so this is your number

Honestly, she never thought anything of that text message. She was ninety-percent sure it wouldn't come to anything. Besides, she was pretty damned exhausted that night. Dinner with the family and dishwashing duty can do that to a girl who has to work the required eight-to-five routine. But, having sworn to some random inner deity that she would not reject opportunities to participate in anything out of the ordinary, she responded.

It was a Thursday night. Spring was getting ready to fade into a blistering summer, but there was still a lingering chill in the air that would keep the desert city happy for yet another month or so. He called. They talked for a while, until she finally gave him an address. An hour later, he was at her doorstep in a slightly rugged Nissan 300ZX.

She knew he was tall, but, damn - the man towered over her by a good feet. Possibly more. He had to lean down to give her a proper introductory hug. The truth was: she found the whole thing rather adorable.

He took her to a coffee shop. She had had so many first meetings in the exact Starbucks branch, but she neglected to tell him so for the sake of courtesy.

With their overpriced, heavily-caffeinated beverages warming their hands, they settled in one of the corners on a couple of recliners. There was an expected exchange of trivial information, before he sprung a disarming surprise towards her.

"So tell me about your last boyfriend?" God, could he have been less subtle!

"Recent breakup. A couple of weeks or so ago." She had no idea why she had been so damned honest.

"Oh?"

"Mhm. And you?"

"It's been about a month. How long were you together for?"

She coughed, trying not to crack a smile. "A month."

"Seriously?" She looked at him intently, then, observing how he would take that rather significant piece of information.

"Yup. One month. Yours?"

A little pause. She could tell he was weighing the possible consequences of telling the truth. "Two years."

She nearly choked on her coffee. "Wow." That was all she said, but she was already writing him off of the list of men she was going on a second date with. She was not ready for ex-girlfriend drama. And she certainly did not want it.

But the night progressed rather remarkably. There were no awkward moments of any kind. He took her cosmic bowling after their Starbucks tryst. Thanks to the caffeine and the big chocolate cupcake Starbucks baked during the Valentine season, they became way too hyper to care about proper bowling/first-date etiquette. They hugged at the smallest victories. They laughed as if they had known each other forever. And he oh-so-cutely said, "If I win, I get a kiss on the cheek, okay?" She agreed.

On the way home, he stopped by a small park that was hidden away from most of the city. They sat by the pond with his arm around her shoulders and spoke of past experiences that might end up becoming significant in the future. He told her of his time in the military. She gave him random stories about her travels. He said he loved horseback riding. She revealed that she was a terrible dancer. They were talking in whispers, as if they were afraid of waking the world. Or, perhaps, they were just crashing from their caffeine/sugar high.

It was around one in the morning when they reached her house. He opened the car door for her and took her hand as she stepped out. She cast him a questioning look when he did not lead her to the door, but he only smiled and pulled her close.

"I'm going to teach you how to waltz."

Humming some age-old tune, he taught her the basics of the most beautiful form of dancing she had ever known. Of course, she had not been lying when she said she was hopeless at dancing, but he did not seem to mind her mistakes.

She did not know it then, but that evening and that chaste goodnight kiss on his cheek would mark the beginning of a lifelong transformation.