Chapter 27: Him
Her eyebrows go up at my statement. “Oh really? I’m not so bad?”
“No, I don’t think you are.” I say firmly. “I think you’re a very nice girl. If only for how you treated Timothy.”
“Timothy. He’s shy. But intelligent. He’s a person.” She shrugs yet again. “I did what was right.”
“See there?” I point directly at her. “That’s what I mean. You did what was right. Not because you had to, not because he was of high stature. Not because there was anything he could give you that you couldn’t already have. You didn’t have any sense of entitlement or demands from him. You treated him like a person because it was right. That’s what makes you nice.” I sit back, very proud of myself, folding my arms.
“Interesting.” She says calmly.
Well I was not expecting that. What’s that supposed to mean? I give her compliments, proving that she’s nice and she says, “Interesting.”? What the heck? Women are so confusing!
“What do you mean, interesting?”
“You say you want to get to know me better because you like what you see so far, correct?” She nods, awaiting some sort of response from me.
“Yes…?” Oh this is bad. I’ve gone and made her mad, and I’m in a trap now, and she’s going to be mad at me. I should have stayed home. I should have shut up.
“But what if I don’t want to get to know you because I don’t like what I’ve seen so far?” she folds her arms.
I totally wilt. I didn’t think of it that way. I didn’t think that maybe she wouldn’t want to. I mean, I’m a nice guy and all, but maybe I’m just not what she’s looking for. Just because the character in her writing was almost just like me doesn’t mean that that character is really her ideal.
“I don’t…. I don’t know. You don’t have to get to know me. I can just…” I stumble over myself, talking quietly. “I’m sorry, Miss Rein.”
“For what?” she doesn’t seem bothered by this, as if it’s happened to her a thousand times.
“For not considering what you want. I am sorry. I have been selfish this whole time and asking to get to know you was really selfish. I’m sorry.”
“Forgiven.” She says swiftly, without hesitation. “However, my question still stands.”
“Then I will go away. If I am not what you’re looking for, I will stop pursuing it.”
“Thank you.” Her voice is calm. “As it is, I would like to get to know you better, but you’d better take it up with my dad. And we will never be alone together. I have lots of rules and requirements, failsafes if you will, in place. If only to protect myself. Understand?”
“Rules and requirements? For what?”
“Dating me. Although, my family doesn’t do dating. We do something more comparable with courtship. Which comes with lots more rules so that fewer mistakes occur and people are lots less likely to be hurt.”
“Oh. Okay…” I nod. “I have no intentions of hurting you, Miss Rein.”
“I didn’t say you did. I want to make sure that you don’t. I also don’t want you to have any false expectations. I want to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into, and that I don’t get hurt if you happen not to like what you get into.”
“I see. Self-preservation then. Okay. I get it. I can’t blame you. You’re very pretty.” I shut my mouth, a little surprised at myself for saying that.
“I know. I am 24 years old, you know. You’re not the first guy to have asked me out.” She sighs, like this is just another chore for her to complete.
“Yeah?” I ask, almost wanting to find out how many others she’s “courted” before.
“Yes. For whatever reason, I attract idiots like flies to horse dung.” She shakes her head, a look of amazement on her face. “I just don’t get it. I’m not blonde, so how dumb do they think I am?”
“You’re not dumb at all. I’m sorry they think so.” I pause. “I’m not an idiot, am I?”
“You’re a guy. You’re clearly not stupid, since you can comprehend my more complicated statements fairly well… but I don’t know yet. Most of the time I can. Usually only takes about ten minutes of conversation.” She sighs.
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
“Sorry? It’s not your fault, is it?” she asks, giving me a comical suspicious look. I can’t help but laugh. Sometimes she’s just so funny.
“Of course not! I can’t control everyone.” She smiles calmly in response.
“Nor can I, unfortunately. Although, many times I would like to. You may find that I can be highly manipulative. I often know how to get people to do what I want. But you’d best be careful. I don’t always know what I want.” She nods sagely, lips pressed tightly together.
“Okay. Why are you telling me all of this all of a sudden?”
“You wish to get to know me. I’m letting you get to know me. I am providing you with information about me. Shall I stop?”
“Oh, no. I was just wondering…”
“Okay. I’m sorry. Feel free to stop me whenever. I can ramble when I want to. My brothers say I never shut up.” She thinks a moment. “Which, I guess I don’t. I just have a long, running conversation with myself in my head.” She shrugs it off.
“Okay. I happen to like the way your voice sounds. I don’t mind listening to it. I don’t mind the subject matter either, I was just curious.” She smiles at me.
“Curiosity. I love it. Good. Be curious.” She keeps smiling as we talk, learning more about each other. Turns out, her hunger for information is completely ravenous, all the time. She can inhale massive amounts of it, organize it all in her head, spit it out on a keyboard and make it look really good. No different with people. She can inhale loads about a person’s life, organize it, and make it all look good, no matter how boring that person may think it is. She really is amazing. Truly amazing.