Caramel Apple

 

Caramel Apple

By, Andrew K. Smith

 

It’s February and almost Valentines Day, so naturally I had a wedding to attend to. I was all fired up with my oxford-grey suit with a vest and ready to go, but one essential component was missing, a date. It’s a big bad world out there, stuffed with girls that hide inside in their self-preserved bungalows rather than going outside in public. Conveniently enough I carpooled with an old flame of mine who didn’t have any wedding etiquette, as we almost didn’t make it on time. Luckily, we managed to sneak in at the last second. It was a smaller wedding, so I was at an advantage, as I knew almost everyone already. There were two big challenges facing me before the cutting of the cake. The first was that I felt as though I was under a magnifying lens. Tanya was literally staring me down and watching every move I made. Either she was looking into my soul or was putting some voodoo hex on me. Neither of which I was into. The other problem was that there were not going to be many opportunities tonight for meeting potential wife material. Every girl was married, engaged or my least favorite, too young. A big deal breaker for me is a younger woman. Okay, call me ageist, a grave robber, but I’m not someone striving to be a girl’s little caramel apple; just trust me on this rule of thumb.

Fast-forward one hour and a few glasses of champagne later. I was on the dance floor showing off when I was approached by a mom on the prowl. Not a cougar, but a mom on the prowl for a son-in-law. Apparently, you can never start too early on recruiting potential husbands because this woman was asking if I would meet her daughter. Her 18-year-old daughter. “No way” I thought, “no way.” But I sucked it up and followed behind her for the girl. I just wanted this to be over and done. Then there she was all dolled up in a red dress. I swear girls looked so much older in today’s world, but fuck me, right? Without warming up the conversation the mom said, “Ellie, this is Ashton, Ashton this is Ellie. I’m going to go see how dads doing. You know how he gets at these weddings,” and quickly scurried off into the flux of people.

Ellie stood and looked at me with her panther eyes. I had to say something, but what? So I said the first thing that came to my mind, "What’s your number?" She looked at me with the most confused spooked -out look. I don't really blame her though I mean it couldn't have been a more random thing to do, but I imagined it would maybe break the ice. I could tell she was trying to gather words to say something back, but before she had the chance I said, "It’s cool if you don't want to." We were both standing there and were uncomfortably squirming in our shoes. I did both us of us a favor and resolved this forced awkward intimate situation. I figured I should say the funniest thing I could think of and run for the hills. So as I was turning for the door to put both of us out of our misery. I said, "smell ya later" and walked back to my table with my loser old hookup Tanya. I never looked back.

-Only that’s not how it happened

Lets retrace back to when Ellie stood with a colossal smile from ear to ear with her safari blue eyes. I took a breath and said “Come on fess up. What’s with the mom introducing me to you?”

“You mock” she said. Stretching for her toes, “what you don’t understand?” She paused, “Gosh these heels make my feet ache.”

I chuckled, “I’m just giving you a hard time.”

She rose like grandmas homemade bread, stepped closer to me, and placed her bright pink fingernails upon the table for balance.

“Who is the girl staring me down over there?”

I smirked, “Tanya? Just an old summer fling. Her and I used to hook up. I had no date. Cut me some slack.” I was wishing I could camp out in the middle of the conversation for millenniums. This girl was the smart type; she could handle every one of my analogies. I really got into a rhythm when I was with this girl. It felt as if I were a veteran quarterback, standing in the pocket, throwing first down after first down.

She folded her arms and said, “How old might you be? Your pretty smooth for an older man.”

“I like to believe I still have my muse. Or maybe just the fact that women seem to be getting more and more accessible, you know? I mean we have all these tools in today's world that provoke conversation. It just seems to me like these instruments are taking us away from the mysterious non-verbal things that happen in conversations,” I replied. I was realizing how much I've missed the pure anxious feeling that I get inside my loins when I brewed up some conversation from scratch.

Ellie blushed “Your funny. I need a drink,” she said.

A few minutes later we were sucking down some bubbly champagne at the wedding table. It was a fever pitch of excitement. “Look at my booty call over there, she gone texted herself stupid. I bet she has texted me novels by now,” I said of a man with a baby face that began to turn into a red face from the copious amount of champagne that’s been poured down my hole.

