse. The choices all seemed so mundane. What color do you go with for a redo date? Do you dress more modest or try to show him what he's going to be missing if he doesn't shape up? I honestly didn't know how I felt about Justin anymore, which made my clothing choice seem pretty secondary to another choice I would have to make by the end of the night.

While I normally stick to my own wardrobe for most occasions, I decided to walk down the hall to my sister's room. She is three years younger than me, so when she was in high school, I would always catch her coming home from school in my favorite skinny jeans or newest tank top. It infuriated me. As of recently, though, she reached an age where she can now afford to buy her own nice clothing. So, the tables have turned. Well, they've evened out.

I began looking through her dresser at various blouses when I realized that the restaurant Justin and I were meeting at was borderline fancy. My sister works part time in a financial office, so she has some pretty nice dresses. I settled on a casual dark purple one that complimented my figure, without being even remotely scandalous. I needed Justin to remain focused, but also wanted to look attractive. Obviously.

I arrived at the restaurant a few minutes late and saw Justin sitting at the bar, nursing some brown liquor.

"Hey there," I said to Justin as I gently put my hand on his upper back. I decided that I was not going to come in with any negativity. I would continue to be upbeat, the same way I would be on any other date and especially how I would be on a second date with a guy I liked.

"Hey," Justin replied as he got off the bar stool and pulled me in for a big hug. Even though I was nervous for the date, I suddenly felt a sense of relief as he tightly gripped me for a few seconds. The warm embrace reminded me of how I felt before Justin seemed to go psycho.

Justin grabbed his drink and we walked over to the hostess who was ready to seat us. Once we sat down, I started scanning the menu. The longer until the conversation started, the better. However, he seemed to have the opposite feeling.

"Look, Caroline," Justin started as he laced his fingers together on the table. "I didn't mean to freak you out the other night. I just felt like I was getting played. I mean, who doesn't get text messages, right?"

I opened my mouth to respond. He had a good point, because people who say they don't get your text messages are liars, but I had triple checked my phone the next morning after my hangover subsided and I definitely didn't have any messages from Justin.

Justin cut me off, though. "I was actually talking to a buddy of mine the next day and it turns out he didn't get any of my messages either. I went to the store and there was some sort of issue with it. So really, I'm so sorry. That was 100% my fault."

I nodded for a few seconds as I thought about what I wanted to say next. I looked up and saw the waiter bringing over waters. He asked if we were ready to order.

"Do you want the spaghetti and meatballs you were planning on getting at the other place?" Justin asked with a wink. It was kind of sweet that he remembered such a small and relatively insignificant detail from that night, even though I've always found it annoying when a guy tries to order for a girl at a restaurant.

"That sounds great," I said with a smile. He ordered the same and we continued with our conversation.

"What do you mean you thought you were getting played?" I asked.

Justin took a sip of his liquor. "Well, I'm starting to, I don't know, really like you, I guess." He seemed so nervous, which oddly made me feel good. I wasn't sure if I slept with him too soon, but apparently that only made him more concerned that I wasn't going to take this serious. "And I don't want to scare you away or make you hate me," he continued. "I freaked out and I'm just glad you're giving me another chance."

I reached across the table and lightly ran my fingers over his. "I like you, too, Justin." He looked up at me and the right side of his mouth curled into a smile.

"So we good?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said as I leaned back in my chair. "Can we just, um, take things a little slower?" I asked. I wanted to get to know Justin and I accepted his apology about the freak out, but I still wanted to proceed with some level of caution.

"Whatever you say, boss," he said as he finished his drink and rubbed his hands together. "I guess you won't be coming over after dinner then?"

I hesitated for a moment. I didn't even know how this dinner would go so I hadn't really thought about it. I figured it wouldn't be a good idea, especially after I made it a point to take things slower.

"Well, I have a long day tomorrow," I lied.

"No problem. I'm not putting out anyway," he said with a smile. "You're not going to get the milk without buying the cow." We both laughed. All seemed good in the world of Caroline and Justin.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

News over Nachos

Considering my unbelievably unhealthy weekend (Beer Olympics and Sunday dinner with the Italian side of my family), I attempted to flush out my system for the next few days. I was drinking a gallon of water a day and eating protein packed meals. I told myself I would continue the pattern all week. It is swimsuit season, after all.

