Max collapsed onto the sofa, and sat in the dark feeling sorry for himself.
Pat must have heard him come home, because he walked into the room switching the light on with his elbow. Plopping onto the sofa Pat handed him a beer. “Why the long face? Didn’t your date with Sara go well?”
“It was amazing. I think she’s the one. She’s smart, pretty, and a lot of fun. I’ve never been so comfortable around any of the other girls I’ve dated.”
“That sounds promising, so why aren’t we celebrating?”
“It depends on your perspective.” Using the edge of the coffee table, Max popped off the cap and emptied half of his beer in one gulp.
“What does that mean?”
Max sighed. He wasn’t ready to talk about it, but he knew Pat wouldn’t let it go. “I was late getting off work, so I asked my dad to pick her up from the train station. He was to bring her to his house where I could pick her up once I got off.”
“Not the best start to a first date, but not so bad. It’s better than leaving her alone with the weirdos at the train station.”
That’s what Max thought, too. Unfortunately, his father failed to tell him that he had guests. “The entire family was there.”
Pat’s eyebrows went up. “Everyone?”
Max nodded, sadly. He came from a large family and was the youngest of five kids. His siblings were married with children. “I arrived to find her sitting on the sofa with one of my nephews on her lap, and a niece on either side braiding her hair. My mother told her that the last girl I brought home looked like a horse, while my father said he didn’t bothered learning the names of my girlfriends because there were too many to keep track of.”
Pat laughed. “Don’t worry. Anyone who has heard one of your lame pick-up lines knows you’re not a ladies’ man.”
“It’s not funny. My nephew told her she was the best thing that ever happened to me. The kid’s only seven and said if she was willing to wait, he’d love to go out with her.”
“How late were you?”
He ignored the question. “They insisted that we stay for dinner.”
“You didn’t, right?”
He took a sip of beer, shaking his head. “My mother made such a fuss, I thought I would look like a piece of crap if I said no.”
“So much for romance.”
Max barely had a chance to say two words to Sara during dinner. At first, his siblings grilled her but when she proved to be sharp and witty, they quickly warmed up to her. That meant they started making fun of him. She really didn’t need to know about how his sister Emma would dress him up in her clothes and put makeup on him, or how John removed an imaginary staple from his butt cheek leaving a scar.
At the end of the meal, the kids insisted she join them in the yard for a game of soccer.
“That’s not the worse part of the date.”
“She didn’t run in fear?” Pat looked shocked. “Don’t tell me she agreed to wait for your nephew. He’s only seven.”
Max scowled. He didn’t see anything funny. “After dinner, we went for a walk.” On the way out the door, every member of his family, including the kids told him not to blow it with her. He suspected they liked her more than they did him.
“That sounds harmless enough.”
“I couldn’t stop talking about marriage.”
“I know. I even took her to the bridal shop a few blocks from my folk’s house.”
“On a first date?”
“I pointed out a dress I thought would look good on her. Pat, I asked if she wanted to try it on.”
Pat’s month hung open, but he managed to ask, “What did she say?”
“She passed. She pointed out some hideous dresses and mocked them for a while. Then insisted we go into the bar next door for a drink.”.
“I’d need a drink, too.” Pat muttered
“While we waited for our drinks, I hit the head. When I returned, our waiter was trying to pick her up.” The thought of that guy handing her his number made him clench his fists.
“That’s not right. Did you take a swing at him?”
“I didn’t need to. She was furious, and threw her drink in his face.”
“Everyone was staring at her as she called him a few choice words and then announced to her audience to mind their own business. When she spotted me, she grabbed my hand and marched us out of the place, claiming it was a dive.”
“She took care of the situation and prevented you from having to hit the waiter.” Pat punched his arm. “Since she didn’t run through all or this, I’m guessing there’s more to tell?”
Max nodded, and looked down at the beer in his hands. “There is something wrong with her.”
“She agreed to go out with me again.”