Gary: “What is wrong with you? Why is your hair messed up and your shirt is all wrinkled? You called me to go out for lunch right?”
Gary is a handsome guy and his best friend, who always looks gorgeous looks completely messy at the moment.
Gary: “You know you are a famous model right? If you go out like this and the media catches you, it will be front page news.”
Gary made a gesture with his hands indicating a paper and the headlines.
His best friend stares into the mirror and puts some gel in his hair to make his hair look even messier.
Gary: “Are you trying to get the out-of-bed look? That sure looks like your just-woken-up hairdo. Matt come on tell me what is going on?”
Matt was now staring into the mirror with judging eyes: “Ahhh… I need to change my shirt! A blob of gel, just dropped onto it. It took me half a day to make it this wrinkly.”
Gary was first smiling and thought: “Finally he came to his senses”, but when Matt said he made the wrinkles on purpose he could not hold it in any more.
Gary grabbed Matt’s collar: “Get a grip man! I know you haven’t been looking at other girls for months now, but this is insane! Why are you making such an effort to look messy?!”
Matt stares into Gary’s angry deep blue eyes and says: “I’ll explain, just let me change my shirt.”
Gary let Matt go and follows him from the bathroom to Matt’s walk-in closet.
Matt takes a perfect ironed shirt from a hanger and says: “Remember, the day when it was raining and I said I was going to take a walk?”
Matt started to make a ball with the shirt, that he just took off a hanger.
Gary: “Do you mean the day, where a group of girls were following us when we were shopping? At that night after dinner you decided to walk home instead of letting me drop you off by car? It was pouring, you ended up with a cold the next day.”
Matt smiled: “Yes, that day.“
*While I walked home, I saw a small shop selling noodles and seafood dishes. I walked into the small shop and stood by the entrance for a few seconds. An old couple were sitting at a table, they were talking to a cute girl with short black hair wearing an apron. She had a notepad in her hand and jotted down the orders of the couple. It seemed like the couple are regular customers, because they talked to her as if she was their grandchild and she talked back with a beautiful smile. She left to the kitchen. I sat down at a table in the back and read the menu from a card on the table. She came back from the kitchen and saw me, so she approached me.
She showed a friendly smile: “Welcome to Sam’s humble seafood restaurant. What would you like to order?”
I had my menu card in front of my face, so I put the menu card down to look into her pretty brown eyes. To my surprise her smile faded away slowly and her face became almost white.
The old couple stared at her and yelled to the kitchen: “Sam, she is having a shock again!”
Sam, the cook and owner of the restaurant ran out of the kitchen and caught the girl. He put the girl on a bench and walked back to me as if nothing strange has happened.
He smiled and just said: “Hi, I'm Sam the owner and cook of this restaurant. What would you like to order?”
I was surprised, but gave him my order.
Sam asked me: “Anything else?”
Of course, there was something else! I asked him about the girl and if she was going to be ok.
Sam smiled and replied: “She will be fine.”
Sam carried her with him to the kitchen.
I went there a second time and tried another seafood dish. It was delicious, but the girl was not working on that day. Still I have already decided to go back to the restaurant. Come on! The seafood is delicious! Then a couple of guys walked into the restaurant and I heard: “Where is the cute girl, who was a waitress here last time? She had to get off of work early, just when we were going to order something.”
Sam smiled: “She does not work here today.”
The guys: “That is what you said last time too and the day before.”
Sam: “She works at irregular hours.”
“Can you give our phone numbers to her?”
Sam: “I can, do that.”
The guys left and I saw Sam put the piece of paper in a glass bottle filled with other pieces of paper. I decided to sit at the bar to be closer to Sam. The kitchen can be partly seen from the bar, so if you sit at the bar you can see how Sam cooks his seafood, which is a work of art.
Sam smiled: “Hey, are you becoming a regular?”
I replied: “Yes, I am. Your seafood dishes are delicious!”
Sam laughed: “Thank you, thank you. It is rare for me to see a young man as yourself stay here for the seafood.”
I replied surprised: “No way!”
Sam: “Especially not at this hour, when there are hardly any customers like yourself.”
I looked around and I saw old people, children and nerdy guys. They were all ordinary people from around the neighbourhood.
Sam continued: “Guys like yourself usually enter the shop to ask about Isabel.”
I: “Who is Isabel?”
Sam smiled: “You met her, she was the one who fainted in front of you. You are lucky, that she fainted. The things she has done to gorgeous guys like yourself is pretty funny, but it makes her completely embarrassed.”
I: “What do you mean?”