Wednesday afternoon, as I was consuming a dressing free salad, I received a text from Anna in the middle of my daily twitter check. She wanted to get together that night. Everyone else was free and I decided I deserved a cheat meal. I still hadn't had a solid, quality gossip session with Darlene, Anna, and Jessica in months, and after the feeling fiasco that occurred the night of the Beer Olympics, I felt a desperate need for this.

Wednesday night, we made our way to a restaurant in our town that had a special on sangria. Obviously, I was most looking forward to the sangria. I didn't know if I wanted to tell my friends about my moment with Moose. Or my phone call with Justin for that matter. Justin had been texting me a lot, but I only responded sporadically to tell him I needed space. I wasn't sure that I was completely done with him. I wanted to give him another chance, but I didn't want to dive into something with a guy who could talk to me like that. We weren't even dating yet!

We sat down in our booth and within minutes, we had a pitcher of sangria in front of us. Anna told us about a job interview she had. Darlene gave an animated recount of a fight she saw on the train. Jessica was abnormally quiet.

"Is everything okay?" I asked Jessica after finishing my first glass of sangria.

"Yeah, why wouldn't everything be?" she asked without looking up at me. Her eyes were focused on the stem of her glass.

Darlene thankfully intervened. "You are kind of quiet."

Jessica's eyes met Darlene's. "I'm good."

We sat silent for a moment. I was not about to press the issue with Jessica, but Darlene had finished two glasses before we even received our appetizers so she took the reins.

"Why can't you talk to us? We're your best friends!"

"I told you, there's nothing to discuss."

"Yeah, but you're clearly lying."

Jessica opened her mouth to speak but stopped herself. Her eyes met with Darlene's, and then with mine. She looked exhausted from arguing. She let out a sigh, finished the drink in front of her, and looked down at her hands. "I've been hanging out with Josh."

Josh was Jessica's toxic ex-boyfriend. I would even describe him as dangerous. He played mind games with her, using her affection for him as a weapon, drove past her house to make sure she was home, and even threatened to kill himself if she didn't do what he wanted. Oh, and the crazy part is, he broke up with her. We were all super relieved when they were done, but we tried not to let her know that.

After a few seconds of silence, Anna spoke. "Really?" she asked.

"Yes, really," Jessica responded. "And I knew you guys wouldn't approve, but he's been seeing a therapist and he hasn't done anything crazy. I'm just going to see how this goes."

Darlene and I made eye contact. We could not simply disapprove, because that could just push Jessica back into his arms. However, I definitely didn't want to see her go down this road.

"How long have you been seeing him?" I calmly asked, trying to mask any sense of disapproval in my voice.

At that moment, the waiter came over and set down our nachos and mozzarella sticks. He took a little too long and had a smile on his face the entire time. Read the table, dude.

Once he walked away, Jessica promptly and matter-of-factually responded. "Two weeks," she answered.

I nodded before picking up a nacho. I needed time to process everything, and I also really wanted a nacho.

"Just keep us in the loop, okay?" Darlene finally asked. "Think about why you thought we would disapprove and try to think about what kind of future you can have with him."

Jessica gave a weak smile for the first time that night. "You're right," she responded. "Do you guys want to maybe go in his pool this weekend? You can see for yourself, he is so collected and normal." I saw Anna almost choke on a mozzarella stick at the very mention of hanging out at Josh's house.

"Yeah, I'd been down," I responded. "Hey, speaking of crazy guys," I began. I figured if we could accept that Jessica was talking to Josh, maybe my friends wouldn't think Justin was that crazy. I told them the story about Justin's phone call. As I retold it, I wasn't sure how I still felt about the whole thing. I hoped for some guidance from my friends.

Unfortunately, they weren't very helpful. Jessica defended him, of course, while Darlene said I should change my phone number. (As if, I've had the same number since the tenth grade. It's mine forever). Anna thought I should get dinner with him. After all, we never even had a real date. I figured it couldn't hurt to give him one last chance. Maybe there was a reason he was in such a bad mood that night. Maybe he was just a jerk. Either way, I knew I wouldn't have the closure I wanted if I just stopped seeing him all together.

"And hey," Jessica started as she polished off the nachos, "if things go well at dinner, you should bring him to Josh's house."

"Sounds like a plan," I said with a smile. If anything, Justin would look like Gandhi next to Josh. Unless Jessica was right. Maybe Josh did change. Maybe not. I decided to leave my judgments for another day.

Friday, June 13, 2014


I answered my phone in Moose's kitchen.

"Hey, you," I drunkenly slurred. Justin never called me, so I didn't know what to make of an unexpected phone call.

