The Father's Son (@ Jim Sano)
The next day was a typically busy day, and he found getting back into the routine helping to silence the uncomfortable feelings that continued to haunt him.
Midafternoon, Jillian texted him. Are we still on for dinner?
David texted back: Dinner is just the start of the evening I have planned.
Jillian texted him a smile.
When she arrived at his apartment, she had no idea of what was planned for the evening, so she brought her overnight bag and a change of clothes, a red dress that was a little more date-worthy. As she reached the door, Trooper growled until David told him that Jillian was a friend. David held both of her hands and stepped back to admire her. “You look absolutely beautiful. Might you be interested in a night on the town with a desperate man?”
“I only date the most handsome, intelligent, successful, generous, and non-desperate men I happen to bump into.”
David introduced Jillian to Trooper, and she squatted down to pat Trooper’s head, rubbing his fur and looking into his brown eyes. “I didn’t know you had a handsome roommate,” said Jillian playfully, as she continued petting him.
“Sorry about the barking. He’s very protective, but now I think I have a little competition for your attention.”
Jillian stood back. “I think you’ve already lost that competition.”
They drove only a mile and a half down Beacon Street to a restaurant called FuGaKyu, an older style Japanese restaurant where they removed their shoes. David bowed in greeting to the sushi chef and politely asked, “What fish is freshest? We would like to dine omakase tonight.”
Jillian politely lowered herself to sit on the chairs with no legs and sat with her legs slightly sideways. “David, what is dining omakase?”
“The chef I spoke with is called the itamae or a highly skilled sushi chef. Greeting the itamae is a sign of respect and requesting omakase dining is a compliment to the chef since it gives him permission to serve us anything he chooses, but it assures us only the best and freshest sushi.” He warned her not to insult the chef by ordering wine that would mask the taste of the sushi.
Jillian, looking slightly apprehensive but intrigued, said, “I will have to warn you that this is my first real sushi experience, outside of your supermarket California veggie roll, of course.”
After dinner, as they walked towards the car, Jillian playfully nudged her shoulder against David’s. “Next time, let’s splurge a wee bit and go to a place where they cook your food too. I have never, ever eaten raw fish before, but I will have to say I was pleasantly surprised.”
“I’m glad you like surprises,” he said with a grin as opened the car door for her.
A few turns toward downtown Boston, he pulled up in front of a building with an illuminated sign that read Dante’s. There was a line outside, which surprised Jillian on a Tuesday night. A valet approached the car and opened the door for her before taking the keys from David.
Jillian took David’s arm as they cruised past the line and into the nightclub entrance. A woman at the desk greeted them. “Good evening, Mr. Kelly. It’s good to see you tonight.” David returned the greeting, and Jillian turned her head a little looking at him with inquisitive eyes. He looked ahead into the spacious dance floor jammed with hundreds of attractive people dancing to an infectious beat of an Italian nightclub sound. Jillian loved to dance, and her shoulders were already moving as she took in the layout of the place, the meeting areas and bars with engaging staff keeping people served and happy in between dances. Jillian pulled David onto the floor and was impressed that he did not hesitate and knew how to move on the floor as did she.
When they finally took a short break, Jillian said, “So—?”
“Sew buttons. You know darn well what I mean. How did you just walk in the front door without hesitation, and everybody knew who you were, Mr. Kelly—that what?”
David just laughed, “It’s either my natural charm or that they work for me and my partners in this small venture.”
Jillian’s eyes popped. “You own a nightclub! And this isn’t just any dance hall by the looks of it.” She noticed the neon sign over the main dance floor they were standing read Purgatory and then looked up and down at the levels above and below them.
David said, “Yes, they are called—.”
“—Heaven and Hell?” guessed Jillian.
David shook his head as the music played louder. “Close. Paradise and Inferno. Do you have a preference?”
“I think I’ll stay here in the middle and enjoy. Can you tell me if it’s okay to drink wine here or will we insult the chef?” David ordered Jillian a tall glass of expensive wine he thought she would appreciate and a glass of bourbon on-the-rocks for himself.
David knew staying too late at the club was not good for being up for early morning meetings or for romance, so after an hour, he was ready to leave. “Let me know when it’s getting late for you on a school night.” She put on a disappointed look and said goodbye to people she had met on the dance floor.
As David drove back home, Jillian said, “David, I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but do you think we could call it a night? I think I’m beginning to like you quite a bit, but I would like to think our evening was enough to be a great date. Am I making any sense?”
David mentally adjusted his expectations of a summer evening rooftop experience in the Jacuzzi under the stars. “Sure it makes sense. We both have work early in the morning, and we did have a really nice evening, didn’t we? Do you want to pick up your things or would you like me to take you home and get them later?”
“Maybe home would be best if you are okay with that.”
“Home it is, fair maiden.”
Without traffic, Jillian lived only about twenty minutes away, across the Charles River in an apartment in Watertown.
“David, how have you been doing since coming back from Maine?”
David offered no more personal insights. “Thanks for asking but I’m doing fine.”
They pulled up in front of the two-family house on a quiet street perpendicular to the Charles River. He opened the door for her and reached out his hand to help her get out of the low sports car seat. When she stood up, she looked up into his eyes in a way he had only seen once before in his life. It was a gaze that looked deep into his eyes. He put his arms around her and gave her a very long and enjoyable kiss. It was such a pleasant evening out that they strolled, arm in arm, onto the bridge over the river. The moon was overhead, and they could see its shimmering reflection jumping back and forth on the moving water as they embraced and kissed again.
Jillian caressed his face. “I need to go home.”
At her front stoop, he put his hand tenderly to Jillian’s cheek, looked into her gazing eyes, and gave her another lengthy kiss.
“David, thank you for such a wonderful evening, and for being so understanding and a gentleman in every way.”
“Good night, Jill, and sleep well. At least I do get to dream about you tonight.” He watched her open the door to her apartment, safely get inside, and turn the light on before he looked up at the moon and breathed in the fresh summer breeze. As he got back to his car to head home to sleep and start his routine in the morning, he realized he was enamored with Jillian, but wasn’t sure where their future was headed. He shrugged the thought away to concentrate on tomorrow’s schedule of meetings and business appointments.