First published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel under the pen name, Elizabeth Rose in November 2015. Chris is known as “Jason” in the I Heart columns.
I was in my office, tapping on the keyboard not nearly as fast as my mind was racing when I heard someone enter the doors of the Santa Barbara Sentinel.
Voices in the front room were nothing new. People came by all the time.
But my ears piqued when I heard footsteps coming down the hall.
Before I knew it, a male’s voice rose from behind.
“Are you Elizabeth?”
I turned around to find a strikingly handsome man (read: the hottest dude I’ve ever seen in real life) standing in my doorway.
My eyes grew wide as I stood to meet him.
“Why, yes. I’m Elizabeth.”
Hell yes, I’m whoever you want me to be!
His name is Jason and he stopped by to see his friend/the publisher of the paper who he’s known since pre-school. But since his friend/publisher was out running an errand, this fine young gentleman was killin’ time talkin’ to me.
Kill all the time you want. Is that door frame you’re leaning on comfortable?
I tried to pay attention to our conversation, but I was too busy checking him out to make sense of the words coming from his gorgeous mouth.
I just stayed focused, pumping myself up to flirt with a man who, a year earlier, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to. Thankfully, this column forced me into the dating scene, and after a year of dating and writing about men from all walks of life, I was ready for the big guns.
His name is the only thing I remembered from our short conversation. After a few minutes of some serious eye contact, Jason left to wait outside.
I tried to bring my focus back to the article, but I kept thinking of a way for us to connect again. He had left, and I wasn’t going to run after him.
I had a deadline, after all.
Five minutes later, his friend/publisher came back to say he’s leaving for the day. He hadn’t seen Jason in almost four years. Bro, time was needed.
“No problem,” I said. “Well…have fun with your super–cute friend!”
“You should ask him out! He would totally say yes,” he said, turning to leave. “But he’s leaving tomorrow, so…”
“Ok,” I said, waving my hand in the air as if to say, no biggie. “Thanks for the green light anyway!”
Now, where was I…
I finished the column then packed up for the day, hoping Jason might still be outside. But as I took one last look around the parking lot before getting into in my car, I shrugged. No hot dude. Guess it wasn’t meant to be.
Seconds later, as I pulled out of the parking lot, I saw two figures walking toward me.
It’s him! Holy shit!
My hands shook as I pressed the button to roll down the window.
Be cool. Be cool…
Me: “Hi, again! It was so nice to meet you.”
Jason: “It was great to meet you, too!”
His friend/publisher walked away from this awkward scene. Thank God.
“I heard you’re leaving tomorrow?”
“No, actually I’ll be here for several more days.”
Ask him out! Just do it!
“Really? So, would you like to go to lunch sometime before you leave?”
“Great! I’ll get your number and give you a shout.”
I gave my best flirty-yet-casual wave and drove away with a stupid grin on my face.
I was proud I asked him out – Why wait for the guy? (Ok, yes, I admit it’s easier when his friend gives you the green light AND you have a deadline.)
But, I figured if he’d said no or the date were a total bust, I’d still win: I’d a good story for the next column, plus he was returning home to Washington in a few days never to be seen again.
Little did I know, it wasn’t going to be that easy…