Match Made

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ELEVEN

Much of the afternoon is spent unpacking things into our new house. For me, that means unpacking boxes and boxes of clothes and putting them into the dresser and closet in the bedroom I’ll be sleeping in. Neither one of us is sleeping in the master bedroom for the time being. I told Christopher he could have it, but he said it wasn’t fair to me and insisted on sleeping in the smallest guest room.

“Hey, Christopher?” I call out my door and into the hallway, “Do you have any plans for supper or do you want to go out somewhere?”

His footsteps approach my door as I continue hanging clothes in the closet.

“I didn’t have anything planned. But I don’t know much of what’s around here. So we could end up eating somewhere very gross.”

I laugh. He’s taking this very seriously.

“That’s half the fun! It’ll be a bonding experience.” I can’t believe I said that out loud.

He still looks skeptical, but he agrees.

“Is half an hour a good time for you or do you need more time?” I raise my head to look at him for the first time since we started talking.

“Half an hour is perfect,” he smiles and pulls out his phone, “But please let me search for a restaurant first.”

“No!” I practically smack his phone out of his hand, “You can’t do that! It ruins all the fun!”

He laughs and puts his phone in his pocket before walking away.

* * *

Thirty minutes goes by quickly and I’m still not quite dressed when he knocks on my door, “You ready?”

“One minute!” I call back while struggling to do up the zipper on my dress. I knock into the dresser in the process and have to bite my tongue to keep from swearing.

“Do you need some help?” his voice is soft and concerned, “It sounds dangerous in there.”

I zipped the dress enough to cover my bra in the back. What’s the harm in accepting help?

“Yeah, actually. I do,” I walk over to open the door. When he sees me, his eyes widen and drift downward before he returns them to my face.

“Sorry, uh,” he stutters out, “You look beautiful.”

I try to stop myself from blushing. When that doesn’t work, I turn around and slide my hair in front of my left shoulder.

“Would you mind finishing the zipper?” I ask, trying to keep my voice level, “I can’t quite reach it there.”

I do not feel his hands brush my back as he pulls the zipper up. He deftly clasps the hook at the top of the dress that will keep the zipper from coming undone.

His hands linger for a moment before he removes them and we both stand there, still and silent. Please say something so I don’t have to. But eventually the silence becomes too much.

“Thanks,” I try to brighten my voice as much as possible, “I think we should go now!”

“It would be my honour,” he offers his hand for me to hold and I accept it. It’s amazing how I’m comfortable doing that all of a sudden. Taking the pressure off by having him know I’m leaving has worked wonders.

We are on the second to last step outside when our phones simultaneously notify us of an incoming message. That can only mean one thing.

Pulling his phone out of his pocket, Christopher slides open the notification that has become so familiar to us these last few days: Match Made.

His eyes skim the notification, but he does not speak. His face starts to droop as he continues staring at the screen.

“What’s wrong?”

I am impatient, so I ask again before he answers me.

“Sorry, I had to finish reading,” he hands his phone to me, “I guess they planned another date for us.”

“Why’s that bad?” I try to read the notification while speaking to him, so I am doing neither task well.

He gestures to the screen so I keep reading.

“Discussing those topics doesn’t sound so bad,” I tell him when I finally get to our expected conversations around family values, children, finances, and the like. “I mean, I know we’ve already agreed what we’re going to do here, but we can be friends, right?”

“Keep reading,” he says as he points to the phone again.

I sigh and continue reading the message. Oh, there it is.

“They want us to watch my favourite movie while having this conversation?” I give back his phone after finishing the last line of the notice, “And you are scared I might pick something genuinely terrible?”

“Not exactly,” he reaches for my hand again. I take it and thread my arm through his instead.

“So, then what’s the matter?”

“I wanted to go to dinner,” his voice barely above a whisper.

“What?” I ask, though I am fairly certain I heard him.

“It says we have to start now, and I wanted to go to dinner.”

“Screw that,” I start off towards the edge of our lawn, “We’re going to dinner. What are they going to do to us? Get mad we went on an extra date?”

“Are you sure? I don’t want to get you in trouble and make it harder for you to-”

I cut him off as I take off running, or as much as I can run in these shoes, and call back to him, “If you don’t come with me, I’ll pick the worst restaurant I can find and I’ll eat by myself and it will be a sad sight.”

I’m almost around the corner of our block when he catches up to me. “I honestly thought you’d be slower in those shoes.” He grabs my hand.

I look down at our hands and then back up to him, raising an eyebrow and waiting for a response.

“It’s so you don’t run off again,” he smiles, “I can’t run that much.”

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