I acquiesced. Sure, we can make dill. After all, his dill-making was very promising - at least after the initial fear factor. We end up making plans to go out on a Saturday to catch a live band at the Troubador. I'd realized very early on that my fine dining looks were likely making his wallet cringe in fear and the morning before we meet I text him to say that I planned to have an early dinner at home, which I actually did. I meant alone but he replies quickly, "Ok, sounds good, I join you.". Huh?
I guess it wasn't too far an assumption for someone like him to make. He was probably feted by a household of women only too grateful to slave over a hot stove for him. In fact he did actually tell me once that back in Serbia his family baked their own bread AND mulled home-made fruit brandy called rakija, which while very heart-warming to think about, is a touch stone age for me unless you own a vineyard cum restaurant. I couldn't exactly un-invite him and not have it considered rude. Sigh, so cooking it was.
Hmm. I mused that this was either one of two things: Either he wasn't worthy, or Mother Nature was giving me a much needed assist on the Coyness department, seeing as I was about to Go Pokemon and rabidly devour the poor man unaware as he was. Cute little thing one minute, ravenous monster the next. Oh well, obviously this was being played out in as stately a manner as it could be, but really I was getting sick of all the icy dignity. I decide not to disappoint and do a quick study on Serbian cuisine. The food looks delicious, in fact reading about it made me want to book a ticket to Belgrade.
If it weren't for the annoying fact that along with the food searches, there were numerous entries of wonderment at how Serbians eat bread everyday yet most of their women have washboard stomachs. This irritates me like you would not believe, I have but to look at a potato and gain a pound.
I decide if I was going to suffer being the demure Jane, then I was going to get his Tarzan as worked up as I could. Never deny your inner minx is my motto. Dragan arrives to the scent of the dish wafting through my flat, he briefly takes in the fairy lights around my wall sized mirror, the huge sheepskin on the floor and the invitingly set table, then with a pause, looks at me head to toe as if he couldn't decide what to have first. "Dobro vece!," he greets me and strides in already filling up the space with his height and breadth, "this, all this, amazing. The lights, the food, you. Beautiful." I smile and apologize for the heat in the flat, "I'm sorry I'm not quite dressed for going out yet but I was cooking and it's hot."
He raises an appreciative eyebrow at the white off shouldered mini dress I'm wearing and my bare feet, "Is no problem, you believe me. I like." His comments strangely make me want to cover my mouth with a shy hand and giggle behind it, I stop myself and smooth my hair nervously instead. We sit down to dinner, and he promises to tell me what he thinks. "Please do, " I say, "don't hold back." He takes a first few bites, and proclaims it amazing. Half-way through I ask him if I should check the times for the Troubador, he announces he has no intention of leaving the flat, "I prefer here if is okay with you, why go out, everything is nice, food, you, so relaxing."
I wasn't surprised, few men can ever resist the spell of Cancerian comforts. I surreptitiously eye the couch thinking that once he lands on it, it was very unlikely I'd ever pry him off it. I let Dragan talk which he does with aplomb, until he stops himself short realizing he'd been rattling off his autobiography whilst I sat there, filing everything away.
He finally asks me about my marriage, my history. I give him the cliff notes version, fond as I am of privacy and partly as I wanted to understand how much he really wanted to know. "The marriage was for ten years, it didn't work out, he wasn't..," I paused, "responsible enough. Then I lived with a boyfriend, British, he was terrible..turns out he was married and living five other lives." It seemed so flat when I said it that way, but I thought it was better. Dragan shrugged, "He British, they all liars you know, that is how they are." Well, I wasn't quite sure how he arrived at that but it wasn't the first time I'd heard it.
And that was that. He seemed quite satisfied with the information and since through out dinner, he'd hardly aggressed in my space, I was quite convinced there would be naught more than an hour of a film then polite good byes. Maybe I'd dreamt up the entire first date. He plops himself on the couch then appealingly looks at me, "I have problem here," he points to his back, "can you help?" I look at him with the same smile I've given all eleven of my nephews when they gave me the "can't sleep I need water" ploy. "No, really, is big problem," he reiterates, "here, here." He grimaces with pain as he points to the offending spot.
I get up to walk over, shaking my head and hear my phone beep alarmingly. It is the nth text from B who since the night prior decided that today would be the day he would reintroduce himself to my reality. I try to ignore it and hope Dragan doesn't notice it either. I sit behind him, knees folded while I try not to think of B finally texting, of how this could be him instead. But it isn't. And I really shouldn't be thinking of him.
I am studiously working the spot and asking Dragan questions about work, when he moves to the rug, stretching himself out like a big cat. He thumps the spot in front of him decisively and orders, "You, here, now." I gulp. Well, never let it be said being Serbian and an Aries ever lent itself to subtlety.