Giannis and Ersan walked out of the practice together. “I know you’re thinking about this girl you like, but you can’t get get distracted and start showing up late for stuff,” Ersan said.
“I wasn’t thinking about Rachel,” Giannis answered truthfully, even though he had the feeling that his teammate wouldn’t quite believe him. “Remember in my kitchen how I having many blenders?”
Ersan gave Giannis a quizzical look. “Yeah? But I don’t understand what blenders have to do with being tardy to practice.”
“I start making many smoothie, and in distraction of smoothie, I become late for practice,” Giannis explained. “But I know that I am important in team, so I will be careful about timeliness and not making big smoothie batch right before the team functions.” Remembering the stern look that his coach had given him when he walked into the gym late, Giannis mitigated the fresh wave of shame by taking a large swig of a smoothie that he had pulled from his bag.
“Good. Just remember, no player in the NBA is above their coach.”
Giannis sat on the edge of his bed, looking at his phone. He wanted to call Rachel and ask her on another date, this time at his apartment to watch a movie. He also wanted to call Ersan to get advice on how to make such a phone call; Ersan was married, so had clear experience in areas of romance. The other thing he wanted right at the moment was a smoothie. That was an easy want to address; he reached over to his bedside table and grabbed the cherry-orange concoction that had come out of the blender not five minutes before and took a sip. The sensation of cool, refreshing smoothie sliding down his throat immediately had a calming effect on his nerves. Smoothies always did that for him. He took another sip to heighten the feeling.
He recalled the words that his friend John Henson had told him before John had left for Cleveland. “That smoothie girl is into you. Way into you. Remember, she’s the one who agreed to go on a date with you. That means something.” John’s advice had often been unsuitable, but in this case, Giannis had a hunch that his friend was right. With every successful date and interaction, Giannis became more willing to believe that a pretty girl like Rachel could actually be attracted to somebody like him.
He smiled when he thought of what John might say in this situation. John would wonder why he was going so slowly, and why he and Rachel hadn’t done…bedroom things…yet. John was always obsessed with…bedroom things. That was why his well-intentioned advice had rarely been applicable for Giannis’ situation.
But inviting Rachel over for a movie made those things that Giannis forbade himself from thinking about a real possibility. As Giannis understood it, “Netflix and chill” was synonymous with those things. Giannis could feel his face becoming warm, as it always did when brief imaginations of those things flashed through his mind. If he proposed this type of date, what would Rachel think about his intentions? Would she see his true intention of simply wanting to watch a fun movie while maybe snuggling?
It was all too complicated, and, as usual, he was overthinking it. He reminded himself that it was unlikely he could ruin his relationship with Rachel just by making a single phone call. So he finished the rest of his smoothie to give himself that post-smoothie confidence, then navigated to Rachel’s prominently-placed contact information in his phone and hit the “dial” button.
“Hi Giannis!” came Rachel’s voice after just one ring. She sounded excited to talk to him. That was a good start.
“Do you having plan for weekend?” he asked. He really hoped she wouldn’t be busy. Having to agonize over this phone call for even one more day would be torture.
“No, why? Are you asking me on another date?” Rachel replied. Giannis could imagine the way she was smiling and it caused him to smile as well.
“Maybe,” Giannis said. “I wondering if you come over on Saturday to watch a movie with me.” There. He had said it. Now he braced for the rejection, or, worse, the silent hang-up.
Rachel didn’t do either of those things. Instead, she giggled. “Only if you make me a smoothie that I can drink during the movie.”
“I can do,” Giannis answered. There was a sense of relief flooding through him, and he would have agreed to any of her stipulations at that point, smoothie-related or no. “Six PM, is that working?”
After Rachel agreed to his suggested time and they said their goodbyes, Giannis lay on his bed and stared at the ceiling for a long time, amazed by his own good fortune. It was only when he realized that he hadn’t had a smoothie in half an hour that he finally got up.