15 - "Nobody But You"
I had not expected Titus to drive us into the city. Much less to the Museum District. When I saw the various buildings with stores and restaurants, I knew Selena had helped lead him here. There were only two places I liked at the Rice Village shopping district: The Chocolate Bar and Half Priced Books. There were name brand clothing stores as well, but I usually would go to the old building that held the many works of literary art. Afterwards, I would walk over to the Chocolate Bar and buy various candy or ice cream or a piece of chocolate cake with a coffee or hot chocolate as I read one of my new books. I had no idea what Titus had planned, but I knew I was not leaving here until I had an armful of chocolate and at least ten books for my collection.
Titus found parking at the end of the street with all the new buildings and parking spaces. He walked around the truck to open the door for me, then helped me out of the large vehicle by grabbing my waist and carrying me down.
He looked delectable in dark jeans and a nice button down. Still, he wore cowboy boots, although they were his nicer dress boots. Even in the city, he’s a cowboy and he looked it. He appeared very out of place compared to the people walking the street around us, who wore hoodies, skinny jeans, and high tops. Titus was not made for city life that was for sure.
With our hands tangled with one another, he led me further down the road to a home turned Italian restaurant. I had seen the restaurant before and had been wanting to try it, but it was always busy. The building used to be an old home that had been remodeled to serve as a restaurant, making it look very intimate.
“How’d you know I have been wanting to try this place?” I asked my tall and very handsome date.
“I might’ve had a little help.” He smiled down at me.
“Selena?” I asked and continued when he nodded. “What else did she tell you?” I asked curious as to how much was Selena’s planning and how much was Titus’.
“She didn’t tell me a thing other than Rice Village and Italian when I asked if you’d prefer Japanese, Mexican or Italian.”
“Interesting.” I stated as we walked up the steps to the building. “So, why this place?”
“Because it had very good reviews and the menu looked delicious.” He answered as he held the door open for me. Since he had made a reservation beforehand, we did not have to wait long to be seated outside on the patio. I had ordered a glass of Rosé, while Titus had a bourbon and coke. Titus asked me my opinion for an appetizer and I, of course, ordered their Fritto Misto, which was shrimp and calamari.
After Titus ordered his braised lamb with polenta with a side of roasted potatoes, I ordered a ricotta and spinach stuffed ravioli topped with truffle, mushroom, and Italian sausage, we were finally left alone to have some quiet conversation. The patio was like a little garden and had tea lights hanging from the porch ceiling. It was very beautiful.
“So, how’s school goin’?” Titus began the conversation. We hadn’t had a lot of time to talk this last week, so it was nice to get to know each other all over again. I told him about my projects and the classes I was taking, and he seemed thoroughly interested. He asked me about my favorite era of History and what I had planned to do with my degree. He seemed a bit disappointed when I stated I had wanted to work in a museum and volunteered at the various museums in Houston and Galveston.
“What’s the matter?” I could not help but ask as I reached for his hand across the table.
“The last thing I wanna do is pull you away from your dream.” He said to me leaving me baffled. Did he honestly not know how I felt about him?
“Why do you say that?” I asked, taking a sip of my wine.
“Because it’s clear that you had set out a plan for yourself. There’s so many museums here in Houston, but the job opportunities have to be slim. I imagine there’s a fair deal of travelling involved in a career like that, trips where you’re gone for months.” He explained his concerns.
“Titus. Do you honestly think you’re ruining the plan for me?” I inquired of him, my hand still on his. “Yes, it’s hard to get a job in a museum here, but my dream is just knowin’ about the things that got us where we are today as a civilization. I love books, I love knowin’ things, I love writin’ and hope that one day I would put myself out there for people to read. I didn’t care where that got me.” His beautiful green eyes finally met my own brown ones and I continued. “My dream was to meet someone and fall in love and start a family. Having a career was not as important to me as that.” I watched the black specs swirl within his eyes and it brought a smile to my face.
“Yes, I made a plan because yes, I would love to work in a museum, that was not a lie. You know what’s the best thing about plans? That they can change. I can enjoy and appreciate ancient artifacts behind a glass box or a velvet rope as long as I have someone there who loves and appreciates them with me.” I finished, earning me a full tooth smile from the man sitting in front of me. Good gracious, he was sexy.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t miss it?” He asked me before cheering and singing erupted from two tables over. Everyone applauded and wished the honoree a happy birthday, resulting in us doing the same, letting go of our hands.
“Will I miss what?” I asked once the patio calmed down. The waiter interrupted us this time and brought us our appetizer and offered refills for our drinks.
“Livin’ on your own. The city and urban life. Will the ranch and pack life be enough for you?” He asked as quickly as he could before another interruption.
“To answer your first question. I won’t miss it nearly as much as I missed my birthplace. I was raised on a ranch, lived among the pack, and had an amazing group of friends who were like family.” I paused to reach for his hand again. “And most importantly, I missed the wonderful, amazing boy who teased me when he was playful and protected me when he thought it necessary… and I was lucky enough to call him my best friend.” I smiled at him and giggled when his smile disappeared from his face. “And… I’m more than lucky, blessed even, to call that boy a man. A man who I proudly call my mate.”
The smile I was rewarded with made me breathless. He brought my hand to his lips and gave me a sweet butterfly kiss on the back of it. “Does that answer your second question?” I asked once I was able to breathe again. Our waiter returned with our second set of drinks and Titus released my hand.
We ate our appetizers while attempting to have a conversation, but the endless amount of noise of people drinking excessively, celebrations, and proposals made it hard to have a good conversation. The restaurant was located in a heavily populated area and the traffic sounds from the road next to us added to the noise.Granted, the food was delicious. When we finished our dinner, Titus looked a bit irritated. We were asked if we wanted dessert, but I declined before Titus could say anything else.
“Are you sure that you don’t want dessert?” He asked me, as we waited for the check.
“I’m sure, there’s a place down the street that has really good dessert. It’s next to the bookstore.” I explained.
“Well, the first movie starts in forty-five minutes.” He said looking down at his watch.
“First movie? What movie?” I wanted to know. He proceeded to tell me about two movies that he thought I would like; one was a horror film while the other was a comedy.
“You know, I appreciate the thought and the research you put into our date. However, I would rather walk down to The Chocolate Bar and enjoy some dessert and a coffee. Then maybe go into the bookstore and go through the old books they have there.” I countered, hoping he was not upset that I changed his plan. “The bar isn’t so busy, and we can actually talk.”
“That sounds like a good idea.” He said after a minute and handed over his credit card to the waiter after looking over the check. The waiter did not take long to return with the card and receipt, and we walked out of the restaurant hand in hand.
"Nobody But You" by Blake Shelton with Gwen Stefani