Sam laughed: “One time, a pretty guy ordered a seafood dish and she jotted it down like a frantic person. She almost killed her notepad, she started to stammer and tripped over her own feet and fell on the floor. It was the first time, that happened so we were completely worried and helped her up. She has been a perfect waitress for a week till that time. Another time, she started yelling like a frantic person at a guy and bowed saying sorry. She put the order in front of the customer and froze. She could not move any more. The guy didn’t mind it at all. He saw her in a different light I guess. Eventually, the regulars and myself started to see a pattern. She only acts this way around gorgeous guys, who are about her age and it becomes worse when they smile. So I told her, that she should be a waitress at the hours when young people like yourself aren’t here.”
When I heard that, I decided to come by at those hours. Ok, maybe the seafood is delicious because I know she works there. Stop looking at me like that Gary! So I visited during lunchtime when all young people usually work or go to school or eat at school.
*Gary stared at Matt with squinting eyes: “That is where you sneak out to during lunch and dinnertimes these days?”
Matt smiled: “Yes, that is where I disappear too. Hey, it is worth it. I am already longing for the fresh octopus legs! They are crunchy and the sauce! Anyway… It turns out, that she always eats lunch there even though the university where she studies is not close by at all. She goes to the restaurant on her motorcycle how cool is that! I found a solution to be able to talk to her. One day, I decided to start wearing a hoody, so that she can take my orders. I found out that she is a lovely person and very sweet too. I have never seen a girl like her before. She is friendly to everyone and even remembers your name if you are a regular.”
Suddenly Matt grumbled: “Why doesn’t this shirt wrinkle as I want it too!”
He was beating up his shirt like crazy with his fists, while it lay on his couch. Gary just stared at him. Finally Gary said: “So you are going to bring me to your favourite seafood restaurant, because you want me to see her?”
Matt smiled: “There is going to be a new seafood dish tonight and I can try it for free. I am bringing you along.”
“And the girl?”
“She might be there, that is why I have decided to show my face. Only I shouldn’t look too much like myself...”
Matt stared into the mirror and said: “This should be fine.”
Gary pats Matt on his left shoulder: “Yes, it should be fine. You look pretty messed up. Let’s go, to your favourite restaurant.”
They drove to the place with Gary’s car and parked in the parking lot of the neighbourhood.
Gary smiled: “Nice neighbourhood. The front of the restaurant looks nice too…”
They walked in and Sam smiled: “Welcome, welcome… Matt! Why are you looking like that? Did you just get out of bed?”
Matt smiled: “That is the look I’m going for!”
Sam: “Who did you bring?”
Matt: “My best friend Gary. Gary meet Sam.”
Gary and Sam shook hands.
Gary: “Great grip for a man…”
Sam smiled: “Of my age? You can say that out loud. I haven’t reached my mid-life crisis yet.”
Sam yelled: “Isabel, can you bring me two bowls?”
Isabel walked towards Sam with two bowls, than she opened a frig. She took out a can of lychee juice and opened it, than she put a straw in it. She drank from the can and smiled: “So refreshing!”
Gary smiled: “She’s cute.”
Matt smiled and said with a boyish look on his face: “Yes, very cute.”
Gary and Sam stared at Matt.
Gary grinned: “You really like her, don’t you?”
Sam was filling the bowls with noodles and seafood.
Sam: “Isabel, can you give these to the two customers sitting at the bar?”
Isabel came out of the kitchen and put the bowls in front of Matt and Gary. She froze, after she looked up at Matt and Gary.
She stammered: “Enjoyyy yoooouur seeaaafooodd…”
She tried to take a deep breath, but instead she swallowed which made her almost suffocate. She started to cough.
Matt said: “Thank you, Isabel.”
Isabel calmed down in an instant and said surprised: “Matt?”
Matt smiled: “Yes, it is me.”
“But you look… Gorgeous!”
Sam stared at Isabel surprised.
Matt: “What? Me gorgeous?”
“Yes, your shirt shows your figure and your hair is shinny. I can see your whole face not just your eyes.”
Gary smiled: “She is not stammering and finds the messy you gorgeous. You made the effort to look messy for nothing, Matt.”
Matt blushed: “What… I didn’t do that.”
Isabel: “You did this on purpose? Why? Did a girl dump you, so you decided to look sexy?”
Gary laughed: “She is so cute! Isabel, Matt doesn’t get dumped. The girls, who are claimed to be close to him through the media are usually fellow models or fans.”
Isabel did not look directly at Gary and said in a soft voice: “Matt’s a model?”
Gary: “Yes, he’s a model. I am his best friend and manager. Matt, good thing, I brought normal clothes for you to wear. They are in the car, I will be right back.”
Gary came back with a set of clothes.
Matt left to the toilet to change. The first thing he did was get rid of all the excessive gel in his hair. He changed into a dark blue shirt with buttons on the front.
Gary smiled: “This is great seafood, Sam.”
Sam smiled: “Thank you, Gary. Isabel, are you alright?”
Isabel was staring at the floor and said: “No, I don’t think so. I think I’m going to faint.”
