Alicia snuggled down in her bed. This was the start of a good thing. She just knew it. Finally, she and Tony were on the same page.
They were not on the same page. That became obvious to her over the next week. He was late picking her up for their first date. He got caught up at work, which was fine. She understood. What she didn’t understand was why he couldn’t send a simple text saying, “I will be late.” Instead, he made her think he’d stood her up. She had been left all dressed up, sitting with her parents in the living room, completely embarrassed. He apologized and she forgave him.
On their second date, a few days later, they went to the pool hall. Not very romantic, but she stayed quiet, determined to enjoy any time with him. They ran into a few old teammates, including Dee and Kyle, who were dating. Alicia wanted to leave, but Tony sat and drank with Hank while Kyle glared at him. Tony never even told them they were on a date.
Dee flirted with him, and although he didn’t encourage her, he did not push her away or let her know he was on a date with Alicia. Was he ashamed of her because she was so young? It made her feel so sad. She’d wanted him for so long, but now it seemed like it wasn’t going to work out. She ended up driving him home and Holly drove her home.
She was sitting with Jasmine at her shop trying to get advice from h
“Men can be ignorant.” Jasmine shook her head when Alicia told her the full story. “In his defense, I don’t think he has a lot of experience with relationships. I know he has had hook-ups over the years, but girlfriends, I doubt. Matt admitted he only had one or two before Holly, and that was years ago.”
“So they are the ‘love ’em and leave ’em’ type?” Alicia concluded, and Jasmine nodded her head yes. Her aunt Kate had gone to lunch with some friends. Jasmine was all alone in the store.
“Great.” Alicia felt frustrated. John had also been a playboy. She didn’t want another man like that.
“Teach him,” Jasmine said.
“How? John is my only experience and we all know that was a bust. I have seen a few romantic movies, but I doubt stringing lights from my house to his is doable in real life. I saw one movie where he serenaded the girl under her bedroom window. I could try that, but I have a rotten voice and never picked up a guitar in my life.”
Jasmine laughed when Alicia sighed dramatically. “Yeah, I agree. Ask him out and plan the next date how you want it. That will give him some kind of guideline. I know he does like you, Alicia. We have all known it. Give him another chance.”
Alicia thought about it. “Maybe. I’ll think about it. I have to get back to work. Thanks for listening.”
“By the way, is your family passing out candy tonight at the restaurant?” Jasmine asked. “Kate and I are. Drake has to work, but Holly is bringing Hope by and Eva is bringing Julia and Diego.”
Alicia smiled. Since she had no plans to go out and party, she agreed to help Alana. She was excited to see all the little ones in costumes. “Alana and I are. I just hope Carlos doesn’t get scared with some of the scarier costumes.”
The city council had started a new practice last year where the businesses along the main strip passed out candy. It allowed the parents to walk along one street instead of many different neighborhoods. It had been a success since it was a safe alternative to canvasing different neighborhoods.
She walked back to the restaurant, using the time to think about what Jasmine had suggested. She knew her feelings for Tony went deep. She knew he was a sincere person and she hoped Jasmine was right. She wanted Tony to like her. Maybe she needed to call him so they could talk.
* * * *
“So, how goes it with Alicia?” Greg asked him in the locker room at work. Tony closed his locker door and sat on the bench. He was supposed to be patrolling the outside of town this evening. Many teens partied out there and Noah liked him to make sure they didn’t get out of hand. One year they had accidently set an old building on fire trying to make a bonfire.
“She hasn’t answered my calls in two days,” Tony admitted in a low voice. He was glad Matt wasn’t there. He had already lectured him enough. Tony didn’t like to admit failure and he had failed in a big way in sweeping Alicia off her feet. “I’m not experienced with romance, but I am thinking that is not a good sign. I wanted to go see her in person, but I am on schedule today. Matt is taking Holly and Hope to collect candy.”
Greg chuckled as he buttoned up his uniform shirt. “No, it is not a good sign. What did you do?”
“I was over an hour late on our first date. I left my phone in Matt’s truck so I had no way to call her and let her know. I may have gotten drunk on our second date. I was nervous because I knew I messed up the first date. Then Dee was around and she kept flirting with me. I tried to ignore her. I think I asked Alicia to spend the night with me and I think she flipped me off. My memory is hazy.”
Greg winced. “Oh boy. You fucked up big time.”
“Thanks,” Tony said sarcastically. The first date really had been out of his control. He thought he made it up to her. She was angry at first, but then she’d started to relax and they had a good time. The second one he did mess up. He was so nervous and feeling the pressure, he overdid it with the beers. He hadn’t planned on it. It had been many years since he got that drunk. He liked to feel in control. He felt guilty about it. He just didn’t know how to fix it.
“I have been with women who didn’t expect anything but a good time. A real relationship is a mystery to me. I have feelings for her, but I am not romantic. I should have researched this more before asking her out. You can find anything on the internet.”
Greg sat down next to him. He looked thoughtful for a minute. “Try sending her flowers with an apology note. Women like flowers.”
“I think I messed up too bad. She probably gave up on me. I’ve hurt her a lot recently.” Tony sighed, feeling dejected. Matt had told him that Holly said Alicia was really angry with him. He really did feel horrible about it. The end of that night had been a blur.
“Nah, I think she must really like you,” Greg said.
“How do you know?”