“Not even close” replied Ellie. “I bet we could make a drinking game, every time she looks at her phone we drink.”

I scooted closer to her, grabbed her hand, then looked back at Tanya. Within seconds she sensed me looking and took it as an invitation as she marched over to where Ellie and I sat.

“This wedding is lame” Tanya said, and punched me in the shoulder.

I tensed up and felt like an actor who forgets their lines in front of a packed house on opening night. It was real awkward.

Then Ellie let go of my hand and came in for the save, “I’m going to the bathroom,” and walked off.

“Who the fuck is that?” grunted Tanya.

I nodded. “I’m keeping my flirt muscles limber. That’s all.”

“Whatever,” Tanya said, and jerked her purse strap higher over her shoulder.

I pulled $30 out of my blazer pocket “Here is $30. I’m sorry. Call a cab.”

“You’re an asshole Ashton!” and stampeded off.

A few seconds went by and Ellie arrived back from the bathroom. I filled her in on the details, minus my attempt of how I tumbled into the platitudes. That’s the thing about me, I have issues of being committed to someone, and for the life of me I haven’t figured out why. After I gave her the scoop it was as if my words nurtured her in some way, and I realized I broke my own rule of thumb of striving not to be a girl’s caramel apple.

Her smile returned, “You’re way too cute for an older man.”

“I really wish you would stop calling me old.”

“Why don’t you just tell me then,” she said

“10 years?” I remarked.

“10 years? Wait. So your 28?”

Then I made my move. I gave her the playful kick on the leg move, and gently kicked her with my left foot, “You’re pretty good at algebra you should be a rocket scientist,” I paused, “I guess its not that old, but compared to you I am, you’re just a little kid.”

She grabbed my waist, “I can vote. I’m not a kid.”

“In that case,” I suggested, “don’t be so defensive, I’m only trying to push your buttons. I hope its working.”

Her expression was half surprised and half something else. Either way I loved the sweet mellifluous sound of her voice.

“Are we flirting? My heart seems to think so, it’s doing double time to keep the blood flowing to my brain.”

She unattractively mumbled back, “I guess I’ll have to take your word for it, but to be honest, I would like a little bit more to go on.

“Funny you should ask,” I said and raised my glass to toast her. “Cheers!”

She shrugged and moved her glass towards the direction of mine, “Cheers!”

“You know what they say? You have to look me in the eyes while you take your sip or its bad sex for 10 years,” as I sneered at her.

Her eyes locked with mine and looked like they were full of love and she melted into my cloak of love.

All of the sudden, “Excuse me,” said a voice that came from behind us. It was an even older man than me. He had a father look that smeared his face, “Ellie, who is this?” He muttered.

It was like her dad was Moses and parted ways with the water as Ellie and I separated in sequence.

“This is Ashton dad. Mom introduced me to him.”

His breath smelt like an open bar as he stuck out his hand and said, “Nice to meet you Ashton. I’m Ellie’s father, Brad.”

I shook his hand and acted cool, “Nice to meet you Brad. Ellie and I were just talking about how she got into college. So Rad.”

“Yeah her mother and I are very proud of her. I’m heading back to the bar area. Ellie, you better not to be drinking champagne.”

I was about to respond, but Ellie had beaten me to it and talked blocked me, “Of course not dad.”

He laughed, “Be careful.”

A minute later I beckoned, “Want to go get some air.” I figured it was time I take this one outside, because I could tell she was starting to get bored and maybe a little horny too. I liked to think I really liked this one, but I believe it was just my libido that was talking to me.

Ellie whispered in my ear and said, “I’d like that” and tickled me.

So we sputtered out the door together and the brisk cold refreshed our faces. We found a bench and sat down. She wrapped her arms around me and her head leaned against my chest as my heart fluttered to a standstill, while we looked into the dark horizon. Every ounce of me wanted to pursue the sparked attraction and move it into the bargaining stage, but I was reluctant. I was reluctant because she was only a small soul and I was soaring into her tiny little heart without even having to blink.

So the clock was sinking down like a penny in a fountain and I eventually sucked up my pride and did the unthinkable, I asked a juvenile, still in college for her phone number. What did you think I was going to sleep with her? Yeah right, I am a romantic. Good thing my face was red because my embarrassment wasn’t so obvious. At least the girl has potential, give her a few years and I might just be interested.