Sam: “Than sit down on the stool or do you want to go home?”
Isabel: “I think I better go home.”
Isabel walked to the back of the kitchen and took off her apron. She was wearing a red dress and Gary saw that from where he was sitting.
Gary made a picture of her with Matt’s mobile phone and put the picture up as his wallpaper.
Gary smiled: “You look gorgeous in that dress, Isabel.”
Isabel put on her jacket very fast.
Sam smiled: “I said that to her too this morning and she put on her apron immediately.”
Matt walked out of the toilet and said: “Thanks for the refreshing clothes, Gary. Do you have a towel too?”
Gary left with Matt’s wrinkled shirt and went to his car to get a towel.
Matt’s deep brown shiny hair was wet and hanging a bit over his forehead.
Isabel gave a shriek, when she walked out of the kitchen.
Matt stared into Isabel’s eyes, she froze.
Matt smiled: “It is just me… Isabel?”
Matt walked up to her and waved his hand in front of her eyes slowly, than he said: “It is just me.. You know, Matt?”
Sam: “Matt you shouldn’t stand that close to her, she will…”
Isabel whispered: “Walk away from me… Move away from me”
Matt did not move away.
Sam pulled Isabel away from Matt and said: “Isabel, it is alright. He won’t hurt you. You know Matt for weeks now. He is a regular customer. He loves seafood and comes here to eat seafood.”
Gary walked in with a towel and he saw a sad expression on Matt’s face, an expression Matt hardly ever shows in public.
Gary gave the towel to Matt: “What happened?”
Matt put the towel over his head and said: “Nothing much… I scared her, that is all.”
Gary: “You? How?”
Matt whispered: “With my face…”
Matt stopped moping and walked up to Isabel with the towel over his head: “You like me better this way, don’t you?”
Isabel was calmed down by Sam and she stared into Matt’s eyes: “I am sorry.”
Matt smiled: “You don’t have to say sorry. I am fine. I should say sorry to you.”
Isabel smiled: “So you usually don’t wear a sweater with a hoody, that is good. I was wondering why you always walked in like that. The first time I saw you like how you look like now is when I fainted right?”
Matt smiled: “You remembered?”
“Yes, I did. I was hoping to not do that again and I have tried my very hardest not to faint any more.”
Matt smiled: “That is great.”
Isabel: “I will leave now, so that you can eat the new seafood dish Sam made. It is filled with my favourite seafood ingredients, crab, seaweed, prawns and shrimp noodles.”
Sam let Isabel go. She was heading towards the door, when Matt said: “Wait! Don’t you want to see the look on my face, when I try the new seafood dish?”
Matt had a conversation with Isabel before about how people look like, when they enjoy food and he knew that it would make her stay and also ignore how someone looks like. When she is in analysing mode, she completely forgets about looks and her own fears.
Matt: “Aren’t you a bit curious, about how I look like when I enjoy Sam’s seafood dishes?”
Isabel turned around and stood behind the bar.
Matt sat down in front of her and ate the seafood dish. Matt looked very cute, almost like a young boy enjoying his ever first seafood meal. Matt finished his entire bowl, while Isabel was staring at him.
Sam smiled: “I am guessing, that it was good?”
Matt stared into Isabel’s eyes and smiled broadly: “It is very good and I can understand why they are your favourite seafood ingredients, Isabel.”
Isabel blushed: “I will be going home now.”
Matt stopped Isabel at the door by standing in front of the entrance: “Before you go, can I have your phone number? I would like to call you some time, also I can adapt my clothes when you are here.”
Isabel: “You don’t have to change your daily clothes, because of me. I just have to get used to it…”
Matt: “Oh, ok… Wait…”
Matt grabbed his mobile phone from the bar and said: “Than how about I give you my number?”
Matt stared at his mobile phone: “What… How…”
His reaction made Isabel curious, so she looked at Matt’s mobile phone display: “That is me…”
Gary said relaxed: “I figured you wanted to see her in the red dress as well. You were changing your clothes and missed it.”
Matt blushed: “Still, my wallpaper…? You look gorgeous in the red dress, Isabel.”
Isabel blushed: “Thank you, but please don’t repeat that again.”
Isabel: “May I go now?”
Matt started to stammer: “Isabeell… Do youuu…”
Matt sighed: “Why is this so hard?”
Isabel stared at Matt surprised, she has never seen a guy nervous before especially not a gorgeous guy.
Matt: “Here’s my mobile phone. I’ll call you.”
Matt walked out of the restaurant, a bit disorientated and feeling hopeless.
Isabel stared at his phone in her hand and said: “Wait! I can’t take this.”
Sam and Gary were left behind in the restaurant.
Gary: “I will stay here for a bit.”
Sam: “So Matt likes Isabel too, good for her.”
