Catch up with the story! Chapter one is linked here. Chapter two is linked here.
THE BLIND DATE
Chapter three- Twenty Questions
I pull into the outlet mall, still reeling that we’re here. Marty told me we were going to do one of my favorite things today, a thing we’ve never done together—shop.
Marty hates shopping. In fact, half his non-hockey wardrobe was picked out by me. I send him a shopping cart online and he just buys the stuff I suggest. So the fact that he wants to spend his Sunday at the outlet mall with me is very surprising.
I park at one end of the long, stretched out complex, pull my folding roller cart out of the trunk, and begin the long march to the other side.
“Where are we going?” Marty asks.
“We start at that end,” I say pointing to the Old Navy that’s at least a half mile away. “And end at the car.”
“We’re going to all of them?”
I laugh. “Almost all. Sorry you got yourself into this?”
He looks a little green, as he says, “No I’m good.”
For three hours I drag Marty through the complex. While I shop, he asks me questions. He wants to know what I’m looking at and why. When I do buy something, he wants a full rundown on what it is about that product that made me decide to purchase it.
He asks about my tastes in everything from clothing to kitchen tools. I have no idea how any of this is going to help him pick my blind date, but I’m enjoying myself too much to question it.
When we get to the middle of the mall, we stop for lunch at a diner-style restaurant off the food court. It’s over BLTs and fries that Marty really gets down to business.
“About guys,” he begins, plucking a fry off my plate.
I sigh. “Go ahead.”
“Any of your boyfriends ever go shopping with you?”
I steal a piece of fallen bacon off his plate and nibble on it while I think about that. “Not really. I helped a couple of them pick out Christmas presents for their parents.”
“Doesn’t count,” he says, slicing his hand through the air with finality. “So I’m going to take that as a no. What kinds of things did you do with your boyfriends when you went out?”
“God…um…well, with Darnell,” I said, making a face as I mentioned the guy who dumped me two weeks ago. “We went to a lot of movies.”
“What kind of movies?” Marty steals another fry, despite his own plate being full of them, and for some reason it makes me smile.
“Action adventure, Marvel, horror,” I say casually before taking a big bite of my BLT.
“What about romantic comedies?” he asks.
I nearly lose my bacon. When I get my food choked down, I laugh. “Hell, no!”
“But you love them.”
“What about that Toby guy? What did you do with him?”
“We didn’t go out that often. He was kind of a homebody. When we did, we usually went out to eat.” I chewed on another fry and tried to figure out where this was going.
“I don’t know, Marty. What’s the point?”
“Did you go to restaurants you like, or ones he liked?”
“Mostly his.” Abandoning my lunch momentarily, I fold my arms over my chest. “What’s the point?” I ask defiantly.
“You never did things you like to do with these guys. Your entire relationship was about them.”
Marty speaks an absolute truth and I know it. I also have a standard response. ‘It’s okay. I like to make them happy.’ But I don’t bother. Marty has heard it before and he can see right through me.
“It is what it is,” I say quietly.
“It doesn’t have to be.”
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