Fourth installment in the Enchanting Emil series!
I like food and I like dinner parties. Occasionally, I like mingling with humans. The excitement of meeting up with old and making new friends was the perfect way to end a stressful day. I also like Sophia and Evan, the gracious hosts for the evening. I even set them up on their first date in San Francisco. Evan was the city’s most eligible bachelor and through a work connection, I was able to set him up on a blind date with Sophia. Eight months later, he transferred to Los Angeles for work and they moved in together shortly thereafter.
Sophia’s house was nothing but glamorous. Vases of pink roses decorated the entryway. The lights were dim, allowing the candlelights to guide you through the corridor and finally into the main room. After one scan of the room, I spotted Sophia talking to the caterer. I gently broke arm contact with Emil and made my way to her.
“Hey, Soph! How did you get Emil to show up? And why didn’t you warn me? I rushed over and didn’t have time to properly get ready for tonight,” I said while reaching for an olive.
“Emil who?” Sophia turned to, not so coyly, stare down Emil.
“Oh that must be Evan’s new work friend. Wait, he looks familiar,” Sophia’s brain couldn’t diffuse the scent of kabobs in time to realize why Emil is giving her déjà vu.
“He’s the guy from the Polo Lounge! And the one who ran into me days later on my jog.”
“Oh, right right,” Sophia plops an olive in her mouth and says, “He’s way cuter in this lighting. Such a small world he works with Evan. Well, why are you in here stuffing your face when you can be out there bewitching Mr. 6’4 man to fall in love with you?” Sophia nudged me out of the kitchen.
On my way over to Emil, I realized Sophia was right. Emil did look better in this lighting. Tall, dark and handsome with a set of deep blue eyes never fails to make me swoon. As soon as we locked eyes, his relaxed smile soothed my racing mind. After all, I had just lost my job hour’s prior and given notice to my landlord. Basically, I was days away from being homeless with no steady job. Granted, I did fit right into the normal demographic of Los Angles, but the bohemian life wasn’t something I had been accustomed to.
Emil casually placed his hand on the middle of my back and directed me towards the dining table.
“I say we secure the best seats now, so we don’t get stuck eating on the balcony.”
“Or we could just skip dinner and go straight for desert!” I gleefully requested.
“I think you just jumped 5 dates ahead!”
“Oh my God, that’s not what I meant! Earlier you said you’d take me out for gelato!” I could feel the heat rising to my face, enhancing my blush colored cheeks.
“So now I’m a creepy pedophile? “Take you out for gelato” sounds a little sketch,” Emil said with a straight face.
“I … ok. Good night.” I turned on my heels and headed towards the door.
What felt like a blink of an eye Emil stepped in front of me, blocking me from moving an inch.
“Hey, long legs. I’m kidding! Are you always this on edge? Lighten up,” Emil smirked and reached to brush my shoulder.
“Of course I’m on edge, I lost my job and as of two hours ago I’m going to be homeless! I’m two breathes away from going back to Ohio, marrying my college sweetheart, who wears khaki’s to work, out of desperation. And live out this mediocre life as a real housewife of Cincinnati with a soccer mom hair cut driving a mini van.” Worry wove through my words as I struggled to keep the tears from falling.
“I take it you even have a pair of soccer mom jeans to go with the hair cut.”
Tears sprung to my eyes with just that visual.
Emil pulled me in for a hug, “I’m sorry, I took the teasing too far this time. You’re in a vulnerable state. Let’s go get you that pint of gelato,” Emil led me out of Sophia’s apartment with one arm around my shoulders and the other reaching for his handkerchief.
I struggled to keep the tears from falling.
“You even have a handkerchief with your initials embroidered on them? Who are you?”
“The son of a real housewife of Istanbul.”
The cool air of the gelato parlor hit my face like a bad wake up call. The fluorescent lights didn’t give my tear stained face any grace, either. Emil wiped my mascara run with his silk handkerchief and ordered for me. He initially requested a small, with just one scoop, but miraculously the death glare I sent him brought him back to reality and he ordered me a large with 3 scoops of hazelnut.
“All right, here you go. Large hazelnut gelato with a side of lactaid pills and a glass of water,” Emil said and sat across from me.
“So, what are we going to do about your situation? Why don’t you give yourself some time off? Travel, regroup and you’ll be in the space to strategize.”
“Yeah I have a ticket to Italy on reserve. But I don’t think that’s smart. I should be hustling to find a job instead of going on vacation,” the first bite of my gelato was like a party in my mouth.
“Nah, take the trip first. If I could go back, I’d give myself more time to travel for leisure instead of bulldozing through work. Besides, given your emotional state right now, I’d say you should treat yourself and go. You don’t strike me as the type who actually allows herself TLC, ” Emil picked up his spoon and started helping himself to my gelato.
There’s a beautiful calmness about him. From his words to his demeanor, he exudes stillness. Not common for Los Angeles men, or men in general. Emil spoke with confidence and grace. That is, when he’s not engaging in banter with me. I watched him as he ate my ice cream and had a radical idea.
“Want to come with me?” I asked, shocked that those words left my mouth. I raised my hand up to my mouth and anxiously waited for his refusal.
Emil’s eyes lit up and he smirked, “Are you propositioning me, long legs?”
“I’m being ridiculous, I know. I’ve never asked a guy to travel with me. I’ve never even traveled out of the state with a guy! But I mean, we won’t be in the same hotel room, obviously. We’d be separate with everything.” The reality of my question set in and I could feel a panic attack brewing.
“Actually, never mind. I shouldn’t-” I began to protest but Emil pulled his iPhone out and said, “I fly out to Turkey on the 11th and I leave the 17th. Why don’t you join me?”
“I have a 14 hour layover in Turkey on the 12th!” I said a little too excitedly.
“Perfect. Have you been to Turkey before?”
“Never been! My mother’s family is from there. Well, originally Circassia, but majority of her maternal lineage is Turkish. Ok, so we’re really doing this?”
“Looks like it. Do you always ask guys to whisk you away to Europe on the first date?”
“I didn’t know this was a first date. Can we have a re do, then? I wasn’t emotionally ready for an official date,” I ran my hands through my hair and sat up straight in my seat.
Still smiling, Emil leaned back in his chair and said, “Ok, Ms. Mansy. Our official date will be on the 12th in Istanbul. Dress comfortably.”
“Ok, but lets make another thing clear to ensure a safe and blissful first date. I don’t like sharing my food,” I reached for my bowl but missed it by an inch. Emil’s annoyingly quick reflex took ownership of the prized possession. Not wanting to give up a fight, I lunged out of my chair towards Emil. Using all necessary props to my full advantage, I stepped onto the chair and jumped off onto Emil’s back. My arms encircled him from behind, trying to reach his outstretched arm.
“You take your ice cream seriously,” Emil said holding his ground and not budging an inch.
“Ugh, are you made of steal? Why haven’t you moved out of my way?”
“You weigh like a cucumber. Just accept defeat. I’ll make it up to you, in Turkey.” Emil tossed the cup of ice cream away and spun me around in one swoop and carefully placed me in front of him.
The solid yet gentleness of this gentleman was endearing. The ease of our connection felt, natural.
Join me for next week’s trip to Turkey!