As Cryus and Mia made their way down the block to her apartment, her nerves took over again. “Umm, Mr. Evans? What should I call you? I want to be respectful.”
“Sweetheart, call me Cyrus. No need to be formal.” He looked over at her as they walked shoving his hands in his pockets. Cyrus was nervous too but desperately trying to not let it show. “You don’t have to be so nervous around me, flower. You know that, right? I’m still the guy you have been talking to all this time.”
“Oh, I know. It’s just… different. I expected some geek who lived in his mom’s basement. Oh and the cats,” she giggled.
“Nope. My cousin has a cat. The thing is a cute and fuzzy tiny little demon. The only thing in my basement is gym equipment and sporting goods. I’m glad to finally meet you.”
“Why did you come all this way? I’m sure you could have any woman in the world. Why come to see me?” Mia asked twirling a strand of hair between her fingers, watching her feet while she walked.
“Well, you intrigue me. It was nice meeting someone and not worrying if they were just talking to me because of who I am. You had no idea who I really was. Even though you thought I was a creeper you still were nice and talked to me. I liked that. I had to meet this amazing woman who just wanted to talk and be a friend.” He took her arm placing it through his.
“Well, Cyrus I’m glad you came. I’m a little embarrassed though. I told you some pretty humiliating things about myself in the last few weeks. Especially about my feelings for you.” She looked up at him with worried eyes.
Cyrus winked with his sly adorable smile, "You sure did. Some pretty intimate things too.” He saw her blush. “It’s okay, flower. FakeCyrus won’t tell.”
She covered her face. “I’m dying right now. Okay. We’re here. Just up those steps. It will only take me a minute to get ready. Come on up. I’ll get you something to drink. I only have water, lemonade, and tea. I might have some wine left from last night’s dinner.”
“Water is fine.” Cyrus looked around her small apartment as they entered. “Nice place. Did you do all the artwork? It looks like a gallery in here.” He walked around looking at the art.
She smiled, “Yep. This is my private collection. I sell some of my work indie art galleries in Indianapolis and Louisville. My place is small so I have to sell the pieces or it would look like I was a hoarder. I guess you could fit my place in your bathroom.”
“No, really this is cool. It’s a nice place. You’re talented, Mia. So what is this piece about? It's very sensual. An ex-boyfriend maybe? ” He walked over to a large one hung over her bed in the far corner of her Southern Indiana apartment.
Mia handed him a bottle of water and went to grab some clothes from her closet. “Heck no. It’s what I picture making love is like.”
“What do you mean, picture? Haven’t you ever made love before?” He asked looking at the photo, trying to not be rude with his question.
“Umm… no. I messed around a little with guys before. Just never had sex.” She felt her face go flush. Mia just continued to look in her closet to avoid eye contact.
“So you haven’t at all?” Cyrus asked, seeing she was embarrassed.
“I want to save myself for marriage, or at least until I find someone I truly love. I’m very old fashioned, and as I told you before, I didn’t date much. It’s not like I don’t want to. I just never found the right guy. It’s hard sometimes. Guys gravitate to my friends because they are all pretty and super skinny. I’ve always been the fat chick of the group. I work out and keep in shape but I stay the same size. It's just how I am.” She grabbed a nice dress from the closet.
Cyrus walked over and took her arm. “Well, Miss Mia, I think that’s great. I didn’t expect that since some of the things you said about me sounded like a girl who had done those things before. I’m sorry I just assumed. For the record. Out of all those girls at the salon, I would have chosen you out of the whole group. I think you’re beautiful.”
“Thank you. I think you’re really handsome too. You don’t think it’s weird? The girls at the salon think I’m crazy. Being in my thirties and still a virgin. Most guys at this point are ready to run out the door.” She looked down embarrassed.
“No, I’m not going anywhere. I’m right where I want to be. I think it’s admirable. Not many people these days have that kind of self-control. I’m a grown man. Not a horny teenager.” Cyrus reached lifted her chin with his fingertips so her eyes would meet his.
“Don’t be embarrassed. I think it’s sweet. You really are my precious flower, aren’t you? Now... go get ready. I want to learn more about this beautiful woman in front of me.”
Mia rushed to get showered and ready. She went simple with a white boho knee-length dress with lace embellishment and braided her long blonde hair. When she exited the restroom, Cyrus was standing looking at one of her new charcoal pieces on the art easel she had sitting in the corner of the room. Mia walked up slowly behind him.
Cyrus heard her coming up from behind and swallowed hard as she approached. The image was like nothing he had ever seen before.
“Is this me?” He asked, staring at the image.
“It is. I forgot I was working on that.” She went to cover it with a drape.
“No please. Don't cover it. It’s nice. I look… peaceful.” He studied the piece.
“I saw a backstage photo of you once. You had your head leaning down like that and I could see your scar. It was the first time I noticed it looked like an angel wing.”
“You really don’t mind my scars?”
Mia walked up to him running her fingers over them. “I think they're fascinating. I always loved them. Cyrus, I know from interviews, and our conversions online, that you worry about how you look. You shouldn’t. You’re the most handsome man I’ve ever laid eyes on.”
Cryus took her hand and kissed the pressure point on her wrist. “You mean that?”
“Of course I do. The night I started this art piece, it looked like you had the whole world weighing on your shoulders. But, calmness was over you. I saw something in you I never seen in anyone before. I went straight to start sketching. It just flowed. I was going to give it to you when you were in town for a show. I can give it to you now.” Mia looked over at him.
“Thank you. But, you don’t have to do that.”
“I want to... Why did you come for me?”
