The following night, Michael asked Emily to a fancy dinner. She accepted and he drove her to the bistro in his polished sedan.
Emily enjoyed the car-ride greatly; they chatted about their days during the scenic drive. When they arrived at the restaurant, Michael's arm was linked through Emily's in a heartbeat. She walked confidently with him inside, despite the dangerously high heels she wore.
The couple got seated straight away because of the reserved seats Michael had graciously called in for. Emily blushed when he pulled out her chair for her.
"I hear the filet mignon is fantastic here." He mused as he pored over the menu.
At that moment, their waiter appeared to take their orders.
"I'll try the filet mignon." Michael said.
"Alright," the waiter said and turned to Emily. "And for you?"
"I'll have the same thing." She replied and handed her menu to the server.
"Alright, they should be out shortly." And the waiter disappeared into the kitchen area.
For the first time that evening, Emily took a better look at Michael. He sat with his dress shirt rolled up to his elbows and a black tie hanging around his neck. He gazed at Emily with curiosity. "What?" he asked, smiling.
She grinned back. "Nothing."
She got to thinking. What was holding her back from kissing him? Once she felt the appropriate sparks from it, she wouldn't have to worry about the silly adventure the fairy god mother had given her. Most of her worries would be gone.
She decided to give it a try. "Michael…" she leaned in closer to him from across the table, "Would you kiss me?" she felt awkward asking him.
He didn't have to answer because her lips were already on his, wondering what the sensation would be like having the man of her dreams kiss her.
And…it lacked. He didn't deepen the kiss and it was neither gentle nor tender. There was simply no passion behind the intimate motion. Disappointed, Emily pulled back after a moment.
"You're a great kisser." Michael told her, his emerald eyes shining.
However, Emily couldn't say the same for him. Was it because they hadn't been dating for very long? Perhaps if she kissed him next week she would feel the electricity run through her like adrenaline. Yes, she thought to herself, that had to be it.
Pleased with her idea, she smiled. "So are you."
Although the dinner party was more than a week away, chaos had already ensued within Carter's restaurant.
Not only did the staff have to deal with the usual hubbub of the day, they also had to prepare for the vital party.
Dylan was speaking—or more like arguing—with Cassandra. "What do you mean you lost the invitations?" he growled.
Cassandra, a petite redhead, cowered in her flats. "I'm sorry, sir, the post office said they got lost in the mail—"
Dylan pinched the bridge of his nose. This was not what he wanted to hear. The guests should have already received their biddings and be clearing their calendars for that certain Friday night. He waved a hand, dismissing it. "Send the invites out, properly, especially my father's."
"Yes sir." And Cassandra hurried to the nearest store to purchase some stamps.
Xander turned to Emily where they were cleaning a booth. "It sounds like Dylan is stressed out."
Emily snorted in reply. "By the end of next week we all will be."
Xander stopped the wiping motions he was doing with the soapy rag. "Why? Why doesn't his dad just believe that the restaurant is doing well?"
She sighed. "They have a delicate relationship. Jacob Carter will never admit to Dylan that he runs the restaurant well enough. That's just how he is."
He pondered this and continued cleaning the table. "I still don't agree with it." He mumbled, pushing his glasses further up the bridge of his nose.
"Me neither." Emily softly agreed.
"A club?" Emily Richardson asked, holding her cell phone up to her ear.
"Come on, Em. You need a night to relax and unwind. All you do is work, you need to have some fun." Kat told her from the other line.
"I don't know…" Emily trailed as she thought of the last time she went dancing with Katelyn. It had ended up with both of them drunk and having to have a taxi take them home in the wee hours of the morning. And not to forget the splitting headache Emily woke up with the following day.
"Please, Em. For me?" Kat pleaded. If the friends had been in the same room together, Emily would have seen Kat's puppy-dog expression.
Emily sighed. She supposed one night on the town wouldn't hurt. It wasn't like she had plans or anything anyways. "Okay." She caved in.
"Yay!" Katelyn squealed. "I have the perfect dress for you…" she started listing the things they would have to do to look their best.
Emily couldn't help the smile that was already forming. Maybe it wouldn't be a bad decision after all.
Or…the worst decision ever, she thought to herself two hours later. She readjusted her short cocktail dress for the fiftieth time. Why had she ever agreed to this?
They both stood near the entrance inside of the dance club, the lights flashing out of control. How no one had suffered a seizure yet from the lights was beyond Emily.
"I've got my eyes on that one." Kat said over the sound of the music, her eyes locking on a tall man's face. "Will you be alright?" she asked, before leaving.
"Yeah, I'll be fine. Go ahead." Emily gestured with her hand for Katelyn to go dance with him.
