A blind date... Please take the time to review my story. Thanks!
"Are you cold?" Cal asked. "We could go back inside."
"I'll be fine for a few minutes," I responded. Cal was determined to be a true gentleman to the end, and I wanted to let him down gently. As first dates after on-line courtship, this was a five on a scale of ten. Not bad. Not good. I'd learned to walk the fine line between encouragement and discouragement since I'd started this whole on-line dating rigmarole. So, a few minutes on the upper deck, no kiss, and a quick cab ride home and I'd avoid his emails and calls in the future.
Because it was so cold, the restaurant had closed the patio, so we were the only customers enjoying the spectacular view of the sunset in the city. We leaned against the waist-high concrete barrier that encircled the roof.
The breeze increased momentarily and I shivered. Cal saw the shiver and stood, pulling me into an embrace. I stiffened for a moment, but relaxed when I realized his intention was only to keep me warm.
Cal was tall, dark, and handsome - the kind of man that inhabits the dreams of many young girls wishing for their "Prince Charming." He seemed to make good money; if the Armani suit he wore and the Jaguar he drove were any indication. Too bad he was boring.
My mother forever despaired of my giving her grandchildren. Although I was somewhat successful as a marketing director, I seemed to attract men who weren't exactly husband or daddy material. My problem was that I always dreamed of marrying a hero-type, but they were hard to find and hold onto.
As the sun finished its decent, Cal asked, "Are you ready to go back inside?"
Reluctant to leave the warmth of his embrace, I nodded. I felt a little bereft when he removed his arms from around me, but warmed when he offered his arm to guide me back to the door.
He tugged on the door - it wouldn't open.
"Is it stuck?" I asked.
"It seems to be locked," he said.
I reached for the handle and pulled. Cal pounded on the door, but the noise level inside was too high for anyone to hear.
"Maybe we can get the attention of someone on the street," I said.
We hurried to the ledge, but this side of the building faced the busy street. None of the cars below could hear our yells. Unfortunately, this was the only side that provided a view of the area below the building.
"What are we going to do?" I asked. The temperature was beginning to drop with the sun, and my shawl would not keep me from freezing.
Cal frowned thoughtfully as he looked down. "There's a small ledge that surrounds the building. It's not very wide, but we may be able to use it to reach the balcony on the front of the restaurant. From there we could call to anyone coming in or out of the building."
I looked at him. "Are you crazy? That thing isn't any wider than my foot."
Cal sighed. "Do you have any better suggestions?" he asked. Unfortunately, I didn't.
"Just great," I muttered. "The perfect ending to a perfect date."
Apparently, this was the last straw for Cal as well. "Well, you're the one who insisted we watch the sunset from the patio."
I looked at Cal from the corner of my eye; finally, he was giving me a glimpse of a forceful personality. Too bad he hadn't turned it on earlier, then I might have suggested we end the night at my place.
"I didn't know they were going to lock the door. So what do we do now?" I wasn't going to give him any major concessions on this one. I'd asked about the rooftop and he hadn't resisted.
Looking over the edge, Cal said, "There's a drainpipe where the wall ends. If we hang onto the wall as we scoot along the ledge, we only have that one obstacle to get around before we reach the balcony."
The plan sounded simple, but I knew that if one of us fell, it would be a two-story drop to the pavement.
Seeing the doubt on my face, Cal said, "If you're afraid, you could stay here until I get help." It was a gentlemanly offer, but I didn't like what it implied about his assessment of my abilities. Condescending bastard.
"If you can do it, so can I," I said with more bravado than I felt.
A look of respect quickly crossed his face. "Good," he said.
He climbed over the wall and carefully placed the toes of his shoes on the ledge below. I took off my 4 inch spiked heels and used the shawl to tie them around my waist. Feeling foolish, but unwilling to leave my new shoes behind, I crawled over the wall and placed my toes on the ledge next to his.
The wall from this side came to the bottom of Cal's chin, but it was over my head. It was completely dark now, so passing cars would probably be unable to see us at this height. With my shawl tied around my waist, I was shivering, but I would be damned if I let Cal know.
We began to scoot sideways towards the drainpipe with Cal leading the way. He was so relaxed; I started to get curious whether he had experience navigating along narrow ledges. When he reached the drainpipe, he was able to get around it and continue without any problem. I, on the other hand, was stuck.
"How are you able to do this so easily?" I asked, as I tried to get up my nerve to hover over empty air so far from the ground.
"I've been rock climbing for years," he replied. "Especially free-climbing."
"What's free-climbing?" I closed my eyes. Nope, still too frightened to move.
"You don't use the harnesses and other gear that traditional rock climbers use."
This was the most interesting thing he had said about himself since the night began. There was something heroic and brave about a person who was willing to test his limits against nature. I have always been attracted to heroic types, like firemen and policemen, but I had yet to meet my hero.
Cal reached the balcony just as I got up the courage to step around the drainpipe. His extra height made it easy for him to reach up and pull himself over the balcony railing. I, on the other hand, was a couple of inches too short to grab hold of the rail. Looking down at me, Cal could see that I would have some difficulty climbing up.
"Grab hold of my hand," he said, reaching for me.
Just as I let go to reach for him, my foot slipped and I could feel myself starting to fall. Before I could scream, I found myself dangling above the street. I looked up to see that Cal had grabbed hold of my arm. I quickly looked down to see that my shoes had slipped free of my shawl and had plummeted to the street - where a car promptly ran over them.
Cal gently said, "It's okay, Kiley. I've got you."
He put both hands around my wrist and held tight.
"Reach up and grab hold of my arm."
I clutched him as tightly as he clutched me, my feet swinging free, my toes freezing in the breeze. With what seemed to be little effort, Cal pulled me up and over the balcony railing.
I put my arms around his neck and he pulled me close. I was trembling as Cal whispered soothing words to me - tears coursing down my face. Before I realized what I was doing, I put my lips against his neck. I pulled back quickly and looked at his face, embarrassed. Cal must have been as startled as I, because after a brief pause, he yanked me against his body and consumed me with frenzied kisses.
After a few minutes, I felt Cal pulling back, and our kissing came to an end. He placed his forehead against mine.
"Look," Cal said, panting. "Not that I haven't enjoyed kissing you, but I think that we may be acting on adrenaline rather than real attraction."
Feeling like a fool, I moved out of his arms and said, "I'm sorry."
We looked at each other a moment longer, then we heard someone say, "Hey! Do you guys need some help?"
Looking over the front side of the balcony, we saw a man and woman standing below.
"Yes," Cal responded. "Please let the management know that we are locked on the roof. Ask them if they can send up two brandied coffees and a blanket."
Within moments, the manager opened the door - minus the coffee, but with two blankets - and we were freed. Assuring the manager that we were fine, we made our way downstairs and out to the parking lot, the small rocks biting into my bare feet reminding me with every step that I'd lost my new pair of heels.
Just as I was getting into my car, Cal said, "Care for a nightcap? I can't promise it will be as interesting as dinner, but it seems with us, there may always be the possibility."
I looked up into his eyes. He was wearing a boyish grin. There was no denying the date had been a disaster. However, I had certainly enjoyed the kissing part. Just when I despaired of never finding my hero, here he seemed to be.
I jumped into his arms and said, "Yes!"
We sealed the deal with a kiss.