Well, Friday night rolled around and I got off work. I stopped at home, showered, and put on clean jeans and a navy wife beater.
I brushed my hair and left it down, I said bye to my brothers and was on my way. I arrived at the Dingo at six thirty to find Curly standing out front waiting patently for me.
“Hey, Curly.” I smiled and walked up to him.
“Hey, Kat.” He said, cheeks turning lightly red, “You look good.”
“Thanks.” I said, “You don’t look too shabby yourself.”
He blushed a little more.
“Wanna go in?” He asked as if he’d been doing something wrong.
“Sure.” I said realizing how nerves he really was.
He opened the door for me, and I smiled. We got a booth and he got up to order what we both wanted.
I rested my left elbow on the table and leaned on my hand. He was such a sweet guy, I knew that just from his posture so far. He wanted to succeed where his brother had failed. And I hated myself for knowing I’d have to tell him something later, I could never date a guy my age. I’d eat him alive. I’ve tried it and they could never keep up.
He came back and it was a little awkward as we ate, but all silence was broken when Two-bit and Sally came sliding in to the booth yelling that they weren’t expecting to find us here.
“You were there when I asked her out.” Curly mumbled.
Two-bit laughed, “You two look like you’re having so much fun.”
“We were.” I told him, “Until you two had to come in. Couldn’t you see we were deep in conversation?”
He laughed again, “If that was deep I’d hate to see shallow.”
“That’ll be your grave if you don’t leave right now.” I hissed.
“Oh, come on Kat.” Sally said nudging me, “This is the perfect way to lighten the tension of a first date, double up.”
“I rather like that tension.” I nearly hissed.
Two-bit and Sally burst out laughing. There was no way they would ever see me liking the tension and the silence.
“You’re brother still wants me back, doesn’t he?” I asked cutting through their laughter.
He nodded, “Beat me up last night after you excepted.” He told me, “He keep’s saying that you’ll come around, and once you had a taste of him you’ll want more, and all that.”
I smiled and rolled my eyes, “I think you should have been the older brother and not Tim.” I told him.
He looked confused.
“You’re more mature than he is.” I explained.
“A Shepard? Mature?” Two-bit laughed again, “This is the best!”
“Why?” I asked cheekily, “Because you’re learning words you’ve never known before?” And clicked my tongue to the roof of my mouth.
He stopped and glared at me, hard.
I grinned looking back at him.
“Let’s just go, Two-bit.” Sally said trying to stop a fight.
“You think I’m an idiot, don’t you?” He demanded.
I shook my head, “I know you’re not an idiot, Two-bit. But you can be so stupid at times, it’s not funny.”
And with that I grabbed Curly and we left leaving them behind.
“Sorry.” I mumbled as we walked, “I know he came because everyone knew I’d never snapped at him like that.”
He shrugged, “I had a feeling something like this would happen.” He said.
“Yeah, well I can still apologise.” I defended.
He nodded, “I knew this’d never make it past the first date.” He sighed.
“They almost never do.” I admitted.
“How come?” He asked.
I shrugged, “I’ll give anyone a chance, Curly, but a lot of the guys just aren’t right for me, or they’ve cheated on a million other girls before me and I don’t wanna be in that position, or,” I stopped and bit my lip.
“Or?” Curly asked.
“You have to promise you aren’t going to think of me as a shallow, greasy girl like every other girl in this neighborhood.” I warned.
“I promise.” He said.
I smiled and looked away, “The guy’s to young.”
“Too young?” He asked confused.
I nodded, “I can never date a guy my age or younger.”
I shrugged, “I’ve tried it on numerous counts, honest.” I said, “My brother’s have always said I need a guy my age. I’ve dated a few, meaning I’ve let them past the first date for their sake, but it just never felt right.”
“Like how?” He asked as we stopped next to the fountain and he lit up a weed and offered it to me, I politely refused.
“You know that old sayin’ you’ll be attracted to people like your parents?” I asked.
“God, I hope that ain’t true.” He said.
I shrugged, “I guess I am like my ma, ’cause I can never see myself with anyone my age. He has to be older like my daddy was.”
“How much older was he?” He asked as he blew smoke in my face.
“Seven years.” I said.
He almost choked on the smoke.
I shook my head, “And she was seventeen when they were married.” I told him.
“Wow!” He sat there a minute taking it in.
“I know it’s shallow, Curly.” I said, “You really are a nice guy, and to be perfectly honest it’s not even the age, but I think you’re better off with another girl.”
He stopped me, “Please don’t hit me, but I’ve always had this hunch.”
“What hunch?” I asked.
He smiled, “When I first met you, way back when, do you remember?”
I looked at him and he looked away sheepishly.
“Yeah.” I said.
Me, Steve, Soda, and Two-bit were playing one of our games on the play ground. Tim Shepard and his play ground annoyances(We called them that at the time) came up to us.
“What’s up losers?” He sneered.
“What do you want?” Steve hissed, seven years old, he had a hot temper.
“I wanna introduce my princess to her soon to be brother-in-law.” He said.
“I never knew you and Soda were engaged.” I said in my five-year-old voice.
He pushed me down off the monkey bars and I landed hard.
“Kitty! Are you okay?” Two-bit called down to me.
I sat up quickly and nodded, I was fine.
“Alley Kat,” Tim said, I begrudgingly gave him my attention, “This is my baby brother, Curly.”
He moved to show a little boy, still larger then I was, looking about five, the same blond hair Tim had but it was kinds curly, he had the same dark eyes as his brother did, he was chubby and I knew he’d be a thorn in my side one of these days.
He made a face at me, then stuck his tong out and ran, his brother and his friends casing after him.
“Why did you run that day?” I asked him.
He looked away shyly, “Cause I never saw a girl as pretty as you.” He said.
I smiled and held back rolling my eyes, I’d gotten that compliment so many times I always assumed that they were being nice, or drunk, or they just wanted to get some. But I realized something as Curly said that, I was pretty. I’ve heard it my entire life and never believed a word of it. But I am, I was just never told so sincerely by the one I want as anything more then a joke.
“What’s this hunch of yours?” I asked.
He looked me dead on the eye and said, “From that day and the way that you acted with Randle, Matthews, and the middle Curtis I had this feeling you’d end up with one of them some day, I said don’t hit me.”
I had never any intention of hitting him, but was wondering if my feeling had been that obvious. No, he said it himself, one of them he never specified. Besides when I was that age I still though boys were icky. They are.
“Think so?” I asked him.
He nodded, “Even if non of them realize it,” He said, “One of them’d be the best choice for you in the long run.”
I shrugged, “Thank you, Curly.”
“For what?” He asked.
“For showing me something I hadn’t realized before.” I said and hugged him.
“No problem.” He said hugging back, “Just promise me something.”
“Sure.” I said pulling out of the hug.
“Make Tim get over you.” He almost hissed, “I’m tired of hearing him talk about you all the time.”
I had to laugh, it was almost stalker-ish the way he kept this up. It amused me.
“I’ll talk to you later, Curly.” I told him and stood up.
“See ya’ ’round Kat.” He said and we both walked out separate ways. He went to his place, and I wandered home. I debated going to the Curtis, but I figured that Two-bit and Sally were there telling everyone about what we did. Instead I went home and layed awake for a few hours wondering about what he said about me, Soda, Steve, and Two-bit, before finally drifting off to sleep.