Ted+Kelly, Part 6: Now or Never

Nearly 6 months after the last installment, I was starting to go Downton Abbey on ya'll. (Can the next season just be NOW??)

In case you're new to this fun:
Part 1 (In which you wonder how this story could end the way it did.)
Part 2 (In which I'm suddenly available.)
Part 3 (In which the descriptions of bowel issues leave you dumbfounded.)
Part 4 (In which you're suddenly as in love with Ted as I was.)
Part 5 (In which I send signals so mixed, they should be canned and marketed as nuts.)

Carry on!


I sat in my educational technology class, trying to put together a decent presentation for the following week.  I knew almost all this information prior to taking this class.  So why couldn't I focus and finish?

My purple flip phone, in the front pocket of my backpack, vibrated loudly.  I reached for it and saw it was a text.  From Ted.

"Pick you up at 6 tonight, if that's ok.  Dinner then the play."

My date with Ted.  I didn't have to be at the Institute building tonight for FHE.  I knew the "parents" of the groups had everything in order so I agreed to a Wednesday night date with Ted. So unlike me. I knew it was all planned but I struggled slightly not going.

I replied at the speed of T-9. "Sure, sounds good.  What's the dinner plan?"

He responded quickly. "Oh don't you worry, I've got it covered.  I'm cooking."

Um, he's what?  If there was one thing I was pretty sure Ted couldn't do, it was cook.  I mean, I wasn't certain, but he was more impressed with my cooking than he should be, drooling every time he popped by and I was making this or that.  Teriyaki turkey burgers, roast chicken with my roommates on Sunday, cheesy potatoes for a pot luck... Puddles of drool.

I got home with little time to get ready but managed to change shirts and freshen up my make up. I wondered where my roommate Karin was, having not seen her since that morning.  I hadn't even had time to mention my date with Ted.

The knock on the door at 6 on the dot made me wonder if he watched for the minute to pass on his phone before knocking.  Extremely punctual.

I answered the door with a grin.  There was Ted in his slightly awkward totally adorable glory.  We walked over to his apartment.

And I smelled it before I saw it.

It was spicy.

"I hope you like Cajun food because Tony Chachare does it right!"  I couldn't describe the odd accent as he said this if I wanted to.  Uniquely Ted.

I was clueless. "Tony who?  I have no idea what you're talking about."

He seemed legitimately stunned. "You've never had Tony Chachare Cajun seasoning? How is that possible."

"Well, you see, I grew up in Illinois.  You've never had deep dish pizza, I imagine. Maybe we're even."  Yes, I thought, and I'm suddenly grateful I didn't grow up in Arkansas, like you did...

Ted plated our food and after a prayer, dove in.  I tried.  I pulled  away the spicy top parts and tried to eat the parts that weren't nearly blackened with seasoning.  I dipped the chicken in the mashed potatoes to calm down the spice.  But even with these tricks, Ted was done before I'd eaten half and at about the same time I finished my second glass of water.

"I'm sorry Ted.  You actually cooked it really well.  It's not dry or burned. I just don't have much of a tolerance for spicy food."  It was a little embarrassing and he had tried really hard.  He was also totally OK with it and we left.

The walk across the street to Ardrey Auditorium was quick and after he paid, Ted selected seats. "Is this spot OK?" I nodded, sat, and perused the program. We enjoyed some bantery small talk until, behind me, I heard a well-known voice.

"Are you guys SERIOUSLY on a date and we just sat RIGHT behind you? Unbelievable."  Karin. Ha!  Well, at least I wouldn't have to fill her in on the details outside of the chicken.  Plus, Karin was predisposed to give Ted a hard time.  I wondered how that would play into the evening.  At least it was a play.  Dark.  Quiet.  Polite.

Without skipping a beat, Karin chided Ted. "Ted, do you even know who wrote Taming of the Shrew?  This doesn't seem like your ideal date idea, outside of dim lights. Ok, juuust kidding.  But no, really."

Holding up his copy of the program he answered, "Um, I can read." Sarcasm for sarcasm.

Ted knew I'd minored in theatre and that while it might not be number one in his book, it was pretty high up on my list.

The lights dimmed and we dove into Verona by way of one-dimensional acting and tired costuming.  Still, we enjoyed it. I later wrote our favorite quotes in my program to think back on later. ("I burn! I pine! I perish!")

We were laughing over some of the production during intermission when Ted, to my left, pointed behind me, out to the aisle at my right. "Hey, what's that in the aisle?" I turned to look and felt a weight fall on my shoulder.

I turned back to him, not shrugging his "advance."

"That's how you're going to play it?" I laughed.

That sly grin I'd recently been introduced to made its entrance, center stage. "Well, you didn't shrug me off so I guess it doesn't matter how I got here."

As the lights dimmed and my roommate returned to her seat, I heard a gasp followed by an exaggerated cough.  Guess Karin just saw Ted's arm around me, I thought.

The rest of the night went well. We had a good time, as we always did.  We never ran out of things to talk about, never felt awkward around each other, childish diversion tactics included.  After the play, and since he had to work that night, he walked me across the street to my apartment, 2 buildings away from his.  We hugged goodnight on my doorstep and I was greeted by my roommate, Arizona, on the other side of the door.

"You're home kind of early.  How was your date??" Arizona oozed with her normal post-date excitement.

"Oh, he has to work tonight. ... It was good!  He cooked dinner and even though it was too spicy for me..."

Arizona interjected, "...most anything is."

Ahem. "Even with that, it was cooked really well.  He was very gentlemanly and we talked a lot and really easily.  The play was good and at one point he put his arm around me.  Kind of gutsy when I just basically gave him the shove-off a few days ago..."

Arizona cocked her head. "Well yeah but then you told him to be persistent and went on a date with him four days later.  I mean, you're saying one thing and sort of giving him signals of something completely different."

She was right.

I had very little retort. "It's true and he is a great guy.  I really enjoy spending time with him.  More so than any other guy I've dated recently.  But I'm SO busy.  I have the end of the year banquet THIS WEEK for ASNAU, the school year is winding down and I am taking 18 credits.  Plus, I have two other jobs, and a calling... I just feel like I'm way too busy to have any guy in my life right now."

"And yet, you still made time for him tonight," Arizona counseled.  "If there's anything I have learned it is that you are never going to be less busy than you are now.  No one is, no matter where they are in life.  If it's not one thing, it's another.  If you don't make time for a relationship now, you won't do it when you're still this busy, or even busier."

That hit me hard.  But I still felt tangled in a web of work and school and church and... and... and... It always seemed like there was an excuse, another demand on my time.  It was one of the reasons (of several), I felt, that my last relationship hadn't worked. It was probably why the guy after that had just stopped coming by.  Not that I was upset by that.  I was happy with my commitments and how those relationships had played out.

But, I wondered that night as I lie in bed, would I be happy if things with Ted fizzled out in like fashion?  Did I have to make time for this guy or risk losing out on what I was finding to be a good, honest, kind, attentive, attractive man who obviously felt at least as fondly as I did?

As sleep washed over me, I still didn't have the answer.


Ted said...

you forgot "attractive" in your description list of me.

"good, honest, kind, attentive man"

good post honey,
keep up the good work.

I totally forgot about that chicken.

Emily said...

Thanks for sending me the link! I actually thought about it this past week sometime. I figured you hadn't updated since A) you've been sick B) you've been sick and C) you didn't let me know :)
Great post! So fun to reminisce isn't it?