Monday, November 28, 2011

Double Clutch Blog Tour: Guest Post with Liz

Today, it's my pleasure to bring you the final chapter in Liz's amazing stories about all of her firsts. But don't worry, we're not completely done with the tour.. there are still many more fabulous interviews and reviews to come!



First Comes (True) Love...

The lovely, sweet, talented, amazing Missy is my final guest post on my blog tour. I've talked about first romantic interests, first crushes, first kisses, first boyfriends, first failed rebounds...and now comes the story of my first date with my true love, or how I met my deliciously patient, awesome, adorable husband. (I like him. I like him a lot.)

I've blogged about poor Frank before. He knows that I do, but he never reads them. It makes him way too nervous. But here's the story, in black and white, of how we got going with our first date.

My parents owned this awful 50s style drive-in restaurant. I was in college, and I had to come back, every weekend, to the antiquated county of my youth and put on a stupid poodle skirt and do my stupid waitressing job. Needless to say, I wasn't the happiest camper.

I know it looks adorable and sweet, but it's not! I assure you, if it's your life and you're stuck there day in and day out, it's a living nightmare.

Frank had taken a job making hamburgers. It was a tedious, thankless job, and the one that was easiest to mess up, since the burgers were cooked to order. I'm sorry... the burgers were supposed to be cooked to order. Frank was the world's worst burger cook, and that didn't endear him to the waitresses who had to carry his charred messes to their tables. I was foremost among the complainers.

But on late, slow nights at the restaurant, there was often nothing to do and no one to talk to, and Frank and I would strike up desperate conversations. It wasn't even flirting. It was just talking. We had both just gotten out of long term relationships, so we both agreed that there was no reason to rush into anything with anyone new. When we got around to deciding to go out to the movies, it was as friends, not romantic interests.

Our first nonromantic date was scheduled for the last day of the spring semester at college. I had an exam in Women in Art, then I went home and put school behind me for a few months so I could have a wild, free summer.

Okay, this was my dream summer. In fact, I usually worked back-to-back shifts at my parents' place. But a girl could dream.

The night before our date, I'd gotten all dressed up to go out to dinner with a professor and a group of students from my 18th Century Art class. He'd invited the best students out, and we had such funny, loud conversations and ate and drank such amazing food, I was disappointed when the night ended, and I was left all alone in my almost empty dorm room. All I had there was my bedding and a few things tacked on the wall. Including Frank's number. I picked up the phone and dialed.

Okay, this was back when people had land lines, and the phone could wake up the whole house. What I didn't know was that Frank lived with his grandparents. I was calling a little on the late side, but I didn't think it would be too big a deal.

Frank's little sister picked up. When he got to the phone, he sounded a little out of breath.

"Oh, hey!" I said, examining my cute shoes and wondering where else I could go tonight. Maybe Frank would want to drive down to my college town for some fun? "So, we still on for tomorrow?"

He paused for a second. "Yes."

"Okay. So, did you have a nice day?" This didn't feel promising.

"Yes."

"What did you do?"

"Work."

"I'm going to let you go," I said with a sigh, kicking off my adorable shoes and shrugging out of my sexy dress. The night was over, I was about to go on a date with a dud, and life was miserable.

The phone call was so disappointing, I stopped thinking about the date. In fact, my mind was reeling over the fact that I'd gotten a C on a paper for my Women in Art class. Yes, I had written it in one night, after a shift at my parents' place. Yes, I had been so rushed I actually spelled the artist's name wrong twice in the paper. Yes, a C was probably a mercy grade from a teacher who knew that I was a straight A student and that pathetic scribble must have been a flub, but I was torn up about it.

Plus I had this date, and I was sure it would suck. Positive.

Sometimes the letter C makes me sublimely happy. Maybe if I'd gotten this C on my paper, I wouldn't have been so bummed.

I went home and got ready. Hair curled, makeup on, cute outfit, but not too cute. I might need to save my cutest clothes for a real date. It was coming up on the agreed-upon hour, and there was no sign of Frank. My baby brother came in my room.

"You look pretty, Lizzie."

"Thank you, Jack." I looked at his gorgeous little brown eyes and shiny hair and sweet cherub face. "Buddy, when you get to be a big boy and you ask a perfectly nice girl on a date, pick her up on time, alright? It's not nice to be late. Only big jerks are late. Come watch Scooby Doo with me."

I was snuggled with my favorite little man when my mom brought the phone in.

"Is it him?" I asked.

"Yeah. But maybe you shouldn't go too hard on him. He sounds pretty frantic." She smiled. Evilly. My mom knew I wouldn't listen to her.

"Hi," I said flatly.

"Elizabeth! Hi!" I could hear him swallow hard. "Um, look, I'm getting in the truck, like, now. My dad took me to this car show, and I told him about the date, but he lost track of time. By the time I managed to find him, we were already late. I know you must be pissed. I'm not usually late for stuff."

Some of the iciness melted. "Well, if you're on your way, I guess we should still go."

"Thank you! Seriously, I promise, this won't happen again. And, if it makes you feel better, I got sunburn on my neck. Bad sunburn."

It did make me feel better, because I'm mean. I finished watching Scooby, gave Jack a million smooches, and got my purse. Frank was waiting in my foyer, nervously fidgeting, his neck lobster red. He was wearing a blue shirt, kind of dressy, not his usual style, and jeans so stiff I knew he'd probably just ripped the tags off of them and thrown them on. I appreciated his strange clothing efforts.

