After a few weeks of going out with friends and attending various parties, Sara and Matt were about to have their first night out on their own. Sara was enjoying the pace of the relationship and Matt didn't seem to be in a rush either. Normally, she would have been on her own with a boyfriend at this point, but something about him made her somewhat hesitant. Still, they'd been thoroughly enjoying each other's company and even Sara's friends were quite taken with the charming young man.
But there were moments, when she would catch him staring at her with that mocking grin that she'd caught in the moonlight in Lithia Park, and it never failed to send a shiver down her spine.
Matt was picking her up at 7 and she was giving herself one last look in the mirror as she heard the knock on the door. She grabbed a sweater and headed for the door.
"Hey there." she said smiling, as she opened the door to greet him. He looked so handsome in his dark jeans, green t-shirt, and leather jacket, she couldn't help but feel a little self-conscious in his presence. He wrinkled his nose at her as he looked her up and down.
"I don't like that dress." His words stung, and Sara could tell by his tone that he expected her to change before they left. She felt indignant, hurt, confused, and a little angry. Her heart raced and a feeling of desperation set in as she wrestled with the choice of obliging him or ignoring him.
Feeling very small and a little helpless, Sara tried to form a response.
"Really? I.. uh.. I have another one that I was thinking about wearing.. I'll go put that on instead." as the words fell out of her mouth, she couldn't help but say in her head 'No! what are you doing??' It was as if this boy had some power over her, she wasn't so sure how she felt about that.
Sara looked in the mirror when she went into her room to change. He's right, really. It doesn't look good on me at all. Totally not my color. She took the dress off and picked up a slightly more modest blue one off her bed, where she'd tossed it when she passed it up for the clingier red one, and slipped it on. Much better, she thought. Definitely more 'me'.
Matt smiled at her as she walked back out to meet him. "Much better." he said approvingly. Somehow his words comforted her and she felt as if she'd won in some small way. His approving smile eased the sting of the initial insult.
The rest of the evening was lovely. A romantic dinner outside and a short stroll through the streets of downtown Ashland. Matt walked her to her door after their date and leaned against the wall as she slipped her key into the lock. She turned to say good night to him and he quickly pulled her to him and kissed her. Reaching his arm around her, he opened the door, pulled her into the house, and closed it behind him.
I don't recall inviting him in.. Sara thought to herself as she squirmed a little in his arms.
"What's wrong?" he asked with his teasing smile lighting up his face.
"Nothing.. I just.." she stammered as he held her tighter.
"Shhh.." he placed his finger over her lips. "We don't want to wake the old lady now, do we?"
"I feel funny.." Sara said, her head suddenly was spinning and her vision blurred. She felt as though she might pass out and leaned into Matt.
"I know, babe.. Just relax. Let's go sit on the couch for a bit. You probably just had too much wine." his voice was gentle and lilting.
"Can you help me upstairs? I think I should go to bed." she couldn't think straight and her bed sounded just about perfect at this point.
"Of course. Good idea." he answered with a grin as he helped her up the stairs.
Sara could barely put one foot in front of the other by the time they reached the top of the stairs. Matt carefully helped her into her bed and pulled off her shoes.
And that was the last thing she could remember..