"Hey, yourself," Justin replied. "Why aren't you answering my text messages?"

I took the phone away from my ear and opened up my messages.

"I don't have any," I responded when I put my phone back to my ear.

"I sent you a bunch," Justin snapped back. I sensed an attitude, but the beer had me feeling happy so I ignored it.

"Well, what'd they say?"

"I wanted to know what you were up to."

"I'm at a friend's house," I replied as I traced my finger along Moose's granite table top. "I could use a ride home in about an hour."

"Well, I'm free now," Justin responded. Okay, there was definitely an attitude that time.

"Okay, mister grouchy," I joked. Before I even had time to continue, Justin cut me off.

"Can I come to your friend's house?" he asked. I remained silent for a second. I could hear the commotion outside along with a loud splash. Somebody either jumped or was pushed into Moose's pool and I was extremely curious.

"Hello..." Justin went on. I hadn't even been quiet four seconds. I wasn't letting this B kill my vibe.

"Sorry, Justin, I don't think I'm free tonight," I said back. He let out a loud huff through the phone.

"Wow, okay," he said back. "I guess you don't want the best orgasm of your life."

I rolled my eyes, not that he could see. I liked having sex with Justin, the one time, but I would hardly say it was the 'orgasm of my life.' Even if it was, how dare he throw the absence of sex in my face! I was the female, after all.

"Justin, I have to go," I said in a stern voice, completely ignoring his orgasm comment.

"Ok, whatever," he responded. Wow, one night and already two 'whatevers.' I was on my way to a hat trick! For some reason, I actually began to feel a little bad and figured I should try to salvage the night in some way. As I opened my mouth to talk this out with him, I suddenly realized he was no longer on the other line. Rude.

I walked outside and found that Anna was the one who jumped in the pool. She had worn a tank top and denim shorts to the party, which she was still fully wearing when I began hysterically laughing at the sight of her in the pool. I still don't really know what motivated her to jump in, but when Moose and I made awkward eye contact, we just started laughing. It was like the conversation in his house never happened.

Moose walked over and jabbed me in the arm. "Ready to win, buddy?"

"Of course," I said back.

And for the record, we did win. Team 'Sexual Tension' takes home first place!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Beer Olympics

After a grueling week at work and zero time in the sunny weather, I was happy Friday when Moose texted me. We hadn't talked much since I saw him at the bar over the winter, but that wasn't unusual since he went to school in Queens. He wanted to have everyone over for a Saturday afternoon 'Beer Olympics.' I happily accepted.

Justin and I had been talking all week but we hadn't made plans to see each other. I like Justin but I'm not sure if I'm ready for a relationship. Unfortunately, since I slept with him, I fear my lady hormones will influence me if I spend too much time with him. For my own good, I kept myself busy with work and GRE prepping. He seemed busy, too, so it worked out.

Saturday, the girls and I went to Moose's house. My hair was braided, because I was ready to compete. We had the same number of guys and girls, so all the girls pulled guy names out of a hat to make teams.

I picked Moose.

He came over to me and slung his arm around me. "Let's kill 'em," he said with a smile. Moose seemed so not his awkward self and I was loving it. Maybe things would stop being so weird between us.

First, Moose had organized an intricate series of beer pong match ups. Of course, since I'm really good at distracting the other team and Moose is amazing at sinking the last cup every game, we dominated here. On Long Island, if you don't regularly play beer pong over the summer, you pretty much don't exist.

Next, we started playing land mines. Considering this game involves downing whole beers, I began to stubble after we made it through this round. I persistently clutched onto Moose to stable myself and he didn't seem to mind.

Moose and I were soon in the championship round. Anna walked over to me. "What's going on between you two?" she asked as her eyes practically jumped out of their sockets.

"Nothing," I giggled, but as I retreated to the bathroom before the last round, I found Moose following me.

"Let's skip the game," he whispered behind me.

I turned to him, completely oblivious to what he meant. "No," I yelped, stomping my feet. "We're so close to winning!"

Moose brushed my hair behind my shoulder. "I don't care," he said as he moved his face closer to mine. He was inches away from me, when we both stopped at the sound of my phone ringing. I'm a pretty polite person and normally, I would ignore the call, but when I get drunk, I don't always oblige by social norms.

I inappropriately giggled and took out my phone. Justin was calling me.

"I'm sorry," I started. "I should answer."

Moose looked hurt at first. Then, annoyed. He rolled his eyes before muttering, 'whatever,' and walking away.