Kat nodded and mixed with the crowd. Emily decided to not look like a loner and at least sit at the bar. She perched herself upon one of the stools and politely declined an offer of a drink from the bartender. Her green eyes roamed over the crowd of bodies dancing to the beat.
"A rum Coke for the lady." A voice said from her right.
She swiveled towards the voice and found a man there, casually smiling at her. He stood leaning against the bar, his tie loosened and a dimple in his left cheek.
"I'm sorry, but I'm not drinking tonight." She told the mysterious man kindly.
"Please, it's on me." He said, sliding the glass towards her. She eyed it wearily and decided to at least take a sip. Liking the taste of the drink, she quickly downed the rest of it.
"Hey, I'm Nick." He offered his hand to her.
She shook it. "Emily."
"Pretty name. Would you care to dance, Miss Emily?" he asked smoothly.
"I'd love to." She agreed, and he led her out onto the dance floor.
He was an excellent dancer, Emily realized a few minutes later. His dark eyes never left hers, and his hands on her waist were always gentle to the touch. His feet were smooth and precise.
A nagging thought grew in the back of Emily's mind. Was it wrong of her to be dancing with another man while dating another? She wasn't cheating on him, per se, but it still felt wrong.
What would it be like if she kissed Nick? What if he was the man for her? She couldn't just go around kissing random guys though. It would be unacceptable socially.
She decided to force the thoughts away. She wasn't doing anything wrong; she was just having a good time without—
Even though the man's back was to her, it was without a doubt Michael's. She knew because of the broad shoulders and the same chestnut hair. He was even wearing the same shoes from the night of their dinner! Doubt leaked into her mind like poison. She needed to know for sure, but from their angle, it was impossible to tell.
She needed to move with Nick to the opposite side of the floor. She looked up at him from hooded eyes, a seductive smile plastered to her face. Emily grabbed Nick's wrist and pulled him further across the club to where they were across from Michael dancing with a blonde. Nick grinned at her movement and pulled her closer, dancing with her with a fervent feel.
And it was definitely Michael. The same forest green eyes alive from the blonde's suggestive dancing. The same lips that had kissed Emily's pulled back in an enjoyable smile. The notion of him cheating on her made her sad and disappointed. Nothing had changed, after all. She had wasted nearly four days of the two weeks with Michael and he had proved to be useless.
A familiar sting pricked the back of her eyes. She wanted to get out of there. She didn't want to make a scene, either.
She pulled Nick close. "Listen, I had a great time, but I really need to go."
Her dancing partner looked depressed. "Alright. Hopefully we'll see each other again."
Emily nodded, unsure if she was capable of speaking at the moment. A tear had already escaped the corner of her left eye and was traveling down her face.
She gathered her purse and belongings. In a moment of clarity, she wondered if she should try to find Kat. She shrugged off the idea, Kat would be fine without her. She dashed out of the club, more tears cascading down her cheeks.
Outside, it was raining and people were hustling to find taxis to take them home. It was getting darker by the moment and it took her a minute to get her bearings.
What if she couldn't find her true love by the end of next week? She would be alone for the rest of her life, which didn't sit well with her. Maybe it would be best for her to just give up. None of the guys she had dated proved to be "the one". It wasn't worth the heartbreak, she thought as she tried to hail a taxi.
She started running to try to catch one and had her head turned the wrong way, otherwise she could've prevented the collision with the innocent bystander.
"Oof!" she exclaimed as she landed bottom-first in a puddle. The contents of her purse spilled out onto the wet sidewalk.
"I'm sorry." Said the person she collided with. She looked up from hastily putting her things into her handbag.
He had his head bent down and was kneeling to help put away her things. Wavy midnight hair fell across his forehead, almost covering his sleek silver glasses. His pink lips pulled back to reveal a pair of straight pearly whites.
"N—No, I'm sorry." Emily got out, her voice somehow caught in her throat.
She put the rest of the items in her purse and stood up. His sea green eyes captivated her for a moment and she temporarily forgot what she was doing.
"It was my fault." She managed, "I was trying to catch a taxi."
"Here, I can do that for you." He said and stepped to the side of the street, holding up a hand. Within seconds, a yellow car pulled up to the curb. He gestured to the car.
"Th—Thank you." She said softly. "You really didn't have to do that."
"It was my pleasure."
Emily smiled uncertainly. He handed her a few bills. "For the taxi."
She shook her head stubbornly. "I can't take this." She handed the bills back to him.
"Then will you take this?" he inquired. The man gave Emily a card with something scribbled on it. She glanced at it, it was a phone number.
"Alright." She accepted, taking the card. "Thank you, again."
He shook his head. "Don't mention it."
Emily slid into the backseat of the taxi, her eyes never leaving his.