Their waiter got the cheese course started and melted, leaving them to talk as they dipped and ate their bread and raw veggies in the spicy cheese.
“So tell me about you, Lorelai Banks,” Aaron asked with a smirk and popped a piece of cheese covered cauliflower in his mouth.
She swallowed and the nerves set in, as well as that damn voice telling her she was doomed.
“Ok, well…You know that I am a high school teacher and sometimes I work at Uncle Lou’s who is my best friend’s uncle, not mine. I am 26 years old and I have an older sister, Evelyn who is 28 and is married to David. They live in Wyoming where David is a geologist with an oil company and she is an accountant. BORING!”
He laughed at her words and urged her to keep going.
Feeling some of the anxiety leave her, she continued on, “My parents are Mike and Sarah. My dad works for the FBI and my mom is a pediatric nurse. My best friend is Joel and we have been inseparable since kindergarten. He is in HR at a large company in Denver and his husband, Alex is my mentor at the high school and now one of my assistant principals. That’s it. Pretty boring, all in all.”
He looked at her and was in shock, “That’s not boring at all. I think it was pretty good! What do you do for fun?”
They were interrupted and their salads were brought out as well as their main cooking liquid was set on the burner to boil.
“So what do you do for fun?”
“Well, I like watching sports and dancing. I was a cheerleader and on the dance team in high school. You know I am a history nerd since I teach it, and I like to travel, but haven’t done much in the last few years. I used to have a reckless streak in me, but it has gone away too…”
“Does this reckless streak and not traveling much have anything to do with you being a little nervous about this?” He asked gently.
She dropped her head, knowing that this was the beginning of the end. Once he heard about her past, he was going to run for the hills and never look back. She was trying to figure out how to word things when she felt his hand on hers and she looked up, feeling the warmth of his hand. It was sending a tingle up her arm and she didn’t want it to end, it felt so right and natural!
“Lorelai, you don’t have to give the nitty gritty tonight, can I just ask a couple of questions and you answer with what you feel comfortable with, ok?”
She nodded and sat back trying to be strong as he looked at her not with sympathy, but with pride.
“Ok, were you in a bad relationship?”
“How long were you with him before it ended?”
“Three years, two months and six days.”
His eyebrows shot up his forehead, “That’s very specific. Did he hurt you physically, mentally or emotionally?”
She sighed, “All of the above.”
“Shit Lorelai, I’m so sorry that happened to you! Is he still in your life?”
“NO! He is in jail.”
“I’m glad to hear that. I won’t ask you anymore. I want you to know you can tell me more as you are ready. I am here for you and will not push you on this,” he said gently, still holding her hand.
She was stunned, “You mean you aren’t going to run the minute dessert is done?”
“No why would I do that?”
“I am damaged Aaron! I have baggage that I am dragging with me!”
“I am pretty strong Lorelai. I don’t think you are damaged, I think you are a survivor. I think you are beautiful and smart and really want to know more about you. I can’t get you out of my mind and want to spend more time with you.”
“Absolutely! And I have a little bit of baggage of my own. I am divorced, but no kids.”
“You were? What happened?”
“Well, Hannah and I were married for a couple of years when she got pregnant. I was excited! I wanted kids, still do. Amelia and Stevie just had the twins and I was on cloud nine; until I found out when she was due at the first ultrasound. She conceived the baby when I was out of the state for a month training for K9 handling. I am good in the bedroom department, but I can’t get a woman pregnant long distance!” He finished and she blushed profusely at his comment.
She could only imagine how good he probably was and felt the stirring in her gut again.
“So I finally got her to admit it wasn’t mine and we divorced. I moved in with my parents, heartbroken, until I bought my house. So you aren’t the only one with baggage.” Aaron shared.
She hated to think of him heartbroken or hurt. It made her sad and wanted to lash out at whomever that Hannah was that hurt him. God, what was wrong with her? She was seriously losing it! Maybe she should call Dr. McCormick and schedule an appointment to see if she was having a mental breakdown!
They continued on asking questions and as they cooked their food and veggies in the seasoned, boiling liquid. Lorelai really enjoyed being around him and had no anxiety when talking to him, which surprised her greatly and she couldn’t help but wonder why? Why now? Why him?
Aaron loved that the conversation between them was so easy! Her smile lit up a room and made his heart swell and he wanted to do everything in his power to keep seeing it. And her laugh was music to his ears. He kept telling funny stories from his days in law enforcement and she would talk about some of the antics of the kids in her classes as they ate their chocolate and peanut butter dessert fondue. She was very pleased to hear that they shared a love of all things chocolate and peanut butter.
“So I want to ask you something, Lorelai. If you don’t want to answer right now that’s fine. But…” He started.
She took a deep breath, “But what?”
“Was the hatred of Barefoot wines because of him?”
She nodded her head, “That was his drink of choice, wine. I never really liked wine much until we got together. I learned to tolerate it and actually learned to like a couple of other brands.”
“When did you get together?” He asked gently as he gently rubbed the top of her hand.
“I met him in one of my classes my sophomore year of college. He was the same age and he swept me off of my feet. I should have realized something was off within the first month when Joel met him and they didn’t get along. Everyone loves Joel, he just has one of those personalities, but he and Max were not fans of each other. Joel really tried to get along with him and didn’t try to stop me from seeing him, but warned me several times, Which I promptly ignored and continued to date him. Max on the other hand tried to get me to stop being friends with Joel, but I refused. I won’t tell you what that cost me…”
He nodded and continued to just rub her hand. The bill came and Aaron quickly laid his credit card on top and asked, “So you mentioned that wine wasn’t your favorite drink. What do you like then?”
She squirmed a little in her seat and whispered, “It’s not very lady like…”
He saw that nervousness return in her mannerisms, “Hey, it’s ok. It’s just a drink. I would really like to know what you, Lorelai Banks like to drink. I don’t care if some asshole thinks it’s unladylike or not! It’s what you like, so it makes me interested.”
“I love beer; cold beer from a bottle or a frosted glass, I don’t care. I like the burn of scotch and whiskey but also love to drink a pina colada on a beach,” she said nervously as to his response.
“That sounds perfect! The best whiskey I ever had was in a pub in Ireland when I went over for my 21st birthday. I get it and actually love that those are your favorites. And for the record, I think it would be the sexiest thing in the world to see you drink a scotch,” he added in a husky voice.
She gasped at his words and saw that he was totally serious. She felt herself dampen just hearing his words and seeing the look on his face. She blushed and looked down trying to process how she was feeling and it confused the hell out of her.
“Hey, do you want to go for a walk? I know it’s cold out, but maybe we could get some coffee? I don’t want this to end yet…” Aaron asked.