I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror and my steps halted. I turned to my reflection. I smiled. I looked stunning. I’d had a friend over to airbrush my face to a smooth perfection, all for my homegirl Joey’s extravagant 30th birthday party: A James Bond-themed black tie affair. I wanted to go all out. My dress was cream and tan with a peplum top and chiffon ruffles on the long skirt and a black bow in the back. I couldn’t stop smiling.
When I got to the party, everyone was already turned up, dancing, laughing, posing with feather boas, oversized sunglasses and party hats in the photo booth, and dressed to the nines. I was late. Typical. Rushing, heels in my hand, I kicked off my sandals and fluffed my curls before stepping in and bee-lining to the bar. I recognized a few people on my way to the bar and after a few hugs and kisses, I made it to the promised land and ordered drink after drink at the two-hour open bar. I was 45 minutes late, so I wanted to make up for lost time. A man came up to me at the bar, smiled and ordered a Long Island Iced Tea.
“Good idea,” I smiled. I don’t really know the secret to meeting men. I can’t tell someone how to meet a man, but I meet a lot of men. Like this one.
He waved down the bartender, smiled at me and ordered another Long Island Iced Tea.
I rose my right brow, still smiling.
“What?” He smiled, putting his right hand on his heart, as if he’d been shot. “You said good idea,” he shrugged.
“Touche. I’m Danielle,” I offered my hand.
“Allen.” Our drinks were placed in front of us. “Cheers,” Allen said passing me the glass.
“What are we toasting?” I asked.
“To new friends…” Allen offered.
“Among other things..” I laughed.
Allen laughed and sat down. We chatted for a few minutes, talking about our visible scars and telling the horror stories that went along with them from our childhood. He’d fallen off his bike four more times that I had, but I’d banged my head into more walls than him. We laughed about one random accident that we had in common—our roller skates both lost their front wheels in the middle of us skating and we both hit the floor—he was 9. I was 13.
After 20 minutes, Allen frowned. “Danielle…” he put his hand on my knee. “I hate that you’re so…”
So…I held on to the cliff of that tiny word, waiting for him to hurt my feelings with a compliment.
“Incredible,” Allen said.
I made a joke, like I usually do when I’m uncomfortable. “Oops, that’s not usually bad news. Tell your face you think I’m incredible. Yay! Good news, right?” I giggled awkwardly. Drunkenly.
“See, well..” Allen looked down. Took his hand off my knee. Stood up. “I have a girlfriend. And she just got here. It was nice meeting you. You’re…” he grabbed my forearm. Squeezed it. Walked away.
I laughed. I just had to. As Allen greeted his gorgeous girlfriend—the type that mimmicks J. Lo, with class and sophistication that makes you wonder if she’s been bred in a factory somewhere. Her waist and feet, perfectly tiny and she made heels look effortless. Yeah, such is my life.
I shrugged and spun back around to the bar, ordering another one of those poisoned Long Island Iced Teas. Sipping it slowly, I watched people dancing and decided after half of the drink, I’d join in. I scanned the crowd and my eyes stopped when they landed on him.
He was the type of man you immediately thank Jesus for. I couldn’t help but mouth, “Hi,” and accompany that with a wave to make sure he saw me.
He was literally stunning. The smile. Lord. It melts you into the biggest puddle of googly eyes and pounding hearts. He was tall, dapper in a tuxedo. I felt like I was on a movie set and the leading man locked eyes with me through the screen and, in a fantasy come true, was walking towards me, out of the screen and steps in front of me.
Remember, I was still a puddle. A drunk puddle. His smile got to me before he did. I opened my mouth immediately, letting whatever come out, come out, but praying it was coherent.
“I’m Danielle. You’re beautiful. What’s your name?” I was impressed that in my drunk puddle state, I could get that out.
“I’m Roman.” His smile turned into a laugh that I just wasn’t ready for. His head tilted back and he let out a loud chuckle. “I like that.” He bit his bottom lip.
The puddle that I was, evaporated. Poof. Gone.
I touched myself on my shoulder make sure this was my reality. “Roman, really? Jeez. It’s like your mother knew you’d be a Greek god. God bless her.” This time my humor gained me some points. My eyes danced up and down this chocolate James Bond—from his flawless tux to his sparkling teeth, he was easily the best looking part of my life.
Roman told me he’s a model/actor and it made me nervous. My butterflies settled down when he told me that he also writes for a stand up comedian. I’m a comedian. He told me I made him laugh. He said he adored my confidence and found me intriguing. It’s like the sky cracked open and God looked at me and said, “I’ll just spend my day making sure Danielle has the best night ever.”
Roman asked to hold on my phone and programs his name and number into it, called, and waited for my number to pop up on his phone. He smiled when he saw it.
“North Carolina?” He asked.
“Exactly.” I smiled.
“I knew you weren’t from New York. I think it’s official. I like country girls.” He winked. It was like it was in slow motion. I felt every single top eyelash meet the bottom.
“God, I could love him today if he let me,” I thought.
Sorry to leave you hanging. Find out what happens with Roman on next week’s #RelationshipGoals column!