Chapter 7 - The Dress Code

After he turned off the lamp on his bedside table, Daniel found he couldn't stop his heart from smiling like a dork and he was having the most difficult time wiping the grin off his face.  After 15 minutes of tossing and turning in bed, he finally reached over and turned on the lights again.  He noted it was five minutes to midnight but he just couldn't sleep because his mind kept going over the events of the day; especially the unexpected ones with his Little Beauty.

He leaned over the side of his bed and opened the top drawer of his bedside table where his diary was.  Taking it out, he then sat up in bed and made himself comfortable before flipping through the pages looking for entries dated December from the first year he was in high school.  Just when he found the page, his cell phone vibrated and chimed a notification.  Thinking it was Alice texting to inform of her arrival, he was about to put the device on silent mode.  But he noticed a Facebook Invitation from someone known as LB who had 2 other common friends with his account. When he clicked on the common friends, he smiled and accepted the invitation. Immediately, there was a new message in his Messenger App.

LB: Can't sleep, DB?  Lol - Let me guess, Danny Boy?
DB: Yeah, can't sleep, LB!  Let me guess, Little Beauty?
LB: The one and only!
DB: I can't believe you chose that for your Facebook.
LB: For my privacy - figured no one would know it's me.
DB: No one but me, right?
LB: Obviously! Even Emily doesn’t know what LB stands for.
DB: I'm honored!  Only you know D stands for Danny.  All my friends think it's for Daniel.
LB: I'm honored too!  Lol.  What were u doing before my invite?
DB: Reading what you said to me 20 years ago today.
LB: Seriously?!!!!! What I said to U?
DB: Yes.  I'm reading what you said to me in Gym class. December 3. Grade 8.
LB: What did I say?
DB: Should we still be holding hands?
LB: LMHO - I said that?  Why would I say that? 
DB: Square Dance Lessons!
LB: I C. Lol.  What did you say?
DB: The diary says I just smiled and nodded my head and we never let go of our hands until class was over.
The next morning, Daniel got back to his early morning routine of working out in the gym by 6:30.  His usual routine was weight training for 45 minutes followed by 30 minutes of cardio.  The gym in his Condo was located on the ground floor and the cardio machines were located in front of glass panels which overlooked the main entrance to May's condo.  When he had two minutes left to run on the treadmill, he saw Ed, Anna and Alice.  They were greeted by a couple belonging to Ed and Anna's age group.  A pang of guilt twisted his stomach when he watched Alice standing there with her parents and their friends.  She had texted him at 7:30 while he was in the gym,  asking if he was free to take her out for breakfast because she didn't want to be dragged along with her parents' friends.  In the past he would always catered to her requests, but he had always thought of her as a sister.  That was until he found out she had such an unhealthy crush on him three months ago when she flew down to LA after finding out he had finally broken up with his girlfriend of two years.  That was when she finally confessed to him about her feelings for him ever since she was a teenager. 

He wasn't so much taken aback by her confession, but more so by the fact that she believed they were predestined to be with each other.  Lately, she had become so obsessed with him that he feared she might show up anytime as he turned the corners.

The treadmill beeped and flashed for him to cool down, he reduced the speed and stepped off the machine when he saw Alice and her parents getting into their friend’s van.  When he returned with a towel and a spray bottle to clean the machine, he was surprised to see Alice standing alone in the driveway. Then his heart just about jumped out from his chest when she turn her head and looked straight at him. 

Fifteen minutes later, Daniel exited his in-suite bathroom with just a towel around his waist to answer the ringing phone.  He did manage to comb his wet hair.  "Wait!  Let me buzz you in!" 

When he was certain his guest was inside his building, he had to promptly get himself decently clothed. So he quickly pulled out the luggage Ethan brought over yesterday and threw it on his unmade bed.  Glancing out the window to take a feel for the weather, he then grabbed the outdoor off-white-cable-pattern sweater from the luggage and pulled it over his wet hair.  He turned to his closet and pulled a matching pair of jeans off its hanger.  Just when he managed to put his two legs through, a new text arrived on his cell phone.  He noted the sender and took a quick glance at the message.  "Oh Bugger!"  And then the doorbell rang.

When he opened his door, he thought either his twin sister or his soul-mate was looking back at him.  He knew he wasn't born with a twin sibling so he told himself she must be his soul mate while taking her appearance in.  She was wearing an off-white-knitted hat that matched the color of her outdoor-cable-pattern sweater.  Her jeans happened to be the same shade as the one he was wearing.  How coincidental was that?  They both thought at the same time.

"Are you going to wear a pink scarf as well?"  May asked with a grin.

“Only if you are wearing a pair of black boxers!" Daniel pulled her inside and planted a quick kiss on her cheek.  "Are you?"

May pushed him away.  "I've seen guys wearing pink scarfs before, you know?"

Daniel chuckled.  "Though I have never personally seen a woman in boxer briefs, I know such garments exist in the line of women's lingerie."

May gave his chest another push, a little harder this time.  "Go dry your hair before your big head gets infected with women lingerie!"

Daniel chuckled and did as she said.  May watched as he made his way down the hall to his bedroom.  "So where are you taking me for our breakfast date this morning?"

"I was thinking of that restaurant we passed by yesterday on our walk home.  It looked kind of chic from the outside."  He turned to look back at her before entering his room.  "Did you want to come in?"  When he realized his arm was pointing to his room, he corrected himself.  "I meant the living room."

"Yeah, I think I'll do that."  May said while taking off her boots, but she smiled to herself.  She wasn't sure if she could resist him if things got physical in his bedroom. 