Gary: “Isabel likes Matt? Wasn’t Matt always wearing a hoody?”
Sam smiled: “Yes, he was. She likes his voice, his eyes, his character, stories that he told her, she always wonders when he will come by to eat seafood again. I am surprised, that he is always here when she is. Even when she is just here for lunch.”
Gary: “He might have looked through the window to see if she was around. Then again… Neeeh, he likes seafood way too much to pass it.”
Isabel: “Matt wait, take it back.”
Matt stopped walking: “No, I’m not taking it back. You won’t give me your phone number.”
Isabel said annoyed: “Why do you want my number? Why do guys always want my number? Sam even made a game out of it by putting pieces of paper with a name and number in a glass bottle. He told me, that he will pull out a name out of it and set up a blind date for me. I am getting sick and tired of all the speech of ‘you are cute’, ‘ I want to date’ or ‘give me your phone number’ and ‘we will set one up’. Especially the cheesy pick-up lines, also the claims ‘I know you are gorgeous’, but it isn’t all about the looks. You need to have character…”
Matt stared at her surprised and interrupted her rant with his broad smile. Isabel stared at him surprised.
Matt took a deep breath and said: “Isabel, do you want to go out on a date with me?”
Isabel stared at Matt surprised: “Did you just ask me out?”
Matt smiled: “Yes, I did.”
Isabel put the phone back in his hand and said: “I have no time.”
Isabel walked away from him.
Matt walked after her: “I see that you have time at the moment. You did leave your job early, right?”
Isabel: “Yes, but…”
“Just one cup of coffee with me at that coffee place?”
Matt pointed at a café next to him. He still had the towel over his head.
Isabel: “Will you stop bugging me, after that?”
Matt smiled: “Yes, but it is a date!”
Isabel: “Ok, just coffee and I’ll talk to you.”
They walked into the café filled with young people, also filled with beautiful guys of her age.
Gary: “They are gone for quite some time. I think that Matt just ditched me.”
Sam: “You won’t ditch Matt, when you have an eye on a girl?”
Gary: “Done that dozens of times. This is quite new. Matt usually just go out with a girl without making an effort on how he looks. He also treats all the girls as a friend. I think that is how the rumours started on him being gay. He acts completely himself around me, so he almost pulled me along the rumour. I think he really likes Isabel… He even stammered. He always stammers, when he is nervous.”
Fifteen minutes later, Isabel stormed in with a coffee to-go-cup; paper cup with a white lit and a small opening. Matt walked after her with a similar larger coffee to-go-cup and yelled: “This is not a date! You spoke one sentence and I said one sentence back, you took a sip of your coffee and let the waiter pour your coffee in a paper cup.”
Isabel yelled: “How can I stay there, when the place is filled with young gorgeous guys? It is terrifying!”
Gary: “You two are having a date?”
Isabel replied: “Just a cup of coffee date.”
Matt sat at a table with Isabel and said surprised: “You just talked to Gary in a normal tone.”
Isabel: “I did… Why didn’t I?”
Matt smiled: “You were angry at me and didn’t care about your fear. Why do you have that fear anyway?”
“It started with being shy, but I guess it grew out of hand over time.”
Isabel finished her coffee and so did Matt, than Matt kissed her cheek: “If you let me be your boyfriend I will kiss you every day and tell you I love you.”
Matt said shocked: “Isabel? Isabel?”
The day after, Matt walked into the restaurant wearing his normal clothes. He decided to sit at the bar to be able to talk to Isabel more, but instead he finished his seafood and kissed Isabel’s cheek and left the restaurant. He did this, after every visit and at the time that she is taking an order from a customer so that she could not dodge the kiss. At first, Isabel tried to dodge it but he always caught her by surprise.
A few months later, on a sunny day during lunch they were alone; Isabel and Matt were alone in the restaurant. Isabel was on her lunch break and Matt sat next to her at the bar. Just when Matt was about to kiss her cheek, he was met with a flat hand which left a light red hand print on his left cheek. Isabel was quite angry and sad, which hurt him more than the pain of his cheek: “Why do you keep doing that? You are not even my boyfriend!”
Matt was relieved. He thought Isabel was going to tell him to leave and never come back. A scenario, which he dreamed and woke up from this morning. He smiled: “It will be fine, if you tell me that you are my girlfriend. Because for me, you are my girlfriend.”
Isabel started to cry out of relief: “If you are my boyfriend, why haven’t you said I love you like you promised?”
Matt thought: “Haven’t I told her that yet? Why haven’t I? I always think that when I kiss her. No wonder she is so angry.”
Matt touched Isabel’s face and whispered: “But that is embarrassing. I will whisper it in your ear instead, ok?”
Matt was about to whisper it to her, but instead he kissed her lips instead of her cheek and smiled: “I love you, Isabel.”