“That was the best meal I’ve had in forever!” Rachel said happily as she finished up her plate of chicken Parmigiana.
“Glad you liking it,” Giannis said humbly. It was just an Italian place near his house that Yelp had recommended. He had picked it because it was labeled “$$” on that site, meaning that it wouldn’t be too fancy for a second date. “Don’t worry about bill. I pay it for both of us.”
“You’re such a gentleman, Giannis,” Rachel said, getting the pronunciation of his name correct.
“Anything for my smoothie princess,” Giannis said. John had advised him that girls enjoyed being called by cute names. Giannis was pleased when Rachel grinned at his innocent nickname for her.
“I’m almost surprised that you didn’t ask the kitchen to make us smoothies for dessert,” she joked.
Giannis laughed, but didn’t tell her that his appetite for smoothies had been somewhat sated by his drinking of four of them before their date to help calm his nerves. Instead, he said, “Well, I knowing that smoothies I making at home is the best, so I wanting you to come over and I making some for us with special tasty ingredients.”
Another piece of advice that Giannis had received was that inviting a girl to his residence could be interpreted as a brazen pick-up attempt, depending on the context. Giannis knew that his intentions were pure, and was relieved when Rachel seemed neither shocked nor disgusted by his bold suggestion. “That sounds fun! I get tired of the flavors we have at the shop.”
After a mildly nerve-wracking drive home, the entirety of which was spent hoping that Rachel wouldn’t notice the empty smoothie bottles on the floor in the back, Giannis parked in front of his apartment and led his date to the front door. He suddenly became concerned that John might be hanging out there as he so often did, but he was just as quickly relieved to see that none of the lights were on.
“Here, I show you the kitchen,” Giannis said as he unlocked the door and turned on the lights. He did have a formal dining table set up for when his family came over, but there was a pair of seats at the kitchen counter that was more intimate.
When Rachel walked into her kitchen, her eyes grew wide. “That’s a lot of blenders,” she commented, noticing the lineup of ten or so blenders lined up along the counter and plugged into one power strip.
Giannis shrugged. “When my first blender is breaks, I buy many at mall, now I don’t worry,” he explained. “And if I want making many smoothie, I can do it easy.” He walked to the refrigerator and began to sort through his vast array of fruits to find the perfect combination for his special date. Finally, he decided on a combination that he had never tried before, but, based on his understanding of flavors, was sure to be a success.
“I don’t even know what that is,” Rachel said, referring to the lumpy green orb in Giannis’ hand.
“It’s called sweetsop. I see it in store one day.” He set the uncommon fruit down on the counter next to the more conventional kiwi and cranberries which were also to be part of the concoction. “American grocery stores are so big, so many product, in Greece my family not enough money to shopping anywhere so nice.”
“Oh,” replied Rachel.
When Giannis looked up from his diligent preparation of the ingredients, he was alarmed to see that Rachel had a downcast look on her face. “It’s okay now. I make lots of money and my family isn’t poor anymore.” He put the chopped up fruits one of the blenders with ice and milk and blended until the drink was exactly the proper consistency, another skill that was finely honed at this point. Pouring the pale red smoothies into a pair of glasses, he handed one to his date and kept the other one for himself.
Rachel took a cautious sip, then, a larger one. “Wow, Giannis! This is great! You should be a smoothie consultant!”
Giannis smiled even though he didn’t know what “consultant” meant. He couldn’t stop thinking about how pretty Rachel looked when she was happy. All of a sudden, he was overcome with a desire to kiss her, even though he had never kissed anybody in his life before. He remembered how John had been surprised when Giannis had told him that their first date hadn’t ended in a kiss.
Was he supposed to ask for permission? He didn’t know, and, besides, he would probably lose his nerve while trying to ask for it. So he leaned forward and quickly placed his lips over hers.
In those few seconds, Giannis could only think: her lips tasted like smoothie. Then it was over.
Rachel wasn’t slapping him, so that was a good sign. After the surprise wore off, she smiled. “I was wondering if that would happen.”
“Sorry, I never kissing girl before,” Giannis confessed with an apologetic grin. “It late now. I should driving you home.”
As they got back into his car, Giannis was already wondering if he would get another kiss when they got to her place. Kissing Rachel was something he could get used to. Maybe it was even better than smoothies.