We walked out to his enormous truck and he opened my door and offered me a boost. "No thank you," I said as his hand hovered an inch away from my butt. "I'm almost six feet tall. I don't need a boost."

He climbed into the driver's seat with a huge smile on his face. I felt a tad bit better about the date. The nonromantic date, I reminded myself firmly.

Hmm. This seemed like a closed-case sucky date, but there are clues that indicate this might be a fun, sweet outing. Well, gang, what do you think?

I made an attempt to start things off right, and got the conversation going.

"I like your id bracelet," I said.

He looked at it for a minute. "Oh. Thanks. My ex gave it to me."

He was wearing jewelry from his ex? The girl he'd told me had basically taken his heart out of his chest cavity and trampled on it? "Well, it's cool," I finally managed.

He cleared his throat. "So, do you still want to see Blow?"

"Yeah! I try to make it a point to never miss a Johnny Depp movie if I can help it."

"Cool. I agree. Um, do you want to listen to some music?" He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel.

"Do you have CDs? I can't stand the radio."

"Yeah. Sure. Right in the center console." He pointed.

I popped it open and there was a black CD case and a pile of pictures. They were of a pretty blonde girl smirking at the camera. I fanned them out and looked at Frank, whose face was on fire. "This is your ex?" I asked.

"Um, yeah." He rubbed his sunburned neck and winced. "She went to this wedding with another guy, and we saw each other after, and she gave me pictures from the wedding. I guess that's weird, right?"

I took a deep breath. "Are you asking if I think it's weird that you have pictures your cruel ex-girlfriend gave you from a date she had with another guy? Yes, Frank, it's super weird. Look, you seem like a really nice guy, and I know this isn't, like, a real date, so I'm saying this as a friend. Take these pictures, dip them in gasoline, and light them on fire. Okay? Because you deserve better than that crap. Or, if you still love her, go run out and win her back. But this whole scenario..." I gestured at the pictures. "This is just sad."

"No!" I looked up at him, surprised by his exclamation, and he got all red again. "I mean, yes, I will get rid of those pictures. Just, no about this date. I mean, I think it's real. Not that you have to be my girlfriend, or whatever, but you must think I'm still into her. I'm not. At all. I wanted to take you out. I was really upset when I thought I messed it all up. And it seems like maybe I still am? Messing it up? But I've been looking forward to today. To spending time alone with you."

Our date was a little like this image...weird, but sweet, fun but weird. And kind of awesome.

Yep. I was a little smitten. I thought about what I should say or how I should phrase what I was thinking, but, in the end, but it all sounded lame or mean or sappy in my head, so I said, "You wanna go old school and listen to Pearl Jam?"

We did. When we got to the movie theater, I offered to pay for the tickets if he would pay for snacks. Little did he know 'snacks' included a Slurpee, a hot dog, popcorn, and Rasinets. We got all of our goodies and went to the theater, where Frank headed right to the very last row.

I stood in the aisle. "No way."

He shook his head. "No way what?"

"No way am I sitting in the back row of a movie theater with you. No way." I crooked my finger and he jumped up and followed me to the dead center (which is the best place for reasonable people to sit.

During the movie, he leaned over so his head was on my shoulder. "This cool?" he whispered.

I took his hat off and smoothed his hair back with my fingers. "It's cool."

We walked around the mall, stopping to look at random things, sometimes grabbing hands, sometimes brushing shoulders. When I finally checked my watch, I was sad to see I had to go.

"We need to head back," I said. "Mom likes me home by eleven."

"Even though you're in college?" he asked, clearly disappointed.

"Jack is so little. Mom doesn't want people coming in and out super late."

We drove home in relative quiet, and when we pulled into the driveway, he looked at me for a long time.

"I had so much fun," I said, feeling awkward. "Seriously. I had a great time. Maybe we can hang out again?"

Frank put his hand out, and I reached mine back and shook. Like we were two CEOs closing a merger.

Frank laughed and blushed again.

"What? It was weird to shake, right?" I asked. "We can, I don't know, hug or something."

I leaned over and wrapped my arms around him tight, took a deep breath and just smelled him. And I loved the way he smelled and felt. A good hug is a truly underestimated romantic gesture, and this was an awesome hug.

Awwww yeah! Now that's an awesome hug!

When we pulled away, he got out of the truck and came around to open my door and help me out. "I didn't want to shake your hand," he said next to my ear. "I was going to kiss it."

Which was so adorably romantic, I was at a loss. "Okay. Well, maybe next time?"

"Yeah. Let's do this again. Soon."

And we did. We dated again, and again, and soon we were talking on the phone every night, and I was calling to see if he wanted to see another movie or he was telling me about a great waffle place he found that he just had to take me to, or we were just making up any excuse to see each other until we gave up and officially became boyfriend and girlfriend. Then we got engaged, then married, and had our daughter. Finding Frank was one of the most awesome, unexpected joys of my life, and we still have a blast together all the time.

So it all worked out. The faulty starts, the unrequited crushes, the Mr. Wrongs and Mr. Okays all led to the guy who I still check out on a daily basis and who just might be the inspiration for pretty much every guy I've ever written into a book.

You know when somebody just feels like home? And has the added perk of being super sexy? That's Frank. Ah, love!

And Liz and Frank...natch! (Is there anything better than love and cupcakes?)

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5/26/2013: If you're here and you're reading this.. thanks for sticking around! I know I've been gone for a while but I am definitely coming back. This blog will be going through some crazy transitions (layout and such) for the next few days, but I should be back up and ready to review VERY soon. Thanks so much for your patience and support!! xoxo, Missy
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