Only For You(19)

By: Genna Rulon

“Sure, Ev. I understand,” traces of disillusionment remained.

He couldn’t possibly understand, no man could. It was impossible to explain what it was like to be a woman under the best of circumstances, the awareness of our vulnerability, the inherent wariness. And in these extraordinary circumstances—he could never fathom the effects of living every day under the threat of assault, the constant vigilance required for self-preservation, doubting every man we encountered whether stranger or friend. Even now, in the shadowy parking lot late at night, I could not fully relax and trust Linc; I couldn’t fully withdraw my defenses and shook my head sadly.

“We’re all paranoid right now, please don’t take it personally. It’s not you.” I tried to smile convincingly, likely failing. “So, what brings you here?”

“I was driving by after a McDonalds run when I spotted your car in the lot I decided to pull in and eat here, make sure you made it to your car safely. I was going to knock on the door to let you know I was here, but I didn’t want to scare you,” he smiled ruefully. “Guess I failed in that regard.”

“Text me next time to let me know you’re lying in wait. You took ten years off my life tonight.” I swatted his shoulder playfully, beginning to relax.

“Will do, sorry for scaring you. If it’s any consolation, I may suffer permanent hearing loss. I am surprised the police haven’t shown already with the volume of that scream.”

“Thanks for checking on me, it was very sweet.” I gave him an awkward one-arm hug. “I need to get home, I’m shot. We’re going to be at The Stop this Saturday if you want to come by.”

“Sounds good, maybe I will.”

We said our goodbyes and I climbed in my car, immediately locking my doors. I was shaking most of the drive home, more from my adrenaline surge than the cold weather, as I tried to ebb my fear.

I exited the bathroom when I heard the front door open and Sam murmuring, presumably to Robbie. I ducked into my room to get dressed and provide privacy.

A few minutes later Sam yelled, “You can come out now.” As I headed into the living room she continued, “How was your night?”

I didn’t want to talk about my freak out with Linc. Even though Sam would understand, I was still embarrassed by my reaction.

I deflected, “Screw that, how was your night?”

“It was great. He picked me up on time and we had a romantic dinner at Bella Luna. He suggested a drink afterward, so we went to that trendy new martini bar.”

“Thank you for the cliff notes version, now can I have the full story? Since when are you stingy with details? Usually I’m begging you to edit.”

“I really like him, I don’t want to jinx it. It was comfortable, almost familiar, but exciting too. We talked about everything—school, work, families, friends, how we envision the future. It was a perfect first date. I even told him about my crazy family and he didn’t run for the hills.”

“Sam that’s fantastic. How was the goodnight?” I wagged my eyebrows suggestively.

“Amazing! He kissed me soft at first, and then got down to business. If his tongue technique was any indication, I will be a fantastically happy girl in the foreseeable future.”

“And there is the Sam I’ve come to expect and cringe from. Overshare!” I shuddered for effect. “Play devil’s advocate, what flaws did you find?”

“None really. He is in a fraternity—Kappa Sigma Tau—if you consider that a flaw.”

“It’s not a ringing endorsement, but it doesn’t bar him from competing. Isn’t that the frat with more money than sense?”

“Yeah, all of the members are legacy and loaded—well, their parents are at least. They have a reputation for crazy parties and over-the-top pranks, but Robbie swears most of them are good guys.”

“At least Robbie is comfortable with affluence. He won’t be scared off by your parents if he makes it to that round.”

I acknowledged the commonality Sam shared with Robbie, which she had tried to gloss over for my benefit. Sam was sensitive about discussing her family’s fortune. An unnecessary concern on her part, but thoughtful nonetheless.