Gian texted Annette back, 100% I will and signed in.
My dear Gianboy,
I’m so glad we met. It’s hard to meet people these days and I really believe there was someone watching over us when you came in to the community center and asked for a tutor for your mom. I just wanted to tell you that I’m so happy you GET me.
I should also tell you I was married once, to a man who didn’t appreciate me half as much as you do. I hope this doesn’t bother you, because I’m not trying to hurt you with this information. I just wanted you to know that I have a past, like everybody, but it won’t get in the way of OUR future. I didn’t think I could tell you this kind of stuff over the phone, so that’s why I sent you this email. Thank you so much for everything. I’m so happy we met.
He felt on fire, in a good way. She couldn’t rescind this. Not when it existed on both Ma’s laptop and Annette’s computer.
He clicked Reply.
No THANK YOU. I’m loving every minute of this. Can’t wait to talk to you.
Gian hit Send. He felt Effervescent now. He paced Effervescently around his room.
But on second read his email looked a little Beggarly. Ignominious. Laconic.
When the woman you care about Transparents her heart, you have to Transparent your heart too.
I have a past too. I dated a woman for nine years. We even became fiancés. But she changed her mind about marriage. In all those years we were together I don’t think we ever talked the way we talk.
Secondly I had a drug problem once upon a time. That’s done now. It screwed up a lot of things in my life but I’m not going back to that. I have to say this is wonderful because I haven’t been this open with anyone in a long time and the last time I was it didn’t work out so well. You’re not only great you’re PREPOSTEROUS.
He hit Send and waited. Nervous, but also 75% sure.
Her reply came a few seconds later: a colon and parentheses. She had taught him, if he turned his head sideways, they were a smile.
Annette texted him: Im free this Friday! Gian texted back: yes! He suggested a Mexican place (El Rincon Familiar) to meet up because it had Ambience.
After she confirmed he got down on his bedroom floor and (per notes) banged out pushups. He had one week to show her how Augmented he’d become since watching her videos. He yelled down to Ma, “If you hear any noise up here, don’t worry about it, I’m just banging out pushups.” He swore off pot and cigarettes for the week and promised his bedroom walls it would be forever if all went well.
The day of the date, he flexed in the mirror and said, “Look how Invincible you are.”
He had no car so he met Annette at the restaurant. A big Mole, but when he looked her in the eyes and said, “You’re Dia-phan-ous,” (per notes) he knew. Mole: whacked.
They sat down at a cramped table and ordered a Nachos With Queso/Guacamole appetizer. There wasn’t much space between them. But Annette’s smile said, This Whole Date Is Consummate. She was seeing how different he was.
So (per notes), he put on The Smile. The Smile of Number One In The Store. Of I Haven’t Even Stepped Foot In An Arcade. Of I Have My Own Place and Fucking A I Know How A Computer Works.
Her smile Evaporated.
“Are you okay?” Annette asked.
“Yeah,” he said. He was that The Naked Emperor, with no bedroom to run into and no chance to change. “Are you?”
“Yeah! I thought you were having like a jaw thing. Sometimes that happens to me.”
“You want a drink?” She called the waiter over and ordered two glasses of red wine. His planned conversation points were like fireflies gone dark. Annette’s face scrunched. The Nachos With Queso/Guacamole came, and so did the wine. Annette spooned a chip into the dip.
“Are you going to have any?” she asked.
He wasn’t hungry anymore. “I will.”
“So, I’ve been thinking about my next video. What about a makeup roleplay? Would you watch that as a man?”