“I need to be near you. I can’t explain it. We have talked for months, and not once did it seem like you ever talked about me like I was just a wrestler. You don’t really say things that fangirls do about me. It’s like you see me as a real person. One night we were talking and you said something. You said that you liked me and didn’t care if I decided to walk away from wrestling. Even if I decided to be a garbage man you will still feel the same. Did you mean that?”
“Yes. Wrestling has nothing to do with who you are. I fell for Cyrus Evans. Not Cyrus the Crusher. Yes, I am a huge fan but that's not why I really started to like you. Your stage persona is not who you really are. The real Cyrus is much more special.” Mia realized she just admitted that out loud and quickly changed the subject. “How long are you in town?” She asked while fidgeting with her dress. Hoping it was more than just tonight.
“A few days. I’m going to be going to the training center in Louisville, Ky to check out some new talent. It's not far from here so this was a chance to meet you. I wanted to hopefully spend some time with you as well if that’s okay.”
“I would love that. It’s odd. It’s like we already know each other. You really have been my only friend lately. I don’t have a lot in common with the girls at work. They like to bar-hop and have husbands or boyfriends. This feels... natural.” She touched his arm smiling up at him. “I’m ready to go if you are.” She grabbed her purse from the island counter in the kitchen area.
They went to a little bistro under her apartment and the smells of food cooking wafted through the air making Cyrus’ stomach growl.
Mia giggled. “You really are hungry. Hope you like it. It’s sort of an eccentric place but they have really good food.”
Cyrus pulled out her chair. “I’m sure it will be great. I can eat roadkill if it’s prepared well enough.” He sat across from her taking in the ambiance of the room. “Mia, I hate to sound rude, but you don’t seem like you belong in this little town. It’s sort of behind the times, and you seem to be more city life and worldly when we talk.”
“Not offended at all. I always felt this place was not where I am supposed to be. This little river town in podunk Indiana is sure not my idea of the life I want. It’s nice here and is semi city life for being such a small place. This town is known for being a big art community. I think that’s what has allowed me to be okay with it. I just feel like I need more. You know?” Mia looked over the new menu items.
“Why do you stay? Your talents seem to be more than what this town can offer.”
He looked up as the waitress filled their water glass. Mia giggled noticing the girl knew who he was. The girl almost spilled the water filling Mia’s glass looking at Cyrus.
“I’m so sorry.” The girl tried to recover.
“It’s fine. No worries.” Mia helped the girl with the pitcher. “You’re new here, right? Here let me get that. It’s fine. No damage was done. Can we get the appetizer medley? Give us time to look over the menu.”
The girl smiled in agreement and rushed away.
Cyrus smiled watching how understanding Mia was. His ex-wife would have screamed at the girl for messing up. Over the past few weeks, talking to his sweet online crush, he was seeing she was more than he pictured in his mind. Gentle and sweet. Her voice was calming and Mia had the sweetest smile.
A bright red blush came across his face.
“What?” She said shyly, noticing him staring at her.
“Mia, that was sweet. Ordering something so she could get over her embarrassment and helping her with the water glasses.”
“Well, I used to work here when I went to beauty school. I know that is something easy she can do to compose herself. I bet giddy girls losing their minds over you is normal everyday life in your world. I screamed like an idiot earlier. I’ve never fangirled out like that before, but you shocked me,” Mia laughed.
“Your expression was priceless. I thought you were going to faint.” He started laughing.
Mia shook her head laughing too.
“I would love to but I’m going to be singing at a Jazz club in downtown Louisville. It would be late before I could go out. I promised my friend I would help out.” She took a bite of her food.
“Great. It’s a date. I’ll meet you there. What time do you go on?” Cyrus smirked looking down at his plate.
“Oh no. Mr. Man! You are not going to that club. I’m not telling you which one either. I would die. Just die,” she said panicked.
“Why? You’re good. I want to see you perform live. I have ways of finding out which club. You can’t stop me from going, you know.” He joked.
“Why? Because... I don’t know… just... it makes me nervous.” She giggled awkwardly.
“Well, I’ll meet you there. We can have a late-night dinner and you can come to my hotel and watch a movie or something with me afterward.”
Cyrus looked at her with determination and Mia knew she was not going to get out of it.
She laughed, "It won’t be easy. The whole city has clubs that are doing it. Sort of a bar-hop theme night.”
“Damn it. All right. I’ll find you. You already told me you know some people at the wrestling training center I'm heading to when we chatted online. So I’ll just ask around.” He smiled satisfied.
“Crap.” She laughed putting her head on the table.
After dinner, Cyrus walked her back to her apartment. “I had a nice time, Mia. I have an early day tomorrow, so I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Can I finally get your cell number so I can text you?”
“Of course, FakeCyrus. You know you sure do have a huge resemblance to that guy on TV… what was his name?” She put her number in his phone under the name “U R going 2 ❤️ me.”
He took it back and smiled, "I don’t doubt that.” He rang her number. ”Had to make sure it was a real number and you’re not blowing me off.”
“You’re kidding, right? I wouldn’t miss seeing you again for a second. I hope you find me tomorrow. But if not, I’ll text you where to find me after the show.” She kissed his cheek. “Thank you for everything. This was the best surprise I could have ever asked for.”
“So you’re really going to make me work for it, huh?” He hugged her.
“I am. This gal doesn’t come easy. Sadly that’s why I’m 30 and no man.” She scrunched up her nose.
“Well, the best things are worth waiting for.” He kissed her on her nose and turned to leave.
He turned back to face her.
“I hope you see I am worth waiting for.”
“You already are, Mia.” He grinned with a wink.