After taking off her boots, she made her way down to the spacious living room which was comfortably and adequately furnished with furniture and decors from Ikea and Home Inspiration.  Daniel told her his gaming software company promoted him to the Department of International Relations which was the reason for his relocation.  However, he didn't tell her which position he held.  But judging from this apartment and the view of the mountains and waters, May gathered he must hold quite an important role in the company.  When she turned around, seeing a mini-grand brought an old familiar feeling back from the past. 
Both she and Daniel were assigned to play the piano for the school band.  The only difference was that she had to practice hours to learn the pieces by heart, where for Daniel didn't.  She knew Daniel played the piano like a prodigy and she used to be so annoyed with him when he could pick up a song’s melody just by listening to it once.  He was that good!  Remembering back, May thought of the time when Daniel ventured off the music score as he seemed fit.  Memories of their band teacher’s flustered expression caused May to chuckle to herself.  Her fingers started to itch at the sight of the shiny black lacquer instrument.  She lifted the top cover and then walked to the front of the piano and pushed the cover up over the black and white keys.  Without removing the velvet runner, she pressed on a few keys with her pointer finger as if to test the sound.

"Play something!"  Daniel spoke up as he leaned on the post of the French door that served as divider from the living room.

Startled at first, she then gave him a shake of her head.  "I haven't touched a piano for almost a year!"

“Oh come on! I’m sure you remember something!”  Daniel encouraged and came towards her.  “It’s like riding a bicycle!”

May gave him a pouting gesture like she used to do in high school.  “I’m not a prodigy like you, remember?  I am one of those who needs to practice and practice.  And some more practice!”
Chuckling at her gesture, he decided to not pursue.  "I noticed you didn't have a piano there last night!" 

"It’s still at my own home which is currently on the market waiting for a buyer."  May closed the piano cover.  "So why are you so special to get a grand piano?  A regular one isn’t good enough for you?"

Just then, a text came to Daniel’s phone and he gave it a quick glance.  May thought perhaps he didn’t hear a word she said and was about to let it go.  But his chuckles at her questions surprised her.

"I listed the piano as a must but I wasn’t expecting a mini-grand."  He came up and helped with the top cover.  "This is my source for destressing!"

For some reasons, May didn’t think anything could stress him out.  "Glad you kept it up!  You've always been good in playing the piano."

"It was better when we played together!"  Daniel hinted.  "Maybe someday we can do a duet?"

May smiled.  "Yeah, maybe someday when I get some practice!"

"You're always welcome to practice here!"  Daniel grinned and May started to make a move to leave.  "Just give me a minute to text Ethan to bring breakfast or order delivery for Alice."

He saw the question mark on her face.  "Just before you arrived, she texted and said she was eating the peanuts from last night’s flight."

When Daniel started to thumb his message, May reached out and placed her hand over his.  "You can invite her to breakfast with us.  After all, she's on vacation here and it's no fun to be stuck in that little suite."

"But ..." Daniel looked up at her and her cheeks started to turn rosy again.

"Besides, you don't have to take me out on an official date in order to acquit yourself from being called a liar."  She explained.

"I don't?"  Daniel's lips curved upwards.  "You're willing to be my girlfriend without as much as a date?"

It was May’s turn to be cheeky.  "Now what made you think I would become your girlfriend just after one breakfast date with you?"

She turned her back to him and was about to walk away when he pulled her back with his arms around her waist.  He started tickling her with his kisses on her neck and shoulders while muttering.  "Then how many dates do I need to make that happen?"

In between her giggles, she only managed to say.  "That will depend on how you do on our coffee date this morning!"

He finally let go of her.  "Coffee date?"

"Yes, that restaurant you mentioned doesn't open until 9:30.” 

Daniel checked his watch which read 8:15am.  “Oh.”

“There is a Starbucks around the corner; we can go there for a drink first."  She pointed to his phone.  "Text her if she could be ready in an hour."

May watched as Daniel deleted the text for Ethan and started a new one to Alice.  Just before he was about to send the text, she stopped him.  "Wait! No!  She might think you changed your meeting just to accommodate her.  That might set her hopes up."

"No, don't want that!"  Daniel shook his head and tried to follow May’s trend of thoughts.  He drew up a blank page for he had no idea how women think.

"Tell her your meeting is not going to take as long as you thought.  Ask if she can wait to be picked up at 9:30 for breakfast."

Daniel liked her suggestion and started to thumb the message.  When he was done, he showed it to May for double checking and planted a quick kiss on her cheek before pressing the Send icon.  May gave him a scolding look for his playfulness; he returned one that said he just couldn't help himself.

On their way down to the lobby, Alice texted him back with 'Can't wait!' followed by three heart shaped Smiley faces.  When May looked at the screen Daniel was waving in front of her, she told him.  "I think she's going to hate me!"

"I don't care!  As long as Emily doesn't hate you!"  Daniel put his arms around May’s shoulders for a tender squeeze.  "And I know she cannot hate me, so we're good!"

"But your parents?  Ethan said they want to be In-Laws."  May was still having issues dealing with what his mother had said in the past.  Suddenly she didn't feel optimistic about her prospect with Daniel.  "What if they don't like me and still insist you go out with Alice?"

Daniel chuckled.  "Don't tell anyone this but my Mom told me a few weeks ago she never really did want Alice as a daughter-in-law."

"Then why did she insist that you stop by Ed and Anna's place?"  May asked.

Daniel pretended to check out the elevator booth for any hidden cameras and bugging devices.  Then he leaned forward and whispered in her ear.  "My Dad wanted me to smuggle some form of drugs into Canada."