The call realistically prevented a catastrophe. Kissing Moose would cause serious tension.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Cuddle Time

I felt a little uncomfortable in the car with Justin as we drove to his apartment from the restaurant. What was going through his mind? Did he think I was a weirdo who couldn't sit through a decent dinner without having some sort of anxiety attack? I really didn't want him to judge me but there was no way for me to explain myself without bringing up a conversation about exes. I was so not ready to go there.

Justin didn't say anything though. As soon as we walked into his studio apartment, he asked if I wanted a glass of wine. I was starving, since we did skipped dinner, but settled for wine. I couldn't expect him to have something ready to eat since we weren't even supposed to be coming back to his place.

I sat down on his suede couch across from an old reclining chair. It was impressive enough that Justin lived on his own, since Long Island apartments are not cheap, so I didn't expect him to have matching furniture either. My guess was that he took scraps from wherever he could.

Justin brought over the wine and placed it in front of us on the cheap coffee table. He didn't even give me a chance to take a sip before pushing my hair away from my face and passionately kissing me. I leaned back and put my hands around his neck. I don't know what it was, but I already felt so comfortable around him.

Within a matter of minutes, he was pulling my shirt over my head. I began undoing his belt when he whispered in my ear.

"I knew this was what you wanted," he said, breathing loud.

I continued to kiss him as I playfully giggled. "Yes, I want this," I agreed with him.

"You couldn't even get through dinner because you wanted it so bad."

Justin began kissing my neck as I took a moment to comprehend what he just said. Is that what he thought? Did he think that I wanted to jump his bones so bad that I couldn't even sit through dinner? If so, this worked as a great cover, but did I really want him thinking that?

Before I could further consider what this statement meant, Justin lifted me off the couch. I let out a playful yelp as he carried me to his bed. For the next half hour, nobody existed but me and Justin. Our movements flowed together the same way that our conversations did. I haven't been intimate with anybody since Mike and it felt good to be reassured of the magic from a first time. Justin and I were nothing right now. We probably wouldn't even be doing this for a few more dates if it weren't for my dramatic desire to leave dinner.

Afterwards, we cuddled for a while before I asked him to drive me home. My mind was racing as I wondered where we would go from here. Eek.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Justin and I exchanged text messages for several days before arranging to get dinner last Friday night. We live about twenty minutes apart so I suggested a restaurant right in between us. You know, to show how chill and accommodating I am.

I chose a nice, casual Italian restaurant. As I put on one of my favorite blouses (it shows off my breasts in a non slutty way while flowing over my stomach to hide my post dinner bell), I tried not to put too much pressure on this date. I mean, it had been a long time since I met a nice guy and got to know him in a normal way, without any sort of baggage getting in the way. Even if Justin wasn't Mr. Right, or even Mr. Right Now, I simply wanted to remember how exciting dating can be.

I arrived at the restaurant and Justin was already sitting on the bench outside. He greeted me with a kiss on the cheek before leading me inside. There were a number of small tables inside a big, well-decorated room.

It's weird going on a first date as a millennial. Justin and I already knew so much about each other through texting and we became Facebook friends two days before. It felt like our fifth date.

"So, how was your day?" Justin awkwardly asked after the waiter brought over our menus. I was already craving spaghetti and meatballs, but the mouthwatering picture of them sealed the deal.

"Nothing exciting, I assure you," I answered. "What about yours?"

Justin worked for a big company in their IT department and while it's not the most exciting job in the world, he had a couple stories that beat out anything I had to say. He began telling me about his struggle to teach one department how to properly access their email when something else caught my attention.

It was Mike's dad and brother.

Out of all the restaurants on Long Island, why did they have to be at this one? I felt like I was truly moving on from Mike, but seeing his family made me lose my appetite.

I lost track of Justin's story, but caught the end so I was able to play it off. I laughed before looking down and playing with my silverware. I felt terrified at the idea of Mike's family seeing me across the restaurant, especially on a date.

"Is everything okay?" Justin asked.

"Yeah, yeah," I insisted. "Um, I'm just not sure I'm hungry anymore. I'm sorry." I began to blush. I felt bad but I would only further embarrass myself if I stuck around. I'd continue to feel flustered and probably blow it with Justin for good.

"You want to go back to my place?" Justin asked.

He completely caught me off guard, but when I thought about it, I did want to. Justin left money on the table for our drinks and I walked out of the restaurant with my head down.